Protein Powder is Life

I arrived in Portland, Oregon on Monday evening, and I am staying with my most delightful friends John (JN) and Ella. You might remember Ella from my first post, she has mostly forgiven me for blatantly trying to use her as my personal guide to Peru. I am staying with them for two weeks, or until they start hinting wildly that it’s time for me and my little black dog to move along. When JN picked me up from the MAX line station his first question after our hellos and hugs, was – “Are you eating all healthy now that you are training, or do we still get to do our Portland food tour as per usual?”  I laughed and laughed and said, “JN have you met me!?! Of course, we are going to do our food tour! It’s why I’m here, it’s what I live for.” He was visibly relieved.  What you need to understand about JN is that he is man with an iron stomach and he loves to eat! As do I, but unfortunately my stomach is not bullet proof like his. First stop was ?Por Que No? a famous Portland taqueria that has the best tacos I’ve ever had in my entire life! Their tortilla chips are so crispy, crunchy, salty and oh so good! After fighting JN for the last few chips in the basket, I then stuffed down two Pescado #1 tacos, and the special taco of the day – I don’t remember the name, I just crammed it in my face. We mowed those tacos. Today’s destination will be Salt and Straw the best ice cream in the whole world! I love Portland.

Later that evening as I lay flopped on the couch, groaning in pain and massaging the taco baby in my belly I started thinking more about JN’s question.  I had to admit that yes, our eating habits had actually changed quite a bit in the last few months. For starters the amount of protein powder that is being consumed is off the charts! I feel hungry all day if I don’t have a protein shake after a workout. Nuun hydration tablets, and SaltStick pills are another new staple. Those were the first few changes. They didn’t feel major, but they were the gateway for the many changes to come.

Friday nights we used to cook a larger meal after a week of rushed slam-it-together dinners. Friday dinner was maybe steak and potatoes, pork chops, a hearty pasta dish, or something along these lines. Now that I am doing long runs on Saturday morning and getting up at the crack of dawn to do so, I can’t eat a heavy meal the night before. Our Friday night meal has become a grilled chicken breast, a side of veggies, and brace yourselves…no ice cream. I don’t know that this is “living my best life”. Who goes to bed without ice cream? And really when did a pint of ice cream last more than a week in our house?! I sincerely don’t recognize the people we’ve become.

Another change, that I don’t actually mind is breakfast. Matt used to skip it all together, now he eats every morning, generally eggs. I used to have a yogurt with a handful of granola for crunch, or a small bowl of oatmeal. Now I’m eating a double serving of plain Greek yogurt, with a whole sliced banana, a fistful of blueberries, a few strawberries -when they were in season, a fistful of mixed nuts, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a swirl of honey. It actually takes a while to eat it all, but after a big workout I’m still hungry only a few hours later. That’s where an apple with mega schmears of peanut butter come into play. It’s fast, has lots of protein, and when I’m in that freak out hungry mode it goes down quick.

Lunch for me used to be frozen mac and cheese, or something equally as heavy and cheese laden. Now my go-to is salad greens with an entire avocado, a hard-boiled egg, a peach, sliced almonds, and goat cheese. Matt used to go out to eat for lunch most days, or skip it, and then come home ravenous and hangry. Now he is packing fruit, string cheese, nuts, and making lettuce wraps.

Snacks used to be an entire bag of popcorn, now snacks are an entire bag of popcorn and an apple with peanutbutter.

With all the fresh fruit and veggies and $27 cans of protein powder being consumed, you’d think our grocery bill would be sky rocketing right about now, but in reality it’s about the same. We aren’t buying thick cuts of meat, ice cream, organic frozen mac and cheese (which isn’t free, btw), or multiple bags of popcorn. I do miss ice cream and GF frozen donuts, but I don’t feel terrible. In fact, I feel pretty good, and my run time is getting faster.

Obviously, none of the above is going to stop me from stuffing myself silly with all of the wonderful things Portland food trucks offer, but everyone knew that. Please bear with me while this becomes a food blog for the next 10 days. I’ll do my best to post photos from the upcoming Mt. Hood hike we are planning in the midst of the feeding frenzy.

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