live a little

Wow, it has been a tiring week. Lots of people were on vacation at work so I filled in for them. I give props to everyone who works full time in the medical field. I can’t imagine trying to take care of the dogs (let alone kids) and also live a healthy lifestyle after being on my feet all week! Those people are gods.

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I, like many people, live in the past or the future. We’re too worried and worked up. We go through life wandering until we realize we aren’t really living.

I found a great Oprah quote that explains where I’m going with this:

Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift. — Oprah Winfrey

Often times if I’m in a funk and can’t seem to stick to my healthy habits, I decide that the day is a wash and give up. Thinking to myself, ‘ Tomorrow I’ll start eating healthy’ or ‘Next week I’ll get back to the gym’.

That’s one of the reasons I wrote this post to help me stay on track. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s about doing little healthy things that can add up to more of a routine. But what happens when you can’t bring yourself to do just one? What happens when you keep putting things off and struggle to make healthy habits a routine?

This week I was supposed to start running again. Up until Wednesday I used the excuse of a very busy work week to skip my running. ‘Next week I’ll start running again, I just don’t have time.’ is what I thought to myself.

There were two things that helped me get out of this cycle of not living in the present.

One is a mantra I picked up from Elisa. She uses the word ‘believe’ to help her get through her training workouts. I thought I’d try it out not just for workouts but every time I landed in a funk and negative thoughts would creep in. Let me tell you it works! I’ve been using the word since Monday and I haven’t felt this happy in months. Saying the word in my head stops those negative thoughts and helps me move on with what I’m doing in the present. I believed I could eat healthy this week and I did. I believed I could stay chipper this week and I did. I believed I’d run this week and I did. It’s amazing what a little word can do!

The second is not a thing but a person. I look up to all the Vets that I work with but I have really taken to one in particular. She’s a runner for one thing, has run a marathon (!!), and is a healthy, happy person. No matter how ridiculous a patient’s parents are, she is friendly and kind. It’s an amazing thing to watch! Such a genuine person.

I hold her on a pedestal so to my surprise on Wednesday, I found out that she has trouble motivating herself to workout and struggles with negative thoughts too! We both love to workout and know we need it to mentally and physically feel good but to just DO it is tough. As I left for work she said, ‘Have a good workout!’. Of course I groaned and said I really wasn’t sure if I could do it.

‘Believe.’

On my drive home I got to thinking. The Vet was so motivating and had lifted my spirits. I decided to live in the present for her. I physically didn’t have the time and energy to workout that night but I WAS going to wake up at 5:00 am and run. I hadn’t ran since the 10k and really needed to get back into it. She would be so excited for me when I told her at work. Maybe I’d even help her get back into working out too.

I got out all my running clothes and placed them in the bathroom so I’d be able to just get up and go. At 5am on Thursday, I ran. I ran for four miles and felt great! Like I thought, she was super excited for me when I got to work.

It’s funny how things work out in life. If I hadn’t started a blog I wouldn’t have met Elisa and learned of her mantra. If I hadn’t changed careers I would’ve never met the Vet and had the motivation to run and run far.

Last night my husband said, ‘I believe that all things happen for a reason. It’ll all work out.’ He’s so right.

I’m currently living in the present and hope to continue on with my moments, mornings, and Mondays. Now that I have a little more help to do them, I know I’ll be able to.

I’ll leave you with another Oprah quote to finish up:

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” — Oprah Winfrey

So true Oprah!!

What do you do to get yourself out of a funk?

yummy: banana (protein) bread

This week I needed to refill my husband’s stock of homemade protein bars. Even though they’re very tasty, I decided to change it up since we’ve been eating the same kind for over a month.

I made banana bread instead!

It’s a treat from my childhood that my mom would sometimes make when she has too many bad, frozen bananas in the freezer. I’ve followed in her footsteps and do the same thing when it happens to me.

I think I had 6 frozen bananas and 2 that were going bad. Oops!

Again like my mom, I turned to my Cooking Light cookbook for help and used this recipe. When I was a kid she used to get the magazines. I don’t remember reading them at all but I DO remember looking at all the delicious photos.

I decided to make two loaves so that I could freeze one to eat next week.

Prepare yourself. I changed a couple of the ingredients per the usual but this time it all worked out swimmingly. It was not a  Mama Pea’s Cookie repeat!

The first change up was the flour. Instead of using  two cups of all-purpose flour (white flour), I used one cup of white whole wheat and one of just plain whole wheat flour.

I’ve read many times that if you want to add whole wheat flour to a recipe you should put in half of what the recipe calls for and then use normal all-purpose flour for the rest. This is what I normally do for recipes but I thought I’d try the white whole wheat and see what happens. I’d say the bread is a bit more dense but still very very good with a lot more nutrients!

My next change up was subbing Earth Balance for butter. If you didn’t know, Earth Balance is a dairy-free buttery spread. I didn’t know what it was until last month when I needed it for a different recipe! But anyways, I didn’t taste any difference at all!

Belle follows me EVERYWHERE when I’m home by myself so to help her settle, I have to bring one of the dog beds into the kitchen so she has a place to rest. It’s sweet and cute. 🙂

Fun little tip: Don’t freeze the bananas whole like I did. You end up with something mushy and super kinda gross when they defrost. Instead, when you’re bananas go bad, peel them, cut them into a couple chunks, and then freeze them all together in a freezer bag. That was you can use them for smoothies, bread, or maybe even banana soft serve!

Alright, my main ingredient change was this protein powder. Since this bread is supposed to be a substitute for protein bars, I added some (the recommended serving) into the batter. I just put in a little less flour to make room in the recipe. I think the vanilla flavor helped bring out the bananas. It didn’t change the texture or anything! That surprised me because some brands often have a gritty/chalky texture. Trader Joe’s for the win.

Ever wonder what the difference is between baking in a metal non-stick pan and baking in a silicone ‘pan’? Look no further.

Honestly, there wasn’t much difference at all. I thought the ‘fancy’ silicone would somehow make the bread better but it didn’t. They both tasted great! The bread from the silicone DID taste more moist but I think it’s because the bread bakes quicker in the metal pan. Interesting, eh? I thought so.

Proof of my official taste test. A little Earth Balance on top.

Shockingly, I only ate the two slices pictured here!! And I haven’t had anymore… yet. Course now that I’ve had to write this post and I see all the tasty goodness, I might just have to get down to the kitchen and get myself a slice.

So if you ever decide to make a protein-filled snack, remember it doesn’t have to be just bars. Throw your protein into anything! I bet it’ll work out just fine and you’ll have another healthy food to add to your snack arsenal!

What snacks do you eat? Do you make anything in advance?

easter on parade: a doggy challenge

My ‘big’ girls, Roary and Olivia are my favorite but they each have their own behavioral issues.

Roary is a friendly gal, a little too friendly at times. Last week when we had the ducts cleaned in our house, she decided that the men were intruders, then proceeded to bark at them. This went on for a bit until she realized they would pet and entertain her. Then to get their attention throughout the day there was major tail wagging and when that didn’t suffice, she would jump up on them. I often attempt to train her to stop barking and jumping and she HAS gotten better.

Olivia is the opposite. Every time the men where in a room with her, she’d pace and try to escape as soon as possible. There may have been a few barks in there too but they were more of a ‘please go away, you scare me!’ and not a ‘get out of my house or else!!’.

Belle even barked when the guys came in because she saw Roary doing it! She’s not part of this post, but I thought it was pretty funny/cute.

Al enjoys not smiling in photos, I think it’s a Marine thing.

This past weekend I found out about a pet-friendly event happening in Richmond called Easter on Parade. We took both Roary and Olivia.

I thought it was more of a craft festival with kids games but what we did was ‘parade’ around a giant 4 block circle along with 25,000 other people, some dressed in crazy easter hats and some not. It felt a lot like last weekend at the 10k where I spent most of my time weaving around the slower folks.

All negativity aside, it was a beautiful day and a great learning experience for the girls!

Ha, you can see their personalities in this picture – Olivia looking away from all the scary people and Roary hoping to investigate.

Both Al and I were nervous about how each dog would react to THAT many people. Neither of them had been in a similar situation before so we kept the training light, letting them do what they wanted, but still keeping their leashes short. Surprising they both did great! I’m a proud mama.

Olivia got skittish once in a while, especially if there were loud noises. We had to take two detours around a drummer and also a band because she wouldn’t move. If you remember where she started when we first got her, you know this is an amazing achievement!

Roary also did well. She just took it all in attempting to sniff. Only two times did she lunge (not in an aggressive way) at someone or something that she really wanted to interact with.

Towards the end of the walk we took a break in the shade to let the girls cool off a bit. They calmly sniffed as they watched lots of dogs, people, and a transvestite (?) walk by them.

I’m glad to know that we are on the right track with these girls. We love them so much!!

It was a nice little Easter Sunday.

What did you do this Easter? Any dog training? 😉