Chocolate Almond Torte

This flour-less chocolate torte can be made with dairy-, soy, nut-free chocolate. It rises then falls becoming a dense brownie texture. The addition of the beaten egg whites creates a lighter texture.

INGREDIENTS

1 c. Almond Flour

4 eggs (room temperature)

7oz. chocolate chips

1-2 sticks of butter (butter alternative)

1/2 c. cane sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

METHOD

Separate eggs & cover. Melt chocolate & butter in double boiler. Combine egg yolks & 1/4 c. sugar in mixer (2-3 min), then melted chocolate & vanilla. Fold in flour.

Separately whisk egg whites until foamy then add cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.

Gently blend chocolate mix with foamy peaks. Pour into baking dish of your choice.

Bake at 375F for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Bon Appetit!

Chicken Lasagna (GF)

This lasagna can be made with regular or gluten free rice lasagna noodles which don’t require pre-cooking. Nutrient-rich veggies are masked by the strong cheeses, fresh rosemary, garlicky marinara, & organic chicken thighs from Costco.

chicken lasagna

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil to coat pan

1 box gluten-free lasagna noodles

1 jar marinara sauce or favorite pasta sauce (check the sugar – keep it low!)

1lb cooked/chopped organic Costco chicken thighs (w/ S&P, garlic powder & oil)

Veggie Mix:

2 yellow squash (shredded – food processor)

1-2 c raw brussel sprouts (shredded – food processor)

Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Cheese Mix:

1c. Feta cheese

1/2c. sour cream

1c. shredded mozzarella

2 eggs

2 TB fresh chopped rosemary

Topping:

1 sprig fresh chopped rosemary

drizzle of herb-infused olive oil

1c fresh shredded parmesan reggiano

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350F.

Coat pan with olive oil.  Spread thin layer of sauce on bottom.  Layer lasagna noodles. Top with veggie mix, chopped chicken, then cheese mix. Repeat with tomato sauce, noodles, veggies, chicken, & cheese.  Top with leftover marinara fresh rosemary, parmesan, & drizzle with olive oil. (The moisture release as the veggies cook will cook noodles and keep lasagna from drying out.)

Cover with foil & bake for 45min, uncover & continue cooking 15-20 min until noodles are soft and cheese begins to bubble & brown.

Bon Appetit!

Glorious Morning Muffins (GF)

These are great for breakfast or snack especially when made in small muffin cups.  Full of natural sugars and fiber from fruits, vegetables, and gluten-free grains, these are a healthy alternative to typical bakery pastries.

INGREDIENTS

2/3 c walnut/avocado/canola oil

1/4 c cane sugar

1/4 c organic brown sugar

1 tsp GF vanilla extract

3 eggs

1.5 c quinoa flour

.5 c almond meal

1/2 c arrowroot starch

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger powder

2 tsp xanthum gum

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 c grated carrots

1/2 c chopped toasted walnuts (or more!)

1/2 c dried cranberries

1/4 c toasted coconut flakes

1 finely chopped apple

METHOD

Combine 1st 5 wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients.  Mix wet & dry with fruit/nuts until forms sticky batter.  Add almond milk or water if too dry.  Scoop into oiled muffin tins and bake 20 min or until firm.

Enjoy!

You Are What You Eat: the benefit of hormonally-balanced, low glycemic food

If we are what we eat, then why don’t more people care about what they put on and in their bodies?  Every week I hear about another diagnosis of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, yet all anyone seems to do is drop their head and pray then drive to the doctor for medication.   Yet from what I’ve seen, one medication turns into 5 then into 10 quite quickly because of the enormous side effects and contra-indications.

What if the answer was simple, cheap, effective, on your terms and without a doctor’s visit/prescription/lecture?

GREAT NEWS!!  IT IS!!  You can start right now in what you choose to drink/eat or not drink/eat.  It’s as simple as your next visit to the refrigerator or grocery store or restaurant.  No need to wait for insurance approval or pharmacy fill lines.

fruit & vegsWe under-estimate the healing power of food, the original medicine of our ancestors.  Imagine how long & healthy we could live if we combined proper nutrition with medical science!  Currently people live longer but not necessarily fuller lives, unless you look at their waistlines and blood sugar levels.  People are sicker, fatter, & more dangerous to themselves and sometimes others than ever before.  We are busier but are we more productive?  We make more money than previous generations but are we happier?  We have more freedoms but are we really free anymore?  I meet people every day that are slaves to their medicine cabinets, their sofas, their melodramas, and their doctors.  My father became a physician in the 1950s when people rarely came to the doctor except when deathly ill or having a baby.  Now people go to doctors on monthly if not a weekly basis.  Millions if not billions are being poured into a failing system that does not truly heal the sick but often creates a codependent, more sick population.  Doctors know less about true nutrition and whole health than ever before, often suffering from cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the like as much as the population.

How can we trust healthcare professionals who either don’t know how to or don’t care about their own health and wellness?

IT’S TIME TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH – YOUR LIFE!

Let’s learn what is truly healing for our bodies and minds and fill ourselves to the brim with nourishment so we are no longer an over-fed but under-nourished country.  With hormonally-balanced & low glycemic food, your health and wealth will begin to shift drastically.

Nutritional Guidelines:

50% non-starchy vegetables (low or medium heat/not fried)

25% lean, hormone-free proteins (animal or bean/lentil)

15% high fiber (GF) carbs & low glycemic fruit (berries & green apples)

10% healthy fats/oils (olive: no heat, sesame/avocado/walnut: heat)

In my research for nutritional & skincare products that follow a green, clean policy, I have found and teamed up with a company called Arbonne because what we put on our skin, which can be found in every major organ in the body in 26 seconds, is just as important as what we put in our bodies.  For more information on the company, products, and philosophy, contact me.  I’ll show you the how and why and how to purchase products at affordable prices (25%+OFF retail prices listed on website).

Additional Information:

The Arbonne Ingredient Policy has 3 parts to its philosophy: pure, safe, & beneficial.

GREEEN logo

Pure  = free of harmful chemicals (like mineral oil/petroleum/parabens/phlates), artificial ingredients/sweeteners, GMOs, gluten, animal-products; vegan-certified, plant & botanical based ingredients

Safe = US & European guidelines with objective, conclusive, & scientifically supported sources

Beneficial = clinically tested with superior results

Beach Blast Triathlon

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This weekend in Mexico Beach, FL, I raced in my first triathlon of the season. Last year was my first time to EVER participate in a triathlon and I chose the one race with an ocean swim. For a person who loves scuba diving (over 150 dives), I sure do struggle with open water swims. So all year I have worked on my swim and visualized killing this course, especially the swim & despite the uncomfortably small wetsuit I have to wear.

Of course though, two weeks before the race, I start attending CrossFit classes because a studio wants a yoga teacher…who understands and participates in CrossFit. Being the stubborn, “I can do it myself” person that I am, I jumped right in and by the second class, I couldn’t put weight on my left shoulder. Uh oh! The day after my longest swim ever (1.2 miles), I screw up my already unpredictable shoulder. Way to go Lyndsey!

As would be imagined, over the next 2 weeks my attitude was less than pleasant, complicated by a major allergic episode to the 1″ of pollen that covered everything in Alabama. I could barely breathe, talk, or move. I began to doubt whether Beach Blast was going to be a blast or a blow-up for me. The one good thing though was at least I was going to the beach with people I loved.

Fast forward to Friday, the day before the race, where I decided to downgrade to the Sprint vs. Olympic distance because I hadn’t not swam in 2.5 weeks. At almost sunset, in a flurry of anxiety and panic, I demanded we do a practice swim in the wetsuit to the buoy about 100yds off shore. Great way to begin your practice swim when you’re already frazzled. I had my usually swim panic and frozen breath as I tried to lower my head in the cool Gulf waters for the first 50yds. Then suddenly with more determination than I’ve ever mustered when it came to fear and panic, I looked at my partner and said, “I’m GOING to the buoy!” Lowering my head I took off calmly and with focus, slapping the yellow buoy once I reached it then turned and swam steadily back to shore until I could grab sand with hands. I WAS READY!

I was a bit testy race day as usual but my stomach and mind felt more settled than usual. We had friends coming to cheer us and take photos so I focused on how happy I’d be to see them throughout the course. I took a quick spin on my bike, racked it, then went down to the water to practice until race time. The water was about 70-72 degrees and perfect with a wetsuit…..if it fit properly. Some early race humor helped further calm me as the second buoy began to drift away during the Olympic distance swim. Granted if I’d been the one chasing a moving buoy, it would NOT have been funny, but for us Sprint racers it was comic relief.

By the time they called Sprint Triathlon under 40 to the water’s edge, I was a little nervous but a deeper calm and determination. I would walk into the water behind the faster swimmers and swim MY race at MY pace. And I did. My breath stayed calm, my body stayed relaxed and I exited the water in ~11 minutes (about 2 min. faster than last year). Leaving the water I was laughing and almost crying at how calmly I executed the swim and overcame my fears. Unfortunately, transition was a quarter of a mile from the swim exit, uphill and across Hwy 98. My heart rate became my focus from them on out, climbing from 75% to 90% by the end of race.

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My new TT bike helped me shave 7 minutes off last year’s time, placing in 4th place after T2, but by then, my heart race was around 85% and the temperature was climbing. A few minutes into the run, I realized I hadn’t fueled enough during the bike so I grabbed a chocolate fit chew (Thanks Arbonne!) and let it slowly dissolve as I padded away on the windy but not windy road through a neighborhood. The run is usually my strong point, but as soon as I left T2, I knew this run wasn’t going to be easy. I was already thirsty, slightly hungry, hot as hell, and felt like I was dragging sandbags behind me. Thank God for fuel belts! Usually 5k races are short enough not to need water, but with only one water stop at the halfway point and the overheating I experienced last year during the run, I decided not to chance it. It was like an oasis in the desert to have those two tiny bottles. About .75 miles from the finish line, I timed a sprinkler pass perfectly and got showered head to toe in delight. Despite my body’s nagging for me to walk, I kept my focus on my breath and my cadence. Inhale 3 steps, exhale 2 steps, inhale 3 steps, exhale 2 steps.

As the final turn into the park & finish line approached, I knew I had one short steep hill to climb before the 25-50 yd sprint finish. I took a deep breath and quickened my step. A woman began yelling, “You can do. Get up this hill. Come on baby!” While she was clearly not talking to me, I pretended she was and began pumping my arms and pulling myself uphill. As I hit the turn, my heart was pounding and I was gasping, but I could see the finish line. I began to sprint as best I could, chick-ing an age grouper down the chute to yells of “Strong Finish! Good Job!” While that might not be the kindest thing to do unless it’ll change your placement, I had to prove to myself that I was prepared and capable of not only starting strong and steady but finishing strong by giving it all. And I did. I left everything on the course. All the worries and fears and doubts about not only my participation in triathlon but in many aspects of my life. I had arrived uncertain and afraid, but I left centered and complete. I finished 5th in my age group with 1st & 2nd also finishing 2nd & 3rd overall in the female division. Despite having a secret goal of finishing in 1hr 30min, I shaved over 14 minutes off last year’s finish time and was only 4 minutes short of my 1:30 goal.

What’s your next goal? How can you break it into small manageable steps to ensure it’s success?

My next goal is an Olympic distance. Race unknown…maybe Chattanooga on July 14th.

Finish strong!

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Curried Butternut Squash & Red Dahl (GF/Vegan)

This is one of my FAVORITE recipes.  Quick, simple, and so yummy!  Sweet butternut squash (or sweet potatoes) & earthy red lentils are enlivened with curry powder & coconut milk.  Great for parties, hearty meals, or freezing for later.  Great with bread/crackers!  Add cooked chunks of chicken for extra protein or keep it vegan.  So good the cat even endorses it.

bear sweet pot dahl

Ingredients

Combine in medium/high heat until browning/soft:
1-2 TBS Sesame Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TBS minced fresh ginger root
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
Stir in for 1 minute:
1-2 TBS Maharaja curry
1 TBS Garam Masala
S & P to taste
1 c. dry red lentils
Add then bring to boil/simmer until done:
3 c. chicken or veg. broth
2 c. butternut squash, peeled, cubed
1 can organic coconut milk
Blend/Mash together then sprinkle on top:
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 TBS roasted salted pumpkin or sunflower seeds

ENJOY!

Rest Day!

crooked sleepingRest days are considered vital to recovery, strength, and endurance.  It is not just the doing but not-doing that makes us stronger, healthier, and more successful athletes and human beings in general.  The notion that we have to be “doing something” to get in shape, burn calories, increase muscle mass or develop our endurance is only partly true.  When people don’t sleep, they go crazy because sleep is when the internal healing and growing within the body takes place.  Our conscious body needs sleep so that the automatic, internal healing mechanisms can take place.  Remind anyone of that quote, “Be still and know…”  We cannot do it all and we cannot take credit for it all either.  I love to use the example of breathing.  Do you think about breathing?  Do you remember to breathe while sleeping?  Most people say, “No, of course not!”  But we have the ability to pay attention to our breathing and somewhat control the depth and quickness of it when we want to.  This is result of having two types of muscle tissue in the lungs: striated and unstriated.  One set is automatic and out of our control (i.e. it keeps us breathing when we are too busy talking or working or watching TV), the other set is what allows us to take a deeper breathe, control our inhale/exhale in a yoga class or on a run, and even hold our breath when we go underwater.  So if our lungs have a fail-safe then so does the rest of our body.  If we don’t take our rest days – and sometimes we need more than one per week – our body will begin to break down via injury, illness, or simply exhaustion.

I usually don’t look forward to “Rest Days.”  In fact, I’m usually forced to take days off because of injury or illness or exhaustion then beat up myself for being human and still healing.  This week is one of few that was successfully traversed leaving a rest day before my long run & ride this weekend.  While those hurdles are still to come, I have had huge successes this week. 1) Continued swimming endurance with decreased times and only some shoulder stiffness.  2) Finally able to RUN 5-10 minute repeats with NO knee/IT band/hamstring pain.  Guess the strengthening, icing, foam rolling, and RESTING is finally paying off.  Here’s to respecting, enjoying and looking forward to rest days!

Race with a Purpose: World Bicycle Relief

Since I returned from Africa and even before then, I have been searching for a non-profit with a mission that I could support.  All the days, hours and dollars put into triathlon training feels futile and selfish unless it’s coupled with a greater mission besides me.  To even consider an IM or IM 70.3 requires an personal tendency towards selfishness, sacrifice, insanity, and inner searching.  At least that’s my truth and that of many of the athletes about whom I’ve read.

power of the mindMaybe it reminds me of being an adolescent athlete OR how I fantasized about racing the Kona IM every October while watching it on tv OR that I want to see how far my mind & body will take me OR that I want to free myself of failures and faults by filling every mile with prayers for reconciliation, healing and redemption.  Maybe it’s all of this and none of this.

Or maybe I do it because I have the ability and the opportunity and encouragement to do it….and I want to return that favor with a gift.  The gift of a bicycle through their “work for a ride” type program (i.e. Trees-for-Bikes or Mobility = Education).  Not a hand-out but a hand-up.  Kids and adults must give back and earn their bike which ensure that they create a self-sustaining community and life.

Trees for Bikes

Help me build opportunities by building bikes with World Bicycle Relief via the Ironman Foundation.

Remember: 1 bike = $134

Sponsor 1 bike and tell a friend to sponsor the next one.  If cycling or triathlon has changed your life, help it change it someone else’s too.

Let’s build a fleet of bikes so everyone can get to school, work and home, through safe, reliable transportation.  Check out their programs supporting education, health care, social enterprise, micro-finance, environment, field mechanic trainings, and disaster relief.

Think like a bee. Train like a horse.

Quick Overview:

1) Believe in yourself. Never doubt you can do anything you set your mind to.

2) Trust your training and your process. Be consistent and stick to the plan.

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(From Joe Friel ‘s Triathlete Bible)

“Not long ago NASA scientists found interest in the bumblebee for its flight abilities. They extensively examined the bumblebee to determine how such a hairy round torso could be lifted by a relatively tiny wingspan. After much study, they finally made their conclusion: the bumblebee is incapable of flight! Fortunately for us, this scientific deduction was not told to the bumblebee, which happily and effortlessly continues its flight. The bumblebee thinks it can fly, so it does! The power of positive mental thought…

Think like a bumblebee.

Racehorses have also been studied, not perhaps by NASA hoping to make a scientific claim, but rather by individuals who desire to understand such ultimate performance on race day. Interestingly, the equine competitor shares similar physiological traits as a human and thus is trained much like an endurance athlete, with interval training, endurance runs, periodization, rest, and good nutrition. Differing from the human however is the psychological aspect. Racehorses do not question their training protocol, they do not wonder if their workout is tough enough, they don’t go into the field and run a few extra miles “just because”, and if they have a bad day, they leave it behind and don’t take it with them back to the stable.
When race day approaches, the horse demonstrates signs of anxiousness similar to that of a human athlete, but the horse is not caught considering the size of the equine’s legs next to him; instead its one and only focus is the purpose at hand: run and run fast!

Focus and trust in your training… Train like a horse.”

“Think like a bumblebee; train like a horse.”

PHYSICALLY FIT but MENTALLY EXHAUSTED

This past week was a recovery week which gave my still recovering hamstring a chance to rest from running and focus on gentle strength work.  I think the more I train the calmer my moods and more focused my mind becomes, so when training slows yet life speeds up and fills in the gaps, I scramble to push back in order for some mental/emotional R&R.  Let’s just say that this week was stronger than me, and as I faced another last minute change of plans this morning (which could rob me of a much needed long ride & time of mental peace), I had a meltdown.

melting clocks

Dali’s melting clocks that are simultaneously drowning seemed to appropriate image for this experience.  Not only is there seemingly not enough time but the pressures and demands and expectations have me up to my eyeballs with negative self-talk.  “You’re not good enough.”  “Why didn’t you do it right?”  Rejection, mistrust, doubt, FAILURE!  Hard to find the goodness and the grace and the gratitude when it feels the world & your mind is betting against you.

Or so it seems.  The mind and body are so intricately linked yet we tend to focus on them as separate identities.  Yoga means ‘union,’ and the yoga postures and pranayama (breathing practices) give us the opportunity to harmonize and experience both simultaneously.  When I absolutely cannot bear another moment of life’s constant swirling, I fall to my “mat” – the carpet, the tile, the grass, the earth – a focus on syncing gentle movement with controlled breath.  I give my mind permission to only pay attention to how it feels to move and breathe as one.  Within minutes (or hours, depending on the size of my meltdown), I’ve found my center, my Self, and my sanity.  It’s easy for me to see why I spent almost 3 solid years practicing yoga and meditation every day for at least 2 hrs.

Personal Flow-poster

In that deep awareness and understanding of mind-body connectedness, I will devote this day to realigning my mind, body, and spirit so that Week 5 of 70.3 training won’t end like Week 4.

 

How do you balance the demands of life and leisure and training?  What are your reset buttons when you reach meltdown status?