Monday, November 3, 2008

Itchin' to Run

As I mentioned a few posts back, I've recently been suffering from lower back pain (specifically in the sacroiliac joint). The pesky pain still lingers, and not only does it mean I can't wear high heels (major bummer for a shoe addict like me!), but it also means I can't run (an even bigger bummer). Fortunately, I can do low-impact exercise without any pain, so I've been making do with the elliptical trainer and stationary bike at the gym. However, it's just not the same. When was the last time you heard of an "elliptical high?" While running does have the benefits of cardio training and leg toning, I love it for the way it makes me feel. Once that last mile is completed, the sense of accomplishment simply can't be matched. *Sigh* Does anyone have any tips for treating back pain?

Oh yeah, I'm here to talk about food. Here's the scoop:

It was another busy day on Saturday, so I planned ahead with another batch of overnight oats, this time using oats rather than the multigrain cereal. Liquid-y mess successfully avoided. This combination featured oats, rice milk, cinnamon, dried cherries, and chopped hazelnuts (a new nut for me!). I had a dish of grapes on the side. What are your favorite ways to use hazelnuts?
Once I returned from the day's events, I settled down to a long overdue lunch: scrambled tofu with zucchini, a whole wheat sandwich thin, and an apple. Hit the spot.
After getting some essential tasks done (such as blogging and posting pictures to Facebook), I finally got hungry for dinner. A can of bamboo shoots called to me from the pantry, so I made a veggie stir fry with broccoli, peppers, ginger, soy sauce, and garlic; I topped it off with some honey-roasted peanuts. I also had some whole grain couscous, salad, and plain yogurt with cranberry sauce. Holy fiber!
The smoothie of the evening featured blackberries, strawberries, soymilk, and acai hemp protein. Wow, that sounds like a hippie concoction if I've ever heard one.
You know what Sunday morning means--stovetop oats! I made a bowl of pumpkin oats with ginger and cinnamon, topped with cashew butter and apple butter. Fall in a bowl. Yum.
After chapel and a few hours of studying, I re-fueled with a delicious tofu salad wrap. I combined silken tofu with my favorite, dill-agave-mustard-vegan mayo combo and wrapped it in a spinach flatbread. Along with it, I had a salad with chopped almonds and a dish of grapes.
My Sundays are pretty formulaic, aren't they? I had another quick hummus-based meal before chapter last night: a hummus and sun-dried tomato sandwich, green beans with chopped pecans, and a big apple.
The smoothie consisted of strawberries, raspberries (a recent Target purchase), soymilk, and berry hemp protein. I finished up the last of my pumpkin flax granola:( I'm not too sad though because I have a new variety just waiting to be busted open.
I woke up on edge today; my morning agenda included asking a boy to an upcoming semi-formal. As a result, I kept it simple with a bowl of GoLean, topped with banana and rice milk. On the side I had a basic trail mix of almonds and dried cranberries.
For lunch today, I had intended on making a tofu quiche with my remaining silken tofu. However, once I made it home and had finished chopping, I decided I was too hungry to let it bake for the required 30 minutes. Tofu hash it was! I combined tofu, spinach, red onion, tomato, Bragg's liquid aminos, and nutritional yeast for quite the delectable mish-mosh. I served it up with whole wheat toast and an apple with Sunbutter.
I had my usual dining meeting tonight, and Dunkin' Donuts brought us food, in hopes of coming to campus. The coffee and egg sandwiches held no appeal, but I just couldn't say no to the delicious pumpkin muffins. My baked good of choice probably wasn't vegan, but I simply can't resist pumpkin! Although I would like to make a meal out of baked goods, I balanced it out with a trip to the salad bar afterward. I nabbed some field greens, mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, chickpeas, and a container of honeydew. Once home, I added some Woodstock dressing to the salad. SO GOOD.
I am off to study for a midterm and listen to Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" for the ten-millionth time. Gotta love Monays. Toodles.


VeggieGirl said...

Ahh, so sorry that you're still in pain!! :0( My tip for treating back pain = a heat wrap!!

Favorite way to use hazelnuts = hazelnut-butter!! And for baked goods :0)

"Wow, that sounds like a hippie concoction if I've ever heard one."

HAHA!! You're too funny. Sounds like a DELICIOUS hippie concoction to me :0D

Good luck studying!!

Erica said...

girl- that is a bummer about your back! My husband has scoliosis and always has back pain. He uses those sticky one use back pads and takes advil when it acts up. I'm not sure about anything else?

In terms of exercise, you could always try a high/low impact aerobics class? Or take a dancy group fitness class (those are usually lower impact).

Best of luck with the back and feel so much better!

Courtney said...

You should try some yoga/stretchin. I have a slipped disk in my low back and the only thing that helps long term is stretching my hamstrings. If you have been on an elliptical/bike that your hams would definitely be VERY tight, as this happens to me. I used to run 5 miles 6 times a week but had to stop (not to discourage you...I have found yoga and love it even more!) becuase of the pain. Try some simple stretches such as cat/cow pose and stretch your hams and quads to see if that helps. Hope you feel better!

shelby said...

Aww, I'm sorry about the back pain! I would try a hot bath or if your like me ice. I know some people respond to heat and some to ice so try both and see what works.

Your oats sound so delicious, I think I'm going to make Pumpkin Oats tomorrow.

What does Sunbutter taste like? I've never had it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you're running too much/ too hard? Do you try to run most days? I used to run at least 5 miles, 5-ish times a week, and I got injured twice, really badly. So I switched about a year ago to running only like three miles, three times a week. I'm actually able to get better runs in this way, and I'm being nicer to my body. So that's a thought. Good luck!

Erin of Care to Eat said...

I have back problems too, and if I'm ever standing for long periods (teaching, ironing) I always put one foot up on a stool or something because it takes some tension out of the lower back.
And stretching every night helps too. Goodluck!

jess said...

I really hope that your back pain clears up soon! I've been feeling a bit achy also. My only suggestion is lots of stretching and, once it feels a bit better, really focus on some weight work to strengthen those muscles so it doesn't happen again.

I'm impressed that you can walk in heels at all- I'm unable to do that even with a back that's feeling alright ;)

Sounds like a busy weekend; maybe some relaxing will do the trick and you'll wake up healed (fingers crossed!)

flower said...

Your food always looks so nice, you must spend so much time cooking.

And to answer your hazelnut question, either hazelnut milk, butter or sneaked into the cinema with a tub of raspberries for healthier munchies

Mo said...

Hi! This is my first comments post!
Sorry to hear that your back is doing badly. Have you tried biking? I injured my foot a few months ago and couldn't run, I I tried biking and it helped a lot. A guy I know had back pain too and biking helped him. I would just recommend biking with a bike that allows you to sit upright, rather than scrunched over the handlebars (or maybe being srunched up would help your back?). Hope you feel better! :)

Lacey Nicole said...

That's terrible!!! If you can, get a massage. I recently learned that some insurances offer discounts, so check on yours. Also-- really stretch your butt muscles (I know that sounds funny)-- but if you can find a couple of good stretches really hold them because a lot of lower back pain comes from overly-tight glutes (trust me-- I was told this by my trainer and massage therapist). GOOD LUCK i really hope you can get back to running, i know how it feels to be sidelined. It's one thing to decide to take some days off, but quite another to have to do so not by choice.

Wholesome Foodie said...

I had physical therapy for my back and I was told that most people don't know how to properly heat their back or they do it for too long/too often.
Icing nearly ALWAYS helps me, so I would ice it for 10-15 minutes no more than once every other hour.

I am no doctor, so you should definitely try seeing a doctor to make sure it's not an internal problem, but these are general things I do to keep my back from hurting:
Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs or on your back with a pillow under your legs.
Try not to be seated for too long because that tends to aggravate pain, and try not to sit in chairs where the butt area is exposed because these do not provide much support.
If you can, wear a back brace. They might be restricting/inconvenient but they helped me soooo much.

But seriously, get to a doctor to make sure it's nothing bad :)

Wholesome Foodie said...

Sorry, I just reread my comment, and I didn't mean to make it seem like you are dumb or something, but rather that more often than not, icing is more beneficial than heating; also, sometimes people will heat something when they really shouldn't be because it can aggravate the pain more, and icing something is less likely to aggravate pain than heat.

Agnesss =) said...

HEY Caroline!!

That's a bunch of delicious food again =))

mm....Hazelnuts...I love to make a kind of RAW GRANOLA from them... it's really delicious in a PARFAIT, PUDDING,YOGHURT,APPLESAUSE or anything!! Here it is:

-AGAVE SIRUP (or other-bout 3 TBSP)

You just put it in a blender and let it blend until crumbly =))

Try's simple and YUMMY!! =))
Have you tried the CARROT MASH already..?? =))

Oh...back pain....soo sorry you're not feeling that great... VEGGIE GIRL is right A HEAT WRAP is GREAT!! =DD

If you have time pls visit my new post =)) It'll be soo nice...=)

Enjoy the day!!

Anonymous said...

I have never tried sun dried tomatoes before, but they sound good. Are they like roasted red peppers? How do you buy them- that sounds naive, but are they in water? or high in calories?

Also, about how much nut butter do you use when you eat apple with a nut butter at dinner. about a half tablespoon?

Tray said...

i totally know how you feel! i pulled somethin in my groin, so when i run it HURTS like heck! so now i just walk (incline. boo hoo) and now am going to venture to do poetry in motion- the elliptical. thatshould be interesting. try heat and low intensity exercise like yoga..hope we get better together!

Anonymous said...

Hey I had tremendous back pain and it turned out to be a sacaral stress fracture in my sacroilliac joint. Have you had an MRI?

ChickPea said...

VeggieGirl: Hazelnut muffins sounds pretty good right about now.
Erica: I have mild scoliosis as well, so I am thinking that this is a result of that. Thanks for the tips!
Courtney: Yoga is an excellent idea...I need to work on flexibility in a bad way.
Shelby: Sunbutter is AMAZING! It tastes like slightly sugared sunflower seeds; not too different from PB. I love it!
Anonymous: You have a point, but I don't understand why I would not be able to run as much as others seem to. I mean 25 ish miles per week is nothing compared to some people out there. Plus, I didn't increase my mileage suddenly or anything. It's a mystery. I will take your comment into consideration, however.
Erin: Great tips!
Jess: Thanks!!
Flower: I actually don't spend all that much time cooking. 20 minutes is usually my max!
Mo: Thanks for commenting! I have been using the bike at the gym since the injury--def a good alternative.
Lacey Nicole: Since reading your comment I have been very conscious about stretching my butt, esp when I am going up stairs!
Wholesome Foodie: Thanks for the excellent tips! I did not think that you were condescending at all in your first post, so no worries. I have a doc appointment next week:)
Agnes: That raw pudding sounds DIVINE! Can't wait to try it!
Anonymous: The sun-dried tomatoes I used were vacuum packed, as if they were dehydrated. I have tried the kinds in oil and water as well, and they all work wonderfully in salads and sandwiches. I highly recommend! I always use about a full tablespoon with my apples/bananas.
Tray: Glad to hear that I am not alone in my suffering. Best of luck on the elliptical and get well soon!
Anonymous: I have not had an MRI, as the pain is not that intense. However, if it persists I plan on getting it checked out.

Anonymous said...

My doctor told me that people who are smaller (like we are) need to be gentle on our bodies and not push so hard, because our bones, muscles, padding, etc. aren't as thick, so it's more stressful on our bodies to push them harder. Anyway, it was just a suggestion because it worked for me, so I thought I'd put it out there. Hope you're having a nice night.