Your Questions, Answered!

in All Posts

CHECK OUT Andrea’s blog, Off Her Cork, for my Feet on the Street interview! 


Today is going swimmingly!  Lots of work, and lots of good food!  Let’s get to it already, shall we?


My mid-morning snack was a lovely orange.


And lunch was a hummus and turkey wrap with a side of melon, celery, and carrots.


Mmmm, hummus is the perfect glue for a wrap!


Here are the answers to the questions from this AM’s post!


  • Rose asks, "What is your favorite fruit?" and "What did you get your degree in?"


My favorite fruit is probably banana!  I love it in oatmeal (obviously) and eat it almost every day.  Plus, it’s highly portable and requires no washing.  Score.


I double majored and received a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing Non-Fiction and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. 


  • Apple and Coffee asks, "How do you to lose weight without dieting and which foods should I avoid?" and "How do I make plans for running?"


I believe you can lose weight without dieting by focusing on nutrient-rich, low-calorie whole foods.  If you eat a balanced diet of lean protein, complex carbs, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats, it difficult to overeat (in comparsion to the average American diet).  I think you can eat anything in moderation, but the one food I would recommend avoiding is restaurant food.  Eating out is the surest way to blow your healthy diet, as portions are out of control and most things are loaded with hidden butter, etc.


I answered a similar question about training programs a few weeks ago in this post — check it out!  Also, here is an old post with a list of recommended training programs.  I think it’s important to view exercise as a natural part of your day, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.  I usually view it as a "commitment" to myself, and as a result, I rarely miss workouts.


  • VeggieGirl asks, "What’s your favorite aspect of blogging??"


My favorite aspect of blogging is meeting readers and other bloggers in real life! It’s so exciting.


  • Melissa asks, "Any 5k’s or 10k’s in the Orlando area in March that you know of?"


Of course!  The Valencia 5K is on March 1.  There’s the Winter Park Road Race on March 14, but its a 10K and a 2 miler.


  • Sarah asks, "My question is in regards to counting calories or more specifically, how to stop counting them? It is almost an automatic response to add them up for the day in my head. How did you stop counting? Any tips/tricks that might be helpful?"


Sarah, I want to answer your question in detail, so I will dedicate a whole post to it later in the week!


  • BB says, "Do you wear/carry any "good luck charms" when you race?


I don’t have any good luck charms, but I do wear an excessive amount of gear.  It’s getting borderline ridiculous:  CamelBak, RoadID, knee sleeves, iPod, Nike + iPod, heart rate monitor…. it takes me like 15 minutes to get dressed for  a long run these days!


  • Tales of Expansion asks, "What is everyone’s FAVORITE healthy high-calorie-in-a-small-package calorie deficit remedy?"


Mine is definitely Anne’s Organic Macaroni and Cheese — DIVINE!


  • Brandi asks, "Do you still get cramps while running? If not, how long did it take you to stop getting them?"


I’ve only gotten a few cramps while running, actually.  According to this website,  researchers believe that the side stitch is caused by stretching the ligaments that extend from the diaphragm to the internal organs, particularly the liver. The jarring motion of running while breathing in and out stretches these ligaments. Runners tend to exhale every two or four steps. Most people exhale as the left foot hits the ground, but some people exhale when the right foot hits the ground. It is the later group who seem more prone to get side stitches.   Exhaling when the right foot hits the ground causes greater forces on the liver (which is on the right side just below the rib cage). So just as the liver is dropping down the diaphragm raises for the exhalation. It is believed this repeated stretching leads to spasms in the diaphragm.  To prevent a side stitch, take even, deep breaths while running. Shallow breathing tends to increase the risk of cramping because the diaphragm is always slightly raised and never lowers far enough to allow the ligaments to relax. When this happens the diaphragm becomes stressed and a spasm or "stitch" is more likely.


  • Tami asks, "Have you ever seen anyone run a HALF MARATHON barefoot?"


No! I haven’t! That’s crazy.  But, did you know that Abebe Bikila (from Ethiopia) set a new marathon world record at the 1960 Olympics…. and he ran the race barefoot!


  • In My Tummy asks, "Do you weight train? How do you recommend fitting weight training in while training for an endurance race?"


I am actually a horrible person to answer this question because I hardly ever weight train, and when I do, it’s only upper body.  I do arm exercises about 2 times a week. I do bicep and tricep curls and then throw in several random arm machines.  I hate to do lower body work because it KILLS my crappy knees.  I fit in lifting on cross training days because the cardio aspect of my workouts are usually shorter on those days.


  • Kimberly says, "My question has to do with food and socioeconomics in Pittsburgh (since I am an urban studies nerd and find that city fascinating.) I was only there once, but was struck by the lack of healthy (or even unfried!) dining options downtown… do you think the city’s food culture is a reflection of its coal/steelworker roots? While you were living there, was it difficult to eat a well-balanced diet? Is there much access to health education/fresh produce, both in P-burgh and in the poorer Appalachian areas outside of the city?"


Wow, this is a really good and thought-provoking question!  First of all, I’d like to say that Pittsburgh was named 2008’s Most Livable City because it’s a really great town.  There’s lot of culture and pride, and the city is definitely revitalizing itself.  Pittsburgh does have many healthy food options.  Some of my favorite places to eat included Harris Grill and Spice Island Tea House, both of which have healthy options.  But you’re right, Pittsburgh is "famous" for many unhealthy treats, like hot dogs and the Primanti Sandwich, which consists of fried deli meat, cheese, French fries, and oily coleslaw jammed in between two slices of white bread (it’s amazing).   I do think the city’s dining options are slowly improving, but I also think many places in Pennsylvania (outside of Philly) are "small town" in mentality and don’t experiment with too many "new" foods (based on my friends’ eating habits who are from said small towns; this is a generalization though). 


I found it difficult to eat well in college because I was partying all the time.  :)  I lived in P-burgh for one year after graduating, and I found that I could find healthier options at many restaurants, just not the bars.  It would be great to see some of the local hangouts incorporating more healthy food options in their menus!


  • Danielle asks, "When it comes to Food Blogging what’s the hardest part for you? what’s the easiest?"


The hardest part for me is staying mindful of what I say or write.  I can be a very opinionated person, and although I like to stay "true" to myself on the blog, I don’t want to insult readers.  So, I do censor myself a little bit, based on prior complaints.   The easiest part is taking pictures of my food.  You would think it would be time-consuming and irritating, but once you get into the habit, it’s no big deal!


Have a great afternoon!  And look how pretty my Valentine’s Day roses are turning out!




  • VeggieGirl February 16, 2009, 10:03 am

    Hooray!! Thanks for answering all the Q’s!!

    Those roses are MAGNIFICENT!!! Love that they’re blooming.

  • K February 16, 2009, 10:10 am

    Those roses are gorgeous! Fabulous Q&A section 🙂

  • Aimee February 16, 2009, 10:18 am

    Other not so good Pittsburgh foods – french fries on steak or chicken salads and pierogies fried with onions and butter 🙂 We did finally ban smoking in restaurants, so we are coming around!

  • talesofexpansion February 16, 2009, 10:27 am

    wow, thanks for such prompt, thoughtful, and interesting answers!! i'm going to have to get some annie's mac & cheese on hand 🙂

  • Ryan (chasing daylight) February 16, 2009, 10:34 am

    Fabulous Q & A's! Your roses are BEAUTIFUL!

  • D10 February 16, 2009, 10:37 am

    The roses are beautiful. Glad you are having a great day.

  • RunToFinish February 16, 2009, 10:54 am

    Wow that was a really fun and informative post!

  • dailygoods February 16, 2009, 11:18 am

    wow thanks for answering all those Q’s. i love your answers, you always seem liek such a down to earth girl 🙂 and i loved your interview with Andrea!! I decided to do my version of CFW this week, we’ll see how it goes!!!

  • Meghann February 16, 2009, 11:27 am

    Sorry!! GO to the meeting and tell me how it is though!! I would love to try it out 🙂

  • Sarah (lovINmytummy) February 16, 2009, 11:29 am

    How’s the book coming…because this looks like a good start 😉

  • elise February 16, 2009, 11:43 am

    What a great post! I agree with everything you said. Your openness is so refreshing too. Happy Monday!

  • Erin of Care to Eat February 16, 2009, 12:02 pm

    I missed your morning post – I can’t keep up! But I loved reading the answers to the q’s!
    Those roses are beautiful. 🙂 What a sweet HUSBAND.

  • Mica February 16, 2009, 12:04 pm

    Beautiful roses! And I learned so much from this post!

  • thecleanveggie February 16, 2009, 12:47 pm

    love your Q&A!

  • Sarah W. February 16, 2009, 12:55 pm


  • Kailey (SnackFace) February 16, 2009, 1:00 pm

    Oh I LOVED reading your Qs and As! Very fun. And those roses?? Breathtaking! so gorgeous!

  • Marian's eats February 16, 2009, 1:07 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips!! The roses are beautiful:)

  • HangryPants February 16, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Nice Q & A. I missed the questions post, but I think I just learned that you're not from Pittsburgh. I knew you went to Pitt, but I thought that's where you were from. Are you originally from Orlando?

    Also, I was a political science and history major.

    Looking forward to reading your calorie counting post!

  • Jen February 16, 2009, 1:38 pm

    Great post!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 16, 2009, 1:45 pm

    heather – i am from miami and went to pitt for college. i had a full ride there and wanted to get out a state! 🙂 i like florida more, though! 🙂

  • Brandi February 16, 2009, 1:55 pm

    beautiful flowers.

    good questions and answers!

  • ms February 16, 2009, 3:09 pm

    Caitlin ~ Love the Q & A. You and my husband have followed very similar paths!! He went to UM and we also lived together in Pittsburgh while he was getting his MBA at Carnegie Mellon. We loved Pittsburgh, surprisingly since we're such Florida folks.

    And I'm doing the Winter Park 10k also. Maybe I'll see the back of you race off, you speedy girl!!

  • Erin February 16, 2009, 3:17 pm

    We have the same degrees, neat! Or will when I graduate in May, haha.
    I’m just an English Lit girl tho- I’m only into boring writing!

  • Summer Slim February 16, 2009, 3:34 pm

    i love a good turkey wrap! turkey cold cuts are always my go-to lunch choice!

  • BOBBI McCORMICK February 16, 2009, 7:34 pm

    so great to catch up on your blog! Ok so you two are hilariouse, hubby and I are a lot like you two. Excepet we both Love Law and Order, but I love biggest loser and he loves his sports! We have 4 tv’s in the house its ridiculiouse!

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point