Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Couscous. Who Knew?

Obviously I didn’t.

So I went out to lunch with a co-worker yesterday and ordered a kick ass salad for lunch. It had grilled chicken, mango, grapes, goat cheese, pecans, and couscous.

mango chix salad coastal flats

I devoured that salad like it was my last supper (it was really good!) and went about my business for the rest of the day.

Then…sometime later…it hit me. Gas pain. Massive bloating. That really uncomfortable feeling that I had before I gave up gluten. It lasted all night and all day today. I’m still feeling it. So I looked up the ingredients of the salad and Googled couscous.

A-HA! Couscous is made with WHEAT! What a dummy I am! I didn’t know.

But what I do know is that gluten was the only thing I’ve eliminated from my diet that seemed to make me feel better. And as soon as I ate it again-BAM! That gross feeling came back.

The description of my symptoms is not doing the way I feel justice. What I can tell you is that it’s not normal and I am glad to have found the source.  I’m grateful for that – living through Dennis’s Ulcerative Colitis has taught me that it can ALWAYS be worse.

Hope you’re all enjoying your week!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Beer surprise

I came home from work Friday and found two bottles of Green’s gluten free beer in the refrigerator. What a nice surprise from the bf. Since I was planning to run early on Saturday morning, I had to wait to try the beer, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

He picked out their Endeavor double dark beer and their triple blonde beer called Quest. I jumped at the dark beer first since I’m a dark beer kinda gal.

green's endeavor

Nothing will ever compare to my Guinness, Otter Creek Stovepipe porter or Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (to name a few of my favs) but this isn’t bad! Not that I need to drink beer, but it’s nice to know that being gluten free doesn’t mean I don’t have options. 

For those of you out there who might be gluten free and wondering what type of beer to try, this one is a must. It was very strong tasting. Bold, not watered down. You definitely could tell you’re drinking a beer. My only complaint is that the taste of the alcohol was a little strong, but it wasn’t really bad.

Maaan…why does the weekend have to go by so FAST?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Terrible 10

I had to take some time to clear my head before writing this post because it wouldn’t have been pretty if I hadn’t. I ran my last long run before the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on April 11, and I decided to go for the whole 10 miles. I figured it would be a good gauge of what to expect during the race. I also wanted to test my fuel intake. What I learned is that I have a few things to tweak to make my race successful.

I started out with my Liquid Carrot Cake smoothie, but I think I added too much to it.


I used a handful of baby carrots, 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1/4 cup Greek plain yogurt, 1 tbsp PB and 1 tbsp. flax.

I woke up kind of off. I’m always slow to start on Saturday mornings because I’m just so beat from the week before. I drank the entire smoothie (which I shouldn’t have—I think this was mistake #1) but I wanted to be sure I had enough calories. I packed a small baggie with a handful of raisins and some cashews to eat along the way and figured I’d drink Gatorade at the water stop to keep my electrolytes up.

Since I’ve been noticing slight fatigue after stopping too long at the water stations, I decided to hit it up on the way back. I figured if I made it to the halfway point without stopping  I wouldn’t feel so sluggish. WRONG.

The first five miles were OK. I didn’t feel bad, but I never really felt good. My stomach was pissed at me for drinking that entire smoothie so I was feeling a little sluggish to begin with.

I passed by the first water station at mile three feeling OK, and then ran by the station at mile 4 (where the food is.) This was so stupid of me because I didn’t take into account that it would be 6 miles before I got to stop for fuel. (we have stations at miles 3 and 4) So I ran the first 5 miles with no water or fuel. Dummy. And that’s when it hit me-at mile 5, I ran up a hill, turned around and a 70 year old guy (at least!) passed me. It was at the point where I realized I needed to eat something so I pulled out the raisins and cashews.

However, I was having a hard time eating them because I was breathing so hard. I thought I was going to choke. (mistake #2-no more chewable food while I’m running.) At this point, I hit the wall HARD. I was struggling and it took everything I had to make it to the water stop.

I got there, shoved the rest of the raisins in my mouth, grabbed some Gatorade, and kept going. I kept thinking that I was more than halfway there, and that at a worst case scenario I’d be done in 40 minutes.

Holy hell this was the worst 4 miles ever. I was just doing everything I could to keep myself from stopping. I seriously wanted to stop and beg for a ride back to the parking lot. Deep down inside I was cursing myself—why are you doing this? You don’t NEED to do this Nicole. You can stop right now and walk, it’s OK.

But I knew if I stopped, I’d be walking the rest of the way and that wasn’t an option for me. I didn’t want to be out there any longer than I needed to be, and shit, if I can’t finish this now, how the hell am I going to finish the race in 2 weeks? KEEP GOING NICOLE. Run slower if you have to, just DON’T STOP!

And then I was done. I was pissed, miserable, and relieved at the same time. I drank some more water, stretched, and was out of there before anyone had the chance to talk to me. I wasn’t feeling conversation, and if you know me, you know that’s not like me.

So what did I take out of this? A few things.

  1. I’m bringing honey sticks with me to the race to eat along the way.
  2. Fuel sooner
  3. Things change day by day. One day I’ll feel awesome and go out and run with an amazing time and no efforts, and the next day will feel like garbage. Last week I ran a 15K in 1:21. I felt awesome and was so excited about the race. Today, I was miserable and fighting with myself to continue. So setting a goal for myself is kind of silly since it can go either way.

My time? 10 miles, 1:31: 01

I am actually realizing I didn’t run as slow as I felt. I was too pissed to look at my splits before, but my slowest mile was 9:32 at mile 9. I swear I felt like I was running 11 minute miles.

Mile 1: 9:05 (it was cold so I started out not being able to feel my feet)
Mile 2: 8:47 (starting to warm up a little and feeling OK)
Mile 3: 8:55 (passed the first water station, starting to struggle but not too bad)
Mile 4: 8:46 (feeling OK and thinking I’m finally warming up)
Mile 5: 8:51 (passed by old guy and starting to feel like total garbage)
Mile 6: 9:14 (struggling. I mean, really struggling.)
Mile 7: 9:23 (still struggling. I wanted to die.)
Mile 8: 8:56 (picking it up a little but still struggling.)
Mile 9: 9:32 (omg one more mile left??)
Mile 10: 9:13 (Thank friggin GOD!)

I’ll be taking it easy for the next two weeks.

I think I really need to give myself some rest if I’m going to enjoy the Cherry Blossom run. How soon should I start to taper? And how should I taper? I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gluten free report: 1 month

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I gave up gluten! In the hopes of figuring out my chronic stomach issues (and everything else that came along with it) I realized that the one thing I hadn’t eliminated from my diet was gluten. So after a piece of really good homemade wheat bread made me so bloated I thought I was going to explode, my mind was made up: it’s time to make a change.

Honestly, I feel great. It’s been a struggle at times (everything has freakin gluten it!) but it’s taught me a whole new way of looking at food. It has kept me from eating so many things I otherwise wouldn’t have thought twice about (mainly the food that my co-workers bring in and demand I try) and I have learned to REALLY READ labels. My bloated feelings have gotten much better, and although I’m not 100% perfect yet, I definitely feel better.

Dennis and I have definitely found a way to make it work…he even drains my noodles before his when we have pasta for dinner, and he’s sure to keep his bread away from mine if he’s making garlic bread.

I feel very lucky to see such a large variety of gluten free products available on the market, but I have to admit, I really haven’t given up too much. A lot of the foods I was eating before are gluten free, so I just had to take my focus off of what I CAN’T eat onto what I CAN—and then I realized there was so much that I already WAS eating. Fruits, veggies, rice, soy, meats and fish, nuts, (thank GOD!) dairy, beans…starting to see a trend here? I also started realizing that finding alternatives at restaurants really isn’t as terrible as I thought it would be.

Some things kind of suck, like not being able to drink real beer or eat real bread, but it’s OK because I feel better. I’m looking forward to what month 2 will bring.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Out of commission

As much as I love the spring, I hate my allergies more. I’ve had a three day migraine that has knocked me on my ass.

Because of my migraine I missed brunch with Cat and Jess. Boo! I took my trusty Aleve Cold and Sinus which worked for half of the day Monday, and that allowed me continue with my morning workout. However, after lunch, I was done for.

I was in bed by 7:30 Monday night. I attempted the gym this morning but made it 8 minutes on the elliptical before I had to stop. I spent the rest of my morning avoiding as many people as I could and by lunch was finally able to speak.

So this is where I’ve disappeared to, just in case you were wondering.

I finally feel a little better. Not 100% but better.

Have you ever had a bad/rancid almond? Can they make you sick?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Green tea lattes and a 15K

Unsweetened soy green tea latte.

green tea latte

That’s my drink of choice at Starbucks. However, the locally owned coffee shop next to my building at work doesn’t serve it, so I don’t get it very often anymore. I’m in the process of making a deal with the owner to let me buy the matcha so he can make it for me.

Since Dennis "dared" me to stop drinking coffee, I really don't miss it as much as I thought I would. I've actually cut back on caffeine in general-except, of course, when I drink green tea. I treated myself to one today and it was so good. If you haven't tried one yet, you must. I like it much better with the soy than the milk, but I guess to each their own.

15K training run – 1:21:06

Today was an amazing day. 75 and sunny. I made sure to take full advantage by running a 15K with my running group.

I have to figure out what I’m going to do during the Cherry Blossom and 1/2 marathon because when I stop at the halfway point water stop, my legs get tired. I struggled for about a mile after the water stop and even though I started to feel a little better around mile 7, my pace dropped overall afterward. All they had for snacks at the water stop were cookies, so I loaded up with Gatorade. It definitely helped me get through the last half of my run but I worry it still might not be enough. When I ran the Boilermaker 15K last year, I ate a Goo packet at around mile 6, but it made me so sick. I’m thinking I might have to carry my own bottle filled with coconut water and also carry a little honey packet or something.

Do you stop and walk through the water stations or do you run through them? What kinds of fuel do you guys carry on your long runs?

I don’t like eating fake crap, so I think the coconut water and honey will be a good mix for me.

Tomorrow I’ll be driving up to Columbia, MD to meet Cat and Jess for brunch. I met them both at the Blog Summit in Boston last year before we moved down here.

me, jess and cat august

Jess is in town for the Fit Bloggin’ event in Baltimore and I’m so excited to see them both!

Enjoy your evening!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Enjoying the Madness

I knew running hills the day after doing 1000 lunges was going to be rough, but I really wanted to stick to my schedule and see what I could do. (OK maybe not 1000…but a lot.)

My day started at 2:00 a.m. when I woke up and spent the next 2 hours trying to fall back to sleep. I was WIDE AWAKE. I don’t know what happened-I passed out at 10 (I was exhausted!) and then Bam! Wide awake. When my alarm went off at 5:30 I was surprisingly refreshed, so I jumped right out of bed and headed out to the gym.

I started out with a 10 minute elliptical warm up, stretched my legs, and headed toward the dreadmill of hell for a 20 minutes “Pike’s Peak” workout. I set my workout to max out at level 5, and within the first 5 minutes I was already gasping for breath. Halfway through it I was wondering if I should stop and walk, but I kept thinking about the races I have planned this year and the hills that will come with it.

“Remember the Boilermaker 15K from last summer? Remember how hilly that race was? Remember the Rockville 10K you ran last fall and how that hill at the last part of the race kicked your ass? Yeah, that’s right. Suck it up Nicole, it’s only for 20 minutes!”

That got me through it. I keep having to remember that training runs are just that: training. I don’t need to run at any particular pace, I don’t need to beat any kind of goal, I just need to do it. Once I got that through my head, I was able to finish the 20 minutes and even add a few minutes more to the end for a cool down.

I’m actually surprised that I wasn’t very sore from yesterday’s crazy burpee workout. My legs are a little sore but my arms weren’t, and when I say I did at LEAST 50 push ups, I’m really not exaggerating that one. Maybe I’m getting stronger without even realizing it?

Then just after noon, the madness began.


My brackets are ALREADY screwed (Hey Jude, if you’re reading this, your Notre Dame Fighting Irish SUCK!!! I was so stupid to have any kind of faith in them!!)

Ehem…getting back my composure…

Do you love March Madness? Did you fill out your brackets? I love it. It’s just so exciting and so much fun to watch. I fill out my brackets every year and every year I lose (although last year I was 2 points away from winning the $1000 office pot.) Go ‘Cuse!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Working out with the boys


There are a couple of guys (and some of those being older men) that work out with me in the  morning. Lately, they’ve been doing some kind of weird strength training workouts involving lunges, interesting leg moves, a Step from step aerobics, and burpees. One day I asked them exactly what they were doing, and they told me it was a strength routine that the owner of the gym put together for them. They set up a circuit and do three sets of however many reps. They look really silly (especially when they’re doing the burpees!) but for some reason I was really intrigued.

It’s basically using your body to build strength, the gym owner (and trainer—he actually does these workouts too) told me. He said, “This kind of stuff would actually be really good for you with your running.”

Damn. He’s noticed that I’ve kind of eased up on my strength training since I’ve been running more. The guys told me it’s not as hard as I might think, and asked me to give it a try. “You’ll be fine,” they told me. “If you can run 10 miles, you can do this.”

HA! I smell a challenge going on, and I’m not one to turn down a challenge (feasible challenges anyway)

So today I prepared myself for a strength training workout with the boys. I started out with 20 minutes on the elliptical, stretched, and then we got down to business.

Now let me tell you—doing burpees is NOT attractive. But they are HARD AS HELL! I must have done about 50 pushups, as many burpees, and 100 lunges. Who says girls can’t hang?

I’ve really been wanting to get back into strength training again, and if there are other fools who are willing to look as stupid as I do doing burpees, then so be it. The more the merrier.

The workout took about 20 minutes and by the end I was sweaty and sore. Nice. The problem is that they only do these workouts on Wednesdays and Fridays, and since Saturdays are my long runs, I don’t think I should be doing this stuff on Fridays. I’m wondering if once a week would be enough to get any results?

Tomorrow is supposed to be my hill day. Let’s see how I feel.

Oh yeah, Happy St. Patty’s Day! No green beer for me, but I had green tea! Does that count?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Liquid carrot cake

I’ve tried the Green Monsters and I’ll be honest, they didn’t do me well. As much as I love spinach, it doesn’t really love me back. I drank them for a while last summer because I kept reading how awesome they were and how much energy my fellow bloggies were getting from them, but I had to stop. I’ve been trying to figure out what other kind of veggies I can add to my smoothies, and then it hit me: Carrots.

You have GOT to try this.


My liquid carrot cake consists of:

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 small carrots (not baby carrots!)
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp. coconut flakes
  • cinnamon



So good. Seriously. Try it NOW!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I hate that commercial!

That Filet-O-Fish commercial annoys the crap out of me. Seriously. I was minding my own business walking down the hallway at work and I heard the a vibrating noise…then the song…and a few people laughing. I turned around and it was a guy who actually had the song as his ringtone. I almost threw up.

That song sucks.

Anyway, I promised a review of my homemade coconut butter, and here it is.

I found it on HEAB’s blog. I knew I had to try it only because it is SO expensive to buy. It’s around $10 a jar!

Stage 1: Food processor

I measured out about 1 cup of  Organic Medium Shredded Unsweetened Coconut (thanks Dennis for running around Wegman’s to find this for me!) and put it in the food processor. I left it on for about 3 or 4 minutes.


Step 2: Coffee grinder

The consistency was still a little rough, so I thought the coffee grinder would help. It was the perfect machine for what I needed. I didn’t want to use the blender since I wasn’t making that much, so the coffee grinder was the perfect size.


I only had to blend it in the coffee grinder for a few seconds to get it to perfection.


Check it out. It’s smooth but still has a slight coconutty feel to it.


(In the jar) You ca see that it’s still a little smooth. What I liked about this was that it’s never too hard. I don’t need to warm it up or fight with it to get a spoonful of it out. It’s not too sweet, not too plain, and I think it’s actually BETTER than the Artisana coconut butter. I will be making it on my own from now on thank you very much.

I have to thank HEAB and CD for this recipe, but I also have to thank Dennis’s sister Chris for getting me on the coconut kick. I’ve always loved coconut, but when Dennis got sick a few years ago, Chris sent us a jar of organic raw coconut oil. She explained why it was good for us and that we should give it a try. Dennis hates coconut, so the jar was all mine. Ever since, I’ve used coconut oil over any other type of fat about 90% of the time. So when HEAB had a jar of coconut BUTTER on her blog I knew I had to try it. They are both very different but both oh-so-good. Yum.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Springing forward with Teff on the mind

Although I hate losing an hour of sleep, I love daylight savings time. Love it. I especially loved putting the clocks up when I was a bartender. Everyone would get so pissed that we were closing an hour early, but it was so worth it.

I fought the urge not to go back to sleep after feeding the cats this morning when I remembered I had something new to try for breakfast. Teff!

I read about Teff on HEAB’s blog a while back and have been anxiously waiting to try it. I came across it by accident yesterday and was so excited, I immediately sent her a text letting her know I found it. It took everything I had not to rip the bag open as soon when I got home from the store to try it. I know it might sound weird but I love hot cereals. Trying new things is so exciting for me, especially when I read so many great reviews from other people.

The consistency of Teff reminds me of Wheatena.


I used to eat it when I was a kid, so I was pretty excited to dive into this.

I cooked 1/4 cup Teff with 1 cup unsweetened soymilk, and added some cinnamon to flavor.



Then I mixed in a spoonful of Peanut Butter & Co.’s Cinnamon Raison Swirl. I don’t use this peanut butter very often because it’s so sweet but it’s really good in small doses.

My photos came out really crappy, so I borrowed the photo above to show you what it looks like. It’s very grainy, and it has a very unique flavor to it. It gets a thumbs up from me. My next experimental grain is definitely going to be millet.

Here are some other HEABified eats from the week: 


My friend Gina made me an awesome batch of hummus last week. It’s seriously the best hummus I’ve ever had. I’ve been making my way through the container since I already put in a request for more, but I was running out of ways to eat it. Until I remembered Humnut sauce.

IMG_0450  IMG_0451

You can read all about Humnut sauce here. This idea sounded very interesting to me when I first read Heather’s post about it. I steamed a package of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots (except I always take the carrots out and eat them raw while the other two are steaming because I don’t like cooked carrots) and topped them with 2 tbsp. of Gina’s amazing hummus and 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast mixed with a little water to thin, and a little bit of garlic powder. Underneath all those veggies is a cup of brown rice.

I also made my own coconut butter. But that is something I’ll save for tomorrow since I want to get my long run in before it starts pouring again.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another $20 wasted

Well folks, I wasted another co-pay visiting a doctor that told me exactly what I knew she was going to say: “You have IBS.”


I told her everything. All of my symptoms, everything about my past, about my eating habits, etc. The one thing I didn’t do was mention IBS. I was trying so hard to avoid using those three letters because I didn’t want her to throw it back at me. And I really don’t believe it’s IBS. (The symptoms of IBS are similar, but I don’t have many of the classic symptoms. IBS has a lot of the symptoms that Ulcerative Colitis have, but on a much less severe scale.)

I waited for 35 minutes to see her and was out of her office in 20. I KNEW this was going to happen.

She wrote me a prescription for some kind of med to help me with the symptoms, suggested I try it for 2 weeks and if it doesn’t work, I need to see a GI specialist.

I probably won’t take the meds since she said there were a lot of weird side-effects that come along with it (shocker) but I will take the Prevacid she prescribed for the massive heartburn I get. If I’m going to get any kind of relief from meds, I’ll take it from this for now. But there HAS to be a better way.

I also feel that doctors hate how much research we do on our symptoms. I really don’t think they like to be questioned. They’re the ones that went to school for this stuff, so who are we to walk in with ideas of our own?

I explained how my symptoms (which include ADD, type O blood, sinus issues, migraines, and my father had very similar issues with his stomach as well)  point to gluten allergies, but since I’m not a doctor, I don’t want to be the one to make that call. She just smiled and said, “It’s obvious that you do a lot of reading, but I still think it’s just an IBS issue.”

I’m very frustrated but I’m sure I’ll get to the bottom of it soon. Until I do, I will continue to be gluten free because right now it’s the only change I’ve made that has seemed to work, even if it is just a little bit.

On a happy note, I found some Teff today at Harris Teeter. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to try it. It’s another HEAB inspired idea and I’ll be writing ALL about it tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One step closer

So I finally made an appointment to see an internal doctor today on Friday. “Finally!” is what you’re probably thinking right? Well, truth be told, I really don’t like doctors.

Well, I wouldn’t say I don’t like them—I just don’t trust them. I just feel like they’re too quick to throw a name at whatever you might have wrong with you and try to medicate you rather than actually LISTENING to your problems and try to help you find the source.

True story: I had a primary doctor 5 years ago that tried to give me Prozac because I mentioned I was having a stressful day. I was a newspaper reporter at the time and yes, I was stressed by  my job at times … I had deadlines every day. But I loved the job and never felt overwhelmed about it—maybe about meeting a huge deadline or interviewing a political figure but never about the job itself. Anyway, he wrote me a prescription for Prozac and convinced me that it was OK to take it. Just because I’m a naturally high energy and anxious person does not mean I need to take meds (I never filled the prescription) This happened more than once, not just with this doctor and not just this situation.

I must admit that I’m also a little jaded after everything Dennis and I went through with his UC. I would just rather try to take care of things as naturally as possible, but since my stomach issues have been going on for … well … my entire life…I think it’s time to finally get some real answers. (FYI I have tried to get answers before but since it comes and goes my doctors never really paid too much attention to it)

So there you have it. I’m finally going to see a real live doctor on Friday and I’ll be sure to let you know all about it. 

I have been feeling slightly better since eating gluten free, and my face/skin is finally starting to clear up. It’s just been very frustrating trying to figure things out on my own. I’m ready for some answers. Real ones.

So one thing I’m wondering is if there is something I should be sure to mention or look for or ask about while I’m there. Sometimes I get nervous when I’m at my doctor appointments and I forget to mention things. Should I make a list? Should there be a list of questions I should ask? I just want to be sure I don’t get rushed out of another doctor’s office.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The importance of fuel

I know how important it is to fuel during long runs, but I was stupid today. My running group are an amazing group of people who provide snacks and water stations at the 3 and 4 mile point of our runs. (well just water and Gatorade at the 3 mile part, the snacks are at the 4 mile point) The problem is that there are mostly cookies and candy at these stations. Since I’m trying to stay away from gluten and I don’t want to eat gummy bears, I didn’t eat anything today. I don’t like the whole idea of eating processed sugars just to finish a run. It goes along with the whole I don’t want to eat shit just because I run a lot ideal that I’ve discussed before. I try to bring dried fruit with me but I forgot. So I didn’t eat anything at the mile 4 mark.

My plan was the run 9 miles today, but after I got to mile 5 I started to hit a wall. I was kicking myself for not grabbing something to eat at the water stop and my legs started to get really heavy.

Every step I took was a challenge. My legs were pissed at me. But I kept pushing on and I started thinking of things to get me through, reminding myself that it’s OK to slow down because after all, this is just a training run. I started thinking of Forrest Gump and how he just kept running and running…which kind of made me laugh. So I ran 8 miles instead of 9 and felt completely satisfied with that.

Time? 8.12 miles in 1:11:44, average pace 8:50.

I’m going to need to be sure to have a snack with me from now on so I don’t have to work so hard to finish my runs. I’d love to be able to run my 1/2 i under 2 hours but this might be a hard pace for me to keep for five more miles. However, I have time to get my time down and I have to remember to eat!

Oh, and did you know that the Olive Garden has a gluten free menu? I didn’t, and as we were running errands today, Dennis wanted to stop for some soup, salad and breadsticks. I don’t really care for chain restaurants but I know how much he loves that special. I figured I’d find something I could eat, and all I had to do was ask a few questions about breading on the chicken before the server brought out the gluten free menu. They bring food in specially from another kitchen and cook it to order. The server said that their chicken is coated in a light layer of flour and is already prepped beforehand. So it’s basically re-heated when you order it. Good to know.

Check it out:


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dessert on a whim

I’m not exactly sure what made me want to have dessert tonight since I haven’t really been feeling 100%, but I always have a sweet tooth after eating dinner. Since I’m trying to stay away from gluten, I don’t have many dessert choices in my house.

I took a banana, peanut butter, and some gluten free chocolate chips and made this:


I melted a tbsp of chocolate chips and spread it onto of the PB. The only problem was that it was too sweet; I think I used too much chocolate. But I think for a normal person, this would be perfect.


It was really good.

For dinner I made a grilled cheese sammich with garlic hummus and sprouts with steamed asparagus and a chopped tomato. I drizzled a tiny tiny bit of olive oil on the asparagus and tomato, and sprinkled some garlic powder on top.

IMG_0424  IMG_0425

I really really like this Food For Life Brown Rice Gluten Free bread.

Food for Life GF bread

If I find out that my problem is not a gluten issue, I will continue to buy this bread. I love how it’s sweetened with fruit juice. It’s really good. I’m a huge fan of the Food For Life products-mainly the Ezekiel line, so I’m really glad that this bread did not disappoint.

Team Challenge Update:

I know I’ve said it before, but the foam roller is an amazing little invention. After last Saturday’s 8 mile run with my running group, I started feeling a slight pain in my hip area (which I complained about a few weeks ago.) I took Sunday off and then Monday morning, I ran 5 miles. However, it was still bothering me toward the end of the run. So the trainer at my gym asks, “Well, have you ever used a foam roller?”
Why yes, I have actually! I just haven’t used it for this because I didn’t know exactly what to roll.

30 seconds later I was on the floor rolling the crap out of quads. I started by the hip and the worked my way down until I felt an area that was tight. Yup, that’s where it hurts…right in my middle outer quad area. It’s so strange how a tight muscle in the quad can cause pain in my hip.

Long story short, I’ve been using it every day and the pain is pretty much gone. The foam roller has cured my knee problem  (I was diagnosed with Patello-Femoral Syndrome in 1998, but found out last summer—11 years later—that my problem was a tight IT band. Read the recap on that here and here the people in Harvard’s athletic department are amazing) and now this mystery hip thing. Thank you foam roller!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chickpea curry love – Channa Masala

After experimenting with different dishes, I’ve found that my favorite Indian dishes are mostly vegetarian. I don’t know if it’s because I find that they’re not as heavy as others, but I fell in love with Channa Masala when I ordered it a few weeks ago from an Indian restaurant in Alexandria.

Channa Masala is chickpeas cooked with tomatoes, onions, ginger, and your typical Indian spices (tumeric, coriander, garam masala) and sometimes includes potatoes as well. I decided to try making it at home and I can’t believe how good (and easy to make) this is! And it’s gluten free!


Channa Masala – adapted from Cooking Light (obviously this is an Americanized version, but it’s still really freakin good)


  • 1 1/2  cups  fresh chickpeas (I used canned beans that I rinsed well to rid off the salt)
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 3/4  cup  organic vegetable broth (I used low sodium veggie broth)
  • 1/2  cup  chopped seeded tomato
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/8  teaspoon  garam masala (I’m fortunate enough to live in an area where they sell spices such as these, but you can always order these spices from places like Penzeys.com)


Sort and wash the chickpeas, and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above chickpeas; bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, cumin, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Add chickpeas, broth, and tomato; cook 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro and garam masala.

I served this with brown Jasmine rice. I really like brown jasmine rice because it doesn’t TASTE like brown rice, so you still get the authentic flavor with the all the health benefits of brown rice.


So good. I spent so many years of my life being scared of Indian food, and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long.