Spiced Vanilla Bean Pancakes with Mango

In 2014, I ran A LOT.  In September I did two half marathons in two weeks and I spent my summer training for the Portland Marathon, which took place in October.  I also did another half marathon earlier in the year AND Hood to Coast so by the time I completed the marathon I was burned out.  Luckily, we were heading right into winter so I let the rain be my very convenient excuse to take a break from running.  I spent the winter doing some great indoor workouts with weight training and tried to incorporate more yoga into my routine (something I am still working on!).  I built up some strength, focused on other areas of my fitness and health, and actually found myself missing my time cruising through town listening to music in the early morning hours!

This summer, the intoxicating sunshine and the seemingly constant stream of emails about upcoming races, I decided to give a new half marathon a try.  I signed up for the Twilight Half Marathon, which took place in Vancouver, WA at dusk.  I’ve never done a race that didn’t start way too early in the morning so that brought an interesting change to the race routine and it offered a cute medal (oh so important, right?) 🙂

After taking such a long break from running, I felt like I had come back physically stronger and felt more excited about lacing up my shoes in the morning.  Not only did I enjoy getting back into running, it seems that taking the time to focus on strength in other areas of my body proved to be effective.  This was the first year this particular race was held so I knew there was a chance that not all of the logistics would be perfectly worked out.  About 3/4 of the way through, I was following a little group of runners down a path along Vancouver Lake.  Someone realized there weren’t any mile markers or volunteers, which meant we had veered off course.  We all turned around and ran to the course feeling a bit discouraged by the increase in our finish time that was due to a lack of enough volunteers and course signs.  I worked hard the rest of the race to forget that number and just focus on the fact that I was feeling strong and I could tell I was running harder than I ever have in the past.  As I approached the last straight away to the finish line, I kicked it into high gear and started to race toward the blow up arches.  A gentleman that had been pacing near me for most of the race chuckled at my burst of energy and gave me a nod that said he was ready to push each other to the end.  We broke out into a sprint and came to the finish line with huge smiles on our faces because we were having fun.  That oh so important, but sometimes forgotten, three letter word in my running world.  The icing on the cake, however, was crossing the finish line and seeing the time clock read 1:55:09!  Despite running off course, I still beat my best half marathon time by 4 MINUTES!  I was so stoked!

Twilight Half Marathon, Vancouver WA | scottileona.com

I thought the validation and excitement surrounding a PR would propel me back into racing more consistently…but it didn’t.  We are back in the winter grind with dark mornings, days, evenings and rain.  so. much. rain.  I have brought my workouts back to my living room and have been completely happy with this.  We continue to build up our little home gym and have been trying new programs to keep things fresh.  However, I am setting some running goals for 2016.  Nothing concrete yet, except that I am going to run!  I am going to sign up for races early and use my typical strategy of having a deadline to propel myself back into a sport that brings me joy when I am actually doing it.

Winter time has brought up the desire to have slower mornings on the weekends.  When it is wet and grey outside staying in sweats under the blankets with the dog feels so much better than hustling to get outside.  This is good because I absolutely love slow weekend mornings.  This gives some time to sleep in a little, make a delicious breakfast, sip coffee, cuddle with the dog and partner, read or catch up on TV shows.  ❤  Those moments are just perfect.

On slow mornings my go to breakfasts are usually pancakes or waffles.  Sweet, warm, topped with fruit, a little syrup… yeah.  Pairs so well with coffee and fluffy slippers.

Spiced Vanilla Bean Pancakes | scottileona.com

A while ago, I discovered PaleOMG’s Vanilla Bean Pancake recipe and it has been go my to the last couple of times I have made pancakes.  The pancakes are made with simple ingredients and cook up perfectly.  This time around I decided to add some extra cinnamon and turmeric and served them with warmed spiced mango.  Prepare to be transported (at least mentally) to a tropical place while eating these 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • pinch of salt

For the topping:

  • 1 cup frozen mango slices (or 1 chopped fresh mango)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Method:

  1. Place bananas in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the eggs and blend again.
  2. Scrape the vanilla bean pod into the food processor.  Add the remaining pancake ingredients and blend
  3. Cook on a heated skillet with coconut oil
  4. For the topping, warm the mango chunks in a small sauce pan with spices.

Enjoy 🙂

Natural Rodent Repellent {Ensuring Safety for Pets and Children}

4th of July weekend was an interesting one for Nick and I this year.  Saturday morning started out lovely.  I made some delicious waffles and topped them in blueberries, strawberries, and coconut laid out in the design of the U.S. flag, of course.  Unfortunately, this post is not about those magnificent waffles (I’ll do a waffle post soon!).

scottileona.com

While we were enjoying our brekky we noticed our little dog, Reymie, being sneaky with something she found on the porch.  When she tries to eat something while hiding under a chair we know she has something she probably shouldn’t!  So Nick attempted to take it away from her and discovered her mouth is full of thick teal saliva.  We then noticed some random teal pellets scattered on our porch.  Having no idea what they were or where they came from, we went around to our neighbors to ask if they had recently used fertilizer or something that would contain these teal pellets.  No one seemed to know what they were so we turned to good ol’ Google.  To our horror, the pellets we found looked a heck of a lot like rat poison.

The pellets we found around our porch.

The pellets we found around our porch.

Off to Dove Lewis (Portland’s AMAZING emergency vet) we went and we arrived there about 1 hour after Reymie ingested the poison.  I brought some of the pellets we found with me and the front desk staff immediately recognized it as rat bait and believed it was a brand called d-CON.  They immediately took her back to induce vomiting and begin IV fluids.  They also gave her activated charcoal to bind to the toxins as they made their way through her body.

Throughout this terrifying event, we learned quite a few things about rodent bait and how it affects the body.  It is, obviously, dangerous for pets to ingest.  It is meant to kill rodents so other small creatures are in danger when ingesting it as well.  We learned there are two types of commonly used rat bait – one that has an antidote and one that does not.  The one that has an antidote includes brands such as d-CON and it prevents the formation of blood clots.  All mammals experience tears in blood vessels on a daily basis, but our bodies are able to form clots and get on their day.  The active ingredients in d-CON prevent the production of Vitamin K, which causes the body to reach lethal levels of internal bleeding.  The other type of rat baits contain zinc phosphide and there is no antidote for this ingredient.  Side effects include seizures and our vet told us if Reymie reached that point, her only treatment options would be to alleviate her symptoms and hope her brain recovers from the seizures.  Since we didn’t know exactly what Reymie ate, hearing these options was pretty horrible.  We decided to treat her as if she ate d-CON and took her home with hopes that she would not develop the symptoms associated with zinc phosphide.  She will be taking Vitamin K twice a day for 4 weeks and will follow up with her vet to ensure her blood is clotting as it should.  So far, we have not seen symptoms associated with zinc phosphide (knock on wood!).

Charcoal covered beard :-)

Charcoal covered beard 🙂

According to saferodentcontrol.org, “these chemicals poison over 10,000 children across the U.S every year.  Young children, especially those under the age of 6, are at high risk of unintentional poisoning through ingestion. Kids’ curious nature and desire to stick everything in their mouths makes exposure to rodenticides a real danger.”  While I do not have small children in my home, I find this statistic very concerning.  I did a little research about how to control rodent issues in your home without the use of harsh chemicals and here is what I found out.

  • According to one professional wildlife removal site, the best way to prevent rodents getting in your house is to make sure all holes or spaces where rodents can enter the home are covered.  Do a thorough investigation of your home and its foundation and look for any small hole or crack on the interior and exterior – rats and mice and squeeze their bodies in to very small spaces!
  • Another prevention method is to ensure that food items are tightly sealed and kept out of reach of mice.  Also, keep your trash cans away from your house.
  • Homestead Mania provides instructions for natural mouse repellent pouches that are made with corn cob pet bedding and Balsam Fir essential oil.
  • Tree Hugger recommends a salad oil made of horseradish, garlic, and plenty of cayenne pepper, which can be sprayed liberally on areas where you know rats are a problem.  Mix the ingredients, let sit for a few days, then spray on pipes and areas where you have noticed rat chewing.
  • I read on various parts of the internet that peppermint oil is a great rodent repellent.  You can either put 100% peppermint oil on a cotton ball and put the cotton ball near air vents or other rodent entry points.  You can also grow peppermint near entryways – which serves the double purpose of rodent repellent and herb for cooking 🙂
  • There are some companies that create natural rodent repellents, including EarthKind brand, which claim to be safe for humans (and I am assuming pets too).
  • And of course, there are traps.  I’ll leave the type of trap up to you depending on your feelings about killing vs. not killing small rodents.  I once lived in a part of Portland that has a problem with roof rats and we could hear them creating homes in the walls around our bed.  It was pretty gnarly so the owner of the home had to have an exterminator come to set rat traps in the attic.  It helped the problem greatly, although it was pretty gross/kinda sad at the time.

As we prepare to move in to our new home and start the garden of our dreams, I will be particularly aware of the pest control we use.  I will probably be testing out natural remedies, such as peppermint oil or the pouches created by Homestead Mania, so I will keep you all updated on what I find works (or doesn’t!).  Stay safe out there and keep your furry friends away from poisons too 🙂

Do you have any tactics for keeping rodents out of your home?  Share in the comments below!

XoXo – Scotti Leona

I ran the 2014 Portland Marathon and here’s how it went…

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On Sunday, October 5th I woke up at 4am and started eating carbs – a whole wheat bagel, oats with some blueberries, and a couple bananas.  My dog got up with me and hung out on the couch for a little bit, but soon after finishing her breakfast she decided it was too early for her to be up on a Sunday morning and returned to bed with my boyfriend.  My stomach was FULL of butterflies as I waited for the train headed toward downtown at 6am.  At each train stop, the cars filled with people wearing running clothes, listening to their ipods, and eating bananas.  We all got off at the same spot downtown and in the dark, we headed for our respective starting groups.  Once in my starting group, I paced for a bit, listened to Adelle, and tried to answer the questions, “Should I pee now or closer to the starting time?  Do I even have to pee or are these just nerves?”  I looked around at the stretches other people were doing, trying to decide if those were the stretches I should also be doing in that moment.  I had never run a full marathon before, and although I have run 8 half marathons and trained for this race for 18 weeks, I still felt like I had no idea what to expect.  Luckily, I found a friend who reminded me that it was just another long run.  Right, just another long run like the ones we have been doing every weekend since starting training….except THIS was IT.  This was the Portland Marathon, not JUST another long run!

Oh how I LOVE The Oatmeal!  Check him out for many chuckles about running :-)

Oh how I LOVE The Oatmeal! Check him out for many chuckles about running 🙂

Our pace group finally took off at 7:15am and crossing the starting line was surreal.  There were a lot of people already lined up along the streets cheering runners on.  Within the first mile we passed at least 3 bands, and I couldn’t help but think about the members of those bands who were kind enough to wake up early on a Sunday just to entertain strangers who had volunteered (and paid!) to run 26.2 miles.  I also kept thinking, “Holy cow.  I am actually running a marathon right now,” while Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” played on my iPod.

 

The first 13 miles felt great.  I had done two half marathons in the previous 3 weeks so that distance had become comfortable.  Around 14, my left IT band started to tighten and my knee sent shooting pain with each step.  I took a moment to stretch it and set my sights on mile 17.  I knew the only way to get through the rest of the race was to mentally break it up into smaller distances.  I set goals for 3-5 miles out, promising myself things like a walk break or a shot block, when I reached those markers.  Prior to the race, I had also envisioned getting to the St. John’s Bridge.  I had told myself over and over again that if I could make it up the hill to the start of that bridge, I would definitely be able to finish the whole race.  I ran into a slight problem with that plan when I got the bridge in sight along Highway 30 and it was a bit farther than it actually appeared.  I could see the dang thing, how was it still 3 miles ahead?!  Destiny’s Child’s “Jumpin Jumpin” came on when I hit the steep part of the hill leading up to the bridge, which gave me the mental relief I needed.

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It has been unusually warm for this time of year in Portland and by the time I got over the St. John’s Bridge and turned to run toward the Broadway Bridge, the sun was beating down right in my face.  My next goal was to get to mile 20 and then 21.5, which was where I knew friends would be waiting to cheer me on.  When I reached mile 21.5 it had started to sink in that I was really going to finish the race, but I had started to slow down quite a bit.  I had to break up my goals into smaller bits, like getting to the next water station or running until that tree up ahead and then walking until the stop sign (Runners – you KNOW what head games I’m talking about!).  At the best moment possible, a coworker jumped into the street with a sign with my name on it and she walked along side me telling me I looked strong, my outfit was well coordinated (super important!), and I just had a little more to go before a large decline and before I knew it I would cross that finish line and be showered with a medal and food and cheers.  I felt so overwhelmed by her kind words I thought I would cry, so instead I put my headphones back in jogged ahead.  Soon after that, I saw Nick and Reymie running toward me.  I gave Nick a kiss, Reymie a pet, and told them everything hurt pretty bad.  They ran along side me for a little ways, validated my aches and pains, and told me they would be at the finish line when I arrived.

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That big decline from miles 22 to 24 felt better, but did not give me the sweet relief I was hoping for.  My quads were so tender and it felt difficult to keep my pace controlled as I went down the hill.  By the time I passed mile 24, I had accepted the fact that I may walk most of the last two miles.  I walked up the slight hill to the Broadway bridge, jogged over it and down the hill back into downtown.  I managed to alternate jogging and walking until I passed the marker for mile 25.  As I got closer to the finish, the crowd on each side of the street got larger and everyone was cheering each runner on.  My name was printed on my bib and I could hear complete strangers yelling, “You’re almost there, Scotti!”  “Marry the Night” by Lady Gaga was playing on my running mix and I could not have felt more pumped than when she started belting out, “Just go on and ruuuuuunnnnnnnn!”  Ahhh!  Such an incredible moment!

IMG_7223-1 As we approached 25.5, a former classmate and friend came up behind me and said “Come on, let’s finish this.”  She stepped it to the highest gear she had left and I felt like I was sprinting to keep up.  We ran around the two corners to the finish line, I saw more coworkers going wild as they saw me pass, and before I knew it we were under the finish line arch and I was being handed a medal.  I was kind of dizzy, my ankles were killing me, and I felt sort of disoriented as I wandered through the finish line full of food, drinks, roses, people and warming jackets.  What was I supposed to eat?  Should I force myself to eat although I was the farthest thing from hungry?  I saw a woman who was really dizzy and was requiring medical attendants to help her get to the nearest aid tent and I thought, “I need to find Nick now before I end up fainting too.”

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After leaving the race, we went to lunch and although I still wasn’t hungry, I managed to eat a large black bean burger and down several glasses of water.  A woman came over to our table and asked if I had just completed the Portland Marathon.  I said yes and she said, “Congratulations.  That is quite an accomplishment.”  It was all really starting to sink in.  The highs and the lows of the last 18 weeks.  The anxiety of the night before that had me unable to sit still so I cleaned out my closet, tried on clothes I hadn’t worn in months, and checked and re-checked that I had packed everything for the next morning.  Nick asked me all of the things I was feeling now that I had completed my first marathon.  I started to simply rattle off everything that came into my head.  I said I felt:

  • Overwhelmed:  I was overwhelmed by the support I had received from friends and family in the form of Facebook messages, texts, high fives and signs along the race course.  I was overwhelmed by the kindness of complete strangers who offered words of encouragement along the way.  I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had just accomplished something I didn’t think I could do, even in the beginning of 2014 when I declared this was going to be the year I completed my first marathon.
  • Grateful:  I was incredibly grateful for all of the support I had received.  There was also a point in the race when I saw two women holding signs.  The first woman’s sign read: One day you won’t be able to do this.  And the next woman’s sign read: Today is not that day.  In that moment, I realized I was taking advantage of an ability I wouldn’t have forever.  I felt so grateful that I am physically able to run, that my body can handle me pushing my limits, and that my mind was able to push me past those limits in moments when I thought my body couldn’t handle it.  I am grateful for the opportunity to run long distances and know I will look back on my life and fondly remember the times I used my body to its full potential.
  • Proud: I felt proud that I had said I was going to do something and then I did it.  I stuck to an intense training schedule for 18 weeks and forced myself out of bed 4 days per week to run no matter how I felt about the activity that day.
  • At peace: In all of my previous races and throughout training, I struggled with thoughts of self-doubt.  I usually mentally unravel around mile 11 in half marathons, especially if I realize I am not going to cross the finish line by the time I had hoped.  I get caught up in thoughts about how I didn’t train enough, or I could have done more strength training or speed runs, or I should’ve pushed harder in the middle of the race before I got tired at the end.  None of these thoughts are ever helpful.  However, a magical thing happened on Sunday.  When I became worn out around mile 18, my thoughts did not immediately turn against me.  Instead, for the rest of the race, I reminded myself that 18, 19, 20 miles was one hell of a distance to run and of course I would feel tired.  Regardless of how much I slowed down, I was ecstatic about the fact that I knew I was going to cross the finish line.  I wasn’t going to get there in the 4 hours and 30 minutes I had hoped, but I didn’t have to force myself to be kind.  I truly felt accomplished and at peace with how the race was going.  This has literally never happened inside my head.  I had reached a point where I was accepting where I was in that moment, acknowledging the strength and perseverance I had displayed already that morning, and was proud of the result regardless of the finish time.  Those positive, loving thoughts are the reason I run.  Running pushes me to new limits and forces me to accept whatever I am capable of that day.  In the words of Tony Horton, I did my best and forgot the rest.  Only this time, that phrase was real and I felt over the moon.

and the last thing I felt was…..

  •  I can totally beat my time next year!  I think Nick and I were equally as shocked when these words came out of my mouth.  Going into the race, I wanted to keep an open mind about the prospect of absolutely hating the experience.  I told myself and others that I wanted to check marathon off of my bucket list and I would be totally fine if this distance wasn’t for me.  I liked half marathons and would be content doing those for as long as I am able.  However, as I sat there in the sunshine, cruising on that runner’s high, I realized I had not only survived my first marathon, I had felt pretty darn good about it.  So good, in fact, that now that I know what to expect from running 26.2 miles, I can concentrate on improving my ability to run that far.

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So, we will see what the future holds for me and running.  I love the challenge and I love the discipline of training.  I love the positivity of the running community and its amazing supporters.  I saw some seriously hilarious signs being held up by folks along the course and I appreciated those moments when the task at hand was lightened up by some humor and really good music.  I love the mental breakthroughs I have when I am running, when I finally stop thinking self-defeating comments and truly appreciate the fact that I am a total badass right now.

 

I ran the 2014 Portland Marathon and I LOVED EVERY SECOND.  ❤

 

 

 

Roasted Pumpkin Butter

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It seems like Summer is slowly bowing out and Fall is starting to pop its head in.  I grew up in Southern California so actually noticing a change in the seasons is sort of a big deal.  Actually seeing trees change colors and walking on sidewalks covered in leaves while drinking coffee and feeling the crisp air is seriously romantic.  Although I dread the rain that is about the hit us, I am concentrating on embracing one season at a time and enjoying Fall while it lasts.

 

Another fabulous thing about Fall – pumpkin!  Pumpkin combined with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and other spices has become the quintessential treat of the season, and I am ALL about the celebration of those big orange squashes while they are in season.  In addition to its incredible taste, pumpkin boasts some great health benefits!

  • Vitamin A (and tons of it!) – One cup of cooked pumpkin has over 200% of your recommended daily intake
  • Beta-carotene
  • Fiber – Eating pumpkin provides fiber that will keep you feeling fuller longer with fewer calories
  • Potassium – Pumpkins contain more potassium than bananas, making them a great for refueling after a difficult workout
  • Vitamin C

Pumpkin seeds also contain important nutrients, such as tryptophan, zinc, and antioxidants like Vitamin E.

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The downside to Pumpkin Mania?  There are MANY pumpkin flavored and themed “foods” that flood our stores this time of year that do not contain any real pumpkin.  This means you aren’t actually getting the health benefits of eating real pumpkin.  And how do you flavor something without actually including the item the product is supposed to taste like?  Chemicals.  No bueno.  So, please, be mindful of how you enjoy the pumpkin craze and don’t get duped into consuming garbage.

One of my favorite things to make with pumpkins is pumpkin butter.  I can slather, blend, and spoon that stuff into just about anything.  Oats with a dollop of pumpkin butter, toast with pumpkin butter, apple slices dipped in pumpkin butter, and my favorite, Chocolate Shakeology with pumpkin butter and spices.

I am typically not very brave in the kitchen when I am trying new recipes (what IS that?!  I am trying to let go of my fear of messing up…one meal at a time! 🙂 ).  I love to follow the book, so to make my first batch of pumpkin butter I used the ever-so-fabulous blog, Oh She Glows, as a guide.  It turns out making pumpkin butter at home with whole ingredients is a breeze and now I cannot WAIT to make this again with various additions.  I’m dreaming of a pumpkin butter with coffee and chocolate….because coffee.  And chocolate.  STAY TUNED!  Making pumpkin butter will also make your home the coziest smelling place on the block!  Nothing says Fall more than this recipe.  I hope you enjoy 🙂

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Roasted Pumpkin Butter

By Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1 small-ish pumpkin (I think mine was about 4 pounds?)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method:

  • First, roast the pumpkin.
    • Preheat the oven to 350*
    • Cup the top off of the pumpkin and slice it in half.  Be safe and use a *sharp* knife.
    • Scoop out the seeds and guts and save the seeds to roast
    • Brush the inside of the pumpkins with a little oil and place face down on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper.
    • Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the skin is easily pierced with a fork.
    • Allow the pumpkin to cool a bit and then peel the skin off and discard.
  • Add the pumpkin to your blender.  Add the apple cider and blend until smooth.
  • Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg and blend until smooth.
  • Place the mixture into a pot and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.  Be careful, the mixture may splatter a little.  Use a lid to partially cover the pot or a mesh splatter guard.
  • Remove the butter and stir in the vanilla.  Allow the butter to cool completely and stir in the lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt.
  • Store in sealed jars in the refrigerator and enjoy on everything!!!

The 3-Day Refresh

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Let me set the stage for you.  It’s the last week of July and 20 people are making their way by plane and automobile from Southern California to my house.  Most of these people have come before and for some, this is their 5th year in a row they have made the trek.  They come for one main attraction: the Oregon Brewer’s Festival.  This incredibly fun group has been visiting NIck and I for the large craft beer festival since we moved to Portland and each year the group has gotten larger.  The only way I can describe this annual event is…wild!  We spend the week drinking beer, eating at their favorite restaurants (so many trips to Pine State Biscuit and Salt and Straw!), staying out until the wee hours of the morning, and… drinking more beer.

Needless to say, this week ends with the strange silence of no longer having 20 people share our tiny living space and our bodies royally hating us.  To cleanse our systems and get back into the swing of our routine of healthy eating and regular exercise, Nick and I decided to give The  3-Day Refresh a try.  The 3-Day Refresh is a new program from Beachbody designed to:

  • Provide a clean break from bad habits
  • Kick-start healthy eating
  • Break through a weight loss plateau
  • Jumpstart a weight loss journey

For 3 days you have the superfood-packed Shakeology for breakfast along with a fruit option; a Fiber Sweep digestive health drink later in the morning; a high-protein Vanilla Fresh shake for lunch, accompanied by fresh fruit, vegetables, and healthy fat options throughout the afternoon.  For dinner, you have another Vanilla Fresh shake along with your choice from a list of delicious, easy-to-prepare dinner recipes, which are provided in the Refresh guidebook.  You can also have tea twice a day and as much filtered water as you like (LOTS! You should drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day).

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How is the Refresh different from other cleanses?  Juice cleanses and other popular short-term cleanses provide incomplete nutrition promoting muscle loss instead of fat loss and can cause a rebound due to the lack of adequate protein, low fiber, and/or high sugar levels.  It’s probably a huge bummer to go through a cleanse only to see the “results” disappear as soon as you begin eating normally again.

So, how did the 3-Day Refresh go for Nick and I?

Nick and I both loved how each day was mostly planned out for us AND we got to make choices on the fruit, vegetables, and dinner options.  This made the Refresh both easy to follow and also added to the sense of satisfaction because if we wanted blueberries, we could have blueberries!

The dinners were really delicious.  We tried the kale salad with lemon juice and almonds (in place of pine nuts, which we didn’t have on hand) and the spinach salad with cucumber, sprouts, tomato and raw pumpkin seeds.  We didn’t have time to try all of the dinner recipes and we definitely plan on trying out the carrot-seaweed medley and Moroccan carrot salad.

Refresh Dinner

We both noticed changes in each other’s bodies, particularly in our bloated stomachs!  I feel really silly to admit this, but we didn’t do the best job at tracking our progress through pictures or measurements.  My “before” and “after” photos were taken in the morning rush between getting out of bed and heading to work, so the light isn’t ideal and neither is the clutter of Reymie’s dog bed and our computer in the background!  In any case, I could see some significant changes, especially in my stomach, over those three days.

Refresh resultsNick lost 5 pounds over the 3 days and realized that he hadn’t been drinking enough water prior to the Refresh.  I was able to concentrate on and avoid my tendency to emotionally eat at work, which usually strikes some time in the early afternoon when I feel like I have way too many things to accomplish in a short amount of time and that nearby sweet or latte somehow provides a little support. During the 3-Day Refresh, I was forced to ask myself, “Am I really hungry right now?” The answer was always, “no, this is stress. Drink more water.”

Despite the fact that I am currently training for Hood to Coast, two half marathons and the Portland Marathon, I took a break from tough workouts for the three days I was on the Refresh.  Although the 3-Day Refresh is a low-calorie program, the shakes and fresh food selections are high in protein and fiber so you feel satiated throughout the day.  You can continue to do light-to-moderate exercise during the Refresh, so I chose to concentrate on walking more with my dog and at work on those days.  I know of people who have continued to do PiYo and felt totally fine, so I’d recommend sticking to what you feel up for.

What didn’t go so well?

I happened to be on-call that week for work.  This means that in the event of a critical incident in any part of the large agency I work for, I need to respond in person.  On the third day of the 3-Day Refresh, not only did I have to deal with my dog panicking until 2am about a lightning storm, I had to respond to a call at work from 3am to 6am.  I then went home, slept for a few hours and went back to work at my regular work site.  Having a disjointed sleep schedule and too few hours of sleep really threw me off.  I always feel more hungry (not exactly hungry – more like “I need chocolate and nothing else will satisfy me,” which is more emotional eating) when I am tired and stressed, so my hectic night made the third day feel slightly hard.  In short, it feels better to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night (regardless of what you’re currently eating throughout the day!).

All in all, I really liked the 3-Day Refresh. I definitely plan to do it again after a particularly indulgent weekend or trip. I think I’ll do it over a weekend next time so I don’t have to worry about work.

Interested in refreshing your eating habits and cleaning out your system?  Have questions about something else?  Drop me an email at scottileona@gmail.com OR complete the form under the “Ready to Make a Change?” tab at the top of this page 🙂

 

I’m BACK!

How in the world has it been almost a year since my last blog post?  It has been a long time and a lot has happened, but I am ready to once again join the blogging community!  Here is a little snap shot of what I’ve been up to:

1.  I got a new job and no longer work nights!  

I was hired on full time at the organization I was working with for my MSW internship in July 2013 and I was promoted to Team Lead in September.  Pretty sweet to have that regular Monday-Friday schedule and Nick and I have the same days off for the FIRST TIME in our relationship.  We haven’t wanted to kill each other yet 🙂

2.  Nick and I went to Japan!  

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It was an incredible two weeks that we wished had never ended.  Every second of the trip was full of incredibly sweet people, amazing food, and just indescribable beauty.  We spent time in Tokyo, Mt. Fuji (almost made it to the top when a typhoon rolled in…definitely a wild night and a longer story I will have to share later!), Kyoto, and Nara.  We simply cannot wait to return.

3.  I ran my first Hood to Coast and am getting ready to run my second in August!

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Wow, 198 miles from Mount Hood to Seaside, OR is quite the adventure.  Very little sleep, cramped muscles, and more PB&J’s than you could ever want doesn’t SOUND very fun, but trust me, IT IS!

4.  I completed my Master’s in Public Health!

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It was pretty hectic to start a new job, finish one class, complete a 200 hour internship, and study for my oral comprehensive exam (which entailed reviewing EVERYTHING we learned in the MPH program!), but we made it!  Nick and Reymie had HUGE parts in keeping me sane and pushing me through the last 6 months when I just wanted to throw in the towel and go on my merry way with my MSW.  I am still adjusting to life without homework, being able to read whatever I want on no particular timeline, and not feeling guilty when I binge on some TV show!

5.  I ran the Hippie Chick Half Marathon!

I completed the run with my fastest time so far at 1:59.  I have a couple more half marathons planned for this year and I plan to continue to improve my time.

6.  I’ve also done some other traveling including going to a Friendsgiving party in Orange County, CA, a few trips to Santa Barbara, Boston for a conference, Sonoma for one of my dearest friend since high school’s bachelorette party and then LA last weekend for her wedding!  We also went camping on the Oregon coast in January for Nick’s birthday, I spent a rowdy weekend with my gals in Packwood, WA and we went to Sasquatch Music Festival in WA.

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All-in-all it has been a truly amazing year!  Throughout all of the adventures and even during the incredibly stressful time of finishing up school, I continued to work on my health and wellness by learning about new foods, making sure to eat well, and running and lifting weights!  I am looking forward to sharing my adventures in the kitchen and outside again, so stick around!  There is definitely more to come!

Xoxo – Scotti 

Appreciating Progress

Dave's Killer Bread Good Seed Bagel, cream cheese, capers, smoked salmon and lemon pepper.

Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Bagel, cream cheese, capers, smoked salmon and lemon pepper.

I woke up Sunday morning amped about my long run in my half marathon training schedule.  My training schedule called for 12 miles, which is the longest run until the race.  I have reached week 7 of my 10 week schedule and in the next few weeks leading up to the race, my runs are a bit shorter.  Because Sunday’s run would’ve been the closest distance I will run to 13.1 before the big day, it was my opportunity to test out my pre-run meals, clothing, chews or gels, and gauge where I am in my timing.  So with great anticipation, I prepped delicious oats and half a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, picked a good Slacker Radio Station on my phone (lately, my running mix has been courtesy of the Of Monsters and Men Slacker station), and headed out for my half marathon test run.

Mile 1 went by with ease in 8 minutes and 49 seconds.

Mile 2 was similar.

Mile 3 slowed down a bit to 9 minutes 37 seconds.

Then things got ugly.  My legs felt like lead and my ab workout from Saturday left my core, especially my hip flexors, too fatigued to traverse the hilly neighborhoods I had chosen.  By Mile 6 I was at a 10 minute 15 second pace and negative thoughts about my ability to even finish a race started to creep in.  By the time I got to 10.5 miles, I was walking frequently and my mind and legs were on fire.  I was worried if I continued to push with poor form I would injure myself and that would really put a wrench in training.210

I finished the run at 10.8 miles and an hour and 50 minutes.  I felt defeated and frustrated about my time and my inability to finish.  I was angry and immediately began to go through all the ways I may have messed up in the last 7 weeks.  After the anger and frustration subsided, I realized mentally beating myself up was not going to help me improve my running or prepare for this race.  What would help, however, was reflecting on things I might do differently before a long run.

  1. Sleep: I worked until 3am that morning, and although I slept for 8 hours, it was still not my normal sleep schedule.  My work schedule has really been throwing me off, leaving me exhausted during my work week and I can definitely feel a difference in my natural energy level on the nights that I can go to bed at a more reasonable time (10pm).  The few days and night before the half marathon, I will not be working so I can get sleep at the times that feel most natural to my body.
  2. Exercise:  I missed a 4 mile run on Friday of that week, so I moved it to Saturday and decided to do sprints during those 4 miles.  I also did p90x Ab Ripper X prior to that run.  When I woke up Sunday, I had the usual soreness in my core from doing those workouts.  This soreness, however, was just enough to make my muscles fatigued quickly and I learned my lesson in taking rest days before a long run.  The day before the half marathon, I certainly will not be doing any strenuous exercise.
  3. Inner Peace: When I started to slow down on Sunday, my mind immediately filled with thoughts of self-doubt.  I thought about how “unprepared” I was and I recounted all the miles I might have missed in the last 7 weeks and which muscle groups I should have been strength training.  I truly believe these thoughts made me quit long before my legs were ready.  It wasn’t until I was home and stretching that I was able to think about the multitude of positive changes I have seen in my body and my fitness.  I realized that taking time to appreciate how far I have come already will be the most important thing I do as I finish training and run that race in 3 weeks.

IMG_3626When I started to take stock of all the progress I have made, I remembered that just one week prior, I had completed the Portland Shamrock 15k (9.3 miles) SIX MINUTES and 18 SECONDS faster than I did in 2012.  That is a huge improvement!  Also, I was upset about not finishing 1.2 miles on Sunday after already running 10.8.  When I put things into perspective, I felt a little ridiculous about being such a downer on myself, and started to appreciate the hard work I have been putting in to my fitness and health.  This appreciation led to a new confidence in my ability to not only complete this upcoming race, but dominate it!

Don’t forget to appreciate your accomplishments, no matter how big or small, and continue to look forward to just how far you’ll go.

With love ❤

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