Month: February 2011

Double Digits and Trader Joe’s Loot

Hi guys! Hope you had a wonderful weekend, though I’m definitely slightly depressed it’s already over. I woke up on Saturday feeling kind of sick with a sore throat and runny nose, so I took a lot of Dayquil, relaxed, and drank tons of fluids. Luckily, I woke up Sunday feeling quite a bit better, but still not 100%. This morning I was actually supposed to go up to Philly for the day to see my nephew and sister, but I can’t go since I’m still feeling a little sick and can’t risk giving it to either of them!

I had a 10 miler on my training schedule for this weekend and really didn’t want to miss it, so I made myself do it yesterday even though I still felt a little off. The weather was absolutely beautiful and perfect for running, but the run was SO tough mentally. Normally before a long run, I really try to sike myself up for it and look at it as an exciting opportunity rather than an obligation (fake it til you make it, right?). Yesterday though, I had to literally force myself to go even though I didn’t really want to, and it made the run tough. One thing that’s great about a run, no matter how long or short, is that I always come back feeling so happy I went, even if it was tough getting out there and during the run itself.

Something that didn’t help was that I completely overdressed for the run. I had on a thin long sleeve running jacket, and about 2 miles in I was so hot that I was sweating like crazy and still had 8 miles to go! I was running pretty much directly in the sun, so I tried to roll the sleeves up to elbow level. That worked, except it kind of cut circulation off to my hands since it was to tight around my elbow, so I had to keep putting my hands by my sides to get the blood flowing again. So annoying! But, I made it.

My first double digit run since my half marathon in September – so over 5 months! I finished the 10.0 miles (exactly) in 1 hour, 38 minutes, 52 seconds, or a 9:53 pace. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Mile 1 – 9:35
  • Mile 2 – 9:47
  • Mile 3 – 9:45
  • Mile 4 – 9:37
  • Mile 5 – 10:06 (very uphill)
  • Mile 6 – 9:42 (very downhill)
  • Mile 7 – 10:18 (was fading)
  • Mile 8 – 10:07 (shot blocks starting to kick in)
  • Mile 9 – 10:03
  • Mile 10: – 9:55

As a reward to myself, I went to Trader Joe’s. Sad, no? Smile I love Trader Joe’s, but it’s not the closest grocery store to me, so I don’t make it my regular grocery store. It’s always a treat when I make the trip out there.

I had been trying to do a $50 weekly budget for eating, but that proved really hard, so I’ve upped it to $75 a week. This includes breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for me, and sometimes dinners for Wil. Most of the time I don’t spend the whole $75, but sometimes I go a little over, especially if I make a few trips to separate stores. Yesterday, I spent $68.97, and I was out of a lot of staples that I needed to replenish so I think I did quite well. I haven’t showed you guys what is in my shopping cart for a while so I thought it’d be fun to do. Let’s take a look!

  • Mache
  • Bell Peppers
  • Green Onions
  • 4 Fuji Apples
  • Baby portabella mushrooms
  • 4 lb bag of oranges
  • 7 bananas
  • Goat Cheese Medallions (2 pts+ each)
  • Light Shredded Mozzarella (1 pt+ per 1/4 cup)

  • Mini Whole Wheat Pitas
  • 100 Calorie Dark Chocolate Bars (3 pts+ each)
  • 2 tubs nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 blocks Organic Tempeh
  • 2 containers organic tofu
  • Liquid Egg Whites
  • Cooked Brown Rice
  • Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Sesame ($3.99 at TJ’s, which is a lot cheaper than other places. 2 pts+ a slice)

  • Frozen blueberries
  • Frozen Strawberries
  • Frozen Mango Chunks
  • Frozen Pineapple Tidbits
  • Organic Fire Roasted Tomatos
  • Sweet Kernel Corn
  • Chunky Salsa
  • 2 cans Organic Kidney Beans
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Frozen Organic Sweet Corn
  • Vanilla Meringues (3 pts+ for 4)

I think I did quite well considering how much stuff I got and that most of it was organic! Menu ideas for dinner this week include:

  • Tempeh Chili
  • Mexican Corn Tortilla Casserole
  • Soba Noodles with Tofu and Veggies in Peanut Sauce
  • Quinoa Burgers on Whole Wheat Pita

Tell me what your absolute favorite grocery store is! I love Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but I also adore Wegmans (even though I’ve only been there once!) and occasional trips to Asian grocery stores (like H-Mart). I just love grocery shopping, so I can’t pick one.

ABCs of Me

Hi friends!

Thank you guys SO much for your comments on yesterday’s post. I’m definitely going to be reading through those any time I’m struggling or feeling frustrated with the journey. If you haven’t read through them yet, I suggest you do. It’s pretty crazy how many people felt like they could have written that post themselves – that the words felt like they were coming from them rather than from me. It’s a post had I been toying with the idea of writing for quite some time, and I’m glad I did based on your reactions.

Today I have a much lighter post in store. I’ve seen the ABCs of me going around the blogworld, and I thought it would be fun to do it, too. I’ve been really into sharing information about myself this week apparently.

socialnetworkinginfocartoon

A. Age: 26

B. Bed size: Queen.

C. Chore you hate: Cleaning the floors. HATE hate hate.

D. Dogs: My mom gave our cocker spaniel, Sabrina, away when I was little without telling me and it was pretty traumatic. I’ve never been too attached to any dog since. I do love my sister’s dog though because I can run with Sadie!

E. Essential start to your day: Brushing my teeth immediately upon crawling out of bed, then reversing it with a large cup of coffee. Always.

F. Favorite color: Grey, black, yellow and turquoise.

G. Gold or silver: Silver. Hands down.

H. Height: 5’8.

I. Instruments you play: I used to play the flute and the piano but didn’t stick with either, so nothing now. Except if I’m with my niece Claire. Then all bets are off and I’ve been known to play some random instruments, sing, and dance like a crazy person.

dancing

J. Job title: Sponsorship Development Specialist. Aka fundraiser.

K. Kids: None for now. Though my boyfriend does have a daughter so I get to pretend a little.

L. Live: In Arlington, VA and work in downtown DC.

M. Mom’s name: Susan aka Sue. Fun fact: Her middle name is Wilma but she used to tell everyone it was Wisteria.

N. Nicknames: Beth is my full name – not Elizabeth, not Bethany, not anything else with Beth in it. Just Beth. People have a hard time getting their head around that one. But nicknames? BK, Betty Boop, B-Kizzle. Ha.

O. Overnight hospital stays: September 2006 – I had emergency back surgery and spent 2 nights in the hospital. I spent a lot of time on the floor surrounding that period of my life. Half sleeping, half online shopping.

P. Pet peeve: Grammar mistakes. Their/they’re/there, too/two/to, and misspelled words. Definately. Excellant. Makes me crazy!

Q. Quote from a movie: “When I said, “yeah, sure”, but what… literally what I said was “yeah, sure” sir.” Gets me every time. Name that movie.

R. Righty or Lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: Two older sisters – Heather and Wendy. I’m the baby. They say I only got cool around age 22 – no idea what they’re talking about.sisters

T. Time you wake up: 7:30am during the week, unless I’m working out in the morning – 6:55am (which is pushing it). On the weekends, whenever I wake up. Usually between 8 and 10.

U. Underwear: Creeper. No response.

V. Vegetables you dislike: Hmmm this one is tough. I really love my veggies.

W. What makes you run late: I HATE being late so try not to be. The only thing that ever gets in the way is traffic, but I usually plan for it!

X. X-rays you’ve had: On my back for above mentioned surgery, plus some others I’m sure.

Y. Yummy food you make: Quinoa Burgers are my favorite lunch/dinner recipe, and the skillet soufflé is my favorite breakfast/brunch/anytime recipe.

Z. Zoo animal favorite: Zebras! They are so beautiful.

Tell me to stop anytime. 🙂

Now what about you? Tell me the essential start to your day and your nicknames!

Just One.

Moderation is, and always has been, one of the hardest things for me. I have trouble just getting my head around it, much less putting it into practice. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I am very much an all or nothing kind of person in many areas of my life. I’ve read several stories about other people’s journeys where they say they learned to listen to their bodies, stop when they are full, and enjoy treats in moderation.

That is just not me and to be honest, I’m getting to the point where I think it may never be me.

I struggle with having just one of anything.

Just one piece of chocolate.

Just one french fry.

Just one piece of pizza.

Just one drink.

If I have just one piece of candy from the jar at the front of the office, I find myself compulsively back at the candy jar, making unnecessary trips to walk by it until the candy is all gone. It’s easier for me to just say “No candy today,” rather than torturing myself by allowing “just one” and then having to spend the remainder of the day anxiously (and usually unsuccessfully) keeping myself away from the jar. I can’t just have a few until I feel satisfied because the problem is, I’m never satisfied until it’s gone.

no candy

Another example – if I’m out to dinner with someone and they leave just two or three fries, it actually makes me feel antsy seeing those few fries on the plate. How could they leave those there? There’s just three left! Just eat them. They become the focal part of my thoughts until the fries are consumed or the waitress has come to remove the plate.

Back at the beginning of my journey to get healthy, I kept thinking that I would get to a point where everything would just “click” and I wouldn’t have to try so hard. And here I am today, almost two years later, 80 pounds lighter, and while I can say that it’s a bit easier now than it was, it’s still definitely not easy.

Beth-Klein2

A lot of people tell me that I don’t have to lose anymore weight by looking at me, but as anyone who has ever struggled with their weight knows, weight is a very personal thing. I know that I eat relatively well and live an active lifestyle, working out anywhere from 3 – 6 times a week quite consistently. That said, I am still technically overweight, and while I feel strong and athletic, I’d also still like to lose a few pounds to get to a healthy weight range. And trust me, I still have more weight to lose, even if I hide it well. The number of the scale is certainly not the most important thing, but it IS important to me to be at a healthy weight for my own well being after being on this journey to a healthier me for over two years.

I think its hard sometimes when you blog to show all sides of your life. Beth’s Journey is an edited version of me because I choose what to post on here. Don’t get me wrong – I try to be as honest as possible, show you both the highs and the lows, but at the same time I don’t take my camera out to videotape myself by the candy jar at the front of the office (luckily for both of us).

The point of this post is to say that making permanent changes is never easy, no matter how much weight you’ve lost or how many good habits you’ve established over the years. You have to keep making healthy decisions each and every day, and there will be days where it is a lot harder than others, no matter how far you’ve come.

What is your biggest struggle in your healthiness journey, no matter where you are on it?

An Announcement, The Winners, and Dinner(s)

Hi guys! It sounds like you guys enjoyed Wil’s post from yesterday with the carrot soup recipe – that’s a soup that will be on three different restaurant menus in the next month or so and you guys get access to it first. Talk about VIP! 😉

Announcement

A few housekeeping things before we get down to business. If you follow me on twitter you may already be aware of this, but you know how earlier this week I said I didn’t have plans to run a marathon anytime soon? Well, there’s been a slight (read: major) change of plans. I do not know WHAT came over me, but yesterday I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon after succumbing to minimal peer pressure (ahem Emily and Vera)!!! I’m still getting my head wrapped around the whole thing because before I knew what was going on, I was blinking to make sure my eyes weren’t fooling me as the Registration Confirmation Page appeared on the screen, but I’m pretty sure my plans for 2011 now include a full marathon. Talk about impulsive. Ahhh!!

The Winners

Also, I forgot to announce the winners of the giveaway for Chobani – Sorry! This had the largest number of entries of any giveaway I’ve ever done – 396! That may or may not have had something to do with Chobani posting it on their facebook page. Mostly may.

So here goes…

Winner 1 Winner 2

#86 – Todd, who said “I like Chobani on Facebook and I love Chobani in my belly!”

and

#159 – Michelle, who said “I already “like” Chobani – man, their yogurt rocks! Can’t wait to try the lemon flavor, right now Pineapple is my all-time fave! Just checking out your blog; thanks for the great info. packed in here!!”

Congratulations you two!! Please email me your shipping information to bethklein at gmail dot com so Chobani can get your sampler packs in the mail!!

Dinner(s)

Hey, it rhymes with winners. Moving along, yesterday I had to go to the dentist to get THREE cavities drilled. Three. You see, I hadn’t been to the dentist in two years for no reason at all besides sheer laziness and it really bit me in the ass. That, and not consistently flossing. My mouth is still so sore – never again! When I got home, I wanted something quick because I was hungry and soft because my jaw was sore. I’d been toying with the idea of making peanut sauce, and last night came up with the perfect recipe!

Peanut Sauce (2 pts+ for entire recipe. Could easily be divided between two servings if you like to share.)

  • 20 grams peanut flour (or a little more than 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • sprinkle of powdered ginger

To start, mix the peanut flour with the water. The mixture will be kind of crumbly, not creamy like peanut butter. This is perfect.

Next, add in the rest of the ingredients.

Stir to combine and you’re done!

The sauce is a little thick like normal peanut sauce, so it would coat noodles really well. If you want to thin it out a bit, add more water, but this was perfect for my purposes. You can also (and probably should) use fresh ginger and garlic rather than powdered, but I was cutting every corner I could to get it done quickly. It is A LOT of sauce for 2 pts+. A lot. And totally delicious.

I decided to make some summer rolls to go with the peanut sauce (I realize it should be the other way around). Have you ever used rice paper before?

It sort of feels like those thin plastic cutting boards right out of the package.

And you get 5 of these guys for just 3 pts+!

You soak them in warm water for about 15-30 seconds.

It’s in there – I promise. After they soak, they get super flimsy and pliable.

You can put whatever you want in them – I used what I had in the fridge.

047

Red bell pepper, bean sprouts, cilantro, and tofu. You can easily do this with shrimp, chicken, pork, or any other kind of protein, plus whatever veggies or noodles you want to use – just slice the veggies thin!

Carefully lay the soaked rice paper on a surface, and get to work quickly.

Add your ingredients to be stuffed in the middle. Less is more here. Don’t go crazy or it will be too hard to roll up!

Next, fold down the top and up the bottom over the contents of the roll.

Roll one side over everything.

And then carefully fold the last part over. The rice paper will kind of stick to itself to keep everything together. Repeat for all of your rolls and you’re done!

Wil would call these “rustic,” which is a euphemism for imperfect and handmade, but I’ll take it. Especially with the peanut sauce.

The bean sprouts are a nice alternative to noodles if you’re interested in a light dinner because they add a nice crunch and you don’t even miss the noodles! Plus, they require no cooking, which helped with the “fast” part of my dinner requirement.

Dinner was being eaten within 10 minutes of walking in the door. And, all 5 of those rolls PLUS the entire thing of peanut sauce = 6 pts+. Good thing I like wine.

What’s your favorite Asian-esque appetizer? Have you ever worked with rice paper at home? I loooooove crab rangoon, but I almost always order summer rolls if I see them on the menu.

Are you impulsive or do you tend to really think things through? I think you can venture to guess my answer on this one based on today’s announcement.

Guest Post: An Epiphany

Hi Guys! I have a special treat for you today, a guest post from my boyfriend, Wil. A little background – Wil is the Culinary Director for a high volume restaurant group in DC with four locations, and when I asked if he’d be interested in writing a post for you guys, he said he knew exactly what he wanted to write. He has his own blog about his other passion, music, that he writes in very infrequently – feel free to check it out – Phish Makes My Teeth Itch. Without further ado, here’s Wil!

The best professional cooks and chefs are animals at heart. Survival is the game. A typical day feels like you are getting shot at. Stay ahead, watch your back, don’t complain. Nutrition rarely figures into it.

In this jungle, butter is measured by the amount the animal can fit into the tips of its tongs; Olive oil is drizzled liberally on dishes from the beaks of the wise food runners; Entrée salads that contain more fat calories than a cheeseburger are happily delivered by the foxy waitstaff…

It can be tough to morph back into a human being when cooking at home. Huge blocks of gooey cheese, pate, and water crackers was a typical meal for us a few years ago. So, when Beth began to consider her dietary choices more carefully, there was a bit of trouble in our kitchen. I was resistant to this new attitude. I shut down, stopped cooking at home, cursed the big bag of Splenda in the pantry, and ate at work every night.

After a little time off, I renewed my interest in cooking at home and began to modify my approach a bit to compliment Beth’s new lifestyle. This turned out not to be a sacrifice, but an epiphany. It hit me one night after I added some olive oil to brown rice. Of course olive oil is a healthy, delicious substance, but Beth pointed out that every component of the meal contained some sort of fat. As I ate, it occurred to me that she was right. The oil was unnecessary.  There was no contrast in mouth feel between the elements on the plate.

Beth reminded me of the simple rule of balance. This changed the way I cook at home as well as how I cook at work. Nothing too drastic, but certainly a more thoughtful approach to using fats and oils. I also spend more time developing lighter dishes with full flavor featuring more vegetables, which was usually an afterthought.

I design menus for four restaurants, so Beth’s influence reaches well beyond our tiny kitchen or this blog. I have included the following recipe for a soup I created for an upcoming Spring menu. The flavors are bold and bright. This soup may be served either hot or cold with an array of garnishes. It is shown here with crispy rice noodles, mint, and mint oil.

I am pretty sure this soup would not exist without Beth in my life. Enjoy!

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup (serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 8 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup ginger, peeled and chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
  2. Allow the soup to cool slightly.
  3. In batches, carefully pour the contents of the pot into a blender and puree very
    well.
  4. Adjust the seasoning, sweetness, and consistency by adding additional amounts of salt, honey, and water as you go.
  5. Allow the soup to chill, stirring constantly.
  6. Soup may be served hot or cold.

Nutritional Info: Per Serving (1/8 of recipe or 1 cup): 118 Calories; 1g Fat; 2g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 833mg Sodium.

Who has influenced the way you cook and/or eat the most in your life?

Reader’s Request: Weekly Menu Planning

Hi guys and happy Tuesday! Keep those entries coming for the Chobani giveaway until midnight EST tonight and I’ll announce the winners in tomorrow morning’s post.

I have a little favor to ask of my readers. If you love me (or just like me), will you please nominate Beth’s Journey for the Women’s Health Mag Blogroll?  As you may or may not know, this is my favorite magazine of all time, and I would be beyond honored to be on their blogroll! I can be entered as a weight loss or health blogger, which ever you like, and I would be so appreciative!

To address some of the questions from the giveaway, I’m going to do a Reader’s Request Mini-Series on the blog, addressing Weekly Menu Planning, Staying Motivated, Navigating Social Situations, Getting Back on Track, Tips for Other Bloggers, and any other topics that come up/I feel like deserve their own post. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email if there’s any other ideas you guys would like me to address in the series.

weekly-meal-planning

I’m going to kick it off with Weekly Menu Planning, because that’s one of the things I get asked about the most.

  • How do I go about approaching my week in terms of eating/meal planning?
  • Do I plan out all my meals and then go shopping?
  • Where do I come up with meal ideas?
  • Does it take a lot of time to plan?

Because my approach is pretty simple/straight forward as it applies to menu planning, it doesn’t take up a lot of time for me at all. I have enough else going on in my life that I don’t want it to add too much to my to-do list and make it feel like a chore. I don’t really do things “right” per say because what you should probably do is plan and then shop, and I do it the other way. It works for me though!

I only started doing any meal planning at all over the last couple months, and its made a huge difference in staying on track, keeping my food budget low, and cooking at home more. When I make a list of dinners for the week that I’m actually excited about, I have less of a desire to go out to eat and feel a lot less stressed when I get home and am hungry since I have a semi-plan in place. Some people are much better than I am at meal/menu planning because what I do is very, very basic, but the strategy I use helps me to get the benefits of meal planning without adding any stress to my plate. Here are ten key things for me:

  1. I take a look at my week and what I have going on and plan accordingly. This week, for example, I have stuff going on every single night after work, so I only need to plan 1-2 dinners for the week. Because I’ll be out to dinner a lot of nights, I also pulled out a few frozen calzones to bring for lunches (these ones are artichoke and spinach stuffed, but same recipe). Since I’m not cooking too much, I also am going to try to only go to the store to pick up some fruits and veggies for snacks, since I already have tofu and tempeh in my fridge and that should cover protein for the week’s meals. Most weeks I have a lot less going on though, so I am looking at 4-5 meals at home rather than 1-2.
  2. I go grocery shopping at least once a week. I always check my fridge before I go to see what I already have/what I need to use so it doesn’t go bad before I get to it. At the store, I try to focus on the perimeter, usually spending most of my time in the produce section finding the best deals. I also try to pick up 2-3 sources of protein – tofu, tempeh, beans, shrimp, or other fish that’s on sale. Besides protein and produce, I also pick up some staples like CHEESE (always), greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and skim milk. You can see my Food Staples that I recently updated if you’re looking for specifics.
  3. I keep a draft in my gmail inbox with the subject Menu Ideas/Meal Planning, so that I can go in there and update it and its a living document. Some people would do better with an excel spreadsheet, but I have my blog to reference back if I’m looking for ideas or want to reintroduce things I’ve recently tried. At the top of this draft, I list a few ideas for both dinner and sides that I’m interested in trying that week based on what I’ve purchased at the grocery store and/or have in my freezer/pantry. Below the dinner ideas, I have each day of the week listed with breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner slots to fill in. At the beginning of the week I just clear the day plans out as well as the meals I’ve made from the top section, and start again. Sometimes I’ll have an idea that I don’t put into action, so I’ll just leave that on the list. This week I have soba noodles with peanut flour sauce that carried over from last week’s “plan”. (If you’re looking for a sample of this super sophisticated document, you can click here to see the one I’m currently working with).
  4. I don’t plan exactly what I’m going to have for dinner each night – I usually just have a three-four dinner ideas mapped out and then make whatever one I feel like that night when I get home.
  5. Dinner ideas come mostly from my head/what I’m craving/what I buy at the grocery store (which is 99% what I can find cheap/on sale). I normally sway towards Asian or Mexican themed dishes because those are what I like the best. I also read a lot of healthy living blogs and will get ideas from those and add those to my list of meal ideas. I am really bad at following recipes, so I don’t write them down in my gmail draft, I just put an idea and then bring it to life in my kitchen. For others, it might be helpful to print out recipes you see that you want to make if you’re better at following them than I am.
  6. I pack my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks the night before so that it’s one less thing to do in the morning. Lunches are almost always leftovers from dinner the night before, and I plan accordingly when I make dinner. A lot of times I’ll portion out lunch along with dinner so that I make sure to have lunch ready to go/don’t go back for seconds.
  7. For breakfasts – I’m pretty boring. I usually have the same thing for most of the week. Currently, I switch weeks back and forth between doing Heat n Eat Steel Cut Oats with peanut flour and a banana or frozen fruit, or this week I’ve been doing greek yogurt with wheat berries and frozen berries. I measure out the wheat berries and greek yogurt the night before as well as add the frozen fruit to the container so it thaws out overnight and I can just grab the food bag in the morning. If it ain’t broke…
  8. Lunches, as I said above, are almost always leftovers from dinner the night before. If I’m not going to be making dinner, I try to plan ahead and pull something out of the freezer, or make sure I have a few staples on hand for a simple lunch like a mashed bean sandwich (so good!) with veggies and fruit or a sweet potato with black beans and salsa, and a salad on the side.
  9. I usually use Sundays as a day to make some things that will last all week. I love making a batch of black beans that will change your life (they really will), freezing half, and then keeping half in the fridge for a quick protein kick during the week. I also like to make a few servings of a grain – like quinoa, wheat berries, or bulgur – and keep a tub of that in my fridge for a quick option. Finally, I try to chop up some fruit and veggies on Sundays so that I can just grab them anytime and they don’t require any prep.
  10. I always have ingredients on hand for a few quick and healthy meals that I love that I can have ready in 10-15 minutes or less. This way if something comes up and I have to stay late at work/am starving by the time I get home, I can be eating very shortly after walking in the door. Besides the sweet potato black bean combo mentioned above, I always have ingredients on hand for quesadillas (corn tortillas + cheese + black or pinto beans and veggies with salsa on the side), linguini with white clam sauce (whole wheat pasta, canned clams, parmesan, red pepper flakes, evoo), or an open-faced banana, peanut butter, and chocolate chip sandwich (love this any moment of the day).

Whew! Sorry for the super wordy post – guess I  had more to say on the topic than I thought!

So what about you? Do you do menu planning or what is your approach to eating? Do you shop and then plan, plan and then shop, or just shop without a plan?

Your Questions, Answered

You guys certainly like Chobani as much as I do, huh? Keep those entries coming until 12am EST tomorrow night. And, since there’s been so much interest in the giveaway, the people at Chobani have agreed to let me give TWO sampler packs of the new flavors away instead of just one. Exciting stuff!

One of my favorite parts of giveaways, besides giving things away to my readers of course, is hearing from people who read my blog who are usually just quiet readers. I want to let you guys know that I appreciate each and every one of you – yes, you! If you guys ever have questions, concerns, or are curious about my opinions about anything – PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me (bethklein at gmail dot com) or leave a comment and I’ll be happy to give my opinion/advice/answer to your question (within reason, of course).

So, I thought to kick off this President’s Day holiday (which unfortunately I don’t have off and am working – boo!), I’d answer the first 10 of your questions that were asked during the giveaway. I have a few full posts planned to address some of the bigger questions that were asked – how I stay motivated, how I deal with social situations, meal planning/my approach to weekly meals, getting back on track after falling off the wagon, and advice for other bloggers – but for the straight forward, easier to answer questions, I figured I’d take the time to address some of them here. If there’s something you’re dying to know that I haven’t addressed, feel free to ask again in the comments. Here goes!

  1. Do you see yourself running any marathons in the near future?
    • To be honest, no. Right now I’m focusing on running my half next month, and then we’ll see where it goes from there. The thing I love about training for a half marathon is that none of the weekday runs are more than 5 miles, which means I can do them all in under an hour and it makes it very compatible with working full time and easy to squeeze in before work if I have things going on afterwards. I mean I’d never say never, but for now, no marathons in the near future.
  2. How do you mentally tackle running on the treadmill? Do u have an awesome playlist or do u just get into the zone?
    • This is a hard one. I always run with music (on or off the treadmill), but have a hard time running on the treadmill without getting bored, especially for long runs. My mental strategy is to try to break them up as much as possible – like focusing on 15 minute increments if I’m going at the same pace the whole time. The easiest treadmill runs for me are ones involving speed work because I find it easy to stick with the treadmill when I’m frequently changing up the pace and it makes it easier to stick with. And for long runs – I really can’t do more than 6 miles on a treadmill and do everything I can to run them outdoors if possible. If its not possible, I focus on breaking them up into increments, but it’s still hard.
  3. Are you looking to get back into cycling? Would you ever consider a cycling event or a triathlon?
    • I am definitely going to get back into cycling once the weather warms up and would LOVE to do a triathlon in the future. I don’t have one on my schedule, but it’s definitely a goal of mine down the road. I only have a hybrid bike though, not a road bike, so I will probably have to invest in a nicer bike before I enter/start training for a competition involving biking.
  4. Do you own a Vitamix?
    • I don’t have a Vitamix, though I would LOVE one. The blender I use is this one, and it works great for smoothies/soups/anything I’ve tried it for.
  5. Have you tried Kombucha yet?
    • I also haven’t had kombucha yet and from what I’ve heard about its flavor I’m not sure it’s something I would love, but I’ll try anything once!
  6. How did you pick your goal weight? Do you think that when you reach it you will be happy or reevaluate?
    • Because I’m 5’8, the highest healthy weight for my height is 164 pounds. I’ve never been at that weight before, but my lowest was 166 around New Years last year. Currently I’m at 167.8, and I picked 160 for my goal weight because I think that’s a good, solid number. I’m not sure if I will be happy or want to go lower than 160 because I’ve never been there, and while I may not fully be happy with my body at that point, I want to pick a realistic goal weight that is maintainable so that I can get to a weight and stick with it, rather than fluctuating like I have all my life.
  7. Have you tried making the breakfast cookie with the peanut flour instead of the protein powder yet?
    • I haven’t yet tried this, but gave it a little more thought and really think it would work. If you are looking to do this, my advice would be to mix the peanut flour with the water and a pinch of salt first to get it to a peanut butter like consistency, and then mix in the other ingredients for the breakfast cookie.
  8. What is your absolute favorite quick yet healthy meal?
    • I have two answers for this one. If I’m bringing lunch to work, my favorite quick meal to throw into a bag for on the go is an uncooked sweet potato, 1/2 a cup canned, rinsed black beans, and some goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, or salsa. I also like to bring a salad on the side for a complete meal, and will just poke holes in and then nuke the sweet potato in the microwave, pour over the warmed black beans and cheese or salsa, and then serve it with the salad. If I’m not on the go, my favorite quick meal is an egg scramble with lots of veggies (usually frozen and just heated through first), cheese, and hot sauce, with some toast and fruit on the side. I also love to make regular stir fries with frozen veggies, tofu or beans, and some sort of rice or grain on the side.
  9. What are you most looking forward to this summer?
    • I’ll tell you what I’m NOT looking forward to this summer – the DC humidity. But what I’m looking forward to the most? Longer days, and my pool that opens Memorial Day through Labor Day! My apartment building has a super nice pool that is huge and has tons of seating plus outdoor grills, and I can’t wait to have a nice place to spend some time outside.
  10. What are your favorite museums in DC?
    • My favorite museum in DC is the Natural History Museum. I love all the huge larger-than-life animals and the exhibits in there, and a close second would be the Air & Space Museum, but that’s mostly for the astronaut ice cream.

Everything you never wanted to know about me. You’re welcome. 😉

Are you working today or do you have the day off because of the holiday? If you have the day off, let me vicariously live through you and tell me what you are doing to celebrate. If you’re working, allow me to feel less bitter and let me know that you too, are at your job and not out enjoying a 3 day weekend.

Me – 1, Wind – 0

Today I ran the windiest 9 miles of my life. The wind came and went during the run, but there were definitely times where I felt like I was running in place, and then the gust would pass and I would almost fall over. Luckily, I didn’t fall once, but it was a little tougher than a normal long run!

I started off the day with an amazing breakfast, despite the fact that it came out differently than planned. The plan was to make an omelet stuffed with spinach, artichoke, and goat cheese, but the omelet fell apart as I was trying to close it so I just scrambled everything together.

1 egg + 1/4 cup egg whites, scrambled with a handful of frozen artichokes and organic chopped spinach (defrosted in the microwave first), topped with 1/2 oz crumbled goat cheese. On the side I had a piece of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Sesame toast (my favorite bread) and an orange. 6 pts+ total for the plate – not bad!

After letting that digest a bit, I headed out on the run, a little unsure of how it would go because of the wind. I tried to set realistic expectations – mostly just to finish rather than to have a specific time goal in mind, though underneath it all I was hoping to still keep the pace under 10:00 if at all possible. It’s funny because for my long runs, since I’m doing out and back most of the time, the first half of the run is harder than the second half. I think once I’m past the halfway mark, I’m confident I can finish, and already heading back to the start rather than approaching the turnaround point. I know that seems counterintuitive – its just how my brain works!

I ate my favorite running fuel between mile 5 and 6:

I love these so much that I actually look forward to eating them on my runs and try to space them out a bit so that I have more to look forward to.

When I got home, I felt like a million bucks.

This is the first run I’ve used my Camelbak for in a loooooong time, and I always forget how much I love that thing. It doesn’t move at all during the run and holds my keys, phone, and fuel. Plus its easy to drink from while I’m running, so its perfect. I only put water in it rather than Gatorade or sports drinks so I don’t have to worry about cleaning it often (slash ever…).

When all was said and done, I finished in 1:28:49, or a 9:52 pace! I was so happy to finish with under a 10 minute pace because the wind definitely slowed me down a bit. I finished feeling strong and confident, though I was definitely ready to stop when I hit the 9 mile mark.

Is it windy where you are? Have you ever run, walked, or biked when it was really windy? How’d it turn out?

Time for a Chobani Giveaway

Finally Friday – woohoo! It’s funny because I woke up yesterday barely believing it was already Thursday, but then the week stopped in its tracks and I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for today… and here it is. And it’s going to be a nice one, too.

Somehow, tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of Beth’s Journey! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year, but at the same time I love the blog so much that I can’t really picture things without it in my life at this point. All the amazing people I have met, emailed with, opportunities that have come from it… it just blows my mind. It’s scary looking back to my blog one year ago and how far I’ve come with it in terms of my writing, photos, and posting style – I honestly can’t believe anyone used to read it back then!

So in honor of the one year anniversary, I thought it would be the perfect time to host the first giveaway I’ve done in a long time, and this one’s a good one! You guys must know how much I love Greek yogurt by now. I only discovered it in the last two years or so, and I’ll never go back to regular kind. The thick, creamy texture just can’t compare to regular yogurt, and the protein that it packs keeps me full for hours. I love using plain Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream or cream cheese in lots of recipes, and have Greek yogurt for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or in a sauce almost every single day. It’s one of the things I always have on hand and has been truly instrumental in my healthy lifestyle.

When Chobani reached out about sampling their new flavors, of course I jumped at the chance, especially when they told me what the flavors were.

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0% Black Cherry, 2% Mango, and 0% Lemon. Each of these flavors has 4 pts+ per container and packs between 13-15 grams of protein. Chobani is my favorite kind of flavored Greek yogurt, and these new flavors are amazing. My favorite of the three is the Lemon, which actually surprised me. There’s little bits of lemon zest in the yogurt and its literally like heaven in a cup. The Black Cherry and Mango are also so delicious, both with chunks of real fruit, and tie for second place. Smile

One lucky reader will win the same sampler pack that I received, pictured above.  There are three ways to enter:

  1. Like the Chobani Facebook page and leave a comment telling me you did.
  2. Visit the Chobani website and leave a comment telling me the flavor you’d most like to try.
  3. Leave a comment asking me anything you’d like to know about me, anything you’d like me you address on the blog, or something you’d like to see on Beth’s Journey in the future that I don’t do now.

Each person can enter up to three times. Giveaway runs through midnight EST on Tuesday, February 22nd, and I’ll announce the winner Wednesday morning. Good luck!

Bargain Shopping at Whole Foods: It Can Be Done

Hi guys! This week is seriously flying by for me – I can’t believe it’s already Thursday! It’s supposed to be super nice outside in DC, getting up to 65º today and 69º tomorrow. I’m really going to try to enjoy it while it lasts… maybe lunch outside today? Also, random, but last night I watched The Social Network because I got in on Netflix. I LOVED the movie. I loved Zuckerberg’s character even though we were supposed to think he was a jerk because his sarcasm had me laughing out loud several times. I also thought Jesse Eisenberg did an amazing job playing Zuckerberg. Have you seen it? What did you think?

whole foods

So, as you may know, I am a total bargain shopper. I’m that way with clothes, electronics, body products, household items and food alike. A lot of people refer to Whole Foods as Whole Paycheck, but if you play your cards right, you can actually get some great deals there. It can certainly be very expensive if you don’t pay attention to what you’re putting in your cart and go without a plan, however, I shop at Whole Foods a few times a month and a lot of times walk out with a lot of loot for not a lot of money. As with anything else, you just have to have a plan of attack. I thought it would be fun to write a post with some tips and tricks for navigating your way around Whole Foods without breaking the bank, and open up the comments section for additional tips from readers. Here goes.

  1. Whole Deal Coupons – I only recently learned that Whole Foods has coupons you can print directly from their site for products they carry. You can find them here. These are not your Sunday Paper coupons, but store specific coupons that you can’t find anywhere else. Click on that link and you’ll see deals for Siggi’s Yogurt, Protein Powder, Soymilk, Larabars, and SO Delicious products, among others.
  2. Every Wednesday, Whole Foods put up the specials in your area on their website. Check the flyer before you go to add things to your list that are on sale and do some meal planning based on those items. There are usually items in every section – including fish, meat, and poultry – so you can pick your protein and go from there.
  3. Bulk Bins – Don’t skip these when you go! There are tons of organic products you can buy for under $2 or $3 per pound. Some of the best deals I’ve found include quinoa, wheat berries, raisins, almonds, walnuts, steel cut oats, rolled oats, brown rice, lentils, black beans and kidney beans.
  4. Some products are actually cheaper at whole foods than they are at other places. Some examples I’ve found:
    1. Bagged Salad – It’s always 1.99 at my store for baby arugula, baby spinach, mixed greens – any kind. That is much cheaper than the prices at regular grocery stores and they are organic!
    2. BabyBel Cheese – These are only $2.99 for a bag at my WF, which is much cheaper than other places.
    3. Canned Goods – Organic beans, canned tomatoes, and hearts of palm.
    4. Corn Tortillas – 79 cents for a bag – can’t beat that.
    5. Organic Bananas – They are the same price as regular bananas there – usually 69 cents a pound.
  5. OrganicDeals.com. Basically, this is a coupon site with lots of deals on organic products that you would find at health food stores. There is a specific part of the site that has deals by store, so in the Whole Foods Section of the site, they update it weekly with things that are on sale and then link to manufacturer’s coupons for the same products so you get super cheap deals. Stacy (who I learned about this site from!) got almond milk for 50 cents this week by using a coupon from the site on top of the sale price at the store!
  6. Buy Generic – the 365 Brand – You can find a lot of good deals on lots of store-brand products. Many of these products are organic, though some are not. A few of my personal favorites are the water crackers, organic cider vinegar, different types of flour, olive and canola oil, agave nectar, and frozen fruit.
  7. Go With a List – My plan of attack always includes walking in with a few things jotted down so that I don’t go completely crazy. Consult the online flyer, do a little meal planning, and then write a list. Always. Even if I just have “fruit” or “stuff for salad” on my list, that opens it up to shopping the produce section by what’s on sale. My strategy is usually to mostly stick to the list, and then allow an additional 3-4 things that catch my eye (but usually only things on sale because it hurts me to pay full price for things unless it’s a great bargain).
  8. Free Appetizer – Sample things around the store and it costs you nada! 🙂

Do you shop at Whole Foods? What are some of your strategies for shopping there without going broke? Are any of these tips new to you?

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