Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Additions

I won't be sharing any new recipes today (mainly because I'm on vacation with my family!), but I did want to share some things that I'm incorporating into my week more often. These things aren't anything new or mind-blowing, but simply things I recently rediscovered: green smoothies, Teavana tea, endurance fuel, weight lifting and candles. 

First of all, let's talk about green smoothies. It still amazes me how I can drink vegetables without tasting them. In most of my green smoothies I just use half a frozen banana and unsweetened almond milk and I stuff in a bunch of spinach and kale and I still can't taste the greens. Since the smoothie tastes sweet to me, why not drink my veggies more often? If you haven't had a green smoothie before, don't let the color or the fact that your drinking veggies scare you. If you make it right, your smoothie will still be sweet. For a good basic green smoothie try out this simple Green Kale Smoothie. From there you can start experimenting more by adding in different types of greens and other yellow fruits, such as mango, pineapple, etc.

Secondly, tea. I love coffee and love the social interactions that coffee provides, but about a year ago I stopped being able to tolerate a lot of caffeine. It makes my heart race and it keeps me from falling asleep at night. Not cool. I still occasionally drink coffee, but since I can't have it everyday I've had to rediscover tea. 

I grew up drinking tea...well, milk and sugar and a little tea. I became so used to having milk and sugar in my tea it was hard when I got older to drink it black. I don't think many teas are very good plain, but Teavana tea (while more expensive than simple tea bags) is amazing. It never leaves a weird aftertaste in your mouth like some tea can and there are so many flavors to choose from. It's an awesome way to start you day, especially if you love the though of having a warm drink first thing in the morning. 

Endurance fuel is next. While I honestly wish I didn't have to start using these things (it's a pride thing), I really think they will help me perform better on my long distance runs. I remember when I did my first triathlon (an Olympic distance) my friend had given me some electrolyte powder to put into one of my water bottles. During the bike I could really feel my legs beginning to tire, but as I began refueling with the electrolyte water my energy really increased.

In the same way, on longer runs I always start to tapper around mile 9 or so. This makes sense. I'm burning a lot of energy without consuming any energy. Our bodies need fuel to perform, so whether it's these hammer gel packets (which I tried out for the first time on my 10-mile run the other day), some Gatorade, or actually eating a small snack on endurance runs, I think I'll see a lot of improvement in my energy levels and speed.

Weight lifting is maybe the thing I'm most excited about out of these five topics. I tend to gravitate towards cardio workouts, but recently I've started to realized just how important aerobic exercise is as well. Improved bone density, better balance and higher metabolism are just a few of the benefits of weight lifting. I'm hoping that by lifting more weights my muscles will become stronger and that will help me speed up my running pace and have more strength to endure long runs. 

The last thing is a bit random, especially for a blog focused on healthy living, but candles have started to become a regular occurrence in my life. Just like food can be warming and comforting, so can a fragrant, flickering candle. Seriously though, candles really relax me and help me to sit and rest longer than I usually would. It's as if when I lite a candle I am committing to sitting and resting for a while instead of running around the house being productive. Rest is needed and candles help make that possible for me.

That's all folks! Merry Christmas!

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