Month: February 2016

Sitting all day is the new smoking

The first time I walked past my co-workers office a year or so ago I knew immediately something was different, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. A second pass told me she had some strange contraption on her desk. After inquiring with her I learned that she was joining the Standing Desk Movement! I was really intrigued, but thought, a.) I could never do that [stand all day], and b.) could not afford it.

We have three kinds of people at my work.

* The standing desk types
* The ones that use exercise balls for chairs
* The rest of us who sit all day on regular chairs.

After another co-worker of mine joined the standing desk fad I grew increasingly more curious.

My back had been killing me, and I am incredibly inflexible to say the least. I am ALWAYS at my desk, and after some over the cubical banter about how sitting is the new smoking I began to question myself if maybe I too should join the movement.

I joked with my husband that Monday night last February (2015) that “half my co-workers” (two of them to be exact) now had standing desks, and how sitting was the new smoking, and being the health conscience person I was/am I found this absurd. My “goal in life” is to live until I’m 104. No – seriously… I have no idea why this particular number, but since a very young age I’ve wanted to live until I’m 104, so with the research out there stating that this sedentary life style (but wait I run… (sometimes…. occasionally) isn’t that good?

Research says no.

So after the last person set up their new standing desk I wanted one too on a day that I had terrible back pain, and fashioned my standing desk with a few boxes to see if I would like it.

For FIVE hours I worked like this and was instantly hooked. My handy husband had gotten off early due to a snow storm and told him that I desperately wanted one too, and could he maybe make me one? I was honestly hoping for a wooden box at most. I sent him some measurements, and what he spent the afternoon making me, made my heart swoon!

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My test run to see if I’d like it….

I had gotten home like usual and discovered my husband in the kitchen with a brand new saw working away like a busy bee!

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After using my standing desk for a year or so now… I would say I use it 70% of the time. There are certainly days where I want to wear my high heels and by 1pm my feet are SCREAMING at me. So then I just take everything down, and put my lifted desk on my back credenza and sit for the next week or so.

This model while 100% custom built does require about 5 minutes of arranging my desk when going between sitting and standing and vis- versa.. I don’t really mind though. I usually place my monitor(s) (I now have two) on the actual standing desk, as I forgot that I had placed them on the upper portion of my desk. I may have to go back to this as I’m running out of room with the two monitors!

Like Breanne (my super talented friend,blogger and co-worker), I also learned a few things.

  • My high heels aren’t always going to cut it! On these days I often resort back to sitting.
  • While taking a Twitter break – I can also take a 100-up break to improve on my running!
  • I notice that mundane things such as standing at an expo for 8 hours, or waiting in lines at Valley Fair are no longer painful since I’m quite used to standing now.
  • I feel overall healthier when standing.
  • Like Breanne, when walking to the printer, or kitchen for a refill on water I feel more power to just go.

So would I recommend a standing desk?

Absolutely! I feel personally, that it is beneficial to have the option to switch back to a sitting desk. There are days that I just want to sit. Call it old habits, or laziness, but there are just days that I’m going to be more productive sitting down.

I just put my desk back to standing? Perhaps I’ll try to streak from now through April! We shall see, but either way… if you have the option to get up… stand up… I highly encourage you to try!

Eat your heart out diet

I had found this cleanse/diet on Pinterest several weeks ago, and I thought – It sounded so crazy that I had to try it!

While it does promise to help you loose weight fast – I was using it more as a cleanse and a jump start to healthier eating.

Currently two of my co-workers are on the Whole 30 Diet, and many others are making healthy choices as well, so I started feeling a little with  guilty as I shoved my face full of tacos at warp speed and so much pasta and rice that could feed a whole slew of marathon runners.

While I would never consider myself “old” my metabolism has definitely slowed down to a snails pace… and while I wouldn’t consider myself “fat” I could definitely tell you that I could be more toned… so here I am jumping in with two feet.

Day One – Only fruit.
So far, this day has been easier than I thought considering I’m not a fruit person. I actually tried to do this cleanse a few weeks ago, but didn’t plan well enough so I ended up with fruits I barely like (sorry melons) so I grew bored and tired very quickly and quit by dinner time.

I did have some coffee with a tiny bit of creamer today, but wanted to avoid the inevitable headache that would come without. So – I figure I’ll slowly wean myself off that too.

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Lunch included heated apples in cinnamon and nutmeg, and some starfruit with crushed pepper on it.

 

For dinner I was dying for something more savory. So I scoured Pinterest with sadly no ideas. For some reason however the spice Curry and Cumin kept coming to mind… so I peeled and chopped up some apple, and sautéed with a tiny drizzle of olive oil, and a bit of cumin and curry, topped again with a tiny drizzle of sesame oil and some crushed red pepper!

Not even kidding…its delicious. I would definitely make this again with some chicken next time!

After dinner I was still a bit hungry so I made a smoothie with two oranges, strawberries, grapes, and a kiwi. It was so good, reminded me of a dreamsicle. I can’t wait to have this again on day three!

Later on in the evening by 8:30-9:00 p.m. I was dreaming of cookies, and crackers, and OMG – I was going to raid my pantry… but instead I went to bed and checked some Twitter!

Day Two – Veggie Day + a potato with butter?
Well let me tell you! Today was SIGNIFICANTLY more exciting than yesterday! Yesterday I felt like I had been eating candy ALL day long, so I was very happy and excited to switch over to veggies since I love nearly all of them.

I actually took no photos today – which is odd… but I’ll recap.

For Breakfast I had some spaghetti Squash that I had made the night before, and topped with a little seasoning (which is allowed). It was surprisingly filling, and delicious.

Lunch was some more spaghetti squash with Japanese stir fry vegetables, with the slightest sprittzle of sesame oil, and crushed red peppers. This too was actually quite good and left me feeling satisfied.

For dinner – we had tacos. I made my tacos with bib lettuce as the shell, and added on tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeños and La Victoria taco sauce. I looked on with sheer envy about the cheese. I realized out of all things taco… the cheese is my kryptonite.

After dinner I had my potato, and then made rutabaga fries. I’m feeling full tonight, and my crazy passion for raiding the pantry has left me.

Day Three – Veggies + Fruit (no potato)
Today went really really well! For breakfast I enjoyed some BLACK coffee and some grapes.

Lunch I had spaghetti squash and stir fried vegetables

Dinner I made up some pineapple cauliflower fried rice! It was absolutely amazing, and with some chicken & eggs I’d absolutely make that again and again!

I was so full that I didn’t even have an evening snack.

Day Four – Banana’s + Milk (I told you it sounded crazy)
I had been dreading this day since the inception of this crazy adventure. I mean… I like bananas… but ALL DAY? Common!

Strangely though, I felt rather satisfied! I had two bananas early in the day and 3 cups of milk. I was feeling pretty darn well.

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Then I was sharing this crazy diet/cleanse with a co-worker and she let me know about one ingredient banana pancakes and ice cream, but I couldn’t find it online or on Pinterest. Everything  required eggs too. I was feeling annoyed and demoralized! This diet could not be healthy!!!

I finally gave in and straight up quit the craziness on the spot!

After contemplation I decided I would implement a paleo-esque, PFC approach to eating.

For dinner I had some quesadillas, but made with corn shells NOT drenched in canola oil. Yes. I had cheese… that’s why I call it paleo-esque!

Day Five – Chicken + Tomatoes

Breakfast:Had some grapes. I failed at adding any protien or fat on this go -round :(

Lunch: Had a “taco” salad. Lettuce, black beans (I know… not paleo), tomato, onion, jalapeno, and La Victoria taco sauce which IMHO is very good/healthy!

Dinner: For dinner I made banana pancakes and some chicken sausage! Oh my word to have some REAL PROTIEN!!!!!! To make the banana pancakes it takes one banana and two eggs.

I did find they were very difficult to “flip” but they did taste just like banana bread… so that was delicious!

Day Six – Chicken + Veggies

Breakfast: Very sadly missed breakfast as I had to work. Had plain black coffee.

Lunch: Quesadilla (same as day 4 dinner). YES I KNOW. Not a strict paleo. 🙂

Dinner: Tacos, pulled pork, serrano peppers, onions, and cilantro! YUM!

Day Seven – Miracle Soup 

 

In Summation

Firstly, did I loose the weight? Well… actually I have no idea… I did weigh myself mid-week and had lost 3lbs, but I believe that to be all water weight. I haven’t weighted myself since, and don’t plan to for a while. To me, it wasn’t about the weight. It was about feeling better.

Though in my mind I knew I could do it… I really couldn’t believe I didn’t eat any junk food (which had quite frankly probably gotten out of hand at work), any grains, or overly processed dairy  for four days(see ya soon Cheese). 

It taught me a lot about my actual needs, and what I crave, and when I crave it.

I’ve hardly had any heartburn, which I usually have quite regularly… so perhaps this has something to do with bread/pasta or something in a processed food, since I regularly drench  my food in crushed red pepper, and still have tomatoes with no effect.

Where from here you may ask? While I won’t lead it strictly (because… um hello Cheese… and hello corn shell tortillas, and hello wine….) I plan to go mostly Paleo/paleo-esque as I’d like to call it. As of February 8th, I’ve been creamer free in my coffee drinking only BLACK coffee…. and have enjoyed very little wheat products…  I mostly plan to eat meat, veggies & fruits with few grains or dairy…. We shall see how this goes, and I will check in from time to time. I’d really like to give it a go for the long haul to see what kind of long term results will ensue.

I don’t plan on ever repeating the original ‘diet/cleanse’. I think its absolute RUBBISH to avoid healthy fats and protiens for an entire week. I was basically getting all of my calories from SUGAR and that’s what broke me on day 4. The sheer insanity of it!

I couldn’t believe I had hardly any protein or fat for four days, and I really don’t believe in eliminating macro-nutrients from my diet.

I found that I can create really unique dishes or combinations I would have never thought of! One of my new favorites is Star fruit and hot cayenne pepper…. and apples lightly sauteed in EVOO with some curry and cumin! I’ll for sure make that again but with some chicken and onion!!! WOAH!

I will replace cauliflower rice for regular rice as I absolutely loved my tropical fried “rice” i had made, and will really read the labels on my sauces. If I have “pasta” I will try to use spaghetti squash or zoodles which are to die for by the way!!!

While I’m sure I’ll slip up from time to time, or indulge here and there, I plan to follow an 80/20 rule as much as possible. Eat this way 80% of the time, and if there is a meal or two, or snack that contains dairy, or wheat, or rotten ingredients  – so be it.

I’m still going to live life… but try through a healthier lens to eating!

Winter Running

Last October I thought it would be absolutely brilliant to sign up for the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon up in Duluth Minnesota.

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Aerial lift bridge in Duluth Minnesota, photo curtesy of A Lake Superior Fishing Charter

Of course, now that winter has come full on fierce, full on Minnesota style with 8 inches of fresh snow dropped on us and I actually need to start practicing for this race I find myself realizing… I need to do winter running.

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Truth be told. I’ve been a HUGE baby in this. Up until last week I did not run outside once since the temps dropped and the flakes started flying back in the beginning December! The run went okay, but it was cold, and though I was well dressed…. I kind of [gasp] missed the treadmill.

I am such a fair weathered runner, which is why I’ve been mostly sticking to my plan of running on the treadmill, which has mostly paid off.

In fact – this past Sunday I ran 5 miles on the treadmill and it went wonderfully. There are a large set of treadmills at Life Time Fitness where you can choose your location be it, Southern or Northern New Zealand, Germany, California, or the Grand Canyon Basin and area.

Its a virtual experience which really kind of makes you believe you are running outdoors. Never once did I think I’d ever love running on a treadmill, but here I am, running 4 times per week on one!

In the past I’ve absolutely despised running on the treadmill. Just running 0.5 miles was like pure torture. I tried putting a magazine up, watching the TVs, or putting a towel over the display to keep my mind away from every tenth mile passing by, but since I’ve discovered the virtual run treadmills I’ve been absolutely hooked!

I’ve been following my plan which is :

January (1-2 Miles, four times per week)
February (3-4 Miles, on the weekend, with two miles mid-week)
March (5-6 Miles, on the weekend with two-three miles mid-week)
April (7-8 Miles, on the weekend with three-four miles mid-week)
May (8-9 Miles, on the weekend with three-four miles mid-week)
June 10-12 Miles, on the weekend, with four – five miles mid-week)

So I’m all ready ahead of schedule. Perhaps it was the excitement, or the fun of my virtual experience, or reaching my daily steps by 10am, but once I reached my three mile mark, I kind of just kept going. I was exploring Germany and loving it.

So – what are your tricks to running in the winter months? Do you like running outside, or on the treadmill? If you run outside – what are your ways to cope? If you run on the treadmill – how do you cope?

 

Countdown to Valentines Day

Valentines Day is just around the corner, and if I’m completely honest, I absolutely love this holiday! My husband and I rarely if ever go out for any kind of fancy dinner nor do we exchange gifts on this date. Maybe its the hearts or the sea of pink red and white, but this holiday stirs up in me all that is good.

With 10 days to go, I’ve been looking at what we are actually celebrating – Love.
Paul speaks a whole bunch to this in 1 Corinthians 13. We’ve all heard it at weddings, and truth be told, maybe glossed over what it all really means.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Of course we could be talking about a romantic love, but if you read through the book of Corinthians the reader isn’t even addressing a romantic love, but an attitude in general we can all embrace.

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Gift my daughter is giving her teacher

Lately when coming across this passage I substitute my own name for the word [love]. So – between now and Valentines Day I would like to take pause, and strive to dive deeper and unpack these verses like a little fortune cookie and list a few practical ways I could live them out.

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Valentine’s my daughter is passing out at class

1. Love is patient and kind. – Thursday February 4
Today I seek to not let the small stuff bother me, and speak with soft words. Now that my daughter eats breakfast at school our mornings are generally less hectic, but I still get impatient with her trying to get on her tights, or if the dogs are going bonkers crazy in the morning because they’ve been cooped up in the crate all night. I seek today – to have a better understanding of all needs, and speak with a more kind spirit.

2. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. – Friday February 5
Man do I love to share (verbally) and when someone shares something about themselves I usually am thinking of something similar that happened to me. And instinctively I usually share my similar circumstance… What I am doing is taking away the speakers glory and being boastful and proud of my own. Conversation is great, but interjecting more often then not is not always required. God gave me one mouth and two ears. On this day I seek to listen more, and speak less.

3. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking – Saturday February 6
I really like getting my own way. Pride overtakes me and convinces me that my way is better, or sometimes do things for my own benefit. On this day, I will look at ways to reach out to others with no agenda of my own.

4. It is not easily angered- Sunday February 7
Today is Super Bowl Sunday! I could let all kinds of things irritate me today. The fact that I plan to cook Venison Bourguignon, which takes all day to make, or the game itself may cause me irritation, or the piles of laundry, or anything. On this day – I will seek to find gratitude in everything I do.

5. It keeps no record of wrongs. – Monday February 8
Without being prideful, I would say I am generally pretty good about not keeping records. I do however let my daughters past mistakes or behaviors shape my attitude how she will be the next time.

6. It does not delight in wrongdoings, but rejoices with the truth.  – Tuesday February 9
As a Christian, I should never rejoice when an injustice has been done, or brush it aside, but conversely I should rejoice when virtues ring out, and when truth is spoken. I would like to look for the true truth in things, and not just go with what is always popular.

7. Love always protects – Wednesday February 10
Sometimes I just give up. After so many attempts its easy to become discouraged. Maybe I slip back into old habits, or my prayer life isn’t as dynamic as it once was. Maybe for you – you’ve been praying and praying for something every day and you have yet to see its completion. But God promises that, “He who began a good work in you WILL see it to completion”. So on this day – even when I feel like the odds are stacked against me – I won’t give up.

8. Never loses faith – Thursday February 11
Even after my father died so suddenly – I did not lose faith. That’s because my house of faith in God is build on a rock,a solid foundation, and not built in haste in the sand. Similarly, build relationships on solid rocks so that they too can stand the tests of time.

9. Love is always hopeful- Friday February 12
Sometimes in the world around me its easy to lose hope. Just take one look at the presidential campaign on either side, ISIS, growing tensions with Russia, and other countries, or just even in my every day walk. – Paul tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6.

10. Endures through every circumstance. – Saturday February 13
If the time has not come for you when the proverbial crap has hit the proverbial fan… it will. And when that time comes, trust that God will be there right with you to the very end of it. He will not leave you or forsake you. If Paul didn’t write this down in his letter to the Romans, I may have come to the same conclusion myself, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39