Fueling for the New Year and Beyond

I found myself typing this out in the last few hours of 2020, the week had been a whirlwind. For all the hard moments of the past year there have also been the best, as a new mom of a now 9 month old and learning how to navigate this sweeter yet harder version of life. Now we are here at the beginning of 2021 and things seem different, but they don’t, you know what I mean? We see hope, but there is hesitancy. We have dreams, alongside drinking a nice long sip of reality. One of my favorite parts of entering a new year is resolutions, as in I don’t take myself too seriously but I love chasing a new goal or setting a number of books I hope to read, if it doesn’t happen I am not crushed but it is a fun way to track through the year. I also love the wellness arena (you probably already guessed that) and so this year I thought one of those goals could be to simply focus a few more of my blogs in that space, maybe just maybe. So here’s a little intro into what could focus more specifically on through the next 365 days.

Food. More specifically: breakfast.

Maybe I should put a trigger warning right there. We are just coming out of the holiday season when, for people of all shapes and sizes and wellness, we think about food just a little extra. For me, someone who has dealt with eating disorders (you can go back and read a little bit of my journey with Over-exercise and Orthorexia in previous blog posts), it already makes you feel the slightest tinge of discomfort. That’s okay. If you can keep reading I hope this encourages you, if you aren’t there yet let me say this: just keep doing the work. Surrender to the Lord, find a nutritionist and therapist, have a great support team around you. You are beautiful, made intricately unique and perfectly you, keep going.

So here we are in a new year, some people are creating both inwardly and outwardly goals towards health and some are just trying to get back “on track” from the reality of the holiday season and the copious amounts of sugar available to us. Let’s think about this though: maybe we all do need a reset? I am a firm believer of taking periodic accounts of the present and taking moments to reset. Absolutely not in an exercise 5 hours a day and restrict calories or food groups kind of way, that is never going to be the answer, but if you need to lose or gain weight there is more than just a calorie surplus or deficit, and for people that just want to detox it’s more than just two days of vegetable juice. So how can we all take a moment to reset and keep in normal rhythms?

So this brings us to breakfast! It’s the way we start the day, it’s the way we give our body the energy and nutrition to live life on purpose, and it helps kick start our metabolism to keep our bodily systems healthy. I could break out each of those three into separate blog posts, but that’s for another day (if you do want specific coaching I am a certified nutrition coach so feel free to reach out via my contact form). Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring if you want to healthy, but sometimes it does need to be quick. For many of you it is probably a combination of both. So here are three suggestions for ways to fuel your day, that are not only healthy but compatible to whatever lifestyle you have!

  1. Grab a cookbook and challenge yourself to create a new breakfast once a week or once a month.
  • The Runners Kitchen by Emma Coburn – this was just released at the end of 2020. Emma is a professional runner in Colorado who has long done food stories and posts on the side. She has come up with some healthy and colorful dishes!
  • Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. by Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan – this cookbook was the sequel to their first Run Fast. Eat Slow. these recipes are all delicious full of Whole Foods that can fit any nutrition plan. They are flexible not overly time consuming and well-balanced.
  • Search the Internet for what you might be looking for specifically. Remember a consistent effort to include all food groups with whole foods is what you are aiming for.

2. You can never go wrong with the basics. Here is a general look at what a well rounded plate has to offer:

  • A carbohydrate – whether it’s a piece of whole grain toast w/ your favorite jam, half a bagel w/ a nut butter, or granola for a nutritious yogurt parfait your body needs carbohydrates for energy. Don’t leave these guys out!
  • A protein – breakfast has so many options here but eggs are probably the fan favorite! Try an egg scramble and throw in a few veggies (spinach, pepper, etc) for an extra kick of nutrition – OR – a healthy serving of greek yogurt added to the granola above. If you want to skip the hearty bacon, turkey bacon, chicken sausage or Canadian bacon are all other ways to get some protein into your morning. Vegan/Vegetarian? Chickpeas, quinoa, and chia are all great sources of protein.
  • Fruits – fruits aren’t always what they appear. Try to make sure you have different fruit options around the house. While we love bananas, snacking on them throughout the day isn’t a great idea so we keep some berries on hand as well. Add them to your parfait, slice up a banana for your nut butter toast, or just make a quick fruit mix in a bowl.

3. Some healthy grab and go options!

  • Rx AM Oats – I’ve always been a big oatmeal fan and RxBar has long been a staple for training because of their dense bars with whole ingredients. The Oats are no different, they give you protein, healthy fats, and a nice portion of carbohydrates all with clean ingredients to jump start your day! Chocolate and Maple are my favorite flavors but you can pick from four. Just add the suggested amount of hot water, let it sit for 2 minutes and you are on our way.
  • Premake some breakfast muffins – while I don’t recommend an extra large double chocolate muffin to start your every day, popping some muffins that have a great mix of clean carbs, fruits, and even some hidden vegetables are great way to get you out the door. Try this recipe.
  • Here is another idea that takes a little bit of prep but allows you to quickly get out the door in the morning. Egg muffins are higher in protein and low in carbs so be careful to make this your sole breakfast depending on your own health goals. You can pretty much add whatever ingredients you please, but they are best with some bacon or sausage, cheese, and chopped veggies.

So welcome to 2021, welcome to fresh starts. I hope this helps you wake up well in the morning and get an energizing start to your day! If you have any other ideas or thoughts on the suggestions above I’d love to hear them in the comments 🙂

Jordan

Facing Anxiety in New Seasons

I wasn’t expecting it, I had been going to therapy, talking through everything I had swirling in my mind and it still punched me in the gut, hard.

Anxiety wasn’t unfamiliar, but unexpected in this new season, especially past the first trimester. I kept my pregnancy completely under wraps through the first trimester, two years ago I could barely keep myself alive so I highly doubted I could keep another human alive.

But the first trimester came and went and everything looked great, but the anxiety never left the scene. Into my 16th week, with all positive doctors reports and I still felt like I was walking on eggshells. Every time I got too hot, the car breaks slammed too hard, or I felt off I would panic. I could think logically, but it never clicked. Most of the time I combatted it with keeping myself busy with anything that I felt would keep me safe.

Why couldn’t I let go? Why couldn’t I just enjoy this season? It was defeating and isolating. BUT I knew freedom was possible despite what the enemy wanted to keep me trapped in.

So everyday I started in quiet instead of letting the days agenda start raging. Digging up all the lies and worry taking up space in my mind, taking those thoughts captive and replacing them with gratitude and hope in the future. Slowly, slowly the narrative is beginning to change. It’s only been 10 days since I started working so specifically on these moments, but every day is a little bit calmer, a little less stressful, and nothing seems quite as overwhelming.

I believe it’s the same for all of us. How often do we truly start the day in complete silence? Phones still away, no one else communicating with you yet, not attempting to conquer a workout, or be inspired by a podcast or new playlist? In today’s culture is it really possible?

Yes, and it’s necessary. AND it’s possible because God is bigger.

Put the phone down, keep the kids (or dogs) in bed for just a few minutes longer, create the boundary around that space. And work intentionally on turning every fear, lie, and overwhelming thought into something glorifying to the Lord.

Because of Him we can have hope in the future. Because of Him we can be free.

It starts with Day 1 and it may never fully feel like it goes away, but just keep pushing friend. We are in this together, and He has got you!

Traversing the Unknown

I can’t go into this without thanking everyone who has walked through any period of these years with us, and to everyone who has supported us through it all.

There really aren’t words to truly put this season and past two years into words. It’s definitely not the way I expected life to go when Jon and I said “I Do” just a little over four years ago. If you have known me for any period of time over the past two years you know that my body has been through a roller coaster of marathon training, exercise and eating disorder, recovery, balance, stress, job shifts, and lots of unknown. I’ve suffered through the Female Athlete Triad (I have a blog post about this back in 2017), and it’s taken my body (in every way) a long time to readjust even after the weight came back on and I was able to gain control of exercise.

This all came to a climax when my doctor suggested surgery back in early March. After never having been under anesthesia, there was a slight fear of what they might find but we proceeded knowing it might be the only way we could keep moving forward. So, in the middle of April that surgery happened, and after a recovery that went sideways with infection and the discovery of dangerously low iron, I felt hopeless. While my iron levels improved, there was another deficiency that was wreaking havoc on my body, all the while my body still wasn’t cooperating the way it should in other areas. 

In June, I was having bunch of sensory issues along with a sinus infection that just seemed annoying. I was tired of fighting, I went in for another round of blood work not actually expecting them to find anything, assuming it would be more of the same just getting through the days. God wasn’t scared of this challenge though, and much to my surprise the test results DID show something. While my iron had improved and maintained, there was another vitamin at play in the realm of anemia – vitamin B. Specifically for me: Vitamin B12, completely explaining the sensory issue since this vitamin plays to the health of your neurological system. So, we started on Vitamin B12 shots and a regular supplement. They also started me on an antibiotic for the pesky sinus infection, and then another, and then another. At this point I was pretty sure I just needed to go under surgery again and just get my sinuses flushed, but something was just still off in general. 

When I went to pick up my third prescription, they asked me point blank: “are you pregnant? You can’t take this if you are” I told them it was near impossible, but that I would grab a test and make sure before I started the medicine, that sounded good enough for them, I guess. So, I went home took the test: negative. Pretty much what I expected knowing what my body had been through (and not been through). 13 days later I had finished my prescription, my sinus infection wasn’t going away, and my constant body changes left me depleted and I lost it. Puddle on the floor. In that moment, something told me to just take the second test that came with the one I had taken two weeks before. Positive. I freaked, no one thought this was possible and I DEFINITELY couldn’t believe it was real. So, I went out and grabbed two more tests: both clearly positive. Unfortunately, I was headed out of town for four days and couldn’t get a next day appointment with my doctor to confirm. We ended up having to wait a week and change to see my doctor, despite the fact I have had to be there WAY too much they know me and my story and were thrilled to see that we might be expecting, and even more so when it was confirmed. 

You might be thinking at this point: well how far along were you. That’s a good question. We don’t actually know for sure. Through blood work and ultrasounds, we suspect I’m right at 14 weeks, with an anticipated deliver somewhere between mid to late March of 2020. Honestly, I was so in shock and so SICK it has been hard for me to get excited, but I am finally almost there! Having my hormones go from one extreme to the other over a period of weeks has also been REALLY challenging on me mentally and emotionally. Jon has been one incredible man through it all and of course he got excited right off the bat, naturally, which has helped me through some of the toughest days! 

At 11-12 weeks we were excited to hear a strong heartbeat and can’t wait for this next phase of finding out the gender. While we could have found out these past couple weeks, with our travel schedules (Los Angeles, Orlando, South Carolina in consecutive weeks), and a huge event I’m helping plan on October 5th I just decided to wait until our 16-week appointment (yes I, because Jon would have been there two weeks ago). 

So, I tell that story also to say this: God is in the business of displaying his perfect and God sized plan and he literally will do whatever he wants whenever he wants no matter what the circumstances might look like. Oh, you also might be wondering about our adoption plan!! We still plan to, our timeline just looks different now, because God is orchestrating our steps in a slightly different way. Our hearts aren’t any less towards adopting one day SOON! In all honesty, it’s pulled at my heart strings even more so. 

You also may be wondering about running. Every day I can be out there running I am so grateful. Right now, it’s a good bit slower and shorter, but if I can get 3-5 miles in, I am a happy camper. I’m hoping to increase the mileage slightly as the weather cools down in Atlanta, with a goal of doing a 10K each month leading up to delivery. I am of course expecting the Lord to change some of that thinking, but I would love to maintain my running for as long as possible. I will absolutely do some consistent blog posts about it during these next six months so give me a follow if you want to be notified about those! 

If you want to know any more about our story these two years, I would be happy to talk with you via email (Jordan@fuelingherforward) or face to face! 

For now, cheers to a new season, and thank you Jesus for your unfailing love and sovereignty 

Until next week friends (when I finish recapping LA and hit Food & Wine at Disney),

Jordan

Re-grounding Your Mornings and Enjoying the Early…

There have been 12308203 posts about good morning routines that help get your day off to a great start. BUT so often I hear the excuse that there isn’t enough drive to pull yourself out of bed early enough to set yourself up for success. I dare to say that it’s not so much about forming habits as it is finding the underlying foundation of why mornings can be so tumultuous. Maybe you’ve let the people around us convince you and I that in today’s “busyness” sleeping in and not worrying about the way you start your day is more acceptable than actually enjoying mornings. I hear so many people skipping out on breakfast or drinking 4 cups of coffee before they can even function. But is that really how we were created to live? Is that really thriving? Or have we let the cultural norm become too loud.

Several months ago I dug deep about how I was spending my mornings and why I still felt stressed even though I had exercised. Case in point it had an awful lot to do with cramming as much as possible in as little time as possible so you start the day and using food and coffee as the plug to keep me going. So I did a reset and here are a few things I have found in re-grounding your mornings:

  1. Find something that excites you in a morning routine. One of the things I have found that I enjoy about my mornings is a fresh cup of coffee and a really great book. So instead of snoozing my alarm and dreading putting my feet on the cold floor, I’m excited to dive into the next page of adventure without being to quick paced quite yet.
  2. Then set your alarm earlier. Instead of feeling like I am rushing to get everything crammed in before work I set my alarm 15 minutes earlier so that I can take it slow without being stressed before I ever step out the door.
  3. Get to sleep 1/2 hour earlier. When Jon and I first got married he did not understand why I preferred to be in bed between 8-9. While that doesn’t always happen, when it can I let it because it sets me up to achieve whatever goals I have for the next day or week.
  4. Fuel yourself well. Don’t get up and cram a bunch of white sugar in your face. It might give you a momentary high, but it will make you drag later in the day. Rather grab a piece of fruit, some nut butter and maybe one piece of toast (hold the jam), or if you have time scramble up some eggs. How you fuel yourself before and after you workout matters!
  5. Set goals! Goal setting is part of who I am, but I realize it’s not intuitive for everyone. However, having something to look forward to isn’t going to hurt you becoming consistent. I have long term and short term goals. Long term I having the next full marathon after almost three months. Short term I have an ideal weight I want to be which is why I am incorporating Whole30 in this season

All this to say I love the really practical steps that many other blogs provide. Drink a glass of water, practice gratitude, etc. They are all so helpful and I incorporate these little details almost every day, however, the first step is getting to the foundation of why you feel unmotivated or find it hard to roll out of bed before you can put in place structure. In the past several months most of my mornings are a lot more peaceful and enjoyable because I have reset what they are all about and first and foremost remembering WHO they are all about.

I hope this helps you do just that.

For a Moment I Thought…

Hustling is the cure. But assumptions are often wrong, and so are expectations. When my doctor told me there would be a recovery period of 3-5 days after surgery I took him at his word. Little did I know that 3-5 days was just the beginning, and I allowed it to crush my spirit. After five days when my energy still loomed low and infection had rendered me useless I started to get anxious. I wanted to get back into my normal groove, I was used to being able to machine through and come out on the other side quickly. Shifting expectations and realities can be really challenging, and as I get older I am starting to realize my body won’t bounce back the way it once did.

From Eating Disorders and Anemia, to a schedule that all but nixed rest, I needed a reset. And while I hated the slow rolling of this recovery, it has helped me see my need for slowing down. If it had been three days and I was back to running 10 miles I might have missed it, and the consequences could have been much more severe. However, that doesn’t mean that as I walk in these days 10 weeks later everything is great. It isn’t. My body is still struggling, I am now on B12 shots in a symptom of the Anemia we had tried to treat with Iron alone, my B12 was unable to maintain levels, thus dropping to a critical level. Explaining

You see I am learning more and more about the way that dominoes fall. Most of the time it’s not a one size fits all recovery. There are steps and those steps lead to this or that which leads to more of this or more of that, and if at any moment you don’t listen to your body it might take you down a different set of tracks all together. Life isn’t always fixed easily or conveniently. The Lord loves us enough to give us to allow these circumstances and choices to wave in front of us so that we learn more about our dependence on Him and how He sustains and strengthens us in the valley.

So I am writing this and I don’t feel great, but I know who has given me this day so instead of trying to scramble my way to something better I am going to sit in the fact that the Great Sustainer is giving me exactly what I need and drawing me closer to Himself if I just surrender my desperate desire of control over these circumstances.

A new season is beginning for me this week and the choices I make in the days to come will dictate a lot of how that looks, but for now I am taking the moments a little slower and a little more analytical. The Hustle has it’s place, but there can also be rest in hard work and the slowing down.

Choose wisely friends!

Jordan

Healing Low Iron… And the Smoothie I’m obsessed With

A couple weeks ago I had a small procedure that went completely fine, but what it led to finding has let me on in some crucial info about my body in the past couple weeks. I’ve heard the word “Anemia” since before I can remember, as an endurance athlete both in the swimming realm and running realm vitamin and mineral deficiencies were something we were made aware of young. However, the research has only gotten deeper and more involved the older I get and the more technology plays such a major role.

At my post-op appointment two days later I was weak, like really weak, and really pale – it was not my best look. My doc went ahead and took my blood work again. It was ugly. Not only was I below normal for both Hemoglobin and Hematocrit I was VERY low. I felt like I didn’t know myself, everything felt foreign.  I had lost some blood in surgery, but this went deeper than surgery there was more at play.

The last time I had my Iron checked was in the fall of 2018, not so long ago. My training had decreased and I was just pressing through at the minimum through the end of the year. At that point my levels were in the normal range, maybe a little low for a woman of my age and physical health, but normal. SO what changed in 6-7 months??? And how do I get myself back to healthy???

PAYING ATTENTION TO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRAINING + NUTRITION

At the beginning of 2019 I found my zeal for running again, while January and February were slow on the race calendar the craziness that March would bring led me to pick up intensity fast. Simultaneously, I was staying really lean in the animal protein department – I was eating almost NO red meat, even though poultry was still a regular part of my diet, the foods that I ate to make up for it were not rich in that vital nutrient.

So my training increased so my need increased but level of intake stayed the same leading to a negative outcome, and that outcome was huge when it came to my recovery after this procedure.

But, I’m also really glad it came to light, it’s helped me change somethings in my diet and be more in tune to my body in general. And I don’t think I’m alone in the endurance athlete realm who is growing in this awareness and knowledge every day!

As someone who has a Nutrition Certification I am a firm believer in a well-rounded diet. We need protein, fats, and carbohydrates to keep our body functioning at our best. I know some people don’t eat animal protein, but you HAVE to find other ways to get those nutrients. Likewise, people who believe a low-carb diet is best, please make sure to give yourself at least an adequate amount of carbs – regardless of what anyone says you need them in moderation.

All that to say here are a few things I have implemented in my diet to help increase my iron and overall health in general as well as one of my favorite new recipes below!

*Disclaimer: moderation is always key, and these are not long term solutions, but temporary changes to get the most effective results 

DON’TS

  • Limit dairy + calcium rich foods. While you need calcium for strong bones it’s also a big iron inhibitor
  • Limit corn. I am popcorn’s #1 fan, but I also love some corn tortilla chips & guac, not the best idea to go hard when you are wanting optimum iron absorption.
  • Stay clear of gluten. While this normal for me research emphasis staying clear of sugary starches and eat those natural carbohydrates like brown rice and potatoes.
  • No Caffeine! Gosh I was already feeling terrible, but the compounding caffeine headache for three days was not my best life.

DO’Sa

  • Eat animal protein including red meat. Right now I’m keeping mixed between red meat and poultry, but making sure that at least one meal has this as well as at least one meal has eggs (yes the yolks). 
  • If you are a vegetarian eat all the beans! 
  • Get those dark leafy greens. From salads, to sautĂ©ing it up with some of protein and carbs, to throwing it in a smoothie it’s essential to get these in your diet. 
  • Flax seed + Chia Seed + Hemp Seeds. The nutritional benefits of these have been researched time and time again, but they are also great for getting those micronutrients you need. I throw the mix in smoothies, peanut butter w/ fruit, and pretty much anything else. 

If you are an endurance athlete, make sure to get your Iron levels tested regularly so you don’t fall prey to the same thing I did. As always ask the doc before taking any actual supplements, too much Iron can be a bad thing. 

Knowing that I needed extra nutrients and was struggling for creativity I found a way to mix it altogether in a delicious way that helps fuel my body with everything it needs.

Jordan’s Iron Absorption Smoothie 

-1/2 cup of OJ (vitamin C for iron absorption)

-1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk (for texture and flavor)

-1/2 banana

-1 cup of frozen berries

-2 handfuls of spinach + Kale mix (iron rich)

-1 heaping TBSP of hemp seed + flax seed + chia seed mixture (all the micronutrients)

Blend it altogether and enjoy!

 

urger, but because of the cholesterol and fat I had limited it pretty severely. So right now I am