My Weekend

I don’t know about you, but I had a jam packed weekend!  Last week Adam was able to get me a free entry into the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race and the race was this Sunday.  I had wanted to run this race, but found out about it too late and the race fee was just a little too much for us so I was super excited when I found out I would get to run.  This was my first Chicago race and it was a pretty good experience.  On Saturday we went to breakfast at Anne Sathers Bakery and had a delicious meal and then we headed to the McCormick place to check out the race expo and pick up my bib.  We of course stocked up on all the free goodies and Adam had copious amounts of chocolate.  I have never been in a race this size so it was a bit overwhelming to see so many people!  While we were downtown, we also went to a modern photography exhibit, hit up Barnes and Noble, and then headed back to our neighborhood and did a little shopping.

Adam's breakfast which was 2 cinnamon rolls stuffed with mascarpone. He may have slipped into a sugar coma...

Adam’s breakfast which was 2 cinnamon rolls stuffed with mascarpone. He may have slipped into a sugar coma…

At the race expo

At the race expo

Sunday morning we got up bright and early to head to the race.  It was just a little (ok a lot) chilly and because I was in the second wave of runners we ended up standing around for a little over an hour.  I will admit, I was slightly cranky by the time that I finally got to the starting line but that was mostly because my hands and feet were blocks of ice!  Once I started running though I was able to warm up.  It was really neat to run through downtown Chicago, but I did have to fight through the slower runners/walkers.  Once I got used to weaving in and out of the walkers, it was really cool to run through streets that are usually busy with cars.  I ended up with a time of about 30 minutes and while that is a little slower than my normal pace, I was still pretty happy with my finish.  Next year I hope to run the 15k part which will be my longest race yet.

Up early for the race!

Up early for the race!

 

Trying to stay warm while waiting to run!

Trying to stay warm while waiting to run!

Ok, now for the mushy part of my post today.  Today is Adam and my two year anniversary.  I know it’s cliche, but it feels like it was yesterday that I was getting ready to walk down the aisle.  The memories from that day are so vivid in my mind and I still have to pinch myself to remind me that it actually happened.  I got to marry the man of my dreams and these past two years have been amazing.

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Adam supports me in everything I do, plus he wakes up at 5:30 on a Sunday to come and stand out in the cold while I run a race.  He loves me unconditionally and accept all my little weird quirks and shortcomings.  He makes me laugh daily and always puts a smile on my face even when I’m having a bad day.  Whether we are out and about or sitting quietly next to each other on the couch reading, I enjoy each minute with him.  I’ve heard that the first two years of marriage are some of the hardest, and while every single second isn’t absolute perfection, I’m still waiting for all this hard stuff that people talk about.  Maybe Adam and I are lucky, but I think it’s more that we are totally committed to each other and making this marriage strong.  We both promised that we were in this for the long haul and that no matter what we would do what needed to be done.  I mean it as much as I did two years ago, I love my husband and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him!  Thanks for saying I do Adam!

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Lifestyle Choices: Paleo

Happy Monday Readers! We’re continuing our look into the more popular diet/lifestyles that are out there.  Today I am taking an in depth look into the Paleo lifestyle.  Let’s get started!

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Followers of the Paleo lifestyle believe that the optimal diet is one that is based on fruits, vegetables, and meats that could be found in the Paleolithic Era, before modern agriculture came into play.  They avoid grains, dairy, legumes/beans, sugar and processed foods that are results of modern agriculture.  They try to eat as close to nature as possible, meaning organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed meats, unprocessed oils, tree nuts/seeds, eggs, fish and shellfish.  Anything that modern man has meddled with or made in a factory is off limits.  Here is a really great list of foods that are allowed in the lifestyle as well as those that should be avoided.   While it sounds like there are a lot of food that they do not eat, there are a ton of foods that can be eaten within the parameters of the Paleo lifestyle.  Simply put, if cavemen didn’t eat then neither should you.  Paleo followers believe that many of today’s modern diseases and ailments, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, are a result of modern food.

Just like with every lifestyle I look at, I offer my own opinions on the pros and cons of each diet.  These are only MY opinions, I am not a doctor/dietician/nutritionist/health professional.  If you would like more in depth information, please contact your health professional.

The big thing that I really like about the Paleo lifestyle is the belief that real food is the best for our bodies.  I have made it fairly clear that I do not think that processed food has any nutritional benefit and is a cause of a lot of our health problems.  When people hear about the Paleo lifestyle, many people instantly think of piles of meat and weightlifting, but this is just a stereotype.  Yes, the Paleo lifestyle does endorse meat, but not processed meat and not pounds and pounds of it at every meal.  They advocate for organic, free-range, and grass fed meats, which can be a very nutritional part of a diet.  But they also promote eating a ton of fruits and vegetables.  The other myth that you have to be a weightlifter or be a part of Crossfit if you go Paleo is just that, a myth.  There is a large variety of people that follow the Paleo lifestyle.  From runners, to those who practice yoga, old, young, mothers, grandparents, being Paleo is not limited to one type of person.  I like this aspect as well, but I feel that those who do follow Paleo need to help propel the idea that it is not all about eating meat and doing crazy exercises.

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One of the things that I don’t like about Paleo is one of the things that I don’t like about a lot of lifestyles out there, the thought that their way of living/eating is the ONLY way to be healthy.  I mentioned this last week when I talked about the vegan lifestyle, but it is very off putting for someone who is still searching for the best way to be healthy to come across a hardcore Paleo follower.  While these people think they are promoting their lifestyle, many of them are causing people to find other means of being healthy.  Again, just like with the hard core vegans, not everyone in Paleo is like this.  In fact it is a very small group, but they have unfortunately been a big force and are what many people assume all Paleo followers are like.  My other concern about the Paleo lifestyle is that it can be very restrictive and if someone is just starting out they might feel so overwhelmed with all the food they are cutting out, they will just quit.  This can happen with many types of diets, so it is important to ease into any new lifestyle and realize it is ok if you are not 100% perfect 100% of the time.

Overall, I think that if done properly, the Paleo diet can be a healthy lifestyle for many people.  Just because I do not eat meat doesn’t mean that I think all meat is bad.  I understand that every body has different nutritional needs.  My body thrives without animals in my diet, but that doesn’t mean that others are exactly like me.  I am a BIG advocate of finding what works for you and your health and if that just so happens to be Paleo then great!  If your focus is on eating real, whole foods, whether that includes meat or not, I guarantee you will feel better and your health will improve!

In other news, this past Saturday I participated in a 5k race held by our local animal shelter, TAILS Humane Society.  This was my third time running a 5k race and my fourth race overall.  I went into it pretty much like every other non-professional runner out there, expecting to have a good time and not planning on winning.  Apparently my body had other plans and I ran 3.1 miles in 23:23 and finished first for all females and fourth overall.  I was pretty proud of myself as this is the first time that I have ever really won anything for an athletic type event, I even got a medal!  I thought it would be fun to share my excitement with you guys and encourage you to go out and have some fun with any events you might be thinking about joining! Have a great week and come back next Monday for a look at the Weight Watchers diet.

Me and Adam right after I finished

Me and Adam right after I finished

My medal! I swear I'm not choking myself with it!

My medal! I swear I’m not choking myself with it!

Awesome swag bag that included a grill/panini/waffle maker!!

Awesome swag bag that included a grill/panini/waffle maker!!