Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chocolate Balls!

With the theme of a lot of bloggers posting food pictures, here is dinner from last night. Followed by a Chickpea Moroccan Stew (sorry no picture) with chickpeas, butternut squash, carrots, zucchini, and some tasty spices to warm it up a bit.

Beet Salad with romaine, radicchio, heirloom tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, lemon, and honey

My little bowl of beet salad topped with a few pieces of chicken (so much for not eating meat...I caved)
and some delicious leftover Spicy Tahini Sauce.

Then chocolate entered my world...

And I started unbaking...

These little balls of goodness, made 3 ways, are the perfect way to end a long day.
The chocolate ones were walnuts, dates, raw cacao, carob, vanilla, rice protein powder, dash of salt, and cayenne pepper.
The other one are a food processed almonds, sprouted quinoa (to boost nutrition), agave, dried apricots, dried coconut, a dash of salt, and cinnamon. All of the measurements are "throw-in-and-taste" so have fun! Needless to say I had a bit of a sweet tooth. These definitely solved that.

Hope everyone has had a great Thursday... one work day left... then Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day of Gratitude (and a recipe!)

Today is dedicated to gratitude. This gratitude thing can work wonders on your life. It does take some practice, patients, and application. Adding gratitude to your life, or creating its presence is not an easy task. Most people only think to be grateful when, well, it is November and are taking part in Thanksgiving celebrations.

We can all benefit by adding a little gratitude/gratefulness/appreciation for life to our days with a few simple tricks. Each day try to write down at least one thing, or one person, that you are grateful for in your life. Making lists helps to make the thankfulness real. Try sharing the list with a friend or someone close to you- maybe you'll get one back! Even if you only think positively, you will end up feeling more positive and grateful. Try it. I dare you. ;)

Gratitude increases positive feelings and attitudes. It is a motivator. It improves overall well being. It even makes you hungry! Well, it makes you hungry when it's in the form of a cafe... Cafe Gratitude that is! Cafe Gratitude is one of my favorite places to find gratitude and to get a fantastic meal! Located in San Francisco, CA (only 45 minutes away from me!!!!), the Cafe's central theme is gratitude. Starting with when you walk in their front door, walls are decorated with positive quotes and painted outdoor scenes. Picking up a menu, all of their meals or items are given a name such as, 'I am Luscious,' 'I am Cherished,' 'I am Abundant,' and 'I am Sensational.' These actual items correspond with mouth-watering dishes of a raw chocolate smoothie, raw cheesecake, sampler platter (of sprouted almond hummus, Asian kale-sea vegetable salad, hempseed pesto crustini, spicy cashew nacho cheese w/ flax chips, olive tapenade, buckwheat crackers, spring roll & mini house soup - OMG it is GOOOOOOOOOD), and raw pesto pizza. These are just a few of the delicious dishes they (UN)cook up! And yep, everything (minus the organic quinoa, brown rice, beer, and wines) is raw! All dishes are unprocessed, living, gluten free, diary free, wheat and soy free, raw.

The owners and creators wanted to give the public a place to practice "focused attention on qualities we all aspire to: Love & Acceptance, Generosity, Worth, Gratitude, and Creation or Responsibility." They even came up with a game of gratitude called, The Abounding River Game. It featured on every table in the restaurant. Oh, and the tables are all community seating.

Here is what is written at the top of each menu which sums the place and food up:
"Cafe Gratitude is our expression of a world of plenty. Our food and people are a celebration of our aliveness. We select the finest organic ingredients to honor the earth and ourselves, as we are one and the same. We support local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and environmentally-friendly products. Our food is prepared with love. We invite you to step inside and enjoy being someone who chooses: loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day, and experiencing being provided for. Have fun and enjoy being nourished."

And the best part of the whole experience is being able to create most of these truly great dishes at home with their books (highly recommended)! Here is one recipe, and it is just a dressing, but it is a MUST TRY. Pour it on anything you want. It is especially fantastic on steamed quinoa and salad. My mouth is watering just thinking about it... Actually, I made some on Sunday and have been enjoying it every day since then.

Without further a due, Spicy Tahini Sauce from I Am Grateful Recipes & Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude:
I Am Attentive: Spicy Tahini Sauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/ 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Blend all ingredients until creamy. Enjoy on anything and everything!

Lastly, to get you started on increasing gratitude, here are some questions to ask yourself, from Cafe Gratitude's e-mailing list:

What do you love about new beginings?
What is inspiring about you?
What can you appreciate yourself for today?
Where are you not practicing full self expression?
What are you grateful for?

Much gratitude,

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Uncoffee

Hello Monday! This morning was started with an early (6:30 AM) Power Yoga class with Stacy from Yoga Source Los Gatos. After, I raced to make it to work on time and begun the Monday workweek. And I'm happy to announce, as most of you know, that it is an absolutely beautiful day! It's amazing that we still have mid 70 degree weather for the end of October! I love California.

Another thing that I love and just discovered is Teeccino. This is a must try for anyone that does not drink coffee or wants to cut out or down on the coffee that they drink. Great alternative! Teeccino is a caffeine-free, herbal "coffee", made from herbs, grains, nuts, and fruits. You brew it the same you would coffee, minus the acidic effect that regular coffee has. Here are some of the health benefits of Teeccino taken from their website:

Natural energy boost from 65 mgs of potassium in each cup
Reduces acidity - it's alakline due to its potassium content
Enhances digestion and elimination
Helps stabilize blood sugar and appetite
Supports beneficial microflora reponsible for:
  • strengthening the immune system
  • fighting harmful bacteria and fungus like Candida
  • creating B vitamins
  • absorbing essential minerals
Full-bodied, dark roasted and actually nutritious
Naturally no caffeine
No chemical processing or extraction of any Teeccino ingredient
Ingredient include carob, barley, chicory, dates, figs and almonds

Love it! They have a ton of different flavors to try, I'm drinking Vanilla Nut, medium roast. Yum! Also, if you sign up for their e-newsletter, you get a free sample (any flavor) of one of their products! Couldn't be any sweeter of a deal. ;)

For those of you that do drink coffee, the website has some information regarding coffee and caffeine and its effects on the body. I, personally, do not have anything against a small amount of coffee now and then, although, I do not drink it for a variety of reasons. Based on much research, I believe that there is more evidence the negative effects of the drink. Not only does caffeine cause anxiety, jitters, restlessness, and sleeplessness hours after ingesting, but in very sensitive people, it can cause skin rashes and allergic reactions, phobias, OCD, and muscle pains (mostly from tension in the body).

It is also harder for people who take in significant amounts of caffeine, in the form of coffee or even diet pills, to loose weight. This "weight loss" may be just the water loss due to caffeine's diuretic effect. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it elevates our stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), and norepinephrine. These are our "fight or flight" triggers, raising blood pressure and heart rate. When our stress hormones raise, making us ready for battle, and their is no battle, there is a disruption of our metabolic system. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol has been proven to lead to increased abdominal fat.

Just some things to think about. I am not trying to rant or completely put down coffee but I'm just throwing out some tasty and healthier alternatives. And that's where Teeccino comes in. haha, I sound like a rep for the company.

Have a great Monday! And don't work too hard.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good morning Sunshine!

Start you day with a little sunshine. I did.

Out my front door

I live in the mountains. I know, sounds weird. Love it here. There is LOTS of fresh air (high in antioxidants, hehe). And wildlife...

Deer are everywhere here

Well, now that you've had your daily dose of vitamin D, on with the day. Today is a rest day for my P90X routine but I did about 45 minutes of yoga anyway. I needed the stretch. And then blended a little smoothie together.

Coconut water, a lot of spinach, maca, lucuma, ice, blend.
Topped with some homemade raw granola. So good! And you get used to the color. ;)

And now I'm at work. And yes, I'm actually working... and taking some blog/internet/email breaks. One thing I would like to share is a great contest from Healing with (Raw) Juices blog. She is giving away Amazing Grass green food products. Yum! If you have not tried them, I suggest you do! They are pretty good and great for you!

To sign off for this morning, here are some pictures from the Victoria Marathon trip I had 2 weeks ago, promised I'd post, and now I am:

Until later.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It's Wednesday! Half way through the work week and the day is almost over! Not that my job is incredibly stressful (desk job) but it is always nice when the weekend is here. Recently, most of my days have been spent online looking at all the wonderful blogs on raw food and eating healthy. And most of these blogs are great! They provide me with hours of entertainment, information, excellent food photography (yeah, that sounds weird), recipes, ideas; You name it, these blogs have it. Actually, these blogs have inspired me to start this blog (Check out the blogs on my "Good Reads" blog list, right). So, I'm going to make a valiant effort to keep blogging.

Aside from work and blogging today's workout included the one hour P90X DVD, Kenpo X. Love it. It's a kickboxing, karate, cardio workout all in one. And after this very early AM workout, I made myself a tasty little smoothie. In the mood for figs, here is the recipe, adapted from Fig and Grape Cleansing Shake from RAW FOOD Real World, one of the best raw food "cook"books. My version:

Fig & Protein Shake:

Handful of green or red grapes
4 (or so) fresh figs
2 dried Calimyrna figs
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp hemp protein powder
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla Pea protein powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 dropper of liquid vanilla Stevia
dash of cinnamon
dash of salt
2 cups ice

Blend away. Enjoy this thick smoothie in your favorite mason jar, as I did, with a straw or spoon.

Looks good, huh! ;) Trust me, it's TASTY!

Enjoy! More P90X and food tomorrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

P90X vs. Recovery

Hi everyone! A week ago I ran the Royal Victoria Marathon in Victoria, B.C. and I'm already researching what to do for my next race. I'm addicted. But since I have been advised to wait and actually recover, I'll be looking for races in January through March. Apparently we need rest after pushing our bodies to run a crazy 26.2 miles. And while, yes, this is true, I was surprised that by Tuesday, only 2 days after the marathon, I was not sore at all! So, my "recovery" went something like this:

10/11: Marathon
10/12: Rest (flying home)
10/13: Rest (I was feeling lazy)
10/14: 1.5 hrs Yoga class
10/15: P90X DVD, Kenpo X (kickboxing/karate)
10/16: P90X Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps and Ab Ripper X
10/17: P90X Plyometrics
10/18: P90X Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X, 4 mile easy run (with a few hills)
10/19: Rest
10/20: P90X Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X

So, I'm not really resting... but my therapy is exercising. My mind (and mood) needs to burn some calories. I just love getting a good workout in. Cleanses the body too. ;) And besides that, I like to eat. I've gotta do something with all that extra energy from all my yummy food.

And I would like to add a word about this P90X I have been doing. This is a series of 12 DVD workouts which is done in a specific order for a total of 90 days. It is suppose to transform your body and for a lot of people it does. There is a workout plan involved and a diet to follow (all based on what results you would like, i.e. lean look, bulk-up, loose weight, etc.). Personally, I have not lost a pound from this, although I am not following the routine or the meals exactly. I started the first phase (3 phases of 30 days) of the DVD workouts but was interrupted by training for the marathon and resting. But I have only skipped a few days here and there. I can honestly say that this P90X plan works... IF you follow it. That means, as Tony Horton, the instructor, would say, "BRING IT!" You have to be committed to the workouts, push yourself, follow the diet, eat clean, and push play 6 days a week. The workouts are actually entertaining, fun, and most are only 55 minutes, which flies by. I have already seen a huge difference in my arms!

So, if anyone is interested, I highly recommend this program. And if you have any questions please let me know! I'd be happy to answer any of them!

Anyway, back to the next marathon. I'm thinking one of the Rock'n'Roll series' in Arizona (warm in winter) or the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. That would be fun! Oh, and I WILL be back to visit Victoria, B.C. again soon. That place is amazing.

That's all for today. Kind of a random post... Oh well. Have a great Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Officially A Marathoner


I have no idea how to start this post so I guess I will just write. I would also like to add that this is a long post. Sorry, but there is lots to share! :)

First, I want to add another thanks to all of those who supported me by donating to my fundraising, by providing me with amazing words of encouragement, and by just being there for me. I appreciate every single one of you. You are truly amazing people.

And now onto the marathon...

My first marathon. 26.2 miles. I can definitely say that I could not have picked a more perfect place to run these miles. Victoria, British Columbia, is one of the most beautiful, clean, fantastic places I have been to. The colors of the trees, the historical buildings, still in perfect condition, the immaculate streets (and entire town for that matter)! So clean. The air is completely fresh. No pollution anywhere. And the weekend weather could not have been any better either. Although it was crisp and in the 50's for most of the time, it was sunny the whole time! Awesome place. I will be back (and probably for their next marathon.

Again, this was my first marathon and that said I did not do as well as I would have like to, nor did I do as well as I KNOW I can do and WILL do. My overall time was 4 hours, 12 minutes, 28 seconds (4:12:28). And yes, I did finish, but I did end up walking a quarter of a mile around mile 23- NOT what I wanted to do but I listened to my body. My goal was 4 hours. I did encounter a series of events that were not ideal. But next time I am finishing under 4 hours. I will be ready, more prepared and know what to expect. And with that said, this leads me to my overall comments before, during, and after the race.

Excited. I was amped! I could not wait to start the marathon! There was about 4 of us, myself included, from our Santa Cruz TNT group that started at the regular start time (options were early start for 5 hrs and over or regular start time of under 5 hrs). We all huddled together with our coach at the start line, wrapped in white garbage bags (pics coming!!!!), trying to keep warm. It was around 40 degrees around this time.

So the race started. A couple seconds later I crossed the start line and I pushed start on my Garmin and wouldn't you know, the damn thing decided NOT TO WORK!!!!!!! Yeah, I was mad. This was my lifeline. The thing that tells me my pace, my mileage, and my time. Nope, not today. After trying to restart it about 5 times (while I'm running) I gave up. Instead I tried listening to the people around me talking with each other on what mile or pace they were at. And those Canadians, they like their Kilometers. I am not too familiar with kilometers, nor do I want to do math while I'm running a marathon. So again, no luck there.

A marathon running strategy, or so I am told, is to run the first half slower than normal and end strong, giving it your all. Well this is where a watch telling your pace is so helpful. Well, I may have done just the opposite. My time for the half way mark (half marathon, 13.1 miles) was 1 hour, 55 minutes. A mere 30 or so seconds off from the half marathon I did last weekend. Not so good for the rest of the 13.1 miles. haha!

Mile 19 is where I started to feel what my coach warned. It hurt. I quads were becoming sore and those "rolling hills" were more than rolling. They were up then down, then up then down, then MORE UP! Most of the course was hills! Continuous hills. Rough for my first marathon but oh well. I survived.

During those last 6 miles I have to admit that I could not remember why I wanted to be doing this. My body was tired. I was thirsty. I did not have enough nutrition. My feet ached. My quads screamed! I felt horrible. And now looking back, it was amazing. When I finally crossed that finish line ("running" so slowly for me!) I started seeing black spots. I was also starving! I hobbled over to the food station and grabbed two cups of water, downed two cups of Gatorade, inhaled two orange slices, and stuffed two large chocolate chip cookies into my mouth. And then grabbed a banana for a little later. I needed that food! Then I proceeded toward our TNT group's meeting area and sprawled out on the road. And there I lay for about 20 minutes. So much pain but so worth it. How quickly I do forget the pain though, because I'm pretty sure I called my mom and dad and boyfriend about an hour after the finish, telling them, "I am NEVER running a full marathon again!"... now I'm planning for my next one.

Much After:
That night we had a Team In Training Victory Dinner at one of the local restaurant/bars, Canoe with the most amazing food ever! We had drinks and great food and got to be around all of the half and full marathon champions! It was the perfect way to end the day.

Thank you for reading. Pictures are coming! I promise!

If you have any comments at all, PLEASE do comment! I'd love to read all of them!

(here is the email that I sent everyone on my emailing list. Enjoy!

Hard, amazing, horrible, painful, rewarding, aching, (SOOOOOO) hungry, thirsty, etc. That pretty much sums up the marathon experience for me. Well, not quite...

Excuse the term, but it sucked SO BAD around mile 21-26 but looking back, it was great... well, finishing it was great. I'm looking forward to my next one! I'm an addict now. That was by far the most difficult thing that I have ever done. Hands down, hardest. Some do compare it to child birth. It's so painful but you soon forget about all of the gory, painful parts and you suddenly can't wait to "have another." Well, I want another. I cannot wait to do another half marathon in November and then researching another marathon to complete.

Thank you to all of you!!! Thank you for the encouragement! Thank you for the donations! Thank you for the 'Good Luck' 's! Thank you for reading about my adventures into running land! And thank you to Team In Training for giving me the experience of running my first marathon with others (on my team) whom were the most amazing people. I would not trade any one of them for anything. They helped me so much along the way- ESPECIALLY during the race- that I may not have finished (mentally or physically) without them. My coach was amazing too. He offered so much support and honesty and knew what he was doing. And thank you to the Honorees that came to our track practices, attended meetings, shared your stories, and gave us all something to work towards. They are the reason that most of us ran this marathon. They are who all of you helped by donating.

Thank you.)








What a day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rock 'n' Roll San Jose 1/2 Marathon

Happy Tuesday!

This last Sunday, Oct. 4th, I participated in the Rock 'n' Roll San Jose 1/2 Marathon and it was awesome! This was my first ever race of any kind and I loved it! It was also my little warm-up for my big race this weekend... in case you've forgotten, I'm running my first full marathon this Sunday, Oct. 11th in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. I'm nervous!! But back to the half marathon...

The Rock 'N' Roll half started in downtown San Jose and wandered throughout the streets of businesses, around neighborhoods, and down what would have been busy traffic areas. As we ran, all 9892 of us!!, we were cheered on by local school cheerleaders, fellow San Joseians, event volunteers, and those living around where we were running. There were families with lawn chairs set out, rooting us on, some even with cowbells! ha! It was great!

At each mile there was a different band set up blasting oldies, newbies, and cover songs. The day could not have been better!

I decided to take it easy on the run, since I would be doing double the mileage in one short week. But when I got to around mile 9 I had so much energy left and the support of the onlookers and the other runners provided me with a huge boost. I was able to quicken my pace from around 9 minute/miles to 8:15 minute/miles. My prediction time was 2:05:00. Here are my finishing stats (and very first PR's-personal records- to start a collections) :)

Lori Thomas #1713
Age: 24 Gender: F

Distance HALF MAR
Chip Time 1:54:51
Overall Place 2188 / 9892
Gender Place 553 / 5599
Division Place 52 / 415 <---- nice!!! Age Grade 57.3% Avg Pace 8:46 Total Race 9892 Total div 414 Total sex 5599 5 Km 27:39 10 Km 55:00 10 Mi 1:28:43 Not too shabby... although I may have to run another one soon to beat PR. :)

Until later,