Friday Favorites

Hoooooray for Fridays! In anticipation of the weekend, I thought I’d share some bits and pieces of things in my life that I’m absolutely loving lately.  These things never fail to bring a smile to face.

Cat bearding. Seriously. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, stop whatever you’re doing and search #catbeard on Instagram.  It’s so wrong in so many ways but I just die laughing.

My failed cat beard attempt.

Failed cat beard attempt. My poor cat….

Gymboss.  I have been wanting an interval timer forever and finally have one! I especially like that it looks & feels like a ’90s pager.  Every time it vibrates and beeps I’m temped to make a huge scene in the gym like I just got an emergency page. If only I had the stones to actually do it…. Be on the lookout for a fun Gymboss giveaway I have coming your way.

Kickin' 1990s style complete with neon.

Kickin’ 1990s style complete with neon.

Vega Energizing Smoothie.  This made my favorites list for two reasons.  1.) My breakfast isn’t complete without it, and 2.) I’m lazy and this is a great way to get nutrition in a glass.  Breakfast is a meal that I really don’t like spending much time on.   With this shake (it’s not smoothie in my book) I get to start my day with two servings of veggies, protein, fiber and Omega-3.  Plus it’s gluten/dairy free.  I like a bit more protein so I still eat either eggs or turkey sausage with it.

Vega

Vega Energizing Smoothie. I’ve gone through 3 1/2 bags of this in 8 weeks…

Freshly cut grass.  Did I just admit to that? Whatever. I don’t care if you know I’m weird like that.   I love it. It instantly reminds me of summer and floods me with memories from growing up.  I don’t know why, but I have Minnesota (where I spent a lot of my childhood) attached to that smell.

The beach.  I guess because I live on the coast most summers I don’t have much of an interest in going to the beach.  I mean I run it ALL the time but never just go and hangout.  However, I’ve already enjoyed several days this year of lounging around with my Nook and I plan on enjoying several more.

Super windy trip to the beach.

Super windy trip to the beach.

Woodchuck Hard Cider.  No, this isn’t real food and yes, I realize that this is absolutely nutrient void.  I don’t drink Woodchuck Hard Cider very often but when I do, one word: YUM! This gluten free cider is the perfect compliment to my hubby’s fantabulous grilled steaks.  I recently discovered the summer version which has just a hint of blueberry.  Plus it’s paleo approved which makes me feel a bit less badly about imbibing it.

woodchuck

Question:  What are you loving lately?

So Easy a Caveman Can Do it? Well, Kinda.

Roughly six weeks ago I posted about how I was going to fully embrace the crossfit experience which included going Paleo(ish) – my version of Paleo eating.

To say I was nervous about how restrictive Paleo is is an understatement. Since I already eat clean, I’m used to quite a restrictive diet already but Paleo was taking away some of my beloved staples like grains, dairy and legumes.

paleo

Instead of freaking out and feeling like I couldn’t eat anything, I gave myself some wiggle room. I decided that it was ok to have one serving of dairy and/or grains a day with the intent of not eating any.  Remember, I was going Paleo{ish}. This wiggle room worked out great for me and I actually only ate a total of three servings of grains (no dairy) during the first two weeks and I was able to cut it out entirely.

the-paleo-diet11The first two weeks were definitely the most challenging.  So easy a caveman can do it? Ummmm, maybe.  But this modern, clean eating girl struggled.  I knew that I relied on grains, dairy and legumes heavily in my diet but I had no idea how much I relied on them.  During those first weeks I felt drained, like someone had stolen my batteries.  I was still doing short mid-week runs and Crossfit but the first time I went on a long run (10 miles) fueled the Paleo way, I tanked.  It was terrible and I felt super sick, light headed and my vision was a bit fuzzy; I ended up calling it quits after 8.75 miles for safety reasons.  As soon as I got back to my car and ate something I felt much better.  My system was lacking carbohydrates big time and just couldn’t sustain the energy my body needed for the run.

I did some research on how to properly fuel runs with Paleo and found lots of conflicting information. Joy. But there was at least one common recommendation: sweet potatoes. All my life, I have never liked sweet potatoes. I know *gasp*. But I knew if I really wanted to take this seriously, I would have to get used to them.  So I did some searching and found a recipe for sweet potato chips. {Enter my new found love for sweet potatoes.}

Once I discovered sweet potatoes, that kind of took care of my carb issue. It didn’t fix the feeling I had of being drained though.  I decided to track my calories one day using My Fitness Pal and I was shocked to see that I was 600 calories short for the day. Unfortunately, I had been unintentionally starving myself.  Even though I was eating a ton of food each day I realized what I had done was replace my higher calorie dairy, grains and legumes with lower calories vegetables and fruits. Whoops.

After doing some adjusting with my food, by week three and four I really felt like I hit my Paleo groove.  I started to see a few changes with my body; I noticed a bit more muscle tone and didn’t feel bloated like I often had.  I have always had some problematic acne on my back (bacne – ewwwww) and that cleared up as well.  Apparently I have a slight dairy or gluten allergy.  Also during weeks 3 & 4 I stopped missing my carbs and dairy which is something I never thought would happen.

So what did I eat? Whole foods.  LOTS of whole foods.  Eggs (9 dozen of them to be precise) were my go-to protein source. I had them for breakfast and snacks.

eggs egg 4 omelette scrambled eggs

Protein (esp. chicken) in just about every form you can imagine.

chicken

And an insane amount of fruits, vegetables and nuts.  The only pre-packaged food I ate was Larabars, canned nuts, some beef jerky and Vega’s Energizing Smoothie.

larabar

Vega

Oh, and I may have snuck a bite or two of some deliciously dark chocolate. Don’t judge…

chocolate

I discovered some pretty cool Paleo sites (PaleOMG and Nom Nom Paleo are fantastic for recipes).  I did some experimenting in the kitchen, found some new recipes I love and a few I hated. {side note: If you’re a blogger, PLEASE make sure your recipe is actually tasty like you say. It’s incredibly frustrating to waste good ingredients on a bad recipe.}

When I started Paleo eating, I had fully intended on returning to clean eating after the month ended.  However, it ended two weeks ago and I’m still going strong and don’t have any plans on going back to the grains and dairy.  I still have some tweaking that needs to be done (making sure I get enough calories & that I’m properly fueled for long runs), but I’m happy with this new Paleo(ish) lifestyle.

Question: Have you ever taken a challenge only to surprise yourself by continuing it once it’s over?

No Sugar Challenge Update & Vega Giveaway

Originally, I was going to wait until Monday to write this post but then I realized that this weekend is Veteran’s Day.  So instead of trying to cram two posts together, I figured I go ahead and do my week 1 update a few days early.  You don’t mind, right? I’m pretty sure nothing’s going to change between now and Monday.

So how has everyone been doing with the no sugar challenge? It’s definitely been a challenge for me these past few days.  Not challenging in the way that I’m tempted to ‘cheat’ but challenging instead because this is a HUGE inconvenience!  You don’t really realize how much sugar, even natural sugar, you rely on until it’s all been taken away from you.  [insert pitiful trombone noise here]

Giving up all forms of sugar means that I’ve given up most processed foods, even my ‘healthy’ processed foods.   Even my Kashi taste-like-cardboard-to-most-people cereal has evaporated cane juice in it.  So basically, if I want to eat something, I have to make it from scratch which, let’s face it, is insanely time consuming.  No wonder women from the early to mid 20th century didn’t work.  They couldn’t get out of the kitchen.  Throw in some kids and no washers or dryers and I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

On the plus side, I’m over the sugar cravings and I’ve stopped finding myself wandering aimlessly between the pantry and fridge.  The first few days I was starving and felt like I couldn’t fill up but that, too, has gone away.  It always amazes me at how much faster my body digests and uses the nutrients from whole foods vs. processed.  If I don’t eat every 2-3 hours I’m starved!

FYI – if you ever want to jump start your metabolism, make sure to eat at least 5-6 times a day; I prefer 6-7.  By only eating 3 meals a day your body goes into starvation mode and conserves calories from the food you ingest.  Feeding yourself 5-6 daily allows your body the peace of mind to go ahead and burn those calories since it knows you’ll be replacing them again.  Sorry, I digress.

I’ve also been detoxing my body with 20 oz of warm lemon water each morning.  The bitter flavor first thing in the morning took a bit of adjusting to but I’ve started to enjoy it.

So the benefits that I’ve seen so far? Really the only one I’ve noticed is that my skin has cleared up quite a bit.  I don’t know if it’s because of the no sugar / lemon water detox or because I’m not running as much as I was a few weeks ago.  Either way, I’m enjoying not looking like a teenage girl.  YAY!  The downside – it’s really, really affected my running.  That’s really the only time I physically notice the detox.

Wednesday night I hit the treadmill for the first time in months (literally, since July or August) and it. was. terrible.  I’m not sure when I started hating the treadmill so much? I guess maybe when I realized that I wouldn’t melt running in the elements.  But my night got 1,000% better with the arrival of a package from Vega.  (To read more about my thoughts on Vega, check out this review I wrote.)

Holy motherload! This is like $300 worth of product. Me = happy!

I won a photo contest back in September where I had to show them what energizes me.  Of course the photo had something to do with running… It’s actually from my first duathlon.

I’ll have to wait until the no sugar challenge is over to enjoy it but I want to share the love with you! I’m going give away a full size package of Vega’s Energizing Smoothie because I just adore y’all!

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment below telling me what energizes you.
Additional Entries (leave a separate comment for each): 1) Subscribe to Noshing on Asphalt and tell me what e-mail you subscribed with.
2.) Follow me on Twitter
3.) Follow me on Instagram @asphaltnosher
4.) Like my Facebook page

The contest will run through Wednesday, November 14 at 11:59 cst and be selected through Random.org.  I will announce the winner on Friday, November 16.

Vega Energizing Smoothie Review

A few weeks ago Vega did a shout out for bloggers to review their Energizing Smoothie.  After a quick Google search of their product, I found that it was a clean (love) plant-based nutrient drink (super love!).  How has this escaped my radar for so long??? I absolutely adore finding new, healthy items that I can add into my life soI decided to send an e-mail letting them know I was interested in doing a review.  Last week I received a sample in the mail – heck yeah I love free stuff!  Now, I did receive the samples in order to write a review but the opinions in this post –good, bad or indifferent- are 100% mine.

Side note – I seriously get excited, like kid in a candy store excited, to get anything in the mail that’s not junk or a bill.  I know, I’m pitiful.

Vega sent 5 different flavors with awesome names like Bodacious Berry, Choc-a-lot, Oh Natural, Tropical Tango and Vanilla Almondilla with each flavors having the following bragging rights:

  • Two servings of veggies
  • 10 g of complete, plant-based protein
  • 5 g of fiber
  • 1 g of Omega-3
  • No sugar added
  • Vegan friendly, gluten free, soy free
  • No artificial anything (colors, preservatives, ect.)

Now, I’m a berry kind of person so I of course tore into the Bodacious Berry flavor first.   I opened the sample, gave it the sniff test (which it passed), added it to my organic skim milk and proceeded to follow Vega’s instructions of “just shake and pour”.

Riley says I want some, too, Mama!

Alright, so I don’t actually have a fancy-schmancy mixer thingy but my martini shaker works perfectly fine thank you very much.  *In my best James Bond voice* I prefer my smoothie, shaken not stirred.

Don’t let the greenish color scare you; those are just little particles of earthy goodness for your body to love.

The berry flavor was very prominent and I was pleasantly surprised to find it lacking the familiar chalky taste that so many supplement drinks have.  I have to be honest that I found it a bit on the sweet side but the berry flavor was the only one that was like that.  I had the smoothie as my breakfast with a side of banana.  Breakfast is typically my ‘big’ meal of the day so I was worried that I’d be famished before my 10am 2nd breakfast (yes, I eat two breakfasts) but the smoothie held over really well.  I also felt much more invigorated that morning than I normally do. Coincidence? I think not.

Vega + morning devotion = great start to the day!

Out of all of the flavors, I fell in love with the Choc-a-Lot.  I made it after my long run on Saturday and it was the perfect recovery drink!  In fact I’m going to go ahead and order the full size pouch just so I can have it as my post long run recovery drink during marathon training.  I’m excited to play around with it a bit more. I think it would be really good blended with an avocado or some natural peanut butter; might even taste like a Reece’s Cup!

Choc-a-Lot, the flavor I fell in love with.

Choc-a-Lot, the flavor I fell in love with.

Want a chance to win some Vega for yourself? Just visit their facebook page by clicking the image below and submit a picture showing them what energizes you!  They are giving away 110 prizes which gives you a really great chance of winning something awesome! Check out my entry to find out what energizes me.

On my schedule this weekend is a 5k Friday night and then a 9 miler Saturday morning.  Sounds like a great weekend to me!