Caffeine Question

Hi, My name is Beth and I am a caffeine addict. No, really.

I drink a lot of coffee. I usually have an XL coffee from Dunkin Donuts every morning, which is huge. I just checked the website and that is 24 oz – aka 4 6-oz cups. If i don’t grab that, I go to Starbucks and get a Venti Americano, which has not one, but FOUR shots of espresso. I never really gave it too much thought until this weekend when I was travelling back home from vacation.

Saturday was travel day, and I was on the phone with priceline.com for hours (another story for another day) so I just forgot to have any coffee. That coupled with me being sickish made for the worst headache ever on the plane ride. Being congested and flying are definitely not a good combo, but adding denying a coffee addict their fix on top of that makes it even worse.

On the weekends at home I usually make french press coffee, but on Sunday I was still getting back into the routine of things and had a lot of stuff to do around the house, so it slipped my mind. That afternoon I felt a headache coming on and it got BAD later at night. I had trouble falling asleep because it hurt so bad.

Come Monday, the line at Dunkin Donuts was far too long for me to wait on it, so I just went into work without coffee. Mid-day I felt a headache coming on, so I promptly went to Starbucks and got a grande Americano (only 3 shots of espresso) and the headache faded away before it even came on.

Then, I kinda freaked out. Coffee is supposed to be a pick-me-up and you should drink it because you enjoy it. That was what I told myself as I got an XL coffee day after day from Dunkin Donuts. Don’t get me wrong – I love drinking coffee. But, it seems its gotten to the point where I am drinking it to prevent a headache coming on more so than because I need a pick-me-up. Plus, on the mornings I haven’t had it, I haven’t been dragging or felt a lack of energy – I think working out and a healthy diet (and green monsters maybe!) have been helping in that department.

So, my point is, I think it’s time I start cutting back on coffee. Step one has been that I’ve started to order a large coffee at DD in the morning instead of an XL. I think I’m going to do that for 1-2 weeks and then switch to a medium, and see where it goes. I’m not against drinking coffee by any means, but the headaches kind of freaked me out a bit. I want to go back to the days of enjoying coffee and not worrying that if I miss my cup a terrible headache will set on…

How much coffee/tea do you drink a day? Have you ever noticed headaches when you don’t have your daily fix? How have you eased yourself off of it, if you’ve tried, or do you just accept having to drink it every day? I’m curious!

Vacation Recap

Back in DC after a looong day of traveling yesterday and finally getting settled enough to share some highlights from my trip! It was SO fun and went by far too quickly. We went to Vieques in Puerto Rico, which is a tiny island off the coast of Puerto Rico, one of the Spanish Virgin Islands. There were four couples in total and three kids, so we decided to rent a villa and ended up in Villa Uno which was amazing. I swear the pictures on the website don’t do it any justice. The house had 6 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, a pool, a ton of outside seating, and was located RIGHT on the beach. I ate a ton of delicious, fried food and indulged more than I intended to, but thats what vacations are for, right? Right.

We had trouble finding direct flights to San Juan from DCA so ended up laying over in Charlotte, NC. I had a bloody mary for my first vacation drink at the airport during our brief layover there.

And don’t mind my pasty white skin crying out for the sun while I sipped it 🙂

Once we got to San Juan, we realized everyone else was stuck there and couldn’t get to Vieques. We had to take a tiny puddle jumper plane from San Juan to the island, and it was rainy and miserable in San Juan so none of the planes were running! We ended up having to spend the night in San Juan and didn’t get to Vieques until Sunday. I had never been to San Juan before, so we went out to dinner with my sister and her husband in Old San Juan and had some great local food. I tried taking pictures but the lighting was so dim and they were turning out horrible, so I gave up. My sister used her points to get us rooms at the Sheraton which was SUCH a nice hotel.

There’s a look in our room. It was so fancy! After dinner we came home and played around in the casino downstairs. My boyfriend and I each lost $6 and then decided to call it quits. Woke up Sunday and actually managed to go the hotel gym before heading back the airport for round 2, which turned out to be my only run of the whole week.. ah well.

We got to the airport Sunday and the planes were running so we finally got to Vieques! The little puddle jumpers were SO scary to ride in because they are shaky and so small and i’m a pretty anxious traveler as it is. Here’s a picture of the plane we took:

They literally hold 9 passengers in total. Crazy! The weather was pretty miserable Sunday but that gave us a chance to unpack settle in, lay low, etc. We were told it would be raining all week so expectations were pretty low, but luckily, the weather shaped up on Monday and we were able to get to the beach! We rented cars to drive around the island because half of the island is Atlantic (where our villa was) and you have to go to the other side of the island for the Caribbean beaches, which are much brighter and calmer and just gorgeous.

We mostly did breakfast and lunches and home and dinners were half and half cooking and out. The food was actually pretty uninspiring at most of the restaurants we went to. It was very expensive, and nothing to write home about unfortunately. The best meals we had were the ones at home!

There was a docking area a few blocks from our villa that we could walk to where local fisherman came to sell their catches of the day. We went to check it out and they had just brought in some lobsters, so we decided to buy 4 large ones to make for dinner.

Doesn’t get much fresher than that! We kept them in the fridge to “chill them out” until it was time to make them for dinner. Here they are all ready for the boiling water 😉

After boiling them for 6-7 minutes, we severed the tails and cut them in half  to finish off in the oven.

We obviously doused them in butter after they came out of the oven and they were delicious. Maine lobster is definitely a bit sweeter than Caribbean lobster, but the texture is similar and there is a lot more meat in the Caribbean ones, so two people can easily share one if they are large. We made salt cod fritters and stir-fried veggies to go with the lobster, and it was an incredible meal.

One of the other awesome meals we had at home was rice and beans with tostones. Plantains are very common on the island (and in Puerto Rican cooking in general) and were easy to come by. I also happen to LOVE them so we had them most days we were there. Here’s a few photos of the meal:

Tostones, white rice with cilantro and jalapeno, homemade mango salsa, and black beans. The mango salsa is so easy to make and sooooo delicious. We make it at home a lot and it seemed quite appropriate for PR. It has chopped up mango, yellow bell pepper (or you can use red), red onion, lime juice, lots of cilantro, and salt. So easy and so good.

I was able to stay away from meat all vacation pretty easily, which I was happy about. If I could do it all again I would probably have picked a day or two to splurge instead of just slurging the whole time. (I say that now that I am home safe and don’t have to stick with that :P.) I ran at the hotel on Sunday and went kayaking twice for about 30-45 minutes. We also did a good amount of swimming and walking, but it was definitely an indulgent vacation but so fun and worth it.

DC’s weather is overcast and rainy and pretty cold so it’s been a little traumatic trying to adjust back to regular life. I am so glad we decided to come home on Saturday instead of Sunday so I had a day to just relax and catch up on things (grocery shop, clean up, unpack, etc). But going back to work tomorrow is going to be ROUGH.

I miss Vieques already!

Best Lunchbox Ever AND One Whole Year

As I’ve mentioned on here a few times, I bring my breakfast, lunch, and all my snacks with me to work. This allows me to eat healthy, save money, and not have to stay at work the extra 30 minutes because I eat lunch at my desk 😛

I was looking and looking for a lunchbox that would hold enough things, and I found the perfect one! It is stretchy material so it can stretch out to fit whatever you put in there, it zips shut, its insulated, AND it folds down flat once you’re done so you can just shove it in your purse/bag. Take a look at how much stuff I can fit in there. Here it is zipped shut after I just got to work:

And here is everything that was inside

A takeout container with black beans, the end of a bag of salad, a grapefruit, an apple, frozen oatmeal from Trader Joes, three clementines, a bag of green and red grapes (changing it up!) and a sweet potato. Crazy that that all fits in there! I got this lunch box at Target for just $10! Highly recommend it for those of you who bring your breakfast and/or lunch to work.

Be prepared, rare sappiness ahead..

While I was on the metro riding into work today, I was thinking about what I have to do at work today, and then I realized, it’s March 3! One year ago today I joined Weight Watchers and it has really changed my life. And, it has definitely been the best year of my life. I could go on and on about all the things that have changed, but let me spare you and just highlight a few.

  • I’ve lost over 50 pounds!
  • I started running and now love it and have completed six races!
  • I completely transformed my diet and exercise regimen
  • I have transitioned into a mostly whole foods diet
  • I work out 4-5 times a week and feel like something is missing if I don’t!
  • I have been able to save money because I bring my breakfast/lunch into work every day instead of buying out every day like I used to!
  • I can shop in any store I want to
  • I feel so much healthier
  • I am so much healthier

I think its easy to lose sight of all the changes you’ve made and give yourself a hard time about missing a workout or having a slip up, but sometimes it’s important to sit back and pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come. Sometimes. Over the last year, I have had more than my fair share of slip-ups and have eaten a lot of crap that I wish I hadn’t and felt guilty about the next day, but really, I have made some incredible changes in my life, and for today, I’m going to embrace them and be proud! =D

Love the Run You’re With 5k Race Recap

I’m done with my first race of 2010! And to be honest, it didn’t go as well as I was hoping. Next time I think it’s a good idea to try a newish activity the day before a race, remind me it’s not ;). I woke up this morning and my quads were so sore and after a few minutes I realized it’s probably because I decided to run on an incline yesterday on the treadmill. Because I didn’t want to go fast to loosen up, I was going at 5.6mph, which is a lot slower than I’m used to. It didn’t feel challenging enough, so I opted for the incline, but in retrospect, it probably would have been better just to go with the elliptical.

I woke up at 7:15am and made some coffee in the french press and frothed some skim milk. I gotta say that frothing the milk for my coffee makes such a huge difference in how much I enjoy it.. I really feel like I’m at a coffee shop but then I look around and realize I’m just in my apartment… sad story.

I even put a little pumpkin pie spice on top! For pre-race fuel, along with the coffee, I had:

1 Whole Wheat Thomas Bagel Thin with 1 tbsp almond butter and a sliced up banana. I ate it like a sandwich:

After having breakfast and coffee, I got into my gear and headed out the door!

It turned out to be way colder than I was expecting and even started flurrying. My friend was supposed to run it with me but bailed last minute, so I was there by myself which is always a little awkward when you have no one to talk to before or after the race! Then the race started and I just was not feeling that great during the run for some reason. Just one of those days, I guess, and my quads were really sore. I think I had put a lot of pressure on myself to go really fast so all the build up just didn’t pan out well. I just wanted the run to be over for most of the race. I much prefer enjoying the run while its going on.. maybe next time.

My official time was 28:50 which is a 9m17s pace, which is still pretty good for me, but not 27m48s like my treadmill 5k from Wednesday! They were giving away Coconut Waters after the race, so I grabbed… 4 🙂 I love free stuff, don’t hate.

I drank this and then had 3 clementines post race.

I tried unsuccessfully to get the skins off in one piece but failed 3x in a row. I still have a lot left in the bag so hopefully I’ll be able to prove my clementine peeling skills before the end of the bag.

I took a bubble bath and am now just having a relaxing Sunday. My quads are still really sore so I think I’m just going to take it easy for the rest of the day.

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