Moist Blueberry-Banana-Coconut Muffins (Gluten-Free)

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Soon, I will be moving out of my apartment, and leaving DC, so I need to finish all the food I currently have. Realizing I had an entire container full of coconut flour, I knew a baking session was in order. Coconut flour is a little difficult to cook with, compared to the more common pastry flours, but it is grain free, high in protein, full of fiber, and just plain yummy, which is why I like it to use it. Today, I made blueberry-banana muffins, and they actually turned out REALLY good. These muffins are so moist and soft, and lightly sweet. I honestly have to hide the container from myself to stop me from eating all of them. Fortunately, they are healthy and low in calories! Thank you Natalie Garrett from the Hairpin.com for introducing me to these wonderful, addicting muffins!!

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Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 3 tbl olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used 2% plain greek yogurt instead. Cow’s milk, almond milk or yogurt will work!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

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Check out the instructions at Hairpin.com to learn how to make them!

Alika

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Thanksgiving Pies and other Updates

The school year is almost over, and finals week is in full swing. But I just returned back to DC after spending Thanksgiving with family. I had the most wonderful, relaxing time, filled with food and family. This year, my family hosted Thanksgiving lunch, and we all decided to help cook in some way. I took charge of the pies, and managed to find a recipe that was both tasty and healthy!! It’s so hard to find a healthy pie recipe that pleases everyone, but I think for the most part, my family enjoyed it. Thanks to the Gracious Pantry, we saved a ton of calories (without sacrificing taste) this Thanksgiving!

I tried both The Gracious Pantry’s Clean Eating Pecan Pie and Clean Eating Apple Pie. Personally, I think the Pecan Pie turned out better than the apple pie; however, since there are SO many different flavors that you can make apple pie (based on which apples you use), I don’t think I can fairly evaluate her Apple pie recipe. I used about 3/4 cups of honey in the Pecan Pie, but it could have been sweeter. Nevertheless, it tasted great. I used green apples in the Apple pie, and I think it turned out a bit too tart for my taste, so I recommend using a sweeter apple (perhaps Honeycrisp?). Finally, instead of making pie crust from scratch, I bought premade whole wheat crust from Whole Foods. Unfortunately, the crust was too dry, and crumbled too much. I recommend choosing a more buttery brand for a better tasting pie. Overall, the pies still tasted GREAT.. Try the recipes out!

Over Thanksgiving break, I had the chance to do some “fitness testing” and see how far I was from reaching my fitness goals. Officially, I can do 34 push-ups in a row. That’s ONE push-up away from my semester goals. I tried really hard to get to 35, but I could barely push myself up by the last two, and I really didn’t want to half-ass #35. Hopefully, by December 31, I will be able to easily get there. I also did a 1 mile run test, and managed to shave off about roughly 45 seconds from my time that I ran in September. It’s not a super significant accomplishment, but considering the fact that I don’t run too often, I thought it was pretty good.

I am still squatting about 115 lbs (including the bar). I haven’t really increased the weight, because I have been focusing on form and reps more. I realized I wasn’t squatting fully, so this past semester has been a quest to get down as low as possible. I don’t expect myself to increase the weight anytime soon.

My brother has a removable pull-up bar in the doorway to his bedroom, and so whenever I go home, he challenges me to a pull-up. Unfortunately, I still cannot complete a full pull-up…but I CAN do a CHIN-UP!!! A chin-up relies a lot more on bicep power, so it’s a little easier than a pull-up; however, the fact that I can even pull myself up more than once, says a lot about my progress.

How was your Thanksgiving? Have you seen progress in your fitness goals?

Alika

Run Like you Stole Something!

Now that I’ve gotten past flu and midterms season, I was looking for a way to shake up my workout routine. I ran long distance in high school and, as much as I love lifting, running was always my fitness (and happiness) workout of choice. It can take a toll on your body, but with a little proper training running can be for anyone. Here are my favorite tips for starting and maintaining a running practice to train for long distances!

  • Equipment matters! Buy the best shoes for your body – everyone has different feet and a different gait. I overpronate badly, so I have to wear stability shoes. Go to a running store and get outfitted – professional expertise is well worth the few extra dollars on shoes! On that note – keep them maintained! Shoes should be replaced an average of 400-600 miles, and especially when the midsole starts to wear out. Take care of your body!
  • SOCKS. This was my coach’s favorite piece of advice. Good running socks matter almost as much as shoes.
  • Increase mileage slowly. More isn’t always better – try to increase your mileage by no more that 10% per week.
  • Slow and steady does win the race! Interval training is great, but when you’re first starting running you need a mileage base before starting speedwork. Set a goal to run 30-40 minutes without stopping, no matter the speed!
  • Have a mantra. Running is a mental sport – one of the reasons I love it. Whether you tell yourself there are zombies chasing you or every mile you tell yourself “just one more,” that little voice in your head will keep you going.
  • Warm up! You can run a few laps down the driveway first, or just start your run slowly for the first half mile. Going too fast at the beginning of a run can lead to injuries!
  • Eat properly for your body. I can’t eat two hours before I run or I get stomach pains. Eat a light, energy-dense snack an hour or two before you run and see how it affects your energy. Learn what works for you.
  • Make it fun! Run to get your morning coffee, make it a friend-date or use it as a stress-reliever.

Happy running everyone! When’s your next race?

Sarah

Be the Match: Why I registered for the National Marrow Donor Program

Hello Fit Family,

Recently I registered for the Be The Match Registry, a non-profit organization that connects patients diagnosed with blood cancer with volunteers in order to receive necessary transplants. It is one of the largest registries in the world, with 20.5 million potential donors and 590,000 cord blood units worldwide. So why donate bone marrow?

For those who are unfamiliar with blood cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are types of cancer that can affect the bone marrow, blood cells, the lymph nodes, and other parts of the lymphatic system. According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 1 person in the U.S. is diagnosed with blood cancer every four minutes. That is 360 people a day, and roughly 131, 400 people a year, in only the United States! Thankfully, survival rates have increased over the past ten years; however, the survival rate of  leukemia is still below 60 percent. According to Be The Match, 70 percent of all patients who need a transplant don’t have a matched donor in their family (patients are more likely to match someone who shares their ancestry), and so often they turn to the registry to find a match. A patient’s likelihood of finding a match is 66-93 percent, with a lower likelihood for minorities. For example, Asians have a 73 percent likelihood of finding a match, while African Americans or Blacks have a 66 percent likelihood. There simply are not enough registry members with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds.

I decided to register because as a healthy, young person (you must be between the ages of 18 to 44 to donate), of South Asian decent, I could potentially save a life. Though only 1 in 540 members in the US go on to be bone marrow donors,  putting myself on the Be The Match registry gives me hope that we as humans are stronger than cancer, and that someday we will rid our world of the life-threatening disease.

I encourage all of you to consider registering for the National Marrow Donor Program at Be The Match, no matter your ethnicity. If you have questions about the program, don’t hesitate to send me a message or check out the FAQs at Be The Match. 

I leave you with one question: If you had the chance to save someone’s life, would you?

Much Love,

Alika

 

Cheap Workout Clothes!

So I don’t know about you guys, but wearing my best workout clothes always makes me have a better workout. I have recently invested in new gear, and I have seen a noticeable difference in my motivation (mostly because I wanna show off my new clothes!). The tough part is that active clothes can be CRAZY expensive sometimes, and since I am only a college student, buying quality clothes on the cheap is a necessity. Here are some great options for buying new workout clothes at a reasonable price! Hope it helps!

TargetI recommend the C9 Brand!

American Eagle OutfittersOrder a size down from what you would normally buy

TJMaxxThey don’t offer activewear online, but have great options in many sizes in stores

Old NavyOne of the BEST stores for college students

Happy Shopping!

Alika