Friday, August 12, 2011

Adventures in Cooking

Since I have been so wordy lately, I figured I'd make a post with mainly pictures. And since I only took four pictures, it will be short. But since I wrote a mini novel about greenville yesterday, then we should be okay.

Last night, I made grilled chicken with an olive oil/lime/honey marinade, baked okra, grilled squash and a microwave sweet potato.

p.s. I am not good at taking food photos and I also used my iPhone so these aren't necessarily going to be hanging in an art gallery, but you get what I'm saying.

I heart my grill basket

pre baked okra

the finale... yums...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why Greenville, SC is the Bomb

I know that everyone thinks their home town is awesome, so of course, I am biased, but as much as I enjoy traveling and exploring new places, I still find myself appreciating the beauty I see when I'm here. It's a little gem that not many people not of, so here are my ten reasons why I love my hometown.

Greenville, SC (source)

1. Education - while our state is having some major issues with education, it turns out greenville county is not. One thing we have are charter/magnet schools. Places like Stone Academy and Blythe offer programs that help children learn a language at a young age or practice an art such as dance or music. Greenville Tech has a charter school offering children courses to help them prepare for college. Relocate America recently ranked Greenville in their top 10 places in which to relocate and used education as one of the factors. To quote from their article:

There is something for everyone in Greenville in regard to education and the community is dedicated to ensuring that quality options exist. Greenville is home to the 51st largest school district in the nation, serving nearly 70,000 students. The community recently put the finishing touches on the largest educational building project in the state's history a six-year, 70-school, $1.88 billion construction project.
Every public school student is now in either a completely new or an extensively remodeled facility.
In another example of how seriously the community takes its commitment to education, Greenville County Schools has been awarded National Accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, recognizing the school system as a high quality school district and granting full accreditation to the school district and all of its schools. This is no small feat."

And then obviously, I am a product of Greenville County Schools... so... case closed

2. Greenville is Green. Duh! We have lots of parks, lakes, etc. Cleveland park is home to another fun feature, the Swamp Rabbit Trail (which I will mention later). It has been newly renovated so there are lots of new playgrounds. It houses the Greenville Zoo and is home to the Rock Quarry. We also have Falls Park downtown which is located under the infamous Suspension Bridge (largest walking suspension bridge in the US, I think) and along side the Reedy River.

Cleveland Park Playground (source)

Falls Park (source)

3. Proximity to everything. Greenville is in a unique location because we are close to pretty much anything you would want... unless you want a desert and then I just can't help you. We have the beach (closet is Charleston, SC which is 3 hours away), the mountains (Pisgah is about an hour), two major cities (Charlotte is an hour and a half and Atlanta is two and a half hours) and several lakes. If you want to swim, hike, shop, see a pro sporting event or sit in the sand, we can get you there in half a day. BUT we're also protected my the mountains/foothills because we don't get tornadoes or hurricanes, we don't really get that much snow - enough for you to enjoy, but not enough to be annoying, and it's not quite as hot as Charleston/Columbia. But I mean, it's like, 94 degrees today so I'm not saying we're los angeles or anything.

4. Greenville is GREEN. Did I mention that already? Ok, now, I mean this differently. I mean, Greenville is dedicated to being more green. Duke Energy and GE just launched a new plan called the "Greening of Greenville Initiative". The plan is to "reduce energy consumption, provide more efficient lighting, and reduce the number of gasoline powered vehicles on the road." (source). They are putting electric car charging stations throughout the city so that it's more energy efficient vehicle friendly. The city provides recycling services to people living within Greenville City limits and there are lots of recycling stations throughout areas that aren't in that location. Downtown has installed bike trails so that it's more commutor friendly (but we do have a LONG way to go with this). Duke Energy will send you free energy efficient light bulbs and offers a program to help you learn how to reduce energy consumption. Obviously, we have way more we can do, but I appreciate that it's in our minds and we're trying to make our city much greener. I can say that most other cities in this state are NOT doing that. (i'm talking to you myrtle beach)

5. Recreation - there is a lot of outdoor recreatio which is nice consider summer lasts from april until october. and it can get hot. We have:

Lake Hartwell (30 min drive) (source)

Lake Jocassee (source)

Lake Keowee (source)

(all of those are within 45 minutes but not in Greenville County)

Clemson Football

Furman University - which you can run/bike or go to a football game (source)

and really I could go on and on...

6. Farmers: we have LOTS of Farmer's markets. We some different food co-ops. There is an urban farm tour and a farm tour of places outside of the city. South Carolina is a traditionally agricultural state (let's not talk about the civil war) and it still is. While we have a respect and understanding of the industrial world (we've got BMW, GE, Michelin) but also support and welcome our farmers!!

7. George Hincapie - yes, George is from here. And because of that, we have a big cycling community. And really a running community. Obviously, we have Go Run, Greenville Spinners, and Girls on the Run. We have the Swamp Rabbit Trail which begins in Greenville and ends in Travelers Rest. It's family friendly and great for a long run. (that's where I'll be doing my 12 miler on Sunday).

(p.s. they're all free)

8. Greenville Drive - this used to be the Greenville Braves back in the day, but the city decided to move the stadium from an undesirable location to downtown. Because the Drive are a farm team of the Boston Red Sox, they designed the stadium to look like a miniature Fenway Park. It's absolutely beautiful.

Baseball is a BIG deal in this state so it's nice to have a minor league team since the nearest major league team is in Atlanta.

9. Restaurants - Greenville is known for many of it's restaurants and we have many many many. There is obviously lots of the southern charm type places like Sassafras and Brick Street Cafe. We also have some nice steakhouses such as Chophouse 47  and Rick Erwins. There are some international influences such as Pomegranate, Rio Grille, The Lazy Goat and Irashai

If you want an in depth restaurant review, please read this (my friend Jane's very very very detailed greenville restaurant review)

10. Last and the most important: Downtown. That seems so silly, but if you've ever been to Greenville's downtown, you know what I'm talking about. About 15-20 years ago, Greenville began putting a huge emphasis on building downtown and making it a family friendly place. The first major thing added was the Peace Center for Performing Arts.

Then slowly, they started to add artwork, clean up the streets, redesigned an old, abandoned hotel into a Westin

redesigned the West End and added the baseball stadium

and made it a beautiful place to visit. I live very close so I run through downtown all the time.

I could keep going but I feel like this post is already long so we'll just leave it at that!!

Have you ever been to Greenville?
What do you like about your hometown?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Food Exploration

So now that I'm trying to eat more veggies and less gluten/dairy products, I need to be proactive about learning new foods and recipes. Or maybe even just new ways to cook things I already eat. For example, last night, I had this eggplant and didn't feel like grilling it like I usually do. I got out a cookbook I have and looked up eggplant. It said I could just saute it in butter in a pan. So that's what I did. And it was friggin' delicious. Even my husband said so and he hates eggplant.

I am obviously not gifted in food photography. but in my defense, I didn't even try because I'm lazy

I also decided to get veggies from the farmer's market so that gave me a way different group of veggies than what I normally eat. I got squash, eggplant and green beans.

As I was perusing the veggie section in Whole Foods, I was just looking at all of the different veggie varieties and thinking, I don't know anything about any of these vegetables. Like, wtf is this:

and what do I do with it?

or this...

what do I do with this? don't tell me salad because no...


There is an ENTIRE section of things like this that I just do not know what to do with. In the fall, I am always on a mission to try new things so last year I tried almost every type of squash and realized that I love squash. This is my fav...

I am kind of proud of myself because what I've realized is that I haven't really made that big of a change in my diet because I'm not really feeling much of a change physically. It hasn't been too hard. Now I did have a hershey's bar with almonds yesteday but it's that time of the month and that's what happens. And I would've had dark chocolate but couldn't find any at the BP gas station. Guess they're not as focused on health.

This morning was the only time when I felt really tired but as soon as I started running, I felt better. I took it a little easier this morning but still felt like I got in a good workout. Here is my training for the week so far:

Monday: 6 miles in the morning, 3 miles at night for a total of 9
Tuesday: 40 minutes of swimming: 100 m warm up, 4 x 50 (kick with fins), 4 x 50 m (swim), 4 x 50 m (pull), 10 x 25 m sprints and then I was ready to get out of the pool
Wednesday: 1 mile warm up, 5 x 4 minutes intervals with a 4 minute rest

I still have 2 more swims, a yoga class, a strength training session, a bike ride, a speed workout and a 12 mile run so....

Do you know any recipes with the stuff above?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Version of Paleo

So I don't think that I've mentioned this at all on my blog but I have been really struggling with nausea for the last couple of months. Really, for the last couple of years, but it hit me hard in the spring. I just basically feel nauseous all the time. After I eat especially and sometimes, it's not bad, sometimes, it's so bad, I just have to go to bed. It's nothing major, but it's annoying to feel bad all of the time. I went to the doctor and after $300 (out of pocket) worth of tests, I got nothing but a stupid prescription that doesn't work, so that confirms  my thoughts about our healthcare system in that we can cure a rare form of cancer that no one's ever heard of but cannot cure common systems for the every day man. SO... with that being said, I have been on a quest to figure out the issue that I have and how to fix it. I have talked to several people and we've narrowed it down to either a possible dairy allergy or a gluten allergy. What I would like to say is that this is devastating to me since I love both dairy and items made with wheat so I'm like, damn....

I'm trying to eat my version of paleo because I've heard people have success with this. I absolutely hate extreme dieting. I think cutting out any major food group can cause some disordered eating, that which I am prone to, and I am VERY nervous about trying this but I think, if it's going to make me feel better, why not?

So I've created a list of rules to help me try to implement this without getting too crazy:

1. if I really want something, I'm still going to eat it. I just need to think about it a little more
2. instead of cutting out all dairy, I think I'm going to try to limit it to one serving per day
3. i am NOT going to cut out all grains. I'm just going to try to focus on some alternative ones. My oatmeal is gluten free, so I'm going to still eat it. There are other options for grains other than wheat and many of them are gluten free. I'm happy to say I have a book that has recipes for that!

Those are my guidelines. I'm sure that any hard core paleo person would disagree with me, but I think you have to tailor things to fit your lifestyle, because I don't think anything is one size fits all.

WendiPaleo Day 1:

Breakfast: 4 peaches (I struggle with protein because I don't have time to cook eggs and I don't love hard boiled eggs) so I just basically ate peaches until I was full. Nice!

Lunch: grilled chicken breast, salad with spring greens, cherry tomatoes, olives, balsamic vinaigerette and some feta cheese. asparagus

Snack 1: banana and almonds/cashews
Snack 2: berries and almonds/cashews
snack 3: banana and almonds/cashews

dinner: rotisserie chicken and asparagus
I did have half a serving of peach cobbler (my mother in law makes the best and she made it) but I gave my husband most of the bread part

Overall, I felt pretty good. I didn't crave anything or feel like I'm missing out on anything, so that's key. Once I start feeling like I'm missing out on life, that's when I get crazy.

In other news, I did run 9 miles yesterday, 6 in the morning, 3 at night. It was terrible the whole time, but i did it. BAM

Do you have any experience with paleo?
Do you have any food allergies?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Changes in Training

So last week, my training was terrible in that, again, I only ran two times and swam once. That is not usual for me, but there has been so much going on, I just haven't been able to do it all. Another thing is that some of my commitments have changed which is awesome because now I can just focus on my own schedule and I don't have to worry about anyone else's. I prefer that.

So first thing's first; how is my schedule going to change?

Well, instead of running monday, wednesday, saturday, I'm probably going to be wednesday, friday, sunday. That way, I can cross train tuesday/thursday/saturday and have monday off. Another thing is that my plan is to swim 3 days a week. I like swimming, it's a great way to cross train and I have so much to make up in swimming so that next year, when I do more tri's, I'm going to hopefully catch up a little if I spend time on swimming now. It's so gentle on your body, I can do it every day if I really want to. or I feel that way anyway.

Today, I had to make up yesterday's long run, so I set out to run 8 miles. I only did 6 because of time contraints and because I wasn't feeling well. I felt dehydrated, my legs were heavy, and I just had no energy. I also haven't been eating great so that may have contributed to not a great run. I'm going to finish my 2.5 miles tonight so I can get the mileage in for the day. It's not my preference, but it is what it is.

Normally, what I would like to do is:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim/strength train
Wednesday: run - intervals
Thursday: swim
Friday: Run - speed work
Saturday: BIKE BIKE BIKE BIKE - I got my pedals/clips put on and I'm so excited to ride and maybe swim if I have time
Sunday: long run

I can always make adjustments based on my schedule/how I feel. With football seasons coming up, I'm a little nervous about how this is all going to fit. I've never trained during football season, so I don't know what it's like. What I will say is that football is usually #1...


And on to the next. So, this week, I'm going to try to alter my diet a little. I'm not going strict paleo because I just don't think I can maintain it long term, but I'm going to have more paleo tendencies.  A couple of things I'm not going to give up right away: oatmeal and yogurt. My oatmeal is gluten free and I eat plain greek yogurt, so as long as I don't continue to feel nausea, I'm still eating those. IF i am still nauseous a lot, then maybe i'll consider eliminating those others. I think I'm going to try to limit my dairy to 1 serving a day. I just love it so much, I'm not sure I can let it go 100%. I know that people live and die by paleo, but I'm different in that I have food issues and completely cutting anything out of my diet can be dangerous.

I am going to do some research on Paleo and see what i can take away from it. I think if I make some small changes like eliminating breads and most dairy, I'll see results. My motivation for this is no weight loss or performance, but trying to seek a cure for my nausea and my skin. I have been breaking out for the last couple of years and I just don't know what to do. I think it may have something to do with my diet. :(

Do you have experience with Paleo?
How do you do on strict diets?