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Agar, WHAT??

February 16, 2012

Hey Everyone! It’s Thursday – aka ALMOST the weekend!!! So close. So very close. Although I have a very busy weekend coming up! Friday I have a meeting for school, then 12 miles to run and then my little brother arrives in the afternoon to spend the weekend here in Chicago! I’ve also got a doctor’s appointment Saturday, possible plans with friends Saturday afternoon, and then a book club brunch on Sunday! Oh, and trying to see my little bro, do my school work, and prep for next week (grocery shop, cook) in between! Ahhhh I’m almost stressed just thinking about it!

So did everyone have a good Valentine’s Day? Mine was… haha well a normal Tuesday, actually! For lunch  I got myself my favorite take out salad from a Greek carry out place, and for breakfast, I added some raspberries into my PB2 sauce for my oats! It didn’t come out quite as pink as I’d hoped though…

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Right before I left for school, however, my sister-in-law sent me a couple adorable pictures of my Valentine!

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Isn’t she a cutie?

I did do something interesting that evening though, I tried out Agar! What is agar you ask? Well, I had to look it up:

Agar or agar-agar is a gelatinous substance derived from a polysaccharide that accumulates in the cell walls of agarophyte red algae” (Wikipedia).

I heard of it on Katie’s blog, Chocolate Covered Katie. She used it in a few pudding recipes on her blog, and I wanted to give it a try! I can’t make some of her others because they use tofu (soy) so I really wanted to give this a whirl! It looked so simple!

I ordered the agar from Amazon (I got the Now Foods brand) and followed Katie’s instructions from her Agar Base recipe. The only change I made was cutting the recipe in half, so that I only made one serving. It really was as simple as she said!

Here it is after I took it out of the fridge all gelled!

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Came right out of the pot!

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I broke it up into pieces and decided that I would make an apple cinnamon pudding. I added 1/4 cup applesauce, some vanilla, 1 packets of stevia, and plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg!

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It definitely took some effort to blend (and some extra water and flax milk added) but it turned out great! (I really need a magic bullet blender…).

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It had kind of an off taste, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I think I’d like to try some other flavors, maybe the applesauce just wasn’t strong enough to mask the plain flavor of the agar alone.

Yesterday afternoon I had a 6 mile run on my schedule with 3 sprints of 1800 M at 8:00. Um, yea, I was intimidated. Since I had to do the run in the afternoon after school, I decided to switch things up in my eating. You know how I mentioned that I’m working on fueling habits? Well I decided I wanted to eat a bowl of oats for my pre-run fuel (aka for lunch), but if I ate a normal breakfast (oats…) I would be getting ZERO veggies in for both breakfast and lunch.

I switched things up by making a veggie and egg-white scramble for breakfast (spinach, mushrooms and yellow cherry tomatoes), served with some Black Cherry Chobani and half a banana.

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It was pretty good, but definitely not as filling as my normal breakfast. I was STARVING 3 hours later, and by the time I got home for lunch I was completely famished. I’d brought snacks to school (apple, rice cake, almonds and some veggies) but I was not anticipating how hungry I’d be! I literally thought I might faint walking back to my apartment! Going to have to work on this plan…

Anyway, for lunch I made some oatmeal with 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup flax milk, 1/2 banana and 1 scoop vanilla protein powder. I added more milk when I added the protein powder because it got too thick. I started my run a little under 2 hours after eating and it was the perfect fuel for my 6 miles!

Now let’s talk about this run. I had 6 miles on my schedule with 3 mile long “sprints” at 8:00 min/mile and half mile jogs in between. Honestly, I was scared. I haven’t been doing as much speed work as I used to and for some reason I really didn’t want to do this run. I kept asking myself, why am I so anxious over this? And I realized, it was because I’m afraid I’ll fail. I’m afraid it will be too much. I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect so when I think I won’t be able to complete something perfectly, I freak out.

I actually stood on the treadmill in the gym wanting to find a way to back out. I knew I had to do it, so I started with a mile warm up and then busted it out. And guess what? It wasn’t anywhere near as painful as I thought it would be. It actually wasn’t painful at all! It went by so quickly (despite the fact I forgot my phone and thus had no music) and I really banged it out! I did my jogs at 6.7mph and then sprinted at the end and finished 6 miles in 50:37. I was so proud.

I need to remember that yes, I could fail. I could mess up. I could not be perfect. And you know what? IT’S OKAY. I need to remind myself of this every day! IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE PERFECT!


Do you always feel the need to be perfect, or are you more relaxed and easy on yourself?

Have you ever heard of agar?

Was your Valentine cuter than mine? I doubt it…

21 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2012 7:13 am

    I think we’re all our own biggest critics – at least I’m my own. I have always been super hard on myself about everything, but I am loosening up a bit. It’s no fun to be stressed out all the time!

  2. February 16, 2012 8:07 am

    I have most definitely heard of agar before, especially considering that Agar is my surname! Well done on your run, I know exactly the feeling, your right to ease up on that pressure you put yourself under!

  3. February 16, 2012 8:38 am

    Agar reminds me too much of the biochemistry lab I worked in during college. I don’t think I could eat it.

    • February 16, 2012 12:06 pm

      Haha I could understand that! Is it the type of gelatin used in bacteria growth? I took micro one semester in college and can’t remember.

  4. February 16, 2012 8:53 am

    I am definitely really hard on myself and I often get frustrated when I can’t do something or can’t figure something out. I always try to remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect and that makes me feel better half of the time. Still, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to expect a lot from yourself, having goals is important!

    Agar looks really interesting, good for you for trying it!

    Also, congrats on the run 🙂

    • February 16, 2012 12:07 pm

      Thanks! And I agree, it’s good to have goals! I just need to remind myself that if I fail, it’s okay, I can try again!

  5. February 16, 2012 9:07 am

    I have never heard of agar – it looks interesting, though!

    Speed workouts scare me too! Maybe it is because I’m afraid I’ll fail. I think it’s also because I know I’m going to be very uncomfortable and not having fun 🙂 I reeeeaaallly like running at a nice, slow, steady pace, but I’m trying to break out of that rut.

    • February 16, 2012 12:24 pm

      Exactly my thoughts! I like running because it’s fun and I’m afraid it will be awful! But it turned out to be fine! Maybe you could start with just changing your speed for fun, that way there’s no pressure!

  6. February 16, 2012 9:22 am

    i’ve never heard of agar, but it sure sounds interesting! that’s fun to experiment with new foods sometimes.

    ahh did you read “the hungry runner girl”‘s post yesterday on the fear of failing? it went right along with what you’re saying here… so, so true! if we don’t get ourselves out of our comfort zone, we’ll never make a difference or make positive changes. and you even proved that with your run – strong work girlfriend! 😉

    • February 16, 2012 12:25 pm

      I did read her post! I thought it was so ironic that she posted that when I had this in my mind for today! And thanks, I definitely need to get out of my comfort zone more often!

  7. February 16, 2012 11:40 am

    Ugh, I hear you on the failure fear. I have to always keep reminding myself that it’s okay if I bonk a run. It’s okay if I’m not as fast as I want to be that day. It’s okay if the treadmill scares the living sh!t out of me one day for no reason. Runs are not always perfect. We’re runners, we’re mortal.

    • February 16, 2012 12:26 pm

      I need to do that too, just keep reminding myself! I seem to forget too often, good advice!

  8. February 16, 2012 12:47 pm

    It is OKAY to fail and to NOT be perfect. No one is. And failing and trying again is how we learn and become the best version of ourselves. I’ve failed MANY a times, and it hurts more to just stay there, instead of getting up, dusting myself off, and trying again. Besides, forget what everyone else thinks of you, and remember it’s YOU who you’re working on, not against anyone else 🙂

    Keep trying those fueling ideas–you’ll get it!

  9. February 16, 2012 2:12 pm

    Good for you Katie!! That’s an awesome time! It’s true we are hardest on ourselves. If you are out there trying, that’s all that matters. 🙂

    And although that breakfast wasn’t feeling for you, it does look delicious! 🙂 ha I agree though, oats can hold me over for so long in the morning! Such a great breakfast! ha

    • February 16, 2012 9:22 pm

      Oats are normally my go-to! Although this time I made less oats and didn’t add any protein other than the bit of PB… didn’t quite last me the 2 hours pre-run plus the 2 hour run! So delicious though…

  10. February 16, 2012 4:54 pm

    Wait….agar? I’m pretty sure that’s the stuff labs use to grow bacteria cultures! I had no idea you could eat it.

    Mile repeats are my least favorite thing on the planet. I don’t blame you for hesitating. But that’s awesome that you tackled them and they went better than expected! Just remember that the next time you dread a workout.

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