Tuesday, March 31, 2009


So my trip to NJ was excellent. We surprised Mom and brought her to tears. :) Had a great time, albeit not enough, with family. We celebrated both Mom and my niece's birthday.

Saw my Dad too, and he is looking better all the time. Those that follow my blog might recall that about 2 1/2 years ago we almost lost him -- he went to the hospital with Pneumonia, had 2 heart attacks while he was there, and then became septic. He's like a super-hero; in fact they call him something like the "Miracle Marine" at the hospital He's not giving up -- he's unstoppable. He just had a heart bypass several weeks ago and is recovering nicely --he just looks healthy... and that's good.

I got some outside running/wogging in while I was in Jersey. Had no choice really, as it was all I could do. No 24 in the area. :(

Anyway, made it back to Houston yesterday. Plan on Spinning and Swimming tonight... probably bike and run on Wednesday. I'll be off on Thursday and Friday in preparation for the Tri (Saturday), followed by the Space Race (60 miles) on Sunday.

We're just 18 days from the start of the Ms150! I'm just $30 away from my $1000 goal. I don't know who you all are, but thanks!!! It's kinda wild having people I don't know help me out here. :)

If you haven't noticed, I'm all a twitter now. I'm not sure, but I think I'm missing the big tweet about this twittering. I figured I see what it was all about. It links with Daily Mile, which I'm using to log my multi sport training/workouts (which I <3 by the way!) I do like that I get Twitted by Lance, himself. I've already added and removed John Mayer from my "following" list-- he's twits entirely too much!

"Libby" is still in the shop. :( Not sure on the ETA, but we're surviving with 1 vehicle for now. Hopefully next week sometime... I don't know.

Gotta get back to work... more later.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

By the way...

If you have nothing to do a week from this Saturday, April 4th, and you're somewhat local, the Lonestar Tri is supposed to be a great spectator event. It's being held on the grounds of Moody Gardens. :)

Double-duty Workin' Out...

So to make up for being a sloth on Tuesday, and just not feeling great all around, last night I did a swim (1200 m) and run (5k)

I woke this morning and got in early for a 6am spin class and probably logged about 18 miles -- then back to the treadmill for another 3.4 miles

Hopefully my Mother has not found my blog (LOL) -- she's on Facebook, so none of you comment there or you'll blow our surprise! Cassie and I are headed to NJ for her 60th birthday and my niece's 9th birthday. It's a total surprise. Mom is NOT expecting it. She thinks we are totally strapped for cash between taxes, car accident and hurricane Ike repairs. :) Of course there is some small amount of truth to all of that, but the one thing Mom likes most is having everyone together.

If you're keeping up you'll realize I planned this lil' vacation the week before my tri! I'm kinda worried because all I can do there is run. :( I'm packing my warm stuff and I plan on getting in a minimu of 2 runs while I'm there.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tour de Houston *Updated*

Great ride... better than I expected. Great company -- thanks *E* and Linda! Near perfect weather. A little windy, but bearable. The tour takes you through different areas of Houston (some of which I'd never seen. There were some very pretty spots.

Overall an enjoyable ride... except for the lack of coordinated traffic control at the lights. Truly, if I wasn't more respectable I would have had a few words for those cops. I'm so glad they were sooooo supportive *big-ass-eye-roll*

Here's how the day ended up

39.8 miles
13.5 average
High Speed: 28 mph
Average HR 141
Calories burned: 3,800+

Doing the spin class and 5K the day before the ride I felt wiped last night... my legs felt like lead weights. I pulled my back last night, but it feels much better today (thankfully). No training today, Monday.

This week will be tough -- Cass and I are headed to NJ on Thursday through Monday. All I can really do there is Run, which I guess is something. I will swim both Tuesday and Wednesday this week -- gotta practice breathing... it really screws with my pace/rhythm; I just don't feel smooth. I was better off holding my breath. LOL I'll get it though.

And now for some race pix...

The Start line

Just some scenery

Houston looks kinda nice from here

End of ride... *E* and I

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Run Bike Saturday

A backwards brick. LOL

Ran 5K: 12:30 pace
Spin Class: 55 minutes
2830 Calories burned

Off to pick-up my packet for the Tour de Houston then BBQ tonight in celebration of Darren's 40th Birthday!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Question: What Kind of Bike Should I Buy?

Corrie wanted to know what kind of bike should she buy...

Well, first thing is, you have to decide what kind of riding you are going to do. Do you want to ride mountain bike trails? Will you ride strictly in the Park? Do you want to do organized rides on the road (aspiring to do the MS150)? Just leisure riding in your neighborhood... or commute to work?

You also might want to consider who you will be riding with and what kind of bikes they are riding. If they're riding road bikes and you purchase a mountain bike or Cruiser, it is unlikely you'll be able to keep up with them and will find yourself defeating your purpose riding by yourself.

There are many different kinds of bikes:

Road bikes are fast and easy to pedal on pavement. They are incapable of operating off the road. Many people find the riding position difficult to maintain for a long time, but with saddle time and practice, comfort comes with proper form..

Mountain bikes are harder to pedal and slower on pavement. But they have a cushy ride, an upright riding position, and can travel easily on a wide variety of surfaces. You can have fun is some crazy place too!

Hybrid or Cross bikes are almost as fast and easy to pedal as a road bike, while being almost as comfortable and versatile as a mountain bike. They still use knobby tires, so there is some wasted energy, but chang'em out for slicks and you'll be set. Also, these bikes will weigh more than road bikes, in general.

Comfort bikes are just that—comfortable. They are less efficient, but sitting on one is much more comfortable.

Cruisers are fun to look at and, when ridden at a relaxed pace, they are ideal for admiring the scenery, exploring the neighborhood or beach.

Recumbents are quite comfortable, very fast. They sit so low to the ground that visibility can be an issue, and they require some learning to be operated with maximum efficiency.


As for me, I started with a mountain bike. I did not have a clue what to begin with, but I knew I did not want to make a huge investment in the unknown. Honestly it looked the most comfortable to me and even though I had no real basis for the choice, I figured it would get me started.

I purchase my first bike, a Bianchi Ibex mountain bike on Ebay. :) I was so proud!!! I found a seller locally who was willing to meet me for the pick-up/drop-off to avoid nasty shipping.

I quickly realized I enjoyed the riding but that for road riding, I had the completely wrong bike. My Mountain bike was heavy, heavy, heavy! But instead of running out and buying a road bike, we (as in my Husband) changed my tires to slicks, and what a difference that made! While it made for an incredible and improved riding experience, I still could not keep up with friends when riding in groups, and I did not see navigating mountain bike trails in my future. LOL

So, not long before my first tri in early 2000, I purchased my first road bike since I was doing the bike transition on a relay team. It was a Specialized Allez, on clearance. I think I paid $399 (originally $599) for it. It was a good entry-level road bike. That bike changed the way I felt about riding, completely, and in a good way. I did plenty of events with this bike and enjoyed cycling more and more with every event.

Sometime before I had my Daughter in 2004, I got a bonus and decided I wanted to upgrade my bike. I paid $1500 for the new one, I think. It's a Specialized Dolce Vita -- a woman's specific bike. Again, this bike made me enjoy cycling even more than the last bike. It fits me well, it performs well and the components are a step or two above my last bike. I think I am happy with this bike and really don't see a more expensive bike in my future. I'm content and if I want to make improvements and change components I can.

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And Kim Makes 94%

You guys are keeping me on a roll today. Are you just trying to see how many times I can update my fund raising meter?

I need to do something snappy to mark the achievement of my goal in my blog... maybe I can make it play music, or something. LOL

In any case, thanks to Kim for her contribution. As I said before, I appreciate it!

Just FYI... last year I raised $880 dollars, so hitting $1000 will exceed what I raised last year. I don't know what the "incentive" gifts are for 2009, but we joke around at my house about the $800 backpack I earned last year. Truthfully though, last year was very expensive for the MS150 since it was my first time and there was lots to be had to make for a good experience -- I think it cost me far more than I raised in donations if you added up equipment, training rides and bike maintenance.

I can't wait until some of you join me in 2011. I've decided that while I love both causes, MS150 and the Live Strong Challenge, that it is only right to choose one a year to participate in. I only know so many people, and the fund raising is the most difficult (and hated) part. Asking friends and family twice in one year to reach into their pockets is difficult in these times. So 2010 will be the year of the Live Strong Challenge for me. :)

And Corrie makes it 92%

Wow... thanks so much! 92% of my fund raising goal hit.

I can't believe it!


Some things have been happening...

Friday night I got into an auto accident. Thankfully no one was hurt and I didn't have Cassie in the car with me. My brakes failed as I was slowing at a traffic light and my Jeep rear-ended an Expedition. I bent the Expedition's bumper downward, and needless to say the face of my "Libby" is slightly rearranged. More to the story, but I'm kinda tired of telling it. Let's just say you know you're in Texas when you're waiting for a tow-truck on the side of the road and 4 horses come trotting down the road during rush hour traffic and the cows have to join you fence-side for a "moo-fest".

Some good news though... last night I met with the swim coach! I learned sooooo much, which is good. But now I have to break some habits and have a lot to practice. We fixed a few things with my technique, but she was impressed I learned so much from You Tube videos. She said I had great head position, "roll" and "reach"

∙ I hold my breath while I swim. I never knew I was supposed to blow bubbles out through my mouth while swimming! I would just take a breath and hold it until the next breath. Last Summer, when Cassie took swim lessons, they did a lot of that bubble blowing. The thought crossed my mind there, if that's what I was supposed to do to. Go figure. The coach said it's a good idea to do drills where you inhale and release (at a slow pace) to get used to it.

Suzy, the coach, did the Lonestar Tri. She said the water is "breath-taking-ly cold", in that it will literally take your breath away if you're not prepared. She highly recommends a wet suit. She said the majority of the folks at that race wear the wetsuit. *E* if you're reading this, you're 100% right to wear yours! Coach also recommends going to their seminar the night before, to get a peak at the course and touch the water.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another one!

Okay, just received another donation... I'm just $115 away from my $1,000 goal -- I am 89% there! You all have been so generous and if I ever see you all in real life one day, duck and sway, because I'll be coming at you with a great big hug!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm talking about my Ms150 Fund raising check out the fund raising monitor on the left side. :)

Most sincerely, thanks again!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Night Training

3.1 in 36:00 (I suck, but my sneakers felt good; we'll see tomorrow)

400 in 8:37
300 in 6:25
Practices some Flip-turns.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Brick

Met up with *E* at 24 for Swim then spin this morning.

Did 2 x 300 (finished each 300 in just over 8 minutes) and then right to spin.

Also discovered the lap counter on my Polar. LOL

I feel pretty good.

I like the new kixx so far.

It's really crappy weather, but hopefully I will get to ride in the gloom tomorrow... just so long as it doesn't rain.

Friday, March 13, 2009

More On the Endo...

Okay, for realz... last post of the day -- only because Corrie asked the question.

Dr. B's nurse explained that my TSH (which was always normal) is now supressed at .07

The normal range is .5-.7 to 1.5-1.8

The Levoxyl has an inverse effect, so it becomes confusing. Basically, the TSH decreases when Thyroid function is too high from the medication. When Thyroid function is too high, the Pitutary has to do double-duty.

So he's moving me from .112 to .110

The Runner's Link

Okay, so this is my last entry for this morning. I promise. :)

I have to get this plug in for a local running store, The Runner's Link in League City, TX. A friend of mine referred me there, and I'm so happy I went! I met Cassandra, and right away I felt very comfortable! I mean, why wouldn't I -- she shares my Daughter's name! I've been to other stores where sales people see a larger athlete and they either don't take them seriously or ignore us altogether. It's always a challenge to overcome and not feel "less than" when I go into these places.

In any case, Cassandra was helpful, friendly, knowledgable and just all-around awesome! She asked for my old kixx and I stood on a machine called the iStep/iFit. It's a machine that measures the distribution of weight on your feet. It also shows your correct shoe size and tells you what kind of arch you have. Couple that with and examination of how I walk and she bases a recommendation based on those elements for my specific needs.

For me, it turns out I pronate my left; my foot rolls to the outside -- this could be why when I started actually running more than walking on further distances, my hip was causing me grief.

Cassandra made a shoe recommendation and even though she didn't have the shoe in stock, she was more concerned that I had the right shoe and was not in pain. She wrote down her first and second choices for me and even gave me a number of websites to purchase them from, since she wouldn't have hers in for 2 weeks. Come on... how cool is that? She's right too, I will go back. :)

So I wait patiently for my Mizuno Wave Nirvana... hey, if a sneaker can bring me closer to actually finding Nirvana in running, I'm all for it! From what I can read about it this shoe, is for stability. Cassandra said I am not a hard runner in that I don't have a heavy strike, because there was little wear on my sneaker, but my larger frame does cause the shoe to breakdown faster. This shoe should be appropriate for my effort.

If you're local, check'em out! Saw a BOGO1/2 Off sign in their window if you are in the market for running apparel!

QuikEnergy™ V-Neck Aquatard from Junonia

I just received my Junonia Catalog in the mail, and while the clothing they offer does not fit me any longer, I still check out their performance sportswear. Years ago, at over 300 lbs. I remember how thrilled I was to find quality bike shorts and a jersey that fit. I remember writing Anne Kelly, the owner of Junonia and commenting -- she actually wrote back and asked if I could be quoted for their catalog, but nothing ever came of it. That was back in 2002, I think!

Miss Kelly, if you read this, I'd love to test this Aquatard -- Hubs will kill me if I buy another piece of performance clothing! LOL

Seriously, though, I am curiuos to see how it functions in a multisport event -- I'm sure it is comfortable for the swim, since that's it's main purpose -- but I wonder if the support is enough for the run -- or do the legs stay in place or ride up on the bike?

In any case, my shopping experiences with Junonia are good. Their offerings are of good quality, but the prices were always a tad bit to high for me to be a routine shopper -- so really I only purchased special, hard-to-find items, or items from Juno's Closet.

This Aquatard is in their current catalog, along with a few other swimsuits that offer the same technology. I wore an Orca Trisuit for my tri last summer and it was really hard for me mind-wise, but I nutted up and did it anyway. There are definitely pluses and minuses to 1 and 2 piece tri-ensembles, so you have to make your choice based on your preferences.

For me:
  • 2 pieces are easy for going potty -- don't have to strip down!
  • 1 pieces are nice because you're not tugging here and there to keep covered;
  • 1 pieces don't "ride-up north" when swimming or riding.
I'm really split between the two, which is what perpetuates my search for the right Athena gear. I guess I don't understand how companies can say it's not profitable to offer the plus size gear when Junonia makes a living at it. Will I pay more if something is good and I really need it? Heck yeah! And if it's something that doesn't accentuate the negative about my body, that's even better!

From the description it doesn't say there is bicycle friendly padding in this garment. But, truthfully, I think sprint distance tri is doable without padding. I love the look of it and it's just enough color without drawing too much attention. :)

Here's the info, snipped from Junonia's site, on the Aquatard:

QuikEnergy™ V-Neck Aquatard Sleeveless, v-neck one-piece features contrast coloring at front zipper, princess seams and arm straps. All-around inner shelf bra. Quick-drying, moisture-wicking QuikEnergy™ reduces cramps with excellent muscle compression. 50+ UPF sun protection. (Size 1 inseam 8”). 78% Nylon/22% Lycra. Hand wash cold. Imported. #537512 Junonia's Price: $99.95

I'll catagorize this garment as Swim only -- would hate to say it is tri friendly without knowing, for sure, if it is. If any Athena's decide to try it, let me know!

Skirt Sports - Tri Tank

It seems my quest for finding appropriate performance tri apparel for the "Athena" sized athlete (that's what they officially call us larger-than-average competitors) is never-ending. FYI: Men are called "Clydesdales".

I'm always looking for that slightly more generously cut top or shorts. Make no mistake, it's not just about looking good, but there is something to be said for feeling more confident and being taken more seriously when you have the right gear.

Here's the Product Overview from their site:

From swim to bike to run to post-race spirited beverage, no distance is too great to travel in our TRI Tank! This top is form-fitting with a built-in bra and racerback sass. Women die for the interior bra pocket. No more chafing when you slip your gel into Cleavage Alley! This top ingeniously hits just below the waistband of the TRI Bottoms and it won’t ride up your tummy. Pair it with the TRI Bottoms and RaceBelt Skirt and smile for the flashbulbs at the finish line!

At a glance

* Silky swim-friendly fabric has UV protection!
* Built-in bra for A-C support
* Cleavage Alley Pocket (bye bye boob-chafing!)
* Form-fitting but not too tight
* Asymmetrical design lines
* Fits like a swimsuit up top

For my first solo tri (last Summer) I had tried to get a tri tank from Skirt Sports. First, I will tell you they are the nicest!. Somehow I was able to order a top in an XXL which was no longer available and they called me immediately and apologized. They were very sad they couldn't provide the top for me.

I was sad because after reading 1,0001 size charts I was hopeful it would fit nicely and perform appropriately. It's just a constant challenge because I'm right on the cusp... ugh. Anyway, I'm waiting for this top now.

Today I'm meeting with the swim coach and I'm excited about learning how to fine-tune my swim stroke. I don't need to finish in lightening speed, but something respectable would be nice.

My Endo called me yesterday... he wants to reduce my Levoxyl dosage. I suppose that's a good thing, but it makes me nervous because at last the scale is finally moving again. He knows best though... too much of a good thing is often bad. LOL

It's gone from being almot 80 degrees earlier this week to 43 degrees when I left the house this morning... I went from wearing sandals back to Uggs in just a couple days! The weathermen keep threatening with rain, but I'm hoping to be able to sqeeze in a ride tomorrow. Otherwise I'm going to do a swim/bike brick at the gym, and use spin for the bike.

No other plans for the weekend, other than the laundry, shopping, chores and gym.

Oh, here's the size chart for Skirt Sports:

More later.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

MY Documents

This is just a peek into my world... I'm serious. I've had parts of this conversation with people!

Your My Documents - watch more funny videos

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mac Quote...

If there were ever a time to dare, to make a difference, to embark on something worth doing, it is now. Not for any grand cause, necessarily, but for something that tugs at your heart, something that's your aspiration, something that's your dream. You owe it to yourself to make your days here count. Have fun. Dig deep. Stretch. Dream big."

Just so I don't forget it.

Lands End Aqua Terra Tank Review

Okay, I received the Land's End Aqua Terra Tank yesterday. First, I ordered an 18W, when I probably should have ordered a 16W. I wear in XL 16-18 top in Misses, but was afraid to order the Misses size and have it be too small about my hips. It is available in both misses and plus sizes.

First, the bra. I have C/D cups -- this was a full-cut, full all-around, lightly padded shelf bra. Full d's and even dd's would be thrilled! The 3" band of elastic kept the bra in place and it was comfortable on. I could tell that if I had enough to fill it, it would have provided good (not awesome) support. If I adjusted the girls they would stay in place, but eventually would be pointing south -- but I really think it was because the bra was too big for me. I need the 18 misses or 16W.

The material was very nice. High quality, very smooth lycra and sewn together so it was "seamless", like good quality bike shorts. Very, very comfortable to wear.

The shape is very flattering on... it's not square, nor is it too snug -- it's cut for a curvy figure, so it made my hips happy!

For me, I have a lot of lose skin on my stomach area, so anything snug tends to be not-so-flattering (i.e. cottage cheese). This was not snug. The fit was just right, even a little lose through the midriff area... again, I probably needed the smaller size, but I'm just so used to tech apparel not fitting right, that I tend to buy too big!

Overall, I think this garment is "Athena-friendly" and great for a tri. If you're a real runner though, be sure to checkout the size charts and make sure you get the right fit for your chest.

Oh, and they're on sale right now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Workout

Lat Pulldown
Cable Row
Static Lunges w/weights
Leg Press

Swimming (week 2 of 0 to 1650):
200 yards...rest for 12 breaths
100 yards...rest for 10 breaths...repeat 3 times
50 yards...rest for 6 breaths...repeat 3 times
25 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat 3 times
total: 900 yards

That swim coach was there tonight... I'm meeting with her on Friday. Wooohoo!

Moving Forward

Well, I just received more donations (from my boss and GastricGirl!), which brings my total to 75% -- you all are so kind. I know times are financially challenging, so know I really do appreciate the support -- as do those who live with MS, waiting for a cure.

Today I'll hit the gym with lifting and swimming. I think something clicked with me and swimming and I realize I don't so much dread getting in the pool anymore. Much like running, once you start, you see progress quickly -- I need that to keep my interest and motivation up. Truly, it is more of a pain to drag all the stuff along, get changed, dry off and leave with wet hair, etc.! But then the question is... Deal with the p-i-t-a.... or have good health. ;-)

26 days until the Lonestar Tri (and I'm actually excited)
44 days until the MS150
88 days until the Danskin

The gym plan this week (I was "off" on Monday):
TUE: Lift & Swim
WED: Lift & Run
THU: Bike (gym, road or spin?)
FRI: Swim
SAT: Bike (Road) & Run
SUN: Swim/Bike (?)

The food plan today:

So you know the whole Facebook thing is kind of strange. I mean, it's been cool to reconnect and see how old high school friends turned out, what they're doing now and see their beautiful families. But, no matter how great it is to reconnect, most of us are so not the people we were back then. In some cases it's been awesome to find out how much in common you now have with someone you never suspected...

As one friend put it it, "It's nice to be in a place, in life, where the past just doesn't compute anymore. Life is good."

Monday, March 09, 2009

See Donna Swim...

Swam again last night!

100 x 4
50 x 6
25 x 6

250 x 1 <-- not sure why I stopped before 300!!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Lonestar Tri

I took long enough to make a decision, but have decided to go through with the sprint distance in the Lonestar Tri Festival.

  1. It will be good practice for the Danskin
  2. It is local, Local, LOCAL (as in 6 exits from my house)
  3. the venue is nice... Moody Gardens Beach for the swim, general Moody Gardens area for the run and the Galveston Island Sea Wall for the the Bike. :)
  4. I'm nuts.... it's the day before the Space Race, so why the heck not?!?
  5. That swim coach I met says it's one of the best run events in the area
  6. Has the best swag-bags around. :)
  7. Recruited *E* to do it too... maybe we'll get to meet sometime before then. LOL
So it's .3 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike and 5K run.

So, that's that.

Darren is on a surprise 40th birthday kayaking trip this weekend, so it has been just me and Cassafrass. Since I couldn't ride with my team, I brought her with me to the gym yesterday and took spin class, then rushed to the pool. I stayed until I did 1600 meters. After that we spent the rest of the day at the Zoo... we both slept well last night.

Today we've been running errands, etc... not much else but that and laundry. Cass wants to ride her bike later, so we'll probably do that, at the least. :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

I'm a 62 Percenter!

Wow! I received several very nice donations for my MS150 effort today -- thanks a million! I am now at 62% of my goal... just need $385 more to reach it.

If you'd like to help me reach my goal, please click here... every penny counts!

Thanks again!

As for the weekend, we surprised Darren with a kayak adventure trip for his 40th birthday. So, that leaves me and Cass-a-frass alone for the weekend. I'm not sure yet what we'll do, but I'm going to hit the gym for spin and swim in the morning. I might even go tonight... I don't know yet.

Eh... that's it for now.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Peace ∙ Love ∙ Tri

This is one for the wish list. :)

In Humor Comes Truth :)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What??? Wednesday Swimming? Yep!

So I just got back from the gym... I swam today! I modified the week 1 workout... just added a round or two of everything, just to get more time in the water. 850 yards, yo!

Swam 100 yards, and then rest for 12 breaths.
Repeated 4 times. (400 yrds total)

Swam swim 50 yards, and then rest for 8 breaths.
Repeated 6 times. (300 yrds total)

Next, they swim 25 yards, and then rest for 4 breaths.
Repeated 6 times. (150 yrds total)

But then I had a stroke of luck... no pun intended.

There was this swim coach there, teaching this young boy to swim. We got to talking a bit.... she's been a swimmer all her life. She can "coach" for $20 / 30 minutes. I found out she travels for swim events, does both duathlons and triathlons, etc. Just did some shore-to-shore swim in the Chesapeake. Anyway, she' said she'd love to help me. She also said that for someone who was self-taught, that I'm "not bad at all.". She thinks just a couple sessions could tweak me enough for improvement. It's kinda motivating, you know?

Fab Food Find: Current Love; Kefir Cheese

Okay, true, it's all fat and protein -- but it's still better than butter.

That said, I do love buttah.... I come from a long line of European buttah and cream lovers. :) Mmmm, buttah.

Mom was on the Perricone diet and that was my first introduction to Kefir. Kefir has naturally occurring probitoics which are good for your tummy (and evidently all the range right now) I used to drink the Lifeway brand and make a shake with Kefir, flax seed and Acaii. Pretty tasty too! When I saw the cheese I realized it could be a good substitute for cream cheese.

So long story short, this Kefir Cheese is my new favorite thing. I make one of my fruit compotes* (with cherries, blueberries, strawberries or cranberries work too) and I mix a tablespoon of the fruit with a 2 a heaping tablespoon of the cheese -- then I spread it on a toasted whole wheat or Ezekiel Bread English Muffin. Mmmmmmm!

It has a light cream cheese consistency. I've even mixed a packet of splenda with the 2 tablespoons and some cinnamon... that's yummy too. I've mixed some with pesto and hummus, individually, and it's made a tasty dip for those "Food Should Taste Good" Chips.

What I didn't know that this Kefir Chese aka "Lebni" is traditionally eaten with dried fruits -- so I was on the right track:

From the Greek Gods Website:

"Lebni or Kefir Cheese is food rich in tradition and custom, enjoyed for centuries throughout the old world. Once again, The Greek Gods bring another traditional delicacy to your table. Our Lebni is thick and creamy, includes cultures and probiotics and is made with Grade A milk and all natural ingredients. A staple of every Mediterranean and Middle Eastern meal, Lebni can be eaten the traditional way, by drizzling olive oil over it and dried mint, and scooping it with pita bread, Add spices to make it a great dip for chips and vegetables, or utilize it as a healthier alternative to sour cream. The possibilities are endless."

*My compote is just taking your berries and adding 1 Tablespoon of orange juice for every pint (or so) of berries and letting it simmer. It will look like it's not enough OJ, but it is! The OJ helps thicken the juice from the berries as they cook down. You then add a touch of vanilla extract and favorite low cal sweetener to taste. Fresh berries work best. Frozen berries don't seem to get as thick, but it still tastes great!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fab Food Find: PureVia

Since being diagnosed with Hypothyroidism I've been reading a lot about Endocrin distruptors. I'm a huge Splenda (Sucralose) user and unfortunately, it's not good for me -- it's a disruptor.

I've tried all different kinds of natural sweeteners, like Stevia and Xylitol, but I can't stand the taste of them. Once company makes Xylitol Plus, which is a combination of Xylitol w/Stevia which turns out to be palatable.

I ran across PureVia at the local grocery store and decided to try it. It comes in 40 and 80 count boxes. Some warehouse stores carry it in even larger quantity. A Sam's Club in my area carries it, so I hope to score some this week.

The biggest thing I use my sweetener in is my coffee. I have to say I was really pleased with the taste and no dirty aftertaste! My secondary use is in my yogurt, and it's super good there too!

The main sweetening ingredient in PureVia is "Reb A". Reb A is the extraction of the sweetest part of the Stevia plant. They blend it with erythritol and isomaltulose. Erythritol is found in some fruits and isomaltulose in honey/sugar cane.

I checked out their FAQ page, and could not find whether or not this product is certified Organic, so I question the sources of erytritol and isolatulose still. I submitted a question and hope they'll answer.

Unlike other sugar substitutes and almost all sugar alcohols, this doesn't give me any gastric upset, and let's be clear, it doesn't make me *toot* either. :) Tastes good. No tooting.. that's a winner for me. :) So far I like it... of course I worry that down the road it will kill me too, along with the host of other sugar substitutes I've tried in my lifetime.

For now I'll enjoy it. :) Give it a try!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Swimming

Today I completed the Week 1 Swimming traning plan Leslie gave me. I was pretty surprised I did okay... or should I say, I got through it. I wasn't a rock-star or anything, but I did get through it. I will try to get this in a couple more times this week, and start week 2 next Sunday. :)

Week One Workout:
For week one, the swimmer swims a total of 700 yards. (I did 750)

To begin, they swim 100 yards, and then rest for 12 breaths.
Repeat this three times. (400 yrds total)

Next, they swim 50 yards, and then rest for 8 breaths.
Repeat this three times. (200 yrds total)

Next, they swim 25 yards, and then rest for 4 breaths.
Repeat this three (4) times. (150 yrds total)