Tough Mudder Training Protein Cookies

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Tough Mudder is arguably the pinnacle of the adventure challenge series – maybe the Spartan Race gives it a run for its money?  According to the Tough Mudder website, the race is probably the toughest event on the Planet.  They’re not kidding…check out the badass obstacles here.  Intense!

Tough Mudder events are hardcore obstacle courses designed to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, over one million inspiring participants worldwide to date, and more than $5 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

There are many courses set up at various times of the year, in several countries, from what I can tell, but the one coming up this month (September 28, 2013) at Northstar California Resort in Truckee, CA is the reason for this post!  Early bird all the way up through standard registration is completely sold out, with the only remaining tickets going for $135-$180 for late registration and final entry.  It seems like a pretty penny, but the whole race was set up to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, which is super awesome!

Anyway, from what I can also surmise, based on lots of youtube video research, and several episodes of “Made” (yeah, THAT show) focusing in on turning previously wounded, or otherwise unfit individuals, into “Tough Mudders,” training for the event isn’t for the faint of heart!  Unless you can already run 11 miles up-hill through the mud (wait, this sounds strangely familiar…like, your parents probably said this as often as mine, but their tale included “barefoot,” as well, am I right?) and obviously barbed wire and live wire, that is.  Personally, the mud sounds like the most fun part, and the ice water sounds like the least fun, but to each his own! For instance, here’s a break down:

ToughMudderCollageIf you’re going to be down and dirty training ruthlessly for this thing, you have to recover, I know that much!  These cookies are the protein punch your body will need, and taste good enough (they’re not completely sugar-free, I’m not THAT cruel) to finish that training run up the mountainside, log overhead, for!  Maybe.

 Almond Butter {Tough Mudder!} Protein Power Cookies

Ingredients:

1 Cup Almond Butter

1/4 Cup Truvia Baking Blend

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Egg

2 Tbsp Chocolate or Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1 Tbsp Water or Milk of any Kind

Sprinkle of ground flax seeds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, Stir together the almond butter and truvia until well combined.  Add egg and stir together.

Add chia seeds to water and let sit a few minutes until the mixture starts to gel.

Add chia seed mixture to almond butter, truvia, and egg.  Stir in protein powder and flax.  The mixture should be thick and doughy, so if it seems too wet, add a little more protein powder.  If the batter is too dry to come together, add a little more water or almond butter.

Roll dough into small balls by the teaspoon full, and place on lined cookie sheet.  Smoosh a little with a fork.  They won’t grow or flatten much, so they don’t need much space between.

Bake 5-7 minutes, depending on your oven.

Holy Mudder!  Good luck to all of you out there training!

Link Love

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 1.) This race.  Tahoe.  This month.  I will be there.

2.) We’re nearing pumpkin obsession season!  Excited to try these recipes!

3.) Handy guide to growing seasonal produce (and eating seasonally!)

4.) Awww I miss having a dog, and this gives me another good reason.

5.) What women want!  Give me this in a guy, please!

6.) Laguna Beach, here I come!  It’s all about this place & real fruit soft serve.

My Favorite Soup! Sweet Potato & Coriander

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Sweet Potato & Coriander Soup

If you like sweet potatoes and guilt-free creamy, comforting soup, this is the one- it’s my new favorite soup!  I have a bit of an obsession with both sweet potatoes and coconut, so this is basically the best of both of my favorite worlds!  If you aren’t worried about the vegetarian and vegan aspect, you can go ahead and use chicken broth, and if you want something even creamier and more decadent, go crazy with full-fat coconut milk!  Top with a sprinkle of hemp seeds!

Ingredients:

* 3 Tbsp olive oil
* 2 small onions (I used 1 red, 1 white), peeled and chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 5 large carrots, sliced
* 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cubed
* 4 ribs of celery, sliced
* 8 cups vegetable (make sure it’s gf/vegan) or chicken broth (make sure it’s gf, if you need)
* 5 tsp ground coriander
* 1 can (13.66 oz.) lite coconut milk
* 1 small can northern beans or chickpeas
* 5 leaves of kale, torn and stems removed
* Dash of salt, to taste
* Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a big soup pan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes (stirring often) until lightly browned.

Add carrots, celery, sweet potato, and vegetable (or chicken) broth to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 50 minutes to an hour (until veggies are smash-tender).

Use a potato masher to mash up vegetables into whatever texture you like (or pour small batches into a blender and blend smooth before returning to the pan).

Stir in coriander, coconut milk, salt, pepper, and northern beans, and cook about 5 more minutes to heat through. Add kale pieces and cook another couple minutes until the leaves have softened.

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Healthy & hits the spot every time!

Applying Myself (Naturopathic Medical School Style!)

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This medical school application stuff is no joke.  Not that I ever thought it would be a joke, but now that I’m here, and navigating my way through it, I know first-hand it’s no joke.  I can definitely see how it would be helpful to have a parent or family member who had gone through the process before to lend advice every step of the way.  I sort of found myself stumbling into this, figuring things out along the way – from finding and completing internships and maintaining outside jobs in order to continue paying bills (hello, undergraduate student loans!), to gathering and submitting necessary information like transcripts, and letters of recommendation.  Everything seems to be coming together nicely, with the help and support of family, friends, mentors and advisors at my prospective school.  This is a little break down of how I went about the whole process, and holy cow, I hope all the hard work is going to pay off in the end!

I won’t start as far back as actually obtaining a pre-medical type Bachelor of Science degree, or anything, but I did get that.  Internships came next, and I did a lot of online searches, sent out a few resumes, and waited to see what would pan out.  Luckily, I scored a really awesome internship at a local clinic called Human Reconstruction that ended up turning into a job opportunity I couldn’t pass up.  While working at Human Reconstruction, I enrolled in a few classes to supplement my undergrad degree like another organic chemistry course, and anatomy and physiology, which I loved.  It was a tough balance during the time I was taking classes, working at the clinic, and maintaining an outside job as well, but everything has been necessary and worth it!  I also completed an additional internship earlier this year, and have scheduled a few others for the coming months.  Once I got out into the naturopathic world, it quickly became time to begin focusing my energy on the actual application itself!

My school application is being completed and submitted via the internet.  (The good ol’ internet!)  I say it like that because this way I don’t have to actually mail in paperwork, and when I hit “submit” on this application, I’ll have the gratification of knowing they received it instantly.  All of the contact and biographical information portions were simple as might be expected.  Gathering unofficial transcript information was necessary in order to make sure I’d completed all of the pre-reqs, and by that time, I had contacted my undergraduate institution, as well as the community college I completed coursework at post-graduation, to have official transcripts mailed out.  At this point, really all that was left was….a lot of other things.

I knew exactly who I was asking for letters of recommendation from, and I had a longer list of names than was necessary, which I’m very happy about.  I will submit letters from everyone I feel has been an important catalyst in reaching this point in my journey.  A resume and personal statement are all that remained at this point.  Super easy, right?  Wrong.  My resume was fairly up to date already, which I commended myself for being so on top of, but I had several recent additions that needed to be included.  The personal statement portion I spent quite a bit of time on.  It is, afterall, a PERSONAL statement, and there is a lot to say – a lot of things that I wanted to cover, and a lot of things the guidelines asked to be covered.  I could have formatted my response as one big essay incorporating answers to all 5 of the application questions in it, but instead I answered each question in a well-rounded, yet concise manner.  I poured everything I had into each word and idea the admissions board will eventually be reading, and I think they will see that.  Now that my personal statement is finished, I’ve done everything (including attach a photo of myself) for the application aside for uploading my resume.

A few more clicks to my application, and it will be submitted officially!  I’m excited/nervous/anxious/looking at housing near my new *fingers crossed* school!  Naturally, I also already Google mapped out the closest beach, Trader Joe’s and 24 hour fitness!  12 minutes away!  All of those! :)  Is there anyone out there in the San Diego area, or who knows anyone in the area that would be willing to suggest parts of town that are relatively affordable and student friendly?  Yes, I said it, SAN DIEGO!!

XO, Stacy

PS: There is a 100% chance I will be learning to surf!  I can’t wait :)

IV Me

IVs, or Intravenous Nutritional Therapies, are a superior means by which to administer vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients to the body due to the fact that they bypass the digestive tract and go straight into the body fluid system and cells.  According to the talented and knowledgeable Doctors at the clinic I work at,

“Research and clinical experience has shown that most patients with chronic diseases require more than dietary changes and oral supplementation to dramatically improve their condition. Intravenous nutrition guarantees that the administered medications bypass barriers to absorption and penetrate deeply into cells to support efficient metabolism and promote tissue repair…[We] offer intravenous therapies to address a variety of diseases and has seen success with conditions including allergies, cancer, chronic fatigue, heart disease, and weight management.”

I’ve had several IVs over the course of my time within this clinic, and though I’m somewhat squeemish about seeing needles in my own arm (I know, right?!), I plan to increase my own administration of treatments for nutritional purposes and overall health and well-being.  For me, I don’t digest and absorb nutrients well, and I need the support of extra nutrients and co-factors to strengthen my system and tissues to the point where I can start to better assimilate them on my own.  I’ve seen drastic improvements in health amongst patients receiving IV treatments in our clinic, and highly recommend them for anyone looking to treat a chronic disease condition, or even just to improve their health and well-being!

With that said, It’s been a couple of weeks now since I got back from my internship in Newport Beach, and a week or two now since I implemented my IV skills back here in Northern CA.  I’m always excited to learn a new skill, and though I practiced my IV technique with a catheter (harder!) and blood draw prior to hooking up the line down South, I got to try my hand at a simple butterfly line (easier!) IV this time.  Mixed the bag (a customized Meyer’s bag with some extra goodies), got the butterfly, and the whole thing went smoothly – even more importantly, I’m happy to report the patient felt awesome post-IV, Super Hero status, even!

The bright yellow is a result of Vitamin B2 in the mix…very cool.

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Butterfly in, and line attached.  I’m still working on perfecting my haphazard tape job!

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My model/teacher/pin-cushion/guinea pig – none other than the lovely and talented, ever enthusiastic Dr. Heather Wdowin!

PS: We love our orchids here :)

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I’ve got yet another internship in the works that I’m excited to talk more about when details are finalized!  This summer has been a busy one for me, trying to take care of business, getting started on my personal statement, and continuing to learn as much as I can as a final push before my Med School application goes in September!

Talk soon, be well!

XO Stacy

Superfood Green Smoothie

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I’m not new to the green smoothie scene – they’re a frequent in my breakfast rotation.  This, however, is a new combination to me, and I’m in love!  I think I’ve found my new go-to recipe, and I look forward to playing around with other superfood additions like Maca, hemp seeds, cacao powder, goji berries, blueberries, kale….the list goes on!

Superfood Green Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup coconut water

* 1/2 cup coconut milk (or almond, hemp, soy, etc)

* 1 Tbsp chia seeds

* 1 Tbsp L-glutamine powder

* 1 Tbsp Green Food Powder (Greens First or Trader Joe’s Very Green)

* 1 1/2 Tbsp Vegan rice protein powder

* 6 Organic, 100% Spirulina tablets (or 1 Tbsp spirulina powder)

* 2 large handfuls fresh organic baby spinach

* 5-6 ice cubes

Directions:

Add coconut water and milk of choice to your blender.  Add in chia seeds, green powder, protein powder, and spirulina, and blend until smooth.  Add in spinach, followed by ice cubes, one at a time.  If too thick, add a little more coconut water or milk.  If too thin, add more ice.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Be well

XOXO, Stacy

Internship Week in Newport Beach

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Since I didn’t have much of a chance to update last week while in Newport Beach (busy days, beach days, little computer time, etc.), I wanted to make sure I put down the highlights before everything jumbles in my head!  I headed down to SoCal last Saturday, June 15th and spend some time in the Culver City/Santa Monica area before pushing on the Newport Beach for a week-long internship at Renew Integrative Naturopathic Medical Center.

The clinic is closed on Mondays, so I spent my first weekday in town getting my fill of Balboa Peninsula with a jog, some yoga stretches once my hip flexors realized I’d traveled an unaccustomed 8 miles, relaxing beach time, and a trip to the gym in the evening.  Whew!  This was the first Monday in as long as I can remember that I wasn’t doing something work related, and it felt AWESOME.  I tried not to let the pressure of feeling the need to pack everything into a single day off that I wanted and never get to do otherwise make me crazy and more stressed out that normal!  Talk about defeating the point of chilling out!

Tuesday was my first day touring and checking out the facility – introduction to the front desk staff, protocol, and standard operations.  The focus is on integrative wellness treatments,  provided by a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD), which means lots of nutrient and restorative IVs, hormone replacement therapy, prolo therapy, lab testing, nutrient and herbal supplementation, and lifestyle counseling without all of the toxic, side-effect inducing prescription drugs.  The system used is very different in a lot of ways from the clinic that I’m used to working in, so the exposure to a completely different mindset was priceless!

Wednesday ended up being a take care of business day on the Doctor’s end, and I was lucky enough to spend the day at Disneyland instead of stuck in meetings!  Wahoo!

Thursday picked up where Tuesday left off, and I had the chance to sit in on a few initial consultation appointments, giving me a chance to witness order of operations when bringing in new patients.  I love the fact that Naturopathic Doctors spend so much time and really listen to patients – not just regarding medical symptoms, but everything going on in their lives during and around the time they notice physical and emotional symptoms popping up.  The whole body approach is really key to finding the root cause of problems, rather than slapping a band-aid on them as most conventional Western Medical Doctors are prone to doing.  I gave a few IM shots, sat in on IV administration, and “traded notes” with the nurse on staff :)

Friday I had the opportunity to sit in on a marketing meeting between the Doctor, a member of the clinic managements company, and a local newspaper columnist.  It’s so refreshing to me that there are others out there in the community who are equally passionate about health, avoiding environmental toxicity, and an alternative approach to the clinical system.  We chatted for awhile, and then I got a chance to practice my blood-draw technique, mix IV bags, and hook them up.  I even got an IV of my own, and though I’m still getting used to the idea of having a catheter in my arm, I whole-heartedly believe in the approach to nutrient administration!  There’s really no more effective way to flood the system with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, anti0xidants, and all that good stuff that helps restore and repair the body!  I can see myself using IV treatments when I start practicing in the future!

Saturday was my last day to soak up the Newport Beach sun and enjoy the beach before heading home.  While the clinic is open occasional Saturdays each month, sadly this didn’t happen to be one of them.  I headed back up to Culver City for the night, and actually managed to see Superman, finally!  I made a trip to the 24 Hour Fitness in Santa Monica on Sunday before packing up and getting on the road again back home.

The location couldn’t have been better, and I got out of the internship experience what I had wanted and hoped.  Lots to reflect back on and take with me in my future medical endeavors!

 

Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake Throwback

I originally posted this gluten free vegan carrot cake recipe last summer when I was visiting L.A.  Since I’m heading down South again in a couple of days for an internship, this time in Orange County (um, an internship by the beach?  Does it get any better?), I thought it’d be fitting to do a little throwback to kick things off!

If you’re interested in checking out the original post, you can find it here.

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Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake

Gluten free AND vegan!   I’m gluten free  but not vegan, so I have yet to fully perfect this particular art form – that being said, this cake was really delicious.  The flavor was spot-on, from what I remember a good carrot cake to be – a yummy spice cake with lots of carrot, pineapple, and pecans.  Loved it!

Ingredients:

* 1 cup gluten free flour mix (I used Bob’s Redmill)

* 1/2 cup coconut flour

* 1/2 cup oat flour (make sure it’s made with gluten free oats)

* 1 Tbsp cornstarch

* 2 tsp baking soda

* 1 tsp baking powder

* 2 tsp cinnamon

* 1 tsp nutmeg

* dash of ginger

* 1 tsp salt

* 1 tsp xanthan gum

* 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

* 1/2 cup canola oil

* 1/2 cup applesauce

* 3 flax eggs (3 Tbsp ground flax + 9 Tbsp water)

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

* 1 8 oz can crushed, drained pineapple

* 2 cups finely grated carrots

* 1 cup roughly chopped pecans (or walnuts, if you prefer)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350* F, and grease or line 2 small cake pans (about the size of the top of a 3-tiered caked – roughly 6″ across).  Sift together the flours, xanthan gum, salt, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and cornstarch in a bowl.  Set aside.

Mix together the ground flax and water, and set aside for about 10 minutes, until thickened (this makes your flax eggs).  Finely grate about 3 medium carrots to yield 2 cups.  This will probably take forever…or maybe that was just me? ;p

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the canola oil, applesauce, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Once the flax eggs have thickened, add them to the mix and beat together until smooth.  Mix in the grated carrots and crushed pineapple.

Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl, mixing between additions.  Once everything comes together, stir in the chopped pecans by hand.  Pour batter (it will be thick) into the 2 prepared cake pans, place in oven and bake about 45 min – 1 hour depending on your oven.  Once a toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done, but be sure to check around the 40 min mark to make sure you’re not overbaking.  Turn out onto cooling racks.  Don’t make the mistake of frosting the cake before it’s completely cool, like I might have done…Ooops!

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

* 2  8 oz tubs vegan cream cheese (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

* 1/2 cup Earth Balance non-dairy spread

* 3 cups powdered sugar

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Beat Earth Balance and cream cheese together until smooth in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add in the vanilla.  Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well between additions.  If the frosting still seems a little thin, add a little more powdered sugar.  Add in lemon juice, to taste, just for that little tang you get from real cream cheese!  Refrigerate so that it firms up before using.

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Fresh Start.

Follow along with me as I navigate my way through a new branch in my life that weaves through medical internships, assisting jobs, school applications, and hopefully medical school in the end!  I’ve never done this before, so bear with me as I take this whole journey one step at a time!

Come back and visit soon!