Par’s Picks – 23

Happy weekend!  After being busier than usual last weekend, I’m looking forward to a little more downtime today and tomorrow.  We have a Farmer’s Market lunch planned with a few friends today, as well as dinner with my coworkers.  And then tomorrow we’ll be watching the Super Bowl and stuffing our faces! 

Another good reason for this weekend being a little more low key?  Our annul team meeting.  That means lots of meetings and fun dinners out.  It also means my days and nights will be packed.  Not sure how often I’ll blog next week, but I hope to pop in a couple of times at the very least.  We’ll see!

Now that I’ve adequately filled you in, here are a few of my favorite reads from the week.  Enjoy!

HEALTH:

8 Things You Should Never Say To Yourself About FoodLove this list but so much easier said than done.

LIFE/SELF:

7 Habits to Start in 7 Days to Guarantee a Year of Happiness - #6 – it’s all about connection.

12 Inspirational Quotes From Women To Kick-Start Your DayGirl power!

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
—Maya Angelou

The 7 Worst Mistakes People Make In Their 30s – I probably thought about a lot of these things in my 20s, but I definitely think about them a lot more now that I’m in my 30s.

What Nobody Tells You About Finding Your Purpose

So many of us pursue some end result — whether it’s a career, a possession, an achievement or a relationship — because we think that this external circumstance will purchase the internal state we really want most in our lives. In fact, we probably believe that achieving the external circumstance is the only way we can have the inward states of love, joy and peace. But this is never true. In fact, it’s one of the greatest lies on the planet.

How Do You Create A Sense Of Purpose In A Giant Company? – We’re talking about this a lot at my company right now.  It’s becoming more and more important, especially for the Millennial Generation.

FUN:

The 9 Most Annoying People at Whole FoodsOr any grocery store really!

50 Things You Will Never Be Able To Forget – LOVE this list…LOVE!

FOOD:

8 Dietitian-Approved Snacks For Your Super Bowl Party – Will definitely have hummus, guac, and my favorite lentil chips around on Sunday.

That’s Bananas! 31 Creative Ways to Cook With Bananas – We ALWAYS have a bunch of bananas on hand.  Can’t wait to try some of these recipes!

20 vegetarian super bowl snacks – DROOOOOOOOL!

Vegan chocolate chip banana bread oatmeal cookies – Vishnu and I made these the other day.  They taste like banana bread but in a cookie form – YUM.

FITNESS:

Torch Calories With This 40-Minute Full-Body Workout – Love this no equipment workout you can do in your living room.

The Workout You Need For 2015: Full-Body Burner – All you need is 30 minutes to get a full-body workout.  Everyone has 30 minutes!

CHECK THIS OUT (even if you click on nothing else!):

Let’s Send Kids to Harvard: Vidal Scholarship FundHave you donated yet?!

An Honest Review of “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”

I’m a huge fan of the fact that there are so many health related documentaries on the market these days. In fact, Food Inc. was what pushed me into the vegetarian camp. And even though I know that these films are very one-sided, I always get sucked in! That’s exactly what happened with Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary which focuses on juicing as a way to drastically improve health and wellbeing.

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
Source

The story begins by introducing the audience to Joe Cross, an Australian salesman who decides to go on a 60 day cross-country road trip while doing a juice fast. Joe is not only overweight but he’s also suffering from an auto-immune disease that resembles hives. During his trip, Joe meets Phil Staples, a morbidly obese and seemingly depressed truck driver. Joe convinces (inspires) Phil to try juicing as a way to improve his health.

Of course, there’s a little more to it, but the basic premise is that Joe and Phil both go on intense juice fasts to improve their health – lose incredible amounts of weight, get off their medications, and basically save themselves from early deaths.

I’ll start with what I appreciated about the film.

  • I’m not a huge fan of juicing, but I do agree with the central premise of the film. Many health problems can be reversed with dietary changes. And I’m referring to good old fashioned healthy eating.
  • Even though this was a very drastic change in the diets of these two men, the film did hone in on the fact that the key to health is sustainable change.
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead does a good job chronicling both Joe and Phil’s healthy living transformations (both physical and mental). They are pretty incredible.
  • I also liked that both men were carefully supervised by doctors and nutritionists. That sends an important message, especially if someone is considering a radical change.

And now, here are a few things that had me scratching my head.

  • 60 DAYS OF JUST JUICING!?!?! I still can’t wrap my head around this.
  • After years of trying to figure out what healthy looks like for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that the old 80/20 (80% diet/20% exercise) adage is true. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead could’ve done a better job of focusing on the 20% instead of just mentioning it here and there.
  • By focusing on what medications these men are on and how the juice fast is helping them do away with certain pills, the documentary does the audience an injustice by making it seem like changes in diet have WAY MORE of an impact (almost miraculous) than medication when it comes to treating diseases.
  • To the point above, Joe manages to lose 90 pounds, get off most of his medications, and alleviate the effects of his auto-immune disease. In just 60 days. Don’t get me wrong…good for Joe! But is he more the exception than the rule? If so, that point didn’t come across.
  • Everything I said in this non-juicer whole juice post.
  • While the documentary harps on all the positives of juicing, it doesn’t address the general topic of healthy eating, which is the more sensible and sustainable approach. And I have to think that after this “juice reboot” as they call it, both Joe and Phil had to navigate difficult food choices to stay on track. I feel like this wasn’t touched on enough.

Overall, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead accomplished what it set out to do, but like any documentary, it all needs to be put in perspective.

Have you watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead?  Thoughts?  What’s your favorite health related documentary?

My Review of the Deliver Lean Meal Delivery Service

Upon seeing my first bag of Deliver Lean food last week, Vishnu said, “You’re not a meal delivery person, Par. Why did you decide to do this?” To which I responded, “I didn’t think I was either since I love to grocery shop and cook, but after taking one look at Deliver Lean’s site, I knew I had to try it out. Even you’re going to love whatever you try, Vishnu. I just know it!”

And then I opened the bag, took everything out, and spent the next five minutes “oohing and aahing” over all the delicious vegan food!

Deliver Lean Vegan Breakfast

But before I share more about my experience, let me talk a bit about Deliver Lean. It’s actually a healthy gourmet meal delivery service based out of South Florida that combines the two things everyone wants from their meals – flavor and quality – with the two things most people struggle with when eating any meal – balance and portion control. These meals are nothing like the pre-packaged foods you find at the grocery store. Gourmet chefs prepare the perfectly proportioned, calorie controlled meals fresh daily. Deliver Lean is all about real food, real expectations, and real results. They only use the freshest, highest quality premium local ingredients and produce with the option of organic protein. And they are not kidding when they say they have a plan that meets most lifestyles/goals. Overall, there are 96 different menu items per week!

My original plan was to list out all of the meals, snacks, desserts, and juices I received. And then I realized how ridiculous that would be. So instead, I’m only highlighting my absolute favorite meals.

 

*Note: I opted for the vegan meal plan since I’m trying my best to be almost dairy free!

Breakfasts:

  • Gluten Free Carrot Walnut Muffin w/ Fresh Berries and Coconut Yogurt
  • Sweet Potato Latkas w/ Caramelized Onions and Cinnamon Apple Sauce
  • Scrambled Tofu Florentine w/ Parsnip Hash

Lunches:

  • Marinated Grilled Eggplant Sandwich on Gluten Free Bun w/ Roasted Peppers, Arugula, and White Bean Spread
  • Lentil Chili w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Rice

Dinners:

  • Gluten Free Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Macadamia Ricotta and Daiya Mozzarella

Desserts:

  • Raw Vegan/Gluten Free Coconut Vanilla Tart
  • Raw Vegan/Gluten Free Key Lime Pie

Juices (On Juice – organic cold-pressed juice line):

  • Upskale (celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, line, lemon)
  • Pink (watermelon, cucumber, honeydew, lime, mint)

Snacks:

  • Cheezy Vegan Kale Chips

 

While these were my favorite items, I think there were only two meals that weren’t for me. But I still happily ate them…so what that does say?!

Deliver Lean Vegan lunch

Pros:

As far as the food goes, I loved how fresh everything was. You guys, the veggies were still crisp! And the flavors were on par or better than most vegetarian restaurant meals. I could tell that a chef prepared my meals and took special care to ensure that everything was seasoned to perfection. I never felt the needs to add any of my own stuff. In my honest opinion, Deliver Lean really delivered when it came to taste.

Not only does Deliver Lean cater to your taste buds, but it also delivers visually appealing meals as well. Everything I received was neatly organized in a microwave safe container. Even when there were two different items in one container, nothing ever mixed together.

Also, the meals are super filling. I was extremely doubtful on day one and didn’t believe that the muffin/yogurt, salad, juice, snack and lasagna would keep me full. But I was wrong. I never felt hungry. In fact, I would say that I was perfectly satisfied after every meal.

And my favorite thing about Deliver Lean? They deliver your meals to your door (even if you live in a secure condo building) before you even wake up! My meals were waiting for me in a cooler at 7:00 am every other morning.

Deliver Lean Vegan Breakfast

Cons:

This is a very personal con, as I’ve never considered a meal delivery service in the past. The meal plans start as low as $8.95 per meal, and I find that to be a bit on the pricey side, especially considering that I’m somewhat of a bargain shopper.

With that being said, Vishnu and I both agree that if we were single professionals making a decent chunk of change with no time to shop/cook, we would definitely use this service. No questions asked! When considering that Deliver Lean brings fresh, healthy meals to your front door, the cost is justifiable for people with no time.

Overall, I would highly recommend Deliver Lean to anyone considering a meal delivery service!

Bonus!

Deliver Lean is extending an offer to my South Florida readers. Receive 3 days free with the purchase of a four week meal plan!

Have you ever tried a meal delivery service like this one? If given the opportunity, would you?

Disclosure: I was provided a 5 day trial of the Deliver Lean Meal Delivery Service along with compensation for my time. All opinions expressed are my own.

The 2015 Miami Half Marathon

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I did it!  I ran the entire 13.1 miles of the Miami Half Marathon!  And believe it or not, my Achilles tendon, my knees, my calves, etc. were all fine making it a relatively pain-free race.  I was 110% sure running the whole thing was out of the question, so no one was more shocked than I was.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s start with the day before the race.

DSC_0150

RACE EXPO

Vishnu and I made our way to Miami Beach around 9:45 am on Saturday morning.  The wedding we attended this weekend started at 2:00 pm so unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to explore the race expo much.  I ran in, got my bib and t-shirt, and ran out. 

Miami Race Expo 
MEALS

Breakfast – Protein shake (banana, chia seeds, instant coffee, cocoa powder, protein powder, spinach)
Lunch – Breakfast plate (eggs, potatoes, and toast) at OTC
Dinner
– Hodgepodge of stuff from the Whole Foods hot bar (pasta, lasagna, lentil salad, chickpea cake, etc.) + a vegan blueberry muffin
LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER!

Whole Foods hot bar 
RACE DAY GEAR

After we got home from dinner, I laid out all of my race day gear.  I knew if I didn’t do this the night before my morning would be hectic and stressful.

Race day gear

  • earphones
  • knee brace
  • bib
  • fanny pack
  • running shorts, sports bra, and long sleeve t-shirt

RACE DAY!

The race was scheduled to start at 6:05 am, so Vishnu and I planned to leave our place at 5:00 am.  This means I woke up at 4:15 am.  I got dressed and made myself a pre-race snack (bread + peanut butter + banana). 

We originally planned to take the free Metromover over to the American Airlines Arena (where the Heat play), but when we stepped outside, Vishnu suggested we walk so I could warm up a little bit.  This was an ironic statement because it was a chilly 53 degrees outside. 

After making our way through the crowd, we found my corral…corral H (the second to last one!).  After snapping a few pictures and exchanging a huge hug, Vishnu and I parted ways.

DSC_0066 
I waited with the other corral H runners as the 13th annual Miami Marathon and Half Marathon got underway.  We learned that there were approximately 45,000 runners from over 80 countries (Colombia, Canada, Australia, Peru, Cuba, Ecuador, Chile, India, the UK…just to name a few!) running either the half or the full marathon.  After the national anthem was sung (I definitely teared up!), the race officially started.  Corral A was first, followed by B, and so forth and so on.  There was a two minute wait between corrals, so I didn’t cross the start line until 6:53 am. 

DSC_0050 

Here’s a little breakdown of the race (as much as I can remember anyway!):

Mile 1: I was freezing at this point (53 degrees + a strong breeze), and I quickly realized I had to pee.  Even still, mile 1 went by rather quickly

RESTROOM BREAK: I hate porta potties.  They are just gross.  But you gotta do what you gotta do!

Miles 2-5: I don’t remember much, except that after mile 4, I remember thinking, “a little less than a third of the way done!”

Mile 6: I grabbed a glass of water at the water station and took a small sip because my mouth felt dry.  However, I didn’t want to drink too much and risk having to use the porta potty again.

Mile 8: At this point, I felt like I was in the homestretch even though I had 5.1 miles left to go.  The Venetian Causeway was the last long bit before we headed back into downtown. 

Mile 11: I was so excited because there were so many people cheering us on at this point.  And this was the real homestretch!  I think I ate some fresh pineapple at one of the water/food stations!

Mile 13.1: I definitely yelled “woot woot” as I crossed the finish line at 9:30 am!  Such an incredible feeling of accomplishment and relief…haha!

DSC_0132
If you do the math, you’ll figure out that I ran the half in 2:36 (including the potty break).  While this is probably super slow for many people, I was excited to learn that I finished the race in almost 2.5 hours, especially considering that I hardly ran after my 11 mile run two weeks prior.  Also, as I mentioned, I didn’t feel any significant pain during the 13.1 miles.  It was so strange!  I mean, I had slight heel and knee pain, but nothing that stopped me in my tracks/forced me to walk.  I told my mom that it was nothing short of a miracle! 

THE COURSE:

2015-Miami-Marathon-Course-Map-V2 (1)

The course was awesome!  I highly recommend this race to anyone looking for a beautiful and relatively flat race.  We started in front of the American Airlines Arena, made our way on to the A1A (one of the bridges that connects Miami to South Beach), ran up Ocean Drive and Washington Ave, crossed the Venetian Causeway back into downtown, and finished in front of Bayfront Park. 

I’m so glad I ran this particular race and explored Miami in this way!

POST-RACE ACTIVITY

Per my request, Vishnu and I walked home instead of riding the train.  The last mile of the full marathon went right by our condo building so we got to cheer on some of the runners! 

Once home, I stretched and took a shower (to warm up!).  It. Felt. So. Good!  I then made myself a protein shake and promptly fell asleep for three hours.  I woke up a bit hungry but not starving, so I ate some strawberries (pretty much an entire carton) while watching TV.  Before I knew it, it was time to leave for dinner! 

Vishnu and I, along with our friends Anand, Nazia, and Aman, had dinner at Kush in the Wynwood area of Miami. 

My black bean burger, fries, and beer satisfied my appetite and cravings, as evident by this picture…

KushWynwood 
This meal was the perfect way to celebrate – good food + good friends!

THANK YOU!

And last but certainly not least, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all the support…not only on race day but all throughout my training!  I had so much fun documenting my journey and sharing it with all of you.  Your kind words (via Instagram, Facebook, email, and text) made the experience that much more awesome!  THANK YOU!!!

I plan on sharing more about my post-half fitness plans in an upcoming post.  But for now, rest, slow walks, and yoga are on the agenda!

Have a great Tuesday!

And in case you’re interested, here are links to my weekly recaps:

Week 1 Half Marathon Training
Week 2 Half Marathon Training
Week 3 Half Marathon Training
Week 4 Half Marathon Training
Week 5 Half Marathon Training
Week 6 Half Marathon Training
Week 7 Half Marathon Training
Week 8 Half Marathon Training
Week 9 & 10 Half Marathon Training
Week 11 Half Marathon Training
Week 12 & 13 Half Marathon Training

Par’s Picks – 22

Hello hello!  I hope you are enjoying your weekend. 

Aside from running the Miami half marathon on Sunday, we are attending a good friend’s wedding the rest of the weekend.  The Sangeet was last night, and the wedding is this afternoon.  I love love!

Anyway, sit back, relax, and enjoy my favorite reads from the week.  I think you’ll agree that I found some good ones!

HEALTH:

7 Ways to Lose Belly FatGuess what…this list doesn’t include doing a million crunches!

4 Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working + What To Do About ItThis pretty much summarizes my relationship with food…good stuff!

4 Reasons to Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Diet – Agree with all of these points.  Ditch the diet mentality!

7 of the Most Persistent Nutrition Myths – #1 and #7

SELF/LIFE:

Let Go of These 10 Items to Jumpstart Decluttering – I love decluttering and donate/throw away things all the time (much to Vishnu’s dismay!).

Please don’t punish yourself.Love everything by Danielle!

THE POWER OF MENTORSHIP – Such a powerful post.  A must read!

7 Reasons Writing Will Improve Your Life – Personally, I think everyone should start their own blog.  But even if you don’t want to do that, keep a journal.  It’s so important!

When You Start Doing These 15 Things, Your Quality Of Life Will ImproveLiving a better life means focusing on YOURSELF!

The Invaluable Importance of Movement“When something you make doesn’t work, it didn’t work, not you. You, you work. You keep trying.”

Solve Your Problems with Energy Communication

Light is fast; it only takes a moment to let it out. If you accept you are energy itself, and don’t block it with over thinking, doubts, and fears, you will always communicate pure energy and hope. That’s the beginning of a solution to any problem. As the Beatles sang, “All you need is love,” and love is what you already are.

FITNESS:

A Circuit Workout To Get Your Whole Body Toned & Trima great circuit to get your heart rate up.

FOOD:

15 Vegan Protein Sources Vegans/vegetarians CAN get more than enough protein!

GF Black Bean Avocado Brownies – A twist on the traditional black bean brownie recipe.

Gluten-Free Coconut Banana BreadHow delicious does this look and sound?  This will definitely be made at some point during the weekend.

FUN:

29 True Crime Books Fans Of “Serial” Should Read – Serial lovers, this one’s for you!

What It’s Like To Turn 30 In 3 Hilarious Charts – HILARIOUS and so true!

HAPPY WEEKEND!