Friday, April 22, 2011

Winning...Part Deux

First – to belatedly follow-up on “Winning” the first, I am happy to announce that Eva Cauble (oddly another Eva C. winner but I promise a different one!) won the AHA Cookbook challenge for healthy eating tips and recipes! At the bottom of this post is her delicious-looking recipe for homemade granola and the other tips I received. Thanks to those who participated!

No offense to Eva or you other contributors, but what I’m SUPER excited to announce is the fact that I just ran TEN MINUTES straight! This is three minutes more than my previous best and gets me within spitting distance of running a full mile straight, which is my goal for June 12. I have signed up and created a team for the June 12 5k for Donate Life, and I will provide full details very soon. In the meantime, rest assured that I am continuing to push myself. Some work-outs are great, others are brutal – I continue to try to identify trends among the good ones. I think I’ve landed on 1) an empty stomach, 2) plenty of sleep and 3) ensuring my HR is over 120 and climbing before starting to run. Stay tuned for details on the June 12 5k!


Healthy Granola

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 T ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup grade A dark amber syrup
2 T butter
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Mix together the first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl, stir together the syrup and melted butter. Pour the syrup mixture over the dry ingredients, coating the dry ingredients well. Spread this mixture onto baking sheets (greased or lined with parchment paper) and bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the craisins, dates, and chocolate chips or whatever dried fruit combination you prefer.

Cookbook Tip
Ellie Krieger (The Food You Crave and So Easy) – healthy, delicious and super easy to make

General Tips
1. Track food intake throughout the day – one free resource is a tracker at
2. Use a rolling 10-day average of how well you’ve maintained healthy eating habits, this way you won’t have to suffer so much guilt if you cheat or stray one day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bueller...Bueller...Bueller... this thing on? I've received a handful of healthy eating tips and recipes, but I was hoping for at least double digits! I KNOW you have a good recipe that is already healthy OR is a traditional recipe made healthier OR is a dessert that doesn't have a ton of sugar OR a tip to get more vitamins and minerals in your diet OR a tip for sticking to a healthy diet OR a low-calorie snack OR something! Please share!

Why? First, to help me! After all, I am trying to stick to a heart-healthy, diabetes-friendly diet (although today was not a particularly successful day). I spent today in focus groups, which tend to cause m&m overloads. Second, to help other readers improve or stick to their diets. And finally, for a chance to win a great cookbook from the American Heart Association.

Pretty please?

See previous post for details. The deadline is Sunday, April 17!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Winning... It's Not Just For Sheen Anymore

I can no longer keep myself from posting a gratuitous Charlie Sheen reference. I haven’t yet decided whether I feel sorry for his public demise, or if I just want him to SHUT UP. It’s quite clear that he is most definitely not winning. Two of you, on the other hand, are indeed winning – great gifts from the American Heart Association! Congratulations to Eva Challen and Katherine (Kaffrin) Edmonds for winning the first BetterU contest! AHA will be mailing you a great assortment of goodies, from a water bottle and jump rope to a yummy cookbook.

As for the rest of you, this is your next chance to win – this time the prize is a nice hard-cover American Heart Association cookbook! You can use it for yourself and your family, or it would make a great gift for someone that could use a little nudge toward a healthier lifestyle!

I’m currently using a cookbook called “Diabetes and Heart Healthy Meals for Two”, which was produced by AHA in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association. I would recommend this cookbook to anyone (diabetic or not) looking for inspiration to eat healthy meals that are also delicious. I’m confident that the one being given away here is just as wonderful as the one I have. Whoever wins will have to give me the full report!

My Aunt Tine recently told me that cinnamon has been shown to have a variety of health benefits, including lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure – two common factors in heart disease. I tried drinking it in my coffee, but most of it ended up sticking to the mug, so I now sprinkle it into the grounds before brewing the coffee – talk about winning. I don’t know how much benefit I get without actually ingesting the cinnamon itself, but I think it’s a great example of the little things we can do to try to make more healthful choices.

I’d like to know what little changes you are making to live a healthier lifestyle, whether you joined the BetterU program or not. Do you have a favorite recipe you made more healthy? Have you started taking extra vitamins or supplements, like I'm trying to do with my cinnamon coffee? I can use all the help I can get, so I would appreciate any and all advice – and hopefully your ideas will benefit other readers too!

So, here’s the skinny:

FIRST – send a recipe or any healthy eating tip to me by e-mail or by posting in the comments section

THEN – you have one week, I'll announce the winner on Sunday, April 17

FINALLY – I will share everything I receive so that everyone can benefit from everyone else’s recipes and tips… after all, it’s not ALL about me :)

If, like Charlie, you are tired of pretending you're "not a total bitchin' rock star from Mars" and are ready to start "winning", then send me your recipe or tip today!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tears On The Treadmill

I took this picture today because I got a new 'do... But I'm posting it here so you can see that my cheeks are FINALLY back to normal!
To those on or newly off of Prednisone, hang in there!

I came perilously close to crying on the treadmill last night. Not because I was in pain. Not because I was frustrated. These were tears of victory, of relief, of renewed hope.

A couple of months ago I decided I would participate in the Donate Life 5k in June, and I set a lofty goal. I wanted to jog one full mile of the 5k straight, without walking. In the time since setting this goal, gaining strength and endurance has proven far more difficult than expected. I’ve been pushing myself along, with nearly imperceptible increases in my workouts, but it just wasn’t getting any easier for me. Every trip to the gym was like a game of Russian Roulette, with no ability to predict which work-outs would be decent and which ones would feel terrible.

My best running workouts consisted of me getting on the treadmill for 45 minutes and jogging for three intervals of three minutes each. This got me to three quarters of a mile in three spurts. My plan was to continue gradually increasing my longevity, but something happened on the treadmill last night. When I passed the three-minute mark I felt like I could do another minute, so I kept going. And the same thing happened after four minutes, and five and even six – until I’d jogged seven minutes straight!! I know it doesn’t sound like much, but seven minutes is 230% of my previous best! After walking for about ten minutes to bring my heart rate back down, I was able to run another five minutes straight to round out the full mile.

I was nearly overcome with emotion – not because I had one good workout – but because of what that workout represented: HOPE.

I was told to expect to feel ‘normal’ about six months post-transplant. I still felt very sluggish at that point, and I feared I’d set my expectations too high. Now I see that maybe I was just running a little behind and I’ve turned a real corner here. Alternatively, maybe the iron treatments have caused an increase in my energy. I don’t know. Whatever is responsible for the way I’ve felt this weekend has given me renewed hope – that I can achieve my goal of running a mile straight in June and that I am not finished recovering from this ordeal. I’m just beginning.