PB Lean Review

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A couple of weeks ago I posted my review of My Oatmeal (revisit here) and at that time, I mentioned that I also received a bag of their peanut butter powder called PB Lean.  PB Lean is a gluten-free, dehydrated peanut butter that is a much healthier alternative to traditional peanut butter.  I have used PB2 in the past, and PB Lean is the same thing, just from a different company.

Nutritional information

Nutritional information

The numbers for PB Lean are quite staggering when you compare them to traditional peanut butter.  PB Lean contains 45 calories, 1.5g fat,  and 5g protein per a two tablespoons serving.  Now compare that to Jif, the most popular peanut butter in America, with its 180 calories, 16g for fat, and 7g of protein per two tablespoons serving!  That is a significant difference in the two products, and becomes quite noticeable when you eat peanut butter a few times a week, like I do during training months.  I like to have some peanut butter on wheat toast or with a banana before my runs over seven miles, so a healthier option is a major plus.

Inside the bag of PB Lean

Inside the bag of PB Lean

So, we have determined that PB Lean is obviously healthier than traditional peanut butter, but how does it taste?  PB Lean could be the healthiest substance on earth, but if it tastes like the actual earth, no one is going to eat it.  MY honest taste assessment is that the taste is acceptable.  The absence of the fat, oils, preservatives, and so on is noticeable the first time you try PB Lean.  It is not going to cause the average person to spit out their first bite nor should it, but there is a difference in taste.  There is also a slight difference in texture since it can be difficult to mimic what machines do in factories with a spoon and water.

Toast with PB Lean

Toast with PB Lean

To make a serving of PB Lean, regardless of size, I used a 2:1 ratio of powder to water.  This ratio holds up if you are prepping two tablespoons or two cups of peanut butter.  The PB Lean bag did not give me these instructions, but I borrowed them from a leftover jar of PB2 that I had.  You just add the water and stir.  The longer you stir, and the more water you add, the creamier the peanut butter becomes.  I have found that for a normal serving, adding one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of water to the two tablespoons of PB Lean makes a consistency that I really like.  The piece of toast above was prepared using this ratio.  But, obviously, if you overdo the water, you are going to have a peanut butter soup rather than your desired substance.  You have been warned.

Mud Cookies w/ PB Lean

Mud Cookies w/ PB Lean

Since I had so much PB Lean, I decided to try it in a few ways in addition to eating it in a traditional manner.  One way was simply adding a tablespoon or two to my oatmeal in the morning.  It was a very easy way to add a new flavor to my breakfast that did not cost me too much in the way of fat or calories.  There is a machine called Yonanas that makes ice cream from frozen bananas!  I got it as a wedding present and despite not using as often as I would like, it is a valuable kitchen tool for a struggling fat man.  You put one or two frozen bananas into the machine, add any other frozen fruit, chocolate chips, or the such to it for different flavors.  I used PB Lean and added a little peanut butter flavor to my banana ice cream.  A third, and tastiest, was adding it to one of my all time favorite deserts, mud cookies.  Mud cookies are a major weakness for me, so anyway to make them healthier is a major bonus.  So, with that in mind, I am going to include the first ever recipe in Running Large history!

Mud Cookies

3 Cups Uncooked Oats

1/2 Cup Skim Milk

1/2 Cup PB Lean

1 Stick of Butter

2 Cups of Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

3 Tablespoons Cocoa

1. Mix sugar and cocoa in a pot until there are no clumps.

2. Add in butter and milk, and bring to a raging boil for 2 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the PB Lean and vanilla.  Mix well.

4. Stir in oats.

5. Quick drop spoonfuls onto wax paper.

6. Let cool and enjoy!

This recipe does not work well on very humid days and do not overcook the ingredients in the pot.  Also, it works better to mix the PB Lean before adding it to the recipe.  That way you have a true 1/2 a cup and not an abundance or shortage of peanut butter.

I wanted to substitute a healthy alternative for the butter and sugar, but Susan did not want me to experiment too much with the recipe.  We had already been using skim milk, and then I added the PB Lean.  Next will be a healthy butter alternative and then a healthy sugar substitute.  Honestly, the flavor of the cookies was great, and if you did not know that I had used PB Lean, you would never have known the difference in taste.  The downside is that the cookies do not firm up quite as well with PB Lean.  There is a slight stickiness to them, but they still stay together and are very edible.  I am going to do some experimenting with the formula and cook times to see if I can solve the consistency problem.

For peanut butter lovers that are trying to watch their weight, PB Lean can be a very valuable dietary asset.  You can enjoy peanut butter without wreaking you entire diet.  Plus, since it takes a little bit of work to prepare the peanut butter, you are more inclined to watch your portions and you will burn a couple of calories while mixing it up.  I have tried PB Lean and PB2, and honestly, there really is not a difference between the two.  I will say that being able to buy PB Lean in a one and a half pound bag is plus in my book.  The cost for a bag of PB Lean was $13.99, and the cost of a six and a half ounce jar of PB2 is $5.99 on amazon.  You do not have to be a math major to see the cost benefits of PB Lean!  And actually, that price point is even competitive against the generic brands of traditional peanut butter in the grocery store!  So not only are you saving you waistline, you are saving you pocketbook as well!

My Oatmeal did provide me with a free sample to try and review, but this fact did not influence or alter my opinion of the product.  All views in this post are my honest assessment of the product and I am not being financially compensated for these views.

Kindrunner 48 Hour Deal

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Kindrunner just announced a special deal that they are going to do on their site from now until they leave the office on Friday evening at 7 pm (EST).  Basically, they are giving away $10 in Kindness Rewards Cash to any and everyone that registers on their site!  No purchase is necessary, just register for the site, and you will be $10 closer to a new pair of shoes or some much needed running gear!  Kindrunner’s announce reads as follows:

Kindrunner.com announces “48 Hours of Paying Forward the Kindness!”

We are so confident that anyone who experiences our website and learns our mission will want to take part that we are willing, for the first time ever, to pay the Kindness forward. We have now been in existence for just over a month, and want to share our mission with as many runners as possible.

From now until we leave the office on Friday (7pm EST) anyone who registers for www.kindrunner.com will receive a $10 Kindness Cash Rewards Credit towards a future purchase of ANY brand and ANY item! Simply register on our site, treat your feet when the time comes, and remember to re-purpose your old shoes so we can get them on the feet of someone who can put them to good use! https://www.kindrunner.com/customer/account/create/

All the best running gear at the click of a mouse, from the worlds only socially responsible running website! Give your feet the gift of cushioning, help someone in need, and help reduce the running communities carbon footprint… only at www.Kindrunner.com!
http://www.kindrunner.com/kindness-cash-rewards

Be A KindRunner

Be A KindRunner

That is a great excuse to try out their site!

Mid-Week Review

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Back in March, I did a post about the Alter Ego line of clothing from Under Armour.  You can have a refresher here, or the Cliff Notes version is the line is workout clothing inspired by superheroes.  The nerd in me was very excited about these shirts, but being of the larger persuasion and these shirts being base layer compression shirts, it did not look like I was going to get one.  Well, a random trip to the local Dick’s Sporting Goods changed that for me.  I was shopping with Susan and Dick’s was next door so I hopped in for a second.  And as I walked in, I noticed the Alter Ego display.  I stopped to look for a second and noticed two things.  One was that the compression shirts are tiny.  I seriously though I was in the children’s section!  Also, I saw a Batman shirt that said that said “loose fit” on it!  This could not be right, and I had to double check the tag.  Yep, “loose fit” just like my other Under Amour shirts!  I decided to try the shirt on, just in case, and it was a perfect fit!  So I now own a Batman Under Armour shirt!  I am such a nerd.  Maybe they will release the other superheroes in the “loose fit” as well.

Batman Under Armour

Batman Under Armour

Last week I bought my first pair of shoes from Kindrunner and the experience was very simple.  Today I am returning a pair of old shoes that will become $10 in Kindness Cash.  It is kind of a bittersweet moment since the shoes that I am returning are the ones I ran my first half marathon in.  But I cannot wear the shoes anymore and someone needs to get some use out of them, so sending them to Soles 4 Souls in a positive outcome for these shoes.  It is ironic that these shoes that I randomly bought with no knowledge of my gait, running mechanics, or shoe life held up for over a year and 700 plus miles without incident.  And now that I know this stuff, I have had some injury issues with shoes closely fitted for my feet with very strict mile management.  It is funny how that happens.

Kindrunner donation

Kindrunner donation

And speaking of my new shoes from Kindrunner, I made a rookie mistake over the weekend.  I was so eager to wear my new shoes that I did not properly break them in before taking them out for a long run.  I ran ten plus miles on the Greenline last Sunday and this run resulted in blisters on both of my big toes!  Thankfully these blisters were not a lingering issue this week.

I am also going to be trying something new with my runs and workouts over the next few weeks.  I almost exclusively listen to music on my runs, so I am exploring some podcasts to listen to, as well as an audiobook to utilize during my runs.  I will also try to watch some Braves games on the treadmill at the gym when the opportunity presents itself.  Last night was my first run listening to a podcast and it went well.  I had no problems staying motivated on the run, and it provided the distraction that I sometimes need on my runs.  I am still browsing audiobooks and honestly did not realize how expensive that they are.  I read several non-fiction books, and I am a little wary of running to an audiobook of a non-fiction book.  We shall see.

Today is the longest sports day of the year since it is the only day of the year that there are no activities from any of the major four American sports leagues.  What sets today apart from the past two days is that Monday has the Home Run Derby and Tuesday has the MLB All Star Game.  Even worse for Atlanta Braves fans is the fact that the team is also off tomorrow, so there is a four day sports void for us.  ESPN puts their annual sports awards show, The ESPY Awards, on Wednesday to help fill the void, but no one really cares about that.  The USA and Costa Rica game that was played last night would have been perfect in prime time tonight.

Update: I just read an article on Deadspin talking about the ESPYs, the hatred for the event, and the colossal waste of money the awards show really is.  You can read the article for yourself here.

Captain America Runs

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I completed two Captain America themed virtual runs a couple of weeks ago, and I was delaying posting about the runs because I was I was waiting on a medal from a third virtual run that I had completed.  But, it seems that it is still going to be awhile until I actually receive the medal, so I am throwing them into this post.  I incorporated them both into my training runs, so despite being scheduled for July 4th, I ended up running both of them in June.

Both runs were hosted by the same people, and the proceeds went to St. Jude.  I was an early registrant and it is a good thing that I did because they closed the race early due to several complaints of copyright infringement.  Now these complaints were not from Marvel or Disney, but rather people on Facebook.  But to play it safe, the race was closed and since the medals were already ordered, those of us early adopters were fortunate enough to get our medals.

Susan & I differ on this medal

Captain America 5K Medal

The first race was the Captain America 5K.  I entertained the thought of counting my time at the Stars and Stripes 5K, but if I did that, I would just be buying the medal.  Therefore, I ran this race as one of my short distance days in June.  I ran 3.18 miles on June 18 in a time of 30:28.  This is not a PR, but is still a good time for me running on a makeshift course through my neighborhood.  Susan is not a fan of this medal, but to get the 10K medal, you had to register for the 5K as well.  The more I look at this medal, the more it grows on me to be honest.  And I must say that there was enough changes on the design to be safe on copyright issues.  However, the name Captain America is probably protected as well and that could be what the complaints were.  Oh well.

First Avenger 10K Medak

First Avenger 10K Medal

The second Captain America run was the First Avenger 10K, which I ran as my long day on June 9 when I returned from vacation.  My schedule was for six miles, so adding the extra tick to make it a 10K was not too difficult.  My time, however, was not stellar.  I completed the run in 1:08:45, which is ten minutes off of my other 10K, but since I only ran a mile or two daily on vacation and this was my longest run since the beginning of March, I felt that the time was great.  Susan really like this medal and would have preferred if I was able to run in this event only because of her preferences in the medals.

Races Added to My Schedule

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As I previously stated in one of my very first posts on this blog, my plan for 2013 was to run in at least one race each month in 2013.  Now, the races do not have to be any specific distance, they just have to be hosted events that I complete.  And thus far, seven months into this year, I have completed at least one race each month!  In fact, I have completed fourteen races thus far this year!  Some have been virtual races, one was an obstacle race, and the vast majority have been 5K’s.  I was to have one or two half marathons completed by now, but my right foot decided to start hurting and I was out of commission for about six weeks.  But even while I was hurt, I completed a race with my walking boot, and while I did not set a world record, I did not come in dead last or injure myself any worse, so it was a success.  So looking forward at the remaining five months of my race schedule, I have some holes to fill.  I do have three half marathons scheduled for September, October, and December, so my workload is about to increase significantly.  But August and November are still ghost towns, so I am changing that now.  This week I have registered for two more races, and I am making arrangements for five or six more.

Earlier this week, I filled the void for August by registering for the Breakaway-Bardog 5K here in Memphis.  The event is being held on August 18, and will benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which as you know, is a major bonus for me.  Also that weekend in Memphis is the Elvis 5K, which is a big event here, and maybe I get roped into running it as well.  But, full disclosure, I am not the biggest Elvis fan in the world, and I would never wear the short that the race gives out with his gigantic face on it.  I know my Memphis residency card was probably just revoked, but it is the truth.  Also, the Bardog race is at one of the best bars in town, raises money for St. Jude, is more low key, last year’s shirt was awesome, and the first 350 participants get a race beer mug (I was 335), and the race course downtown is in a better area than the neighborhood near Graceland.

The second race I registered for is a national race that I had been hoping would incorporate Memphis into its 2013 schedule.  And this morning, I opened up an email from Living Social that confirmed my hopes!  Not only was the race coming to Memphis, they were offering a discounted entry, so naturally I registered about as quickly as possible!  You can use this link to register as well!   The race is called Tap “N Run Beer Run 4K and is more of a fun run than a serious competition.  You run the 4K course and chug beer at three separate “Chug Stations” along the way.  And then at the end, you get another beer.  The race encourages crazy costumes and seems like it would be a blast.  I do not have a team or costume idea yet, even though I put this blog’s title as my team name, but maybe some of my friends will want to do this race too. The race is on October 5, which marks the one year anniversary of the worst infield fly call in the history of MLB.  It still pisses me off to think about it, so go here for more info.

November is still barren, but I already know that I want to run in the True Blue 5K on November 1, but registration is not open yet.  This was my first ever running event, and I have ran it every year since.  Why stop now?  I wear my races shirts from this race more than any other race I have ever ran, and I do not foresee that changing anytime soon.  Also in November, there is an event called Heroes in Recovery 6K on the 16th, that intrigues me because of the line of work I am currently in.  But we shall see on that one.

The Cooper Young Festival 4 Miler is a very popular race here in Memphis, and is one that I always seem to have a scheduling conflict with.  This year I do not, at least as of yet, so I might finally get to run it.  It is being held on Friday the 13th, so maybe that is a bad omen?  I am also looking at a couple of virtual races to run as a part of my training schedule.  One has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (my all time favorite as a child) theme and I really want a Ninja Turtle medal.  Yes, I am a major dork.  You can register for a single race or for the entire series.  If you complete the series you get a medal for each turtle as well as Splinter!  That might be tempting, but I do not want to drop $100 for it, so I will probably just register for the Michelangelo race.  I am also planning another virtual race with a Festivus from Seinfeld theme for the winter.  Naturally, the event date will be on December 23, and I already have requested artwork for the medals.  I will post more details on here as they become available.  If you do not know what Festivus is, go here and here.

I am certain that other races will pop up over the next five months that I will have to register for, but my wife and bank account hope that it will not be too many!