Monthly Archives: April 2015

Megan’s Mileage Challenge

Ok friends. Summer is coming, and I need a GOAL!! How about YOU? So, there are no prizes, just the fact that you’ll be even more awesome after 50 days!! Choose your goal – 150, 200, 250 miles in 50 days. ANY miles will work – walking, running, biking. And let’s count cardio classes like BBC or Shed of boxing for 3 miles (unless you actually log more miles in)!! Find a fun way to log your miles and let’s do this! We start Saturday, May 2nd to June 21 – the first day of summer! Who’s in?!

1

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Tempeh 3 Ways

 

IMG_2688IMG_2745

Okay, this stuff is my new obsession!!  Don’t know what tempeh is?  Let me help you out…

  • Tempeh

Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.

Sounds weird, right?  Well, it’s not.  It’s a great source of protein, and it happens to be super good for you, and it’s packed with nutrients.  Don’t believe me?  Google, my friends.  IMG_2666Google.

I’ve made it 3 ways and have consumed ALL of them and love them equally.  It all depends on what you’re in the mood for.  But, I’m telling you if you fed this to your children or a friend that’s anti-vegetarian, you would change some minds.  It just depends on what you’re craving, but I have one maple glazed, and two Asian inspired tempeh dishes.  Seriously, this stuff is TDF.  (To Die For.)  I made that up.  You’re welcome.  Let’s start at the top….

___________________________________________________________________

IMG_2688

Maple Glazed Tempeh with Baked Asparagus

The key to this one is in marinating the tempeh AND the “gravy” on top.  Simply delish!!  This would be a fabulous marinade/glaze for chicken as well.  I found this recipe on Meghan Telpner’s blog, but I made a few changes, but this was SO SO SO good!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package tempeh, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp gluten free flour
Getting the Marinade Ready
  • In a bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup,, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper
  • Add the tempeh to the bowl, stir and cover.
  • Let sit in the fridge for 2-24 hours, mixing occasionally.
DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Place marinated tempeh on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or so stirring occasionally
  • 5 minutes into baking, throw in your asparagus covered in olive oil and salt and pepper (I actually cooked it on the same sheet just beside the tempeh)
  • Depending on how done you want it – you might cook for longer, but mine was ready in about 20-30.
  • Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Place remaining sauce in a pan over medium heat.
  • Add flour and stir constantly to thicken.  Keep adding over head until desired consistency.  I added a little more maple syrup as well
  • Plate tempeh and scoop marinade/gravy over top as a sauce, or serve on greens or whole grain of choice.

IMG_2745

Stir Fried Broccoli and Tempeh

I was SO surprised at the flavor of this dish!!  It was super authentic and had such rich flavors to be so simple.  I found the original recipe on Saladmaster and just made a few adjustments.  I cooked everything together because of time (and because I don’t have a dishwasher!), but you might google for the original recipe to check out the original.

INGREDIENTS
SAUCE
  • 2 TBS water
  • 1/4 cup of coconut aminos
  • 1 TBS rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
TEMPEH
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 1-1/2 red pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sesame seeds (toasted) for garnish
DIRECTIONS
  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a skillet over medium heat until water sprinkled on skillet skitters and dissipates, approximately 5 minutes.  Cube the tempeh and throw it in!
  2. Rinse red pepper, broccoli; chop and put int he skillet. Salt and pepper to taste and place cover on top, slightly ajar. Cook vegetables for approximately 8-10 minutes, shaking skillet occasionally to evenly brown vegetables. Use turner to turn vegetables to ensure even browning.
  3. Cook tempeh in with the veggies turning occasionally so it is evenly browned on all sides.
  4. Top roasted vegetables and tempeh with sesame seeds and serve.

 

IMG_2666Asian Inspired Tempeh Over Pea Shoots and Quinoa

I kind of just made this one up!  A super simple sauté with some Asian flavors and BOOM – a super easy, light, tasty, beautiful, healthy dish!  Could I use more adjectives?  Probably, but I’ll spare you.  🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 tempeh patty
  • handful of pea shoots
  • quinoa cooked
  • coconut aminos
  • coconut oil
  • honey
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook your quinoa and set aside
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat with coconut oil.
  3. Saute the tempeh on both sides in the pan 3-5 minutes both sides and cover with salt and pepper.
  4. When your tempeh is browned, place over a bed of pea shoots and quinoa.  Douse with coconut aminos and drizzle with honey.

 

 

 

 

Race Day Ready – My Rain or Shine Checklist!

IMG_2770

 

This weekend is the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon, and once again – we are expecting to get rained on for the race.  Whether it rains or the sun is shining, it’s very important to have a few essentials, so I thought I’d remind you guys with a checklist of a few things to prep with the night before!

  • A HAT!!  If it’s raining – you’re going to want one FOR SURE to keep the rain out of your eyeballs.

 

  • Good running shoes that you’ve trained in.  It all starts from the feet so make sure your shoes are in good shape and ready to go.  If you’re thinking of doing a race and need some new kicks – go to Fleet Feet and they will get you sized up and ready to go!

 

  • Your outfit!  You want to make sure to have something that you’re comfortable in and that you’ve run in before.  I love Lululemon’s Speed Shorts and of course I have my awesome Fleet Feet racing jersey.  Girls – make sure you have a good, supportive bra!

 

  • Lube – speaking of bras… you’ll want to use some body glide ladies or vaseline around your bra line to help with chaffing.  Guys – lube up your nips or think about bandaids.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

 

  • Sunscreen – if you’re fair skinned or running the full – put some screen on ya!  You’ll be out there for a couple of hours regardless – if you’re running the half with waiting and after race activities – so protect your skin!

 

  • SocksBalega are my MOST favorite socks.  I also picked up a few pairs of these at Fleet Feet.  Nothing like a fresh new pair of socks!  Maybe you like compression socks, or whatever you like – just make sure you have some good ones and that you’re used to the way they feel.

 

  • GU – mucho important!  I choose Gu Energy because it’s easy to carry and access.  No chewing, just gulp it down and it’s great.  There are tons of great flavors out there.  Huma Chia gels are a really tasty choice as well.  I take a Gu every 5 miles to give me a little umph.

 

  • Race belt – This is a great choice, and I picked up a new one at the Expo today that has a waterproof pouch since we are expecting rain.  You can put your Gu’s in there, your phone, ID, money, it has a place for earphones to go through and you can attach your number to it as well.

 

  • Stash some cash! – For this race, the finish and start are not very close to each other, so you might want to stash some cash in a pocket or race belt in case you end up needing a cab ride, can’t get an uber, or you need a snack soon after the race (and the free snacks didn’t cut it).  It’s always good to have a little on you in case of an emergency.

 

  • Race number – get this guy in place as well as your chip the night before.  This will take a few minutes off of your prep time the morning of.

 

  • Rain jacket – I miiiiight have stopped off at the Lululemon table at the expo and made a few purchases.  One being a new rain jacket!!  Honestly, I don’t like running in the rain, especially if it’s cold in the am…so I treated myself to a new rain coat to run in.  If I don’t want it, I’ll just take it off and tie it around my waist.  This particular jacket also turns into a vest.  I obviously NEEDED it!!!  🙂

 

  • A new playlist – if you’re a runner that likes music – make yourself a new playlist of songs that you love or listen to an album that you’ve been wanting to hear.  I made an open playlist for my Vegas marathon and people added songs to it – which was so fun!!

 

  • A GREAT attitude – rain or shine, wear a smile on race day!  It’s a privilege to be able to run and cover this amount of distance.  All of your training and hard work will pay off when you cross that finish line!  Remember when you think you can’t go any further that you CAN.  Believe in yourself and you’ll get there!

Happy racing everyone!!  Have a great race!!!

 

From Open Heart Surgery to a Half Marathon – Elyssa Goldstein a True Inspiration!

photo 5-48My friend Elyssa had open heart surgery a little over a year ago, and this weekend I’m going to run the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon with her.  Wow.

I will never forget going to see her in the hospital…and as I walked in, she was in rehab on the treadmill walking about 1mph.  To see her go from being able to sprint 12.5mph at Barry’s Bootcamp to hardly being able to walk on the treadmill – was heartbreaking.  But I told her right then that she would be back to a 12.5 in no time, and believe me – she was.

Elyssa has been a pillar of strength over this last year enduring surgery, rehab, numerous medical visits and a 9 month deployment of her boyfriend Brian.  I have seen her heart sick, her heart broken, and her heart STRONG.  Her strength outweighs all of the others.  To see her in class these days – she is determined. focused and one of THE strongest to finish – Every. Single. Time.  I’m in awe of her strength watching her and seeing how far she’s come!

We won’t be out to break any records on Saturday. Sorry Fleet Feet – I won’t be racing this one… but I will be right beside a gal who has the strongest heart I know!  It will be an honor to cross the finish line with her!!

I wanted Elyssa to tell us a little more about her story, surgery, recovery and how fitness has played a role in how far she has come. She is now a Beachbody coach, and is continually inspiring others out there.  I know she’s inspired ME in a huge way.  Elyssa, I can’t wait to cross that finish line with you!  Seeing you come this far has been an incredible blessing!

I sent her some questions and here is what she had to say…

-Tell me about your sickness – how you felt, how you were diagnosed, and your surgery

 Its kind of crazy because I had felt a little sick for a few days before things drastically changed…I had been yawning a lot, not because I was tired, but more because I need more oxygen. It was bizarre and I didn’t think anything of it. I had also had a cough for about two weeks. I went to Barry’s on wednesday and noticed I had a harder time running than usual. I just chalked that up to my kind of cold symptoms. On Thursday morning when I went in to work I had the occupational health nurse take a look at my because I was having right sided chest/side pain. She said my lungs sounded clear, and that I might have pulled a muscle in my chest/side (which made sense after some of the moves we had done for chest day at Barry’s the day before) and she told me if my cough continued to come back and see her on MondayOn Thursday evening when I went to bed everything hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t lay flat. It literally felt like I had a ton of bricks on my chest. I couldn’t breath. So I propped myself up to sleep semi upright. When I woke up Friday morning it was worse. I couldn’t even take 3 steps without getting short of breath. I was breathing so heavy. I didn’t really want to go to the doctor but my friend insisted that we go. All that was done was a chest x-ray and I was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent home with antibiotics. Saturday I did not feel any better and was so upset because if you know me, you know I LOVE Keith Urban! He was playing at the Bridgestone Arena and I had had tickets for months (floor seats too!). I really just wanted to find a wheel chair and go (haha) but I knew I would be miserable and not able to enjoy it anyway. That night I coughed up blood as well. That scared me. I did some research and saw that it could be a symptom of pneumonia. So then I didn’t really think much else of it. Sunday morning…after two days of antibiotics, I woke up feeling worse, not better. I knew that something was wrong and that the antibiotics should have been working by now. I called my parents and talked to them for a bit about what to do…we decided I would go to the Vanderbilt ER. As soon as I got in the door and they did an EKG, saw how low my oxygen level was (it was in the low 80s for all of your medical people), and my heart rate was high. The EKG confirmed their suspisions for a pulmonary embolism (or PE) but they wanted to do a Cat Scan to be sure and see the size of it. Now I am a Cat Scan tech and we scan a bunch of these tests a day…usually about 3% are positive…As soon as I was back in the room from my scan the doctor was waiting for me to confirm the CT showed a massive PE. I asked him to show me and sure enough I saw it with my own eyes. I have been doing Cat Scans for 4 years and I had never seen a PE that big!! They began their workup and prepped me for the OR. I didn’t even know that going in and physically removing the clots was even an option when a PE was this bad. They informed me I would have to have open heart surgery (yes my heart was stopped and it is scary to even think about) and I was put on a by-pass machine. Within the hour I was up in the OR and undergoing the surgery. I remember the doctor calling my parents to let them know what was going on. I vaguely remember the disbelief as the doctor had to repeat to them over and over what was about to happen and what they had to do to save my life. My parents hopped in their car and left Pennsylvania that night and headed down to Nashville.  The surgery took about 4 hours. I am so thankful my sister was there with me every step of the way. I remember waking up after surgery, still intubated (had a breathing tube down my throat)…and the Super Bowl was on. I was trying to spell/sign to her “score” with my fingers…I wanted to know who was winning! Haha! Shortly after I woke up they pulled the breathing tube out. I do not remember much of the next 12-24 hours because of the heavy drugs they had me on, but I was transferred out of the ICU and to a step down room for the rest of my recovery in the hospital.

photo 1-147

photo 2-143

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-How did you feel after your surgery?

Surprisingly, while I was in the hospital it was not that bad, but they kept me pretty comfortable with medication. The day after surgery they try to get you up and moving to start inpatient cardiac rehab which consists of walking slowly on a treadmill with my chest tube still attached. Getting on that treadmill was harder on me emotionally than physically. 4 days because this surgery I was running a 6 and a half min mile and sprinting at a 12.5 on an incline (I was in the best running shape of my life)…now I was walking at a 0.8!! As I was stepping on the treadmill though with my back to the door I heard someone say that I had a visitor…I turn around and there stands Megan Conner…go figure my trainer would perfectly time her visit as I am getting on the treadmill!!! What are the odds?!

Starting outpatient rehab after I was discharged was difficult for me too. I cried the first time I stepped foot in that gym and had to discuss everything with the therapist. But I had faith that with time I could get back to where I was before  my surgery. Thankfully I met an amazing man, Brian Rulison, who helped me to push through rehab every day and was my biggest supporter! He came to rehab and doctors appointments with me. He met me in probably the worst time of my list and could have easily walked away because I just had so much going on and was not healthy to be able to go on “normal dates” and so on. But he stuck by me, supported me, and helped me through it every step of the way. Having him come into my lift when I needed him most was the biggest blessing I have ever experienced!photo 4-75

The physical pain I had after the surgery consisted of not being able to lay flat for a good two months after. And even once I started to lay flat it uncomfortable for while. I also lost all range of motion in my arms. For 8 weeks after surgery I could not lift more than 10lb. Every week after that I could add another 10lbs. But I could hardly raise my arms past my shoulders for the longest time.

photo 3-111

-What were your goals after surgery?

My goals after surgery were to get back into the shape I was in before surgery. I was in the best shape of my life before surgery and I wanted to get back there again! I also had a goal of running a half marathon in the fall. That ended up not happening. It took me longer than I had imagined or would have liked to fully recover, but I am doing a half marathon a little over a year later to celebrate how far I have come!

-How has fitness played a part in your life and through all of this?

Honestly, if I was not in good shape physically when I got sick I probably would have died. All of the doctors and nurses told me over and over again how lucky I am to have survived this. PE’s, especially of this magnitude are usually fatal. Had I been overweight, out of shape, and my heart not strong enough to handle the amount of physical strain that is endured for so long I probably would have had a different outcome.

-What are the most positive things that you’ve learned through all you’ve been through? 

So along with getting back in shape physically, I also knew that I was going to have to be really mindful of my diet and eating. I wasn’t going to be able to eat like I use to since my workouts were not as hard and I really needed to focus on portion control. I found a great program called the 21 day fix from Beachbody. It uses portion control containers that you use to mix and match and create meals. I fell in love with this program. After discovering this program and going through everything that I had I wanted to pay it forward and help other people. I did not want someone else to have a different outcome or be unable to undergo a life saving surgery because of their poor health. So I signed up to be a BeachBody coach. It has been the most positive and best decision of my life! I am surrounded my positive, like-minded people and I get to help people every day live happier and healthier lives. Nothing makes me happier than having a challenger message me their before and after pictures and results. Or telling me they are down X about of pounds or have lost X amount of inches! Seeing these peoples lives change for the better and they become more happy and confident in themselves in the most rewarding thing! I love that I have found a way to turn what happened to me in to something positive to help others! Being a coach as also helped me to hold myself accountable for getting back into the shape I was before surgery. It took about 12 months but by February/March 2015 I finally felt that I had gotten back in to that shape again! If anything I feel that I am actually stronger and faster now!

This is Megan again… 🙂  I just wanted to finish by saying –

I’m so grateful for this girl and her inspiration, her support while my boyfriend is overseas as well, her love and support that are just continuous and selfless.  Elyssa – here’s to many more years of 12.5’s, half marathons and more!!  

elyssaendorphins

Naturally Infused Summer Water

 

IMG_2707

This is such a fun, beautiful summer refresher!  Summer isn’t here yet, but some of these days feel like it, and as we all try to get our bikini bods ready, it’s important to eat and drink as naturally as possible.

These are perfect for a hot day, and fun to make with kids, for parties or just for an afternoon treat.  Get creative with the combos!  These 4 combinations are (from closest to farthest)

1.  Strawberry, Blackberry and Kiwi

2.  Lemon and Lime

3.  Raspberry and Blueberry

4.  Cucumber Mint

Simply take a mason jar, choose your fruit, veggies and/or herbs and place in the bottom.  Fill up the jar with filtered water and gently crush the fruit or veggies down into the water to release the juices.  Let sit overnight in the fridge.  Take out, add ice cubes if you want.  Enjoy!

Cake Batter Overnight Oats with Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

IMG_2691

IMG_2690

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean – read the title one more time and take it in…  I have to say – I had dessert for breakfast and I was NOT mad about it.  This is SO good, and a great breakfast, snack or dessert!  Obviously you can see by my anxious little toes that I couldn’t wait to get my spoon into this guy!!

This is so simple, and if you have a sweet tooth – it’s a perfect alternative and super tasty!  It’s full of protein and all good things!!  Try with or without the ice cream, and layering the oats and ice cream would be fabulous.  I just didn’t want to wash another dish – haha!  (I don’t have a dishwasher.)  The ice cream by itself is also a beautiful little treat.

I kind of threw all of this in and of course didn’t measure things, so have some fun – add more or less to your taste!

INGREDIENTS:
Oats:
  • 2/3 cup gluten free oats
  • 2/3 cup -1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp/dash of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 scoop of Cake Batter Protein Powder (I use Dymatize Iso-100)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
Banana Ice cream:
  • One banana frozen
  • 2 tbs (or more) cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS –

  1. Add in all of the ingredients for the oats, cover and let sit overnight.
  2. Freeze your banana and then cream it in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Add in the cocoa powder and boom – you have chocolate ice cream!
  3. You can make the ice cream in the morning and then layer it with the oats or simply add it in on the top like I did.  Don’t let the ice cream sit overnight in with the oats because it’ll turn to mush.
  4. Top with a sprinkle of coconut.

 

 

 

Homemade Granola

 

 

IMG_2565

So, yes, I’ve been MIA.  Like literally I was in MIA for a few days…  🙂 (Miami), but I really have been a little off the grid lately.  Not actually off the grid, but I haven’t been home enough to make much lately because I’ve been traveling so much.  (Not complaining!)

Let me just say – I have a new respect for people who travel a lot and who are active.  I managed to find a few lbs on my journeys… but I don’t regret one bite!  I also had a nasty little sinus infection which really pushed me back.  I literally couldn’t breathe enough to work out.  Not fun.  So, now that all of my excuses are out of the way and that I’m home –  I can share what I recently made and what I’m recently obsessed with…. HOMEMADE GRANOLA!!!

This is such a simple recipe, and the difference between store bought granola and this is like a billion percent.  The other awesome thing about homemade granola is that you can really put whatever you want in it!  So get creative with it – venture out and try some new things. Here’s what I went for…  (Also – this make a huuuuge batch, so cut it in half if you want a smaller serving.).   I found the original recipe on Food Network by Ina Garten, but made some adjustments to make it healthier.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 cups almonds
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup good honey
  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss the oats, coconut, cashews and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. This actually made so much, I used 2 cookie sheets for all of the granola.  Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add all of the dried fruit and mix well.  Store in an airtight container!