Wiaw Christmas Edition + Nutrition Nuggets

Hi everyone!

Hope you enjoyed a day or two off.  This was the first year that we didn’t travel for Christmas.  We missed not seeing our families, but also enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home and a few special dinners with friends. I’m linking up again with Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday.

We were all up before 6am yesterday, ready for the day!  I am not usually a happy camper that time of day, but it was a blast to see how excited L was about the day.

We started with our stockings and then lit Advent candles and had our special breakfast: Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls, scrambled eggs and clementines.

Afterwards, we took our time opening gifts and let L play with her new things to drag it out as long as possible.  We saved gifts from both sets of grandparents until we could Skype with them mid-morning.  It was the perfect, laid back morning.

We ate large salads with veggies and tuna and pistachios for lunch, and then all crashed.  I hit my goal of taking a nap on both Christmas eve and Christmas day.  I needed that!

Post naps, we headed to a friend’s house for a Christmas feast: Steak fajitas, 3 kinds of empanadas, shrimp, fresh salsa and guacamole, and grilled jalapenos.  It was delicious!

I took the whole day as a rest day, and enjoyed the special family day.

Nutrition thoughts for the week: (If you have no interest in nutrition theories, feel free to skip the following!

I had time to get some reading done after the little one went to bed, and got through one of my Christmas gifts, It Starts with Food.  It was perfect timing to contrast the raw/vegetarian/macrobiotic dietary theories I’ve been studying, and complements the Paleo for Athletes book I was given to review.

It Starts with Food recommends getting back to nature- vegetables, fruit, meat, nuts and seeds.  As a mostly vegetarian, the book critiqued most of the components of my daily meals (legumes, grains, dairy and of course, sugar).  I feel good and tests have confirmed that my body is healthy, but the arguments were also very convincing.  I could certainly understand pursuing this eating style if you have any grain or dairy sensitivities.  I applaud their push for high quality meat and organic produce, although it is an expensive (and arguably unsustainable) way to eat.

Biochemical Individuality (Williams) discusses the impact of personal differences in anatomy, metabolism, cell structure, etc and the theory of bio-individuality resonates with me.  Obviously, runners and endurance athletes will have slightly different needs than non-runners.  Our bodies can tell us if our food is working or not.  When we are sick or have chronic issues, it may be time to start experimenting.

While there certainly are general nutrition guidelines we should all be able to agree on, I have a hard time with books that assert there is only one way to eat and be healthy. However, I am encouraged by the success stories and cannot deny that It Starts with Food drastically cleans up our diet and has helped many people feel better.

In the new year, I plan to experiment with various theories to determine how my body reacts.  Honestly, I’m even tempted to try this one, although it would definitely have to wait until post-marathon.  And I’ll be reviewing The Paleo Diet for Athletes in the near future as well (with a giveaway).

I don’t plan to draw a lot of conclusions or absolutes in my nutrition thoughts on Wednesdays, but I’ll share some of my findings along the way for those of you who are interested.

Did you have a nice holiday?  Have you settled on a diet that works for you, or do you feel like yours could be improved?

43 thoughts on “Wiaw Christmas Edition + Nutrition Nuggets

  1. This fall I was at my healthiest with my eating. Lots of vegetables, protein and very little treats…I guess it just clicked in my head for once…when I didn’t crave sugar I didn’t eat it and when I did I ate organic plain yogurt with dark chocolate chips, sliced almonds and a tbls of Sunbutter or some other more natural pb …it was great…and like I said I felt great.

    Insert…Christmas cookies…those little things we only bake this time of year…my willpower and months of wonderful eating totally went bye bye…so sad…I became a sugar freak and gave into the crave way more than I should have.

    Today I am ready to get back my mind/body and control….I have 11 months to figure it out this time before the Christmas cookies come around again and this time I will have control. I am determined to feel good again!

    (please share all your thoughts on sugar ~ and any diet/food ideas you read about…thanks!)

  2. Had a great first married Christmas! Aside from asthma, things are wonderful! I think I need a huge diet adjustment too it’s just so hard but gotta stick to a good for me plan! I think changing my diet would help, can’t wait to see what my allergy test says. Glad you had a great holiday!
    Kat recently posted..My lil lungs: an updateMy Profile

  3. Thanks for the cinnamon roll recipe. They were a hit! We enjoyed a laid back holiday with just us as well and loved every bit of it. After overindulging in all the rich holiday foods, the hubs and I will be cleaning up our diet a bit, nothing extreme just laying off sugar for a little bit to try to get our systems back on track. Here’s hoping a don’t turn into a monster!
    Kelly recently posted..Running Hinson LakeMy Profile

  4. I eat similar to you but have cut out gluten and feel so much better. I agree to some extent with the getting back to natural food but like you this is difficult with my diet choices being vegetarian and loving legumes, grains and beans. For me I have been working to cut down on processed foods and it has made me feel so much better 🙂
    Jen recently posted..Weight Training and Women RunnersMy Profile

  5. I actually was looking into all 3 of those books (random)
    Starting Jan 1 I am going to be doing the ultimate reset which is 3 weeks 1st week cut out red meat and dairy, 2nd week down to vegan, 3rd week all fruits and veggies for most part. There is also a cleanse involved starting 2nd week kind of nervous!
    lisa j recently posted..Looking back at 2012…My Profile

  6. Your Christmas sounds lovely, Laura. We had a similar kind of relaxing at home Christmas, including the nap. My husband made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I thought for sure you were out running. I’m glad you had a rest! I am happy with my diet, except I sometimes don’t make enough veggies (for a vegetarian!). I need to exercise a lot more though. 😉
    Joann @ Woman in Real Life recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday, Christmas editionMy Profile

    • Blueberry pancakes sound yummy! It was the perfect day for a rest day… although with a marathon around the corner, I can’t slack too much this week. 🙂 I am glad you’re happy with your diet- you do such a great job of making healthy meals for your family!
      Laura recently posted..Wiaw Christmas Edition + Nutrition NuggetsMy Profile

  7. I agree a lot with what you described regarding dietary theories. I think every person is different, and needs to experiment to figure out what works best for them. I truly believe that there is no one right way for every single person. The book, It Starts with Food, has interested me–so thanks for the review. I still include legumes and some whole grains in my diet, as I do not feel I have any aversion to them, and actually enjoy eating them. But I’m constantly being challenged with the idea of eating less of it. I guess I’ll keep investigating and, most importantly, listening to my body. 🙂
    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..Merry Christmas!!My Profile

    • Sounds like you have a great balance, Michelle. I can’t imagine ever cutting out all grains and legumes- they haven’t given me any problems. But I also understand the arguments against them, especially for certain people, and agree with you that everyone has to find what works for them.
      Laura recently posted..Wiaw Christmas Edition + Nutrition NuggetsMy Profile

  8. So glad you had a wonderful Christmas! We do the same thing with my parents for Christmas gifts. What would we do without Skype?

    I finally finished It Starts With Food. I’m doing a full review soon but my thoughts were very similar to yours. It’s intriguing especially reading the science behind their theories. While the testimonies were great, it makes me wonder what kind of diets were they eating before? I’m sure that sways the results quite a bit. I think the most important part is finding what works for you. We’re all different and have different needs.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Wordless Wednesday (Almost)My Profile

    • I didn’t realize you were reading it, too! Yes- great point about comparing it to their previous diets. I think any time you cut out processed foods, you’re going to see some big differences. I’m not convinced that cutting out dairy and grains is best for everyone, especially when you can’t replace it with anything. You have to be so disciplined to stick to this diet!
      Laura recently posted..Wiaw Christmas Edition + Nutrition NuggetsMy Profile

  9. Like a lot of people have already said, diet is such an individual thing and you will always get the best out of your body if you are just willing to listen to it. I cut out dairy and gluten 2 years ago, lost a heap of weight and my asthma and sinus problems all improved as well. But it is hard to stick to a strict diet – my body doesn’t particularly like a lot of carbs or processed food either – but I do!! And my brain doesn’t cope with a lot of sugar – I go back to the emotional lows I used to suffer before the diet change. I have found that my body prefers to eat the fruit and vege in a way I never used to – to the point of sometimes thinking I’m a closet vegetarian! 🙂 Best pre-race meal – salad, fries and marinated tofu (or chicken breast).

    • Wow, Melissa- you have a pretty powerful story about the power of changing one’s diet! Impressive! But yes, it’s very difficult to avoid all carbs in our culture… finding some kind of balance that is sustainable for the long term is smart. I hear you on the sugar highs and lows, that’s one I’m always working on, too.
      Laura recently posted..Wiaw Christmas Edition + Nutrition NuggetsMy Profile

  10. I had to go back a re-read this after getting distracted by the 3 type of empenadas! 😉

    I’ll be really interested in following your nutrition exploration. I like the idea of Paleo, but I do agree at all the grains and legumes should totally be cut out of a diet (barring any digestive troubles).
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Brandied Baked French ToastMy Profile

  11. Sounds like a lovely Christmas! The nutrition info is really interesting – thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve always found it nearly impossible to stick to any certain type of diet, but I feel I do a pretty good job of ‘everything in moderation,’ and focusing on avoiding processed foods as much as possible. And as of right now, I’m healthier and more fit than I’ve ever been in my life, so I guess it’s working : )
    Michelle recently posted..Christmas Eve EveMy Profile

    • I definitely think what you’re doing is working! Stick with it. 🙂 I think these strict diets are helpful for people who are sick and need to make some changes, but not necessary for the everyday person, assuming you’re doing your best to limit the processed foods, as you are.
      Laura recently posted..Wiaw Christmas Edition + Nutrition NuggetsMy Profile

  12. i just love her sweet face, looking so intensely!

    as for the books, i am the same. No one diet is perfect for EVERYONE, but learning about them is always interesting. You’ll always get great recipes too.
    lindsay recently posted..Merry ChristmasMy Profile

  13. I am glad that you had a such a great Christmas…even though 6 am is an early wake up call. I was hoping to sleep in, but got up at 7 because my hubby was dying to do gifts. So cute! I also needed to get my run in before his family came over for breakfast at 9. Isn’t skyping awesome???? We skyped with my family too!

    I am interested in reading “It Starts with Food” because I have read a lot of reviews on it and heard some good things.
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Santa was VERY good to me this yearMy Profile

  14. glad you had a nice holiday! your daughter looks so adorable with her necklace on opening gifts!

    i’m really interested in reading it starts with food, and was actually thinking of getting it for my dad and step-mom who are really trying to eat more healthfully…
    Heather recently posted..Christmas Survey!My Profile

  15. L looks so adorable in her Christmas outfits! And I love that you got to open presents with family even though they were across the country! I bet she’s at the perfect age to understand what’s going on during Christmas.

    I’m giving myself until after New Year’s, and then we’re back on the clean diet. I have felt so sluggish these past couple of weeks. I think our diet aligns more with the It Starts With Food theories, but I agree that it just takes eating something and determining how your body reacts.
    Amy recently posted..The Bucket List That Didn’t Get Crossed OffMy Profile

  16. Your Christmas feasts look delicious. I took Xmas as a rest day too – so worth it!

    As for nutrition, I am fascinated, but you’re gamer than I am in trying some of them out. I wonder where the balance truly is? There are way too many options and ‘lifestyle choices’ around.
    Kate recently posted..Amalia the Fit NutMy Profile

  17. Looks like a really wonderful holiday! I’m interested in reading It Starts with Food. I think I have an older copy of Paleo for Athletes and I found it to be a bit too preachy and I couldn’t get through it because I don’t like when some foods seem to be vilified. I have to say I may not have been in the right place to be reading it and the only diet I’ve ever tried was Paleo, so I have very little experience with restricting what I eat (thus it made me grumpy!) but I definitely do see a lot of good in eating whole foods and cutting back on gluten and processed foods. I look forward to your review!
    MegG recently posted..Making fitness goals when you want to get pregnantMy Profile

  18. A quiet Christmas at home is my DREAM!! Maybe not every year, but once or twice! I am anxious to hear your thoughts as you try out different ideas from the books. It can be very overwhelming to read all of those contradictory things.
    jan recently posted..Wintery Run–Hitting the RoadsMy Profile

  19. Ohhhh she is just too cute! Sounds like a wonderful christmas and perfectly timed to have a “relaxing” christmas when you are so close to race. I am completely relaxed with my food these days. I know I could (should) clean up my diet a bit but to be honest the mental advantages of not being too”food focused” outweigh the other gains for me (its all mental for me!). I think someone said it earlier that diet is such an individual thing. I love reading about all the different approaches people take though – especially when it inspires me to try new meal ideas :=)

    I look forward to reading about your findings!
    Jenelle @ MummyLovesToRun recently posted..#VirtualHalfMaryMy Profile

  20. Great post Laura! I’ve been thinking a lot about nutrition theories. I’ve even questioned if vegan is the right way to eat for me. Maybe vegetarian? Clean eating? With all of the nutrition theories I’ve tested over the past 14-16 months I somehow I lost sight of what made me feel and perform the best. Sorry for the ramble. Like I said, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..Fitness Friday || 2012 In ReviewMy Profile

  21. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas.

    I do enjoy learning about different nutrition theories and totally agree that there isn’t one perfect way to eat. Kind of like how there isn’t one perfect way to parent. I like the idea that if you are having chronic health issues, it’s probably time to make some nutritional changes. Food is so important and affects us so deeply (emotionally and physically) and it can be such a complicated issue. Such interesting ideas.
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  22. Thanks for this post Laura. I want to check out this book. I know that I mentioned before that I want to learn more about nutrition and fueling my body properly for runs. Do you have any suggestions on books that I could read for that? I’m looking for beginning runner books because even though I’ve been running for a while, I need to take it back to the basics & learn the proper training & nutrition as if I was new to running. 🙂

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