Dear Runners, I’ve been keeping a secret from you and it’s time to come clean: this self proclaimed cookie-monster has given up sweets (cookies AND chocolate) for 30 days.
First and foremost I want to be clear that I am not on a cleanse and I am not trying to lose weight.
I eat a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, protein (chicken, ground turkey, lentils), complex carbs (oats, sweet potatoes), healthy fats (nuts and avocado), dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese) and some sweets (cookies, chocolate and ice cream – yes!!). In the past I have told readers how I satisfy my outrageous sweet tooth by eating a piece of dark chocolate after dinner every night. Around my peak weeks of marathon training I started having a handful of dark chocolate chips after lunch too (They taste delicious with a cup of coffee!!). Recently I started adding chocolate chips and peanut butter chips to my afternoon trail mix snack as well.
Somehow my balanced approach to eating evolved into an afternoon of sugary treats. I rationalized away this behavior because of all the miles I was logging on the road. I probably, err, hopefully, burned off all the calories during this morning’s run, right? Gulp!
A couple of weeks ago I took a good look at both my daily sugar consumption and the “my body probably vaporized that chocolate chip on this morning’s run” mindset. I asked myself the following questions: Am I really in control of my sugar intake? Or rather, am I actually at the mercy of my ongoing chocolate cravings? Instead of focusing how how my runs burn off the calories in chocolate I began to question how does eating this much chocolate impact my running? And lastly will I feel better on the run and will my running improve if I better manage my sugar intake?
So, I came up with a little experiment: 30 days of no cookies/no chocolate. When I told my husband about this idea he said, “Hmm. Umm…err.. sweety maybe you should try 2 weeks to start. 30 days is a long time and you really like cookies.” To this I replied, “Excuse me!? THIS IS HAPPENING- IT’S ON NOW! 30 DAYS! Don’t underestimate me!”
I am currently on day 10 of the 30 day cookie cleanse. While I haven’t noticed any changes in my running, I must admit that my sugar cravings were out of control during the first week. I tried various things to satisfy these cravings: drinking tea, drinking orange juice, and eating nuts and dried fruit. I realize that I substituted one type of sugar with another, but that’s why I am doing this for 30 days. I am simply trying to get back control of my sweet tooth. I promise that when the 30 days is up- I will eat a cookie.
Let’s be honest… a life without cookies is no life at all!
Unfortunately, giving up cookies has put a serious wrench in my love of baking sweets. I have decided to spend the next couple of weeks trying out new healthy snack and breakfast recipes. Last week I found this delicious (and healthy) muffin recipe that I simply had to share!
Never Stop Running,
The Lone Runner
Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins (yield 12 muffins)
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk*
1/2 cup brown sugar***
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 to 1 cup of fresh blueberries**
* Substitution: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand (like me), you can substitute it for 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 T of white wine vinegar (or lemon juice). Add together in a separate bowl and let the mixture stand for 10 minutes before adding it to the recipe.
**Blueberries can easily be substituted with fresh apples, cherries, or any frozen berry
***I have accidentally forgotten to include the sugar in this recipe multiple times. While I wouldn’t recommend leaving it out, you can definitely reduce to 1/4 c or simply sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar over muffins before you put in the oven to get a small taste of sweetness.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper or silicone liners.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl combine the applesauce, buttermilk, brown sugar, oil and egg. Slowly add the dry mixture into the applesauce mixture until combined; be careful to not overmix the ingredients. Gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber scraper.
Divide the batter evenly between prepared muffin cups. Bake for approximately 16-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Lasts approximately 5 days in the fridge or can be frozen.
Adapted recipe from Annie’s Eats Blog (one of my favorite foodie blogs! Never fails me!)