My Emergency Snack Kit

Some days man, I feel like an bottomless pit. Seriously no matter what I do, I am really hungry all day. This kind of sucks with the job I have, because if I’m not prepared with something, I won’t get to eat for a long time, and by the time I do, I am so hungry I stuff myself and then feel lethargic all day.

Whomp.

After a few weeks of this, I had to get smart, so I started bringing a snack bag both to work and with me in my car (so I have TWO snack bags!) so that I am never very far from something to eat. I waffled through a few different types of things to keep in there, and have finally found my perfect bag.

Something to hit each of my usual cravings without being too much.


The standard apple, Barney Butter snack pack, water and my new favorite granola bar: Go Macro.

I have eaten these bars in the past when I lived in Ithaca. I picked them up when they were on sale, and then rotated them in with the other bars I like. When I moved, I forgot about them as my grocery stores changed and I didn’t eat as many granola bars. Now that I like to have a few snacks each day, they have made a comeback.

Go Macro bars are nut-butter based, which is probably the most delicious way to make granola bars. The bars have super clean ingredients and no filler. Completely plant-based protein, raw, vegan and certified organic nutrition bar.


Essentially all the good things other than taste that matter to my ethical side.

I have had a great time trying each of the flavors (there are ten) and my favorite is definitely the sunflower butter bar. I am just a sucker for sunflower seeds and that delicious creamy spread. BONUS: sunflower seeds were recommended by my blood work from Inside Tracker.


Actually, all of the ingredients fit in somewhere with the foods I am trying to eat more of. They are also a higher caloric content, so I don’t have to add peanut butter on top or eat two of them. That’s kind of great!

Always having a snack has been crucial to having more energy, recovering from whatever I am doing and just making me feel better.

I just love these bars, I can’t wait to try them in my next long run or race.


Any other bars I should try?

I know my body

I am a few weeks into “non-training” and prioritizing the information given to me by Inside Tracker. The first two weeks were spent completely off movement outside of work. Then this past Sunday, I jumped into a local small trail race.


Race recap: it was fun, felt amazing and scratched my itch to get on some trails.

I haven’t run since then, but if the urge comes, I’ll take it outside for a few miles. Not training for me does not mean not running or moving. Not training means listening to what I want to do, keeping my HR pretty manageable and stopping if I’m not feeling it.

No workouts, no heavy breathing, all enjoyable.

What I’ve learned so far in this process is that I know my own body. I can hear what it’s telling me. I do not always listen, but I know what it is saying.


I was not afraid to run on Sunday because my intentions were pure enjoyment, I knew I would walk if I wanted to and I missed this small town trail scene. That’s exactly how the race turned out.

If I decide to run from now on, I’m confident I can handle it. Of course, I’m not planning any workouts or anything specific. Simply if the urge to run comes, I’ll go with it.

My life has slowed down considerably at work with the students gone. That is both a blessing for my body, and a curse for my mind. I get bored easily, but am trying to embrace the slowness. Being the social media manager has given me a creative outlet, while also allowing me to rest my legs. Check out the Instagram @strongheartsonthehill to see my work. You can also follow us on Facebook (shameless plug).

Do I still consider myself an athlete in this period? Hmm, I think yes because it keeps my eye on the eventual goal of training again when I want to. It helps me remember to foam roll, do some hip mobility, wear my recovery gear and eat properly. It also gives me confidence that running will not hurt me. I’ll be fine if I jog a few easy miles. Just not everyday.


I think I really freaked out a few weeks ago. I was over tired, stressed and wondering how to manage it all. Then I got bloodwork confirming that. I hadn’t been listening to my body. Instead of going completely nuts and calling my sister in the middle of the night, I should have done what I’ve been doing, took enough time off to want to run again and adjusted racing goals.

My future plans have a few races, but they are not goal oriented events. I have zero planned training, am going to show up at the race and just run. Not fast or go anaerobic, but just have fun. That’s how I started racing, and that’s how I want to do it right now.

Racing as a social event, not an opportunity to test myself or compete.

That actually sounds lovely!

I know my body. I’m listening to it.

The Changes I’ve Made Based on My Inside Tracker Results

Since getting my results from Inside Tracker, I’ve made a few changes in my daily life.

I had already decided to take a break from longer endurance exercise before I got the results, but my levels of testosterone and cortisol solidified this decision in my mind. Since that time, I’ve been doing more relaxing activities like reading, napping or working instead of running.

Read how I'm fixing my blood markers from @InsideTracker #themoreyouknow #bloodwork Click To Tweet

The first week was rough, because my job was crazy busy. It’s the nature of the beast. However, since I cut out the other strenuous activities, I found that even if I worked a 10 hour day, I generally felt pretty good. I got tired at the right times, didn’t feel like I needed to nap all the time and was more present at my job.

On the nutrition standpoint, I am starting with foods I can easily incorporate. I took the foods and thought up breakfasts and lunches where I could add them in.

For example, to improve my Vitamin D, I was instructed to increase my intake of mushrooms, soymilk, chocolate almond milk and toasted oat cereal (Cherrios).

To improve my inflammation from running, in addition to taking a much needed rest, I should include soybeans, chia seeds, avocado, edamame, various nuts, beans and quinoa.

To improve my iron and ferritin, I should include dark chocolate, spinach, beans, teff flour, amaranth and oats.

To improve my DHEAS (sex hormones), I should include dark chocolate, granola, nuts and avocado.

To improve my Vitamin B-12, I should include soymilk, chocolate almond milk, Cherrios, fiber cereal and rice milk.

From this data, an example day for me would be:

Breakfast: Cherrios with soy milk and peanut butter

[note, this is not Cherrios…but it’s pretty]

Lunch: Sandwich with avocado, mushrooms, hummus, spinach, oil-based dressing, tomato, sprouts and onions. Side of an orange or soup.


Snack: smoothie with spinach, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chocolate almond milk, almond butter and banana


Dinner: Bowl of rice, avocado, tofu, beans, roasted veggies, nutritional yeast, salsa and sunflower seeds. Side of veggies.


Dessert: Ideally I’d have dark chocolate, but I’ve been hitting the Oreo train hard recently, and a raw chia seed protein bar.

Some days, I don’t always do this, but I try. I try hard. This is important.


The first week, nothing really seemed to change and I was still exhausted most of the time. However, increasing my sleep and relaxation and incorporating these foods have begun to have a positive effect (duh.) I feel more positive in general. I’m not worried about injury (because I’m not running so who cares?). I have gone out to eat with friends more times this past week than in the past month. I am more present with others as I am not thinking about how to optimally rest/train. I feel more optimistic about my future as an athlete.

I’m letting myself heal. I am enjoying the process.

I can’t wait to get back out there, but you know, here is cool too 🙂

Ginger Penne

I recently re-read Matt Fitzgerald’s “New Rules of Marathon and Half Marathon Nutrition” book when I was in between finished my last novel (Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay–>great read!) and it snowing 2 feet therefore hindering my ability to get to the library.

I remember when I first read it, and thought it was really smart. It focuses on different principles encouraging whole foods and making fruits and vegetables the point focal point of each meal. I love how in the book he actually states and athlete can eat only vegetables and get ALL the nutrients they need to train appropriately.

Score one for the vegans!

However, I am a fan of pasta, rice and bread, so although I could fuel only on veggies, I don’t have to nor do I want to, so I don’t.

Today’s recipe is something I made up after browsing the internet and hobbling together the ingredients I had on hand. I usually do this type of thing for dinner now-a-days.

I make a big batch of a grain at the beginning of the week and eat it every night with a different sauce or different toppings. I usually make a single serving of a sauce fresh each night because I hate leftovers and can have something different everyday.

This is one such recipe.

Enjoy!


Ginger Penne

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 1Total:

You'll Need...

  • 1.5T sesame oil
  • 1/3 c red onions sliced
  • 3T soy sauce
  • 1T suga
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1t salt
  • 1T ginger powder
  • 1.5 cups cooked penne
  • 1/2 c sprouts
  • Tahini for drizzle

Directions

  1. Bring a sauce pan to medium heat and add oil.
  2. Saute the onions and garlic until translucent.
  3. Add in soy sauce, sugar, ginger and salt.
  4. Stir in sprouts and incorporate them into the sauce.
  5. Stir in penne until coated.
  6. Garnish with a drizzle of tahini

Why I’ve decided to work with Inside Tracker

There are things in life you can control and things you can’t. As a runner without the monetary access to state of the art facilities, coaches and chefs, it is important for me to optimize the opportunities I do have.

I know that one of the most important parts of training is diet and recovery. Diet in a sense that as an endurance athlete, I need to get in all the nutrients required for daily living…at a minimum. Let me explain this a bit. Rather than thinking about diet in terms of calories or macros, I think of it in nutrients. I must eat enough things and of diverse quality to get everything in. 100% of my daily recommendations for vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and the like.

Some days this bare minimum is 2,000 calories, some days it’s 5,000 calories, some days I get all the nutrients from 1,000 calories (when I’m eating nutrient dense, but calorically sparse foods like kale or spinach etc). However, just because I have all the nutrients in those calories does not mean I am done eating. Bare minimum means that I need to make sure I get in all the basic nutrients. The dessert I eat every night is the filler, the calories that make life fun, the emotional support I sometimes need and the calories that give me the energy to run everyday.

Basically what I am trying to say is it’s important to me to get in that base level of nutrients everyday.

In a long winded way, this brings me to Inside Tracker. I have wanted to get blood work done after my ultra season training simply because I knew I did damage, I just didn’t know how bad it was. Running 30+ miles is no joke to the body. Unfortunately, my insurance isn’t the greatest for this type of thing, so I decided to wait until I was done paying for school in July to get it done.

By chance, I was given the opportunity from Inside Tracker to get my blood taken and profiled for a bit less than my insurance. In addition to the niggles and slight injuries I’ve had this season and the fact that my emotions are all over the place, I was at a point where when they contacted me, I was very open.

I want to feel good again. All the time, not just here and there.

I am working on this psychologically, but I think that if Inside Tracker identifies a nutrient deficiency or something I can add to naturally feel better, I’m all for it.

Vegan. The elephant in this blog post.

I have made it no secret I think being vegan is an optimal way to live. I also admit that although I am a health coach, I do not know everything nor do I know what foods are perfect for my body. I know how I feel after eating certain things, but that’s about it. Using Inside Tracker will help me identify what foods will support me in both my vegan and athletic goals. I will take all their recommendations that follow an ethical vegan diet. I will stand by what I’ve always known to be true and that is I did not go vegan for health, I went vegan because I want to live my morals and ethics concerning non-violence, compassion and love toward all beings.

Today, as of writing this, I’ve had my blood draw and await the results.

Look for part 2 in the coming weeks.