Dirty Girl

Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza

I just had to laugh at this post by The T-Rex runner about how sick they are of seeing all the posts in social media about paleo, gluten-free, vegan, et al.

I’m right there with them.

I love a nice cold beer on a hot day. I savor an amazing slice of coal-fired pizza. (Especially if it’s from Black Sheep Pizza – also pictured above.) Gluten-free, unless you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, is just a fad.

It’s fitting that I ran across that post today. I recently joined up at Lifetime Fitness because I needed something to break up the life monotony of being in my house all the time. For that same reason, I got a 1 day/week membership at Coco Minneapolis to get me out of the house on a workday – and so I can go to the food trucks. The best part is that it’s an amazing space:

Co-working at CoCo Mpls

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

Not a bad view while working.

A photo posted by Carolyn Sonnek (@csonnek) on

Back when I worked downtown, I was OK doing my cross training workouts at home. Now, I’m *always* home and it’s slowly making me crazy. That combined with the desire to bump up my fitness level, I joined the gym. It’s close and they have great free group fitness classes*. Plus, my friend A who works for Lifetime tipped me off to a “free signup” weekend over the holiday weekend. No signup or processing fees – saved myself ~$150!

I did my free fitness assessment yesterday. A tool, I’m sure, to scare gullible people into purchasing personal training. When the nutritional part of the assessment came around, the trainer said that I don’t eat enough vegetables or protein and too many carbs and cheese.

No shit. I love cheese!

Yes, I can fit in more vegetables. In fact, that is one of my current goals. And protein? I’m pretty sure I don’t need as much as the trainer thinks I do – because their next point was to go down to the gym cafe/store and stock up on protein powders.

Um…no.

I think I also crushed the trainers happiness by telling her my goal was to improve my fitness and run times. “Not weight loss?” was the first thing out of her mouth after I said that. I said “sure, that would be great, but if I do the other things, the weight loss will naturally follow.” She then asked me if I “journaled my food” – i.e. calorie counting.

Sheesh.

I know I’m 40 and not skinny, but dieting/counting calories is the worst thing to do for someone who loves food. Because then I become obsessed with food and that’s all I can think about! Which makes me want to eat everything. EVERYTHING.

I’ll be more mindful of my portion sizes, because that is my downfall, but I’m not counting calories. Period.

Back to T-Rex’s post.

My favorite part of T-Rex’s post was this at the end:

So y’all, eat clean if you want. Be paleo. Don’t eat sugar by choice (GOD, WHY?). Go vegan. Only eat fish and things that are purple. I personally don’t care. But if you need me, I’ll be the girl with a craft beer in one hand and a cheeseburger in the other after every marathon, so don’t feel bad if you’re right there with me.

I know friends that have gone vegan and it was great for their health. I tried it, and couldn’t stick to it (cheese, y’all). For the most part, my goal is to eat vegetarian for breakfast and lunch, then dinner’s whatever I feel like making. If it’s a bacon cheeseburger or bratwurst, so be it.

So what I’m saying is: you eat what works for you and I’ll eat what works for me. Stop judging me! 😉

____
* – Did a kickboxing class on Monday. My arms FINALLY don’t hurt like a SOB. Goddamn. Now I’m taking an INSANITY class tonight…I think *I’M* insane! 😉

Ms. Magoo

I’m really nearsighted. So nearsighted that I joke that I wouldn’t be able to get out of the house without my glasses on!

Some call me “Ms. Magoo” after the Mr. Magoo cartoon character. Yes, it’s that bad.

I also have really dry eyes.

I discovered this about 15 years ago when I was a daily contact lens wearer and was experiencing double vision. Turns out wearing contacts – combined with a natural lack of tear production – was creating “dehydrated corneas”, which were causing the double vision.

Thus, I wear glasses all the time, and I wear contacts only when I’m doing sports activities.

The last time I had a fitting for contact lenses was approximately eight years ago and I had gotten down to the last pair of lenses in my box of “daily” wear lenses a few weeks ago. Since Tim expressed interest in getting contacts for running, I set up appointments for both of us to get fitted for lenses on the 4th.

Except I had an infection. In. My. EYES.

All I had been experiencing (I thought) was my seasonal allergies: dry, itchy eyes! How could I have an infection?

Anyhoo, he put me on an ocular antibiotic and told me that I couldn’t wear contact lenses until this clears up.

(Um…doesn’t he know I’m training for a triathlon?!?)

I was ordered to use the drops three times a day and come back in a week to get fitted for contacts. Over the past week I struggled running and biking with my regular, non-sports compatible prescription sunglasses. Not fun.

Fast forward to yesterday. The infection is only down about a third. A THIRD?!?

The treatment now – in addition to the continued contact lens ban – is using lubricating drops liberally throughout the day and he hopes (HOPES!??!) that it’ll clear up in two weeks. If not, he’s going to refer me to a corneal specialist to see why I continue to have an infection.

ARGH!!

If there are any of you out there reading this, please send healing vibes to not only get this infection licked but to allow me to not do a swim leg of a triathlon blind like Mr. Magoo!

* * * * *

In other news, I got a new pair of sunglasses! I’m so trendy…

Fixing Myself

the bike wok

I’m being slow in training for the triathlon. Slow as in “not training at all.”

I’ve been swimming a total of ONCE in the past two and a half weeks.

Still haven’t taken the bike out for a spin.

And I haven’t run more than 2.5 miles (and a run/walk at that!) at any given time.

I want to start pushing my training up to another level, but I can feel old, nagging injuries bugging me if I even try. Left hip flexor. Right piriformis. Left ankle still healing from that sprain two months ago.

Frustrating.

Plus, with so much stress going on at work, my diet has been TERRIBLE. Eating out a lot, not making healthy choices when we do, and drinking extra calories with the wine and beer I’ve been having with dinner. The stress is also wreaking havoc with my sleep patterns, which makes me tired and depressed.

Something has to change.

I know I hate the “counting calories” business, but I also need to start accounting for the fun sized Twix bars that I just mindlessly hoover in the afternoons (damn co-workers and their candy) and the glasses of wine I have in the evening. That’s a lot of calories that I’m not even thinking about. Calories that if I remove from my diet, I’ll drop some weight and make this training easier on me.

I’m going to use the My Fitness Pal site and Android app to keep track of what I’m eating and make a workout plan that I can (hopefully) stick with. The next two weeks are going to be HELL for making this change, but once I put my mind to something, gol’ darnit, I’m going to do it. I’m tired of feeling fat, old and unable to do the things I want to do with my life.

So there! 😛

I started going to my personal trainer’s “boot camp” class on Tuesday. It’s an hour-long circuit training class and I can still feel the burn today! I really, really wish my ankle would get back to normal so I can start hammering out walking lunges again. They hurt like a mother, but it’s the best thing to do for my hip flexor/piriformis issues.

Now the plan!

Here’s my workout plan for the next two weeks, starting on Sunday:

Tonight I’m going to do a short, two-mile run before Boot Camp, tomorrow night I’m going to shoot for a three-mile run (hopefully with Tim). Saturday we’re going to be busy hosting friends for a party we’ve been planning for a month. While I know I’m going to eat the bratwurst and the ice cream, I’m not going to overindulge.

BE STRONG.

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For those of you out there who know how to fix bikes, can you recommend a good, beginner level book to pick up? I’m mechanically inclined, so I’m not afraid of doing things myself, but I also need to know how to change a bike tire, swap out a new saddle and adjust my clipless pedals!

Thanks in advance!

Poop-Sicles

Now that I got your attention…I’m here to talk about food.

Specifically, eating healthier food.

Meredith over at Swim Bike Mom made a post today about she’s going to apply her triathlon training skills and determination to eating better.

As she put it, “Food is my fuel and I am filling my tank with poop-sicles.”

*snicker* Poop.

Ahem.

Back to food: the key will be slow, deliberate training on eating better. Celebrate the victories and don’t dwell on the failures.

BE STRONG.

I’m going to follow her lead and take things one meal at a time…and not dwell on the fact I ate fried Mahi-Mahi tacos off a food truck for lunch today instead of the Amy’s roasted vegetable tamale I brought. 😉

I do know what to eat and what not to eat; it all boils down to being lazy and complacent.

Moving to a new house – and relying on eating out and convenience foods for many meals in the week before and the weeks after – really did a number on my healthy cooking and eating habits. Again, that will change.

I didn’t run a half-marathon the first week I started training. I did a couple of miles and over time I worked up to that distance. Retraining my eating has to be the same way.

It’s a strange coincidence that Meredith and I both work in law firms and that we both have extremely stressful weeks coming up. Even more reason to be strong!

I think I can do this, though. It helps having someone go through it with you. 🙂

(Thanks for letting me piggyback on your post, M!)

Winter Colds

image

Despite my post about the flu shot and staying healthy this winter, I’ve already had my first illness of the season.

It was a short-lived 36-48 hour fever/sneezing/exhaustion illness that I can attribute to one thing:

SICK CO-WORKERS

That and I wasn’t super-vigilant with my clean hands/not touching my face plan. Well not anymore!

Since people aren’t willing to use a day or two to stay home, take care of themselves, and get over whatever bug is infecting them, they instead come to work and are sick for a week (or more!) and getting everyone around them sick.

The person that I’m pretty sure “shared” their germs with me is still sick and have yet to take a day off because of it. Now I took yesterday off and hit the Emergen-C hard, drank a lot of water and slept. Today, I’m back to normal. Well, “normal” as in “not sick.” 😉

To me, that extra day of PTO isn’t worth being sick for a week. Plus, it’s a bit rude to make all your co-workers sick, IMO!

Perhaps it’s just me.

* * * * *

I’ve discovered a new favorite tea: Tazo Thrive tea! It’s a blend of teas and botanicals, including: green Darjeeling and Mao Feng teas, green yerba mate, spearmint and green rooibos. It’s such a nice change from the normal green tea I’ve been drinking at work.

Happy Friday!

Meat Detox

Kusmi Tea: Detox

Over the weekend, Tim and I had a “cheat” night where we went out for our favorite tacos at our local Mexican restaurant. We normally get the “tacos de carne asada” which is simply marinated, grilled and finely diced skirt steak on three corn tortillas with pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa on the side. There’s also a side of refried beans, but I usually skip eating those.

In the grand scheme of Mexican food, these are pretty healthy: no cheese, no sour cream, no guacamole (although guac would be amazing!) and no flour tortillas.

But the next day and partially into Monday, we both felt blah. Lethargic. Bloated. Gross.

It’s amazing that it’s been a few weeks since we started focusing on eating less meat and one week of not eating any meat at all. Yet, our bodies have seemed to have adapted rapidly to this new diet and now any meat seems to make us feel lousy.

However, it’s quite possible that we always felt like that when we ate meat, but it’s only now that we’re noticing the effects!

It was also a long weekend of wine. Which has gotten me on the topic and research about detoxing.

Now I’m not talking about a detox in the sense that I’m going to drink cayenne lemon water for 5 days, I’m talking about just eliminating certain things from my diet and adding other things that will be of some benefit.

Leanne over at Healthful Pursuit has been posting on Facebook foods that help fight candida. Now being curious, I started reading up on what candida even was!

Yogurt!
Yogurt!

As a skeptic, I read everything I found with a grain of salt. However, if there is something to it, then it fits a lot of my symptoms of late. I’ve been having some digestive, joint, and “girl” issues and my normal remedies to alleviate these issues haven’t been working.

In the interests of science, I’m going to do a small experiment and eliminate or drastically reduce things that contribute to candida growth. I’m also going to eat yogurt for breakfast and take an acidophilus supplement – both with probiotic cultures which are combatants of candida. If I see results, then I might be onto something!

I’m also going to switch from coffee to green tea. I know I’ve tried to do it before, but I don’t think I was in the right place mentally to make the switch. I mean, if you would’ve asked me 6 months ago that I would be switching to a vegetarian diet, I would’ve called you crazy and taken another bite of my burger. Same thing with coffee. But, I just feel like it doesn’t have a place in my diet anymore, at least not on a daily basis. Drinking 3-4 large cups of coffee every day can’t be good for anyone, right?

But, that might be the least of my worries!

Turkey, A Perfect RecipeMy family has Thanksgiving this weekend, so this will be the first big test of our new vegetarian “not-a-diet.”

The turkey, the sausage dressing, the turkey gravy, meat trays, and so on. I come from a meat-eating family, heck, a meat-LOVING family, so there’s always a lot of it around! I’m always in charge of the crudites, so I’m going to ensure I have plenty of carrots, celery, cauliflower and cucumbers to munch on, along with the normal pickles and olives. I also need to come up with an alternative to the dressing, so I think I’ll pick up a package of Trader Joe’s cornbread stuffing and make it along with the other sides and also bring a big salad. More veggies!

What are your plans on keeping on your own personal health track this holiday season?

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In a shocking turn of events, I’m done Xmas shopping for Tim! Shocking because I typically don’t START shopping until the 2nd week of December! 🙂

A Weekend of New Things

Pink Leopard @ Mt. Fuji,  Uptown Minneapolis

It’s been a weekend of shaking things up!

I tried Qigong. Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. I picked up a DVD when I was replacing some long-lost favorite yoga DVDs.

I tried to get Tim to do yoga with me, but he had tendon replacement surgery in his right hand years ago and he can’t do a lot of poses that yoga requires (like downward dog) without a lot of pain. So, to give him the meditative benefits of yoga, I thought Qigong would be a good thing for us to try. I went through the first 5-10 minutes of the DVD before I did yoga and was pretty impressed. Might have to get him to do it with me tonight after my personal trainer session! 🙂

I discovered I love sushi. I’ve tried sushi before and hated it. What ended up being the case was the seaweed wrap on the sushi; I am not a fan. I’ve even tried the seaweed salad at my favorite Japanese restaurant and again, hated it. Which is sad because seaweed is FULL of nutrients!

Back to the sushi. We met our awesome friends for happy hour at a bar/restaurant nearby and had a great time. When it came time to decide where to go for dinner (we didn’t want to eat at the bar we were at), they all exclaimed they wanted sushi at the restaurant next door. Tim and I gave each other a nervous glance (Tim liked sushi as much as I did) and our friends said “they have other food too!”

Problem solved!

Except we were both feeling adventurous! 😉

So I ordered a small bowl of shrimp fried rice as my “just in case” dinner option and let our friends order for the table. I had sushi and sashimi and loved every bit of it! My new favorite rolls are the “Pink Leopard” (shown above) and the “Green Tea”. Both are wrapped in a soybean wrap and with no seaweed in sight!

We liked it so much, we considered going there for supper Sunday night! But clearer heads prevailed and we decided to go back later in the week! 🙂

Tim and I are going to become vegetarian (or even vegan). We watched most of the documentary “Forks Over Knives” Friday night and having seen “Food, Inc”, it just seems the right thing to do for our health. Also, since I’m a huge environmentalist, it just makes sense for the health of the planet.

I have a good friend who has been on a vegan diet for over a month now, and has been having fantastic results! This is a friend whose pastimes included curing meats (especially bacon!) and eating all things porcine. I’m going to interview him for the blog to get his story in the next week or two.

Yes, I know this flies in direct conflict with our new-found love of sushi. But, with any new process, it needs to be gradual: red meat first, then pork/chicken, then perhaps fish. We may just end up being pescetarians when this is all done. Which would let us continue to be sushi fanatics! 😀

What fun, new things did you do over the weekend?

Flu Shot: Yay Or Nay?

Flu Shot

There was an article on Minnesota Public Radio on October 25th regarding a new study from the University of Minnesota discovering that the flu shot is not as effective as previously thought. Most especially for the individuals that need it the most: the young and the elderly.

I can’t take the flu shot. It’s not because I have an egg allergy – the viruses in the vaccine are grown in eggs – but because I’m allergic to the preservative used in the shot. With my allergy to chemicals and man-made synthetics, I’m sure there’s a whole slew of things that I’ll react to!

Because of this allergy, the two times I got the flu shot, I was sicker than a dog and got the flu worse than I even thought possible!

Now, instead of getting the shot, I make sure I exercise, eat right and wash my hands often. Another thing I do is to not touch my face (i.e. eyes, nose and mouth) unless I’ve freshly washed my hands. Studies have shown that it’s not airborne contact that transmits flu and cold viruses/bacteria, but by physical transmission by touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which are gateways to your body for these germs.

Day 266 - Fresher's fluThus, if I need to itch my nose or something when I’m not sure of my hand’s cleanliness, I use a fresh tissue to do the itching/rubbing, then I dispose of the tissue.

Just by following these few things – healthy diet, exercise and awareness of not touching your face – will be a HUGE reduction in your risk of contracting the flu or the common cold.

It’s worked for me the past 7 years! 🙂

Now there are some people who seem to bathe themselves in hand sanitizer or use all anti-bacterial products (or both!) during the cold and flu season. I have a BIG problem with that.

If you’re continually stripping your hands/body of all germs, you will be negatively impacting your immune system, which is using germs to build up its own strength. To quote Dr. Oz:

Did you ever wonder why the kid that never played in the dirt seemed to get sick most often? If his body never got introduced to a germ then it’s very possible his body never learned how to defend itself from an invasion. And let’s be realistic, no matter how sterile you are, unless you are sanctioned in a specialized clean room, you are going to be exposed to germs. Your body needs to learn how to fight those intruders.

So, whether it’s gel or foam in a pump dispenser, squeeze bottle, or spray, instant hand sanitizer is great to have on hand for times when it is needed. However, you shouldn’t feel compelled to use it every time you walk past someone on the other side of the street. If you’ve been holding the hand rail at a movie theater and you’re getting ready to grab some popcorn, you may want to sanitize. But you probably don’t need it after every trip down the aisle in the grocery store. When you come home, wash your hands with soap and water and you’ll be as good as new.

Playing in the dirtAs a kid, I played in the dirt (and manure! (I grew up on a cattle farm.)) and I was never sick with colds or flu. The two times I remember being sick in school (K-12) was when I had the chicken pox in 2nd grade and pneumonia in 7th grade. Funny enough, the pneumonia was the first indication of my antibiotic allergy!

My dad is deathly allergic to penicillin, and as a precaution, none of us kids were given penicillin in case we too had the allergy. When I had pneumonia, they gave me sulfa. In turn, I broke out in CD-sized hives all over my body. Fast forward to now and there’s one antibiotic that I *can* take – amoxicillin – and even then I only take it when I absolutely NEED to take it, lest I get an immunity to it.

Anyway, back to keeping yourself healthy. The human body is a wonderful machine and if you keep it running right, it’ll fight of most viruses and infections. Save the medicines, anti-bacterial products, hand sanitizers, and antibiotics for when you REALLY need them.

How do you stay healthy during cold and flu season?

Are you a germaphobe or do you let your body fight your battles?

Will you get a flu shot? Why or why not?

The Paleo Diet

CBQ (28 of 46)Now before I get started, let me note that I am NOT a dietitian nor am I a doctor. This post is strictly opinion.

* * * * *

I was reading an article on the NPR blogs today about the paleo diet. In a nutshell, now that the population of the planet will tick over to 7 billion in a few days there are some that think that more people should follow this paleo diet because that’s what our ancestors did back in the Paleolithic Era and they were healthy, right?

To quote from Wikipedia, “[c]entered on commonly available modern foods, the ‘contemporary’ Paleolithic diet consists mainly of grass-fed pasture raised meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.”

Ok, getting rid of processed foods is a good thing. But I have a few issues with the diet, some rational and a few irrational:

Issues? Me? Read on, dear friends…

Weekend Recap

Finish Line

Health Kitten is now on Facebook! Please go “like” it and you’ll make me one happy kitten! 😀


As you know from my brief weekend post, I survived the 10k! In fact, I far exceeded my expectations on my time. It was a beautiful – but COLD – morning and there was a lot of awesome people lining the route cheering us on. At least that’s what it looked like while Lady Gaga was singing in my ears! 😉

I only had a few tiny twinges of pain in the problem area during the run – in which I immediately walked for 15-30 seconds then ran again – and after, my only sore spots have been my quads! So encouraging!!

I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow, but I think I’ll go for the “stress-reducing” kind instead of the “fix my injuries” kind. I think I earned it!


After a weekend of what I’m calling “Sausage Fest 2011,” there was little to no hope of a loss this week and in fact I was fearing a gain. Lucky for me, I’m sticking constant at 168.

*sigh*

To get off this constant, I’m going to need to make a change.

Phase one of my “Not-A-Diet” is going to revolve around upping my vegetable and fruit intake and reducing cheese. I’m going to try to get as many vegetarian meals in as I can and since apple season is still going strong, I’ll have no problem getting those fruits in!

I’m also going to restart the wine boycott as the week I tried cutting back turned out to be one of the most social, “let’s go out for cocktails” weeks in a long time! Now that this week is shaping up to be a quiet one, I’ll have better luck at sticking to it.

Here’s hoping it’s less stressful too!