Exercise and Anxiety

Hi guys! Happy Sunday! I’m so excited that it’s only 5:00! I looove when Sundays pass by slowly just because usually they go so fast, being the last day of the weekend and all.

How’s your weekend gone so far? I’m not hatin’ mine:D Yesterday was a nice relaxing day of shopping, hitting up the movies and grabbing coffee with some girlfriends, and then making some chili and watching 24 with the hubski. I really need to stop watching 24 right before I go to bed, because it always gives me nightmares! Never fails… I took a rest day from exercise. That nine mile run + the other exercise I got in realllllly kicked my booty.

This morning I woke up to a standard Green Monster before hitting up the gym for a 4.5 mile easy run:

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1 frozen banana, ice, almond milk, Amazing Grass SuperFood, Spinach.

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While I ran, I watched Dazed and Confused. Forgot how classic that movie is. Love it! Plus, kinda reminds me of my own high school days…

 

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Just kidding, mom! ;)         

Lunch was leftover chili topped with goat cheese I made last night:

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I loove putting corn and red pepper in chili! Gives it so much more oomph than just the standard diced tomatoes do!

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Everyone knows peanut butter goes great with chili, right? It does! Even though this was almond butter 🙂

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The other half had organic strawberry jam and coconut butter that I ate last as a “dessert.”

The rest of the day I’ve just been cleaning, doing laundry, writing up some training plans, and some other writing. I think tonight we’re going to make fajitas and make it a Mexican night! Wonder if we have any Coronas … 😉

Currently nomming on some veggies and hummus while writing this post…

 

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Did you know mushrooms are my favorite veggie to dip in hummus? Love em! Plus, they’re full of selenium which is a huge enemy against free radicals🙂

 

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Why Exercise Makes You Less Anxious

I’ve always been a proponent of the belief that exercises soothes the soul. By this, I mean decreases mood swings, limits crankiness, and eases anxiety. This belief is based on both first hand experience and articles and journals I’ve read. In fact, when I’m in one of my cranky moods, I always tell the the husband, “you think this is bad. Imagine if I didn’t exercise!” Mmhaha

Last week I when one of the journals I receive from ACE, Fitness Matters, arrived in the mail, this belief was further enhanced! In the journal was an article titled, . ObPhys Ed: Why Exercise Makes you Less Anxious. Obviously, it immediately drew me in, and I found what it had to say fascinating! So fascinating, that I couldn’t NOT share it with my lovely readers 😀

 

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This study was done by researchers at Princeton University. While I hate that the study was conducted with lab rats, the results are pretty awesome.

The first case is presented in two group of rats’ reaction to being submersed in cold water (poor rats 😦 .) One group had been allowed to run for six weeks, and the other group hadn’t. The researchers found that the cold water activated the stress neurons in all of the rats, but the group of rats who developed new brain cells through running remained calmer. The new cells created from running developed a buffer to a stressful experience! Scientists are finding out how exercise remodels the brain, making it more resistant to stress.

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Furthermore, anxiety is correlated with oxidative stress, which can lead to death of cells. However, researchers found that moderate exercise diminishes the effects of oxidative stress. Researchers at the University of Houston tested this theory by artificially increasing the oxidative stress in rats by injecting them certain chemicals (again, poor rats…) The rats were then placed in unfamiliar terrain in laboratory testing, and were extremely anxious. However, the rats who had exercised were relatively calm under the stressor. They didn’t run for the dark corners or hide, but explored, unlike the sedentary rats. Therefore, the scientists concluded that the positive stress of exercise equipped the rats to handle stress in other forms.

There were a couple other studies in the articles that found similar results, except for one that only had the rats exercising for three weeks rather than six weeks. This study did not show much reduction in the stress of the exercised rats. I think this finding goes along well with people’s situations. We can’t expect to see results over night when start a fitness regimen, but if we just keep at it, the (psychological, in this case) results are priceless!

 

Have you noticed that exercise makes a positive psychological difference in your life, long term or short term? Long term, I feel like I’m just generally happier, and am able to make decisions with more confidence in stressful situations, which I attribute in part to exercise. Short term, I find that when I work out before (or after, even) work, I typically have a sunny outlook on the day!

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Vegetarianism Checkpoint

Hey all! How’s your Tuesday going? Mine’s juuuust about over. It went by SO fast!

Can you guess what I had for breakfast today?

 

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Heck yeah I had overnight oats!

The only difference this time was I used Soy milk since I had run out of almond milk (almond milk makes them a lot better, though, imo) and I subbed nut butter for cinnamon.

The work day wasn’t too exciting (which can be an indicator of a good day ;)) but I did manage to sneak out of the office on lunch and get my oil changed in my car. I was about 2 months and 1,000 miles overdue. Bad, Paige, bad!

I stopped at one of the 134 Starbucks in town and picked up my fave – a Grande half-pump vanilla soy latte…in my eco cup. And guess what! My green intentions actually worked this time.

 

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No paper cup wasted. Job well done, eco cup :-p

After work I came straight home to finish up the work on the project I’ve been working on for about a week now. I really can’t wait to tell you guys…it’s been killing me. But apparently I can be superstitious. Sorry for being secretive, but I’m just SO nervous…

Anyway, after that, I got started on dinner. Made the hubski some tacos and for me, I decided to continue on with the Ezekiel pizza theme of the week.

Tonight’s special? HUMMUS PIZZA!!!!

 

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Roasted red bell pepper and zucchini seasoned with pepper and coriander a top of red pepper Sabra’s hummus. Such little prep, and only took about 15 minutes. This pizza was inspired from one in Dreena Burton’s Vive le Vegan.

 

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Go ahead and drool. It’s ok 😉 The sweetness of the red pepper combined amazingly with the savoriness (savoriness?) hummus.

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Three Month Veg Checkpoint

 

So it’s been a little over three months since I first declared my transition to vegetarianism, and I thought I’d write a checkpoint on how things are going so far.

I’ve dabbled in vegetarianism twice before. The first time, I quit because I noticed my hair was falling out. The second time, a more serious problem happened that coincided with it, and I ended up having to get a procedure done (not sure if my diet was a cause, but at the time, I correlated the two.)

Either way, both times, I did it for the wrong reasons, I did it irresponsibly, and I was uneducated.

Irresponsible because I didn’t prepare myself. Just cut myself off to all meat all at once. And I really didn’t eat that many vegetables to make up for it.

Uneducated because I didn’t research a healthy vegetarian diet at all – or plant-based protein sources. I knew about tofu, and that was about it.

It was for the wrong reasons, because I kind of just did it to do it. I’d heard vegetarians lived longer, and I just decided I’d try and be one too.

October of 2009, the urge to become a vegetarian crept up on me again.

Except this time, it was a passionate, committed, and necessary choice for me. It was a 100% ethical choice. I’d had it with being so hypocritical, being SUCH an animal lover, then turning around and eating them. I know this is fine for some people, and I respect that, but for me, it wasn’t. After reading a decent amount of literature and watching several videos, I knew this time vegetarianism wouldn’t just be a third stint.

This time I was responsible. I told myself that labels aren’t important, and I could ease into becoming a vegetarian. Strict guidelines weren’t a part of it. I ate fish up until the 1st of this year, and I’m still not 100% ruling it out if I really, really want to eat fish (though I haven’t had the desire so far.)

I also educated myself on the different vitamins and minerals, sources of proteins, and nutrients that plants have, as well as on the abundance of all the wonderful and delicious nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains available.

So now just three months later, I’m positive that I’ll be a vegetarian (perhaps even vegan some day – who knows!) the rest of my life. And even though my choice was due to moral reasons, the health benefits have shown through so vibrantly! My skin is is much, much more clear, my nails are so much stronger, I don’t feel congested at all, and my energy is through the roof. It’s also SO much easier to eat a rainbow of colors from vibrant fruits and vegetables.

I also haven’t yet experienced the boredom that some vegetarians do with their diet. Actually, becoming a vegetarian has opened me up to countless new food groups, herbs, nutrients, etc.

The only downside is the inconvenience within my household. My husband is a full out meat-eater (which is his prerogative – all I can do is try to make sure most of that meat is organic and ethically raised) so it makes dinners a little difficult. If you’re a regular reader, you know I do a lot of “his” and “hers” meals. This takes a good chunk of time out of the night, and is pretty inconvenient. Luckily, as I’ve been getting busier, the husband has been making his own dinners. Other hard parts involve attending dinner parties, dealing with anti-vegetarian people, and choosing a restaurant. None of which is too troublesome, though.

To wrap up–since I’ve rambled on a little longer than I intended to–even though it’s only been three months, I feel the best I’ve felt (physically) in my whole life, and am 100% sure that I’ve made the right decision. I’ve also learned that it’s a big, life-changing decision that you have to be completely ready to make. It’s OK to ease into it, but it’s still a big decision.

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Well I hope you all had a wonderful Tuesday and have an even better Hump Day!

 

Are you stickler or are you naughty (like me) when it comes to getting the oil changed in your car? I try not to let it go over 1,000 miles…I know that’s so bad! I really need to get better at that!

What has been your biggest change regarding fitness/health/overall well being?

It’s Shooow(er) Time!

Having a fab Saturday? I sure can’t kick!

Let me tell you, that Power Yoga was a SUCCESS! The class description said to prepare to sweat, and sweat I did.

The class is actually a class in the loft area of my gym. It’s an ashtanga yoga class with lots of vinyasas. It was also the “launch class” today and had a few newbies, so I’m hoping the regular weekly classes are even more challenging.

After class I was talking to the instructor about how much I enjoyed the class, and how hard it has been actually trying to find a good, challenging yoga class here in Bloomington. She felt the exact same way, and that’s how she got the idea to start the class. I’m so excited to start attending this class regularly 😀

After yoga, I did about 35 more minutes of cardio, and then headed back to the homefront to get ready for a shower.

Once showered, I felt a little snacky from my work out.

 

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Lovely combo of plain Oikos, fruit + nut granola, chopped apple = happy belly

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Tried to convince myself to clean the house, but only ended up doing one load of laundry, then started to catch up on your lovely bloggies instead 😀

All the sudden it was lunch time!

The last blog I read was Miss Snackface’s, and naturally, I had to try making some cheetahs!

 

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OK ya’ll…I’ve made sweet potato fries before, but none like these. Yumtopia!!! Perfect amount of crunchiness. If you haven’t tried making sweet potato fries with this recipe, I encourage you all to do so stat!

But that’s not all. On plate numero uno, the cheetahs, and on plate numero dos…

 

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Hummus and dippers platter! Dippers were orange bell pepper, broccoli, muchrooms, and crackers.

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As I was finishing nomming, my ride to the shower came, and I grabbed my gift and headed out.

 

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Twas such a cute baby shower! The decorations were adorable, and there weren’t too many cheesy games. Just a couple, and not the kind that make people feel awkward. My kinda shower.

Little self-tidbit: at my bridal shower, I didn’t have any games for the guests to play. Just mimosas 😉

Got home from the shower and started to actually clean the house. The original tentative game plan was to have another couple over for a night of Euchre, but that fell through, so the hubs and I decided to have a date night at one of our favorite restaurants in town, Biaggis!

I was feeling fun and had a martini while waiting for our table:

 

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French martinis and I go back 😉

After being seated noshing on some bread and olive oil, our entrees came out.

For mine, I had the eggplant parmesan:

 

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Gaahhh I can’t explain how delicious this was. Hands down best eggplant parm I’ve ever eaten.

Dessert, however, was in our future, so I had to force myself to only eat half – and there was a LOT of eggplant there!

Also had a glass of red, red, wine with the din:

 

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Full, but not quite miserable yet, we ordered the white chocolate bread pudding to put us over the top:

 

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OK…words cannot even explain how decadent and delicious this dessert is. I’ve never had anything like it before.

All right. That did the job. Now we were miserably full, and decided to linger a while longer, while digesting and chatting it up, and sipped some coffee to aid in digestion:

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Perfect!

Now we’re all settled in for the night and playing a little Wii Mario World.

However, I’m beginning to think we should have gotten decaf coffee after our meal, because it’s about time for bed, but I’m ready to beat Mario World whether it takes all night! Back in the day, I’d do that all the time! Blasted sense of time…

Well folks, I’ve got a level two Sand World to beat. Hope you have a fabulous Sunday! The husband and I are trying out a new church tomorrow. We’ve yet to find one that just “feels right” here, and we’re really hoping this is the one. Wish us luck!

 

Do you like to play all the shower games at wedding and baby showers? I’m clearly not a fan. I’m a HUGE kid at heart, and usually love all games, but there’s just something about shower games that give me the groans.

Holy Guacamole!

I think I had the tastiest lunch I’ve ever had here at (insert name of my company here.) We recently got a new vendor called, “Balanced Choices,” and usually it’s hit or miss, but today it was a hit out of the park! They were featuring a whole pita stuffed with feta, hummus sauce, tomato, and spinach with a side of whole wheat pita chips served with an edamame guacamole. Holy guacamole.


The picture really doesn’t do it justice. I really hope they serve it again soon!

The rest of my day went just swimmingly. I was super excited to start out my day with a Green Monster (soup?) made from my new blender!


I used frozen bananas, frozen pitted cherries, spinach, a carrot, flax, and almond milk. Yumtopia!

About an hour after I got to work, I made myself a bowl of Natures Path Optimum Zen, and added some of my own dried cranberries to the mix. This was very good, and I was oh-so-full afterward. (But not too full to enjoy my delightful lunch later.)


As always, I got hungry mid-afternoon and busted out my new favorite Lara Bar, Peanut Butter and Jelly:


Nom nom nom 😀

That held me over for a while, but then my stomach was wanting MOAR again. And I was out of snacks for the day! Luckily, I have an emergency stash at my desk.


Yes, my friend, that is a very large zip lock bag full of peanuts! haha

I’ve been pretty much a bottomless pit today, but I guess getting to the gym at 4:45 a.m. for a 3.5 mile run will jump start your metabolism into high gear bright and early!

I wanted a snack before starting dinner, which will be eggplant parmesan tonight! 😀 So I cut up a Pink Lady apple and ate that along with some of Mary’s Crackers and cheese, and topped the crackers off with some sweet pepper jam I had from the Farmer’s Market a couple weekends ago:


On a non-food/fitness related note, we finally found a sub for our 12th player for Bunco this Friday, so now we don’t have to play with a ghost-player! 😀 I love that we get together for Bunco once a month, because it’s a great way to all hang out outside of work (this group of ladies consists of all my work friends!)

Do you hang out with your work friends much outside of work, aside from “work-functions?” I feel very lucky to have met a wonderful group of girls that I’ve become great friends with!

The Hangover

The Hangover ended up being pretty good! I laughed a lot more than I thought I would, and it was completely relateable (albeit on the extreme side) to some nights I had back in the day. Ay yay yay. Heidi and her husband ended up meeting us there, and we watched the movie together 🙂

I had some of Annie’s chocolate bunnie’s while watching, so needless to say, I was starved when we got home! After showing hubski my blog, and getting some techy-help from him, I made some snackies.

So I cut up some broccoli and dipped it in hummus. I poured out some ranch for hubski. I put the cutup broccoli in my new Tupperware container! It’s stackable and collapseable. Throwing out mounds of gladware was very liberating. Yay for not getting attacked by containers when I open the cabinets! haha

I needed a bit more substance, so I busted these bad boys out. Yum! And we’re having another couple over in a little while, so I made a quick-n-easy appetizer. Literally took 1 minute to make. Nuefchatel cheese with Tastefully Simple’s sweet jalepeno jelly on top.

YUM

We’re making a thin-crust supreme pizza now, and the snacks held me over perfectly.

While I made snacks, hubski drank his Corona and played Oregon Trail on the iPhone. It’s what we do now, play iPhone!

Well this will probably be my last post of the night. Looking forward to a night of good company, food, drink, and ROCK BAND!
Until tomorrow,

xoxo,
P