Thursday, August 15, 2013

Making Moves...

Big things are happening in my little world!  As this blog and my personal business continues to grow, I've made the decision to move to Wordpress and start self-hosting!

I'm in the process of transferring all of my content from PB&P over to the new site, and I'll soon be adding information on my  private nutrition counseling practice.

Please follow me in my move to!  I look forward to sharing my adventures in nutrition, fitness and health with you! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marathon Training: Week 4

Monday: 3 mile progression run (9:47, 9:22, 9:01) The weather was absolutely perfect for running and I was in heaven, despite the tough workout.  I still need I work on finding my paces and using this darn Garmin!

Tuesday: Crosstrain @ Barry's Bootcamp!  Courtesy of Chobani, I joined a bunch of other blogger/fitness enthusiasts for this kickass workout.  It was half treadmill sprinting (ahhh!) and half lower body strength training.  It killed my legs (in a good way) and we enjoyed delicious Chobani smoothies after class! Yum!

Thumbs up for Bootcamp + CHO!

Wednesday: Rest day! 

Thursday: Easy 3 miles + 4 strides- My legs were still sore from Barry's, I felt super slow and the strides were such a struggle!

Friday: Scheduled rest day....But then I learned of a Whitney Houston tribute class at Revolve with one of my fave instructors, Jason! I totally took it easy on the resistance and just danced my way through class! 

12 mile long run through Summer Streets! I had such a blast running in 3 boroughs and over 2 bridges with Beth, Annie, Bernadette, Nicole, Liz and Allison. 

Sunday: Optional recovery run turned into sleeping in, foam rolling, stretching and playing with this smiley boy:

Total weekly mileage: 18 miles (+ some during sprints at Barry's...)

One month down...3 1/2 left to go!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Marathon Training: Week 3!

Happy Sunday!  Today marks the completion of week 3 of marathon training for me.  I had to skip some workouts and make some adjustments (which I'm totally fine with), but now I'm excited for my life to be back to normal so I can really focus on training this week!

Let's recap...

Monday: Rest day! I got a solid 7 hours of sleep Sunday night, and it was glorious.

Tuesday: Oops! I was supposed to do 3 miles, but I worked late Monday night and decided to skip my run as I had another 15-hour day ahead of me! :(

Wednesday: I joined Beth, Megan and some other awesome bloggers for a demo class at Dance Motivation Fitness with Lindi Duesenberg! We got some free goodies from Sparkly Soul (my favorite), KIND bars, SoyJoy bars, Runa Tea and Vrou Water.  All in all a fun-filled 50min of dancing and sweating!

Post-dance party!
Thursday: 4-ish mile progression run. My awesome coach Abby helped me adjust this scheduled run for my missed workout Tuesday! Unfortunately my Garmin did not cooperate, so I was guessing paces by body feel.  My legs felt strong and I felt like I was working hard, so I'll count that as a success!

Friday: Rest! 

Saturday: 10 mile solo long run (10:21 average pace).  I ran from my apartment down and across the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan and back.  The temperature was pretty perfect and I welcomed the on-and-off raindrops.  

Oh QB Bridge, I love and hate you!
Sunday: Revolve Body Ride (45min)- I kept my resistance in check for this class because my legs were a little tired, but Revolve still had me sweating!  Jonathan is always so upbeat and fun and his class is an absolute blast!  

Total weekly mileage: 14

Bring it on, Week 4!!! :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Color Run, The Happiest 5K on the Planet! [+Giveaway!]

Last year, I participated in The Color Run Brooklyn.

Color party!
If you don't already know about The Color Run, the following description is straight from their website:

"Less about your 10-minute-mile and more about having the time of your life, The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. The fun continues at the finish line with a gigantic “Color Festival,” using more colored powder to create happiness and lasting memories, not to mention millions of vivid color combinations. Trust us, this is the best post-5k party on the planet!"

Check out the video below and make sure to read my recap of last year's run here!

So why am I writing about this again?  Well...The Color Run is the self-proclaimed "Happiest 5K on the Planet" and my friends at TCR are offering up a FREE entry for TWO PB&P readers to a Color Run of their choice!

To enter to win, comment below telling me what the happiest race you've ever run is!  If you've never run a race, just tell me what your favorite color is! Winners will be selected at random and announced on August 8th.  Good luck! :)

Even if you aren't a lucky winner, I have a promo code for you to receive $5 off any registration!  Click here to find a Color Run in your city and sign up NOW!

Note: This promo code is valid for any race that is not sold-out.  It is applicable retroactively and does not guarantee a spot in a Color Run race.  Races sell out quickly, so be sure to sign-up soon for a city near you!

*The Color Run is providing me with two free registrations for PB&P readers.  I was not compensated in any way for writing this post.  As always, the opinions are my own.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Marathon Training: Week 2

Phew, it's been a crazy busy week, yet again! I'm officially 2 weeks into marathon training, so let's recap how it went:

Monday: Rest-
I planned on doing a short recovery run in the morning, but was out past my bedtime Sunday night and opted for sleep instead!  Awesome decision.

Tuesday: 3 miles (1 mile warm-up,1 mile @ 8:50pace, 1 mile cool down)-I'm still adjusting to running with a Garmin to check my pace, and ended up running the 2nd mile at 9:10ish pace.

Wednesday: Rest. 

Thursday: Unplanned rest day.  Worked late on Wednesday evening, trying to get sleep when I can! 

Friday: 3 easy (with 5x 30 sec pick-ups)-The weather finally broke and this run was luxurious!!!

Saturday: 8 mile long run-Let myself sleep in and started my run around 8am, so it was a little warmer than I'd prefer.  I ran along the Queens waterfront to Queens Bridge Park and back.  10:43 pace.

Sunday: Yoga (30min) and lots of foam rolling. 

Total weekly mileage: 14

This week was less than ideal for my training.  I worked a lot and this tired little RD/temporary waitress had to chose getting some sleep over running.  I'm really looking forward to week 3 when I can (hopefully) get back on track! 

Stay tuned...How is your training going? How do you manage when you're pressed for time/sleep?!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Philadelphia Marathon Training: Week 1!

As of last Monday, I'm officially in training for my first marathon!  I'm absolutely terrified but I WANT this!
via Pinterest
I'm definitely thankful to have a great runner support system including my new coach, Abby! She's so close to being certified and I have no doubt she will be soon.  I told Abby about my lack of running through May/June and my fear of pushing too hard and building up too fast, putting me at risk for injury (I had a stress fracture 4 years ago and never want to deal with that again).  Since she's awesome, she took all of this into consideration when creating a plan for me.  We're doing 18-weeks (the marathon is November 17th), so I have plenty of time to build up mileage, get strong and run long. 

I've been insanely busy during July, so kicking off Week 1 of training has been rough, but I got it done!  Here's how it went...

Monday: 3 miles (easy)-Easing back into early morning runs, kept around 9:50min/mile.

Tuesday: 60 min walk-Was going to be a rest day but I wanted to get out and moving so I took a long walk through the park.

Wednesday: 3.5 miles (easy with 5x 30-sec pickups)-Ugh. So hot and humid, pace was SLOW even with the pickups.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3.25 miles (easy)-Easy pace doesn't feel so easy! It is so hot.  Is it fall yet?  How am I ever going to run 26.2 miles?

Saturday: Rest-I've been working a lot and definitely needed to sleep in and not run today!

Sunday: Queens 10K-Abby had a 6-mile long run scheduled, so I figured why not sign up for this race, get another 9+1 credit, hydration along the course and awesome T-shirt?  I didn't race and stayed within my LR pace...Check out my recap here

Total weekly mileage:  15.5 miles

I definitely should have fit in some strength/cross training this week, but I just didn't make the time with my hectic schedule...and I really needed to take my rest days when I could.  Stay tuned as my training becomes more intense and things get really fun!

Are you training for a fall race?  Tell me how your training is going! Are you getting beat by this heat?!

Race Recap: NYRR Queens 10K

After looking at the training plan Abby created for me and seeing my long run of 6 miles this weekend, I decided to sign up for the NYRR Queens 10K.  Six hot, lonely miles vs. six miles with a few thousand motivators, ample water supply and an awesome neon green tee shirt?  Simple decision.  I just had to remember that this was a long run for me...not a race.

Super bright tech tee. Thanks, NYRR.

I love running races in my borough.  I live about 10 minutes away from Flushing Meadows park, so there was no need for a crazy early alarm.   Which was especially nice as I was running on 5 hours of sleep and sore feet from waitressing the night before.  All the more reason to follow my training plan and not "race" this race.

Beth (who is currently rocking her own marathon training) texted me bright and early to wish me luck and reinforce the importance of just running this as my long run.  My goal pace for long runs is somewhere around 10:30 min/miles and having Beth's voice in my head during the run definitely helped me slow it down to that.  Thanks, Beth! :)

So...the race!

I've run several races in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which mostly all follow the same route, but this one was different!  It almost went in the opposite direction as I was used to running the park, which was a welcome change! Mile 5-6ish included an out-and-back section by Citi Field, which usually I hate, but as there were so many runners, I found myself easily distracted with "people watching".  NYRR made sure there were plenty of fluid stations and sprinklers along the course to help manage the heat.  There was also a good amount of music, DJs and spectators. 

Mile splits (based on Garmin):

I have to admit that I sort of hated having to constantly look at my new Garmin to see what pace I was running.  I don't know how some people are so dependant on it!  It did end up being helpful to keep my pace in check, but I definitely don't love it.  Hopefully as I get more used to running with it, I'll get better at feeling out my pace and not have to look at it so much.

My official time was 1:04:43 (10:26 pace).  This is my slowest 10K time ever, but I'm okay with it because I know it's all part of "the plan".  All in all, a nice easy 6 mile run! Oh, and I'm one race closer to guaranteed entry to the 2014 NYC Marathon!

Did you run the Queens 10K?  Are you doing the 5-Borough Challenge?  Training for a race? Let's talk about it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Race Recap: Peachtree Road Race 2013

This July 4th, I celebrated our nation's independence with nearly 56,000 fellow Americans, running the Peach Tree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia.  As the largest 10K in the country, this race has been on my bucket list for awhile now, so when I got into the lottery back in February, I immediately booked a flight to Atlanta to run (and have a long weekend visit with friends).

I arrived in Atlanta the day before the race and hit up the expo for packet pick-up.  The weather was miserable (torrential downpours) all day and wasn't expected to be any better for race day.
Stars & Stripes Forever
When I woke up race morning, it was insanely humid and still raining.  I had a quick breakfast of a banana, 1/2 clif bar and  some water before throwing on my garbage bag and heading to the race!
Pre-race garbage bag pic

Luckily, my support team (thanks Hail!) was able to drop me off near the start corrals and I didn't have to worry about public transportation or traffic/parking.  There were a ton of waves for this race (which is also walker-friendly), and I was in F so I crossed the start line around 7:50am!  The rain had stopped and I ditched my garbage bag almost immediately.
Bib on (perfectly) straight: ready to run!
As this is such a huge race, I assumed there would be a lot of congestion, but I ended up having plenty of room the whole race.  Normally, I check out the course map before a race (especially for those not in Central Park or NYC).  Often times, I even read previous years race recaps to see what I'm in for!  I did not do that for Peachtree, so I had no idea what to expect!  I figured this wouldn't be an issue, as I did not run much at all during the month of June and was running this race just for fun! 
See? Running is fun!
 The course covers 6.2 miles along PeachTree Road (duh) from Phipps Plaza to Piedmont Park.  All of this still means nothing to me since I'm not familiar with the area, but checking out the elevation map might have been useful before running.  The first three miles were a steady downhill and I felt like I wasn't even using effort to run.  I (stupidly) thought "Wow, maybe this entire course is downhill! I could totally PR without even training or trying!" and pushed my pace.

Well it turns out, it's not all downhill.  In fact, Mile 3 begins a pretty serious incline and the rest of the race is back uphill until the finish.  Oops. 

The good news is I didn't care about my pace or my finish time.  I totally negative split this race, but it didn't matter!  I really enjoyed just running and soaking in the energy from the incredible crowds that were out to cheer!  There were a ton of characters out to support the race along with live music, DJs and even bars handing out free beer!  It was disgustingly hot and humid, but the course was well equipped with water and plenty of people had sprinklers or fire hydrants open to cool runners down.  It was awesome.  

The finish area in Piedmont Park ended up being a total swamp due to the week long downpours, but the rain held off the entire time I was running.  Honestly, I wouldn't have minded if it did rain, as I was throwing water on myself and jumping into sprinklers anyway!

I finished with an official time of 59:17 (9:32 pace), which is a respectable pace for me given my l recent lack of training and rookie mistake of going out too fast on the downhill.

On top of an awesome race, the t-shirt (although cotton) and medal are both pretty sweet!

Yet another race checked off my running "bucket list"! 

Have you ever run the Peach Tree Road Race?  Do you have a running bucket list?  Tell me about it!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A to Z

This week a bunch of bloggers have been posting their A-Z "about me" surveys and yesterday, Kristin tagged me in hers, so I guess it's time to join in on the fun! Let's do it:


A. Attached or Single?  Not married, but recently attached! :)

B. Best friend? Rocky.

BFFs hold feet.

C. Cake or Pie? This one is easy as...PIE!  Pumpkin, please!

D. Day of Choice: Probably Saturday, usually a long run  and a combination of food and napping! :

E. Essential Item: Chapstick.  I can not live without it!

F. Favorite Color: All black everything.  But lately I'm on a neon green kick! Hence, my new green Garmin:

G. Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms? Neither.  I'm not a fan of gummy candy.

H. Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY.

I. Favorite Indulgence: Mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Or 80% dark chocolate.  

J. January or July? July, I sweat a lot and I like it! 

K. Kids? Just one furry one.

L. Life isn't complete without: Laughter.  

M. Marriage Date: Yikes.  Next question!

N. Number of brothers and sisters: two delightful older brothers!

O. Oranges or apples: This is a tough one, but I'll go with apples.  There are so many different types, and are the main ingredient in my awesome apple crisp! 

P. Phobias: Heights.  Speed.  Death.

Q: Quotes:  
-"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher."-Oprah
-"Get busy living or get busy dying."-Shawshank Redemption

R: Reasons to smile: Puppies. Little elderly couples.  Babies.  Being alive & healthy!
Smiley baby!
S: Season of Choice: FALL!  I'm going with Abby & Kristin on this one...there is nothing like fall in NY!

T: Tag 5 People:  Beth, Bernadette, Steph, Jen, Liz

U: Unknown fact about me: I can juggle!

V: Vegetable: I don't think there is a vegetable I don't like.  But I'm currently obsessed with Brussels Sprouts.

W. Worst habit? Probably have a few, but I always need to be on time.  And by on time, I mean way too early.  

X: X-Ray or ultrasound: Whatever Dr. recommends!  

Y: Your favorite food: Ice cream.  

Z. Zodiac sign:  100% Taurus.

Now you join in the fun...comment below to tell me more about YOU!  :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rugged Maniac NYC 2013

Okay, so I'm a little behind on my race recaps...and blogging in general! 

Last year, I ran my first Rugged Maniac race with my dad and friend Kim!  We absolutely loved it, so this year we got an even bigger team together for the obstacle race.
So fresh and so clean!
The day started out warm and cloudy with a chance of rain, but quickly cleared for hot and sunny skies.  The course covered just over 3 miles at the Brooklyn Aviator Sports Complex.  There were around 20ish obstacles, including hurdles, walls, mud pits, rope nets, balance beams and a giant (terrifying) waterslide at the finish!

Here are just a few photos of our rugged race:
Climbing walls

More wall climbs

Mud pits!

Muddy smiles!

post-mud pit, pre-waterslide

Trapped in a rope net!

Way too tall waterslide!

We. Are. Rugged!

As you can tell, we had an absolute blast and will definitely be returning next year for more ruggedness!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Day with the New York Red Bulls

A few weeks ago, I received an invite from the folks at Red Bull to attend a day of health professional networking at the New York Red Bulls Arena.  I have to admit, I laughed when I first opened the e-mail.  I mean, were they really trying to equate Red Bull with health/nutrition? After my initial reaction, I started thinking this might actually be worth attending!  As so many people use Red Bull and other energy drinks on a daily basis, I figured this was an opportunity for me to get more information on the product, ask any questions and be better prepared to work with my clients.  And let's not forget, I'm a pretty big sports fan...

The invitation explained that we would have an informative discussion with representatives from Red Bull, including their internal Registered Dietitian.  In addition, we would be treated to VIP skybox seats, a buffet lunch and field access prior to the game.  

VIP on-field access!
 Let me just say, Red Bull did not disappoint.  My guests and I arrived around 12pm and after picking up our tickets at Will Call, we literally walked a red carpet to enter the arena.  The skybox suite was beautiful and offered an upscale buffet lunch, including carved meats, sandwiches, salads and sushi, as well as more traditional "sports" fare and sweet treats. 

Skybox buffet
I opted for a big beautiful salad (with awesome toppings like asparagus and artichoke hearts) and a few pieces of sushi. 

And of course there was plenty of Red Bull for everyone to sample.  In addition to traditional Red Bull and Red Bull Sugar-free, we were able to try the new Red, Blue and Silver editions (cranberry, blueberry and lime-flavored, respectively).  I don't typically use energy drinks nor do I necessarily recommend them, but I appreciated the opportunity to sample these new ones.  And I have to say I enjoyed the flavored ones far more than the traditional Red Bull I've tried in the past.

Lots of Red Bull!

After eating and sampling the new flavors, the RDs gathered in one of the skybox suites for our interactive discussion with a Red Bull representative as well as their nutrition expert, Becki Holmes, RD, CD.  The RDs in our group all came from different areas of the nutrition field, which made for a very interesting discussion!  Some of us were clinically based, some in private practice or community nutrition and some in marketing/research.  I was immediately impressed by Becki's knowledge base and transparancy in terms of the product.  She gave us a history of the company and products, before opening up the floor to discussion.  A few of the other things she mentioned that I found to be interesting/relevant:

-Red Bull was created in the 1980's using four main components: carbohydrates, caffeine, taurine and B-vitamins and these are still the foundation of their recipe today.

-Red Bull sugarfree is NOT labeled as an "energy drink", as carbohydrates and calories are what provide energy and this product has zero carbs and almost no calories.

-Red Bull sponsors and endorses many athletes and entertainers, including skateboarders, skiers and motocross riders.  However, they don't claim to be a sports drink, but rather a functional beverage which may improve performance.

A lot of our discussion ended up surrounding labeling, regulations and marketing claims.  While the actual science and nutrition behind energy drinks is important, these other concerns are definitely good to be aware of when addressing consumer questions and concerns!  

In the end, what I had assumed would be a laughable discussion regarding the incorporation of energy drinks in the "nutrition world" turned out to be an interesting and valuable learning experience for me.  I appreciated that the discussion was purely informative and at no time did I feel pressured to promote or endorse Red Bull.   My professional opinion?  Red Bull (and all sugar-sweetened, caffeinated beverages) should be enjoyed in moderation and only as long as it is safe for the consumer. 

To top off the day, the Red Bulls beat the Houston Dynamo 2-0!  A big thanks go out to the folks at Red Bull for providing us with a day of energy drink discussion, food and football! :)

Now tell me...Do you drink Red Bull (or other energy drinks)?  Do you use caffeine and energy drinks in your training/fueling?  Have you tried the new flavors?  What do you think?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Just Eat! 5 Reasons to Skip Juice Cleanses

Juices, cleanses, detox diets.  They're all the rage right now.  And they were a few years ago, and I'm sure they will be again.  People jump on the bandwagon for all different reasons: to kickstart weight loss, cleanse their bodies of toxins, boost their immune systems.  But are any of the claims valid?  Are they worth the money or effort expended?  I say no!

Detoxes and juice cleanses just simply don't have the science to back up the health claims they make.  Will they help you lose weight? Sure, for a few days.  You're essentially eliminating all fat and a lot of protein from your diet.  As well as a lot of fiber, which holds onto water, therefore you'll drop some water weight too. But it's not effective for weight loss in the long run.  Or much else! 

Yet, it seems like everytime I look at Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, someone is juicing.  And I've gotten a ton of questions lately about what the "best" juice cleanse is.  So I figured I'd weigh in and tell you why my argument is to just EAT REAL FOOD and skip the cleanses:

1. You don't need juice to "cleanse" your system. Guess what?  Your body is BUILT to do this on its own!  Our GI tract, liver and kidneys are all specifically designed to filter out waste products, chemicals and toxins.  More over, juice cleanses eliminate a lot of the fiber found in fruits, vegetables and whole foods, thus reducing the bulk of our stool.  Increased bulk from fiber helps trap "toxins" to be removed through our waste, helping our filtering organs function properly. 

2. There is no substantial evidence that juicing is any healthier than consuming fruits/vegetables in whole form.  As I previously mentioned, you lose some of the fiber and other beneficial properties (antioxidants) that can be found in skin, pulp and seeds.  Fiber helps to slow the absorption of sugars like fructose, so juices can cause a more rapid spike in blood sugar.  This is just one of many reasons juice cleanses are often contraindicated for people with medical conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.

3. Why drink when you can eat?  Gulping down a juice is much less satisfying and less filling than biting into and chewing a whole piece of fruit.   Juicing can leave you feeling deprived and craving more.

4. You're missing out on essential nutrients.  I'm not a fan of most any restrictive diet (unless it's medically indiciated as with allergies or Crohn's/Colitis).  Elimating specific foods from your diet creates gaping holes of important macro and micronutrients.  Without adequate protein, your body can actually become more immunocompromised and unable to rebuild.  Eliminating fats decreases absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. 

5. Use it or lose it.  This is often said of the brain, but is definitely relevant to our gastrointestinal tract too!  Contrary to popular belief (or claims from cleanse companies), rest does not promote a healthy gut!!!  Providing the gut with adequate nutrients allows the good bacteria to breakdown protein, carbohydrate and fat into the amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids our bodies can utilize.'ve heard great things about juice cleanses! Your friend felt great after doing one!  Your co-worker has never felt more rejuvinated or energetic!  Unfortunately, this is most likely a placebo effect.  And there's nothing wrong with that!  If you feel healthier and better after adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet, by all means add them in!  This R.D. won't stop you!  But I will tell you to include them as part of a balanced diet of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  

If you still want a liquid treat, choose a blended drink like a smoothie...and go heavier on veggies than fruits.  My go-to?  Combine 1 cup greens, 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 banana, and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with ice and enjoy! :)

What do you think? Have you done a juice cleanse?  Thinking about starting one?  Shoot me your thoughts, questions or concerns! :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Running Day 2013

Today is National Running Day!  Later tonight I'll celebrate by actually running, but for now I'll honor this holiday by finishing the following sentence: clear my head. discover new places and revisit old ones.
Home Sweet Astoria
...for ice cream, beer and dark chocolate.
Mmmm Mint Chocolate Chip!
...for my health.

...for those who can't.

...with incredible runner friends.
Boston Strong NYC sweat off the day.
Sweaty post-run with Spring Forward PT Run Club! ALL types of weather!

...with my Dad.
Turkey Trot 2012 challenge myself.

TELL ME: Why/When/Where/How do YOU run!? How are you celebrating National Running Day???

Friday, May 31, 2013

Reebok Spartan Race [+FREE Race Giveaway!]

If you're a regular PB&P reader, you know I'm a big fan of setting goals and challenging yourself to see what you're made of, whether it be in the gym, at work or in your personal life!  For runners and other fitness enthusiasts, a Spartan Race is a perfect opportunity to do just that.  To find out exactly what you're made of...and according to the folks at Reebok Spartan Race, "you'll know at the finish line."

So...what is Spartan Race?
Spartan Race has been a leader in obstacle races since 2005 and has been voted #1 obstacle race by Outside Magazine.  

Spartan Race features a race for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint (3+ miles and 15+ obstacles), intermediate level Super Spartan (8+ miles and 20+ obstacles), the advanced Spartan Beast (12+ miles and 25+ obstacles), and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race. 

Spartan Race prides itself on ripping its racers out of their comfort zones, and therefore does not provide course maps or details on what obstacles will be encountered.  But for an idea of what you might expect during a Spartan Race, check out the video below:

So are YOU up for the challenge?  What are you waiting for?!  Enter my giveaway below for a chance to score a FREE entry to a Spartan Race of your choice!  AROO!

And don't worry! If you're not lucky enough to win the FREE race entry, just follow this link to receive 15% off when you register for a race.  So sign up, show up and don't GIVE UP!


Disclaimer: The awesome folks at Spartan Race are providing one lucky PB&P reader with a free registration to any open heat Spartan Race in the continental U.S.  I have not been compensated for writing this post.  Only entries through Rafflecopter will be eligible for selection.  Giveaway ends 6/15/13.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Try Vegan Challenge Recap

Earlier this month, I posted about the Try Vegan Challenge from Food & Nutrition Magazine, declaring that I would "go vegan" for a week in an effort to show that a completely plant-based diet is not only healthy, animal-friendly and environmentally sustainable...but it can be tasty too!

My goal was to follow a completely vegan diet for 7 days, although the challenge only technically asked for 5 days and allowed room for slip-ups.  Spoiler alert:  I didn't make it 7 days and I cheated on Day 1!

As I mentioned, I normally follow a vegetarian diet and my main meals are plant-based with dairy and eggs complimenting the meals or serving as snacks.  Therefore, I didn't think I'd have too much trouble making the transition from vegetarian to vegan.  It's part of both my personality and my job to be a planner, so I made sure to meal plan and set myself up for success in this challenge.  My main concern during meal planning were snacks.  Some examples of my typical snacks are Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, string cheese and cottage cheese.  None of which are vegan!  So I substituted with things like pita chips & hummus, fresh fruit, sandwich thins & nut butter, and trailmix. 

Rather than post my food logs from the 5 day period, I figured it'd be easier to focus on my struggles and victories with the vegan diet. 

1.  Birthday cake.  I made the mistake of starting this challenge the day after my birthday, when all my coworkers wanted to celebrate with delicious (non-vegan) chocolate ganache cake.  I didn't even make it 24 hours before my first slip-up!

Not-so-vegan birthday cake.

2. I missed my yogurt.  I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt.  I enjoy it on a daily basis and at all times of the breakfast, snack time and even as a subsitute for sour cream in my meals!  It's absence was really noticeable and probably my biggest struggle!
3. Take-out with friends.  One night, I had Southern friends visiting, and they really wanted good ole New York pizza!  This was my second (and only other) slip-up.  Another night was sushi take-out with a girlfriend, and although I didn't have much trouble finding myself a vegan meal, I really wanted salmon or tuna!   And I had to be very careful when it came to ordering/sharing appetizers!  When following any kind of restrictive diet, you have to make sure to ask a lot of questions when dining out or ordering in.  Always check what ingredients are in things like batters, sauces and condiments.
Veggie roll + edamame!
1. Focus on real, whole foods.  This is my aim anyway, but cutting out dairy and eggs forced me to be creative and make smart choices to get adequate calories and protein.  A lot of newbie vegans struggle with what to eat and end up eating a lot of processed "meat substitute" products, which negates any effort to consume a healthier diet.  [When in doubt, consult a Registered Dietitian to develop a vegan/vegetarian/flexitarian/whatever meal plan to make sure you're getting adequate nutrients!]

2. Increased intake of fruits, veggies and healthy fats!  Although my meals looked fairly similar each day, I definitely noticed a boost in my normal intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.  My bag of food for work (pictures below) always included things like pears, fresh strawberries, brussels sprouts, carrots and hummus, nut butters and avocado.


Overall, this was a very interesting challenge!  Even though I'm a Registered Dietitian and long-time vegetarian, I still was able to learn a lot from the experience.  I obviously have a lot of practice with reading food labels, but this experiment sharpened those skills.  I also had to get creative and develop strategies to overcome obstacles that I'm sure a lot of people face when converting to a vegan diet, which will ultimately make me a better practitioner! 

And on a personal note, I learned I'm not interested in becoming 100% vegan myself! At least not at this time!  :) 

Tell me...are you interested in becoming vegan? Vegetarian? What do you think you'd miss the most?