Dogs & Health

This post is dedicated to those dealing with autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancers, the flu, or the common cold. I hope this lifts your spirits!

When I was in college (against my parents’ wishes) I rescued Jaxon.

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Jaxon is some sort of maltese/poodle mix if I had to guess (Maltipoo?) and he’s deaf from being left alone outside for the first eleven weeks of his little life. The vet’s best guess is that grass mites actually ate his ear drums- poor, sweet guy! He’s been deaf ever since.
(side note: I’m certain there’s a special place in hell reserved for people who are mean to dogs)

Thankfully, my roommates were all on board to keep Jaxon, so we took turns feeding him nutrients via syringe depending on who was at the apartment from class. Before we knew it he was making his rounds to all the college parties, occasionally even sneaking into classes and workplaces. On more than one occasion I was walking him through West Campus when a complete stranger ran up to us, “Jaxon!!!!” He was quite popular.

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In the Fall of 2012 when I became sick and was diagnosed with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, Jaxon slept on my face while I napped for hours at a time. He slept on my feet while I had symptomatic episodes from the toilet. He stuck his nose beneath the door when I locked myself in the bathroom. He knew I wasn’t feeling great, and he did his best to heal me.

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And in a way, I really think Jaxon has succeeded in helping me heal.

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Honestly, he’s Mister Independent most of the time. His favorite spot is alone on the back of the couch. But if he knows that I’m not feeling well he sleeps ON my face, and I swear I can hear his concern. When I was worried about symptoms, he was there to try to calm them, letting me pet his soft fur all through the night while he curled up into a tight ball by my stomach.

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And now that I’m feeling much better he’s still careful to keep a watchful eye, making sure his people don’t wander too far:

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Just knowing my little furballer was at home patiently waiting to greet me after doctor’s appointments, infusions, procedures, or just a regular day made all the difference in the world, and I’m confident that he’s a big reason why I’m able to be the positive patient that I am.

 

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For more, here’s an uplifting article about how pets can improve your health. Do you have any experience with an animal helping you better manage your disease or condition? 

To find a pet rescue near you, click here! Hope you consider adopting whether or not you’re ill; pets have a way of changing your life for the better!

Keep moving forward 🙂 I’m rooting for you! (and so are your pets)

-Stacey

PetCareChoice.com


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A Weekend in San Francisco

This past weekend Sydney, a close friend from back in the high school days, and I traveled to San Francisco to celebrate a wedding. We had zero plans after our plane landed, so we decided to take a drive across Golden Gate to Sausalito!

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I actually thought Sausalito was a sleepy little harbor town in a quiet dreamland, but after breakfast the town started to come alive. We really loved walking around and exploring this place!

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We found a coffee and breakfast nook called Cibo that I HIGHLY recommend if you’re ever in the Bay Area. I had a smoked salmon panini with black coffee that tasted nutty and strong, and the prices weren’t outrageous. I’d give them 5 stars!

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Then we walked along the harbor, hitched a Lyft, and journeyed to Muir Woods, down and around switchbacks that our driver navigated at brisk, daring speeds growing faster as the curves got steeper, and Sydney and I both ended up carsick…

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…But seeing this forest was well worth it!

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These trees were sacred. I mean it. I felt so incredibly enchanted and peaceful walking through their cool shade, looking up high into the sky to see their leaves while tripping over their strong, gigantic root systems in my tiny shoes, laughing at myself. I thanked God for this magical experience.

Just as I was thinking, “I am so small and insignificant” I ran into my roommate from Houston, Christy (and the world suddenly felt even smaller)!!! I had NO IDEA that we were going to be in San Francisco the same weekend, and we had ZERO cell reception in Muir Woods, so we honestly couldn’t have planned our reunion any better than fate.

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Remember when I said we had zero cell phone reception? That also means no Lyft or Uber…so after Muir Woods we called a (very expensive) taxi cab driver from the Muir Woods Visitor Center to take us back into Sausalito…where we ended up carsick (again).

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But nothing a glass two glasses of California Pino Noir couldn’t fix.

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Then we ferried back across The Bay for an affordable $12 and met Christy for dinner…

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…after coffee and bookstores, of course.

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They didn’t have Rupi Kaur’s new book that I was looking for, “The Sun and Her Flowers” *womp*

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The next morning we slept in and enjoyed the sun beaming in through our AirBnB before taking a walk under the warm sun in the cool, windy air to breakfast.

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We walked through a nice, beautiful neighborhood with large, manicured yards, which seems to be rare in SF. Sydney said these trees “looked like giant broccoli”- ha!

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We went to Cafe Antigua in Japantown where I was pumped to drink this almond chai, and it was delightful. But I made the mistake of ordering a breakfast taco (sorry guys, the Texan in me strikes again), which I’m pretty sure made me violently symptomatic…or maybe it was the chai. Who knows!
The rest of the day was spent napping/recovering while Sydney bossed an economics exam.

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Followed by ice cream from Cream

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And then the wedding! So beautiful. This was my first time at a Muslim Palestinian wedding, and if I’m being honest- I have never felt more alive at a wedding reception before in my life! From hours of dancing to live drums and tambourines to the food-I loved every soul I met- the families were so hospitable and accommodating “be sure to dance all night long!” and celebrating Waleed and Amany until late at night was a real treat.

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I got a pic with the King! Groom Waleed and I met while we were both working at a hospital in Houston. He was counting down the days until he and his roommate got to move back home to San Francisco, but in the meantime he adopted me as his little sister, and I am so thankful. I couldn’t be happier for he and his Bride- she is a true beauty inside and out. So much happiness!

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The next morning we said “Goodbye!” to our sweet, little bnb and headed back to the airport.

I missed Zack (and Jaxon) A TON, so it was great to return home.

Until next time, California 🙂


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Peanutbuttah Cinnamon Granola Time

I love being awake early in the mornings on the weekends. I feel like the day is mine; like I’ve discovered a world without lines at the coffee shop, trafficless streets, and running routes free from swarms of people. Mine.

This morning I woke up and it felt fall-ish, so I thought I’d bake some quick granola in the spirit of the changing seasons. For all you runners and fitness freaks, this is an excellent source of complex carbs, fats, and fiber, giving you energy and keeping you fuller longer.  Note that this stuff is pretty caloric, so proceed with caution before you eat it by the handful  faceful.

Peanutbutter-Cinammon Granola

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What you’ll need:
-3 cups of old fashioned rolled oats (here’s the kind I buy in bulk, but use whatever makes you happy!)
-1 cup mixture of unsalted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sliced almonds
-a splash of cinnamon (or a hefty shake. If I’m being honest, I never measure cinnamon, and I know this will drive some people nuts. Live a little, you rule-abiding, recipe-following friends- I promise you won’t regret it in this recipe.)
-3 tsp honey (optional- tastes great without it!)
-4 tbsp vanilla extract
-1 cup peanut buttah- stick it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften
-1/2 cup coconut oil- also needs to be softened justttt a bit
-an oven, preferably one larger than my miniature oven, set to 350.

*The secret to this stuff is to mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately before combining them*
-Spread mixture over a non-stick pan and stick in the oven for 5 minutes
-STIR and fluff with fork at the end of the 5 minutes- this will prevent the stuff from sticking to the pan and burning
-Stick it back in the oven for another 6 minutes
D O N E

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Serve over yogurt, in a smoothie bowl, or in your hands. Enjoy!
Store in an air-tight container. Today I chose door number two pictured above, and I added raw cacao nibs for additional fun and excitement.

Hope you all have a great Saturday :). Mine is full of organic chemistry, a 5k, and a wedding. SO MUCH LIFE, and life is good.


A Weekend in LaLa Land

Hey Ya’ll!

Hope your week is off to a great start! Thought I’d update you on some real life events:

We went jet-setting for a weekend…

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…to the City of Angels!

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We hiked to the Griffith Observatory after a quick breakfast at Roosevelt Cafe where they served copious amounts of avocado slices with my spinach and mushroom omelette, and not skimping on the extra avocado is my love language.

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Here I am modeling in unnatural poses at iconic tourist locations in an attempt to make Zack as uncomfortable as possible in public.

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The switchbacks on the trail were NO JOKE, and we got a decent little workout in during our short hike. California is beautiful.

What possessed us to go to L.A. just for the weekend?

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Football.

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at the Texas Exes tailgate at Exposition Park

The last time our Longhorns competed against the USC Trojans, we were the underdogs for the 2005 Nation Championship at the Rose Bowl. We were the underdogs for this game too, but we lost…

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…but it was by one field goal in double-overtime. In case you don’t keep up with football, all you need to know is that my Longhorns have been sucking it uppppp for far too long, so I was quite pleased that we kept up with a top 5 ranked team. Hit me right in the feels.

That night we went for a live show at The Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd (where Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle, Steve Martin, and more got their starts!). Entry was free with minimum purchase of two drinks, so I ordered two hot and fresh out ‘the kitchen chocolate chip cookies and a water, naturally, because I’m seven years old. HILARIOUS. Crude and witty, my favorite combinations. I want to return to at least a dozen more shows.

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Then back to our quaint little bnb before a late brunch and a plane home the next day.

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Once we returned home reality set in and I had to continue fighting with my doctor’s office and the infusion center to get me scheduled for an infusion.

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Sometimes managing a chronic disease feels like a part-time job…Jaxon agrees.

After returning from L.A. I was about a week past-due for my infusion. I had been sending emails and making calls the week leading up to our trip whenever time at work allowed, but I had no luck getting anyone motivated to send a doctor’s order to my infusion center.

Basically my infusion center discontinued my drug, Remicade. “We no longer carry that drug because it is too expensive.” But no one bothered to let me know BEFORE my infusion, so I had to find out once I actually arrived to get infused and there was no order written for the new drug.

So after enough back and forth communication to make me lose my mind, I showed up to my doctor’s office with an order. “I’m not leaving this office until he signs this order.” All he needed to do was fill it out. DONE!

…But he didn’t fill it out correctly. To make a long story short it took nearly two weeks after my scheduled infusion time to get everything sorted, but finally I GOT INFUSED!

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I have fought for over five years to reach remission. I’m finally here, and I’ll be damned if I begin having symptoms again because of a flawed healthcare system and people who won’t do their jobs. Being your own health advocate requires that you raise hell from time to time as if your life depends on it…because it does, friends. It really does.

But I must give a shoutout to my infusion nurse. She was a heaven-sent angel.

The rest of this weekend was spent napping (because infusions = the best naps evahhh), getting pizza (because infusion days always call for pizza)…

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…and (sour) beer…

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… and more football at quaint neighborhood bars

(if you’ve never visited OKC, you should. It’s tremendously underrated).

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Hope everyone has a great week. Hang in there and keep fighting, all my fellow IBD and/or chronic disease warriors! You life is worth it.

🙂

Stacey

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Quick Guide to Austin Favorites + Weekend Recap

Have you ever been to Austin, TX?

Austin is one of my favorite cities, not just because it’s where I did my undergrad (hook ’em!). I love how it’s completely Texas but also energized with expressive people, entrepreneurs, and creative-thinkers from all over. If I’m being completely transparent though, I’m a little worried with how crowded it’s getting, but it’s still one of my favorite spots to grab a taco and explore outdoors all.day.long. No place like Austin.

Zack and I spent a few weekends ago playing and visiting friends down in Austin

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Clearly, he was thrilled^ 🙂

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And I got to see my sister!

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And most of my bridesmaids (minus three!) 🙂 Picked them for obvious reasons…

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We stayed at the brand new Archer Hotel near the Domain, an up and coming area of shops, restaurants, and Rock Rose (all new bars and clubs). I can’t say enough good words about Archer Hotel.

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We had complimentary “sweet dream” wishes delivered daily to our room, and there was a fancy espresso maker that Zack enjoyed. This hotel was truly mindful of their guests!

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Also- heteronormative SLIPPERS! Honestly though, I loved these. ^ 🙂

The shower was big enough to fit some friends with space for a dance party, but I only photographed the entrance…

I also wanted to take this chandelier home.

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And the pool area…

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…we took note of the giant TV at the pool area. We’ll be back for football season. 😉

Homemade brunch in the hotel restaurant was reasonably priced, and the salsa was great. Win/Wins in my book!

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In honor of our fun weekend in Austin, I’m making a list of favorites! If you’re in Austin, try these and let me know what cha think 🙂

Favorite sno-cone:
SNO-BEACH. Bring cash. They give complimentary ice to your fur ballers, and that kind of love goes a long way. They’re delicious to boot- I never knew I could love a sno-cone so much!
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Breakfast Taco:
Juan in a Million, specifically the Don Juan. Do it. Thank me later. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to shake the owner’s hand…he’s actually won awards for “best handshake”. 🙂

Tacos:
Torchy’s Tacos (the OG is from Austin!). Texans know there’s a difference between breakfast tacos and just plain ‘ole tacos. You’ll see, too.

Breakfast:
Biscuits and Groovy. This is a food truck! I always forget to mention that. Plan to nap afterward; you’re gonna need one. If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, I suggest Bouldin Creek Cafe. The kick-ass granola and fruit is my favorite. They’re pet friendly with lots of vegan options!

Soul food:
HOOVERS. Casual, relaxed soul food at a good price. Get the Beet-A-Rita and DO order some cobbler. If you’re lucky, Anthony will be your server. I’m sure he has NO IDEA who I am, but the best service I’ve ever received at a restaurant was from him. I haven’t seen Anthony in at least three years, and I remember his name. BECAUSE HE WAS THAT GOOD.

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Thanks, Austin Eater, for the photo via google images

Margarita:
Matt’s Famous El Rancho– specifically, the skinny ‘rita

Pizza:
Homeslice Pizza on South Congress. WORTH THE WAIT!

Burger:
Hopdoddy, the OG on South Congress. My favorite is the Greek (probs because I don’t eat beef). My mouth is watering.

Nighttime bar:
The Handlebar. I’m not sure what it is about this place, but it’s SO.MUCH.FUN.

Texas BBQ:
Franklin’s (it’s an experience you’ll never forget) or The Saltlick, but we had our rehearsal dinner at The County Line. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of these.

Running routes: (duh)
Austin is a very active city and a runner-friendly place! Lady Bird Lake Hike-and Bike Trail is my favorite, but go early in the morning before the city awakes. This is when it’s the most peaceful and it really feels like it’s yours. Cool down by kayaking on the lake after.

Hill routes:
HILL TRAINING LIKE A MOTHER on the hill at the intersection of Lamar and MLK but be aware of traffic. You’ll know this hill when you see it.

Best outdoor atmosphere:
Spiderhouse, they also have coffee AND alcohol AND food, so whatever you’re in the mood for.

Parks:
Pease park is nice and shady and Zilker is iconic for the pups. Can’t go wrong with either!

Coffee:
Epoch. Or Bennu for their chai teas, aka my kryptonite.

Hiking:
Loop 360 Bridge is iconic and picturesque, but I love taking dogs to Bull Creek.

Cheap, quick food that won’t kill you if you have digestive diseases:
P. Terry’s. I always get the #5 veggie burger, and it makes me so happy.

Hope you found these suggestions helpful 🙂


When life hands you lemons…

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I was a baton twirler in high school, so naturally I juggle.

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My backup career is to join the circus. Barefooted.

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^ This book (highly recommend!) is what got me thinking about this topic. Not the joining the circus as a solid Plan B, but the topic of “When life hands you lemons…”

You get to finish that sentence.

… “Make lemonade”
… “Add alcohol and make vodka sours”
… “Juggle them”
… “Throw the lemons on the ground and stomp on them”

However you want to finish that sentence- that’s your choice.

But what isn’t always your choice is what form the lemons manifest in your life. My lemons have taken many forms, most notably getting diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease at age 21. Shoutout to moderate to severe ulcerative colitis Crohn’s disease.

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P.S. Diagnosis was ulcerative colitis, then crohn’s, then ulcerative colitis…and most recently, “Crohn’s?”

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And at times I threw it on the ground.

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I did not handle the lemons gently and I didn’t do life so gracefully, because Crohn’s is a bitter-sour pill to swallow…again and again, ups and downs of flaring and thriving- one step forward and two steps back.

But at the end of the day- it’s my choice. What am I gonna do with those lemons?

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What are you gonna do with YOUR lemons? The pain and the uncomfortable, unfair life that happens that you can’t control- what are you going to do?

I think we create our own realities. Not completely because, you know, disease and things out of our control. Lemons.

But we choose the response that becomes our reality, and that is powerful. YOU choose to get up off of the bathroom floor, put down the Netflix remote, and chase the world outside and around us. You choose to see and feel the beautiful life stuff. You choose to muster the appreciation of the crap that’s happened to you…because even though it’s bitter-sour, it makes you all the more resilient, if you let it.

So.

Let the lemons make your life more flavorful, even though it doesn’t always taste good – let it make you better.
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Because I believe you’re bigger and badder and sweeter than your lemons, and if you disagree then we can just join the circus together.

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P.S. Health benefits of actual lemons:
-Vitamin C is good for your immune system
-Helps with hydration: drinking flavored water sometimes makes you drink faster
-Natural diuretic and can prevent bloating

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P.P.S. I set up the self-timer on my iPhone to take ALL of these goofy photos with lemons AND THEN I put them on the world wide web for the world to see—

-Stacey


Let Them Eat Carbs!

I read something infuriating today.

It was one of those “Daily Mail” articles from SnapChat- I know, it’s basically tabloids a la social media; not my proudest moment. This article was about how Kim Kardashian has been sweating her way to redemption from those thong bikini pictures. (disclaimer: I don’t even know the difference between the Kardashians, so I had to google “Which one is Kim?”)

The article angered me, nonetheless- “unflattering” bikini photos? Were the photos so bad that Kim needed to dedicate her life after vacation to living the photos down and THEN we needed to publish an article about it? I mean, c’mon, people. We have got to get away from the body-shaming rhetoric. Make. it. stop. Could we not have written about her confidence in her bikini? How she was proud of her body while on vacation? How she was spending time with people she loved? Nope.

But what really got my blood boiling was that the article quoted that she is eating “absolutely no carbs.” And I hear so often from people around me about how they’ve “cut out carbs” and I just need to lay some truth.

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YOU NEED CARBS.
Normal recommendations are about 3-5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (or 45-55% of your diet). If you’re active, make that 8-10 grams/kilogram, or 55-65% of your diet. Runners especially need carbohydrates, because the muscles are fueled primarily through carbohydrates during endurance exercise.

WHY do we need carbs? 
Because carbs give us energy! Glucose is your body’s main source of energy, and it comes from the breakdown of carbohydrates. Your brain and central nervous system need glucose to function, and so does your metabolism! If your body has enough carbohydrates in the body, it will carry out protein and fat metabolism without using the protein that’s being used to build muscle.

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What kind of carbs can our body use? There are three: starch, sugahh, and fiber.

1.Starch-peas, beans, potatoes, or grains (note: whole grains contain all parts of the grain and thus have more nutrients than a refined grain)

2.Sugar– you may have heard of “simple” or “fast acting” carbs. This is because the insulin is quickly released into your blood stream, causing a decrease in your blood sugar and a suppressed release of fatty acids from fat stores. There are two types of sugar carbs: Those in milk or fruit, which are naturally occurring, and those in sweets and sodas, which are added in a process.

3.Fiber– carbs are non-digestible and come from plants, like spinach, kale, lettuce, beans, legumes, nuts, oatmeal, fruits and veggies (especially those with edible skin and seeds). Try to consume 20-30g/day for optimal benefits. Fibrous foods will help with the feeling of fullness, or satiety.

“BUT I WANNA LOSE WEIGHT, STACEY.”
I get it- it’s true that if you have TOO MUCH glucose, it’s going to get stored as fat. So cut the carbs that release insulin into your blood stream too quickly (these are those simple or fast acting sugars). These carbs, like breads, pastas, cakes, and sodas, will slow down the release of stored fat. We want to burn fat when we exercise, so we need it to be released! The goal is to use the fuel that is consumed; not to store it as fat, so you’ll want to eat food that slowly moves glucose into the blood stream and provides longer-lasting energy, like whole foods and fibers (think brown rice, berries, oatmeal, or bananas!).  Fuel well! But don’t cut ALL your carbs, dear people- I beg of you. Your brain and your body will thank you.

[Please note: A cool thing about being human is that everyone is unique; some people may require less carbs and more fat than others, etc. It’s important to speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian before any medical adjustments or dietary changes.] 🙂

After a few days of practice over the last couple of weeks, I finally feel like I can *almost* jump rope without tripping over my own two feet. This was yesterday after ten minutes of hopping around. I’ve been trying to make working out less regimented and more fun- highly recommend the jump rope 🙂

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Keep moving forward 🙂

-Stacey

—–

What do you think of low-carb diets? Have you ever tried one?
Any recommendations for weighted jump ropes that aren’t made for giant humans? Having a hard time finding one! 

 

References: In case you’d like to read some of the articles that I used for this blog post: 🙂
http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/diabetes/carbohydrates-part-of-a-healthful-diabetes-diet

Fuel Sources During Exercise


http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/types-of-carbohydrates.html

 


Weekend Recap: Pizza Day, OKC + Movies

CHRISTY CAME TO TOWN!

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Christy and I roomed together in Houston for a year and a half. She and Zack met in the same graduate college at Rice University, and almost immediately we knew that Christy was “our people”. We’ve been close friends since 2014!

We began our weekend by enjoying the weather on the patio at Empire Slice House in OKC, probably one of my favorite pizza spots in Oklahoma to date. I mean. Look at dat pizza. Plus they had Shiner beer, and ain’t nothin’ finer than Shiner, so we’re 2 for 2, Empire Slice House. HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you’re ever out and about around OKC! Christy picked a good day to fly in- Remicade/Pizza day! 🙂

Then we rented Hidden Figures a la RedBox. I love a girl power, and I love space. I can’t believe it’s taken so long to tell the story of these GENIUSES behind NASA who were complete trailblazers, except I kinda can (#society). But Hidden Figures is definitely up there with some of my favorite movies now. Just go buy it.

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Saturday’s weather demanded outdoor festivities, so we settled for some specialty pops in the sun with ice cold beer on the side. Christy said, “Hey Stacey-pretty sure you could make these for free.” <– not untrue. I also got a really good chicken and hummus wrap situation from a food truck, but I forgot to photograph. Still gettin’ this whole blogging thing down! A nice family sat at our table with us and immediately started talking politics. Honestly, I really enjoy how eager people are to make conversation here in Central Oklahoma. These people are genuine and kind, and they always have enough time to speak to you and make you feel like a friend…even if you disagree politically ;).

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I found a new sour beer that’s pretty good ^ . I. luv. sours.

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And then we walked down the street to a brewery for more sips. Unfortunately neither Christy nor I are big drinkers, so after three beers over the span of four hours we needed naps (I’m a little ashamed to say). So we came home, ate leftover pizza (#CarboLoading), and watched the new Beauty and the Beast. Emma, you’ve come a long way since Hermione, and I love you all the same. 

This morning we woke up and had breakfast at a local eatery and then walked a couple of miles around and throughout campus just to look around- OU is really quite beautiful. I know nothing about it, but the architecture is admirable.

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We finished off the weekend with a trip to the theatre to see Wonder Woman (lots of movies). I LOVED WONDER WOMAN!!!! GOOD LAWD I want to learn a dozen languages and Brazilian jiu jitsu and meet Chris Pine. Hope your weekend was just as great!

Have you seen Wonder Woman or Hidden Figures? Thoughts?
Any other sour beer drinkers in the house? Suggestions? 


Workout Wednesday: Summer Solstice Workout!

Happy HUMP DAYYYY!

Today has flown by for it being the longest day of the year- I’m not even sure if I can believe that today had the most daylight.

I follow this instagrammer, NutritionStripped, and in her story today she discussed something interesting that I’ve actually been pondering lately. Workouts don’t have to be a big to-do; they can just be a good part of your day. No special routines are required. Stacey’s version here: No “Slay” water bottles with graphic tee shirts. No fancy notebooks to lug around the gym. Sometimes it’s nice to just move your body without adding stress to it- just move! Whatever kind of movement makes you happy.

I’ve been trying to be more mindful in my own workouts without making them a thing. For instance, a couple days a week I try to run without any gadgets or music in my ears. I love running with goals and looking down to see that I’m staying on pace, but sometimes it’s SO NICE to just move your feet and let your thoughts swirl around without being drowned out by some Kelly Clarkson (the girl makes great running music, y’all). Pure, undisturbed movement. Also, I have NO ROUTINE when I go to the gym- I know- this will make some people absolutely NUTS. But for me it works right now.

However, if you do need some guidance fear not! I have somethin’ for ya 😉

Summer Solstice Workout (that can be done any day of the year)
It’s a doozy, and it’s for the whole body
-1 mile, easy
——————–
-Set a timer, jump rope for 5 minutes (I use this weighted jump rope)
-21 air squats
-21 burpees
-21 high knees
-21 commandos
-21 lunges
-21 push-ups
-jump rope for 5 minutes
*Repeat 6 times
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-1 mile, easy

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Recovery smoothie with frozen banana, Vega protein, a few frozen blueberries, and water. That’s it! Oh, and topped with some oats because I didn’t consume enough carbs today.

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And here’s a selfie, because I have blueberry seeds lodged in my teeth and I didn’t even notice. You’re welcome.

-Do you like to have a workout routine when you head to the gym? 
-What’s your favorite way to move? Spin class? Yoga? Weights? Dance parties in the kitchen?


Sister Trip 2017 Recap

Hope you had a lovely weekend 🙂

In an attempt to not completely procrastinate, this blog post is a Sister Trip recap from last weekend: Northern Virginia Wine Country and Washington, D.C.

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Every year since 2015 we take a “Sister Trip”, just the two of us (woo-hoo three trips and counting!). In 2015 we went to Napa Valley, California while I ran the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half. Then last year we went to Charleston, South Carolina- our favorite trip to date, Lindsay’s choice. And last week we took this year’s trip, also situated around another Destination Race: Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon (my choice again-see a theme?). It’s a fun excuse to get together in a fun place since we don’t live near each other any more, and it’s always a good time.

We began our United Flight, Basic Economy level with ONE single personal item (not even a carry-on) due to our limited space of conveniently being assigned the last seats on the plan, so we fit EVERYTHING into a backpack each. We miraculously made it back home with our souvenirs, too.  I honestly have never packed so light in my life…and I’m a little embarrassed by that.

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We picked up our car in the passenger pick-up line that we rented from Turo- it’s an app that allows you to rent cars owned by locals at their own discretion. Such a fun, easy experience! And it was slightly cheaper than renting a car. Then we drove to downtown D.C. and ate crab cakes and fruit at Old Ebbitt Grill at the bar- so good!

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With satisfied appetites and happy hearts we walked to the White House and, to our surprise, we were able to get right up close to the lawn without security barricades. The crowds weren’t bad either!

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Next was the beautiful Jefferson Memorial. I excitedly called Zack to tell him how thrilled I was to see one of my favorite historical quotes engraved in one of the giant walls, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…” He was quick to remind me about Jefferson’s owning slaves/having an affair with slave Sally Hemings, which basically served as a grave reminder not to romanticize people…which is hard not to do when you’re standing inside a giant monument erected in their honor. But I digress.

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Next was patriotic popsicles, because we are children. Then we drove off to the race expo in Leesburg to pick up my bib number and race shirt.

Finally, we made it to our AirBnB which was more enchanted than I could’ve dreamed up. Meet our greeters, Brandy and Whiskey:

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And our cozy cabin

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Complete with entertainment

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As an IBD patient, I appreciated this ^.

We ended the night early after carbo-loading at a local Italian restaurant. The next morning was an early one for race day, but I wasn’t tired after sleeping nine hours.

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^Morning view near the starting line at Doukenie Winery. Lindsay dropped me off near here. I loved the views!

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The race was overcast and in the upper-seventies, perfect weather!

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Girl YAS- LOOK at that ponytail action

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Best part of the day.

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^Best part of the day 2.0

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Followed by dinner at Finn Thai and [another] early bedtime.

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The next day we went into D.C. for some quality American tourism…

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…and paid our respects to Texas veterans at the WWII memorial…

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…and visited Honest Abe (worth the walk and climbing the steps and the heat).

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We chewed on lemon Italian Ice as we sat in the grass of the National Lawn listening to peaceful protesters, then headed to find lunch.

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^ Hamilton’s! I LOVED this place. My turkey burger was amazing, and so were Lindsay’s California rolls and shrimp tempura.

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Next we went to the Holocaust Museum, a place I’ve wanted to visit since reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel in junior high school. This place shook me to my core, and I was struck by how subtle, gradual-changing political agendas gave rise to hatred. The world allowed this hatred to perpetuate by its lack of opposition and ever-increasing fear of peoples’ differences in the place of tolerance and compassion. It was so gradual and so real. I will never be the same after this museum. Never stop speaking up for people around you who are persecuted. Support others, because they need you.

We ended the day on a light-hearted note at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, which was really TOO COOL. HOW can they fit so many planes INDOORS?

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That night at our AirBnB we drank local wines and ate snacks on our hosts’ patio of their house until the wee hours of the morning- I felt like we were old friends, and I loved their company.

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And that about wraps up our journey. We had a turbulent flight back to Texas where we promptly stuffed our faces with Mexican food and guac upon our arrival.

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Then Jaxon and I headed back to Oklahoma for another work week- he’s a great little traveler. Honestly, such a FUN weekend, and we can’t wait to return to Norther Virginia- we couldn’t get over how GREEN all the scenery was this time of year. We are so thankful to have experienced Virginia’s Wine Country AND D.C. What a cool little time.

Hope your Monday is better than most!

-Stacey


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