Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Down and Out! :(

On a somewhat cool morning a few weeks ago, my husband and I went for a little morning run.  We were about 2.5 miles in, when my left foot had this extremely sharp pain.  I could not run the rest of the way home.  I hobbled/limped home and scheduled a doctor’s appointment that morning.  The doctor took x-rays of my swollen foot, told me the x-ray did not show a stress fracture, and prescribed no running for two weeks plus RICE. 

For the next two weeks, I did not run, I continued to do a few modified WODs, and did a little bit of the stationary bike.  When I walked, I limped, but thought it would get better.  Fast forward to yesterday, I was at the Georgia Foot and Ankle Institute.  The doctor performed another x-ray on my swollen foot and this time on the x-ray was evidence of a stress fracture!  I was so sad to hear that news.  The doctor gave me my stylish post op shoe and instructed me to use crutches as much as possible for the next 4-6 weeks.  He said the less I do, the better and the faster the healing process.  Instantly, I thought of all the things I will not be able to do for the next 4-6 weeks.  No Mud Run, no 11-mile trail run, no Savannah half marathon, and no Paleo Challenge WODs.  I am not going to lie, I cried a little.... okay, a lot!  No running for 4-6 weeks!  I cannot remember the last time I went that long without running.

My Super Sexy Shoe for the Next 4-6 Weeks.... It definitely DOES NOT go with my outfits!

Where does this leave me?  Well, I guess I have two choices, I can be depressed and mope around for the next 6 weeks, or I can use this downtime as an opportunity to do other things.  Yesterday, I moped around, felt sorry for myself, and read about 50 articles on the healing process of stress fractures (which according to about 49 of those articles, the best process to heal a stress fracture is rest, bleh!)  But today, I stopped being Ms. Mopey Pants (my husband’s nickname for me when I mope around the house), and decided to focus on the things I will do for the next 4-6 weeks. 

-          Continue to eat Paleo for the duration of the challenge
-          Post yummy Paleo recipes on my blog
-          Stationary bike three times/week (Doctor said this is okay)
-          Stay off my foot as much as possible and use my crutches
-          Read Nutrition books on my Kindle

Here is hoping for a speedy Recovery!

~ SavannahFitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Paleo challenge is approximately 0.17% of my life……..

Due to the fact I am an engineer and sometimes actually enjoy doing calculations, I calculated the percent of my life this challenge is consuming.  I assumed I will live to be 100 years old, so 9 weeks is approximately 0.17% of my life.  Even if I only live to be 80 years old, it is still only about 0.22%.  Then, I ask myself the question, “Can I eat whole unprocessed foods and follow a clean diet for 0.17% of my life?”  Of course I can!

I am not saying I will not ever eat ice cream or pizza again, but for the next 9 weeks of my life, I am going to try my hardest to follow the Paleo diet.  I will only eat meat, fish, vegetables, a little fruit, small servings of nuts, healthy oils, and the occasional glass of red wine.  Why?  Because I want to prove to myself that I can.  I am in control of my nutrition, and if I cannot go 9 weeks without eating grains and processed junk, then maybe I should not be eating them in the first place.  I also want to see how my body changes.  There is the potential nothing will change, but I just want to see what happens! J

Challenge Update
Here I am, Day 3 of the challenge and I am feeling good.  I have not experienced any excruciating hunger pains, no headaches, and no moodiness.  I have not had any cheats and I am working towards a perfect diet week.  It is the 1st week after all!

Cooking has been going pretty well.  I made a huge egg frittata to have as quick go-to breakfast meals.  I also made chicken curry in the crockpot, and a Roasted Garlic Red Pepper Pesto Tilapia (check out  Everything was really good and I had lots of leftovers for lunches.  I also made homemade Larabars with apricots, pecans, almonds, and dates.   The recipe was from  They are wonderful and the easiest things ever to make (as long as you have a food processor). 

Snacks for tomorrow: Carrots, green pepper, cucumber, and a Homemade Larabar

Homemade Larabars
½ cup raw almonds
1 cup raw pecans
¼ teaspoon sea salt
12 Medjool dates
1 cup dried apricots (unsweetened)

1) In a food processor, pulse the nuts and the sea salt until finely chopped but still chunky.
2) Pour your nuts into a mixing bowl.
3) Add the dried dates and other dried fruit to the food processor and process until it makes a paste (it will probably turn into a giant sticky ball when it’s done).
4) Add the date mixture to the nuts and use your hands to knead the nuts and the dates together until well mixed.
6) Grease a baking sheet with EVOO or coconut oil.
7) Make a big ball out of your bar mixture and push it down onto your greased baking sheet.  Cover the ball with some plastic wrap and using a rolling pin, roll out the mixture to your desired thickness.
8) Cut the rolled out mixture into your desired shape and size.

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Zucchini Cakes

Paleo (Except the Beer) Party was a Success!! 

 Tomorrow starts the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge. It is a 9-week challenge in which Crossfit boxes across the nation are going to compete for various prizes. There are prizes for individuals and also prizes for the box. You receive points through following the Paleo diet and completing weekly WODs. It is definitely going to be a tough challenge.

 I would say I currently eat 80/20 according to general Paleo guidelines. However, my husband and I drink beer on a regular basis and I always make homemade granola bars as quick go-to snacks for the week. I think the hardest part of the challenge for me is going to be the weekends, as this is the time for drinking and socializing.

 At the beginning of the challenge, I have to submit measurements and photos. The measurements submitted are waist, hips, thigh, chest, and arm. You do not submit your weight, nor your body fat percentage for this challenge. I am going to weigh myself tomorrow morning, and also at the end of the challenge, because I will also be interested in if I lose any weight. For more information on the challenge, check out their web page:

 To kickoff this challenge, my husband and I decided to post a Paleo (except for the beer) Party. Hey, the challenge does not start until tomorrow, so beer was perfectly acceptable! Everyone made really great Paleo dishes and we drank quite a bit of beer. I made zucchini cakes, which everyone really seemed to enjoy.
We were able to get a few drinks in before the official start of the challenge!

I found the recipe on

 Zucchini Cakes 


• 2 medium zucchini
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 green onions, finely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
 • 1 egg
• ½ cup almond flour (optional)
• ½ tsp baking powder (The Lurong challenge does not let you use baking powder, so I just omitted it) Coconut oil or clarified butter, for cooking – I just used EVOO Preparation

1. Begin by using a large-scale grater to grate your zucchini.
 2. Once grated, place in a bowl and toss in the salt. Allow the zucchini to sit in the salt for at least 10 minutes. Then, extract any excess water from the zucchini (I used a colander and pressed the zucchini against the sides with force, making the water drip out).
3. Return the zucchini to a large bowl and combine with the green onions, garlic, and egg. You could use almond flour, as it really helps in keeping the cakes from crumbling a apart, but you can also do without.
4. Once everything has been mixed, form cakes of about 2 to 2.5″ in diameter out of the mixture.
5. Place a large skillet over a medium-high heat. You want to allow the skillet to really warm up prior to adding any cooking fat to the pan.
6. Add some of your chosen cooking fat to the pan, just enough to coat the surface of the skillet and then place the zucchini cakes in the pan. Allow them to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, just enough so that they are crispy and golden brown.
Yummy Zucchini cakes as a side with Pork Tenderloin

Now it is time to start my weekly Sunday cooking WOD! 

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Introducing Savannah FitNut

My first blog post!! Ahhh, I am doing it. I love reading other people’s blogs about fitness and nutrition. They have so many good ideas, great tips, and lots of yummy recipes. So, why am I starting a blog? Because I can! Also, because I think I have a lot of good ideas, tips, and recipes to share with everyone. A little bit about me…. I am a 29-year old female living in Savannah, GA. I am originally from Lambertville, NJ (very small town outside of Princeton, NJ), went to school in Pennsylvania for engineering, worked in PA for 5 years, decided I needed a change, and opened up my options. Received a job offer in August 2011 and here I am, in the good ol' South. I live with my husband and our plants, that I cannot seem to keep alive (the plant, not the husband, haha!).

Now to the fitness side of my life. My mom is an aerobics instructor and has been for as long as I can remember. She went to college for dance, but when I came along, turned to an aerobics instructor instead. Since the time the gym would actually let me take classes ( I think 14 years old), I remember always going to the gym with her to take her classes, whether step, pilates, or toning classes. I played sports throughout high school (field hockey, basketball, softball, and cross country), and even though I was never a super star, I enjoyed the competition.
Fast forward to college and I stayed relatively active, taking some classes at the gym here and there, and running a few 5K’s. After college though, is when I really started to pursue fitness activities and realized my passion for them. I became a Les Mills certified RPM instructor and a certified Pilates instructor. I also started to pursue more races and other activities I had never done. I first completed sprint triathlons and longer distance races, 5 mile races, then half marathons. In 2011, I completed my first Olympic triathlon and also completed my first marathon. I ran the Chicago marathon in 3:56, just 4 minutes shy of breaking 4 hours, which was my ultimate goal.

Now to present day…. I have been doing Crossfit for 4 months now and I love it. It is challenging and so varied, you never know what your WOD (workout of the day) is going to be. I am also training for an 11-mile trail run and the Savannah Rock-N-roll half marathon in November.
So, there, I love fitness. I like challenging my body and enjoy that feeling I have after a good workout. However, I not only enjoy fitness, but I enjoy nutrition because after all, you need food for fuel. Hence, the name of my blog… Savannah FitNut…. as in fitness and nutrition, not separate entities, but going hand-in-hand. I am sure you have heard it before, but it is really important and as I continue my journey with fitness and nutrition, I want to share the things I learn along the way with all of you. Ultimately at the end of the day, I am just your average FitNut!

~ Morgan McNeal