Saturday, September 3, 2011

Moving Day!

Hello, my lovely readers. I truly appreciate you reading Cafe MJ. I wanted to let you know I have decided to move locations. You can now find me at:

Please do come on over and don't forget to sign up (again) for an e-mail subscription. This will send you an e-mail anytime I make a new post! Its so easy, just look on the right side bar where it says, "Follow me by E-mail" and then enter your e-mail address. Done.

My Sincere apologies for switching it up on you so soon! I'm in the dreaming stage and trying to decide what I want for my blog--which means playing around and trying new things!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Walk it Out!

"You Mean You Didn't Run the Entire 9 Hours?"

I’ve met many runners who can’t believe I take walk breaks. “Doesn’t that slow you down? Isn’t it hard to start running again once you stop running?” They hold to the belief that whatever you do, “DON’T STOP RUNNING!” I’ve been passed so many times in the first half of races, only to come back in the last 10K and fly by all those who fatigued their legs too early.

When Josh and I decided to run our first marathon we picked up Jeff Galloway’s marathon training book. The Galloway method encourages runners to follow a run-walk-run pattern. Even Galloway himself, who ran a 2:16 marathon in his day, uses this method. I still employ the run/walk methond in my training and my races. My run/walk ratio depends on the length of my run, the purpose of my run, the conditions (95 and humid = lots of walk breaks), and how I’m feeling on any particular day. I’m not super strict about my ratio and in races I go more by how I’m feeling than my watch. The longer the race, the more valuable walk breaks become both mentally and physically. I probably won't take walk breaks in a 5 K race but you better believe I live for them in a 90 K race. Walk breaks, my friends, are glorious.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Banana Chickpea Energy Bars

Yes, more beans! Many people assume that vegans/vegetarians are wimpy, protein deficient sissies. This just isn’t the case. With so many different varieties to choose from, I never tire of legumes. We particularly love chickpeas at our house. With 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving, these guys are money.

So many store bought energy bars are high in sugar and preservatives but low in fiber, quality fats and proteins. These bars provide us with a quick spike in blood sugar but ultimately leave us worse off an hour or so later. Let’s take back the energy bar! Beans, baby, are where it’s at.

These bars can be made in advanced and then stored in the freezer. They are great for a pre-workout snack or a 4:00 pick me up. Skip the Nature Valley bar and grab one of these bad boys.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brain Gyms

My student teaching and first teaching job in the U.S. were both at inner-city schools. Most of our kiddos came from pretty tough neighborhoods. My first graders knew more about rap and gang gestures than me. Some of my older students were bigger and scarier than me a (although I never let them know it). They often came to school in torn-up hand-me-downs clothes and some serious "hand-me-down" stress.

My first teaching job was at a school with a large group of refugees from East Africa. These are actually the munchkins that got me the job at the school. I loved them and wanted so much for others to recognize what these little dears had been through and continued to go through living in the ghetto's of Phoenix. They were a tough crowd. My job was to teach them to speak and read English--not an easy task when many of them showed up for school ready to punch someone's face in.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Hell yeah!" or "No"

I am a habitual stress case. When I quit my full time teaching job I thought I would calm down a little but what I discovered was that I was so used to being stressed, I didn’t know how to chill out. I found so many things to fill my time. I made these to-do lists and would practically have a melt down if I didn’t accomplish everything. I had to take immediate action so as not to waste this season of my life on stress.

One of the things I have been practicing as a means to calm down is the art of saying “no”. As a person who likes to please, this scary two-letter word does not come easy for me. But the more I practice, the more natural it feels and the less I throw myself into things that I really don’t want to do.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

There’s no way around it, I LOVE CHOCOLATE. It is truly one of my weaknesses. Fortunately, veganism does not mean you have to give it up, just be more discerning about what kind and in what form you are eating it. These brownies, adapted from, are not only gooey and chocolaty, they are jam packed full of fiber, protein, and omega 3’s—making them ideal for a not-so-sinful treat.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Watch Your Back, Girls.

I love running solo. It’s not that I don’t enjoy running with others, it’s just running alone energizes me like nothing else. Running creates a sanctuary for me – a time for me to reset my brain chemistry, pray, and reflect. Running alone is also when I have my best ideas. In grad school I’d be out running in the beautiful hills of Cape Town and before I knew it, I’d outlined an entire research paper. Sometimes, when I’m starting to doubt myself, all I need is a good run to get my confidence back.

My desire to run alone has often troubled people and left my family feeling a little nervous at times. Its not that I’m fearless or na├»ve—I know I’m not invincible and that bad things can happen anyone anywhere. In Cape Town I was constantly reminded of this. I met so many girls at my university who would say, “I would love to run but I just don’t feel safe here.” I wouldn’t have it. Cape Town was the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived with the most incredible hills and accessible trails. I was not about to let fear keep me from my long meditative runs.

This was one of my favorite hills to train on in Cape Town--sometimes shared it with the baboons. When the mist moved in the sun made the air sparkle and it was magical.