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healthy lap of the week – change up your greens

Healthy Lap of the Week – Change up your Greens!


Incorporating vegetables into your diet is important to make sure that you consume the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to survive.  However, it is also important to vary the vegetables that you eat!  Many people buy the same things every week at the grocery store.  I used to be guilty of this.  I would buy spinach, peppers and brocolli every single week!  But, I got so sick of them.

The reason that I was getting so sick of eating the same vegetables week after week, was because my body was craving other nutrients that I could not get from my spinach, peppers or brocolli!  My new plan of attack at the grocery store is to purchase items that are on sale.  This way, I am buying different veggies each week and my body is getting all of the necessary nutrients it craves and requires.

Different vegetables contain different nutrients.  This is especially true with greens.  There are so many varieties of greens in the produce section these days, many of which customers have not even heard of.  Try to incorporate a different leafy green into your diet each week.

Recipe websites, such as 101cookbooks.com, epicurious.com and allrecipes.com, allow you to search for recipes by vegetable.  I have found recipes using these sites multiple times!  And, they all have turned out delicious.  Before heading to the grocery store for the week, look up some recipes using a new vegetable that you would like to try.  Your body will love you – you’ll get some different nutrients and keep your mind and body guessing.  This will also keep you from getting bored with your ‘go-to’ recipes.

Here are  some examples of dark green leafy vegetables, the nutrients that they contain and the best way to eat them (Source):

  • Arugula has a peppery taste and is rich in vitamins A, C, and calcium.  It can be eaten raw in salads or added to stir-fry, soups, and pasta sauces.
  •  Broccoli has both soft florets and crunchy stalks, and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and fiber.  It can be eaten raw or steamed, sautéed or added to a casserole.
  •  Collard Greens have a mild flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C and K, folate, fiber, and calcium. The best way to prepare them is to boil them briefly and then add to a soup or stir-fry. You can also eat collard greens as a side dish. Just add your favorite seasoning and enjoy!
  •  Dandelion Greens have a bitter, tangy flavor and are rich in vitamin A and calcium. They are best when steamed or eaten raw in salad.
  •  Kale has a slightly bitter, cabbage-like flavor and is rich in vitamins A, C and K. Kale is tasty when added to soups, stir-fries, and sauces.  Or, when made into Kale Chips!
  •  Mustard Greens have a peppery or spicy flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and calcium. They are delicious when eaten raw in salads or in stir-fries and soups.
  •  Romaine Lettuce is a nutrient rich lettuce that is high is vitamins A, C, and K, and folate. It is best when eaten raw in salads, sandwiches or wraps.
  •  Spinach has a sweet flavor and is rich in vitamins A and K, folate, and iron. It tastes great eaten raw in salads or steamed.
  •  Swiss Chard tastes similar to spinach and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, potassium and iron. It is best stir-fried or eaten raw in salads.

Most importantly, have fun trying these new greens and new recipes!


healthy lap of the week – eat more chocolate!

Healthy Lap of the Week – Eat More Chocolate!

You may think that I am crazy, but I have been reading the book Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and Shazzie.  It is unbelievable what raw chocolate (cacao) can do for your health.


Now, I’m not saying that eating any chocolate bar will benefit your health.  It needs to be natural, raw chocolate (or dark chocolate).  So, don’t go out and buy a case of Snickers bars!

All chocolate is made from cacao beans, which are the seeds of the cacao fruit.  Once removed from their pods, they taste like rich dark chocolate (with a bitterness) because that is what they really are!  Which is why dark chocolate is the best type that you can eat.  Most good, high quality dark chocolate is minimally processed.

Chocolate (and the cacao fruit) grows on trees! (Source)

The cacao beans are found inside of the fruit, which is ripe once colorful. (Source)

They are found inside of the pods. (Source)

And removed for chocolate production! (Source)

The cacao bean contains numerous antioxidants, more than anything else, including red wine and green tea which have been shown to contain many antioxidants themselves.  However, in order to gain the antioxidants from chocolate, it needs to be eaten as dark chocolate or in it’s natural state (ie. raw cacao nibs or powder).  It has also been shown that consuming chocolate and milk together, greatly decreases the amount of antioxidants that your body can absorb.  Therefore, milk chocolate is a no-no, and so is drinking a big glass of milk with your chocolate bar.  I frequently add raw cacao powder and/or nibs to my smoothies.  Not only am I getting a delicious chocolate drink, but I am also getting the many great benefits of raw chocolate.

Raw Cacao Nibs are delicious when added to smoothies (without milk!!) and cookies! (Source)


Surprisingly, chocolate is shown to decrease your appetite.  Many people believe that chocolate is linked to obesity (which is true because of all of the artificially produced candy bars out there), however, if eaten correctly, chocolate is actually proven to be a natural weight loss drug!  If you look at many weight loss products on the market today, more often than not, there is cacao somewhere in the ingredient list because it will suppress your appetite.

Chocolate also contains the following benefits:

  • It has high levels of magnesium, which over 80% of Americans are deficient in.  We need magnesium for heart health, muscle relaxation and to increase our brainpower.
  • It has high amounts of phenylethylamine (PEA), which makes us happy!  Happy people have noticeably higher levels of PEA in their brains.
  • It also contains anandamide and tryptophan, which are both mood-enhancing nutrients that our bodies need.

“Every study on chocolate is pointing to the same conclusion: there is something in chocolate that is really good for us. That something is the raw cacao bean, the nut that all chocolate is made from. The cacao bean has always been and will always be Nature’s #1 weight loss and high-energy food. Cacao beans are probably the best kept secret in the entire history of food.”
David Wolfe, co-author of Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About The World’s Greatest Food.

You can purchase cacao powder and nibs in many natural food stores these days, including whole foods.  I love the Navitas Naturals brand, but anything will do!


If you need any other reasons to keep eating chocolate, definitely check out this book!  I haven’t finished it yet, but I’ll be giving you lots of tidbits here and there until I do!  It has a lot of great looking recipes to try too, but they are all raw, so that needs to be your thing!

Happy Eating! 🙂

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! 🙂

healthy lap of the week – snacks!

I decided to split up my healthy and fitness tips.  This week, I am giving you my favorite healthy tip!  I love snacks. 🙂

Healthy Lap of the Week – Always Carry a Snack!


This is something that is so important when you are on the run!  By packing your own snack, you know that you will have something healthy to munch on when you get hungry.  I always have some kind of snack with me, and I usually have multiple snacks shoved into my purse, my car and my desk at work!  I also always pack a small bag of snacks when I go on vacation or away for the weekend.  To me, it makes the most sense because It keeps me from spending money on unhealthy snacks at a convenience store while on the go.  When going away, I usually pack multiple larabars, peanut butter squeeze packs, instant oatmeal packets, homemade trail mix, emergen-c and teabags.

Try to keep some type of granola bar in your purse, or a small bag of trail mix in your car for times when you are in need of a healthy snack.  I find that when I am skiing, I also bring a bar with my in my jacket.  When I go into the lodge to warm up, there usually are not any healthy options.  And, if there are, they are very overpriced!  This weekend I noticed that they did have a basket of fruit and some granola bars, however a banana was $1.00!  I can buy those at the supermarket for $0.19 each!

Make sure that your snack contains protein and fat to keep you full and satisfied for longer.  This will keep you from wanting to purchase something unhealthy from the lodge or vending machine!

Here are some more healthy snack ideas to keep with you:

healthy and fitness laps of the week – shopping & protein

Sorry for the Tuesday post, instead of my normal Monday tips!

Healthy Lap of the Week – Shop the OUTSIDE of the Grocery Store!


There are hundreds of products that line the shelves of our grocery stores, but not all of them are good for you!  In fact, the majority of grocery store aisles are filled with artificial and processed foods, which we really should not be eating.  By shopping around the store, meaning literally walking around and not up and down any aisles, you are more likely to buy healthier foods!  The items that line the outsides of the stores normally include the freshest items, such as produce, the deli and the bakery.  I find that the only time I really go down the aisles is for peanut butter, oils or grains.

Fitness Lap of the Week – Eat Healthy Protein 60 minutes After Your Workout!

While you are working out, your muscles are basically becoming damaged and getting small tears in them.  Just think of what is happening when your legs are pounding the pavement on your run, or your muscles are shaking while you lift weights.  This is normal and is really the only way to get increasingly stronger.  Because of this, it is extremely important to eat a good quality protein and some carbs within an hour (and preferably within 30 minutes) of the end of your workout.  This is the time when your muscles absorb the most amount of nutrients because they are trying to repair themselves quickly.  You should stay away from a lot of fat (even good fats) right after a workout because it slows down digestion and absorbtion, and at this point, you want the food to be digested and absorbed quickly!  If you refuel properly, your muscles will repair themselves and get stronger and leaner, which is exactly what we all want!

Examples of a good post workout snack are a small protein shake, a banana or 1/2 of a lean turkey sandwich.  I normally workout in the mornings, so when I get home I will whip up a little smoothie with frozen fruit and protein powder, or eat a banana to hold me over until breakfast.