6'0 tall, former athlete, mother of 3, struggling to keep up on the RUN of daily life.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thinking about FOOD

On my 2012 Goals Post HERE I talked about creating a CHALLENGE for myself every month. Why each month and not the whole year?? Because I would like to try things out and see how my body responds.

I cant speak for all Moms but my body has changed drastically since having kids. In my younger, kid-free, days I could eat whatever, whenever with no consequence and I never had use for Tums.. These days I don't know what is going to cause me to bloat or keel over to the fetal position in PAIN.. This year I want to take an active approach to testing new ways of eating to see how I feel.
My Key areas of focus:

1. Energy Level. If food is fuel, which fuel will give me the most SPARK??

2. Cost and availability. It is a known fact that is costs more to eat well (unless you forrage in the forest or something) but as a one-income family I cannot afford to break the bank in the grocery department. I also don't want poor Muscle man to drive all over the place to specialty stores for me.

3. Taste. Life is short. I love to eat. I refuse to eat something that tastes like tree-bark to get in the required fiber for the day.

Below are my ideas so far:

FEBRUARY= No Chocolate and no sweets at work. This will be a CHALLENGE with Feb being Valentines month, the work food table is sure to be full of tasty sweet treats. I may change it to be no sweets at all, but I will decide that on Feb 1st :)

GO Gluten Free. My Mom is already following this lifestyle so I can go to her for advice and tips. I may have to take a CHEAT day on March 17th when I set a new 5K PR and celebrate with a post-race adult beverage!

  • I posted on Facebook HERE to get some ideas about good Monthly Challenges. Below are some great ideas MONTHLY challenges from commenters.

Lesley- Snack= fruit, vegetable or yogurt.

Kendyl- Vegetarian

Sybil- Raw foods or vegan

Amanda and Jessica- No processed foods!! Only foods made with fresh ingredients.

Catey and Nancy- Sugar Elimination

Marlene- No restaurants/fast food.

Becca- No meat Mondays

Thanks Ladies!!!

I have to be smart about this, the weeks leading up to the Monthly CHALLENGE will be spent researching what foods I can and should eat. I also don't want to plan a CHALLENGE for a month when I will be traveling or in heavy training..

I plan to look at my calendar and plan out the year. CHALLENGES will include my Tall Family as well. Muscle Man and the Little Studs will be along for the ride here and there this year.

  • Do you know of any GREAT cook books or healthy eating books that would help me out this year? Please leave a comment.

  • Do you have any ideas for a Monthly challenge I should try? Leave a comment.

  • What healthy eating strategies have you tried? What did you like and what did you not like??


Katie said...

Great ideas! I have gone gluten free for the month of January. It has helped me because I stay away from sweets, and my big down fall, breads. It has not been as hard as I thought it would be.

Unknown said...

Have you considered Paleo? I love it. Im shedding quickly and still get a full belly each day. AND I have a chocolate everyday :)

abbi said...

I'm not good about trying these types of things, but do think it's a good idea for those that want to!! I'm always looking out for new healthy recipe ideas and follow tons of food blogs with lots of inspiration (as well as lots of stuff on pinterest!).

Anonymous said...

My family eats vegetarian bordering on vegan. We've been doing this for over a decade, so that isn't going to change. The doing it healthfully is a challenge. We try to avoid processed foods as much as we can, and we try to cram in healthy fats as much as possible. It all sounds like a pain, but once you start eating healthier it's hard to go back.

Breakfasts lately are a big bowl of oatmeal with flax and/or chia seeds, walnuts, dried fruit, etc.

Lunch is leftovers.

Dinners are a whole range of things, as are snacks. It's really not limiting.

There are a ton of really great cookbooks. For running specifically I have heard a lot of really good things about the book Thrive by Brendan Brazier. I ordered a copy and will get it tomorrow, so I'll know more personally later. Also, you can check out the blog nomeatathlete.com. There is a lot of great nutrition info and recipes there, too.

Good luck!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I say this being on a "diet" currently so insert the grain of salt. I don't believe in NO. As in unless your body has a negative reaction to a food, you shouldn't say you can't have it. Everything in moderation. I feel even if a person cuts out sweets or carbs or whatever, that won't be the way they eat for a lifetime. So why do that?
Instead practice control and moderation. (I think you are trying to see if certain items "bother" you so removing them from your diet would be needed to test that theory but) Maybe challenges to maintain portion sizes for a month (and then keep doing it)

Maybe eliminate all "can't haves" from the challenges and make them something that you build on like, February could be eating on a more routine schedule. Then March you add no eating after X time of night. But keep doing February's portion control too. Then April you might add to the previous things a certain amount of water (not including your other liquids just straight water). See what I mean?

That way all your challenges are positive things and not a negative taking away or depriving you thing. Just an idea. Good Luck on whatever challenges you choose. Please share them, we all might want to join in.

Christa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

If you do the vegan challenge, a great cookbook is Vegan with a Vengeance. I have a good friend who is vegan and she gave me the cookbook as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. The food is delicious!

Maybe another monthly challenge could be to try and drink X ounces of water each day or just drink nothing but water for the whole month. I know that hydration is important! Good luck!

Ironmom (Julie) said...

I second the Paleo recommendation. This is set up as a 30-day challenge, so how about April? :) http://whole9life.com/category/whole-30/

Run with Jess said...

OK, I'm putting it out there with you... NO CHOCOLATE anything in February. That will be tough, but I'm gonna do it with you. I like (and need) that one.

track coach and adorable wife said...

I love to eat, I suck at avoiding sweets, and my cooking style is lazy at best. These are things I am trying to avoid, going to the crockpot a lot and attempting to make veggies half of the plate!

Margie said...

I love your blog, and I love that you are talking about food and challenging yourself to eat differently! I take issue, however, with the idea that eating well has to break the bank. My partner and I are both teachers, so the income is not enormous, but we eat good, natural foods. The tricks? We cook things from scratch when at all possible. If I want mac and cheese, I make it from scratch and it lasts three days for lunches after our first dinner. We eat vegetarian several days a week, eating things like bean burritos, pasta, mac and cheese, veggie stir-fry, quesadillas, and other meat-free meals. Recently, we decided to join a CSA (community sponsored agriculture). For $200, we get a large box of fresh produce (including honey and eggs some weeks) every week for 12 weeks. And finally, we bought half a pig (frozen and already prepared, of course) from a local farm! This was an investment, but having healthy, local food in the freezer keeps me from splurging on other meats.
Sorry for the ramble. I am pretty passionate about food, and I'm also quite cheap, so I know it can be done!

Amanda said...

When I first went healthy, I realized I had no clue how to cook a variety of veggies. So I started collecting recipes out of magazines and online. I resolved to try one new veggie each week. I would pick one I didn't know much about and find a recipe on it. Right now I'm trying new whole grains. It makes it fun and you figure out what you like and don't like.

Chelsea said...

Eat Clean magazine has been a great spot to find healthy (and GF) recipes - 'eating clean' is my preferred diet - although I don't always follow it.

Laura Boll said...

We are a mostly vegetarian eating family, and buying less meat and processed snacks can actually cut some grocery costs, especially if you plan 1-2 meals around beans/legumes. Good luck! I love the Moosewood cookbooks, and for tasty and easy meals they have a 30-minute cookbook.

Marissa said...

some great suggestions through your comments. All I can suggest is checking LOTS of great websites out there like EatingWell, Taste Of Home and they'll have some great tips/meal suggestions and snack ideas. I'd love to say I could do gluten free but I MUST have some...I'm Italian and not that it's an excuse, but every now and then I MUST have some good ol' bread!!! LOL

Claudia said...

The comments are awesome! I need to get back on track and lose a few pounds of holiday weight, too.
What helps me most is keeping a food journal.
For a challenge I give up chocolate for lent. Giving something up for 40 days can be hard, because the cravings for it start on day 1.
I am also trying to have very little meat, but have a hard time going vegetarian.
For the most part I am trying not to be too restrictive, but if I have some chocolate or baked goods, I have to get a run in to burn at least some of those calories.
For a monthly challenge you could try a new fruit or veggie once or twice a week - this works especially great during the summer when the farmers markets are well stocked.

Cat said...

Just wanted to chime in that I too think that it's not true at all that eating healthier costs more. I think it is true that it takes more time and effort via planning and possibly making things from scratch. So if time is money, then perhaps yes it does cost more.

The Peas and Thank You blog did a good job of doing a series of recipes that are cheap and vegan. Definitely worth checking out.

Jessica said...

The Primal Diet cookbook (author is Mark Sissen) has some AWESOME recipes for your gluten free/no processed food months!! He has things like muffins and crackers that are totally grain/gluten free! He doesn't use sugar either...sweetens with other things! The Buffalo chilli is a recipe I make almost weekly! Good Luck!! LOVE this idea!

5 Miles Past Empty said...

<3 I wish we were at Red Robin RIGHT NOW! Not helping the healthy eating with that one, am I? =)

Marlene said...

I really love this idea! Plus, focusing on one thing one month at a time will allow you to commit to it more fully, I think - also makes it more manageable. Good luck! Looking forward to hearing how it all goes.