How to Guide on Homemade Bone Broth …. Liquid Gold for our Bodies!

I’m currently sipping on a cup of bone broth.  This has been my project of the week.  A labor of love which I started on Tuesday.  Just finished.  Actually, not exactly finished but I’m in the final stages so that counts, right?  My beautiful bone broth below.

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Very recently, someone in the house had to go gluten, dairy & sugar free (realistically low sugar, as in low added sugar, not natural sugar).  There is an issue with leaky gut and an imbalance of several hormones, vitamins & minerals in the body.  We also have a history of digestive issues for myself and the maternal side of my family.  So anything that can help with digestion & healing is a win in my book.  The bone broth was the next step for us in this journey.  I have spent years studying nutrition and its effect on health & wellness.  This knowledge has transformed my lifestyle and changed the types of foods that I buy and feed my family.  Disclaimer:  I’m not a nutritionist or a dietician, just an enthusiast who wants the best for myself and my family. 

Food - Powerful Medicine or Slow Poison

So why bone broth?  Here is an excerpt below from Whole 9 LIfe:

What kind of nutritional benefits does bone broth offer?

Bone broth is a source of minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium,  and potassium, in forms that your body can easily absorb. It’s also rich in glycine and proline, amino acids not found in significant amounts in muscle meat (the vast majority of the meat we consume). It also contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain. Finally, “soup bones” include collagen, a protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals, which is abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.  (The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.)

What are the benefits of consuming a properly prepared bone broth?

Proline and glycine are important for a healthy gut and digestion, muscle repair and growth, a balanced nervous system, and strong immune system. In fact, a study of chicken broth conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that the amino acids that were produced when making chicken stock reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. (There’s a reason your mom always made you chicken soup when you were sick.)

The gelatin in bone broth can help to heal a leaky gut, which may be of specific benefit those with inflammatory or autoimmune disorders. These compounds also reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation, prevent bone loss, and build healthy skin, hair, and nails.

 

For me, I wanted to make the bone broth verses buy it.  One, its easy to make.  Two, its inexpensive.  Three, it makes a large quantity and I’m hoping I won’t have to make it again for awhile.  Smile   However, it does take time, which means it might not be a project for everyone.  Steps to homemade bone broth below.

You might be wondering where to get the bones for the bone broth. You can use bones from any clean source.  If you, your husband or parents are hunters, have them save the neck bones from the deer they tag during hunting season.  If you are getting ready to butcher a cow from a local farmer that specializes in grass fed, hormone free beef, then have the butcher save the beef neck bones & oxtail.  Or call your local co-op or butcher to see what they have or can save for you.  Chicken carcasses, necks or feet are great too!  If you buy from a source like the local butcher or the co-op, then you’ll need to pay for the bones.  I paid $0.89 per pound for the beef neck bones.  And then I also used chicken necks from my local co-op.

After obtaining the bones, first roast them in the oven.  425 degrees – 1 hour.  Turn half way thru.

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While the bones are roasting, cut veggies and add to your slow cooker.  Any veggies will work, they are used to flavor the broth and will be discarded later. I used carrots, celery, leeks, garlic & ginger (small chunk).  The fun part about this is that nothing needs to be prepped or peeled!  Just wash, cut into reasonable chunks and toss in the crockpot.  If you are using an onion or garlic cloves, no need to even peel those.  The skins from the onions & garlic add to golden color of the bone broth.  So fun! Even the kids can help!

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I also added pink Himalayan sea salt & ground course pepper (or peppercorns), plus a tablespoon or 2 (splash) of Apple Cider vinegar.  Don’t forget the vinegar, it helps leach the minerals out of the bones!

Once the bones are roasted, add to your crockpot.  If you’re overzealous like me, your crockpot might look like this:

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Thankfully my friend Sara P was on standby and told me that my crockpot was WAY too full!  So I split my very full crockpot (hey, I got the lid on, so it looked good to me!) into a second one.  Therefore, I advise this to be a 2 crockpot project.  Smile Bones need to be completely covered with water and water should be to the top of the crockpot.  Then cover & cook on low for a minimum of 24 hours.  I did about 30 hours. That’s what worked for me and I wasn’t in a hurry.

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12 hours into the cooking, I added a bit more water, increasing the water level to the top of the crockpot …. cuz Sara P told me to do it.  This is what it looked like at 12 hours before I added more water.

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At 30 hours, I turned off the crockpot and let cool.  At 36 hours, I drained the liquid from the veggies, meat & bones. Instead of tossing everything, I fed what I could to the pups for breakfast.  They were in heaven!  I gave them the carrots, cut up the beef pieces that came out of the neck bones and gave them some of the chicken necks too because I was able to crush the neck bones between my fingers (which I did for each neck before I put into their food bowls).  However, beware if you do this:  1)  If your dogs aren’t used to a rich diet, this may give them digestive distress.  I have 3 dogs.  I split the meat & carrots from one crockpot between the three of them for breakfast yesterday.  2)  Don’t give your dogs onions, chives, garlic or leeks, this is a poisonous category of foods for them.  3) Don’t overfeed them since this is more dense then a kibble.  I put the veggies & meat from the second crockpot into the fridge for this morning’s breakfast.  The first two photos below are what was pulled off of one crockpot.  Then the resulting broth in the third photo.

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After I strained off the meat/veggies/bones, I put in the fridge to cool.  The purpose of this is so that a layer of fat forms on the top and can be easily skimmed off.  I left it in the fridge for 24 hours.  A time issue for me, I couldn’t take care of it sooner.  If you are on top of it, you could pull off the fat layer much sooner. Save the fat for cooking or discard. 

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After the fat layer is pulled off, then the broth needs to be strained with a wire strainer to remove the tiny chunks of meat that might remain.  I actually just strained the bottom of the batch.  I wasn’t worried about perfection. 

After removing the fat, how are you going to store your bone broth?  It will only last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.  Some people can it.  Others freeze it. Since mom just had surgery yesterday, canning wasn’t an option cuz I would need help with that.  Freezing was what I chose.  Mom had read on the all knowing Google, that the broth could be frozen into cubes for ease of use.  2 cubes equals a 1/4 cup and easy to add to recipes, etc.  So thanks to the Dollar Tree, I secured some inexpensive ice cube trays for this project.  I also saved a gallon water jug that I had emptied.  I’m not super coordinated and I didn’t want to lose any of my broth!  So I funneled the broth from my giant pot (hubby calls it my “Witches Brew” pot) into the gallon jug, then poured it into the ice cube trays.  I’ll freeze, then store in freezer bags in the freezer. 

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The 2 crockpots yielded about 2 gallons of bone broth.  This was a combo of beef & chicken bones.  Using different types of bones in your broth is beneficial, so mix it up and use what is readily available.  The result is a rich, dark colored broth that is thicker than traditional broth found in the store.   You can then drink it straight or cook with it.  Super fun project.  Amazing health benefits. 

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Well, my first batch of bone broth was a success thanks to the help from Sara P, my mom and the ladies at the Fresh Food Hub in Auburn.  Thankfully the Fresh Food Hub had some chicken necks on hand that I could buy and LaOtto Meats saved some beef neck bones for me.  Hoping this bone broth helps aid in happy, healthy digestion in the future. 

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Happy Friday, all!  Hope you have an amazing day & enjoy the upcoming weekend. 

** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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GoMacro THRIVE Bar Giveaway Winner & Discount Code ……

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The winner of the Assorted Tray of THRIVE bars from GoMacro was drawn via a Random Number generator.   The generator selected #30.  Number #30 was Amy Lauren!  I cut off your FB name, Amy to give you a bit of privacy.  I think you know who you are from this snip. 

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Please email me at amanda@tootallfritz.com with your full name & mailing address so that GoMacro can send you the THRIVE bars!!  Congrats!

For the rest of us, we can use the 30% discount code:  THRIVE30  for our first order at GoMacro.com.  Thrive bars can be found HERE.

** Happy & Healthy Eating to All ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

GoMacro THRIVE Bar Review, Giveaway & Discount Code

I recently received a box of GoMacro THRIVE bars and was pleasantly surprised.  I don’t eat many pre-made bars.  I watch my sugar content and do my very best to keep it under the recommended 24g of added sugar, per day, for women.  And well, most bars alone surpass the 24g of sugar.   So I’ve basically said goodbye to protein & snack bars.  Huge undertaking since I basically owned stock in one of the more well know protein bar giants.  On occasion I’ll now do a low sugar Kind Bar while traveling, but that was it.  THEN I met  THRIVE bars!

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The Thrive bars have 5-7g of sugar per bar.  They taste good, like a sweet treat.  Less than 200 calories.  Plant based protein source.  Essential Fatty Acids.  Prebiotic Fiber.  USDA Certified Organic.  Non-GMO Project Verified.  Kosher.  Gluten-Free.  100% Vegan.  Soy Free.

All that is well & good but what about the ingredients?  Here is my favorite Thrive bar, the Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt.  Cuz well, Chocolate & Sea Salt = perfection.

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Print too tiny on the label?  Better pic below.

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Excellent ingredients for a pre-made bar.  I’ve now added the THRIVE bars into my travel routine.  I enjoy the variation and a change from what I’ve been doing for months.  Super happy to have found this bar!  If you would like to try the THRIVE bar, they have agreed to give one lucky reader a free Assorted Tray – 12 bars, 2 of each flavor, $26.28 value.  To enter the giveaway you must comment below & tell us what your “go to” bar is for snacking or added protein intake.  You can gain “extra” entries by following GoMarco on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!  That’s 4 possible entries.  Let me know in the comments if you liked Go Marco on any of their social media outlets.  I’ll give you credit.  If you win, I’ll ask for your social media “handle” to verify.

If you want to try the THRIVE bars now, you can use the discount code: THRIVE30 for a 30% discount at GoMacro.com.  The Thrive Bars can be found HERE.  Or you can find the bars in the Auburn & Ft Wayne IN areas at Kroger, EarthFare, Fresh Thyme & the 3 Rivers Co-Op.  In the Chicago area, you’ll find the Thrive Bars at Whole Foods & Trader Joes.  If you’re in the burbs & have a Kroger, they will be there too.  Go try them!!

Giveaway starts now.  A winner will be drawn on Monday, October 31st at 11am EST.  Good luck!!

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** Food Is Fuel ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil Review & Discount Code

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When Skinny & Company first contacted me to review their coconut oil products, I ignored them.  I get a decent amount of opportunities to review products but I don’t accept very many.  I have trust issues.  I don’t want to accept something and be obligated to write about it when I don’t know if I will like it.  In fact, once, a couple of years ago, I accepted products from a new compression wear company and ended up having to send the items back.  For that reason, I go after the stuff I want to review and don’t accept many new products unless I’ve heard good things.  I hadn’t heard of Skinny & Company.  And I was really put off by the name.  I believe in “healthy” not “skinny”.  The second, or maybe third email came to me in July.  I was in the middle of the Swim Bike Fuel program,  I was very focused on what I was putting into my body.  I had eliminated most of the chemicals from my diet and the next step was finding alternative products for skincare & health/beauty.  Enter Skinny & Company.  A company with all natural products that are vegan & gluten free.  100% Raw.  Cold pressed.  Any scents or flavoring is added with essential oils.  Products are all edible because they are natural & raw without harmful additives.  Sound good?  Yes!

I’d been wanting to try coconut oil for its many health benefits, I just hadn’t gotten around to buying any.  I figured accepting the Skinny & Company package would be a good intro to coconut oil without much of a “cost” to me per say. Then if I like it, great.  If not, I’m not out much.  I was shocked when the packaged arrive.  More than just coconut oil!

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They sent five 2oz jars of pure goodness.  Very similar to their travel kit HERE minus a few items.  Pic of the travel kit below with its reusable bag.  I really want that bag!!!

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My sampler contained:

2 oz Coconut Oil

2 oz Facial Oil

2 oz Oil Pulling

2 oz Whipped Body Butter

2 oz Sugar Scrub

To be honest, I didn’t know what to do with all this stuff!  Oil Pulling, what?!?!?  I was so excited that I immediately hit the net to figure this out. 

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I devoured the info on the Skinny & Co page.  Read all the blog posts.  Looked up all the products and was very happy to see a video available for many of the products, including one demonstrating oil pulling.  Then I dove in & started testing products.  I soon realized that I was doing more than testing. I was instantly smitten with all of these products.  I can honestly say that I’ve used most of these products every day since I’ve received them.  And I just made an order today purchasing more of everything, plus the Shampoo Bar & Lip Balm.  Shhhh, don’t tell hubby!!

Products were liquid when I received the shipment but the consistency of the oil changes depending on the temperature of my house.  They solidified almost immediately in the air conditioning, which is actually easier for use.  I dab my fingers in the face oil or the body butter and am able to better control the quantity with the product solidified.  It softens up with the heat of my skin so its easy to apply & smooth out without feeling oily.  Note that a little goes a long way.  Below, the coconut oil upon receipt in pic 1 & now (today) in pic 2.  Kinda cool!

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I’ve been adding the raw coconut oil to my green tea every morning.  I just spoon some into my hot tea and don’t really worry about the amount.  It melts immediately and doesn’t flavor my tea abnormally.  I haven’t yet tried cooking with it or using it in my hair but will once I get a larger quantity from my new order.  There are so many uses for coconut oil from eating it with a spoon purely for the health benefits (I know several people who do this), skin/hair moisturizing, sex lube, weight loss, metabolism & energy booster & it increases mental clarity. Not sure I’ve found another product quite as diverse.

I’ve been using the oil pulling 3-4x a week.  Initially I only pulled for 8 minutes but I’m now up to 20 minutes.  I do it when I’m drying my hair, putting on makeup, or writing blog posts.  Smile  I love the way my teeth & mouth feels after the pulling.  The coconut oil has a bit of peppermint essential oil added for the pulling to freshen breath.  It leaves my mouth feeling clean & refreshed.  That being said, I always brush my teeth after oil pulling to get rid of the toxins and bacteria that are released during the pulling.

The sugar scrub is awesome.  It smells great.  Its edible (although I haven’t eaten it cuz I’m limiting my sugars).  It’s coconut oil with coconut sugar and vanilla bean.  Thicker consistency.  I put some in my hand, then add a little water to use.  So far, I’ve mostly used it for my face.  It would be a great full body scrub in the shower but since I only had the 2oz sample, I wanted to save it & won’t even let my kids look at it.   I love the way it leaves my face feeling clean & fresh.  My face is soft but not greasy.  So nice. 

The facial oil is one of my favorites from this group.  If I had to pick just one product, I’d be sad but I’d pick this one.  This also contains organic almond oil.  I’ve struggled with moisturizing products for years.  I don’t like my face to be oily or greasy from a product but I do need some type of moisturizer.  Then add in the chemicals and perfumes in conventional moisturizing creams and I’m always less than pleased.  My skin, particularly my face, takes a real beating between the pool and lake water that I swim in, plus the sun that gets me while running and biking.  I have a lot of sun damage despite the usage of sun screen (don’t get me started on sun screen!!).  The coconut facial oil leaves my face feeling soft & smooth without the grease.  If it’s greasy, I used too much & need to rub it in better.  Plus, it may just be that time of year where I’m starting to get less sun, but my sun spot are looking a little lighter.  I don’t know if that’s from the coconut oil but I’m sticking with it.  Plus I just read that coconut oil blocks up to 20% of the suns rays.  Huge win, I can use the facial oil as a moisturizer and still get some sun blocking benefits without any chemical additives. Please note that the facial oil can also be used to remove make-up!

The body butter is another one of my favorites from the Skinny & Co line.  For years, I’ve been using the pure cocoa butter “for stretch marks” as my body lotion, not because I have stretch marks all over my body, but because my skin is sensitive to fragrance & if I use a scented lotion, then my legs break out in hives.  After a couple trips to the ER, I gave up chemical scented lotions but I can’t give up moisturizing my body.  I use the body butter now for massaging my tired legs.  And I also apply as soon as I shave my legs.  The body butter is know to reduce the inflammation of razor burn and it just feels great overall.  Totally different feeling than a thick lotion.  This leaves the skin feeling soft and clean.  Not greasy.  Once again, a little goes a long way.  No need to slather it on, like you would a traditional lotion.  Just a dab will do the full lower leg without leaving a residue.

You’re in luck, if you want to try some of the awesome Skinny & Co Coconut products, they are currently offering a 20% off code thru 8/27/16, code:  TREATYOURSELF.  I made my order today!!!

20 Percent Off

If you want to wait til next pay day to make the splurge & miss the 20% off code, then Skinny sent me a 15% off code that’s good at any time:  SKINNYCO15

Hope you enjoy learning about Skinny & Co as much as I have over the last month.  And even if you aren’t interested in Skinny & Co products, I encourage you to look into the health benefits of coconut oil.  Could be the ace in the hole that your missing from your regimen.  Smile

** Focusing on HEALTH, Wellness & Fitness ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Nutrition, Food & Health ……

Several things have happened this year that have really made me take a closer look at nutrition.  I’ve realized that most people have no idea what it means to eat healthy.  I’ve realized that many people who want to eat healthy struggle with food addictions that derail them at every turn.  I’ve realized that food companies are not our friend.  I’ve realized that the entire concept of nutrition has become muddied by people/companies who want to sell us something without regard to our wellbeing and overall long term health.  The bottom line is that if you want to be healthy, and I mean really healthy without just going thru the motions, you need to do your own research.  Invest the time.  Make your own decisions.  Health is not a one size fits all proposition but if you put some time into your nutrition, you can be healthy.  And please don’t confuse being healthy with being the “perfect” dress size.  While for some, that my go hand in hand, that’s not the case for all.  The focus here is on nutrition and ultimately health.

Nutrition

Confession.  This post has been in queue for months.  First paragraph drafted & left to sit.  Why?  Not because I didn’t think it was important but because I didn’t feel as if I had enough knowledge to bring it to you.  I’m not a nutritionist.  I’m not a coach.  I’m not a trainer.  I’m not the person with all my ducks in a row with regards to food or fitness.  I’m not anyone other than a regular person who is passionate about food and exercise.  I want to be healthy.  I want my kids and family to be healthy. I want you to be healthy.   So I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned.  Give some tips on a few things you can do that might help you to feel a little better.   And I’ll leave you with a list of documentaries that might peak your interest and help you get started in really thinking about yourself, your food and where you want to be health wise in the years to come.  How’s that sound?  I’m not selling anything.  I’m advocating for real food, real health & a real future.

A few things I do that help me to feel good are listed below.  I don’t have my nutrition 100%.  I’m still tired sometimes.  I’m grumpy a lot (especially now that schools out for the summer & full blown chaos has ensued).  I don’t recover from workouts/races the way I used to but for the most part, I feel pretty good. 

  • Cook real food.  Avoid take outs & fast food when possible. 
  • Eat less meat & more fruits and veggies (aka:  freggies).  Lunches should be fresh and appetizing!  I usually have one or two “meatless” meals each day.

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  • Drink water.  Avoid soda, processed fruit/veggie juices, caffeinated sugary drinks & alcohol.
  • Prep dinners (Hello, Crockpot!!) and snacks ahead of time so that good choices can be made when everyone is starving. 

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  • Traveling?  Pack a cooler with snacks & bottled water.
  • Try to avoid processed snacks:  chips, bars, juice boxes, cookies.  Embrace snack baggies full of your kids favorite freggies.  Or make your own granola or energy bars as a family project.
  • Buy local via the local farmers market or food co-op.  Buy organic, non-gmo foods.  If that’s not an option, shop the outer aisles of the grocery store and try to pick as many fresh options as possible. 

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  • Cook seasonal fruits & veggies in new and different ways.  Just because the kiddos don’t like red peppers raw, doesn’t mean they won’t like them as the base for crockpot fajitas!  Asparagus or Zucchini anyone?  Let’s try it on the grill, you’ll find it in abundance at the local farmers market for the next several months! 

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  • Experiment with getting nutrients thru real foods.  I’ve been taking in less supplements and utilizing more vitamins/minerals in real food.  Anyone try juicing?  Its fun.  Its easy.  I’ve taken in a lot of nutrients thru the juicer that I wouldn’t have consumed previously.

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  • If I have extra or don’t like a particular veggie in the juicer, I roast them in the oven.  Sea Salt & Olive Oil will make anything yummy!

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I’ve changed a lot of things this year and its mostly about my food.  I buy as many local organics as possible.  I don’t like to go to the supermarket.  I go to the co-op first, then supplement at the grocery.  I still struggle with the fact that my kids are not on board with my fruit & veggie movement.  They still want pop tarts for breakfast & cheetos in the afternoon.  But I’m making an effort.  They complain a lot about there being “no real food in the house”, so I know I’m making an impact.  If they choose an apple or strawberries one time over something processed, then that’s a mini win for me.  Smile 

Everything in moderation, right?  That’s the saying but overall, I think eating real food, without chemicals & hidden ingredients will lead to better health for me and my family.  There are many who believe that overeating, in conjunction with consuming processed & “fast” foods are killing this nation.  Each year, the pharmaceutical & food companies are making a killing.  Healthcare conglomerates are growing bigger and bigger.  Yet, each day people are dying from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a plethora of other diseases that never used to exist.  Maybe we should think about getting back to basics.  If you can’t grow your own food,  make sure you know where your food is coming from and whether the person growing it actually cares about their consumers.  That’s why I buy  local.  I want to know who is growing the food that I’m eating.  And I’ve even started growing a few things myself.  Normally I plant flowers.  This year, Michael, Aby & I planted non-gmo veggie plants.  Red peppers, cucumbers, zucchini & tomatoes.  We’ll see what kind of yield this brings.  We’ve already seen some decent growth over the last month.

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So, that’s a little bit about what I’ve been doing lately.  I know nutrition and food isn’t interesting to everyone. I’ve had friends specifically tell me that they do NOT want to know where their food is coming from and/or how it gets to the supermarket.  That’s certainly their prerogative.  If you want to know more about food, how it relates to health, nutrition and what’s in the supermarket, then consider watching a few of the documentaries listed below.  All are on Netflix and available for streaming. 

If you have any other documentaries that you think would be helpful for us to learn more about food & nutrition, then please share!  I have several others I’ve heard are good but I haven’t watched because they aren’t on Netflix.  I need to expand my streaming capabilities!

**  Eat REAL Food ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

A Personal Investment ….

Bet on yourself.  For life.  And don’t be afraid to throw down a little cash to protect that investment.  Buy new running tights.  Keep your run shoes fresh.  Pay for a gym membership.  Register for a race.  Get a nice juicer.  Buy organic and locally grown produce.  Spending money on your health, wellness, and making goals is not throwing away money, it’s investing in your personal wellbeing. 

Invest in Your Health

If you think you can’t afford to workout, run, or race, then think again.  Can you afford Starbuck$?  Can you afford to order out?  Can you afford that fancy handbag that you’ve been eyeing?  How about designer pumps, that you can’t even wear to the office because they hurt your feet so badly? 

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The excuses are endless.  Stop.  If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will either.  Taking care of yourself is a sign of respect.  A sign of intelligence.  A sign that there is more to life than all the material things that so many focus upon. At the end, nobody is really going to care what kind of car you drove, whether you had an amazing designer wardrobe, or how much money you had in the bank.  It’s time to really be honest with yourself and figure out what is important.

Too harsh?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  So many people are struggling each and every day and just can’t commit to investing in the single most important thing, themselves.  It’s time to educate ourselves.  Exercise.  Health.  Nutrition.  What different fruits & veggies can do for the body.  How exercise effects not only your body but your life, and those around you. How can we feel good, each and every day?  Everyone wants to feel good, right?  Why don’t you feel good?  Too much bad food making your feel bloated & sick?  Too much stress leaving you an emotional mess?  Too much alcohol to combat the stress?  Too much sugar making you tired?  How do you feel?  I mean, how do you REALLY feel? 

Now go grab a glass of water and figure out a plan.  I want you to feel good, tomorrow.  I want you to feel GREAT, next week.  If you don’t feel great, and I mean REALLY great, then figure out why.  Invest in yourself before its too late.  Exercise and get the blood flowing.  Eat foods that nourish the body and fight sickness and disease.  You get to choose where to spend your money.  Bet on YOU.

Everytime You Eat Or Drink

** I’m Betting & Investing on ME ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Marathon Training IN THE WINTER …..

How hard is it for you to stay motivated thru the winter?  If you have a spring marathon on the calendar like the Garmin Marathon or the Flying Pig Marathon, then you don’t have many options other than to keep yourself moving.  But that doesn’t mean you have to pound out the same hard miles, in the same hard way that you would do in the spring and summer months.  Maybe change it up a bit and try something new?  Something that might get you out of the cold and onto the treadmill or indoor track when the wind chill slips below zero or the snow is flying so hard that those oncoming cars can’t even make out your reflective vest?

  Kara Roy (black jacket) and Jennifer Lee (blue jacket) run down Mountain Avenue in a snowstorm.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my snowy runs but I can’t run a quality workout when I have to worry about my footing.  So I save my easy, fun, social runs for outdoors when the snow is flying.  Then I take my hard, fast runs inside where it’s safer.  I also shorten my training cycle and lower the number of days I run each week.  I focus on power and speed and strength.   This does a few things.  1)  Helps me to avoid burnout.  2)  Makes me FOCUS on the runs that I have on the schedule each week.  3)  Allows me some free time for cross training and/or weight work.   Winter workouts are important.  This is the time to work on the areas of your fitness that need extra attention.  Strength?  I need more of this and it’s definitely something I’ll be focusing on this winter.  My goal is 2 strength workouts each week.

kettlebells-rope

Nutrition?  How is this going for you?  I was doing GREAT before the holidays.  I had lost 12#s, then I got sick, did the holidays, ran a 50K & a couple marathons, now I’ve gained 5 of those lbs back and am facing down 16#s which I need to lose before I crush the Garmin Marathon in April.  So part of my winter marathon training is focusing on my nutrition AND making sure I am getting adequate water intake each and every day.  Lean proteins.  Fruits & veggies.  Healthy fats.  Whole grains.  Water.

salad & protein  water

Rest?  You betcha!  I’ll be honest; I’m tired.  So freaking tired.  I know I’ve ran a lot of miles lately but I’m also just a poor sleeper.  And I’ve been sick.  I’m definitely run down in more than one way.  I’m good about getting my vitamin c and other vitamins that help strengthen my immune system but nothing makes up for sleep.  Maybe the winter nights are longer for a reason?  Take advantage of the darkness and get some extra shuteye.  Sleep repairs your muscles, helps build your immune system and makes you feel better!  Don’t skip the sleep or you’ll pay for it later.  This week I’m dragging.  Do I need to swim in the mornings?  Yes.  Do I need to rest more than I need to swim this week?  Yes.  So I’m sleeping in and I’ll worry about how fast (or slow) I swim next week.  Priorities. 

sleep

Marathon training is about so much more than the miles you log.  As you age, you may also notice that your body just can’t take the pounding that was once the norm.  That’s when you start to develop aches and pains that lead to injuries OR you can shuffle the deck and change the way you train.  Change can be for the better.  I’m mixing things up this winter.  I’m going to step back on my miles a bit and focus more on quality.  One long run, one tempo, one speed.  I’ve mentioned it before but I use the FIRST Run Less Run Faster app on my iPhone to plan my workouts.  It was a $2.99 download but I’ve used the program so many times that it’s paid for itself.  This certainly won’t replace a coach if you can afford one but a coach isn’t in my budget, a $2.99 app I can justify.  Smile  I’m looking forward to picking up the pace this winter.  It’s always hard for me when I start this plan.  I can never hit the numbers initially but as I build strength, speed and confidence, I’m always amazed at where it can take me. 

** Happy Running, All! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

2016 Goals …. On Paper

I haven’t written about my goals for years.  Not because I don’t have a clear set of goals going into each new year but because I’ve been doing this for a long time and redundancy is B.O.R.I.N.G.   Plus my training is non-traditional, and my volume is sometimes ridiculous.  I don’t want anyone to think they should follow my lead.  I finally found a great chiropractor in Ft Wayne who has made a lot of money off of me this year because of my volume & race schedule.  He keeps me running even when he thinks I should go sit on the couch.  Together we have learned how to juggle races/ mileage & springboard from one set of goals to the next by sacrificing speed.  That’s right.  If my goal is volume, I sacrifice speed. I can’t have my cake and eat it too.  I  gotta pick.  So let’s see how I will choose to lay out 2016.

goals

The year 2016 will be broken up into 3 seasons.  1)  Spring Marathon Season, 2) Triathlon Season and 3)  Fall Marathon Season.

My goal race for the spring marathon season is the Garmin Marathon in Olathe, KS on April 16th. Please someone tell me that Olathe is flat and fast.  Please.  I’ve plugged the numbers into the FIRST Run Less Run Faster iOS app and if I can hang onto my treadmill this winter, I’m going to run 4:15 or faster on the streets of Olathe, in a sparkle skirt of my choosing, possibly dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  Outfit to be determined.  Goal time, established.  4:15 or bust. 

My goal race for triathlon season will be the 70.3 at Rev3 Cedar Point on September 11th.  Although, I applied for the Rev3 team/ambassadorship, I was NOT selected.  No, I’m not mad.  I apply for a lot of things and get rejected but that doesn’t stop me from going after my goals.  I still plan to go to Cedar Point and annihilate the swim, bike & run and go under 6 hours for the first time ever.  Now this is the main goal of the entire year, my “A” goal, if you will.  I want to break 6 hours at the half iron distance and this is as much of a dream as it is a goal.  I have a lot of work to do if I even have a chance.

Big Goals

My goal race for the fall marathon season is the inaugural Fort4Fitness Marathon on October 1st.  This will be about fun and running with my friends and run club members.  My goal here is not about speed but to get as many people as possible to the start line for the 2016 Fort4Fitness races.  Marathon or not.  It’s a party for the running community in the Ft Wayne, IN area and I’m excited to be part of it.  I plan to run, walk, stroll and talk to everyone I see!  I was there for the inaugural running the the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon in 2008 and I plan to be there for the inaugural running of the their first full marathon in 2016.  Super exciting!

So what do I need to do to meet these goals?  I need to stay focused on my healthy eating & get off the last 10-13 lbs that I packed on during the move to Indiana.  I’m focused on this.  Working on it daily.  It will be gone before I hit the Kansas border in April. 

In order to meet my “big hairy” goal for the triathlon, I need to become a better, more aggressive, faster, stronger swimmer.  The term “just keep swimming” will eventually be replaced with something more aggressive and focused toward pushing the pace.  I’ve never worked on my swimming, just basically showed up and swam.  This will change.  But first I have to get reacquainted with the water.  I tore my rotator cuff in August after IM 70.3 Steelhead (race report HERE) and just went back to the pool today, for the first time.  It wasn’t bad for a starter swim.  I made it a mile in 45 minutes.  But I need to slash this time by a lot to help achieve my goal.

swimming_me_superphoto 

I also think that strength work is integral to my performance related goals.  I’m dedicating Tuesday & Thursday (before dawn) to my swimming & strength work.  I thought I had my strength all figured out but the CrossFit Endurance class has been dropped.  So I’m back on my own.  But I can do this!!

We’ll start with these goals and build, adjust accordingly.

if the plan doesn't wrok

** Time to Get to Work ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

A Return to CrossFit ….

Call this a week of new beginnings.  It’s been approximately 612 days since my last CrossFit session. My CrossFit days came to a screeching halt in the Spring of 2014 as we learned that we were moving from IL to IN.   Hubby had received a very sudden job offer for a position that I believe he had been interviewing on for over 7 months.  We had about 2 days to decide if he should take it.  Then we had another 2 weeks of mania before he left to start the new job, 200 miles away from where we lived in IL.  It was a crazy time and to be honest, I still am not sure I’m settled in Indiana.  Although I love the new area and being close to my family and old HS friends, it’s been nothing but a long period of adjustment, struggle and pure chaos, which is far from over.  It hasn’t been fun but I’ve made a real effort to get back to basics and focus on my food, weight and regain my lost strength (both physically & emotionally).  That’s what I focus on each day.  I make the choice to eat well and be strong.

daily changes

I’ve been looking for a CrossFit Endurance type program since I moved in August 2014.  But it wasn’t that easy.  The area I’ve moved to is much smaller.  I’m now in a suburb of Ft Wayne, Indiana NOT Chicago.  Slightly different market.  There are very few CF boxes here and only one CF Endurance program within a 40 mile radius.  That Endurance program was a cruise from where I live AND it’s an evening class.  As a wife and mother with a full time J.O.B, evening classes don’t really happen for me.   Ever.

So I visited a couple CF “boxes” (AKA “gyms”) looking for a CF class somewhat close to my new home.  It didn’t go well.  One box owner told me I was out of shape, overweight, and due to my history of injuries, I would need to be personally trained before I could possibly even go to one of their CF classes.  Great.  I knew all that but couldn’t afford a personal trainer or a bigger wound to my already damaged self esteem.  So I tried to do home based CF workouts.  I talked to some of the trainers at my local YMCA to see if we could get some CF equipment at the Y.  I was making an effort but ultimately failing because I wasn’t even sure if I was doing the CF moves correctly.  I knew I needed to regain my strength.  I wanted to do Strict Presses, Push Presses and Dead Lifts, etc but I didn’t have anyone watching to make sure I wasn’t screwing things up.  So I basically gave up til recently when I once again started searching for options.  And bingo, one of the CF gyms had just moved to the north side of Ft Wayne. 

CF_logo

513 Incentive Drive, Ft Wayne, IN * (260) 310-5360 * anthonyshefferly@gmail.com

I went for a visit.  Can’t say I had a ton of hope.  We still haven’t managed to sell our IL house and things are not good for us financially.  I pretty much assumed that I couldn’t afford anything they were offering.  But looking and talking are free, right? 

Long story short, we set up a CrossFit Endurance Class on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 5:30am.  Offering a one month trial period for December 2015.  Very low cost (almost free). Trial period for any runner, triathlete, endurance athlete who may be interested in seeing if this is something they want to pursue.  Trial period for CF Tactical Strength to see if an Endurance class will work for them and if there is a real interest/need for this type of class.

December 1st was our first class.  Stay tuned for more info on my first week back to CrossFit tomorrow! 

P.S. ….. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a FREE Entry to a Spartan Race of your choosing.  Go HERE to enter! 

** Happy Running & Enduring WHATEVER Your Heart Desires ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Halloween, What’s the Plan?

Each year, Halloween makes fit mom’s cringe.  Not just because of the sugar our children will ingest and the subsequent bouncing off the walls and possible vomiting that may ensue, but also because of the temptation that it brings into our home.  We don’t buy candy for a reason and it doesn’t have much to do with our crazy kids.  It’s hard to resist.  We love it just as much as they do, maybe more.

Halloween_Candy

In order to not sabotage every workout that you’ve done this week, I suggest having a game plan going into the big day.  Yes, you can eat SOME candy but don’t eat it all.  My kids do not like Almond Joys.  So every house that they go to where they get one, they immediately come back to me and hand it over.  I promise to not stuff that Almond Joy in my face as soon as it’s within my grasp. 

Do you Have Choc

I’m going to have a plan.  I’m also going to hope that it’s cold and miserable so that we go to fewer houses and bring home fewer goodies. 

The plan:

  • Eat real food before heading out to trick or treat.  Even if it’s just some turkey slices & carrot sticks, I’ll not be heading out when I’m hungry.
  • I’ll take a bottle of water or coffee to carry with me while we are out.  Then I’ll have something to keep me distracted and hopefully keep my tummy full.
  • I will not eat every Almond Joy the children receive.  Pinky Promise.  Limiting myself to 2-3 items this year.  And those would be the “mini” bars, not the big boys.
  • I’ll attempt to limit the number of houses that we visit without limiting the fun.
  • I’ll encourage the children to trade their unwanted candy with their cousin before we head home so that we don’t have a bunch of “unwanted” candy laying around after the holiday.
  • If there is a lot of candy, I usually bag some up and take it to work for my co-workers so I get it out of the house.  However, now that the kids are getting older & wiser, that isn’t so much of an option but it might be for you.  Do it, if you can get away with it!
  • I’ll make sure I get in a workout pre-Trick or Treating and the morning after.  I can’t out exercise a bad diet but I can work off a few Almond Joys, IF I focus and keep control.

abs-are-made-in-the-kitchen  eat like crap  Cant Out-Exercise

Lastly, I want to leave you with these graphics.  I think it’s important to know exactly what you have to do to work off your favorite candy.  It’s a real eye opener to see the calorie counts of some of those minis. 

You Ate It     Candy Cals

It’s okay to treat yourself but NO mindless eating.  It will do more harm than you think.  Keep it together.  Stick to the plan.  You can do this!! 

Related Posts:  Halloween Confessions and Halloween Hangover.

** Stick to the Plan ** Amanda – TooTallFritz