Pumped-Up Summer Yogurt

Well I wrote this post earlier so a few things have changed……..Like the Madison Marathon has been cancelled so now we’re doing the Med City Marathon! I’m doing the full and Elysia is still doing the half so we’ll let you know how it goes! We did the half last year and enjoyed it and are looking forward to running together again. Unfortunately we won’t get to go to the Green Owl Cafe (which I talk about further down) but we’ll get there next time we go to Madison!

Guess what’s coming up in two days! The Madison Marathon! Yep. It’s time again for another 26.2 for me and 13.1 for Elysia. This is marathon 4 for me and I’m as apprehensive as ever going into it because I’ve lately been having some knee issues so I’m pretty nervous that it will take me out of the race early-on. I’m going to use Rock Tape to increase circulation to the area to helpfully provide relief and get me through! I’ve also been icing and biking, trying to give it a little extra help. It’s actually the back of my knee that hurts so I’m not entirely sure what it is from so if any of you know, tell me! Because of this, I have no time goal going into the marathon; my only goal is to finish, unless that means injuring myself further.

I’ve heard good things about the Madison Marathon and Elysia and I will be sure to report back our thoughts on the race itself and on how we each did, just like we did with Omaha and Mankato. Have any of you or anyone you know run Madison?

While there, we hope to check out the Green Owl Café as well, because it’s an all-vegetarian restaurant and you know we like to eat! Unfortunately they’ll only be open until 2 that day, but hopefully we can make it. Does anyone else have any suggestions of places that we can go while there? We’ve been there several times but have yet to really try anything.

With the marathon coming up, I’ve been trying to hydrate like crazy and eat things that will prepare my body for the endurance that it will need on Sunday. Other than drinking a lot of fluid, you can also hydrate by eating foods with a higher water ratio. Because of this, and because it’s delicious, I bought a watermelon the other day at a local co-op to snack on. Not only does watermelon provide hydration, it also contains lycopene (the popular carotenoid famous in tomatoes), aka cancer-fighting antioxidant properties. It’s great for fighting inflammation too!

While watermelon is delicious on its own, I decided to amp up the flavor of my morning yogurt with this treat. Combing the yogurt with tofu, watermelon and protein powder gave me a great start to my day, along with the addition of chia seeds. For this recipe I used Vanilla Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein Powder as I’ve found that I enjoy it the most out of powders I’ve tried.

Powered-Up Summer Yogurt
[Serves 1]

  • 154 grams Watermelon (a little over 1 cup)
  • 3 oz./one serving Mori-Nu Silken Lite Tofu
  • ½ cup Unsweetened Plain Soy Yogurt (or your favorite alternative)
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Powder, Paste or extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • Splash of orange juice or lemon juice (or to taste/optional)
  • ½ banana, frozen (optional)
  • ½ scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  • Stevia, to taste (I didn’t use much but it depends on how sweet your watermelon is)

– Combine ingredients up to the banana (not including it) in a food processor and blend until smooth (the chia seeds did not blend but it created a tapioca-like effect). Let sit for a couple of hours or overnight for a thicker texture. I left mine in my food processor and put it in the fridge overnight.

– Right before you eat it, blend in the banana and protein powder and add sweetener, if desired.

– Stir in more chopped banana or some Ezekiel Flax Cereal for added texture and taste!

Do you have any Spring marathons or events planned?

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Lack of Motivation and Tropical Tapioca Parfait

Lack of motivation can be a real problem when it comes to staying fit and healthy.  Recently I have been going through a motivational slump as I’m sure quite of you have experienced before as well.  For those of you who have battled the calling of your couch, or as in my case futon, you know how difficult this can be to overcome.  So what the heck should you do when you meet this barrier?! The worst possible thing you could do is give up completely.  I really enjoy this quote I stumbled across on Pinterest:

This is so true.  Just because you had a bad day/week/month does NOT mean that it is too late to get back on track!  I hate it when I hear people say “oh well, I already ruined my diet for the day so I might as well eat this too.”  I have been guilty of having this thought before and ever time it pops into my head I just want to kick myself!  Unless you are one and a half feet in the grave it is never too late.  Scratch that, unless you are dead it is never ever too late!

While that is true, I still have not answered the question I posed in the beginning of this post about what to do if you simply cannot get through a slump.  For everyone this answer is different.  For me it took the shock of a TV special on CNBC to get my rear in gear.  Last night was the premier of “Fat & Fatter.”  This broadcast followed two ladies in their 20s as they were scared straight in terms of their health and weight.  To summarize, they lived with a morbidly obese Mississippi family for one week and were forced to follow their eating habits.  During this week they sat by as the family ate their way to the grave.  Literally over half of their relatives that passed away did so because of their unregulated diabetes.  For those of you who do not know, Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented through proper nutrition and physical activity.  In some cases it can even be reversed if the right steps are followed.  The unwillingness to take those steps is what makes Type 2 Diabetes the poster disease of America.

While the ladies were in Mississippi they also visited the nearby hospital to meet a woman undergoing kidney dialysis 3 times a week for 4 hours because she let her diabetes take over her life.  To make a long story short, this woman along with the overweight family motivated the two young ladies to take hold of their lives before they become destined to reach the same fate.

This show really put things into context for me.  No, I am not an overweight individual but if I let my lack of motivation continue I very well could become one.  One key point that I took away from this special was this; wanting to look good on the outside for a guy or to keep up with your friends, or even just to look good for yourself is not enough.  Let health be your motivator.  Think of your body and how hard it must work if you are constantly feeding it the wrong food and letting it simply lie on the couch as your life passes by.  Rather then competing with the model or actress on the front cover of Vogue, compete with the healthy heart and the undamaged kidney on the cover of the Dietitian’s Journal. In the end THIS is what matters the most when you are 90 years old and still walking around with your head held high.

So whether it takes a TV episode about a dying family or a literal push from your sister or mom, find something to motivate you.  Respect your body and let that motivation propel you to a happier, healthier you.

All right, on to the recipe!  Since I have you all inspired to live a healthy lifestyle now, I’m going to give you a recipe for a healthy dessert when you just hhhaavee to have something sweet :).

Tropical Tapioca Parfait

  • 2 Tbs Tapioca Pearls
  • ¼ + 2 Tbs Almond Milk
  • ¼+ tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ Tbs Stevia in the Raw (Powder Version)
  • ½ cup Mashed Strawberries + ½ cup chopped
  • ½ cup Mashed Banana
  • ¼ cup Toasted Chopped Hazelnuts
  • ½ tsp Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup Coconut Flakes
  • ½ cup Pre-soaked Chia (1:6 ratio with Almond Milk)
  • 1 Tbs. Agave or Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Silken Tofu
  • Soy Whip or Coconut Whip Cream

Soak the tapioca overnight then cook it according to the package.

While the tapioca cooks (keep a close eye it!) mash the ½ cup strawberries and banana together along with 1 Tbs of Stevia and set aside.  Place the coconut flakes in a food processor and pulse until it gets to the point where it is just about to turn into coconut butter, it should form little balls.

After the tapioca has cooked for one hour slowly stir in the mashed fruit, salt, coconut oil, and coconut flakes then raise the heat to medium for about 15 minutes.  Stir the mixture often; it will thicken up quite a bit.  As it thickens more (about 10 min) remove the cover and stir constantly for the last 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat but keep the pot on the burner for two minutes and continue to stir.  Remove from heat and let it cool almost completely, stirring every once in a while.  Once cool enough add the remaining ½ Tbs of Stevia and place it in the refrigerator until chilled.

While you are waiting on the tapioca mixture combine the pre-soaked chia with the silken tofu and agave.

After the tapioca has cooled completely it is time to assemble! Feel free to get creative and layer how you see fit =) I mixed it up with every parfait.

This is the tapioca I used.  If you would like a greater tapioca to fruit ratio feel free to make your parfait with more tapioca! All you need to do is follow the directions with a 1:5 ratio of tapioca:milk.

Before and after when the pearls were done soaking, how cute :).

Mash the bananas and strawberries together well so there are few chunks left.

This is what the coconut will look like when it is to the right consistency.

Now comes the fun part, assembly!  Originally I did not have the tofu/chia layer but decided that it needed a little more variation.  Charis gave me the idea for the tofu :).  The purple stuff is the tapioca!

You really can’t go wrong when layering the parfait.  I found that it looked best with the strawberries on the bottom then a layer of the chia/tofu and so on.

Tada! The finished product!  To be completely honest, I ended up melting a little bit of dark chocolate and pouring it over the top layer of whip cream=delicious!

I really hope that I motivated you to take control of your health and well-being, if you have any questions about nutritional or fitness strategies feel free to ask.  We are always more than willing to help!

How do you stay motivated??