TRANSFORMATION

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Heart disease is also 100% preventable. It is a life-style disease and if you have it, it can be reversed through diet and lifestyle changes.

February is Heart Health Month which coincides with Hallmark’s favorite “holiday” … Valentine’s Day. Quite obviously planned that way, I am sure.

What you may not know however, is that February is also the anniversary of my mom’s passing … from a heart attack. Do you see the theme here?

My mom.
My mom and a creepy clown.

She was 47 years old when she passed from a massive heart attack with very little warning. Two months prior, I had celebrated my 17th birthday and the joy of finally having a driver’s license.

My dad was turning 50 in early February as well and my mom worked endlessly planning a huge surprise birthday party for him.

She worked on every detail. She was so excited at who was coming and was busy buying all kinds of “over the hill” decorations.

It was also around this time, that I was making a more conscious (and vocal) effort to stop eating meat. Growing up I was never a huge fan of the stuff. There were a few things I would eat but I hated turkey and would always try and hide it under my mashed potatoes. 🙂

The party came and was a huge success. Two weeks later, she was gone.

The last photo of the four of us together - at my Dad's 50th party.
The last photo of the four of us together – at my Dad’s 50th party.

For those that know me now, that photo may be a bit of a shocker.

Me at 17 vs Me now
Me at 17 vs Me now

I’ve always admired the “success stories” that I see online of those who have been transformed physically that I guess I never really saw my own transformation until I revisited these photos recently.

Then vs Now
Then vs Now

Yet, the transformation that I love the most, is how my mind set changed after my mom’s passing. Whether intentional or subconscious, I made the connection between eating certain things and heart health.

The older and more mature I became, I would learn to research, read and understand the connection fully and more importantly, implement it daily.

Now it is a way of life for me. I can’t recall anything else and there is no other way I would want to live. Do you know why?

Peanut & Squeaker
Peanut & Squeaker

Those two blonde cuties right there. Having turned 40 not too long ago, it hasn’t gone unnoticed in my own brain that I am just now 7 years younger than when my mom left this Earth and more importantly my family. In 7 years, the Peanut will be roughly 16 years old herself. I am certain that history will not repeat itself.

How am I so certain? Because I am in control. I know that cholesterol only resides in animal products. Think chicken is a better choice? It contains the same amount of cholesterol as red meat. Eggs? One egg has as much cholesterol as a Double Whopper. Think about that. One egg!? And don’t get me started on oil (any oil) – it has the potential to impair the flow of blood to your heart significantly not to mention it is highly caloric and contains no nutritional benefits.

Don’t worry, I am not going to turn this into a “don’t eat meat or oil post” … (but seriously, don’t) instead, I want you to stop and think about what you are putting in your mouth in connection with how you feel on a daily basis.

I didn’t jump right into kale salads mind you. I went through a junk-food vegan phase. Sure, Frito’s and Oreo’s are vegan but let’s be honest, that is not food, not really. It took time.

And like me, you may still envision yourself looking a certain way when in reality, you probably do not look like your 17 year old self anymore. While we are at it, how are you FEELING?

Do you get out of breath easily? Is it hard to get out of bed? Can you walk a mile easily? Do you get leg cramps? Acid Reflux?  Sadly, heart disease does not often come with a warning. You don’t necessarily have to have high cholesterol or blood pressure either to have heart disease (my dad didn’t and he also suffered a heart attack).

There is a reason heart disease is called the silent killer. Sometimes the only warning that you get, is when you are having a full-blown heart attack and by then, it may be too late.

Don’t kid yourself. Everyone is getting older. Moderation is not “okay” anymore. As Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, the author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease has said, “If you eat unhealthy foods in moderation, then you’ll have a moderate heart attack.

I miss my mom every day. I often say: If I knew then what I know now, she’d still be here. Yet I might not know what I know now, if she hadn’t had a heart attack. I might still look like my 17 year old self, but with gray hair and quite possibly a few pounds heavier.

People often think Vans and I are so “fit” because we bike and run. That is only a small piece of the puzzle. When I was 17, I was playing basketball, softball and soccer – all year round and sometimes two sports at one time! You wouldn’t know it though by that photo.

Thin doesn’t equate healthy. I want you to look inside. I want you to really look. What is most important to you right now?

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Is it really worth jeopardizing your health, your life, your family to consume something that has the potential to stop the flow of blood to your heart? Forever?

Medication only masks the problem. It doesn’t fix it. Food, the right food (aka plant-based whole foods), can fix it. The right food, can reverse the damage that has already been done. The right food can allow you to see your children grow, walk them down the aisle and have grandchildren. The right food, can save your life.

We’re only given one heart … take care of it.

My heart belongs to these three right here.
My heart is no longer mine. It belongs to these three right here.

~Trailmomma

If you want more information, I urge you to please watch this video and read Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease or visit Dr. Esselstyn’s website.

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STILL RUNNING

Even though it appears that I have not been running (it might if you only follow me here on the blog), don’t worry, I have been. I just haven’t been posting much about my runs for various reasons.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking photos while I run though. I always take photos. 🙂

2017 has brought some changes in my training routine. I don’t really care to go into detail but I am training and I am focusing. I fully admit that I entered 2017 in a bit of a lull, lacking “mojo” and motivation.

However, luckily it was short lived and I have my zest for running trails back where it should be. A lot of that has to do with who I have been running with lately.

My usual partners in crime (Pigeon, Stonegate, Burning Girl) for a while were not able to run with me. They have a life and sometimes life gets in the way (fully understandable). I also have a life and my life lately has been consumed by the Peanut and Squeaker’s basketball teams.

Coaching means tying shoes.
Coaching means tying shoes … oh wait, I do that as a mom too. :)

I am the assistant coach to Squeaker’s team and they are hands down the cutest 5 and 6 year olds on the planet!

Squeaker looking to pass!
Squeaker looking to pass!

Peanut is on her own team but this is the first year either of them have ever touched a basketball, let alone play the game.

Peanut!
Peanut!

I have a long history and love affair with the sport of basketball (Vans SO does not) and so I’ve happily taken the reigns of shuttling to practices and working with the girls. I love it.

Look at that form! :)
Taking the shot! Look at that form! :)

Yet because of basketball and coaching, my run days have been moved around.  No big deal but it was hard to find people to run with from time to time and I am not one to go out on the Auburn/Cool trails by myself for very long (safety first).

Enter Grumpy and Not Chris ….

Grumpy, me and Not Chris
Grumpy, me and Not Chris

I work with both of these two and they both were looking to get into trail running. Not Chris is registered for the FOURmidable 30k in a few weeks. I have no doubts he will do well. Grumpy is also registered for the 13K FOURmidable race and is really putting in the work.

It has been fun running with two people who are new to trails and who are smitten by them just as much as I am.

This past weekend my worlds collided! Pigeon is back on schedule to run with me now (thanks to a new baby in her immediate family) and she met Grumpy and Not Chris for the first time (she is actually to blame for Not Chris’s nickname).

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Pigeon!

We all met in Auburn and agreed on the mileage beforehand. The route we picked was nice because even though Grumpy doesn’t need to go as far as we do, he’s able to join us on some pretty cool sections.

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Not Chris
Grumpy!
Grumpy

The weather this past weekend was amazing. I know we need more rain, but the rain has made for some pretty gnarly runs lately. I do love the sunshine especially early in the morning.

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I’ve taken the boys out a few times solo but this past weekend we took them on a different loop. I think they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

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We’re all different paces but it seems to work. We run, we meet up at any turns and we continue on. Sometimes we stick together. Sometimes I run ahead because I want to take photos! 🙂

Pigeon and Not Chris
Pigeon and Not Chris
Grumpy flipping me off - hence the name Grumpy. :)
Grumpy flipping me off – hence the name Grumpy. :)

After we got done with that loop, we took them up Stagecoach. I’ve taken them up before, but Pigeon took us a different route which led us to the famous “bench” and we forced the boys to take the obligatory “bromance bench” photo.

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After the climb up Stagecoach, Grumpy left us and ran back down. He doesn’t need to rack up mileage. Not Chris, Pigeon and I continued on.

It was an awesome day. I finished feeling strong. My legs felt worked but I was smiling ear to ear. Later that afternoon, I ended up playing 90 minutes of basketball with the girls and some friends at the park! I guess I had more pep left in my legs than I thought.

So I apologize in advance for not writing much this year about running. I’ll pop in from time to time with some photos and maybe some recaps of the girls and their basketball games. Race reports are one thing I love to write about since I do go back and read what worked and didn’t work race by race, so you’ll see those for sure.

Maybe now that I have found my running mojo, I’ll find my blogging mojo. 🙂

Until then ….

So far, she loves it and that makes me happy!
So far, she loves it and that makes me happy!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

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NEW VIDEO : CHIPOTLE BOWL WITH LIME CILANTRO RICE

Sorry, the blog has taken a major hit lately. It isn’t that I have not been running, I have … albeit drenched most of the time due to our increase in rainfall.

I hope to get back to blogging about running soon. I just haven’t found my rhythm yet.

What I have found however, is another recipe for my Instant Pot that I shot and edited for all of you.

I love Chipotle but what I don’t love is all the fat and oil that comes with it. Yes, even for the “vegan” food they serve, it still packs quite an artery clogging punch.

In the past, Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice (my favorite thing about them) was made with olive oil AND lime juice. A quick check of their menu recently, I don’t see that they list “oil” anymore on the ingredients but something is “a muck” here as this is the nutrition content for ONE 8 oz serving of their rice:

Photo from here.
Photo from here.

So one serving (which I rarely see just one 8 oz serving in a single burrito or bowl – it is more like 2 right?) is 4 grams of fat and 210 calories with 38 of those calories coming from fat. There is also 345 grams of sodium. The numbers just don’t add up for me.

Here is the nutritional profile from Lundberg Family Farms of just 1 serving of plain jasmine rice (1 serving is 1/4 cup dry which makes about 1/2 cup cooked).

Photo from here.
Photo from here.

I am sorry, cilantro and lime or lemon juice doesn’t add THAT much to the fat and sodium content to make the Chipotle numbers work.

Anyway, my point isn’t to bash Chipotle. I eat there from time to time. What I wanted to share was my latest YouTube video!

I made another Instant-Pot video in my kitchen this week. I was short on time and decided to just record while I was making dinner. So forgive the glitches. This was a one shot deal, no do-overs, no retakes. 🙂

I created my version of a “healthy” Chipotle Burrito Bowl complete with Cilantro Lime Rice. The recipe is in the description of the video itself if you want to try it.

If you like it, please give me a “thumbs up” and share with friends. You can also comment here and tell me what other videos you’d like to see or if I should just hand over my camera now and say “forget it.” 🙂

I am just having some creative fun. I don’t plan to have my own show on the Food Network anytime soon.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

 

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CREATIVE JUICES and A RECIPE

Hi there! Hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas and are planning to have a safe and Happy New Years as well. My holidays were great. I have been enjoying some family time and some time off of work.

In that time, I finally did something that I have been meaning to do for a while. I made a YouTube cooking video. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that I use my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker quite often. I love it and cannot imagine my life without it.

I love it so much that I have introduced it to everyone that I know. I showed Stonegate a year ago, and then she got one and she since fallen in love and has spread the word to all of her friends. Everyone in my family has purchased one. I have quite a few friends that recently purchased one (thanks to some awesome Black Friday sales) as well as a few attendees from my plant-based cooking demos! Stonegate and I even purchased one for Burning Girl for Christmas so that she could discover its magic! And if you are wondering, yes, Pigeon even has one now too! 🙂 The whole Wolf-Pack. 🙂

So in an effort to share some the simplicity of this appliance (because it can be quite intimidating at first), I shot this video. I basically show you another way to use the Instant-Pot that is not typically known by many. I remember when I showed this recipe to Stonegate and Burning Girl, they were blown away.  🙂

So now, I am going to share it with you. Keep in mind, this is my first official attempt at a video. There were some technical glitches that my perfectionist self notices, but hopefully you don’t mind. I shot this solo with a three camera set up in my kitchen. It was kind of fun!

If you like it, please give me a thumbs up and share with anyone who has an Instant Pot or may be interested in getting one. Feel free to comment too.

If the above link doesn’t work, you can also click here: CHICKPEA CURRY IN A HURRY.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

*I am not associated with Instant Pot at all. I get nothing from them. I simply just love this appliance and use it daily. 

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I AM EFFING FORTY!!!

Today, I am 40. How in the hell did that happen? I should start off by saying that you’ll have to excuse this little self-indulgent post. I will try and keep it short and sweet. Okay, maybe it won’t be so “sweet” but short would be good right?

Hopefully you can tell which one is me ...
Me as a kid with my neighbors … hopefully you can tell which one is me.

I have been thinking about this day for quite some time. Probably since I turned 39 and realized, “Holy freaking crap, I am leaving my thirties and entering the dreaded 40 zone?” I know it isn’t a huge deal. I mean, Vans turned 40 eons ago and he survived right? 🙂

tahoe2016-4

Yet for some reason, this milestone, this marker, has brought on actual change (stay with me here). When I went from 20 to 21 I didn’t really notice a general shift in anything. Sure, yea, I could buy alcohol, whoopee! I wasn’t a huge drinker at the time so it didn’t matter (well times have changed and I do love my occasional glass of wine and a really well made margarita – don’t hate me, I have two kids damn it!).

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My crazies.

When I went from 29 to 30 I was pretty down about it. I absolutely loved my twenties! I mean, I moved to California, I got my own apartment, I met Vans and I traveled to Italy with just a backpack!

Happy 20 somethings...
Happy carefree 20 somethings…

I also got laid off, went back to school, got a new degree and started a whole new-fangled life in a new profession. I also got engaged and married all within a span of 4 months (no I wasn’t pregnant) all in my twenties! It was great. And then, 30 came.

In my twenties with my best friend and love, Vans
In my twenties with my best friend and love, Vans

Turning 30 wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t notice any “significant” changes other than I felt that I had to act more grown up. Did I? Probably not. Okay, most definitely not but I did have this sense that I was supposed to. We bought a real house, had kids and did all the things 30 year olds are supposed to do I guess.

Taken 1 week before Peanut was born.
Taken 1 week before the Peanut was born and our lives drastically changed!

However, 30 I felt was mostly just counting down to (gulp) 40.

5 ish months into this "being a mom" thing - CAMPING!
5-ish months into this “being a mom” thing while CAMPING!

This last year of being 39 has been nothing short of awesome. I have had so many wonderful things happen. My baby entered kindergarten and while this only made me feel OLDER it has been quite amazing watching her grow into the little stubborn (see above – margaritas do help) person she is today. My oldest is actually more like a little adult now (again, making me feel much older – thanks kid) but it has been incredible having this little “partner” to do things with.

tahoe2016-1

I also went on a road trip this year with my Wolfpack and trail sisters to Ashland, Oregon (and laughed my a$$ off). I spent a week in Tahoe with my family over Thanksgiving and have never been happier.

Snowed in at Tahoe!
Snowed in at Tahoe!

I had a stellar racing year, one I doubt I will ever duplicate. I ran my first 100k at Quicksilver. I qualified for Western States. I even placed in a few small local races and when you’re at the bottom of your age bracket that feels pretty awesome (it doesn’t matter that they were “small” races – just let me have the glory alright?!).

My cool trucker hat, wooden medal and wooden award. Very creative.
FOURmidable 50k

However, I have had what I feel is a more noticeable shift; a change or transformation if you will these last few months of my 39-dom. Do you want to know what that shift was? Essentially, I don’t care anymore! Don’t get me wrong, I CARE! Of course I care about things and about people, but I care far less about silly frivolous things we have no control over and in all honesty, I care less about what people think of ME. Not that I ever really cared THAT much (ask Vans – when it comes to appearances I have always walked to the beat of my own drum, especially in the fashion department).

Me in my 20s .. see what I mean by "fashion" - not much has changed.
Me in my 20’s .. see what I mean by “fashion” – sadly not much has changed.

Basically, I feel like turning 40 has given me a gift. Something that I consider to be very important. Forty has given me the gift of self-esteem and the gift of confidence. It wasn’t that I didn’t have these things before but I think now, it just comes easier. It is hard to articulate into words but turning 40 hasn’t been so bad.

Photo by Michael Molinski Photography
Yes, that’s Scott Jurek and ME at 39!                  Photo by Michael Molinski Photography

I know who I am now. I don’t feel like I am waiting to find out who I am going to ‘grow up’ to be because, I am there. I am her. And damn it, she rocks! Told you this was a self-indulgent post.  🙂

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So I am embracing 40. I am taking it by the horns and saying “Hell yea! Let’s do this!” I am on the top of my game. I feel better than I ever have. I am healthier than ever. I have a fabulous family who is my world (on both the west and east coasts). I have friends that make me laugh, go on adventures, text or Facebook me funny things. What more could I ask for? So what if I am entering the toughest age-bracket on the trail running scene … (damn those women are FAST) but it is empowering, it is motivating and it just reinforces my “forty is effing awesome” theory.

The future is bright.
The future is bright.

So there isn’t much else to say really (I already surpassed this post being “short” – sorry). I am 40. I am effing 40 damn it (I think turning 40 means you curse a lot more too but I am not sure). So Happy Birthday to me!

Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me these last 40 years! Near and far, you all know who you are! You are part of the reason I am who I am today… at 40. Geez, I am 40? I think I just have to keep saying it for it to fully sink in … 404040.

tahoe2016-5

Okay 40, let’s do this!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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Trail Running + Mommyhood = the best adventures