Category Archives: fit tip

Pasta Makes Me Tired {and other sad food truths}

Sad, but true.

Pasta makes me very very tired.

I discovered this sad food truth after an unintended break from pasta. One evening, short on ideas for dinner, I had a big plate of spaghetti. Within a half hour I was in a pasta coma on the couch. The revelation hit me hard: wow! pasta makes me very very tired. I began to wonder – what other foods are killing my game?

Why do I always feel like I need a nap at 1? Why am I sluggish all afternoon?

The culprit? Processed foods made with white flour. It’s foods that burn quickly, have close to zero nutritional value, and contain sugar – anything that comes in a package, tube, box, or shiny wrapper.


In high school, pasta was the superfood. We ate it daily, carbo-loaded on it before cross-country meets, soccer games, and track meets. Turns out, maybe I could have run faster on vegetables.

Through much trial and error, I know what superfoods work for ME (and I think it varies much for every individual.) I still drink lots of milk, eat yogurt, cheese, beans and lentils, and I’m definitely a carnivore. My body has no problem processing gluten, although guess what else makes me tired? Lots of bread.

Out our the bagels, waffles, pancakes, most cereals, and doughnuts for breakfast. Why? Because I need at nap by 9am! I become so, so tired. Do you ever have that brain foggy feeling after eating these types of food? It’s the sugar and cheap white flour (yes! it’s in all of the above!)

So I have a few food guidelines I try to live by:

  1. Avoid sugar. (It’s in¬†everything packaged and processed.)
  2. Avoid processed food. (Because sugar.)
  3. Eat real food that comes from the ground.
  4. Loads of vegetables at every meal.
  5. That’s it.

Man, when I live by the above rules I feel like a superstar.

Really, I think it’s that simple.

It’s that simple and it’s that hard. I break this rule almost daily. Because…sugar! I love chocolate cake, and well, desserts in general. I love bread, pasta, pancakes, waffles, and doughnuts. But I know I don’t feel well when I eat them.

So, I try to limit treat consumption to one a day, sometime after dinner. Just a little. Not too much.

Moderation, I believe, is overrated. Many, many times, an all or nothing approach works much better for people.

Daughter Cope has proven this very well. She’s been a huge example to the rest of us: No Added Sugar. Period.

When she goes to Five Guys, she has a burger wrapped in lettuce because guess what that delicious bun has in it? SUGAR, of course. When eating at the school cafeteria I can hear her asking politely, “excuse me, does that Asian slaw have sugar in it?” I think she drove them quite mad ūüôā

When we have grilled burgers, this is what hers looks like:

¬†No bun! She doesn’t make exceptions. She doesn’t budge. No Added Sugar. Period.

She’s learned to scrutinize all food labels. She’ll eat bread or english muffins, but only if there are zero sugar grams. This usually means the bread is expensive or homemade. The above is her birthday breakfast: egg mcmuffin and loads and loads of fruit.

Doesn’t fruit have sugar? Yes, but it’s naturally occurring. And, because it’s in its whole form, the fiber makes for slower digestion instead of acting like juice, which hits your bloodstreams the same way a bag of skittles would. So, juice is out. Whole fruits are in.

Some exceptions: pure honey and pure maple syrup. Because those occur naturally!

Cope went hardcore no sugar when she got the part of Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

After a few days without the white stuff she said, “Mom, I feel SO SO GOOD!”

She made the connection for herself. I’M A BELIEVER!

Cope had energy to do her one million school activities, keep up with her school work, and sing her heart out every day at rehearsal. Her skin was clear, her hair shiny. Best of all, she was so ¬†pleasant ūüôā (she’s usually pleasant, but she was EVEN BETTER!) She practically bounced out of bed.

Her eyes sparkled. For real.

She didn’t have time this spring to get much exercise, but guess what happened just from avoiding sugar? She started to lose weight.

Her costume director was ticked as Cope was shedding inches off her waist after her measurements had already been taken. They kept having to take her yellow dress in! “Amy, make the girl drink whole milk! FEED HER FAT! SHE CANNOT LOSE MORE WEIGHT!”

Did you know? I’d take healthy fat over sugar any day of the week. Fat good! Sugar bad.

She looked fabulous:

Graduation. Off sugar: she totally glowed.

So. What to eat or drink for breakfast? Eggs and smoothies (mostly greens!). We feel totally wicked and have loads of morning energy!

What we’re eating for dinner all summer? Tons and tons of grilled vegetables (and usually a protein on the side like chicken, fish, or beef.)

Did you know vegetables are carbohydrates? They are our first energy source.

Don’t think you like brussel sprouts? Try THIS RECIPE NOW!

But Amy, don’t you need summer treats like ice-cream? Need? No. Want? Oh yes, believe me, we sure do. I still partake. But after being off sugar for three months, Cope had this cone and felt “so sick. I wish I hadn’t done that.” After a few weeks of withdrawal, she didn’t crave it or want it.

She eats all-natural peanut butter, tons of lettuce wraps, hummus, rice, and beans. When she needs a treat she makes this fabulous banana cocoa concoction – I’ll post!

What to pack for lunches? I still get caught in the trap of Goldfish and crackers because of convenience, but with a little planning, we can send the darlings off into the world armed with nutrition that will actually help their brains and muscles instead of putting them at a disadvantage.

One of my students used to drink a caffeinated Monster drink every morning for breakfast. He said he felt pretty good until 10 o’clock a.m. Then what? Then he went and bought another Monster or 5-Hour Energy Drink to get him to lunch time. He was just sugaring it out until collapsing from fatigue, which happened on a¬†daily basis. Believe me, conversations were had!

The whole family has taken note from sister Cope. Every few weeks Paige goes sugar-free. And she gets fiesty about it. When repeatedly pressured to eat cookies and cupcakes on a field trip one day, she finally yelled, “You’re all going to get diabetes and DIE!”

Oh my.

But you know…cancer, obesity, diabetes, ADD, autoimmune diseases are all on the rise. Scientists are convinced that our food is largely to blame. For the first time in history, the life expectancy has dropped. In America, the land of PLENTY.

Food can be our medicine or our poison.

Let’s also get to the WHY. We don’t have scales in our home. It’s not all about weight. The reason to eat better is because of the WAY WE FEEL. Good, wholesome food makes us FEEL better. We get sick less. We have more energy to go to school, play, work, run fast, think, kick soccer balls, BE A REVOLUTION!

And yeah, it also makes us look better (which means more to teens than “you’re going to die a slow death in fifty years….”)

Skin literally glows, acne clears up (the biggest motivator for my teens). We are less moody, grumpy, and snappish. Our brains and hearts and muscles and bones are shouting THANK YOU DEAR PERSON FOR TAKING SUCH GOOD CARE OF ME!

I’m not always the best ¬†or perfect example. I still eat too many treats, but I’m more conscious about what I buy and what I put in my mouth because I’ve recognized the connection between food and feeling. When our kids start making that connection, too, it’s pretty cool. You can inspire them, and they can motivate you.

As Habits guru, Gretchen Rubin tells us: we need accountability buddies and we need the strategy of convenience.

Simple Food Rules:

  1. Avoid sugar
  2. Avoid processed food
  3. Eat real food that comes from the ground.
  4. Loads of vegetables at every meal.
  5. That’s all.

We’ve got ONE body in this lifetime. It’s a miraculous gift. What are we going to put in it?

Chime in! Thoughts? What food truths have you discovered? What are you eating?


Think You’re Past Your Prime? Think Again!

The last ten¬†years I’ve been fascinated by race results. I began to notice a disturbing trend among female runners at race events: they seemed to be¬†getting faster with age.

I say “disturbing” because I was under the false impression that if I just kept running, I’d be on the only one left to win the bling. Ha ha ha! Oh, contraire.

What the heck was going on? Why were women in their 40s running faster than their younger peers? Why were they smoking past me?

In my 30’s I would occasionally place in the top 3 of my age group. Sadly, I realized that if I didn’t get faster, I’d never take the podium.

You know what I think now?¬†“Yeah. YOU GO GIRL. You go get that!”

Something¬†happens to us when we “grow up.” We believe lies. We think we’re past our prime. We think sport is just for the more talented or for those girls who played varsity sports in college. We¬†stop walking and running and pushing ourselves athletically. “It’s too late. We’ve missed it, blown our chance, and I never even played a sport in high school, let alone as a mom.”


Here’s the truth: We Are All Athletes.

Maybe we believe the lie because for many many years, it’s hard to do anything but work hard and nurture hard. There doesn’t seem to be any left over for us. This is where our ingenuity must kick in. We have to do squats while folding laundry, perform calf raises while vacuuming the stairs, get in some arm circles while in our work cubicle, skip lunch with colleagues to walk around the block.¬†Staying at home doesn’t make it easier. There were always babies saying, “You want to work out in peace and quiet? Get real!” (good thing they’re so cute.)

How many times did I look like a dork trying to run up a hill pushing a stroller while mixing in lunges and swinging my legs for hip mobility? The baby was always screaming and I’d be throwing cheerios down at her while gasping out a¬†Cinderella or Peter Pan story all the while experiencing milk letdown. Oh yeah, I was a beauty out there with my stroller.

And than there were days where it was just too much energy to dress the baby and myself and a toddler in all those layers when it was so cold. There were many many days of missed workouts. But I also knew this: a little goes a long way. So over the years I tried to get a little bit here, a little bit there.

I felt slow in my 20s and even slower in my early 30s. There were times¬†when I couldn’t run more than a mile without stopping to walk, when I was just too tired and it was too late to get on the elliptical. But there were other times that I did. How serendipitous it was to find running buddies (bless you!), an¬†awesome running watch (bff for life!), a few 5ks while dear husband watched children. I played indoor and outdoor¬†soccer on a real team for as long as I could. One year the season started when Nelson was just two months and I had to bring him with me because I was nursing. I remember running onto the field to join my teammates and they turned around and started clapping. That moment still makes me want to weep, it meant so much. Sisters cheering for their sisters!

I remember Meredith and I getting permission to bring a big Hogwarts bus to one of our soccer games so all of our kids would fit. We laughed like crazy and I nursed Nelson behind a tree during halftime, all sweaty and gross! (sorry, Nellie boy for that image ūüôā ). I remember thinking at the time, “what the heck am I doing???” But a voice was saying: just keep your foot in the game. I was slower, underweight, had looser joints and was severely sleep deprived. There was also the pleasure of milk letdown while trapping¬†a throw in. Heavens. It was worth it. God gave me this body and when I was running down that field I felt His pleasure (to paraphrase a hero, Eric Liddel.)

As my kids grew older and my own hobbies and teams took a back seat, I volunteered to coach because I loved the game and wanted to spend time with my children. I also hoped it would keep me in shape. It helped. I make the effort to keep playing summer soccer at least once a week with my children, even as they overtake me in speed and touch. But I can’t stop. I have role models out on the field inspiring me, and yes, maybe I too can¬†be¬†that person for someone else.

I feel this huge surge of pride every time I take the field. No, I’m not first, not the quickest, and can’t get that shot off as fast as I use to, but no matter. Console yourself with these words: at least you’re out there.

We hear all sorts of negativity:¬†“you’re going to slow down,” ” you’re going to get old and your knees will hurt,” and “things change after 40.” Yeah, the body changes, but life isn’t even close to over at 40. It’s not over at your wedding. It’s not over when you get pregnant. It’s not over when you have your first baby or your fifth. You’ll have to work to “get back,” but didn’t you have to work when you were 15? I tell you what, I’m way faster and can run way farther than I ever could at 15.

And I happen to think that’s wicked cool.

Two weekends ago I ran the Cape Cod half-marathon. Robin is a veteran runner with dozen of halfs and full marathons behind her. She’s 48, my friends, and she’s still going at it! My sister-in-law, Jill, is 44 and just finished her FIRST¬†half marathon, running under 2 hours! So impressive. This is only the beginning.


Thank you, Brendaen, for the pictures! I used the semi-decent ones…ugh, you should see some of my running shots ūüôĀ

half4 Want another good reason to run? You get bling bling!

amy2One of the most rewarding parts of sports as a mom is having your children cheer you on, an odd but needful reversal of of roles. Yes, mom has legs. Yes, mom has hobbies. Yes, mom has interests others than chore charts. Yes, mom is a person! Mom kindof rocks.

amy1And no, she’s not ever going to stop trying!

This was at mile 6. I had downloaded the Hamilton CD. The song “I am not throwing away my shot” was on repeat. ūüôā

jill2¬†Jill came through the finish line blowing kisses to her daughters and husband – it was SO cool. “Wow, mom just ran 13.1 miles!” Remember all those mornings when she got up before we were up to get in her training run before she had to help us pack a lunch and drive us to school before she could even eat or take a shower? Wow, GO MOM. This moment? So empowering.

half3I ran the Cape Cod half with my friend, Eric, in mind. Eric is in the late stages of ALS and cannot move any part of his body except to blink, speak some, and move his fingers. We stayed with Eric’s parents at the cape and when I was out there on the road, I thought of Eric.¬†What would he give to be able to run just once more?¬†Maybe we should move just because we CAN.

jill4You did it. And it was so not easy. So proud.

Stats from the Cape Cod half were eye-opening. There were 1,307 female runners. Of the top ten female finishers, four were in their 20s (29, 29, 24). Four were in their 30s (33, 34, 32, 33), one was 49, and one was 52! They all ran super close races, too. The first place 29-year-old ran a 1:16:52; 5:49 minute/mile splits for 13.1 miles Рwicked fast!

The 52-year-old woman ran a 1:30:57; that’s a 7:01 minute/mile pace for 13.1 miles! At 52 years old.

Overall, the women 39 and under ran faster than women in their 40s; but the 40s, 50s, and 60-year-olds were still competitive. Sidney Letendre, a 62-year-old ran a 1:40:31; 7:40 minute mile splits! And Nancy Spiro, age 74, ran a 2:15:39. Of course, these are the top finishers in their age group, but there were many many more runners post-40 runner. Incredible. Inspirational.

Think it’s all talent? Oh no. It’s time and training. Which is good news for us all: we can all do it.

Don’t think it’s going to get easier when “the kids are older.” Twice a week I run at 5, not because I want to but because it’s the only time I can fit it in. It’s kindof horrible. But I’m realizing life is not slowing down anytime soon, and tomorrow has a way of turning into never. There is only today.

A few years ago I¬†emailed running¬†coach, Jason Fitzgerald of, to ask if he knew if their women in their 40s were¬†running faster than women in their 20s and 30s, or if I was making this up. We couldn’t come up with any scientific answers except anecdotally. In our 20s and young 30s, women tend to be in the pregnancy and child rearing years, taking them out of the competition stage. But what I love about that, is that many are coming back to run or starting to run for the first time in their later 30s or early 40s. Next time you’re at a race, check the stats – women in their 40s and 50s are getting after it.

I write this post as an anthem to YOU! To women. Your life is not over at 20, at 30, not 40 or 70. Not by a long shot. Your knees might creak a bit more (stretch your butt!) and you might need more of a warm-up than you did at 14. You may get sidelined for awhile. You might even need a knee or hip replacement and you might have battled a cancer scare, but I tell you what, I know a lot of women who can walk and run and bike farther and faster than many many kids. It’s not because they’re the “lucky ones.” It’s not all that mysterious. It’s because they’re putting in a little bit of time, a little bit of dedication to use that amazing body of theirs.

Love you girls. Use that smokin’ hot body of yours ūüôā If you love it, it will love you back. Guaranteed.

Okay. Now go schedule something. Put it on the calendar. Make your friend sign up too and you’ve got an accountability buddy instead of a wish. Go get it.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau


Quick and Tasty After School Snack: Baked Apple Bites

Are you in an afternoon snack funk? For that magical combination of fast, quick, tasty AND healthy?

Check. Baked apples to the rescue!

True, you need an oven, but baked apples are¬†so different than the usual fare, that I was just tickled apple pink at such a quick, healthy, and tasty morsel.DSC_0056¬†Man, I love this season. The apples are in full bloom (are we really into fall?) so it’s time to¬†pick yourself some yum-yum.

Turn the oven on to 400.DSC_0057 Take a knife and cut a circle out of the top

DSC_0058¬†Just like that!DSC_0060¬†Now, darlings, use a melon baller and scoop out the middle, past the seedsDSC_0061¬†It’s surprisingly easy.

DSC_0176¬†Isn’t that pretty?DSC_0179The gorgeous apple! And I love stars. Star was my alias in college. Really ūüôā

DSC_0062 Eat the tops or feed them to the chicken. Or doggie.DSC_0063 There. All scooped out and ready to fill. I suggest putting down foil to prevent dishwashing.DSC_0066 Put a little brown sugar in the center and on the sides. Just a tad. Totally optional.DSC_0067 Add a little cinnamonDSC_0069 Perfect, no?

Now, put in preheated oven for about 15 min.DSC_0084¬†An apple full of love. Isn’t that a perfect heart?

DSC_0096If you accidentally overbake them, no worries, just eat that warm, mushy apple pie right up.

Can you only have these for after school? Heck no! They’re pretty terrific for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even Valentine’s.

Baked Apple Bites:

Preheat oven to 400.

Wash apples, cut off top

Spoon out seeds (scraping sides a little bit), making a little well

Put a teensy bit of brown sugar and cinnamon inside

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or so, depending on how crunchy or soft you like to eat baked apples.

I just inherited a bag of apples from my middle school soccer team so I gotta go – baked apples await! And remember, apples contain quercetin: an apple a day, really does keep the doctor away.


Sick? Drink this: The Immune System Super-Blaster

As sickness sweeps the nation (I’m an alarmist), I thought I’d repost¬†this please-save-me-from-getting-sick¬†drink. It’s more of a hot brew. And it’s awesome.
Drink this and never be sick again (optimism, friends!)
Citrus goldmine. ¬†Can’t you just see the Vitamin C?
You can use liquid echinacea, or capsules. Open and dump in cup.
Now, for you pulp haters, you can blend the ginger with your blender or vitamix, or simply put ginger into your cute mug. I quite like the floating ginger, though the blender with create some nice foam.
Stir.  Drink.  Live.
This hot brew tastes divine. The ginger, citrus and cayenne come together for a tangy, sweet pazazz. It clears the head and prepares the immune system army to fight against those nasty invaders.

Immune System Super Blast Drink:

1 tablespoon grated or chopped ginger
1 lemon, squeezed
echinacea drops or powder
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Makes 1 large mug or two small.
Interested in the immune system boosting properties?  Ginger, lemon, echinacea, cayenne pepper, and honey are all natural illness fighters. They are tied to immune boost, but also in cough suppression, nausea prevention, and helping to reduce the duration of cold symptoms. In addition, they are all plant-based and/or whole foods.
Let food by they medicine!
Be well…and¬†don’t forget who loves you. ¬†Me.


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Morning Motivation

Your path is not your destination.

Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine.¬†

December is the best month to start running.

Most people slack off during December. We skip runs, work-outs, and indulge in gluttony. We feel sick, guilty, and have zero motivation to actually move (speaking from experience here).

I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll start in January.

I want you to get that great cyber deal (running shoes?), sip the eggnog, sing Christmas carols, and deliver holiday granola, but I also want you to ask yourself some questions.

Smart runners ask themselves, where do I want to be this coming spring?

Start now.

Don’t wait.

Baby steps.

Five minutes walking today, ten minutes tomorrow. Twenty minutes by the weekend.

There will be no regret (speaking from more experience).

Don’t wait until January to make that New Year’s Resolution.

Do what you need¬†instead of what you want¬†– want may have included eating an entire box of Trader Joe’s caramels with your husband on the couch in one weekend. Need was kicking my butt out the door this morning. Full of caramel and chocolate. Ugh. totally hypothetical example, of course.

Cold, snowy, cloudy, dark, stormy? I know. But remember, you’re headed for sunshine.


Summer Produce and a Chokecherry Smoothie

I’m a believer. ¬†A convert to the idea that we should, as much as possible, eat locally and in season. ¬†Food tastes better, has more nutrition, supports local economy, and keeps costs down if it doesn’t have to be shipped across the country. ¬†It takes more discipline, doesn’t it? ¬†Eating in season requires more patience, but also yields more anticipation.

Summer produces such bounty
We have a local corn neighbor who sells his fresh corn by the side of the road all summer long. ¬†I’ve abandoned the grocery store. ¬†There is no comparison. ¬†Oh my goodness it’s like biting into heaven. ¬†We could eat it for every meal. ¬†I wish I had success growing corn.

Part of the frustration with growing your own food is the weather; you just never know what kind of year you’re going to have. ¬†Sun, rain, temperature largely dictate the harvest. ¬†This hasn’t been a good tomato year, but hallelujah, we’re finally getting some baby chocolate cherry tomatoes and a few beefsteak bigguns’.

As for blueberries…they are here in full force! ¬†Our bushes are finally producing the biggest, beautiful berries we’ve seen. ¬†

Asparagus is here!  Broiled for a few minutes with olive oil, garlic, and salt.


The basil is out of control! ¬†For a light, summer dish, shred it over tomato, radish, roasted red peppers (from the jar :), cucumber, avocado, whole garlics, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Perhaps a few olives. ¬†Drizzle balsamic vinegar and you’re in business.
This is the year I finally discovered the choke cherry.  

In the seven years we have lived in this house, I have never done anything with this out-of-control bush in front of the house.  It has thousands of choke cherries on it.  My MIL finally convinced me to do something with the cherries hanging all over it.

The choke cherry is very tart, immediately teaching children to spit it out.  Which probably protects them as the seed inside is poisonous (like the apple seed.) 

However, these berries will darken and become sweeter. ¬†They don’t have much fruit to them, just a small pit inside. ¬†However, the more I read of the choke cherry, the more I realized what an amazing super fruit it is. ¬†And it’s very common all over North America. ¬†You’ve probably passed a hundred chokecherry trees this summer and didn’t even know it.

There are many things to do with the chokecherry:  juice, syrup, jelly, dry them like raisins and the seed is no longer poisonous, grind them into chokecherry flour, make an all-natural chokecherry/honey cough syrup.  I went for the easiest option:

Chokecherry juice. The chokecherry has more antioxidants than the super foods blueberry and pomegranate. ¬†How to get such juice? ¬†Pick the berries, put them in a pot, cover with water (just barely.) ¬†Cook on stove until near boiling and the choke cherries turn mushy. ¬†Then, pour into a strainer over another pot to catch all the juice, but not the seed. ¬†I used a masher smasher kitchen tool to extract more juice through the strainer and ta da – there’s your cup of goodness.

The ratio is about 3:1; three pounds chokecherries to one glass/cup of juice.

The juice is tart with a very strong taste.  There was only one option for such high concentrated nutrition.

A smoothie.

For this smoothie I threw in 1/4 cup amaranth, an extremely nutritious, high-protein seed that will keep you full a good long while. ¬†I didn’t want to cook it and was curious if the smoothie would be grainy. ¬†It was a little bit, but the Vitamix is so powerful that I didn’t mind it at all.

Throw amaranth in with some other summer produce, let it soften a bit.

Top it off with choke cherry juice, chia seeds, and flax seed.  Give it a whirl!

Make sure the lid is on your blender!

Then, drink up!

Credit goes to Brynne, for the food styling ūüôā

Happy summer!  May you also enjoy the fruits of the summer harvest.


P.S.  Greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chard are all in-season.  Makes a great Soup and Salad.

***post-script: ¬†Many people asked me about the apple seed being poisonous. ¬†I have read that cherries, pears, and apples all contain a small amount of cyanide and can be toxic. ¬†But I’ve seen my husband eat the whole apple, seed included. ¬†AND, this article explains they are only toxic if chewed slowly, and even then, our body can easily digest and take care of it. There seems to be more evidence or anecdotal stories regarding the chokecherry and children eating the seeds, so juicing, drying, and spitting out the seed seems like a safer option. ¬†If you’ve got more insight, please share!


Summer Smoothie: Citrus, Beet, and Blueberries

Happy weekend, friends!
The rooster crowed at 4:45 this morning.  
I can arise at such an hour due to running buddies.  And naps.  Oh how I love them both.

There were hills involved

Mama needed a refuel
Spinach was involved. ¬†I adore summer and its bounteous produce. ¬†A three-week stay in Arizona didn’t do much for my garden. ¬†Perhaps a weed smoothie? Thankfully, others are gardening for me.

Beets! ¬†Isn’t the color gorgeous? ¬†I don’t actually like beets, but half of a small beet turns the green smoothie a beautiful ruby red blue hue – you can fool many a green smoothie doubter with a small beet. ¬†A recent addition? ¬†The stems, which are full of antioxidants; vitamins A, C, and some B; minerals; and even protein; calcium; fiber; and beta carotene. ¬†

Do I peel the beet?  Only a little.  Skin on is okay.

Beets are known to be natural healers for their ability to purify the blood and the liver.  Who knew.

We are now insta-friends with the beet, aren’t we?

I must also add that too much beet can make your smoothie taste like the backyard – but only in large doses ūüôā

Grapefruit and lime! ¬†Leave the skin on the lime and you’ve got some ZEST to your smoothie. ¬†I peel the grapefruit though – too much skin.

Banana, frozen or not

Chia Seeds: ¬†Known to be a super food “revered by ancient Aztec warriors and modern-day athletes,” the chia seed is mineral rich and a good source of dietary fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. ¬†They have no taste and can be sprinkled in everything! ¬†Muffins, cereal, casseroles…

3 grams of protein per one tablespoon.  Available everywhere.

Flaxseed, another superfood that has healthy fat and 3 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.

Summer days, morning sun…

Pretty seeds

The flax seeds have a nutty flavor.  I got Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal so it was easy to use and digest.

I’m in a serious relationship with peaches and nectarines. ¬†Did I mention I love summer produce? ¬†Heart pounding true love.

Fresh or frozen blueberries Рin season right this very moment!  New Hampshire is bursting with blueberries.

At the last moment I added some frozen broccoli because you know, who doesn’t love frozen broccoli? ¬†Besides, I was out of avocado.

Then away it whirled in the Vitamix.  I sold my father one in Arizona.  It was like Christmas.

Goodness in a glass

Made six glasses, enough for the whole family

Citrus, Beet, and Blueberry Smoothie:
1 Cup Water
1 Pear
1 Large handful Spinach
1/2 Small Beet w/ greens on, half peeled
1/4 Lime, skin on
1/4 Grapefruit, peeled
1 teaspoon Chia Seeds
1 teaspoon Flax Seeds, ground or not
1 Green Apple, skin on
1 Peach, skin on 
1 Cup Blueberries, frozen or fresh
1/2 Cup Broccoli, frozen or fresh

Makes a lot!  2 adults, 2 teens, and 2 children were mighty happy.

What I love about smoothies is you don’t have to follow a recipe. ¬†Just dig around your fridge, stock your freezer, and put in what you’ve got. ¬†I never follow recipes, just throw the yum-yum in and hope for the best. ¬†It’s always the best.

And I’m feeling so groovy these days!¬†
Vitamix FREE SHIPPING CODE: 06-008623 (SAVE $25US/$35CN)

What are you eating or drinking for breakfast?  Do tell!


Fit Tip Monday: Mental Toughness

It was pouring rain on Friday morning

Run Anyway.

It was wet. It was actually awesome.  Even if my head got cut off.

I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain.¬† I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy.¬† I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can.¬† Maybe that spot is called I will.¬†
‚Äď Kristin Armstrong, Runner’s


Fit Tip Monday: Quad Stretch

Miles Run: 4
Indecision Stress: High

The question? ¬†To train for a marathon or not. ¬†That is the question. ¬†After Boston this year, I was psyched and ready to go. ¬†But looking at training schedules makes me question. ¬†My mind starts freaking out that I just can’t do everything I want to do right this very minute.

Marathon training requires dedication.  Life revolves getting the training runs in, the long run every single weekend (often 2-3 hours of running), eating, fuel choices, early bed-times.  Do I want to commit to that right now?  And committing to that means letting go of what else?

Life is SO busy right now with kids, writing goals, sports nutrition job opp. for the fall, garden, house, church/volunteer, my hair…well, that could use some one-on-one time, too…

Tell me, are you in this land of indecision?  The time to plan for a marathon is now, brown cow.  Counsel me.

And now back to the fit tip.  

While you run and walk and train and stretch, here’s a little tip when stretching your quadriceps. ¬†Made up of four muscles, and covering the largest bone in your body (the femur) the quad is often strained and not stretched properly. ¬†This can pull your out of alignment and make all sorts of connecting muscles and joints hurt (knees, hamstrings, back…)

Let us go to one quad stretch and some reeeeaaally good photography skills:
Correct.  When you stretch your quad, you should use the same ARM and same LEG.  Right hand reaches down and grabs Right foot.  

Then you can verrrrry slowly pull that foot out; you will feel a slight difference in the muscles being stretched.  Balancing that picture with the camera was no easy feat, ya know.

Incorrect. ¬†Bad. ¬†Why? ¬†I cringe when my kids do this. ¬†It doesn’t hurt them now, but if you pull your leg and knee out in all different directions, you are putting a tremendous amount of strain on the knee joint.

And you only have one pair of knees.

Knees are not to be taken for granted. ¬†When you hit your 30’s you’ll be glad you were nice to them. ¬†Preserve cartilage! ¬†Stretch correctly. ¬†Avoid unnecessary strain.

Same arm, same leg.  10-20 seconds.

The end.

Happy Monday!

p.s. ¬†trying to follow husband around taking pictures of him stretching for the blog has not been incredibly successful. ¬†If you’d like to volunteer your services, please be in touch ūüôā


Fit Tip Monday: Lazy Lump to 5k

I couldn’t just write, “Couch to 5k” – that’s been done! ¬†So I borrowed one of my mother’s favorite phrases: ¬†Lazy lump. ¬†If I could count the number of times I heard “lazy lump” growing up…”Now, don’t be a lazy lump” or “Get off your lazy lump and practice the piano!” ¬†You see the loving environment in which I grew up? ¬†Everything I am I owe to my angel mother.

Do you have dreams of running a 5k this summer?  
Alright then, it’s time to start training.¬†

In my other life, I was a part-time Anatomy & Physiology teacher and strength and conditioning coach to high school sports teams. ¬†Really. ¬† One of my friends laughed when I told her what I “did.” ¬†I still can’t figure out how I should have taken that. ¬†So I blinked.

This is me and my soccer team.  We have tight stretch bands around our ankles while we do push-ups.  Great core work, great upper body work.

¬†Meet¬†Ben, one of “my” basketball boys who went on to play basketball at Brandeis. ¬†Simone is from Camaroon and now plays soccer at Colby-Sawyer. ¬†I love these kids. ¬†And they have such fond memories of my work-outs. See that little girl crying? ¬†That’s why I came home. ¬†And haven’t looked back. ¬†But I still try and do my work-outs.

I still get a lot of questions, which makes me feel important :). ¬†With regards to running, the number one question is, “Can you help me get started? ¬†I don’t know what to do.”

Yes.  I can help you.  

Here is a program I adapted from Runner’s World “Starting Line.” ¬†The only reason it’s adapted is because the rest days are on Sunday and I tweaked some of the run/walk options.¬†

Would you like to run a 5k (3 miles) this summer but have never run…ever? ¬†This program was created for YOU.

Lazy Lump to 5k Training Program










Run/XT 20 min

Run 10

min Walk 10 min

Walk 20 min


15 min

Walk/XT 20 min

Run/Walk 2 miles



Run 2 miles

Walk/XT 20 min

Walk 20 min or OFF

Run 20 min

Walk/XT 20 min

Walk/XT 25 min



Run 2.5 miles

Run 20 min

Walk 25 min or OFF

Walk/XT 30 min

Run 25 min

Walk/XT 30 min



Run 3 miles on race course if possible

Run 25 min

Walk 30 min or OFF

Walk/XT 30 min

Run 30 min

Walk/XT 30 min



Run 3.5 miles

Run 30 min

Walk/XT 30 min or OFF
Run 30 min

Walk/XT 30 min

5k Race


Some other suggestions:
1. ¬†Record your work-outs. ¬†We all need accountability. ¬†I use my planner to record what I do on each day. ¬†When I see I’ve gone days being a lazy lump, ¬†I get movin’! ¬†Even better is to record a few notes on eating, sleeping, and overall feelings. ¬†You’ll start to see a pattern and how life affects your exercise and energy.

2.  Rest means rest.  Really.  If you go hiking with the family Рgreat!  But adjust the day before or after so that you have one complete day of Scrabble/Rest.

3. ¬†XT means “Cross-Train.” ¬†So if you want to ride your bike for 20 min, great. ¬†Roller skate, swim, elliptical trainer are all examples of cross-training. ¬†I encourage you to cross-train that so different muscles are being used.

4. When it says to run “2 miles.” ¬†It’s okay if you have to walk a little. ¬†Walk, catch your breath, then run a little more. ¬†Don’t know how long 2 miles is? ¬†Of course I love my Garmin Watch¬†but I didn’t always have it (Mother’s Day gift!). ¬†I used to drive places so I could see my distance. ¬†And sometimes I just had to rely on time. ¬†

5.  Grab the buddy.  There is no substitute for knowing a friend is waiting and counting on you.

In one week it’s the Boston marathon. ¬†I’m ridiculously excited to watch my training buddy break some hearts on Heartbreak Hill. ¬†I’m ridiculously excited to see top American marathoners Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan run. ¬†This is the first time two rivals have had the same coach. ¬†They are rivals, they are best friends. ¬†Who will bring it? ¬†Even the best have a buddy.

6. ¬†Schedule the 5k NOW. ¬†Pay for the race and you’ll be less likely to bail at the last minute. ¬†I am going to run the Black Fly Blitz on Memorial Day. Now, who’s with me??? ¬†¬†

You know why this stuff matters to me? ¬†Because running makes me happy and I think it could make you happier, too. ¬†It’s one of the most bonding things I do with my family. ¬†Americans work hard, but we often eat terribly and don’t move enough. ¬†When I see a child who can’t run because they’ve sat most of their lives and it hurts to breathe, hurts to run, hurts to move – it kills me. ¬†Our bodies are such gifts.

When I read the Runner’s World article on the Kara Goucher and Shalane, I was so fired up. ¬†I thought, “If this can motivate me, excite me, make me want to run right this very second – then maybe I can do that for other people.” ¬†I want to do that for you. ¬†Now let’s all sing, we’re all in this together…¬†¬†

A person who won’t move has no advantage over a person who can’t move.

Questions/need help? ¬†Email me amym (at) proctornet (dot) com or leave a comment. ¬†I’m here for you, baby.

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