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Archive for June, 2013

This country needs a hate detox

posted on Monday, June 26th, 2013 under General Ramblings, Things that piss me off |

A detox post of a different variety this time.

I just have to say that I am incredibly baffled by mankind on a daily basis. So many people I encounter among the general public are rude, stupid, stuck up or just plain douchey. The rest are my friends or someday friends, and you are excluded from the things I am about to write.

While in the words of the politicians who ruin this country on a daily basis are notions of freedom, love and unity, the reality of what they bring about is so much the opposite. I am thrilled with the Supreme Court’s overruling of DOMA and refusal to rule on Prop H8…but still so confused why the vote was so split.

There’s no such thing as GAY marriage. There’s marriage. These aren’t GAY rights we’re debating. They are human rights. Rights that were also once denied to a group of people in our country, though on a more grandiose scale (I don’t wish to trivialize the trials of one group by comparing them to another; just noting that this is a recurring trend). Just as reading about segregation and witnessing the continued prevalence of prejudice that surrounds me to this day, I am completely confused as to how we can look at any one subset of our vibrant population and tell them they are not our equals. We are all people and deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and love…not disgust, humiliation and hatred.

It’s sad that, in our country today, thieves, murderers, rapists and molesters have more rights than many of my friends, and it makes me sick.

Even further, don’t play the religion card with me. First of all, what happened to separation of church and state? We are debating FEDERAL rights – taxes, death benefits, family rights, etc. We are not debating the religious definition of marriage. At least, we sure as hell shouldn’t be. Churches can define marriage however they so choose – THAT is a freedom upon which this country was founded. Now keep your church out of everyone’s government.

I hope with all my heart that today’s rulings are the beginning of real change in this country. I hope people can rid themselves of the fear, anger and hate that has driven such things as the creation of the Westboro insanity, but since I don’t see that happening, I at least hope that those representing our voice in a government created to protect our freedoms can see the need for true equality in the eyes of the law.

Today’s historic rulings should be celebrated. But those celebrations should not be for a victory in the name of gay rights. It should be for the first of hopefully many victories in the name of human rights.

Now hurry up, you remaining 38 states, and make marriage equality happen!

One last parting thought…since gay means happy, shouldn’t churches actually SUPPORT what they insist on calling gay marriage?? So on that note, I will leave you with a smile:

Chipmunks have TERRIBLE projection

posted on Monday, June 25th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

This is what I learned last night, when I was lucky enough to guest teach my friend and former instructor’s Monday night spin class.

This is how the class went:

First of all, I was nervous-poop-inducingly worked up. When I’m not hiding behind the interwebs, I’m actually rather shy about being the center of attention, and that’s something I need to get over to be a good instructor. I was extra sweaty (which is really saying something) and I’m sure I was making some pretty excellent faces. Seriously, sometimes I can’t control my face. It just does what it wants. It’s probably pretty awkward for people having to look at my dumb mug.

Here’s why being nervous sucks extra: in addition to bonus sweat, it raises your heart rate, which then makes it harder to control your breathing. Add that to my strength ride and having to try to project my teensy chipmunk-on-helium voice over loud music, and you end up with a bunch of heavy breathing on the mic…which is SO GROSS. I was so embarrassed the entire class.

I also get flustered and forget things I know to say. I have learned lots of great tips on form and breathing, but was so anxious about no one hearing me and everyone looking at me that I skipped a lot of good info that could have helped the new riders who were there. Super bummer.

But my instructor told me the ride was great – if I can just fix my voice issue, incorporate more hand gestures to help people follow me if they can’t hear, and manage my breath better, I think I’ll be a good instructor. I’m glad to have my first ride under my belt, but I need a LOT of practice. I get CPR certified Friday, and I’m working on setting up auditions at a few places around town, so hopefully I’ll be instructing more soon!!

DETOX DAY 9 UPDATE:

I feel like my energy levels are improving. I’m sleeping well and it’s getting easier to get out of bed in the morning. I am aiming for a good morning run one day this week, so that will be a good test of my ability to perform on this eating plan. I’ve lost about 3.5 pounds, but weight loss wasn’t the goal, so I’m hoping it is a maintainable loss once the detox is over and I incorporate a few carbs and fruits back in my diet.

Oh, and the poops? Still SO WEIRD. Less funny, too, because it’s kind of exhausting. I mean, poop is always funny, but buttsplosions EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING? I just got out of bed. Let me wake up a little first! Come on, intestines, don’t be a jerk. The ol’ poopchute needs a break.

Another thing…I was already being more conscientious of checking labels before buying food, but I continue to be absolutely blown away by how many things contain added sugar in some sneaky form. Even finding dried spice blends can be challenging, so we’ve taken to making most of them ourselves. Tastes better anyway. I am less and less surprised each day by how hard it was for me to lose weight before I educated myself on food…the US food supply is in a very sad state and needs to be fixed if we want to be a healthy country. It’s sickening…and I have lots to say on the topic.

Here’s the thing about food – eating really delicious food has made this detox so much easier than it could have been otherwise. I used to think healthy eating was incredibly bland and boring, but my eyes have been opened to how absolutely yummy real, whole food can be when prepared properly. Remember my food list? I can definitely knock a few things off of it as I now enjoy (or at least tolerate) them: cooked onions, avocados, raw blueberries (just not for 12 more days), eggplant, sweet potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, sashimi, and I’m thisclose to being a black coffee drinker (though most days I just go without added caffeine). Say WHAAAAA?!?! Raw tomatoes still make me wanna ralph, but I have to say, I’ve broadened my food horizons a lot in the last year.

Want to see what I eat? Okie dokie. My trainer has me journal via pictures, so here are some highlights:

BREAKFAST:

Not on detox, my norm was a green smoothie with spinach, frozen cherries or berries, banana, chia seeds and almond milk, plus a hardboiled egg. Now, without fruit, I eat scrambled eggs with spinach. Today I had egg muffins, but I’ll post more on that later when I can give you a recipe!

SNACKS:

I have 2 snacks a day. One is almost always a whole, peeled cucumber. I hated it at first, but it really does help flush your body out and makes you feel all happy inside.

Other snacks include veggies and raw nuts, or small leftover portions of other meals. I eat every few hours and it helps my metabolism immensely. Plus, I’m never starved so I hardly overeat, which was a HUGE problem I had before (though my portions may still be too large).

I used to need caffeine more often in the day, and still do some days, so I’ll sometimes pair an iced coffee with almond milk with some nuts (this had honey, too, which is divine, but not on the detox!).

LUNCHES & DINNERS:

I am having a serious love affair with seafood. Even without sushi, I’m doing my part to keep the white fish and salmon population under control. You are welcome.

Plain grilled salmon and steamed broccoli. Add a little fresh-cracked pepper and it’s all amazing.

Pan-fried tilapia with avocado and steamed seasoned veggies. I know you aren’t supposed to cook on high heat with olive oil, but I still do sometimes. Though I use coconut oil pretty religiously these days. THANK JEEBUS FOR HAIRY COCONUTS.

SKRIMPS! Skrimps on anything makes it better, right? Goes double for salad. Just use olive oil and vinegar as a dressing, add avocado and shrimp, and you have the best salad bar salad of all time. Clearly eaten at my messy desk.

Using no-added-sugar, preservative-free organic salsa, I eat salsa chicken like it’s going out of style. I have lots of options for using leftovers, too. I can eat it alone, topped with jalepeños and served with sautéed spinach…

Take it to work and enjoy it as lettuce wraps with avocado:

Take it to work and enjoy it over greens (I just finished eating this right now…the dirty plate is staring at me as I frantically try to finish this post):

Salads are great with turkey taco meat, too (make your own taco seasoning so you know what’s in it):

Simple chicken and veggie soup is always a good bet (but most store-bought broth has some form of added sugar, so watch the ingredient list closely, or just make your own):

Eating out is still tricky, but make requests and ask questions – as long as you are polite about it. Don’t be rude. But restaurants have to accommodate food allergies, so just ask how things are prepared and see if they can make modifications for you. Plain grilled chicken and steamed veggies with no butter are almost always an option.

A few area restaurants, like Trainwreck Saloon and The Royale, offer grassfed beef burgers on their seasonal menues. SO GOOD. Just order it without the bun (wrap it in lettuce with mustard) and with steamed or sautéed veggies, and you’ll be eating very well.

So that’s a quick look at the awesome food I get to eat. Mr. T is amazing in the kitchen, so I’m very lucky to have the help when it comes to making tasty noms. Most of these were recent meals or snacks while on the detox, but non-detox meals often include sweet potatoes, quinoa or brown rice, too. Yum!

I’ll post some recipes soon, too. Just for good measure…

Progress: One week down, 2 to go

posted on Monday, June 24th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

Yesterday marked my seventh day on the 21-Day Sugar Detox. One week down. Two more to go. Ugh. Here’s hoping the return of energy happens very, very soon.

Things I’m craving: Strawberries, watermelon, pizza and red wine. Three weeks without a cheat? What the hell was I thinking??

Truth be told, it’s really not that bad. Except that weekends are usually filled with eating at restaurants and enjoying time with Mr. T, and finding acceptable restaurants to eat at has already been difficult…but the added strictness has added not only difficulty, but frustration. Mr. T is frustrated by constantly accommodating my food needs, and I’m finding myself more and more defensive and on edge regarding anything food (a rant to come on that topic), which has resulted in a few…lively conversations. So I’m going to say it here and now: Mr. T has been over the top supportive this go around, and absolutely works hard at finding and making recipes we can both enjoy. He’s the best and I’m crabby.

Day three was my worst energy crash, but my race Saturday eventually brought on a total breakdown and some serious sleep, which I obviously needed.

Saturday was awesome and a little awful at the same time. I woke up to find that my awesome training partner had gotten sick and couldn’t go to the race, which meant I’d be going solo. Not something I’m good at in general, but something that terrifies me for races. I already have issues with race day anxiety and I have terrible self-talk (you know, a lot of ‘you’re an idiot for thinking you can do this’ or ‘welp, you’re gonna die – have fun with that!’), but Teresa always talks me down and Mr. T makes me feel better…and neither would be there.

Granted, it was a short race – a .62 mile swim and a 2.5 mile run – but transitions freak me out to no end and I almost talked myself into going back to bed and just calling it a day.

But I didn’t.

I grabbed my stuff, headed out and ended up having a really fun race! I did pretty well, too, especially considering that I felt pretty tired the whole run. I was super dizzy when I crossed the finish line, but it was the first HOT race of the year, so there were multiple factors at play for sure. I had sweet potatoes the night before and a banana coffee smoothie for breakfast, so I had some carbs in my system…maybe just not enough.

But regardless, I did well and was SUPER proud of myself for doing an entire race all by myself. And with a smile on my face because it was REALLY FUN! I enjoy this stuff.

After the race, I went home, ate eggs (FOUR of them!), worked on some songs for spin playlists (I’m guest teaching my first class ever tonight!), blogged and waited for Mr. T to get home from work. From there, we did some running around, ate lunch at Trainwreck – who has GRASSFED BURGERS, hooray! – and went to buy me a new swimsuit. Gross.

I wish I could say all my hard work has resulted in me being totally 2-piece ready, but I am SOOOOOO not there yet. So I ended up with a nice pink one piece from Target. Here’s some more bravery on my part…a photo. (Cue vomiting.) My legs are still hideous and I hate them. I’ve come a long way, but I still have a long way to go.

I wanted the swimsuit that came with an overlay that completely covered my hips and bum, but the helpful stranger lady sitting outside my dressing room told me I should throw that one right in the trash and buy the pink one…who am I to argue with a stranger who has no vested interest in making me feel like a turd??

So anyway. I bought the suit, we went to our friend’s awesome pool for a bit, and after a few hours, I really started to drag. I ate a cucumber, some pistachios, some Paleo jerky…and I was still fading fast. So we headed out, stopping at the grocery store to get something to make for dinner.

I was actually laying against the cart as we approached the checkout, and felt like I would fall down if anyone took the cart away, so T sent me to the car while he finished up. We got home around 7 and I immediately collapsed into bed. I woke up at 9:30. Mr. T had also fallen asleep (he’s been working crazy hours and is also exhausted), so he made dinner, we ate and then we immediately fell back asleep. The nap was like a wonderful warmup for what was to come.

Man, let me tell you, this was THE BEST sleep I think I’ve ever had. My scraped leg didn’t bother me, my shoulders didn’t bother me, I was just dead-to-the-world, pillow-drooling, ugly-face asleep. It was ah-may-zing.

I took that as a sign to NOT work out yesterday. I was still fatigued most of the day, but not horribly so, and I added my serving of sweet potato to dinner to make sure I’m getting SOME carbs. I slept pretty well again, but nothing like Saturday night. That is the kind of sleep I daydream about.

So here we are. Day 8, the start of week 2, and I’m really hoping my energy picks up. I have some serious training to do these next few weeks, and I need the energy to kill my workouts. So here’s hoping!

These are extra true today…

Later, gators!

Detox: Confessions of a sugar addict

posted on Monday, June 21st, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

Hi. My name is Sarah and I’m addicted to love sugar.

And not even unhealthy sugar necessarily. Sure, I cheat on my Paleo-ish ways on occasion – I refuse to live the rest of my life without dark chocolate, vodka or red wine, and even though it makes me feel like death incarnate, sometimes I just HAVE to have some ice cream. And as an athlete, I find being super strict about Paleo grain rules difficult, so I would never, ever claim to really be 100% Paleo. My metabolic type simply doesn’t agree with the absence of quinoa and rice, so I eat them. You have to eat what YOUR body needs, and these are the things I’ve found work for me.

But beyond a few things like this, my sugar and carb intake comes from fresh and dried fruit, sweet potatoes, rice and raw honey.

So that doesn’t sound so bad, right? And in reality, it means my diet is still pretty dang clean and much better than most people I know (and I’m not judging, believe me). Here’s the thing…are you sitting down? You might want to brace yourself. Grab a chair. Or a wall. Or a large mammal. I’m about to drop something on you I bet you would NEVER think I’d say. Ready for this shiz?

Dramatic drum roll, please…

For the first time in my life…

I ENJOY being healthy.

Say WHAAAAAA?!?! Shut the front door. Get the truck outta here. Flying flamingos, WHO IS THIS PERSON? I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU ANYMORE. WHERE ARE THOSE CUPCAKES???

Relax. It’s a good thing. Cupcakes are on hold during the detox, but I will still be baking yummy things. When I can, I will make them as healthy as possible, but I recognize the whole world isn’t out to be a health nut.

The reality of it is that I still eat really, really delicious food. And when I seriously crave food from my former life, I make a date with friends and make the cheat count. I feel like I have finally found some semblance of balance in life. Some days I will disagree with that statement, especially when I’m in training and I never see Mr. T, but for the most part, things work.

But I’ve noticed lately that I feel the need to eat dried mango or dark chocolate several nights each week (NO, I’m not preggo…don’t you put that on me, Ricky Bobby), and I’m eating rice (hello, sushi) like a crazy person. Seriously, I may have single-handedly consumed half the ocean in the last two weeks. I’m practically a shark. Raw fish nomnomnom.

Not good. I’m not gaining weight, but I’m not seeing the muscle definition I want, and I really want to be at my peak physical form as much as possible for the New Town Tri in 4 weeks. So I decided to dive into the 21-Day Sugar Detox that I’ve read about from several of my favorite Paleo bloggers (including PaleOMG – seriously, even if you don’t eat Paleo, you will love her – and The Civilized Caveman).

DISCLAIMER/REALITY CHECK. This may not be a good plan. This might just be my worst idea yet. I may be setting myself up for failure, because I intend to train like a boss while on this detox, and this is not meant to support that kind of activity. I recognize this, but I’m 5 days in and have managed to rock 4 awesome workouts, so I’m hopeful I can see this through.

I’m doing Level 3 of the detox, which is the Paleo/Primal level with no dairy. Today is day 5. Day 1 was Monday, the day after the St. Peters Rec Plex Tri (I think I’ll blog about that experience, too, because holy hot mess was it a crazy day). I had done some serious carb loading (quinoa, sweet potatoes and dried mango to the max) in the days leading up to the race, so my carb stores were pretty high even after the race. So the first two days were a breeze. I was all, ‘Look at me, I’m not eating sugar and I feel SOOOOOOO great! I’m the best no-sugar-eater of all time! Ladeeeda!’

Then day 3 hit. I’m about to go TMI on your buns, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Day 3 started with a little toot when I woke up. That little toot was like an adorable little warning for something TERRIBLE AND HILARIOUS that has plagued me every morning since…Poopapalooza, peeps. To the point that I actually laugh at my own poops in the morning now. My stomach feels fine, but my intestines are hell bent on evacuating food hostages in a wicked barrage of poosplosions the second they realize I’m conscious.

Anyway, once I stopped laughing, I continued with my morning and headed to work. All was well until about 10:30. I had just finished my daily cucumber and was walking from the office to the parking lot for a work outing to tour booze shops and scope out competitors when all of a sudden I hit the wall.

It was so sudden and so noticeable. It felt like I leaked all my energy out of my shoes in the last 2 steps and was now made of wood.

I trudged to my coworker’s vehicle, climbed in and immediately bemoaned how exhausted I already was. Then I shoved nuts in my face like a rampaging squirrel in the desperate attempt to fuel this expedition.

I got through the day somehow, with lots of protein, and even knocked out a killer workout with Josh (who I think I will now call J-Derp thanks to his invention of the Durpee – but that’s a story for another day). So J-Derp kicked my ass, had ZERO sympathy for my personal energy crisis and sent me whining on my way home to die. (Actually, he just has a lot more faith in me than I do and knows how to push me when I want to quit, because he’s just that fantabulous.)

I went home and ate crockpot salsa chicken (made with organic, sugar- and preservative-free salsa) with a whole avocado, managed to whip up a batch of detox-approved ‘cookies’ (quotations are because REAL cookies have something sweet in them…these impostors just have shredded unsweetened coconut, but I’m finding more and more that they really are sweet enough), and collapsed.

Since then, aside from my morning butt giggles, I’ve been pretty good. On the detox, I’m allowed one green-tipped banana (not quite ripe) OR a Granny Smith apple, and today was the first day I used that (I made a smoothie with a frozen banana in it) because I was feeling way draggy after I did a 55-minute Spin ride and then visited my great aunt. I will eventually use the athlete modification and add in either a half cup of sweet potato or a cup of butternut squash to help support my activity level…and by eventually, I mean I have a small race and a training ride tomorrow AM, so I’ll use it today…eventually.

So that’s the background and current status of my detox. I’m hopeful I can power through my training, but I’m not willing to step back my intensity when my A race is so close, so worst case scenario, if I hit a major wall, I’ll add back in what I need to fuel training and complete a full detox after the race.

Oh, did I mention I am now a certified Spin instructor, too? Welp, that happened. I haven’t found the balls to audition anywhere yet, but I’m guest teaching my first class Monday evening, so I’m way stoked about that.

And I got a little bit of new ink. Just a little. (My arm looks way fat in this, but it’s the best shot I have of it  - the artist took this before he wrapped it.)

So, you know, those are some things. Two blogs in two days – I’m not doing so bad, am I? Yeah, just wait till day three hits…man, I f^¢*ing hate day three…

Just over a year? Yep, right on schedule.

posted on Monday, June 20th, 2013 under General Ramblings |

Clearly I suck at this whole blogging regularly thing. I’m great at it for my job, but for myself?

Ain't nobody got time for that.

Well, I want to make more time for it. Because for the last year or so, I’ve been on a journey that I should have shared more of, documented more. Because I should be SO PROUD of everything I’ve accomplished and overcome, but all I tend to see is how far I have left to go. Blogging along the way sure would have helped.

So my new mission is to make this happen more often. Why now? Because I’m on day four of the 21-Day Sugar Detox (level 3) and I just want to talk about it.

Some background that got me here…the highlights and lowlights of the past year:

  • I got tired of being fat. Seriously, I was fat. Again. Remember that one time I lost all that weight? Welp, I ate it all back. And I was depressed. I felt awful, about myself and about everything around me. Being negative sucks, and everything was negative. I needed to change that.
  • I joined Club Fitness and started seeing a personal trainer. His name was Brandon and he was great. He tried to talk to me about nutrition, but at first, I didn’t really listen. Okay, I didn’t. At all. But I trained once a week and started spinning regularly.
  • I changed jobs. I moved to a smaller agency where I could be more useful in digital projects, but still get to write. It was a change I just needed to make, to get away from some negativity I just couldn’t shake. Sometimes you just need a change, and I’m lucky I got to make one when I needed it most.
  • After about 5 months of seeing Brandon and only losing 10 pounds, I had a mini breakdown. Brandon, who never once judged me or made me feel inferior in any way, gently reminded me that my nutrition might need more work. He was right. That was the last day I ate a sandwich and the next day dove headfirst into the world of Paleo. I’m not perfect at it, but I’ve been at it ever since, with cheat meals keeping me sane when I need them. I document what I eat. It helps. My first month eating clean, I dropped almost 22 pounds. TWENTY TWO POUNDS. And I wasn’t starving. I was eating real food and my body thanked me for it.
  • October and November were rough. My uncle was in the hospital with cancer, and my grandpa grew frail as he went to visit him every day and lived in a hotel for weeks to be close. He eventually developed pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. He was eventually released to a nursing facility to recover, right around Thanksgiving. Then, the day after Thanksgiving, he was rushed back to the hospital. As I sat in the waiting room, waiting to hear test results, I saw some odd posts on Facebook and learned that my trainer had been struck by a drunk driver that morning and died on site. I was devastated. You grow really close to your personal trainer, and Brandon meant a lot to me. He had more faith in me than I had ever had in myself, he pushed me to be better. I texted him daily, with workouts or nutrition questions, or funny stories. He was a friend, and my life without him was upsetting. But the heartache had just begun. The next morning, while I was getting ready to go to the hospital to see my grandpa, he died. I wasn’t there, and he died. I decided to sleep in, and it was a terrible decision. I could have used this as a reason to crumble, to allow myself to give in to the depression tugging at me, but Brandon had made me better than that. Failing now would be the worst way to honor him, and Grandpa would have wanted me to be healthy. The next few weeks were miserable.
  • I attended a memorial workout event for Brandon a few weeks after the accident and Grandpa’s funeral. There, the personal training director introduced me to Josh, who would be my new trainer whenever I was ready to return to the gym. I knew I had to do it. B would have wanted me to. So after another week went by, I set up an appointment and headed back to the gym.
  • My first time back at the gym was gut wrenching and awful. I cried in the parking lot for 10 minutes before I could force myself to go in. Mr. T talked me through it and helped me walk in the front doors. I cried through my consult with Josh, who was a total champ and didn’t make me feel awkward at all. The next few sessions were just as hard, but each session I knew I was doing the right thing.
  • I still think of Brandon often. He was irreplaceable and wonderful, and the world is missing a super great human. But thankfully, I have Josh. He helped me start on a new path to success, and I’ve continued to see the success I started with Brandon. I’ve lost over 65 pounds so far, and I’m back to triathlon training and racing.
  • Which brings me to today…my A race is the New Town Triathlon in July. It’s less than a month away, and I decided to do this detox to help get me to optimal racing form. I will have to make some modifications to support the endurance training I do, but I know it will help me reach my next goal.

So this is the longest post ever. Sorry about that. That’ll happen when you have over a year of life to recap, I guess. So my next post will be a bit more info on the detox and updates on my progress. And I’m getting Teddy groomed next week, so I’ll be sure to include pics of my fuzzy baby.

In the meantime, enjoy these Grumpy Cat memes I’ve made for inter-office email laughs.

Toodles!