It’s The Little Things

Yesterday afternoon, I returned home from work to find a package, delivered via UPS, sitting on my doorstep. It was from Louisville Stoneware.  I hadn’t ordered anything and my roomie hadn’t ordered anything for me either.  On the box, in black Sharpie, were the words Top 100 Female.

So, I hauled the box inside and opened it up.  There was a roll of padding and packing material, which took me a moment or two to completely unroll and discover…a gorgeous tumbler made by Louisville Stoneware with the Kentucky Derby Festival logo on it (as well as the key sponsors of the race) and…on the reverse side…the words FEMALE DIVISION TOP 100.

When I ran the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon on April 30, I finished in the top 100 females.  In fact, I was 95.  WOOT WOOT!!  And, apparently, this year they sent out these little mementos…little awards…to those that hit that mark.  I am truly honored!

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Considering how hit-and-miss my running has been with the return of the cold weather…and with how crappy the weather was on race day…this was a very nice, and uplifting, surprise!

And now…random thoughts I’ve had on my runs this week…

  • God bless the people who leave their porch lights on all night. It gives the morning warriors like me a little more light in a dark world usually lit by blinkie lights, head lamps, and maybe a street light or two.
  • WHY IS IT RAINING?!
  • Should I build an ark?
  • Wearing a windbreaker was a big mistake.  I am sweltering.  I am dying!
  • I. HATE. LAYERS.
  • I don’t think I’ll ever hit negative splits again…*sigh*
  • Rain?! Again?!  Seriously?!
  • (*while running past a Starbucks*) I am awake and going before the Starbucks baristas.  But if the cafe was open this early, I would learn to run and chug coffee.
  • ONE…MORE…MILE…(*tries to run faster…fails*)
  • Dammit…I forgot my mace…
  • Dammit…I forgot my Road ID…
  • It’s May, right?  Like…mid-May?!  WHY IS IT SO COLD!  WHY DOES IT FEEL LIKE NOVEMBER?
  • Fuck you, Mother Nature!
  • Don’t drink wine the night before a 7 mile run.  Just don’t.

And…there it is.  Now…off to the gym and then to suffer at work for another day.  Is it the weekend yet?  And, dammit, is it ever going to warm up?

Go A Little NuttZo This Spring…BIG SALE!

As many of you know, I am very proud to be an athlete ambassador for my absolute favorite nut butter out on the market.

It’s called NuttZo.  You might recognize it from the upside down label…or you might have spotted it in the jar that is upside down on the shelves.  NuttZo is awesome.  It was created by Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi, who counts both fitness and nutrition as an integral part of her life.  After she and her husband adopted two boys from the Ukraine who were vitamin deficient, she began to focus further on preparing creative, flavorful, and super-nutritious foods.  Out of this new determination, NuttZo came into being.  NuttZo is an Omega-3 powerhouse of nutrition, all blended into a delectable nut and seed butter.

NuttZo is non-GMO and organic.  And, yes, the price tag might make you think twice about adding it to your shopping cart.  But, rest assured, this is money well spent.  Because everything is organic, the price tag is a bit higher…but the quality of this nut butter is like nothing you have ever had.  Forget those commercial seed and nut butter…go NuttZo.

And…good news…

This week, NuttZo is holding it’s big Spring Sale!!!

Click on the image below and see for yourself why NuttZo takes seed and nut butters to a whole new level.  Fall in love with it and spread the NuttZo love!!

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NuttZo Spring Sale!!

#NuttZoAmbassador #NuttZoFanatic #NuttZoLove #EatNuttZo

Six Things Saturday

I’m having a good day today.  Seriously.  I woke up, did my core work and PT hip strengthening stretches without any serious pain.  I went and did some grocery shopping, then did some dynamic warmups, a 2+ mile treadmill run with a friend, and followed that up with my plyometrics for my hip…and I still do NOT hurt.  At all.  So it’s a good day.  So I want to share some good stuff…

Because sometimes I just want to talk about random…stuff.

1. Lush’s 93,000 Miles Shower Jelly

Lately, I’ve been working on finding Celiac-friendly, non-chemical shampoos, body washes, lotions, etc.  And while on this hunt, I was introduced to the 93,000 Miles Shower Jelly by Lush.

thatsmyjelly_zpsfhjyokq3The description on Lush’s page reads:

Cool down and refresh

If you’ve been giving your muscles the runaround, plan a showertime run-in with this invigorating eucalyptus and mint jelly. Whether you’ve run a marathon or walked a mile this bright wobbly jelly will soothe aches and pains and send lingering cramps on their way. Take it straight out of the freezer and into the shower to enjoy the energizing power of invigorating peppermint and warming cinnamon leaf oils.

Let me just say, this stuff is amazing.  Shower jellies are a little strange at first, but once you get used to them…yeah.  And if you’re a runner like me with tired muscles at the end of a long run or hard push, then this jelly is for you.  It is warm and soothing, with a strong scent of eucalyptus, mint, and cinnamon.  And it feels wonderful to lather up, especially on those tired and sore muscles.  I’m hooked.

2. Running Hills

Hills make you stronger, right?  Right.  Well, it just so happens that my physical therapist wants me running hills.  Lots of hills.  Because it actually works the adductor and hip flexor muscles which are causing me fits right now.  Go figure.

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This past Tuesday, I was out at Cherokee Park, doing hill repeats.  4 miles worth of hill repeats.  You ever want to be humbled and made to feel both strong and weak at the same time…run hills. Really long hills.  And them repeat.  Six times.  It was also super cold and I froze my face off.  Guess that makes me stronger too…

3. Treadmill Running

It is no secret that I am not the biggest fan of treadmills.  Guess what…neither is my physical therapist.  That being said, sometimes it’s all you have as an option.  Like…when weather gets bad…or ice, snow, sleet, lightning…something hits.  I don’t own a treadmill…I probably never will, but I’ve had to make use of the one at the gym due to weather conditions here.

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Today, I was invited out by my friend Amber to be treadmill buddies and fit in our runs today.  A lot of our running peeps were out running in the snow, but with the two of us being out with hip labrum issues, we are treadmill bound.  But the time flew as we just sort of chatted and talked and I can’t wait to do it again.  I forgot I was on a treadmill for some of it.

4. Snowmageddon, Snow Days, Snow…

It is no secret…I am not big on winter.  As a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) sufferer, winter months are hard on me.  Winter weather is hard on me too.  My body hurts more, I slow down, it’s hard for me to breathe…and let’s not even get started on what it does to the skin on my hands.  Cracking, peeling…it’s just not my favorite time of year.

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That being said, we got about 4-6 inches of snow yesterday and, after being sent home early from work, I snuggled in, watched Disney movies, had a Girls Night In with my roomie and downstairs neighbor, and just made the most of it.  Wine might have been involved.  Italian Nachos too.  And homemade macaroons.  All the things.  It was fun.  It was just what I needed to chase away some lingering winter blues.

Is it summer yet?  Because I do so much better in heat than in the tundra of winter.  Seriously…I can sweat out any run, but my body reacts poorly to cold air.  So…seriously…is it summer yet?  I need a beach.  Stat.

5. Disney/Pixar Animated Movies in Order

With the onslaught of the snowfall yesterday, and the better part of the day left with me and my roommate sitting on the couch at home, we made the most of it by squeezing in two of the next films in our quest to watch the Disney Animated Movies In Order™.  We are polishing off 2008 with Pixar’s WALL-E and Disney’s Bolt.

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I forgot how much I loved both of those movies.  Seriously.  That’s one thing this cinematic animated journey has taught me.  Well…that and I really would have probably loved being a Disney animator, which was my very first dream job.  Yep…I’m not just a runner, chef, and blogger…I can draw too.

6. Adagio Teas

Get used to hearing a lot about my favorite teas and tea companies.  That’s going to be vastly featured in my blog…because my roommate really stocked me up on some local stuff, some new stuff, some fun stuff, and some of my favorites.

One tea that I discovered while in Chicago for the U2 concert was Adagio Tea.  And my favorite is the Citron Green.

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For starters, I love green tea.  And this smells like Sprite.  No, it really does.  Their Web site describes it as:

Citron Green tea combines green tea from China with delicate flavors of lemon and orange. The clean vegetal notes of the green tea blend seamlessly with the citrus crispness. Delightfully sweet, lifted by the freshness of the lemon-orange. Not too dry or too citrusy. Citrus Green is an Adagio customer favorite, perfect hot or iced.

Yeah…it’s pretty amazing.  I had it last night while watching Kingsman: The Secret Service and loved every sip of it.  I remembered why it was one of my favorite teas of all time (and I drink a whole heap of a lot of tea!).  Adagio Tea is based out of Illinois.  Interested in trying some of their unique and fun teas…check out that link above!

There you go…six things…on a Saturday.  ENJOY!

Blogging 101: Introduce Yourself to the World

Hello world!!

While my blog and my blogging skills are nothing new, this year, I decided to put a little more thought, depth, and skill into each of my blogs.  Why?  Because I am seriously making a go at this.  So, I signed up for the Blogging 101 thing that WordPress offered.  I figured…what could it hurt?

So, my first assignment, despite having been a long-time blogger here…is to introduce myself to the world!

For those of you who have been with me…thank you for indulging me with this post.

My name is Karen, but I blog as The Celiathlete.  The reason for this is pretty self-explanatory.  I am an athlete…and a Celiac.  I don’t think there is anyone in the world who is unfamiliar with Celiac Disease, but just in case…it simply means that I cannot eat gluten.  While this can be a fairly simple task, I am also lactose intolerant (I try to avoid dairy, but sometimes…hello ice cream!), and I am also a vegetarian.  I was a vegetarian before the Celiac diagnosis, and, while this can really limit my food at times, I don’t let it keep me down or slow me down.  Adapt and overcome.

So, currently, I am making (another) comeback from injury.  This means that a lot of my posts this year will focus on my recovery, my nutrition, my goals, my recipes, and the foods that I choose to consume.  I love reviewing new products…and, even more, love to use products in new ways.  So, if you happen to have a gluten-free product that suits my diet, I’d love to try it and tell the world about it.

My goal isn’t just to connect with other Celiacs…but to reach out to the Celiac community, the running community, the gluten-intolerant, the Couch25K-er, the weekend warrior, or just someone who is new at this whole gluten-free thing and needs some guidance into healthy, better choices.

It seems simple enough in writing, but actually implementing this can sometimes be hard.  I gave up on some product reviews closer to the holidays due to lack of time to sit down and blog.  By the time I would have had time to write about it…I had already forgotten about how they tasted and what I felt about them.  So, my goal is to stay on top of this stuff.  Write up my product reviews, my restaurant reviews, and my race reviews and/or recovery progress as I go.

I’ve been wanting to turn my blog into something else for awhile.  Why not start afresh in the new year?

So, I hope you all stick with me…and tell your friends too!

Product Review: Good! Greens Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bar

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Good! Greens Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bar

Product: Good! Greens Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bar – $2.49+

I am not going to lie.  I’m never without a protein bar of some sort.  When you have food allergies, it is always best to be prepared.  And, sometimes I get a little daring and try new things.  New brands can be a scary thing.  Sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.

On a recent trip up to Columbus, Ohio, I was (shockingly) shopping at Raisin Rack and raiding all the gluten free stuff.  Seriously.  This is what I do.  Upon reaching the checkout, I spotted, in their line up of protein bars (there are few candy bars at their checkouts…mostly energy bars/protein bars)…something marked gluten-free…and the words…PUMPKIN SPICE printed on it.

So, I picked it up…flipped it over…looked it over…and put it back.  Cathy (the roomie) spotted this and reached over, snagged it, and put it up on the belt for checkout.  Guess I was going to get to try it after all.  The bar was Good! Greens Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bar.

It came home with me, and due to a lack of preparation, I had nothing to nosh on after my swim this morning at the gym, so I tossed the Good! Greens Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bar into my bag, went for my swim, and then came into work.

Good! Greens has a goal, which is to help everyone be their best good.  What is good?  Good is a mindset that drives everything we do and make.  For Good! Greens, it’s all about good ingredients, good practices and good community.  Good is what we eat, how we care for ourselves, and how we care for others.  And Good! Greens uses a formula in all of their bars that uses 100% fruits and vegetables, providing an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, and a clinically proven probiotic for digestive and immune health.  It’s a power bar that gives you everything your body needs…without all the filler.

I had a few doubts, to be honest.  Upon opening the wrapper, I pulled out this little bar that was coated in this white confectionery coating.  I broke it in half, noting the Lärabar-like middle.  I took a taste…and was actually impressed.  The texture was a bit chewy and hard, but I think some of that was from sitting in the cold car while I was swimming at the gym.  But the flavor was great.  The pumpkin flavor was just enough…not overpowering.  And that coating…amazing.  It really made it feel more like a dessert than a protein bar.  It even filled me up.  I ended up being surprised by this bar.  Not my favorite…but not bad.  It was a nice surprise and one that makes me even more curious about their other flavors of bars.

Let’s talk about the ingredients that go into the Good! Greens Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bar!  This bar is made from fruitrim (natural fruit juices and grain dextrin), sunflower seed butter (sunflower kernels, sunflower oil, soybean oil, molasses, salt), dairy free confectionery coating (evaporated cane juice, palm kernel oil, soymilk powder, soy lecithin [emulsifier], vanilla), brown rice protein, good greens superfood powder, agave syrup, gluten free oats, soy protein crisps, chicory root fiber, natural pumpkin flavor, peanut paste (peanuts, salt).  This bar is vegan, gluten free, contains probiotics, and is made from real fruits and vegetables.

As for nutritional information, this actually stacks up really nice for a protein bar.  A serving of the Good! Greens Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bar is the entire bar.  This bar will deliver 189 calories, 8 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 14 grams sugar, and 10 grams of protein.  It is a nutritional powerhouse, for sure!

These days, I’m searching for better foods with less processed ingredients that are more real than fake.  Good! Greens Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bar definitely fit that demand.  I was quite happy with this bar.  It was a nice change from my usual suspects.

 

Product Review: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing + Recipe Bonus

Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Product: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing – $5.99+

Who says stuffing is just for Thanksgiving?  Where is that written?  Growing up, I was one of the only people in my family who wanted to have stuffing.  My dad wasn’t a fan, so my mom never made it.  Everything I needed to know about stuffing, I tasted at my friend’s homes.  It was a rare occasion that my mom would make it…and as we never had turkey on Thanksgiving, but enjoyed a delicious shrimp creole instead…well…this was more of a Christmas thing.

When I went gluten-free…stuffing was off the menu regardless…unless I made it myself.  In fact, one of the first gluten-free recipes I posted was a Gluten Free Hazelnut Sage Stuffing, which I made with Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread.  That was back in 2011…and I’ve made that recipe quite a few times since then.  It’s delicious and easy and amazing.

But sometimes, you just don’t want to do all the work yourself.  These days, my free time is less and less.  I’m recovering from a torn hip labrum, getting back to running, doing all my stretches for physical therapy and trying to maintain only a slight bit of pain when I move, and everything else like work, preparing meals/snacks for work, and maintaining my training/workout schedule.  It just isn’t always feasible to pull out a recipe and whip something up.

Well, two weeks ago, I was in Columbus, Ohio, visiting my friend Jenn.  And as I was packing up to head home, she handed me a box of Glutino’s Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing.  As it was due to expire within the month, I decided I would make this for lunches this week for both the roomie and myself.  And, that Sunday evening, I did just that…

I had everything else needed to make the recipe that was supplied on the box in my fridge, ironically enough.  I guess I just know what’s good to have on hand, HAHA!  Actually, it was just luck that I didn’t have to pick up anything else to make this.  All I needed was butter (I used Earth Balance), eggs, vegetable broth, celery, and onion.  That was it.  I followed the instructions on the box, pulling open the silver package that contained the corn bread stuffing portion of the product, loving the little, crispy, yellow corn bread croutons that spilled out and into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Giving it a good stir, it was prepared and ready to cook.

This stuffing smells amazing as it cooks.  I think I was drooling a little every time I walked by the oven.  I mean, SO good.  And when it was finally done, I pulled the dish from the oven, loving how golden the top had become during the cooking process.  I dished it out into 6 Pyrex dishes, tasting a little at the end…and…oh yeah…this was going to be good.

I was wrong, though.  This stuffing wasn’t good.  It was FANTASTIC!!!  Seriously, it was love at first taste.  And I was really, really anticipating lunch for the three days that my roomie and I had this in our refrigerator.  Seriously…I was sad when we devoured the last servings of it.  The cornbread croutons soak in all that amazing flavor from the eggs, sauteed veggies, and the vegetable broth.  It doesn’t get mushy though.  Not at all.  As it bakes, all that flavor bakes inside, making this rich, savory, and addictive stuffing that it’s hard to stop eating.  And that top layer gets this nice golden brown, which brings that bit of crunchy texture when you dig into it.  My mouth waters just thinking about it again.  In fact, I want to see if any of my natural food stores have this on hand.  I’m sort of concerned it’s a seasonal product…but I have every intention of stocking up!

So, let’s take a look at what all goes into a box of the Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing, shall we?  This product is made up of corn starch, tapioca starch, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: sunflower oil, canola oil, safflower oil), seasoning (salt, yeast extract, sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose, spices, onion powder, garlic powder, dehydrated parsley, expeller pressed canola oil, spice extractive, silicon dioxide), sugar, egg whites, salt, guar gum, glucono-delta-lactone, yeast, pectin, sodium bicarbonate, sodium alginate, modified cellulose, iron, niacin, tricalcium phosphate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, and riboflavin.

The Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing mix isn’t a nutritional bomb either.  So, it’s not clean eating for sure…but the nutritional facts aren’t so bad.  A serving size of this product is 1/2 cup prepared and there are 8 servings per box.  This serving will provide you with 120 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 470 mg cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugars, and less than 1 gram protein.  The lack of fiber and protein would make you believe that it wouldn’t fill you up if eating it as a meal instead of a side, but that wasn’t the case at all for me.  I found it filling and amazing.

So…if you want to make this too, here is the recipe I used, which is straight off the back of the box itself:

Recipe: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Servings: 6
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 35 minutes

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • l box Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly grease one 8×8 baking pan.

In a heated skillet add the 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter and sautée onions and celery until translucent. Let the vegetables cool.

In a mixing bowl empty package of stuffing mix.  Add cooled sautéed onions and celery, eggs, and vegetable broth. Let stand one minute.

Stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Place in greased baking pan and pack down.

Cover with foil, bake for approximately 25 minutes. Uncover and finish cooking for an additional 8 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.

~*~*~

This was one of the first corn bread stuffings I have had.  And it brought back all those happy memories of the Stove Top Stuffing days of my childhood.  I was beyond impressed.  So, if you’re a glutton for stuffing, I highly recommend picking up a box of Glutino’s Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing.  Even your gluten-eating friends would never guess this was gluten-free.  It is that delicious!!  ENJOY!