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    I'm Lauren and this is a blog dedicated to living life with a healthy balance. I love to run, strength train, bike and just be downright active. I'm a marathoner as of April 24, 2010 and am currently looking forward to qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

    I absolutely love to eat and enjoy great food but doing it all in moderation. You'll see healthy, organic foods on here frequently but you'll also run into things such as pizza and sweets. I believe you can have it all... just not all at once.

    I'm always learning and discovering new foods, recipes, workouts and ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Join me on my journey towards becoming my healthiest self.

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A Rare Moment These Days

My Jimmy John’s was A-H-MAZING!  I still wish they’d get some wheat sub bread but I’ll settle for white bread, especially when it’s free.

I was seriously tempted to go eat a third sub but right when I got up to go grab one, I had two new patients that needed to be triaged.  So it worked out that while I was triaging them, my stomach ended up registering that it was fully satisfied.

I did end up snacking on an orange around 4 or so to tide me over until community group tonight.

Y’all know what Thursday night means!  Community Group- which means there is usually dessert served… which means, I get a fruit dinner because it’s still Lent!  On the menu for tonight: A Granny Smith apple, sliced banana and grapes.  With 3/4 tbsp. of peanut butter of course.

I really do love my fruit dinners!  And the peanut butter makes it ridiculously addicting!

Alright, to explain the title of my blog.  I haven’t divulged this on the blog yet but if you know me then you know what I’m about to say and explain.  My parents got divorced after 29 years of marriage on June 24, 2009.  My dad re-married on August 1, 2009.  You can probably guess why my dad felt like he could know some other woman so well to get married that quickly after divorcing my mom.  But we won’t get into that. Think what you want.

I grew up being EXTREMELY close with my family.  We took many family vacations, had family game night every week, laughed together and spent ridiculous amounts of time together.  My mom is my best friend and I was such a daddy’s girl.  My dad is a physician in Memphis and worked 9 jobs (literally) when I was growing up (he still does) and had long hours.  I never held that against him because he was my daddy and I knew he was working so hard to provide us with eveything we needed or even wanted.  I rode the divorce rollercoaster with my parents for 2 1/2 years and it was brutal.  I never, in a million years, would’ve thought my parents would’ve gotten a divorce.  I grew up in church, my dad was a deacon, we want on mission trips as a family, served in soup kitchens, etc.  You just wouldn’t have thought we would’ve ended up being a split family.  But we are.  And every once in a while, I wake up from the dream of my parents divorce and realize it’s a reality.  Enter today.  I was sitting there at work and a random memory hit me and it was all she wrote. My mind ran to all the different memories I have as a child and up until last June and all I felt like doing was crawling into bed and bawling my eyes out while wishing it could go back to the way it was.  My childhood home is up for sale, my mom had to move, my dad is re-married with two new children (in addition to my baby, 22 year old, brother), and I’ve been floating.  Floating through this foreign world that I have not yet come to grips with, wondering if one day the Lord will grant me with amnesia so I could forget this divorce even happened.  I have discovered that running is my escape… I don’t think when I run.  I can just run with a clear head and pound out any stress that’s in my body.  It’s the perfect cure because I’m definitely not going the medication route if I don’t have to.  I don’t feel depressed on a regular basis at all. I feel like I lead a very fulfilling life.  I’m secure in my marriage and myself but some days are just really hard.  The rug that I stood on for 24 years has been pulled out from under me and I have to get used to standing on a different one.

I’m so thankful for the Lord, my husband, my mom and my friends that have always been there to pray, encourage, hug, listen and love me through every stage of grief there is.  And I am truly thankful for the sweet memories I have of my family together and will cling to those for the rest of my life but will always look back with a bittersweet taste being left in my mouth.  I think I’ve had a harder time lately because my dad and I don’t speak anymore.  We haven’t spoken in more than a month and that has been his decision. He completely has changed from the man I once knew as my daddy and it’s a hard pill to swallow.  Who, what, when, how?!  So many questions left unanswered.  So here I am, baring my all, to you, my readers, so thank you for bearing with me.  I promised to be honest on this blog and I meant it for every facet of my life because I know that if I’ve gone through feelings like this, someone else must have or will go through them too.  We aren’t alone…

But just about as quick as the sadness came, it was gone and I’m thankful.  The Lord is sufficient to ease my pain and that’s just what He did.  Know that if you are hurting, perpetually or intermittently, I feel your hurt!  I just felt a prodding to share this today and I hope that it helped encourage one of you readers out there who might be hurting too.  And thank you all for letting me be the person I am and feeling like I can be open and honest about my life.

Until tomorrow… Good night.

What have you used in your life to get past difficult moments?  Prayer, encouragement from friends, running, etc.

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Called In…

Of course having to be on call would turn out to be that I would be called in.  Within 30 minutes of me posting about breakfast, I was called into work.  I hadn’t yet started to eat my lunch so I grabbed it and took it with me and ended up eating it at 3 p.m. instead.  Oh well.  At least I got to eat.

A big salad topped with the usual and I added some grilled chicken this time.  Yum!!! I loved this salad today!  I had some more chicken and asparagus left over from last night so I ate the rest of that as a side.

Even though I ate lunch super late, I decided I need my mandarin I packed as a snack around 6 p.m. because we had another commitment at church for me to run to right after work.

I figured that might hold me over until almost 9 p.m. when we would be able to get home and eat dinner.

I was starving by the time I got home so I quickly hurried around the kitchen and helped the hubs get all the ingredients ready for our panini’s!!!

A yummy ham and cheese panini for me with the hubs special sauce.  Mmm… mmm… good.

A little hummus and crackers on the side?  Yes please!

And some grapes for afterwards.

It’s been a good day all in all… now I’m ready to get into bed and get some sleep so I can wake up and head to work tomorrow.  Tomorrow is another long day with a 12 hour shift and then Community Group afterwards.  Hope you all had a great hump day!  See you tomorrow!

What are your favorite salad toppings?

Catching Up

It seems like I haven’t posted in forever and it was only yesterday afternoon!  I feel like I have so much to catch you all up on!  So get ready for a little bit of a lengthy post.  😉

Plans changed for girls night last night.  Dinner ended up being canceled and I ended up staying at work until after 7 p.m. because we got busy.  They ended up still going to the movie but by the time I got out of work, swung by some semi-healthy fast food place to pick up a bite on the way, I would’ve definitely not gotten there in time so I decided to not stress about it and the hubs and I grabbed a quick sushi dinner instead.

We ended up at Osaka for my first true taste of sushi.  I let the hubs take the reins and order for me.  He ended up ordering three rolls to split between the two of us with 8 pieces to each roll.

Sorry for the flash!  Left to Right: Dynamite Roll, Spicy California and Spicy Salmon

My favorite would definitely have to be the dynamite roll.  Surprise surprise that it’s the spiciest and we almost didn’t order it!

I ended up inhaling 4 pieces of each kind because they were pretty small but ended up feeling super bloated and full later on.

I was still hungry after the 12 pieces (12 pieces!!!  Is that a lot of sushi for one person?!) so I ordered a small house salad with ginger dressing.  The hubs ate half.

Gyoza (Pork dumplings) was ordered by the hubs and I ate two.

P.S. Thank you all for your suggestions for sushi!!!  I see sushi as future meals in the future.  Probably not a weekly thing because of all the sodium but definitely an every once in a while treat!

So like I said before, by the time I got home, I was super full and decided that when I was packing my lunch that I would try to eat super clean today.  And I feel like I suceeded.

Breakfast: Special K low fat granola and Kashi Honey Toasted H2H.  My new favorite cereal combo!!

The combo really filled me up and lasted me several hours.

Lunch: Organic baby spring mix topped with shredded carrots, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

And obviously 4 whole wheat crackers.

See how large how salad it was?!

It was definitely pretty filling.

Since we were running around busy today, I was definitely hungry by 4 p.m. for the snack I packed.

Diced whole apple, grapes and sliced banana.  I thought I would maybe eat only half but ended up eating the whole thing which really was a lot but I was hangry!!

I couldn’t wait to leave work to go running in the great weather we had today.  We are supposed to get rain the rest of the week so I’m glad I fit in a 3 miler tonight.  And in 63 degree weather, I wasn’t going to complain.

I ended up really pushing myself tonight.  I did sprints the last 1.5 miles and ended up running 3 miles in 27:00 minutes!  Woo hoo!!  Take that pavement!  I burned it up!

I quickly headed inside to eat some dinner that was waiting on me!  Grilled chicken, asparagus and sauteed mushrooms topped with a drizzle of cheese.

The piece of chicken was HUGE!

So I ate half of the chicken and half the asparagus to put it on my salad for tomorrow’s lunch.  Grilled chicken salad?  Yes, please!

Whew… I guess that’s about it for now.  Now time for a much needed shower and wind down.  Climbing in bed to watch The Biggest Loser!  Love Tuesday nights!!

Be sure and stop by another Lauren’s blog and enter to win her giveaway!!  

What are your staple foods for eating cleaner?  Salads, fruit, veggies, lean meat, etc.?

Granola Bar Goodness

A couple hours after dinner last night the hubs decided to break into the granola bars.  They were still a little lot crumbly but they, obviously, were still edible.  I ended up getting me a good bit last night after I tried a bite.  DELISH!

I was hoping they would bind together better overnight but we checked on them after lunch today and they are still super crumbly.  Next time I’ll use more brown rice syrup and peanut butter.  Other than that, they really are  fantastic.  I went ahead and scooped even portions into saran wrap and stored them in the fridge for an easy grab and go snack.

Side note: The cokes and Diet Sunkist in the background were mine.  Well, I guess technically still are mine. Even though I haven’t had a carbonated beverage in almost two months.  The cokes are, thankfully, almost gone because the hubs drinks one at night every once in a while and we’ve had guests drink them.  The Diet Sunkist, unfortunately, will have to be drank by me because the hubs doesn’t like them.  I’ve had those leftover in my fridge from the 12 pack I bought last summer. I like to drink them when I lay out on our rooftop deck in the summer.  Fizzy and cold.  But I’m hoping to have a soda free fridge soon.  They aren’t taking up too much space these days (seeing as how I used to drink 2 or 3 a day in the past and there are barely any left) but I’ll be grateful for the added space we’ll have when they are all gone.

Anyway… I meant to tell you all what I changed about the granola bar recipe.  I did not use chia seeds, just pumpkin and sunflower. And I used the puffed wheat cereal instead of the puffed rice.  I can’t wait to keep making these and having them for around the house, to take to work, road trips, etc.  So easy and healthy!  Thanks Anne!

I actually slept until 8:30 this morning!  I couldn’t believe it.  I’ve been automatically waking up around 7 or 8 on my days off so it was nice to get a little more snoozing in.  I decided a whole wheat waffle with a drizzle of syrup, dollop of butter, and a side of strawberries and a sliced banana would be a perfect Sunday breakfast.

I was right.

The rest of the day, so far, has been spent piddling around the house.  I’ve cleaned, organized, watched HGTV and Food Network, made lunch, now blogging and etc.  I love days where nothing is on the agenda and I can be carefree.  Too bad I have to return to work tomorrow!!

For lunch I decided to finish the tiny bit left of the tomato bisque we had and eat some wheat crackers and hummus on the side.

Hummus is definitely my new staple snack.  I’m OBSESSED!  I can’t wait to make some homemade hummus once we pull the food processor out of storage.  😉

I figured a mandarin would be the perfect ending to my lunch.

I’ve got to be getting ready in a little bit for church.  The hubs is leading worship tonight which always makes my heart swell.

Then I’ll be home while he leads a second evening service.  Hopefully I’ll get some good strength training in tonight before I make us a wonderful gourmet dinner.  Wait for it…. Sloppy Joe’s!  Hehe.  I love Sloppy Joe’s and I’ll be making it with ground turkey for the first time so I’m excited to have a little bit of a healthier version.  I’ve got my Lay’s BBQ baked chips ready to go for my staple side (who can eat a sloppy joe without chips on the side?  Not me!) and am debating on whether I should make some baked beans to go along too.  That’s why I didn’t eat a loaded ham sandwich for lunch today like the hubs did.  I figured that’d be too much bread in one day.  All about balance and moderation, right?

So get ready for some yummy looking sloppy joe pictures tonight.  I know I’m excited because I’m going to enjoy every single bite… and hopefully have leftovers for work tomorrow.

See you later gators!!

What’s your favorite granola bar mix in?  Chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, etc?

Decompressing and Homemade Granola Bars

The rest of the day following my 5k this morning has been spent watching “Couples Retreat”, eating, relaxing, napping, cooking and eating some more.  It’s been a great day.

The movie was cute.  Not one that I would probably watch over and over but it did make us laugh really hard a few times.  I ended up eating my apple that I picked up after the 5k shortly after I ate half the bagel and banana from earlier.

I was starving again in no time and the hubs heated up some pizza he bought the other day.  I just ate two slices of cheese.

After the movie I ended up climbing into bed to watch some Oprah’s I had DVR’ed and ended up cat napping for an hour or so.  The hubs ended up running to Starbuck’s to get some reading accomplished and I just lounged around and vegged.

Right before he got home I got a burst of energy and knew it was a good time for me to get to making the homemade peanut butter granola bars that I had bought all the ingredients for yesterday.

All the ingredients.

The dry ingredients mixed in a bowl.

The wet ingredients after being microwaved for about 30 seconds.

I added the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and started mixing together.  It stayed a little clumpy so the hubs suggested I mix with my hands.

It worked perfectly.  I’ll mix with my hands each time from now on!

I placed it into a pan, flattened it out and stuck it in the fridge so it all could bind better.

I have a feeling I’m going to be addicted to these!  And they are super easy to make.  After Lent I’m going to have to add some chocolate chips I think.  😉

Go over to Anne’s page for the recipe.

It was then time for dinner and I was quite hungry after mixing all these great ingredients together.

On the menu: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and wheat crackers for a light side.

I thought it was delicious. The hubs prefers original hummus.

Main Course: Flank steak on top of organic spring mix salad with feta cheese, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, shredded carrots and balsamic vinaigrette.

I decided that after dinner I was craving some fruit.  I started out with a clementine and decided it wouldn’t be enough to satisfy me so I added some red grapes.  Just what I needed.

It’s been a great day and I look forward to spending time with the hubs tonight while he’s taking a break from studying for a few hours.  I can’t believe tomorrow is Sunday!  My last day of my 3 day weekend!  Boo.

Hope you all have enjoyed your Saturday!  See you all tomorrow!!

What’s your favorite flavor of hummus?

Stocked Up

Since I was still hungry when I left you all last night, I decided a saltine peanut butter sandwich would be in order.  Well worth it.  I went to bed satisfied.

Despite staying up and watching TV in bed until 1 a.m., I was up bright and early by 8 a.m.  I think I actually like waking up without an alarm clock.  I decided to go with a sliced red apple drizzled with almond butter for breakfast.

I have officially decided that I absolutely do not like almond butter.  I ended up scraping it of most of the apples best I could but could still taste it.  I think the dryness and stickiness majorly throws me off.  It’s just too overwhelming.  So whatever, I’m a peanut butter girl.  Who cares?  Not me because I LOVE peanut butter.

We set off this morning to head to my eye appointment and I received great news that I can ditch my glasses and put my contacts back in.  Ah, it makes my life so much easier!

We celebrated by going and grabbing some Panera Bread.  It was right at the verge of brunch and lunchtime.  The hubs opted for a sugary breakfast pastry treat and I opted for some lunch.

Half a tuna sandwich with onion, lettuce and tomato with a cup of Garden Vegetable Medley and an apple.

The Garden Vegetable Medley was great!

I ended up saving the apple for a late afternoon snack and was glad I did!

We needed the fuel for our major grocery shopping trip and we burnt all of our fuel up.  Between going back and forth between Natural food stores to running into 5 different stores for ingredients, we are whooped.  We started out at this awesome place in Louisville called Lotsa Pasta because we recently heard they had great frozen pizza dough so we ventured in.  We’ve been here once before with some friends but didn’t make any purchases.  Today we bought some of their signature marinara sauce, pizza sauce, a block of Parmesan cheese and two balls of frozen whole wheat pizza dough.  Get this… the pizza dough is only $1.59 each!  How great of a deal is that?  Their marinara sauce was only like $2 so we walked out only paying $12 for everything we got.  I even snuck in samples of their hummus wraps, Cajun crab and sun dried tomato spread.

We then actually headed to Rainbow Blossom right across the street to pick up some Crispy Puffed Wheat Cereal and Brown Rice Syrup for the homemade peanut butter granola bars I’m going to make later today or tomorrow.

Then it was off to Whole Foods (my fave) for some more ingredients for the granola bars and a few random items along the way like two 3 lb. bags of clementines (they were having buy one, get one free.  Can’t beat it), alfalfa sprouts (a first for me, ever!), asparagus (my favorite veggie as of late), and Puffin cinnamon cereal (another first)… along with all my other ingredients for the granola bars like raw pumpkin and sunflower seed, finely ground flax seed, unsweetened coconut and rolled oats.  Whew.

Then it was off to our staple Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart trip.  I think we have both decided to forgo Wal-Mart from now on.  At least the big Wal-Mart’s.  It’s too crazy there and I’m way to A.D.D. for all the people.  I find myself running down each aisle a million times to find all the things on my shopping list because there are too many people.  So we figured the Neighborhood Wal-Mart Market will be the way to go from now on.  We went there for the first time last week to pick up a couple of items since we were out and about where one was located and it was so much cleaner, well-organized and not busy at all.  It makes a huge difference.  So bye bye mainstream Wal-Mart.  We hope we won’t be seeing you soon.

Look at all of our goodies that we brought home.

This still isn’t everything. We did end up getting chicken, flank steak (Obvi), and top sirloin round for a roast.  I definitely love meat but the hubs needs it at every meal.  I, on the other hand, think I could go without it more.  But I do like it and that’s why I eat it.  I did pick up some Morning star vegan “sausage” patties for breakfast.  Hope I like them.

Fridge Before:

Fridge After:

Cabinet/Pantry Before:

Cabinet/Pantry After:

I would stay we are stocked up. We are good for the whole month now.  I know some people can’t imagine shopping for a whole month but I can’t imagine shopping from week to week.  I never know what we’re going to be in the mood for and a week at a time takes so much more planning on my part so I get everything I know we’ll use for the month and go from there.  We might have to go back to the store for little things throughout the month like milk or bread but we pretty much are good to go.  And this gives us no excuse to say “We have nothing to eat, let’s just go out”.  Ya hear?

I’m really excited about buying this new Special K cereal that is out and I sampled today.  It’s low fat granola and it’s DELICIOUS.  The hubs already ate a bowl and gave it his seal of approval.  This will be my first experience with granola cereal and I think I’m going to fall in love.  We now have 4 boxes of cereal on hand so we are good to go.  I also bought some Whole Wheat waffles for good measure and a hot breakfast on the weekends.

Ok ok, so I won’t keep listing all the items I bought at the store even though I’m super excited right now.  You’ll see them in all of my meals soon enough.

Oh and I went and picked up my race packet for the 5k tomorrow!  I’ll be laying all of my race gear out tonight so you’ll see pictures either tonight or tomorrow.

After getting home and unpacking our enormous amount of groceries, organizing and all that it was time for an afternoon snack… my apple from earlier.

And some of my trailmix.

And I’m still hungry.  It must be because of my 17 mile run yesterday.  🙂

We are having our neighbors, Jack and Patrick, over for a spur of the moment dinner tonight so we’re excited.  Now we just need to tidy up a bit.  Look at this sleepy babe in my lap as I write this blog.  I hate to disturb him. Especially when I’ve about put him to sleep with some neck scratching.

But when his daddy came home from renting us a movie he was wide awake again.  Isn’t he the cutest?

We shall say goodbye for now.  I’ll see you later tonight or tomorrow!  Race time is almost here!!!  😉

On Cloud 9

What a day!  I was, thankfully, put on call this morning from work and decided, after I slept in a little bit, that I would conquer my 17 mile long run today instead of tomorrow.  I figured I’d knee to rest my body for at least a whole day before my 5k on Saturday.  And this way I get practically the whole weekend to run errands, spend time with the hubs, and relax without the long run hanging over my head!

So anyway…. I donned my running gear and got to it.  I started out nice and easy and quickly fell into an even pace.  I covered up my Garmin with my jacket because I felt like that has been one thing to hold me back on my runs and get me discouraged.  I hate to look down and see that I haven’t run as far as I thought or have run slower than I wanted.  I also decided to not have music playing in my ears as I ran.  Usually it’s on all the time when I run but I think the tempo of certain songs forces me to go faster (which can be a good thing too) but wears me out and makes me want to start walking.  I only stopped twice really.  Once at 1.71 miles when the hubs called and once at 12.42 miles when the hubs called again.  And the last mile I ended up speed walking/jogging because my hips started to tighten up and wouldn’t allow me to keep running straight.  So I ended up running 99% of the time and finished in 3 hours and 37 minutes.  I know that seems super slow to a lot of runners out there but I’m okay with running that long.  I’ve remained injury free and I know I’ll get faster with time but I’m concentrating on listening to my body and not pushing it too terribly hard.  This will be my first (and not last) marathon and I just want to finish.  So 12-13 minutes a mile is okay right now.  Now each marathon from here on out, I would like to at least be faster each time but that’s what training is for.  ANYWAY…. I’ll get off of that little soapbox.

I’m just so excited that I ran almost the entire time.  Nine more miles until I hit 26 miles sort of terrifies me but I know my body will continue to get used to the long runs.  I’m just trying to be patient and train smart.

I might or might not have popped a couple of extra strength Tylenol to help with my stiffness.  Trying not to get into the habit of popping these little helpers too much.

I came home and immediately guzzled half of a gatorade and a million ounces of water.

Okay, maybe not a million but a lot!  I drew myself a hot bath and soaked for a little bit and got out to fix me something to eat and ice my knees.  I ate while I iced.

Pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes and some peas.

I needed a snack just a tiny bit later.  These red grapes did just the job.

Just three short hours later I was starving again.  I guess my body is screaming for the >1300 calories I burned today.  So I ate some tomato bisque topped with lots of herbs and some parmesan cheese.  I loved eating it out of a mug.

Mmmm… great soup for a chilly day and a post-recovery run.

I just got home from Community Group and am a little hungry so I might have saltine, peanut butter sandwich.  🙂  Can’t wait to go grocery shopping tomorrow!  YEEEE!!  And I find out if I get to wear my contacts again and leave the glasses aside.   And… I go pick up my race packet for Saturday! It’s going to be a laid back, busy, fun-filled weekend for us!  Stay tuned!

Do you run or workout to music?