Make it Right for Houston

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A slightly different post for today but one I feel is very important. The school I work for is promoting a ‘Make it Right’ campaign and the students have decided to focus on one of the mahoosive problems we have here in Houston; homelessness and hunger.

We are going to be fundraising and raising awareness for Houston Food Bank who support so many of our citizens on a daily basis. The students have organized a ‘Soup Day’ where they will only eat soup and donate the money they would have used for their packed lunches/school dinners to the Food Bank. We are also organizing a funding page for anyone else who wants to donate to go through that.

We all know that your training is only as strong as your nutrition but can you imagine not even being able to buy basic food? Or not knowing where your next meal is coming from?

I’ll be posting a link soon if anyone would like to support the Houston Food Bank and their amazing work. If you’re local you could also volunteer your time if a monetary donation isn’t a possibility.

Westchase Local Farmers Market.

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I was dying to write about this last night but had to go visit a friend who has been unwell and by the time I got home it was late.

The Westchase Farmers Market has been running about a year; it is located on Rogerdale and Westheimer in the corner car park of the church (Just past BW8) every Thursday from 3-6pm in the winter and 3-7pm the rest of the year.

There are about 23 stalls that show up each week now with a whole variety of products to sell – from food products to bath salts and even gifts.
I bought my first bunch of multi coloured carrots (the kind they show on the front of “Oh She Glows” cookbook. I was so excited!! I also bought a whole bunch of other homegrown veggies from a farm from Spring (Local, fresh and organic!!! It doesn’t get better than this!)

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(Update: My boyfriend ate some of the carrots from the fridge and declared they were the most delicious things he has ever tried! WINNING!)

I also bought some super snazzy bathsalts all home made and smelling gorgeous! Very friendly people at the market and a very relaxed atmosphere! I also bought homemade German cookies and cakes (to die for!) sold by the lovely and super kind Julie. (I had originally written in a story of human kindness but now I’ve had to delete it for various reasons; just know that there are still some awesome people in society). I was so touched by her caring attitude – her good heart and now the yumminess of her baked goods have won me over. If you are in the area, stop by to see her. And regardless of where you are, do one kind, selfless thing today please and help make the world a better place.

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Juices of the week

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(Picture credit to Organic Authority)
I’ve been suffering much longer than I’d like with this horrible lingering cold so my juices for this week are all about boosting your immunity and kicking colds and flu to the kerb! The top 2 recipes I found at Healthline, written by Erica Lockshin.

Green Power
1 bunch of kale
1 bunch of spinach
a handful of parsley
1 cucumber
1 lemon
4 cups of grapes

(you can reduce the quantity down if you don’t want to make a big serving).
This juice is great as it serves up a whole bunch (no pun intended) of vitamin C, magnesium, folate and B6! (It also has a nice helping of protein).
If you find it is too bitter then add more grapes or even an apple or 2 – experimenting is so much fun with juicing!

Rooting for your health
6 sticks of celery with leaves
1 beet (these are pretty bitter so you can reduce down if you prefer)
6 large carrots

Using root vegetables to boost your health and immunity this isn’t a juice for the faint of heart. I am not a fan of pure veg juices so this is a chug it with your nose pinched job for me. It produces an amazing colour but I would still prefer it if it actually tasted sweet (ish). You can always add in some fruit to bring that flavour around, maybe some berries?
This has magnesium, vitamin A, beta carotene and folate in it.

Green Juice – better than a Flu Shot.

I found this recipe over at Linda Wagner’s website. She has a whole treasure trove of resources, recipes etc. over there and I would definitely recommend a visit!

2 cucumbers
2 apples
2 limes (I leave the skin on)
half a bunch of kale
several sprigs of parsley
5 sprigs of mint

She suggests serving over ice – I’m a Brit by birth and nature so I don’t usually add ice to any of my drinks.

And I’m actually going to add an extra this week because I am serious about getting my health back on track.

The Flu Buster Juice

This bad boy (if you try it you’ll know what I mean), is taken from another fab blogger, Sonnet, who is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and has a plethora of amazing resources on her blog all promoting natural living! YAY!!!!

You can make this as a juice or do it as a shot!

1 lemon
1-4 garlic cloves (I’m a wuss, 1 or 2 and I’m maxed out)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
cayenne pepper (to top)

If you want it as a juice, add a whole orange!

I’ve added a pic from Sonnet’s blog because I think the juice is beautiful even if it is a killer for me to chug!

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I think there will be a few more flu busting juices appearing over the coming weeks to just to make sure I can train properly so check back in next week for some more ideas! 🙂

Why should you sign up for an event? (How to make a positive impact on your life and others!)

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I read a great article this morning about how to make your life happier (don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy, but it’s always great to remind yourself of extra things you can do to enjoy life and maintain a positive outlook – this can have a huge impact on training and racing performance too).

There was also a fab quote I found whilst making some motivational posters for the Oilman this last weekend about 90% of triathlon being mental and the other half physical which after competing on Sunday I have realised to be totally true. Please don’t underestimate the importance of training and preparation, though, I’ll be going through that in another post as well as my race review.

So linking all of the above into one key question – Why should you sign up for an event?

Have a read of the article I was talking about on The Guardian (UK newspaper).
Pretty much every single point that Mark Williamson (the writer) makes in that article can be linked to signing up for an event. It gives you a purpose, a goal, helps keep you healthy, connects you with others, helps you support yourself and others!

The benefits of doing any kind of exercise have been scientifically proven to have a great impact on our physical and mental health. The feeling of comraderie in training for an event and helping yourself and others achieve a goal is incredible and can really contribute to your overall levels of happiness and enjoyment in life. (Obviously not at 4 or 5am when you have to get up for that workout!).

Why not pick an event to sign up for, for 2015 and get some friends to either sign up with you or help you train for the event? You could improve your health, lifestyle, waistline, diet, levels of happiness and so many other things!!!

Let me know what you sign up for if you decide to go for it! 🙂

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

So I stumbled upon this awesome blog this afternoon when searching for more Vegan inspiration and I wanted to share it with you guys. Some amazing recipes – I’ve started following because I want to keep track of the yummy things I want to try out and also because I’m excited about what might appear next!

Enjoy!

PoshPGHgirl Cooks

I’ve been wanting to try Spaghetti Squash for the longest time and I love it! I was a little apprehensive about using it for Pad Thai but it all came together deliciously! I made this to accompany some pot stickers I had in the fridge. It ended up being about 4 cups of Pad Thai or so.

– 1 Large Spaghetti Squash

– 3 Green Onions

– 4 Garlic Cloves

– 1 Medium sized Carrot (shredded)

Sauce:

– 3 Tbsp Chili Sauce (mine was more of the hot and less of the sweet kind!)

– 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce

– 2 Tbsp Sriracha

– 1 Tbsp Hosin Sauce

– 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter/Almond Butter

-1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

– 1/4 cup chopped Peanuts (for topping)

To get started preheat oven to 400*, cut the spaghetti squash, take out the guts and seeds (SAVE THE SEEDS you can roast them for…

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Juice recipes for the week!

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Green Machine:

Inspired to juice by Joe Cross (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead) I tried his Mean Green Juice and then adapted my own version.

(this makes nearly 20-24 fluid oz)

6 large celery stalks
6 red delicious apples
1 lemon
1 whole bunch of kale
1 whole bunch of spinach

If you want a kick you can add a small piece of ginger and if it’s not sweet enough for you (I taste it and add as I feel fit) then you can add more apples (one at a time).

My all time favourite bright juice: (this makes about 16 fl oz)

Sunshine juice:

1 sweet potato
1 peach
6 carrots

This already has kick so I wouldn’t bother adding any ginger.

Mojito fruit juice: (makes around 16oz)

1 punnet of blueberries
1 punnet of raspberries
1 lb of strawberries
3 apples
1 or 2 sprigs of mints – personal preference
1 orange (optional – I don’t usually bother with it)

You can add more or less fruit and mint as you wish. Have a play around with ingredients. I don’t drink pure fruit juices very often as they’re quite high in sugars and I’d much rather eat the fruit but it’s refreshing and if you want to increase the volume you could add a juice or to make a Friday evening relaxing drink a drop of Fresca (fizzy pop).
Created by AWJ, AD and SC 🙂

Favourite juice recipe you’d like to share (and leave credit for if it’s not your own)… mention it below!

Going green in H-town.

Sat in Barnes and Noble with my partner in crime (well eating crimes, not sports endeavors) while he works and I read my shiny new Vegan cookbook from the wonderful Oh She Glows blog makes me excited to try out some of the recipes. I lack the creativity to come up with ideas on my own when it comes to anything cooking related these days. Thinking about the excitement of baking and spending time in the kitchen makes me wish is was a crisp Autumn/Fall day outside but alas, it’s sweltering here in the city and the guy behind me has been reading out loud for the last 1.5 hours (yes, don’t we all love it when that happens!). What I’m really craving is one of those New England fall days where you can hunker down in boots and a thick sweater (maybe even a log fire) and then bake and cook to your heart’s content in some giant fully stocked kitchen. HA, and then I wake up!
For those of you who have been reading at all over the last few weeks know about my energy crisis and my investigation into a more green lifestyle/diet in the hopes of improving my overall health and energy levels. I’ve been checking out local spots to help support these ideas.

Here in the Houston area we have some great resources that I’m tapping into:

Georgia’s Farm to Market on i-10
Sprouts Market on Westheimer (by Half Price books after BW8)
Sweet Tomatoes (Campbell Rd on i-10)
Ruffles Green
Most Indian restaurants
Vegan buffet on Richmon and Weslayan
Zoe’s Kitchen – various locations
Rawfully Organic – order boxes as part of a co-op online and pick them up at locations around the city
Ziggy’s (Montrose near La Boheme)
Joe V’s at 43rd and 290
Trader Joe’s
Whole Foods
Half Price books – for those recipe books and helpful hints! – Various locations.

You don’t have to go to ‘specialist locations’ to get the things you need, there is also HEB, Kroger, Walmart, Randall’s etc and I also shop online a lot if I can wait for things – Amazon are helping a lot and then just generally googling things and doing some price comparisons!

A HUGE thanks to my wonderful coworker and co-motivator for all things Half Ironman and Vegan related, HW! – She helped me with this list by sharing some of her key locations in the city.

A key piece of information that I’ve picked up in my reading and speaking to people is that your changes in lifestyle don’t have to be one giant overnight overhaul, you could designate a day a week to go meat free or try out a new recipe. You could switch a new lunch recipe in a few times a week or try making a juice a couple of evenings (warning, the juicing is super addictive and SO easy to get into! It takes less than 5 minutes to make up a juice AND wash up!)

So my challenge for this week is to drink at least 3 juices over the course of the week! What will yours be?

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Photo courtesy or realfoodforlife.com