• Feeds

running in the rain

I was starving when I woke up this morning, so I snacked on a Heart Thrive energy bar before my workout.  I ate half before my workout and half after.

Aren’t they cute?!  I love that they are shaped like hearts – makes me more excited to eat an energy bar.  Oh, the things that excite you at 5am. 🙂

Heart Thrive’s are a vegan energy bar made with oats, soy and dried fruit.  The main ingredients in the bars are the following: Oats, dried fruit, brown rice syrup, natural fruit juice, brown rice flour, soy protein concentrate, soy flour, Inulin(chicory root extract), rice bran, dried plums, dried apples, dried pears,  calcium citrate.


I tried the Lemon Poppyseed flavor this morning and was surprised how much I liked it!  The ingredient list is not so bad, although I do try to stay away from soy products because they are normally genetically modified.  It smelled like a lemon poppyseed muffin right out of the package, but the texture was different and it was much heavier and denser.  I was afraid that it was going to sit in my stomach like a rock, but it didn’t.  Each package contains 2 hearts (bars), but only 1 heart is a serving size.  One heart has about 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein (I saved the 2nd heart for another day).  I will definitely eat these again when I’m in a pinch or before or after a workout if needed.  It filled me up just enough for weights and an easy 5 mile run.

After my snack I did Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred!  I like weight videos on days that I run outside.  I don’t have many weights at home since I like to lift at the gym, so a quick video is perfect on days I want to stay away from the gym (like a rainy day like today)!

I recently found out by some friends that if you have Comcast Cable (and maybe other cable providers too, but I’m not sure), many of Jillian’s video’s are On Demand for FREE!!!  I was psyched when they told me this because I had been debating if I should buy another video since I was getting sick of No More Trouble Zones.  I had never used the Exercise and Fitness part of On Demand before and I cannot believe that I just discovered it!  There are a lot of options on there, including weight, cardio and yoga videos!  I’m psyched.

If you like workout and weight videos definitely check out Jillian Michaels.  She does mostly circuit training, which means you are lifting weights with your arms while also working your legs.  I prefer this way of weight lifting because you burn more calories and fat while you are lifting.  Plus, it is a good way to get in a total body workout in less time.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  In her 30 Day Shred video, you do 3 circuits of 6 minutes each (plus warmup and cooldown).  Each circuit is split up into 3 minutes of weights, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs and repeat.  It was a great quick workout – I felt the burn!

Then I ran.  In the pouring rain and wind.  It was fun!  I was soaked when I got home.  I made Brant snap a photo, but it doesn’t do it justice.  I was dripping!  (yes, my husband thinks I am crazy, but you’d be surprised how many people were out there with me!  ok, I only saw 2 other runners in the rain at 5am…)

Breakfast was oatmeal.  I have missed my morning oats!

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheatberries (left over from last week)
  • 1 tbsp of maple almond butter on top

This was too filling, so I didn’t finish it all!  But, by 11am, I was ready for some fruit.

I couldn’t decide what I wanted, but I was craving fruit so I ate both!


After ample digestion time for my fruit, it was time for lunch!  Leftover Wild Rice Salad (the last of it) and a Strawberry Banana Chobani that i loved.  When are these new flavors coming to my grocery store, Chobani??

(that’s my lunch bag in the back – I use the small Lululemon bags!)

Not surprisingly, the Pineapple and Strawberry Banana chobani’s are my favorite.  I honestly think that it is because the are 2% instead of 0% – most of their yogurt is 0%.  I like the creamier texture, better flavor and the fact that it fills me up for longer.  Thanks again, Chobani!

And, some Peppermint Dark Chocolate for a sweet treat. 🙂  (sorry, Jaimee, but I just love chocolate and mint!)

This company makes the best chocolate!

cherry almond chocolate clusters

I ended up hitting up the gym for weights tonight.  It was still so crowded!  So, I resorted to some weight machines to get my workout in.  Here’s what I did:

Upper Body Weights

  • Lateral pulldown (40 lbs, 3 sets of 12)
  • Seated row (40 lbs, 3 sets of 12)
  • Chest press (40 lbs, 3 sets of 12)
  • Overhead press (20 lbs, 2 sets of 12)
  • Fly’s (20 lbs, 3 sets of 12)
  • 21’s (18 lb bar, 3 sets)
  • Upright row (18 lb bar, 3 sets of 12)
  • Tricep extension (10 lbs, 3 sets of 12)
  • Tricep kickback (7.5 lb dumbbells, 3 sets of 12)
  • Back extension (10 lbs, 3 sets of 12)
  • Abs on the ball (3 sets of 15)
  • Leg ups (3 sets of 15)

This session took me just under 30 minutes.  Good times!  Home for dinner which was leftover Wild Rice Waldorf Salad.  And, then I made the easiest and tastiest dessert ever!

Cherry Almond Chocolate Clusters

From Ellie Krieger, found on Healthy and Sane!

Makes 12 clusters (tbsp size)


  • 1 cup raw almonds, toasted and coarsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries
  • 6 ounces 70% dark chocolate


1. Mix the chopped almonds and cherries together in a medium bowl, set aside. (Tip: I buy all of my dried fruit and nuts at Trader Joes.  They sell organic raw nuts and unsweetened dried fruit without added oils.  They are so cheap!)

2.  In a double boiler, heat your chocolate over medium heat until melted. (Tip: I mixed 50% and 70% dark chocolate because that is what I had on hand)

3. Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl with the almonds and cherries and mix.

4.  Spoon out heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet. (Mine only made 10 clusters!)

5.  Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 15-20 minutes until the chocolate is hardened.  Store and serve at room temperature.

They came out great and were very easy to make, perfect for a quick last minute dessert.  Chocolate with cherries and almonds might be one of the best combination’s yet!

Have a great night!

ANDI scores?

Howdy!  How is everyone’s Tuesday going?  I had a great run at the gym this morning.  I completed 7 miles with 8 x 1200 in 60 minutes!  That is pretty good for me.  I felt great running, and felt like I could have even increased my speed a bit – maybe next time.  I made my way from the treadmills and into the weight room and it was packed!!!  I don’t know what was going on, but I have never seen my gym that crowded.  So, no weights at the gym for me this morning, instead I might head back tonight for a quick weight session or just skip it altogether!

After my workout, I blended up a fruit smoothie with the following:

  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2/3 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk

Not my best smoothie, but it did the trick.  I was craving fruit, so I guess I haven’t been eating enough of it!

Along with my smoothie, I had a slice of whole wheat toast with Maple Almond Butter.

After a busy morning at work, I was ready to dig into my leftover Cannellini Patties (on a bed of greens with cherry tomatoes – same deal as yesterday!).

On the side, Honey Chobani and Granola Crisps.

I wish this greek yogurt had real honey on the bottom, but instead it is already mixed in for you.  I’m going to stick with my plain greek yogurt and add my own drizzle of honey.  Yum!  The granola crisps are a little sweet, but good.

While I was shopping at Whole Foods this week, I noticed something new on the bulk bins.  We went to get some quinoa and there staring us in the face was the ANDI score.

I was not familiar with this scoring system, but I assumed that it was similar to the NuVal scores.  Remember my post about my shopping trip?  There were scores on various products all throughout the store, including a few signs to alert shoppers to the scores.

These signs caught my attention:

When we got home, I did some research on the ANDI scores.  This is what I found.  ANDI stands for Aggregrate Nutrient Density Index and was was created to identify foods with the highest nutritional value.  When giving scores they consider the most important nutrients that are vital for our optimal health.

From the Dedham, MA Whole Foods Market Blog:

And the best news is that you don’t need to count calories or obsess over fat.  The ANDI formula is very simple: ANDI = Nutrients divided by Calories.  So the highest scoring foods have the fewest calories and virtually no fat.  Foods are ranked on a scale of 1 to 1000.  Kale and collards receive the top score of 1000 while cola lands at the bottom of the scale with a 1.

Before you go jumping to conclusions, I want to emphasize once again that just because a food falls at the bottom of the list (or doesn’t make it on the top 30 list) does not mean that it is not healthy or that you should not eat it.  ANDI was not developed to be totally inclusive of all nutritional factors, but rather its focus is on micronutrients present per calorie.  Most Americans consume too many calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates while their overall diets are lacking in vital nutrients like beta carotene, folate, vitamin E and antioxidant phytochemicals.  Our bodies need essential fatty acids (from both animal & plant-based foods), amino acids from protein-rich foods and carbohydrates from starchy vegetables and whole grains.   Fat, protein and carbohydrates contain calories (they are “macronutrients”); it’s a fact of life.   Since the ANDI equation is “Nutrients divided by Calories,” foods containing the most calories score lower on the scale even though they may offer important health benefits (such as walnuts which I mentioned previously).  But that’s OK.  ANDI encourages the consumption of more nutrient-dense foods because most people aren’t eating enough of them.   You can choose to do with it what you wish.

Interesting.  I think that Whole Foods is launching a great campaign by trying to make people more conscious of the food that they eat, but I am interested to see if people can use this system easily or even have knowledge of it.  Next time I visit Whole Foods, I will definitely be watching to see if customers use it!

Top 30 Super Foods with ANDI Scores

1. Collard/Mustard/Turnip Greens…1000

2. Kale ………………………………………1000

3. Watercress ……………………………..1000

4. Bok Choy ……………………………….. 824

5. Spinach …………………………………. 739

6. Broccoli Rabe …………………………. 715

7. Chinese/Napa Cabbage …………… 704

8. Brussels Sprouts …………………….. 672

9. Swiss Chard …………………………… 670

10. Arugula ……………………………….. 559

11. Cabbage ………………………………. 481

12. Romaine Lettuce …………………… 389

13. Broccoli ……………………………….. 376

14. Red Pepper …………………………… 366

15. Carrot Juice ………………………….. 344

16. Tomato/Tomato Products ………. 190 – 300

17. Cauliflower …………………………… 295

18. Strawberries …………………………. 212

19. Pomegranate Juice ………………… 193

20. Blackberries …………………………. 178

21. Plum ……………………………………. 157

22. Raspberries …………………………… 145

23. Blueberries ……………………………. 130

24. Orange …………………………………. 109

25. Cantaloupe ……………………………. 100

26. Beans (all varieties) …………………. 57 – 104

27. Flax/Sunflower/Sesame Seeds ….. 52 – 78

28. Pistachios ………………………………. 48

29. Tofu ………………………………………. 37

30. Walnuts ………………………………….. 34

To me, it does not seem like it is as easy a system as NuVal.  If a food product is good for us, NuVal ranks is high.  I am afraid that when people see this list of superfoods with ANDI scores that they will think that walnuts (34) and strawberries (212) are not good for them because they have relatively low scores compared to kale which scores 1000!

For more information on ANDI scores, check out this article on Fooducate.

Personally, I’m not sure I would use the scores.  I will obviously look at them if they are there, but I like to think that I know enough about good, healthy, whole foods to know what is good for me and my body.  Consumers should educate themselves on what they need and go from there.  However, I hope that the many people who are unsure of healthy foods will use the scores to help them!

leftover monday

I hope you all enjoyed my healthy tip of the week this morning!  I actually love writing up these tips because it makes me think about them as well.  For example, I need to remember to stretch after my workouts!!  I seem to have good weeks and bad weeks with stretching – sometimes I do a lot of yoga and stretch after every run, other weeks I don’t stretch at all!!  So, my healthy tips are good for me too. 🙂

Remember when I posted a healthy tip about eating protein within 30-60 minutes after exercise?  Well, check out this article on recovery and some post-workout meal ideas – Post-Workout Meals!

It was tough to get up this morning!  Monday’s seem to do that to me.  As much as I plan a workout for a Monday morning, it never works out.  Which is why I always use Monday as a rest or cross train day, then I never feel guilty about sleeping in.

Anyways, on to breakfast!  I heated up the 2 leftover poppyseed pancakes from Saturday morning.

I could not let these guys go to waste because they were so good and packed with oatmeal and other good carbs.  I topped my pancakes with a spread of peanut butter, 1/2 sliced banana and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

It was just what I wanted this morning – perfect way to start a Monday!

Lunch was more leftovers!  Two Cannellini Patties on a bed of greens with yellow cherry tomatoes.  The patties were great served cold on top of a salad.  And, the yellow cherry tomatoes were so sweet!  I cannot decide which way I like them better, but I do know that I love these patties even though they are a little messy to work with…

I finished lunch with a Chobani Raspberry Greek Yogurt topped with homemade granola.  This is a new chobani flavor!  I haven’t seen it in any stores around here yet, but I love the flavor.  Thank you, Shari for sending me a few samples!  As I have said before, I prefer plain greek yogurt and the addition of my own toppings, but if you like flavored yogurts or need a sweet treat in a pinch, buy this flavor!!  So good!  The thing that I love about flavored greek yogurt over other yogurt is that they are not too sweet.  I love Fage and Oikos too (really, I love them all).

I snacked on a Jazz apple and a granola bar this afternoon to hold me over until my dinner date with Kate!

Kate and I made a delicious dinner!  We whipped up my favorite Wild Rice Waldorf Salad (see the recipe here).

Luckily, Kate loved it to!  I love girl’s night – a delicious meal, wine and chatting -what could be better?!

lap of the week – plan your workouts

Fitness Lap of the Week – Plan Your Workouts in Advance!


It is so easy to get off track and unmotivated to workout at this time of year.  It is still cold and dark out when we wake up, and cold and dark when we leave work.  We are ready for the sun and for spring weather!

I normally work out in the morning, but recently I have been finding it really hard to get up to my alarm at 5am when it is so dark and cold out!  My warm bed is much more appealing. 🙂

I find that planning out my workouts for the week is a tremendous motivator.  I usually plan them out a month at a time, but leave myself rest days and the ability to switch days around if needed.  By planning out my workouts in advance, when my alarm goes off in the morning, I am more likely to get out of bed in order to check off that workout!  I hate looking back at the end of the week and looking at all of the workouts that I “missed” (and my husband hates hearing about it)!

For my monthy schedule, I usually stick to the basics and then each week I re-evaluate my schedule and plan in more detail.

Monthy Schedule

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Rest/cross 8×800 5m run + weights 1hr spinning 6m tempo + weights 4-5m pace 8m run
Rest/cross 4×1600 5m run + weights 1hr spinning 6m tempo + weights 5-6m run 12m run
Rest/cross 6×3 sets 400s 5m run + weights 1hr spinning 6m tempo + weights 5-6m pace 12m run
Rest/cross 6×400 5m run + weights 1hr spinning 3m easy run rest Half Marathon!

Weekly Schedule in more detail

M – Rest or cross train

T – Speedwork: 8×800’s with warmup & cooldown

W – 5m easy run / full body weights

Th – 1 hr spinning class (sometimes this ends up being a rest day if my body needs it!)

F – 6m tempo run / upper body weights

S – 4 mile pace run

S – 9 mile run

Now, this schedule might look quite daunting to some, but I am training for a half marathon that is in 4 weeks, so I need to keep my mileage up!  In a normal week when I am not training for anything, I try to plan 60 minutes of cardio 5 times a week and 2-3 days of weights.  I feel better when I workout!  It helps combat some stress and anxiety and frustration, and boosts your endorfins!

After making up these plans for so long now (because it really works for me!), I have a sense of which days I want to do certain workouts.  Since I do my long runs on Sundays, I like Monday to be a rest or yoga day.  By Tuesday my body is well rested, so I plan speedwork.  Wednesday I need more rest after the speedwork, etc.  Some weeks I switch things up, but I follow the same basic routine.  The biggest thing that I have learned is that as much as your body needs a workout, it also needs REST!  Rest is just as important, if not more important, than your workouts in order for your muscle to come back stronger and leaner!  My weeks normally look like this:

M – rest after long run, or some light cardo (yoga or walk)

T – speedwork!

W – easy day

Th – tempo run or spinning

F – tempo run or spinning (sometimes a rest day if needed)

S – pace run (or skiing in the winter or cycling in the summer)


I really think that planning out your workouts for the week will motivate you more!  If you want to get stronger then you should make a weight routine the most important on some days with light cardio.  If weights are not your thing, then focus more on cardio with light weights.  It is all up to your personal preference of how you workout, but trust me, creating a schedule for yourself will motivate you and get you in shape for the summer months!

If you need help creating a schedule, let me know! 🙂

homemade veggie burgers

I had an awesome 12 mile run this morning along my favorite running route in Boston -The Charles River!

Before my run, I had a bowl of plain greek yogurt with sliced banana, a BlueBran Vitatop and a scoop of peanut butter.  This was the perfect pre-run fuel with fat, carbs and sugar!  It stayed with me my entire run, but not in a bad way.  I felt great!

I didn’t like BlueBran Vitatop as much as I liked the Banana Nut, which I reviewed here.  It smelled like a Blueberry muffin as it was toasting, but was a little dry for my taste.  It was good mixed with my yogurt though!

After some time to digest, I was out on my run.  I haven’t run along the Charles since before the marathon(!), so I thought I’d share some pictures of my favorite Boston running route!

Cambridge side of the river!

Citgo Sign!

Mass Ave Bridge

Boston side of the river.

It was a gorgeous day in Boston for a run.  A little windy, but overall it was great.  I had a great run, check out my splits:

1 – 8:42
2 – 9:06
3 – 9:05
4 – 8:05
5 – 9:01
6 – 9:00
7 – 8:39
8 – 8:38
9 – 8:23
10 – 8:07
11 – 8:37
12 – 8:47

Average Pace = 8:40!!!

Once home from my run, I was craving fuel (and protein).  I grabbed a bag of trail mix from Youbar and munched on it while making my protein smoothie.

This mix contained chocolate covered raisins, cheerios, peanuts, raisins and apples.  Overall, the mix was great, but unfortunately the cheerios were a little stale.  These trail mixes would be perfect for a vacation with workouts planned!

I also used a protein shake mix from YouBar – Breakfast Shake.

This contained Whey protein, cane juice, egg white protein, bananas and cocoa.  Normally I prefer a natural form of protein, but I had this to use and it was perfect for today.  I souped up my protein shake by adding a banana, 1 tbsp of peanut butter and 1/2 cup almond milk.

This was perfect.  It tasted mostly of peanut butter and banana with a hint of chocolate.  I really enjoyed it.  The protein shake does not have a chalky taste, like many do.  They really taste like what is listed in the ingredients, which I love.  I think this would be perfect on it’s own mixed with milk, but I liked my additions to make it thicker and heavier.

However, this snack did not hold me over for long!  An hour or so later and I was ready for lunch.  I was craving salt, so I popped open a new can of Amy’s Soup and made a grilled cheese with cheddar.

Amy’s Fire Roasted Southwester Vegetable Soup

This soup was delicious.  I loved the whole chunks of potatos, carrots, tomatoes, corn and black beans.  It had a spicy kick to it and paired perfectly with my grilled cheese.

And some plantain chips!

Dinner was homemade veggie burgers!  This was a recipe out of the Moosewood Cookbook, which turned out great!

Middle Eastern Cannellini Patties

from Moosewood Restaurants Low-Fat Favorites

Serves 6 (makes 18 small patties)


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup minced bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 1 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ground black pepper to taste


  • Warm the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, garlic and salt and cook 5-10 minutes or until onions are tender.

  • Add the pepper and cumin and cook 5 more minutes, or until peppers are soft.

  • Mash the cannellini beans by hand in a large mixing bowl.

  • Add the parsley, lemon, rice and vegetables and mix well!  Add black pepper to taste.

  • Shape the mixture into small patties.

  • Cook the patties in a skillet or on a griddle for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

  • Serve with toppings of choice.  We served the patties in pita pockets with lettuce and avocado.

The cannellini patties came out delicious!!!  They were a little messy because they began to dry out and fall apart when cooked, but they still tasted moist enough and so good.  Even my husband liked them!!

They did take awhile to make by the time the veggies and rice were cooked, so it worked out for a weekend meal.  I’m not sure I would make this during the week due to time constraints, but they will be great for leftovers this week!

According to the Moosewood Cookbook, each serving (3 patties) contains 239 calories, 10.6 grams of protein and 44.2 carbohydrates.  With the avocado it makes a perfect meal.  You could also serve the patties on top of a salad or with a tabouli salad.

nutridel cookies

Time for another product review!

A few weeks ago I received a sample from the very nice folks at Nutridel.  I was excited to try these cookies after reading more about them.

From the website:

NUTRIDEL is an artisan, gourmet cookie, made by hand in small batches with all-natural, earth-loving high quality ingredients. Our cookies contain no animal or dairy products. They are baked to perfection, and the result is a crispy, crunchy snack you can enjoy any time with guilt-free pleasure!

The brand is a concoction of the words “NUTRItious” and “DELicious”, exactly what our cookies represent. Our products are 100% natural, contain no additives, preservatives, artificial colorings, flavorings or sweeteners of any kind. They are loaded with seeds, grains, nuts, fiber and sweetened with a touch of molasses.

They come in four different types – Oatmeal, Almond, Flaxseed and Pecan.  I received the Oatmeal and Pecan to try out.  I decided to try them both the same way since I liked it so much with the first cookie!

First up was the Pecan.

The cookies come in a package of 2, with 1 cookie having about 60 calories, 4 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.  Not too shabby for a cookie.

The first thing I noticed about the cookies was the size!

And then, the amount of whole nuts, grains and seeds that these cookies contain!

You can really notice and taste the seeds and grains too.  It was great!  I had absolutely zero guilt eating these.

I broke the cookies in half and created a PB & J sandwich.

I really really enjoyed the cookie sandwich!  The pecan cookie was good.  It was crunchy and had a nutty taste and you could definitely taste the pecans.  It just had a hint of sweetness which I enjoyed.

I decided to make the same combination with the oatmeal cookie, since I loved it so much with the pecan!

One oatmeal cookie contains 62 calories, 4 grams of sugar and 3 grams of protein.

This cookie had whole sunflower seeds in it!

I loved the oatmeal flavor!  I love the crunchiness.  When crumbled up, it reminds me of and resembles granola, which I love!  It was not as sweet as the pecan, but almost had a hint of coconut to it.  It paired perfectly with chocolate walnut butter and maple cream.

I also crumbled the oatmeal cookie over a bowl of vanilla ice cream, which was a delicious combination!

Overall, I really enjoyed these cookies!  I love that they are low in calories and fat, while still being made with natural and whole ingredients.  Nutridel fills it’s cookies with whole grains, seeds, nuts and natural sweeteners such as coconut, cinnamon and molasses.  This is a cookie that you can feel great about eating!  It works perfectly with peanut butter as an afternoon snack, crumbled over yogurt as breakfast, or just eaten as is on the go!

Unfortunately, these cookies are not sold in the Boston area, so in order to get them I’d have to order online which I cannot really see myself doing.  Maybe when a craving hits!  If you are in the California area though, check them out!  I am so happy that I got to try these, I highly recommend then and they are very delicious!