Miles, Meals & Motherhood

From the farmer's market to the finish line

All The King’s Horses And All The King’s Men Are Working To Put A Postpartum Mother Together Again

I have not written about running, food, health, etc. in ages and for good reason, the transition from two children to three children has been exhausting.  I am not a bullshitter or a complainer, so writing about making it all work or the alternative, when nothing works, seemed like a waste of time.

Heart Rate Training

A few opportunities came my way and I can now report that with the help of a team, yes a team, I’m getting into a new groove.   I started heart rate training with an amazing coach, her name is MK, she is dynamic and smart and has me cranking out 4 -5 runs a week.  I joined the Train Like A Mother Training Club that includes a training plan, online coaching and a comprehensive strength training plan.  I can honestly say that I have never consistently run this much in my life and I have no injuries. So as Coach MK says “winning.”

Running postpartum is a gift; I get me time, I feel strong and physically capable and yet, this is embarrassing to admit, the baby weight about twenty pounds of it does not want to go. I told myself that it is the nursing, nursing in conjunction with running, the lack of sleep, and/or stress that was keeping the weight on, but the fact is I have no clue. I decided to get serious about the baby poundage and decided to work with some professionals on losing weight and becoming fitter.

Inside Tracker

My quest to be a better, healthier, leaner me started with a company called Inside Tracker. I was approached by a friend who works for the company about trying their program for a reduced fee and telling everyone my experiences.  So on a weekday morning a few months ago, I left the chaos at home and headed to a blood lab for an analysis given to endurance athletes.  img_7474.jpg

Within a few days I had intel on what was going on in my body, while nothing was completely out of range, I had several areas to work on including boosting my iron and ferritin levels and improving my fasting glucose level and cholesterol.  Inside Tracker doesn’t just give you your numbers and goals to improve, it also provides a blueprint for improvement by way of food options and supplements. I chose to boost my iron levels by adding lentils and teff to my diet. My Inside Tracker report also suggested that to bring my fasting glucose and cholesterol into optimum range that I should lose some pounds. I’ll be doing a re-test of my blood work in a few weeks and will keep you posted on what they reveal.

Weight Loss

After trying to figure out my magic weight loss formula and not having much success, I turned to Ellie Kempton of Simply Nourished Nutrition in Colorado. Ellie rocks, she has given me a roadmap for weight loss while training for half marathon, nursing a babe and managing two bright and energetic grade schoolers. She also gave me plan for preparing the copious amounts of food consumed in my household, that in it of itself was worth the consultation fee. I used to think I could do everything on my own, but age and experience has taught me that I need help and it isn’t failure to ask for it.

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If you have any questions about the TLAM club, Insider Tracker or Simply Nourished Nutrition leave me a comment.  I received the services of Insider Tracker at a generous discount but the other services I have paid for in full.

There is still time to join me at Run 10 FEED 10 in LA on October 1, 2016. You can also use my code: WHDEMIRJIAN for a discount on any timed, fun or run your own option.

Grief 20 Years Later: Part Three, Life Is Not Fair

Life Is Not Fair

Life is not fair.  I heard those words from my father whenever I complained about my perceived injustices. He then promptly reminded me that I was born with many privileges and should recalibrate my attitude.

In the Armenian custom, there is an official mourning period of forty days. In my mind that meant I should be normal at the end of this period. The days passed, forty and well beyond, and I was anything but normal. I was filled with sadness and anger. I could not handle the emotions, so I pushed them down.  I resumed normal life only to have them roar back at unpredictable times.

They say that grief follows seven stages, but from my recollection I just vacillated between sadness and anger.  I was moody, withdrawn and resented people who, in my mind, made messes of their lives. My life imploded but it was not my fault. I became incensed by people who would argue with their parents. Didn’t they understand how lucky they were just to have them living?

If I wasn’t angry, I was sad. Sometimes I would feel like I was choking. Other times my body would shake with uncontrollable sobs. Sometimes, I would wake from a dream feeling as though there was a light at the end of my bed, wanting to scream but no sound came out. In the morning, I would wash my face with cold water and resume living.

These fits of anger and sadness have plagued me for the past 20 years. Only recently have I been able to discuss his death and not be reduced to tears or lash out with anger. Still, there are moments that cut deeply, like when my daughter will ask about her grandfather and why he is not with us. Children want answers, they want reliable reasons that I can not give. I can only say what my father said to me, life is not fair.

In the years since his death I have graduated college, law school, was admitted to the bar, got married, moved to three different states and had three amazing children. At each of those happy occasions I grieved my father.

Sometimes I grieve him on less notable occasions too, like when I planted my first vegetable garden. I grieve the missed advice. I grieve the opportunity for him to participate in my adult life, my children’s lives. He would have gotten along with my husband.

I can not tell you how to grieve. I can tell you what I wish someone had told me: it is okay to miss them; it is okay to be sad; it is okay to be angry; and it is okay to take your time.

Thank you to everyone who read this series. If you are grieving, know that you are not alone. Tonight I will listen to Paul Simon, honor my father and remember him dancing to Graceland. 

Grief 20 Years Later: Part Two, The Last Year

The Last Year

The last year: there is no way to make that sound less awful, less final. It was the last year of my father’s life and the last year I had a father. This is important to note because I view my life in two distinct parts, when I had a father and when I did not.

Despite the cancer diagnosis I still did not think of my father as sick. To me, he was still my strong athletic father. He was rising at five and reading several newspapers before most people stir. Surely this man would endure. There were visits to Dana-Farber in Boston and consults with doctors in Rhode Island.  Our new normal began, chemotherapy and radiation were now on the calendar along with golf lessons and PTA meetings. Cancer became real.

Before long, the treatments would take their toll. Hair loss, vomiting and constant pain.  I would sometimes drive him to his treatments and I would irritate him with my driving because of the nausea. He become short with me on several occasions. That was not him.

News inevitably spread of my father’s illness. I encountered pitiful looks almost daily and it made me retreat. It was my senior year of high school and I was withdrawn, I did not care about anything. I applied to a single college by early acceptance,  was accepted and enrolled because I thought I should stay close to home. The rest of the year I was on autopilot. My memory from that time is painfully selective.

I turned eighteen in February of 1996, around that time my father started giving me a lot of seemingly random advice.  He told me to make sure I did squats so that I wouldn’t have knee problems. He told me to never get mixed up in drugs especially heroin. He made me promise to never ride a moped. All solid advice, but to a slightly nerdy student, it somehow seemed a little unnecessary.

I realize now that he knew he was dying, and was trying to give me all the advice he could in the time he had left.  In those last few months he grew sicker, but I never saw a hint that he felt defeated. There were setbacks, hospital stays and isolation rooms as the weeks went on. Still I did not see a man ready to leave this world. My father’s illness progressed, and as all too often occurs, nothing could contain or stop the cancer any longer.

My graduation day arrived but my father was not there. He was alive but could only watch my graduation on public access television from his bed. Those last few weeks following graduation were horrible. My beloved grandmother died. My father died almost two weeks later on July 8, 1996, the day before he would have turned fifty years old.

Grief 20 Years Later: Part One, The Diagnosis

I am going to be writing this as a series over the course of the next few weeks, I decided to begin chronologically because it makes the most sense and will give context. Thank you again for all the support and feedback.

The Diagnosis

My father was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of my junior year of high school. It was May 1995. He had been working in the garden and thought he might have ingested something because he didn’t feel quite right.

Tests were ordered, a diagnosis made. He told me at the kitchen table. He talked, I listened, but the gist was lung cancer, small cell, chemotherapy, radiation and we’ll go from there.

It’s cancer, this is the treatment, end of conversation. In that moment I felt like his peer, not a child. I didn’t hear despair, I didn’t hear panic, I only heard there is a problem and we will fix it.

That is what I remember of my father, he was a fixer of problems. A litigator and a champion of people, he didn’t waste time on non-sense. My father was exacting and he cut to the core of problems. So cancer was like anything else in our house, except that it wasn’t like anything else and I was not prepared.

Reflecting back on that day and the days thereafter, I wonder if he knew that would be his final year with us.

 

 

Thank You To The Truth Tellers, Grief and Other News

I mentioned in my last post, that I spent the past year having conversations with many people. Some people are mirror images of myself and others couldn’t be more different, but we all shared something and that was getting honest about how life had beaten us up.  Without naming names or sharing tales out of school, I want to thank these truth tellers because their raw honesty helped me make sense of life. They helped me become a better wife, mother and friend.

In that spirit, I have decided to write about something that I’ve thought about for a long time but couldn’t find the strength to do.  In a series of essays I will write about grief. This July will mark the passing of my father, 20 years ago. If you know me in real life or my online life you know that I will sometimes discuss the effects of losing a parent to cancer when I was 18, but in this blog I am rather vague.  In writing about this topic I hope to ease the pain, demystify grief and maybe help someone feel less alone.

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My father owned boots like these, sometimes simple items like shoes can transport you back in time to a life that was lived long ago.

 

On a slightly more uplifting note, I am a Women’s Health Action Hero for 2016! I’ll write a more detailed post about the Run 10 Feed 10 race series and what you can do to participate. But in the meantime, if you are interested check out www.run10feed10.com and if you are feeling extra motivated sign up today and use my discount code: R10HERO08.

I also want to thank the people that read this blog, I know I can be haphazard in posting and you are inundated with things to read daily, so know that I appreciate the time that you take to open the link.

Life is Short, Life is Messy, Buy the Flowers

I took an extended leave from blogging the past year, life had gotten unbelievably messy and it was hard to focus minute to minute let alone write. Someone had told me around New Year’s that “some years are answers and some years are  questions.”  It was prescient, because 2015 was a question year. I spent most of the past year reading, having discussions, questioning everything and preparing for a child. I’m not sure if 2016 holds the answer but here is what I learned in the last year:

  1. Life is messy, trying to analyze and categorize it into black and white will drive you insane. Accept that most of life is grey and that is okay. Know your boundaries and what you are and are not willing to compromise and also know that circumstance and time can change those too.
  2. Speak with people, really talk about life and their experiences. I learned that almost all experiences are universal save for specific details. I also learned that everyone handles life’s trials and tribulations differently and that is okay.
  3. Life is short, too short to have inauthentic relationships with people. Some people have left my life and some people have entered. Those that remain are authentic, they are real, they are flawed and they are beautiful.
  4. Buy the flowers. Buy what makes you happy, not what you think will make you happy.

Finally, I learned that when everything crashes down around you it is freeing. Perfection, appearance and expectations of what life should be are a prison.

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Lemonette Dressing on Amazon, Best Find On Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day has been kind of a bust for me, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but tubs of Eucerin and socks? Really, Amazon?

If you were looking to score an amazing deal on something unique, try looking for and purchasing Lemonette Salad Dressings. For a limited time, enjoy FREE SHIPPING with the purchase of 2 or more Lemon-Garlic and/or Creamy Mustard dressings.

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Lemonette Salad Dressings is the first of its kind, a line of exclusively lemon-based salad dressings and marinades inspired by classic Mediterranean recipes.  The creator of Lemonette Salad Dressings is  an Armenian mother of 3 and is passionate about putting out solid products with real ingredients. The products are FDA-approved, gluten-free, sugar-free, cholesterol-free, and use only expeller-pressed non-GMO canola oil.

I have had the pleasure to sample all three flavors of the Lemonette Salad Dressings and my favorite is the Cumin-Curry, tonight I am marinating some boneless, skinless chicken thighs in it for a quick and easy dinner.  All three flavors work as salad dressings, marinades for chicken and fish and as finishing sauces. The Cumin-Cury flavor also works for non-green salads, like a chickpea salad, carrot/raisin salads, as well as for grilling vegetables and fruit.

Lemonette Salad Dressings are sold in 14 independent markets all over southern California and 4 stores up in the Bay Area. Look for it in Orange County stores this fall.

As I look for ways to simplify my life, having Lemonette Salad Dressings in my pantry is a great shortcut that I can feel good about serving my family.  A portion of every sale also goes to The Heart Foundation.

Beet Salad

Chickpea and Beet Salad With Lemony-Tahini Dressing

I have been slacking on my recipes, but my boxful of produce has me clamoring to cook.  This recipe is perfect for Meatless Monday and provides protein, iron and good fats.  The dressing will keep and tastes excellent on steamed or roasted vegetables as well as chicken.

Chickpea Beet Salad Recipe:

1 Bunch Washed Baby Spinach
2 Bunches Roasted Beets, cleaned and diced
1 Can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Place all ingredients in a bowl.

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Lemony-Tahini Dressing

1/2 Cup Tahini
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Lemon Juice, fresh if possible
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 tsp. Salt
Water

Blend all ingredients together except water, you will have a thick paste. Add small amounts of water up to 1/2 Cup until you get a desired consistency. Pour over salad, keep extra in a jar and use over salads, vegetables and chicken over the week.

Tahini Dressing

How often do you eat salad?

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Farm Fresh To You

A few weeks ago I received a knock at my door from Farm Fresh To You, I have had some seriously bad experiences with door to door solicitations so I was a little hesitant to order.  The concept sounded awesome though, organic produce selected by you and delivered to directly your door.

Since moving to California, I have become a devoted farmers market shopper. I enjoy taking my children there on the weekends.  I didn’t want to make our weekend shopping trips obsolete by subscribing to Farm Fresh To You, but I discovered that it compliments our weekly trip to the farmers market.  We eat a ton of produce which requires me to go shopping  3-4 times a week, the delivery of organic produce would alleviate at least a couple of those shopping trips.

On early Thursday morning my husband alerted me that a box had been delivered.  The kids and I were excited as we unpacked the box and saw delicious apples, pears, oranges, cauliflower, kale, carrots, mushrooms, squashes, bok choy, beets, onions and sunchokes.  We have been steadily eating our way through the produce and I am impressed with the quality.

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It was also nice to receive a few items that I have never cooked with and that presented a fun cooking challenge.  I learned that sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem Artichokes,  are a flavorful root vegetable which are similar in texture to potato but have a sweet flavor.  I ended up cooking them in butter and oil and making a hash with the kale, red onion and brown rice.

IMG_1538-0.JPGDespite my apprehension about ordering, I am so glad I did.  You can control what to order or let Farm Fresh To You determine your box.  You can choose mixed fruit and veggie, no cook, vegetables only and fruits only. You can also select the frequency and size of your delivery.  Vacation holds are also available.  You can also select home or office delivery, which may be a great way to split up a box with your co-workers.

I highly recommend this company and think it is a great way to support local agriculture and introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables to your family.  The convenience of having farm fresh organic produce delivered to you is priceless.

I have a discount code: ALEX9482 , which will give you $10 off your first offer and give me a nice little referral discount as well.

www.farmfreshtoyou.com

Does anyone else subscribe? How come nobody told me about this sooner?

 

 

 

 

 

Maple Walnut Smoothie Recipe

I stopped by Pete’s Tea and Coffee Bean the other day and saw that they had a new Maple Latte. Growing up in New England, I am a lover of all things related to Maple Syrup.

It got me thinking that a Maple Walnut smoothie would be an outstanding breakfast. Super simple but the taste is just like Maple Walnut ice cream which is one of my favorite flavors.

Recipe:
1 Cup Milk
1 Handful of Walnuts
1/2 T. Real Maple Syrup
Vanilla Protein Powder
Ice

Blend and enjoy!

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