Monday, November 26, 2012

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Break

Wow, what a great Thanksgiving break.  No traveling, no shopping, no work …. Just friends, food, and fun!  Our friends graciously hosted Thanksgiving at their house and it was wonderful.  Everyone brought different dishes over and we had enough food to feed about 30 people… there were 7 of us, haha.  The healthy part of me made two dishes: zucchini cakes and sweet potato mash (sweetened only with apple juice).  I must say I did eat a fairly healthy Thanksgiving meal… turkey, zucchini cakes, sweet potato mash, and a piece of my husband’s Italian bread.  My unhealthiness arose from the drinking portion…. Wine and some random delicious concoctions my friend made for me.

Some of you may be asking “Why eat healthy on Thanksgiving?  It is the one day of the year where you can eat as much as you want…..”  Blah, blah, blah.  I have a funny way about the holidays.  I do not decide two weeks prior whether or not I am going to eat healthy for a particular meal.  When the holiday arrives, I decide right then and there if I want to indulge or not.  It is not a well thought out decision.  I eat the crap if I want and that’s that.  On to my updates:

Update on the foot:  The foot is feeling good.  I ran a few 0.25 mile stints this week and it felt fine.  I am being extremely cautious still.  I am jump roping, but not too much and also doing burpees, which who does not enjoy those?!?

Update on Eating:  Paleo Challenge is over.  I went to the grocery store and bought crackers and felt like my hand was going to start burning when I picked up the box or a little monster was going to jump out of the shelf and scream at me for buying grains!!  I ate some crackers and they were okay.  Were they the best thing I ever tasted and I could not believe I went 9 whole weeks without them?  Yeah…. Not really.

Recipe for today:  Chocolate Salted Pears
I was going to make these for Thanksgiving but the pears were not ripe enough, so I made them this weekend.  A nice delicious snack for the season!  From

Chocolate Salted Pears
1/2 lemon
4 ripe pears
1 cup chocolate chips
flake salt

Get out a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper or a silicone pat. Cut, core and slice your pears.

Squeeze the lemon over the pears and toss to coat–helps keep the pears from turning brown.

Place chocolate chips in a glass (or heat safe) bowl and place over a soup pot that you’ve filled halfway full of water. Place the pot over medium-high heat. Whisk the chocolate until completely melted and then turn the heat off. Dip the pears into the melted chocolate and lay them on your prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.

Place the baking sheet in the fridge until the chocolate has re-hardened, about 15 minutes should do it.

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pretty Much Healed

First, I apologize for slacking.  I have not had a post in 11 days!  However, I have a good excuse; well I think it is a good excuse.  I was in Houston all last week for a conference.  Classes were during the day, dinner with coworkers at night, and very little time to do anything else.  I did, however, get to visit Crossfit Roughnecks (  It was a nice box and everyone was super welcoming.  Because I am still babying the foot, I did do some modifications on the exercises.  It felt good though to get back to it.  I always enjoy visiting a new box.  There are so many amazing athletes all over the country and I am always in awe of their stamina and abilities.

Update on the foot:  It has been about a week and a half since my last doctor’s appointment.  I did quite a bit of walking in Houston and have been doing more CF workouts now that I am home.  Foot feels okay, does not hurt, it just feels weird.  I am going to wait until Monday to run and I am crossing my fingers it will feel fine.

Update on the Paleo Challenge:  The challenge ends this Sunday.  I only cheated twice in regards to eating, but because I was not able to work out very much, I did not think anything would have changed.  I was going to be happy if my measurements stayed the same and nothing got bigger, especially my butt since I have been sitting on it a lot.  WELL, to my surprise, I was measured again this morning and I lost 7.75” overall!!  I cannot believe that… maybe I should just stop working out.  Haha, just kidding.

Seriously though, for a fitness freak such as myself, who thought an hour a day spent working out was not enough, this comes as a huge shock and definitely changes my thinking regarding exercise.  This reaffirms the way your body looks is 80% dependent upon your diet and 20% upon your exercise routine.  Food is a crucial component to living a healthy life.  Regardless of how many miles you run, pounds you lift, or meters you swim, if you have a poor diet, your body will most likely not look the way you want it to look. 

Where do I go from here?  With the challenge over, what things will stay the same and what will revert back to my old ways?  Here is a list of 5 things I will carry on post-challenge.

5 Things to carry on Post-Challenge:
  1. No Bread (or very little) – Basically only when the husband makes his homemade Italian bread.
  2. Lots of Vegetables – It is fun going to the farmer’s market and trying out new vegetables I may not cook with often
  3. No Processed Foods in the house – No need to explain
  4. Searching for new recipes daily – This has been a lot of fun finding delicious recipes with wholesome ingredients
  5. Minimal eating out – My food tastes better anyway!

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I went to the doctor yesterday and great news, no more ugly boot!!  Woohoooo!  He gave me the okay to walk as much as I want, but has to be in sneakers (fine with me!!).  Doctor said it is healing properly, but no jogging for another two weeks.  I can handle no jogging for another two weeks, at least I can walk!  Wait, who is that talking?  I am okay with NOT running for another two weeks?!?!  Haha, it is funny how things change.  It is probably going to feel really weird when I start running again.  I will keep you posted.

Now onto the food part.  I decided to make golden cauliflower soup on Sunday, borrowed from an awesome website:  It was pretty easy, not too many ingredients, BUT after I was finished making it, I tasted it and thought it was pretty gross!  I even threw the recipe away thinking I would never make it again. Here is the conversation I had with my husband regarding the soup via email: 

Hubby: “That soup is delicious!”
Me: “Really, you like the soup??  I had a little taste last night and I didn't really like it, haha.  I decided I would not make it again, but if you like it, that's good.”
Hubby:  “You didn't like it?  Hmm.  I thought it was great.”
Me: “Maybe the soup got better after it sat awhile and the flavors melded.  We are talking about the cauliflower soup, right?!”
Hubby: “I think that's the soup we are talking about.  Has carrots and stuff?”
Me: “Haha, yes, the soup with the carrots and stuff.”

Verdict:  After I tasted the soup today,  it is good and I recommend making it.  However, may need to let it sit for a day before it is truly yummy!
Ingredients for Cauliflower Soup

Golden Cauliflower Soup
1 large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 large carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk

  1. Wash and core the cauliflower, then coarsely chop. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, carrots, and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped cauliflower and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3.  Add the broth and water, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, carefully transfer the cauliflower and some of the broth to a blender or food processor. Cover the top with a dish towel to protect yourself from splatters, and purée the cauliflower until smooth, adding more broth as necessary.
  5. Pour the purée back into the soup pot, then add the salt, pepper, and coconut milk. Stir to combine and cook over medium until heated through.
  6. Let it sit for a day and all the flavors will meld!  Yum, yum!!          

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rockin' and Rollin'

Yesterday was the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon and half marathon, a race that I signed up for a few weeks before my injury.  And obviously, I was not able to run this year.  Lucky for me, our new house had a front row seat to the entire race (sense the sarcasm… it is awful watching everyone run!).

According to the Savannah newspaper, there were approximately 17,000 people running the race this year.  I think that is great!  It is awesome to see running events have become such popular events across the nation.  For the 2012 Chicago marathon, 45,000 participant slots sold out in 3 days!  More and more people are setting out to hit the pavement every day.

The reason it is great is because races attract people of various fitness levels and at the end, you have free beer!  Most runners have a goal in mind for a particular race and they are ecstatic when they reach that goal, whether it is a 7:00 min mile or a 10:00 min mile pace.  THAT is what it is about.  Setting a goal and reaching it.  I know I mentioned the same thing in my previous post, but it is important.  Whether you are a runner, a Crossfitter, an aerobic stepper (think spandex and leg warmers!), or all of the above, set goals to achieve.

1st place half marathon finisher - 1:05

I am already setting goals for post injury Morgan, both fitness and nutrition related.  I know getting back to running will be slow, so I will focus on other goals, not centralized around running.  Maybe pull-ups, overhead squats, and push presses! J  I will improve though in what I set out to do and next year, when the Rock and Roll Marathon comes back in town, I am shooting for a 1:40 half marathon, 8 minutes less than my current PR!

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Very First Rant on my Blog!

I know a lot of people use their blogs to rant about this and that.  Initially, I did not want my blog to be a place for ranting, but I can change my mind.  If you don’t like it, stop reading and go clean your house or something, haha, just kidding, keep reading.

So here it goes: 1st rant:  I recently read an article entitled “Why Women Can’t Do Pull-Ups” on the NY Times webpage.  If you would like to read the article in full, here is the link.  Or don’t waste your time, because it is a horrible article…. The comments are pretty good though.

I will summarize the article for you.  Women cannot do pull-ups because a study was completed in Dayton, OH with 17 normal weight women who for 3 days per week for 3 months lifted weights to try and strengthen biceps and the latissimus dorsi, and at the end of the 3 months, only 4 could do a pull-up, so the obvious conclusion here is that all women cannot do pull-ups.  I think the most hilarious part of the article is the quote from the professor who conducted the study: “I look at a volleyball player and wouldn’t expect her to be able to do a pull-up, but I know she’s fit.”  Hahahaaa, sorry Mr. Professor, when I look at people, I automatically do not think about whether or not they can do a pull-up.

The worst part of this article is a woman wrote it!  Oh and the picture that headlined it.  The two women on the end look as though they are in agony!

Picture for the article "Why Woman Can't Do Pullups"
Here is a novel idea.  If you are a woman and want to do pull-ups, start practicing pull-ups.  If you are a man and want to put your foot behind your head, start doing yoga.  The point is there are many goals you can accomplish if you set out to accomplish them.  I do not look like a runner, and the aforementioned Mr. Professor may look at me and automatically think I am not a sub 4-hr marathoner…. BUT I AM!  Why?  Because I trained for it, had a goal in mind, ran in the sun and the rain, ran with sore muscles, woke up when I wanted to stay in bed, and oh yeah, ran a lot!

Can we stop telling people what they cannot do, fitness related or not?  Whenever I tell people I am completing the Paleo challenge and I do not eat grains or dairy, their first response is “Oh, I could never do that.”  Really?!?!  If your life depended on it or if I was going to cut off your leg, you would still stuff your face with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.  Come on, that is not true!  For the record, I am not going to cut anyone’s leg off for eating Ben and Jerry’s.  Seriously though, take can’t and cannot out of your vocabulary!!  

~ Savannah FitNut aka Morgan McNeal