Broad City

Now that I’ve gotten a sufficient amount of post-race slumber, I can document my experience in yesterday’s Broad Street Run. For those who are unfamiliar with the annual event, it’s a 10-mile trek down one of Philadelphia’s major thoroughfares and the largest 10-miler in the country with roughly 40,000 participants.

I ran Broad Street two years ago, when I was still living in Maryland. It was my longest run to date on a cold and rainy day, so I was quite content with my official time of 1:32:54, or an average pace of 9:17/mile. But this time around, my goal was to average out to 8:40/mile. That’s not as fast as my half marathon time, but my training during this long, cold winter was pretty non-existent, so I cut myself some slack. However, in what has become true Emily fashion, I crushed my goal! My official time — which varied greatly from my MapMyRun time — was 1:25:16, or 8:31/mile. The course is all flat or downhill, so it’s a great race for setting a PR (personal record). That said, I know several other factors contributed to my speediness.

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Let’s start with the weather. At 58 degrees and cloudy, Mother Nature delivered the ideal race forecast. I was nervous I’d be cold in a tank top prior to the race, but I wasn’t.

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My strategically-placed fan base also kept me motivated. I had my ever-supportive boyfriend Brian cheering for me a little after the four-mile mark (thanks, babe!), and my parents and sister were allegedly stationed in the median between miles eight and nine. I say “allegedly” because unbeknownst to me the runner tracking app, RaceJoy, lost connection after a few miles, so the fam never saw me and I never saw them. However, knowing they were there definitely gave me a boost near the end.

As always, I’d like to thank the Academy wonderful people of Philadelphia for coming out in full force to support the runners. It’s so encouraging to get a high-five and a “You got this!” from a complete stranger, and I hope to one day return the favor.

Lastly, I want to thank the man on the subway whose silent tolerance to having my body pushed up against his was greatly appreciated. I crammed myself in just enough so that my ponytail wasn’t sliced in half by the doors of the car, and coincidentally my friend Gwenn was right there to witness and capture the awkward hilarity of the situation.

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Second Whole30 Conquered

My second Whole30 is complete! For the past 30 days I’ve been quietly forgoing all grains, dairy, legumes, added sugars/sweeteners and alcohol. So how do I feel? I feel healthy, but I also feel nervous to regain my food freedom.

Contrary to what you might believe, watching what you eat is easy when entire food groups are eliminated. Once my reintroduction period is complete, I’ll have free reign over my diet, which means having to consciously choose whether or not to have whatever sweet treats are brought into the office on any given day. I’ve developed really good eating habits over the past 30 days, like not snacking while watching TV or movies just for the sake of doing so, and I hope they carry over into my “civilian” life.

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When I finished my first Whole30, almost everyone asked whether I’d lost weight, to which I replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” This time around, I am proud to report than I lost four pounds, at least according to the scale at my gym. That said, I’ve also been going to the gym more than I ever have before. I think improvements to my diet and workout routine combined have also contributed to a flatter stomach and an overall toned look. It’s hard to tell under all the layers I’ve been wearing (COME ON, MOTHER NATURE!), but trust me.

I want to end this post with a book recommendation. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a fan of anything written by Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig. Food Freedom Forever is no exception. It’s intended to be used as a post-Whole30 (or other reset) resource, but I think anyone could benefit from it. It’s all about eliminating the negative feelings we associate with food. I’m about three-quarters of the way through and it’s due back at the library tomorrow, so you know what I’ll be doing tonight. Seriously, give it a read. 

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Mi Cocina Latina

Last night’s culinary creation combined one new recipe with two old ones I picked up while on the Whole30 for a tasty dinner with Latin flair.18516215_10159045122845221_1841648487_n

These chimichurri chicken drumsticks are, according to Greatist, one of Whole30 Co-founder Melissa Hartwig’s 11 favorite recipes. When I cook chicken it’s usually breasts, but these drumsticks, after marinating in chimichurri and spending the last few minutes in the oven under the broiler, simply can’t be beat. I use the chimichurri recipe from the Whole30 book, then cook the drumsticks at 375 degrees for about 55 minutes. Sounds scrumptious, right? But wait… there’s more! I use the Whole30 ranch for dipping! Melissa (Hartwig, keep up!) drizzles it over her chicken, but I found that unless I dunk my ‘sticks, the dressing slides right off. These are full of flavor, but I recommend saving some chimichurri and recoating the chicken if you plan to heat up leftovers; after a day in the fridge, the sauce kind of soaked in.
The new recipe I incorporated was plantain chips. I found this particular recipe on Pinterest. I tried two different seasoning combinations for comparison: salt and pepper and sweet and spicy. The recipe says to bake your thinly-sliced plantains at 400 degrees for 16 to 20 minutes, flipping them after eight. Since the chicken was in the oven, I used the toaster oven for these, and they took a little less time and a little more monitoring. After about 14 minutes, I had tasty chips as addictive as any you’d find in the store.
One plantain made about a serving and a half. Only problem is they did not store well. I kept them in a Tupperware container overnight and when I went to serve them tonight with my leftover chicken, they were no longer crisp or flavorful. I plan on making them again, but I’ll have to be hungry enough to eat a whole plaintain’s worth at once.
Overall, this was a meal I will make again. Even if Mom asks where the green vegetable was.

Animal Crackers

I did something today I don’t think I’ve done since before my Whole30. I snacked between breakfast and lunch. The worst part about it is I bought something from the vending machine at work with very little, if any, nutritional value. Animal crackers.pic

I figured they would do less harm than a bag of greasy chips or empty carb pretzels. I haven’t restocked my desk drawer with healthy snacks yet, and I got hungry a good two hours before I planned on taking my lunch break. I’ll chalk it up to an earlier than usual breakfast and one that contained less protein than it should have. I had sweet potato toast topped with a single egg, strawberries and almond butter. I should’ve added the salami like I’d originally intended. I have to remember that my Whole30 breakfasts always kept me full until lunch, whereas what I ate before the Whole30 usually did not, most likely because of minimal protein.

 

Whole30 Day 30

Well folks, I think it’s quite ironic that on my last day of the Whole30 I felt bloated for most of the day and had a myriad of zits on my face, but así es la vida, as my high school Spanish teacher used to say. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. After all, neither of those symptoms is something I’ve struggled with before or during the Whole30.

But enough “oh woe is me;” I did it! I went 30 days without consuming any grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol or added sugar! I didn’t doubt that I could do it, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless. I really didn’t even miss the things I couldn’t have too much, which is good considering I still have a 10-day reintroduction period ahead of me.

As has been a recurring theme with my recent posts, I don’t feel all that different than I did before I started the Whole30. I’ll spend tomorrow taking inventory of any non-scale victories and weigh myself to see if there’s been a change there. But if you remember, what I was most hoping to take away from this is something I can’t test until I regain my food freedom. Once my reintroduction is complete and I can eat whatever my heart and tummy desire, I’m immensely curious to see which foods I gravitate toward.

More than anything else, this experience has taught me how to know the difference between hunger and cravings. If I feel like eating something but the thought of having, say, chicken and vegetables doesn’t sound satisfying, it’s probably a craving and will pass. If I determine I’m truly hungry I should opt for a mini meal that contains at least two of the three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs).

Thanks to the Whole30, I’ve gained a new, healthier relationship with what I put in my body, and I hope it lasts well beyond the 30 days it took to acquire.

Where’s My Tiger Blood?

With just six days left of my Whole30, I think now would be a good time for reflection. Many of you have asked me how it’s going, and my answer has been a lukewarm “fine” or “pretty good.” The thing is, I’m well past the difficult days, but I don’t feel much different than I felt before I started. I can’t deny that I snack much less than I did pre-Whole30, and I now eat to satiety, or fullness, at every meal. But I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. And I haven’t gone for a run recently (thanks to Old Man Winter’s late arrival) to see whether my stamina has increased. So I guess what I’m saying is, I feel kinda jipped of the so-called Tiger Blood phase the majority of Whole30ers experience.

That being said, I’ve really enjoyed trying out new recipes and can honestly say I have not grown tired of the food I’m eating. Here’s a sample of a few of my favorite meals. As always, if you want a recipe, just ask!

Celebrating Two Weeks With… Chips and Pie?

Today marked two weeks since I started my Whole30, and it was notable for several reasons. Around the two-week mark is when most people doing a Whole30 start to feel the negative side effects subside, and when I woke up this morning I felt more refreshed than I have in a long time. Despite having difficulty falling asleep last night (thanks to a late afternoon coffee), the second my alarm went off at 6:45, I was alert and ready to start my day.

An even more fascinating phenomenon that occurred, and another that is common around this time for Whole30ers, is I had my first dream about off-limit foods! If I weren’t doing the Whole30 it would have been inconsequential. I dreamed I was eating Fritos and dunking them in assorted dips. It’s bizarre because I can’t even tell you the last time I ate Fritos (why choose Fritos over Cheetos?) and because my friend Taylor told me a few days ago that when she did her first Whole30 she dreamed about DORITOS, which she rarely eats! Anyhoo, I viewed this dream as a rite of passage, and I hope tonight brings something sickeningly sweet to my dream tummy.

My tummy IRL is happy because I made pie tonight… shepherd’s pie, that is. The recipe comes straight from the Whole30 book, but I’m going to repost it here. I can’t say I’ve eaten a lot of shepherd’s pie in my life, but I was drawn to this recipe because it’s a one-pot meal and because I haven’t yet used ground beef as my protein source on the Whole30.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and large-diced
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee (the ghee I used has coconut oil in it)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped (I plan to use two next time to double the vegetable count)
  • 1 pound ground meat (I used beef)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (or use a sprig of fresh thyme, but I didn’t)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano (or use 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, but ditto)

 

Ok, I decided I’m not going to post the recipe because it’s a lot to type, and my “L” and period keys are broken. That being said, if you want the recipe or want to fix my broken keys, just comment below or send me a message.