Did You Know…Mole Health

Helloooooo eaters!

As I mentioned on Tuesday, it’s time for the latest installment of me telling you to wear sunscreen and measure your moles.

Last time I talked about skin health I think I told you to take nudies. Not for sexting purposes, mind you, but so you can see if new moles are developing.

The faint scar from my first mole removal, when I was about 8.

The faint scar from my first mole removal, when I was about 8.

Did you know … that after you have gone through puberty your moles shouldn’t be changing, nor should you be developing new moles?

Did you know … that the oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate in most sunscreens have been linked to skin cancer? (Source.)

My worst mole scar.

My worst mole scar.

Did you know … that you should wear sunscreens that are between 15-50 SPF and that contain mineral ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide? (Source.)

Did you know … that you should avoid sunscreen sprays because you can inhale them and it’s really hard to put enough on? (Psst, CVS-brand baby sunscreen fulfills all of these requirements and was about $4.)

My best mole scar.

My best mole scar.

Did you know … that if your dermatologist’s office has more advertisements for wrinkle care and beauty treatments than information about skin health, you should probably find a new dermatologist?

Did you know … that I’ve had seven moles cut out, two of them were cut twice, and five were in the last 14 months, and that I’m due to get a mole removed from my forehead?

mole scars5

One of my latest mole removals.

But the most important “Did you know …” of them all:

Did you know … that I will spend $100s of dollars on sunscreen and get every single mole cut off if I need to, because skin cancer is the most common form of cancer (roughly 3.6 million cases predicted for 2013, which is nearly half of all cancers), but it is also the most preventable. (Source.)

So please, for the love of deities, stop tanning (that definitely includes tanning beds!). Wear a hat. Wear sunscreen. Avoid the sun at its peak hours.

Don’t let yourself become part of that skin cancer statistic.

What do you think, eaters:

How do you protect yourself from the sun?

How do you feel about your doctors?

Later eaters!

Dees Nuts

G’day eaters!

Four posts in a week! Looks like I was serious when I said I was coming back to blogging.

I only half-heartedly believed myself when I said that I was back to blogging on the regular. And I still might flake out from time to time. Only time will tell.

But I’m not here to talk about my flakiness. Instead, I want to talk about nuts.

nuts1

Dees nuts!

(I’m pretty sure that’s from a rap song, but I don’t really know.)

I LOVE mixed nuts. Love.Them.

My dad has always munched on nuts and I’m sure he’s rarely more than a few feet away from some. And frankly, I’m okay with that being an inherited trait.

His bad knees, flat feet, and complete lack of singing voice (sorry, Papa)? Eh, I’d like to return those.

But munching on mixed nuts, trail mixes, and the peanuts from Cracker Jacks? Sure, we can call that a father-daughter thing.

papa

And while I strayed away from my nut-loving ways for a while — “Too much fat! Too many calories! Peanuts aren’t paleo! Raw almonds are gross!” — I have returned with a vengeance. That is mainly because nuts are the perfect work snack for me.

Ever since I started working my retail job back in July I’ve been trying to find the perfect snack that would fuel me through several hours of standing, walking, bending, lifting, climbing, and small talking. I tried Balance bars (so many bars!), hard boiled eggs and carrots, apples and pb, cheese sandwiches, hunks of chicken, and frozen yogurt.

Absolutely none of those things worked. And more importantly, I couldn’t shove any of those things in my mouth, wash them down with a swig of water, and be back on the floor in under a minute flat.

But then I found nuts.

They’re perfect! I can grab a couple small handfuls throughout my shift and be sailing right along, greeting customers and folding jeans like a champ without thinking even once about how I would like to eat my arm. And really, doesn’t not eating your arm make for a great work day?

I sure think so.

The point of this post is simply to say that I think nuts are the perfect snack and you should give them a try.

I could have just tweeted that and been done with it (it was only 67 characters), but then I wouldn’t have gotten to be so sassy and make a rap reference (I think, someone really should check that for me). And really, we all need more sass (and nuts!) in our lives.

The end.

Your turn, eaters:

What do you snack on at work?

What’s your favorite (or least favorite) nut?

Later eaters!

GoodBelly Probiotic Shots Review

G’day eaters!

Are you still feeling that Monday/end of a weekend where you were lazy and ate too much junk push to be healthy?

Yes? Good!

Because I’ve got a health product to talk about and I like us all being on the same page.

So…

How do you feel about probiotics?

If you’re reading you’re probably tuned in enough to the “healthy living community” to know that probiotics are a bacteria that keep your gut healthy (and you pooing regularly) and that yogurt is a good source of them.

And frankly, that’s about all that I know about probiotics aside from a rumor that adding honey to yogurt helps boost the amount of probiotics you can get.

Yeah, I’ve still got no clue if that’s true. If you know, please tell me. Until then I’m going to continue adding it to my yogurt because it’s tasty.

But I digress.

Of course we know that probiotics are good for us and we should probably take some kind of probiotic supplement. But we should probably do a lot of other things everyday that most people don’t.

I’ll be the first to admit — I don’t take any vitamins or supplements. I dislike the act of swallowing vitamins. It’s also hard for me to justify spending a lot of money on oils and pills that don’t provide me tangible results.

Sure, they’re doing good things for me on the inside, but if I don’t see results I’m not going to continue.

With that being said, when GoodBelly, a probiotic juice/supplement company, reached out to me to take their 12 Day Challenge I was skeptical. But, let’s be honest, I’m almost never going to turn down a free sample.goodbelly3

So I picked up three packs — a 12 day supply — of GoodBelly shots and committed to tossing one back everyday. Even if I didn’t see any results.

Luckily, these babies were little and tasty, so it wasn’t a painful process in the least.

And even more luckily, about halfway through the 12 Day Challenge I actually started to notice a difference: less bloating.

We all know that probiotics play an important role in poop, but poop…ahem…isn’t a problem for me. Bloating is, though, and before this little Challenge I had no idea that probiotics could help with that.

So I was very happily surprised when I started to notice my stomach retaining its flatter form long and longer into the day. The probiotics didn’t completely erase all my bloating, but I got a ton of bloat-reducing bang for my effort-buck.

I’ve been without these little probiotic shots for about a week now and I can definitely tell a difference. I’m bloated all over again and constantly trying to suck my gut in. And I miss my fruity little shots already.

But all of this good stuff doesn’t mean a darn thing if it’s not worth the money. So the million dollar question: Would I spend my own money on them?

You bet!

It’s about $4 (I think) for a 4-pack of shots. And each pack has a coupon on the inside for 50¢ off 2 4-packs. And it’s worth every penny.

But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself!goodbelly collage

GoodBelly has generously offered to give away a 12 day supply of their probiotic shots to one lucky eater.

To enter:

1) Leave a comment below telling me about one vitamin/supplement you know you should take, but don’t.

2) Tweet something about wanting to win free @GoodBellyDrink probiotic shots from @KaraHadley.

I’ll pick a winner later this week (probably Wednesday or Thursday), so be sure to check back.

Later eaters!

PS — GoodBelly did provide me the products for free, but all the opinions are my own. 

Leftovers, I Love You

G’diggidy day eaters!

I’m coming to you live from my very comfortable bed after a very long day of school and work and general, all around hustling.

This is my life and I’m not mad about it.

And tonight I want to talk about a very big part of my life: leftovers.leftovers1

Yes, leftovers do count as a big part of my life. #ThisIsMeHavingItAll

I know I’m not the first person to extol the virtues of having a fridge full of leftovers. Everyone who has ever lost a pound will tell you that they did so by cooking a little extra at dinner and bringing the leftovers as lunch. Every busy mom and lazy college student will tell you they save loads of pennies by eating dinner’s extras.

So obviously my love of leftovers is nothing new or extraordinary. But I never promised to post anything new or extraordinary, so let’s push forward.

Eating leftovers does save you money. Yes, you pay a little extra to buy all this extra food to make, but it’s a lot cheaper to have self-made convenience food on hand than to buy a meal out.leftovers2

Example: This is a meatloaf sandwich I made this past Sunday with leftover meatloaf from the night before. I was a little hung over and craving greasy food. Instead of going to the grocery store and buying a frozen pizza and chips (my usual hangover cure), I toasted some bread, heated up the meatloaf, and went to town.

It.Was.Awesome.

Eating leftovers also keeps you from eating junk food because, once again, after you make the food the leftovers become your convenience food instead of burgers and fries and Jimmy Johns subs.leftovers3

Had I not eaten this sandwich on Sunday I would have packed the meatloaf with a side of roasted veggies and eaten it between work and school (so I can use a microwave). A healthy meal on its own and made all the more healthy when you compare it to what I eat when I don’t have convenient healthy lunches — a turkey bacon and egg white breakfast sandwich that I pick up from Starbucks while I grab another coffee.

Moral of the story: Embrace leftovers. Buying handy Tupperware and a fun lunch box helps.

Your turn, eaters:

How do you feel about leftovers?

What did you eat for lunch today?

Later eaters!

A Recovery Weekend

G’freaking’day eaters!

Now, what day is it?

Oh right, it’s Sunday.

Ya see eaters, on Thursday I had the biggest presentation of my college career. It was the culmination of the biggest class of my college career based around the biggest book I’ve ever read — Infinite Jest.

If you like literature I HIGHLY recommend reading it. Because what’s 1,100 pages between friends, right?

Anyway, the presentation lasted three hours. Three hours for a dozen of us to discuss a book we’ve been reading since June.

It was grueling. It was exhilarating. It renewed my confidence in my own intelligence.

And at the end of it we all went over to a taco joint where we ate lots of tacos and chips and drank lots and lots of tequila.

Double tequila on the rocks with some lime.

It was the perfect cap off for the semester. And it started a night of very joyous, very uninhibited drinking and dancing. By the end of the night I’d had something like 8 different kinds of alcohols.

Needless to say, the next morning wasn’t so pretty.

And I’ve spent the rest of the weekend recovering from my hangover and my very stressful, tiring semester.

That means that since Friday I’ve done very little besides lie around the house, watch TV, craft, eat, and read.

A massive stack of paleo pancakes topped with a really awesome pomegranate, honey, butter, cranberry compote-type deal.

Oh yeah, I’m reading a book for pleasure for the first time since June — Mindy Kahling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns). So far it’s about as good as I expected it to be. I’ve also got an anthology of the New Yorker’s comedy writing for after this one.

Yup, that’s all I’ve got for you tonight. It’s not thrilling but I am starting to feel human again. And maybe now I can finally cut back on the coffee.

Charlie likes to pretend he's a shark when he plays in leaf piles.

What do you think, eaters:

Got any recommendations for good brands of decaf coffee?

What are you reading currently? Would you recommend it?

G’night eaters!

Tightening Up The Dough

G’evening eaters!

It’s Monday, right?

I keep forgetting what day it is because I keep thinking about Thursday, which is when I have a HUGE presentation for my major. Does that ever happen to you, where you’re thinking about one day so much that you forget what day it is?

Anyway … let’s get serious, shall we?

Lately I’ve been feeling a little…doughy.

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving and then having to take down my training a few notches for the weeks while my back was healing, the only intensity I’ve been showing is in my ability to eat pie.

This pie lasted more than a day and less than a week.

No seriously, let’s not talk about how long this pie lasted.

Or how long the half a pumpkin pie and half an apple pie that Leon’s family sent us home with lasted.

And because of a lot more homework (because of this HUGE presentation!) and a lot less meal planning, I’ve been eating a lot more bars.

I like bars well enough and they’re awesome in a pinch. But it shouldn’t be a pinch every single day when I need a snack.

Oh, and I also recently bought two big bags of M&Ms — almond and pretzel varieties — because I had coupons and I’m an idiot. If I buy food I’m going to eat it, duh.

And in this case those two sharing bags of M&Ms lasted about 5 days (with a little of Leon’s help, of course).

Yup, I’m feeling doughy.

And since I’m not a bear and thus don’t need to fatten up for winter, I’m looking to shed a bit of this warmth that I’m carrying around.

For me, with everything that I’ve got going on right now, that means that I don’t have the time or energy to do some big cleanse or reset or diet overhaul. It means little tweaks to tighten up my diet and re-intensify my workouts.

So here’s what I’m thinking:

First, re-committing to the Zone.

I did a post a while back after I went to a nutrition lecture my Crossfit box help. The lecture was pretty much teaching us the Zone with some Paleo ideas sprinkled in. I’m not too interested in going Paleo, but the Zone ideas of balancing carbs, fat, and protein (by eating them in 9g, 3g, and 7g “blocks,” respectively) really hit home with me. And for the bit of time that I was pretty diligent about it, it really worked.

So I’m going back to being diligent about the Zone. Well, diligent except for counting fat grams because I’m a “more the merrier” kind of girl when it comes to fat.

Second, I’m committing to going to Crossfit at least 4 times a week.

Since my back started bothering me I’ve been going to Crossfit 3 times a week. Before then I was going 4 or 5 times a week and really kicking butt. Part of my slacking is that I’ve gotten busy and pack of it is that I’m lacking a little mojo since my injury. But I’m sick of those excuses. So hopefully that extra day will help bring back my warrior spirit.

Third, I’m going to drink at least 2L of water every day.

This is another thing that’s been falling off lately. And frankly, I’m sick of getting 1.5L and calling it good (not to mention that my lips and skin are feeling a little too dry).  So that’s another thing that will soon be hitting the mark. (Which means that I need to get chugging because I’m not even at a full 1.5L yet.)

And that’s it.

Like I said, this is not the time to do a major dietary overhaul or a cleanse or cut out gluten. I’m busy with school. I’m busy with work. I’m busy with feeling guilty for procrastinating cleaning the house because it makes me feel like a bad woman that Leon has to come home to a mess. And I’m busy trying to figure out why the hell my internal monologue is a Stepford wife.

So as you can see, I’m pretty busy.

And even if I wasn’t busy, those three tweaks would usually be enough. They are minimal enough to be doable but getting me consciously thinking about making healthier decisions.

I can almost feel the dough melting off already.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s the first thing you tweak when your habits have gotten a little unhealthy?

What’s your favorite food to indulge in?

G’night eaters!

My Back Is Back.

Hellooooooo eaters!

I’ve got plans soon, so I’m going to skip the long intro and just get down to business.

Remember that AWESOME news I mentioned yesterday. Well…

I went to the chiropractor yesterday afternoon and he said…drum roll, please…that I was done with treatment!

How awesome is that?!

After a month of expensive, regular visits and butt tape…

This really painful bruise, and smelling like Icy Hot all the time, I am finally done!

Sorry for the awkward photo, but that big red stripe on my back is a bruise from getting scar tissue broken up.

It feels so ah-maze-ing!

I was supposed to have two more visits over the next two weeks, but the good doctor said that as long as I keep up the out of office therapy he gave me then I’ll be golden.

That news has me through the roof because 1) driving all the way out there and paying all those co-pays was annoying, and 2) the out of office therapy is stuff that I do in Crossfit anyway!

What exactly are my out of office therapies, you ask?

Foam rolling my quads.

Rolling out my hip with a lacrosse ball (which, if you’ve never rolled anything with a lacrosse ball, is far less fun than it sounds).

Box jumps and lunges and proper glute-activating squats (which are the kind of wide-kneed squats you do in Crossfit).

Not falling on my ass unevenly.

So like I said, all things that I can easily do a couple of times a week. And all things that, if I actually do a couple of times a week, will likely keep me out of the chiropractor’s office for anything other than routine maintenance.

That brings me to my next point — I am going to go back for regular maintenance. I’m not sure how often, a lot of that will depend on my insurance, but I’m thinking once every other month.

And I’m perfectly okay with that. Some people baulk at the idea of going to a chiropractor regularly. I don’t because 1) my issue is my SI joint, which isn’t controlled my muscles or tendons, so it’s like a tooth in that it will go wherever it’s pushed and needs regular correction to stay in line, and 2) I never baulk at the idea of regular, non-chemical maintenance for my body.

Heck, we don’t baulk at getting an oil change for our cars every 3 or 4 months, but the idea of going to a doctor every year and a chiropractor every 2 months is excessive?

Not in my book, baby.

So there you have it, eaters. My back is back to normal again. My back is back. Tell your friends.

Your turn, eaters:

Please parody a song about one of your body parts.

How do you “maintain” your body?

G’night eaters!

My Bad Back

Howdy eaters!

Today I left the house at 8:45am and worked, went to class, and got mashed up by the chiropractor until 8:30pm.

Yup, just shy of a 12 hour day.

Somehow, though, I’m not overly exhausted or stressed, which is an absolutely wonderful feeling.

Anywhoo, I think it’s high time that I give you all the low down on my back pain.

It all started last Tuesday when I noticed some lower back/pelvis pain. It was persistent and stabbing and not relieved by foam rolling or rolling it with a lacrosse ball.

So when the pain was still around on Friday, my Crossfit coach gave me the information for his chiropractor, Dr. Ed Boudreau, and I made an appointment for Monday.

During Monday’s appointment I got some x rays taken and had an exam, the results of which I got when I went back Tuesday.

And the verdict is…

I’m all kinds of messed up.

No, but really.

This isn't my x ray. I have a disc of my x rays, but my computer can't read it. So this is a very similar one that I found online.

Source.

I have a twisted pelvis, which has left one side 13.5mm higher than the other. This may not seem like a lot, but apparently the average for this sort of thing is 6mm. My 4th and 5thvertebrates are also a little rotated, which can cause pain and nerve damage down the road.

The SI joint is where my pain is coming from.

Source.

So knowing all of that, Dr. Boudreau gave me a 6 week treatment plan — twice a week for three weeks and then once a week for three weeks with a mixture of adjustments, icing, electric stimulation, active release therapy.

This is where the magic happens.

Oh, and I have to drastically scale back my Crossfit workouts.

Yeah…about that.

Dr. Boudreau made the mistake of not explicitly telling me just how much (or at all, really) I needed to scale back. So I scaled back by about half. And apparently that wasn’t enough.

So after a stern talking to today I know that I need to scale back to a quarter of what I normally do, at least for the time being.

Oh, and I have to keep this oh so attractive tape on my back until Sunday.

Mmm......that's hot.

Your turn, eaters:

Have you ever been to a chiropractor?

Are you good at taking it easy when you’re sick or injured?

G’night eaters!

Almost Paleo Apple Almond Muffins

‘Ello eaters!

I’m smack dab in the middle of a pretty glorious day.

Well glorious except for the angry yellow jacket that has taken over my kitchen. I lost site of it for a few minutes and then found it when I threw something in the recycling bin and it came storming out super angrily.

Fun fact: I’ve never been stung by anything and am absolutely terrified that I’ll be deathly allergic and thus am now ridiculously afraid of all stinging insects.

But enough about the angry bee. Let’s talk about me. (Yes, I did intend that to rhyme.)

I’m trying to save money. Who isn’t, right?

And I’m really busy. Who isn’t, right?

AND I’m trying to eat clean and healthy (which for me means somewhere along the lines of the Zone). Who isn’t, right?

Ya gosh darn right you are!

And ya know what, eaters, trying to have and do it all like that is hard. Really hard. Ridiculously hard. But it’s also ridiculously doable.

Now I’m no expert on having and doing it all. Heck, I’m no expert on anything.

Really, I’m not an expert. Please don’t think of me as one.

But since chances are you’re not an expert on having or doing it all either, we can share notes.

So here are my notes.

Almond Apple Muffins

2 ½ c almond meal/flour

¾ t baking soda

½ T chia seeds

2 eggs

3 T agave syrup

½ T vanilla extract

3 T peanut butter*

¼ c coconut oil, divided

1 apple, chopped

~1/4 t cinnamon

*The pb can definitely be subbed for any other kind of nut butter to make it paleo. (That is, if everything else in this recipe is paleo. I really don’t know much about the rules of paleo.)

Heat 1 T coconut oil in a pan over low-medium heat. Add the apples and cinnamon, toss to coat, and stir occasionally until thoroughly soft and fragrant.

I would have had an even dozen muffins, but I ate too much batter.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl, fold in the apples, and scoop the batter equally into a dozen lined muffin tins.

Bake at 325F for 23-27 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins may not be the answer to you having and doing it all, but they do help.

They’re pretty well (Zone) balanced at just over 1 block of carbs and 1 block of protein, so they qualify as eating clean and healthy.

Since they are a balanced snack in a single wrapper they’re as easy to grab and go as all those bars I love so much, but for significantly cheaper. So they help me save a few pennies and save some time that I would spend on packing a balanced snack.

Oh, and homemade muffins definitely make you at least seem like you have it all. Because if you don’t actually have it all, at least you have muffins. And muffins are pretty amazing, right?

Ya gosh darn right they are!

What goes better with a nut flour muffin full of nut butter? A schmear of nut butter, of course.

What do you think, eaters:

If you could add an extra hour to the day to do one thing, what would it be?

What’s your favorite muffin mix-in?

G’night eaters!

Meal Planning 101

Hiya eaters!

To say that I’m mentally exhausted would be an understatement. I am definitely paying for putting off all my homework this weekend. And I still have more homework to do after I post this.

College is fun, isn’t it?!

But enough griping about homework. Let’s talk about class.

I realized today, while I was sitting in class making my meal plan for the week, that I have become pretty dang awesome at meal planning and grocery shopping. So awesome, in fact, that I almost feel qualified to give you advice on it.

And since there’s no “almost” in the blog world, here’s a little insight into how I go about planning and shopping for my food every week.

First: Figure out how many meals to plan.

I generally plan for a week, knowing that we’ll eat out once and wing it (leftovers or odd bits put together) once. So I know I should plan 4-5 meals each week.

If you can't tell, I do have more in my freezer than Smirnoff and coffee.

Second: I check my freezer for protein.

I base my meals around protein, whether it be plant or animal. And Leon and I tend to buy it in bulk whenever it’s on sale (which is why we currently have 6 blocks of tofu, a couple balls of ground beef, and two chicken carcasses), so it almost all ends up in the freezer.

So when planning I aim to use at least three pieces of protein from the freezer. It cuts down on paying full price for what is usually the most expensive part of a meal. It also gives me some limits to make figuring out meals less overwhelming.

Third: I check my favorite basics.

I may not be as predictable as serving spaghetti every Thursday, but I am still predictable enough to go back on my favorites — tacos, stir fries, pizzas, one pot meals. I make at least one, if not two of those a week.

For example, this week I’m planning to make pizza and seitan chili. Knowing that I’ve got those two meals on lock makes the rest of planning easier.

My groceries this week.

Fourth: I check Pinterest.

Yes eaters, Pinterest is for more than pictures of DIY projects you’ll never do or hairstyles you want to try. It is also a pretty great place to find recipes. Because when you think about it you eat with your eyes first, so seeing pictures of recipes is really rather helpful.

I pin things throughout the week, so when it comes time for planning I just pull up my “Cooking Springboard” board and see what I either have the protein, time, or random ingredients for.

All of these were once specialty ingredients.

Fifth: I fill in the blanks.

No one is enough of a meal planning wiz that they can use ever ingredient for two meals and not waste a single bit. Or at least, I’m not.

I buy ingredients that I only need a tablespoon of. I buy two kinds of cheese when I could probably make due with one and save a little bit. But I don’t have too much brand loyalty. And I do know that once that specific ingredient is in my arsenal I’ll use the heck out of it.

Left: groceries. Middle: costs. Right: meals.

Sixth: I make a list and stick to it strictly.

Isn’t that everyone’s trick? Stay away from impulse buys. Know how much things cost and buy in bulk when they’re cheap. Clip coupons. Plan. Plan. Plan.

And that’s about it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got homework to do.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s your meal planning process?

What’s your favorite meal to make? My basics could use some refreshing.

G’night eaters!