Is This Real Life?

Quick update. This happened this morning.

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Details to follow!

Xoxo,

Brittany

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Scary Spicy Chicken Chili

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Sometimes we make life decisions our parents do not agree with.

Dating the Bad Boy in high school? Check.

The pierced lip for 4 days in college? I’m still thankful that fell out on its own and therefore saved me from my own pride refusing to admit how stupid/slutty it looked.

My mom still disagrees with the whole “running too far for no reason” thing. But that’s not her biggest gripe. No, not by a long shot.

“If it’s not killing you why would you stop eating it. Gluten is delicious and that’s all there is to it.”

I love my mom dearly, but she certainly is not one for denying yourself anything delicious. Of course, she’s 50 now and only 5lbs heavier than she was in high school having never worked out a day in her life. Nor does she intend to. She eats what she wants, when she wants and however much she wants. She’s the foodie of all foodies in my life, and the thought that her daughter would have food allergies that meant she could not indulge herself in delicious meals of all kinds… Well.. she’s pretty much still in denial.

When I explained to her that my doctor suggested I’m gluten sensitive and not allergic she went off about how this is another fad diet and in ten years we’ll find out gluten is the cure for cancer. A bit overdramatic, yes, but that’s how she is with food. Go big or go home.

So when Sunday rolled around and I wanted to make Jim a nice “Welcome Home” meal my mothers food genes kicked in. I wanted the flavor to be undeniable. I also wanted to be able to eat it with him and truly enjoy the meal. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve found some amazing gluten-free options. But when you spend the better part of 25 years loving every carb known to man, giving them up is a bit of a buzz-kill.

I flipped through my Pinterest boards looking for something delicious to make him on a perfect autumn Sunday. Football came on and suddenly it hit me… Chili. But not any Chili. Ghost Chili.

If you’ve never heard of it, ghost chiles are one of the spiciest chiles on the planet. They are burn-your-face-off-sweat -in-the-middle-of-winter-type-of-hot. In the good way.

A few weeks ago when I’d gone apple picking at a local farm with a few of my girlfriends I came across this gem at the farm stand.

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When there’s a warning you know it’s good.

Knowing this was still in the cabinet I knew exactly what to do. Here’s what you’re going to need.

Ingredients

  • 2-TBS Chili Powder
  • 1-TBS Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 TBS Red Cayenne Pepper
  • 2lbs Chicken Breast
  • 3- 10.5oz cans of diced tomatoes with chili peppers
  • 2- 15oz cans dark red kidney beans
  • 1 Large Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Large White Onion
  • 2- 6oz cans of Tomato Paste
  • Half a jar of Ghost-Chili Salsa

First, dice the bell pepper and onion. Add those to the slow cooker and let them sweat on low for 15-20min. Just enough so the juices start to run from them, but they’re still nice and crisp.

I like my veggies to still have a little firmness to them in my chili. Otherwise, what's the point of dicing?

I like my veggies to still have a little firmness to them in my chili. Otherwise, what’s the point of dicing?

After the veggies have had their alone time, add in the chicken breasts. You’re going to add them in by hand and make sure they are tossed with the veggies. It’s important for the chicken to be very close to the bottom of the cooker so it cooks through in time. Nothing worse than pink chicken. No no no no no. No.

Like they're best friends.

Like they’re best friends.

Once the chicken and veggies are cozy, add in the rest of the ingredients. Any order you like. We won’t get picky.

Mmmmm.... 4 hours from Chili...

Mmmmm…. 4 hours from Chili…

Now here is the tough part: Turn the slow cooker to low, and wait FOUR HOURS.

I know, smelling this throughout the house for four hours is cruel and unusual. Just trust me. It will be so worth it.

After the four hours have passed and you’re appropriately salivating, pick the out the chicken breasts with a pair of tongs. Shred the chicken with two forks, which won’t take you long since it will be basically falling apart at that point anyways.

Add the shredded chicken back into the pot, mix and wait another 15 minutes with the cooker on warm. You don’t want to cook it anymore at this point- just let the shredded chicken absorb a little more moisture and flavor.

Now you’re going to take one whiff of this when it’s ready and think “This is going to be too hot, I’ve made a terrible mistake. What was I thinking, adding ghost chiles? That stupid girl on the internet led me down a dangerous road! She was the type of girl I was warned about at school!”

Rest assured, I would not steer you wrong. Yes, this chili is spicy. But it is not overwhelmingly spicy. The great thing about this chili is you still taste all of the different flavors without the spice overwhelming it.

Add a little cheese to the top, let it melt then see for yourself.

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See.

I’ll forget all about this little lapse of trust you just had.

You’re welcome.

xoxo,

Brittany

Addicted To “Stuf”

That 3:00am craving for an Oreo may not be just a craving after all. According to scientists at Connecticut College, it’s actually more like an illicit drug withdrawl. A recent study with lab rats has proved that given the choice, we would rather eat Oreos than snort cocaine. Neurologically speaking that is.

Here are the basics: Lab rats were placed in a maze with rice cakes and Oreos. Not surprisingly, the rats went to the Oreos instead of the rice cakes. Side note- they couldn’t have picked a tastier healthy food than rice cakes? Even with seasoning added, they still taste like styrofoam. Next, they placed the lab rats in the same maze only this time they substituted the rice cakes with cocaine. Why cocaine? Physically speaking,  your body cannot be addicted to cocaine. You can be mentally addicted but your body will never need to physically ween off of cocaine. Addicts cannot be admitted to a detox for cocaine abuse because they do not have to physically detox from it. Therefore it’s perfect testing substance for want vs. need.

The lab rats sampled both and what would you know- the rats kept going back to the Oreos instead of the cocaine. There are some important takeaways from this.

  • The pleasure receptors in the brain that recognize cocaine are the same that recognize Oreos.
  • The rats seemingly felt more pleasure from the Oreos than from the cocaine based on their repeated return to the cookie rather than the drug.
  • Rats are used in these studies because Neurologically they are incredibly similar to humans.

Now, a few things to be wary of

  • Despite what some articles are saying- this study does not suggest that Oreos are as dangerous for humans as cocaine.
  • The reasons for cocaine use and Oreo consumption are inherently different. So yes, consumption of each set off the same pleasure receptor, but the mental impacts which play a role in addiction are very different.

This study just further proves that consumers need to be educated and aware of what they are putting into their bodies and the effects the ingredients have. One of the scientists who conducted this study has been widely quoted saying he has not eaten an Oreo since the experiment was conducted, nor does he plan to. My non-professional advice to you- Eat an Oreo. But if you find yourself unable to say no to the second, third and tenth, consider an intervention for your snack cabinet.

 

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This Was My Nightmare

It’s happened.

The moment when you look back on your high school self and remember saying “If I’m doing _____ in 10 years please kill me”.

For some that’s still living in their home town.

Others were afraid of rocking mom jeans. For the record, I stand by the mom-jeans thing. If I EVER post a pic of myself in elastic-band-waist-up-to-my-ribcage jeans, please pull the plug. I’ve clearly lost any and all will to live.

Today’s shocker was much less embarrassing, though no less shocking- I’m teaching high school PE. That’s right- I’m a gym teacher.

Going back to school for a MEd in Health Education I knew I’d have to do a lot of observation hours in a lot of different settings. I had prepared myself for that. I never considered part of being a Health teacher these days means also teaching PE in a lot of school districts. To say I’m not cut of for this is an understatement. I’m the girl who faked every possible injury (yes, I considered scoliosis an injury) to get out of gym class. I managed to convince my High School that I should only have to take two years instead of the mandatory four because between my back and my asthma it was really doing a number on me. I was the worst.

Alas, here I am. Trying to make the best of it. Trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to motivate these kids for the next three days and pretend I wasn’t the girl sitting on the bleachers refusing to do anything. I’m a liar. They know it. They must. High school kids can sense these things.

Pray for me.

 

Energy Bits – A Review and a Giveaway!

Alright Wednesday- You’re not my favorite day of the week and I don’t find your new brand ambassador the Camel as endearing as so many others. Maybe it’s because he reminds me of obnoxious former co-workers, maybe it’s because they never address why a camel is in the office. Mainly, the catch-phrase got old quickly. But alas, I’m left to deal with you once a week and I’ll try to be a nice as I can. /rant.

I had an amazing weekend with a few good workouts, some great friends and a new friend.

My best friends of the past 15 years.

My best friends of the past 15 years.

My new best friend of the past 4 days. I met him apple picking on Saturday. He's awesome.

My new best friend of the past 4 days. I met him apple picking on Saturday. He’s awesome.

The week so far has not been nearly as kind as the weekend was. Work, school, homework, workouts, more homework and more school have really started to take their toll. Tuesday/Wednesday is my roughest stretch because I close the bar both nights and have classes both days.

My usual Wednesday morning exhaustion hit me this morning when Jim woke me up for no real reason before he had to go to work. Our schedules are pretty hectic lately and a little opposite from each others, so the hours of 7-9am have been our “quality time” the past couple of weeks. If you can call me half-asleep and him watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air “quality time”.

Before heading to campus I really had to get a run in. I closed the bar last night and didn’t manage to fall asleep until 1am, but I still got about 6.5 hours of sleep in so nothing out of the ordinary in terms of pre-run rest. I ate a piece of toast, drank a cup of coffee and poured myself a big glass of water. Then I poured out 30 of these guys.

The team at EnergyBits are regulars during the #runchats and #HealthyWayMag chats on Twitter. Last week their brand manager Jonathan reached out to me with an offer to try a sample of EnergyBits so the team could get my feedback. I am always interested to try new products so I was thrilled to get the chance to give these babies a whirl. Here’s what you should know about EnergyBits:

  • Made of Spirulina (Algae)
  • 100% Organic
  • GMO, animal product and gluten free!
  • One calorie per tab (30 tabs per serving)
  • See info-graphics below

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My first thought: “Are 30 pills going to feel ok rumbling around in my stomach?” Turns out, that’s more a mental game than physical. They’re light and don’t have much of a taste to them .I swallowed, didn’t chew. Feel free to make your 14-year-old boy jokes now. I’ll wait. 

I drank a glass of water, did a couple small things around the house and about 20 min after ingestion I headed out the door. I was only aiming for 2-3 miles, something light and easy, just to get the miles in.

Nothing impressive. Nothing intense. A run to run.

Nothing impressive. Nothing intense. A run to run.

I’m not sure what I was really expecting from Energy Bits, but I can’t say I felt a MASSIVE difference, but I did feel good which is always a challenge on Wednesday mornings. I didn’t get the sugary-belly feeling that a lot of energy supplements give you, which was great, but I also didn’t get that “woooo!” feeing either. Again, I wasn’t really expecting that but I just didn’t feel anything intense.

Overall, these are my thoughts:

Likes

  • There is one ingredient and it’s very clear what it is. Nothing I can’t pronounce, nothing I can’t trace back to its direct source. Yay!
  • The energy I did have felt very natural and clean. I didn’t feel like a sugar high and there was no noticeable crash.
  • The team at EnergyBits are incredibly nice and available to answer any questions. They’re responsive on Twitter and are all about honest feedback.

Dislikes

  • Taking 30 tabs at one time is a bit excessive. Maybe if they increased the size of the bits or made a gel tab version for quicker digestion you wouldn’t have to consume so many at one time.
  • The marketing materials are semi-misleading. Yes, each tab is one calorie but one tab isn’t going to do anything. I think they should display the full serving-size calorie count like everyone else. They’re still kicking-butt calorie wise compared to their competitors.

I’m going to give the bits another try this weekend but take them an hour before my run instead of 20 minutes. I’ll report back with any new feedback.

Here’s the best part- Do you want to try EnergyBits for yourself? You should. But that’s besides the point. The point here is that Jonathan (their brand manager) and his team have decided to offer one of my amazing subscribers a free sample of Energy Bits! All you have to do is subscribe to the blog and you’re automatically entered.

Hope you’re all enjoying Hump-Day more than I am. Now I’m off to class. No talk of spontaneous orgasms this time. Sad face.

xoxo,

Brittany

The Spontaneous Orgasm Is Real. Why This matters.

Yesterday I sent a tweet while on the way to school. I send lots of Tweets. This one seemed to get more attention than the others.

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I was more getting to the idea that I had accidentally worn yoga pants to a presentation. Yes, the presentation title was surprising on Twitter, but the class is Human Sexuality so to the class it was basically any other Tuesday morning. Last week our professor had a giant picture of penis on the projector on the board within 5 minutes of class. When we were still exhausted he said “Oh come on, it’s 9am and there’s a cock on the wall. Wake up!” He’s a riot. Which I guess you have to be to teach that subject to grad students. 

Anyways, the reactions I got on Twitter were pretty hysterical. I sent out the link to the New York Times article I was presenting. What I found funny is that no one was concerned with the actual finding that the spontaneous orgasm is real, or what it means for human physiology. The article itself is really interesting, but here are some highlights:

  • Women can essentially think themselves into a physical orgasm.
  • Brain scans showed no difference between these orgasms and orgasms achieved through physical stimulation.
  • This finding contradicts the work of many of the leading sexual researchers who focused on female sexuality to this point, proving we do not have as many answers as we think we do.

But in my humble opinion, these are just fun side notes to the most mind-blowing point. This proves the power of thought can have major physical impacts of the human body. There have been a lot of studies proving the power of prayer for terminally ill patients in keeping them alive longer, a positive mindset helping patients recover from surgery faster and the studies proving happy, optimistic people have stronger recovery rates from illness.  However, this is one of the first studies to show a mental thought having the exact same physical reaction as a tangible act. This blows the doors wide open for more breakthroughs in holistic medicine, mediation and other alternative treatments or illness.

This is also reminds us  how in control we are of our own physical performance. Think you’re going to PR at your next race? Reminding yourself that you really do not want that chemical-y, artificial snack food lying around the office? Your mindset can have a major impact of your physical performance in so many ways.

So the next time you’re nervous about toeing a start line or wondering if you really can lose those last few pounds remember this- I can think myself to an orgasm or a PR. My choice.

Whatever you choose, Just make sure you’re in the appropriate setting. Those MarathonFoto guys like capturing your runners high, not your Big-O.

xoxo,

Brittany

 

 

Recovery and October Goals

Sunday was in every sense of the word, a let down. I woke up at 5am with every intention of putting my respiratory infection behind me and toeing the starting line at the Rock n’Roll Providence Half Marathon. I jumped out of bed, got into the shower and well… things just went downhill from there. I started coughing. I started hacking. Hacking led to wheezing. I got dressed for the race, still determined to put it all behind me. I got in the car, drove a mile or so down the road and had to pull over due to another hacking fit. At that moment I had to call it- RnR Providence just wasn’t going to happen for me.

I turned around, pulled back into my recently departed driveway and parked myself back on the couch. I tried my best to fall back asleep, but again, the hacking won. Hacking is a gross term, I realize that and apologize for its use here. There is just no other word to describe what my body was doing. Instead of sleeping I decided my iPad and I would catch up on Breaking Bad. When feeling down on yourself just watch the plight of meth-cooking, cancer ridden school teachers. You’ll feel better about your own life in a flash. You will also consider the pros and cons of a career in the drug dealing business. No one who has ever watched that show can tell me the thought never passed fleetingly through their mind. $80million is just too tempting.  

All the downtime gave me plenty of time to set some goals for the month of October. I think it’s important to start every month with a short term goal to keep you accountable when the long-term goals are still a ways out. Right now one goal is consuming my existence. 3:34:59 at the 2014 Boston Marathon. I trained for 2012 and had to defer. 2013 was out of my control. 2014 will be my year. Not just my year to finish and earn the medal I receive, but my year to earn my spot at the following years Boston the right way. Not through a fluke or tragic gesture of kindness.

So, with that said, October. What’s the game plan?

Get back on a regular training schedule. With school and substitute teaching taking up loads of my time I’ve slacked on sticking to a rigid running schedule. Come December that won’t be an option anymore. It will be easier to adapt now when it’s perfect running weather.

Lose 5lbs. Summer is full of day drinking at the beach, cookouts and parties. I’d like to get back to my pre-summer weight before Boston training is officially underway.

100 miles. Gotta set a base for the inevitable 50+ mile weeks that will be here soon. I’d like to feel prepared for them.

 

So that’s where I am as of today. October is my favorite month of the year so today is basically a kick-off party for me. Happy Fall everyone!

What are your short and long-term goal? How are you planning to kick their butt? Let’s hear it in the comments!

xoxo

Brittany