Motivational Monday & What’s for breakfast: Oatmeal edition

Good morning, everyone! This morning I woke up tired, but luckily I am enjoying a delicious cup of coffee as I write this post.

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Thankfully, I have already consumed more than half my cup of coffee, so it counts! Smile with tongue out I’m tired because we had some bad weather here last night and my mom actually woke the whole house up around 2 am due to a tornado warning. We hung out in the basement for a while, but luckily everything was fine and no tornado touched down here. Unfortunately, I did not fall back asleep until after 3 am. I won’t let being a little sleepy get in the way of a good and (hopefully productive) summer day, though.  Here’s some motivation for starting your day off right:

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What’s for Breakfast?! Oatmeal Edition.

Now, let’s chat about one of my favorite meals of the day- breakfast! A healthy and filling breakfast is important to help you wake up, start your day right, and fuel you through the day whether you are at work, school, or somewhere else. A good breakfast will keep you going strong until lunch. I don’t know about you, but a bowl of cold cereal never fills me up and often leaves me hungry an hour or two later. Oatmeal, on the other hand, usually does the trick! You have a lot of options with oatmeal, but please, please stop buying that instant stuff! Not only does the instant stuff have a lot of sugar and sometimes mystery ingredients, it can get expensive over time, especially if you eat two or more packets at once. To make your own, you just need a canister of old fashioned oats and some toppings/ingredients you probably already have around your home. Personally, I almost always have sunflower seeds and raisins on hand so I can add them to my oatmeal for extra iron, a nutrient many of us fall short on, especially women and vegetarians such as myself. Today, I’m here to show you that Oatmeal doesn’t have to be gross or boring. I’m going to share some of my favorite toppings for oatmeal that are yummy, mostly healthy and definitely filling! Smile

For each type of oatmeal I typically start out with 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats (makes 1 cup of oatmeal cooked), but feel free to make more or less depending on your appetite. Cook with milk, almond milk, or soy milk instead of water for added calcium!

I’ll start with the oatmeal I am enjoying this morning, apple cinnamon oatmeal! Smile

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Apple cinnamon oatmeal: Halfway through cooking add one chopped apple to the oatmeal. Continue cooking. Top with cinnamon, raisins, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or other nuts. Add honey or a tablespoon of brown sugar for extra sweetness if desired.

Dark chocolate oatmeal: After cooking add one tablespoon of dark chocolate cocoa powder and a handful of dark chocolate chips. Top with nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, or dried fruit is desired.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Add one chopped banana. Top with cinnamon and a tablespoon of granola or grapenuts, and honey for extra sweetness if desired.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Mix in one tablespoon of regular or vegan dark chocolate chips. Top with raisins or dried fruit if desired.

Peanut butter and berry oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Top with fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Top with a tablespoon or two of granola for added crunch if desired.

Brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of light brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the cooked oatmeal. Top with raisins, sunflower seeds, or other nuts if desired.

Nutella oatmeal: Okay, okay this is not a very healthy option…BUT it is a good occasional treat! Add one tablespoon of nutella to the cooked oatmeal. Top with dried or fresh fruit if desired.

Nutella and peanut butter oatmeal: Like the previous option this also is not a very healthy choice- high in calories, fat, and sugar, BUT it wouldn’t hurt to eat every once in a while. Everything in moderation, right? Winking smile Add one half-one whole tablespoon each of nutella and natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal.

Have a great day everyone and I hope I inspired some of you to eat oatmeal today. Smile  What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? I’d love more suggestions for oatmeal toppings, so feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below!

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My IT band story & how I stay positive during a running injury

Good morning everyone! As I sit here enjoying a delicious bowl of homemade apple, nut, and dried fruit oatmeal with almond milk I cannot help, but feel a little sad about not being able to run. Right now I am home and we live near a beautiful bike path.  Today started out as a warm, sunny day and I’m sure many people are outside running, walking, or biking. I cannot help, but feel a little jealous of the runners.  At least the apartment I am moving to next week is also located near a beautiful bike path since I will not be able to run on the one here  for a while :/ .

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My IT band syndrome story: 

I ran my first half marathon two weekends ago and around mile ten of the race I felt the familiar tightness and pain on the outside of my right knee. I knew my IT band was hurting, but I made myself finish the race and I just promised myself would stretch really well. I took a week off after the half and used the foam roller and did yoga-I was sure I’d be okay. I decided to go for a short three mile run and was excited when I felt no pain…until mile 2. IT band syndrome has a KNACK for striking in the middle of the run rather than the beginning. I should have known better…This is my third case of IT band syndrome.

I had my first case on my left side during my freshmen year of college right before the track season. For that case I went to a PT, learned some rehabilitation exercises, and spent most of the season in the pool swimming and aqua jogging. I took me until the summer to fully heal and I kept up with the rehabilitation exercises during the summer which is probably the best choice I could have made. I did not really think twice about IT band syndrome again until I got another case on my right side in the middle of my junior year indoor track season. To heal, I spent a lot of time cross training and performing those rehabilitation exercises I learned my freshmen year. That was a little over a year ago and now I have yet another case. In all cases, I probably increased my mileage too fast and did not foam roll or stretch enough, but for the last two cases I know that my main mistake was not keeping up with my rehabilitation exercises. I clearly have tight hips and glutes and it appears that my right side of my body is somewhat weaker than my left, so if I kept up with the exercises that would have helped strengthen my right side and I may have not gotten hurt yet again. Well, at least I have experience with IT band syndrome so I know what I need to do to get better this time around.

The top 4 ways I stay positive during a running injury:

1. Be proactive. This could mean something different for you, but for myself this means that I should do my rehabilitation exercises year round-at least once a week when I’m not hurt and more often when I am. The exercises I perform are different TheraBand exercises such as side shuffle and a few other body weight exercises such one legged bridges. The routine I do only takes 10-15 minutes, but I still dread it. This also means lots of foam rolling, stretching, and yoga. My favorite yoga moves for IT band relief are pigeon pose and runner’s lunge.

2. Find an alternate form of exercise. When a runner can’t run they tend to get antsy and I’m no different. The way you exercise will depend on your injury. For IT band syndrome, I find that the first week or so I have to stick to swimming or aqua jogging, but as I start to heal I find that the elliptical and bike do not aggravate my IT band. You may even discover you like other workouts besides running Smile with tongue out (what a shocker, right?). Last summer when I was hurt I learned that I actually kind of like yoga (it’s not just runner torture!).

3. Try something new. During an injury is a perfect time to try something new or go on a fun trip because you can afford a few days off from exercising. You may also find that without running and training you have extra time so this would be a great time to try a new hobby! For myself, I decided to try something new and start this blog!

4. Read running magazines, books, or blogs during your injury. While this can make you a little sad or jealous I find that overall for myself reading about other runners pumps me up for my return back to running! Who knows, you may even stumble upon a story of a runner suffering from the same injury you are and you can see what that did to get better or stay positive.

I hope I can continue to stay positive during this injury and if any of you have an injury that is keeping you from running or performing your favorite workout, I feel your pain! Sad smile

Well, today is looking like a somewhat lazy Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to some time to read for fun. Smile I recently finished Orange is the New Black on Netflix with my boyfriend, so I decided to start the book that inspired the series! Have a great Sunday everyone!

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