eating

FOOD!

Food is not your mother, your father, your friend, your enemy, your wife, your husband. Food is not your dream date, but it can be your date from hell. Food is not your lover but it can break your heart. It can promise to love you and then leave you heartbroken and lonely the next morning.

Our lives are weaved around eating and what we eat. Like bees hard at work creating a hive, we create our world of FOOD, thinking about what we’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Where are we going to eat? What are we going to buy? How are we going to cook the food we buy? It becomes obsessive to some of us. And that obsession replaces feelings, friends, and sometimes, life’s big moments.

Food is not a panacea, it is sustenance. Food is fuel for our bodies. We are living creatures and constantly moving, going. To do this, we need to eat to keep the engines firing.

When homo sapiens first evolved, we were hunters/gatherers. We ate what we could. But, as time went along, we learned that cooked meat tasted better and seasoned cooked meat tasted even better.

Like alcohol, drugs and other substances, food can be used to dull the senses. It’s probably misused in this manner more than anything else. To eat until one cannot move is to overeat. Food comas are not a very healthy thing to do, yet we still do it.

I’ve been developing and refocusing my view of food. We can change the way we see things. It’s never easy. I’ve stumbled and fallen, but I get back up and continue moving forward.

Food is wonderful, it tastes great. But it shouldn’t take the place of real relationships and well, LIFE. In my fifties, I desire more than ever to be as healthy as I possibly can. This means that I have to make choices, many of which involve food. I am not willing to sacrifice my dream so I can have another piece of cake.

To be the best runner I can be and one day, an independent professional trainer, I must use strength and determination to see the horizon ahead.

So, focus on your goals and forgo those trivial cravings and desires you have, because in the end, most of the time they aren’t worth losing sight of what is truly important.

Keep Moving!!!

Advertisements

MIDWEEK THOUGHTS

Why is it that I conjure up some of my most creative ideas and observances during a run and yet I can’t remember any of them afterwards? I say this, a bit out of frustration because I’ve had a bit of a writer’s block lately. Nothing I thought of seemed interesting enough to write about.

I gave the blog a little rest for a while, and I’ve determined that I do indeed need to be more active and maybe broaden up what I include on it.

So, I’m going to start writing more, start including more in my little site. I’ll add more recipes, more exercises, links to great websites I find and maybe in the not too distant future some videos.

I don’t know exactly what I will have, all I know is it will be MORE.

My running is steady these days and they have been good runs. I’m not putting in the massive mileage I was at one point, but I am striving to run faster. I’ve increased my running speed by about 30 seconds per mile on average, which is not bad.

And I have been losing weight slowly but surely. I’ll lose around three pounds, then stay at that weight for a few days, then lose more. I guess it’s working.

Look for more in the very near future!!

Cheers!

Best Salad Dressing EVER!!!

Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing

My favorite dressing

After my Seniors Walk and a great gym workout this Saturday morning, I tried a new salad dressing recipe for lunch. I must say it is the BEST dressing I have ever tasted!

I collect cookbooks and every now and then I love to try recipes from them. I write next to each recipe how I liked it, what worked, what didn’t for future reference. My favorite cookbooks have the most notes. My mom did the same thing and now that she’s passed if I ever miss her I can look back at her cookbooks, read her notes and feel she’s still with me.

Since it’s Springtime, I try to steer my eating towards what’s available fresh and grown as locally as I can. I made a nice salad for lunch with baby spinach, asparagus, green onion and this amazingly, delicious salad dressing from the book: THE COOL MOUNTAIN COOKBOOK by Gwen Ashley Walters. It’s a very nice book showcasing recipes from some of America’s best winter resorts.

I tried out ASPARAGUS SALAD with BALSAMIC CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE from the Rusty Parrot Lodge in Wyoming. I will make it regularly from now on. It only takes a few minutes. You will be very happy you took them to make this!

ASPARAGUS SALAD with BALSAMIC CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE

4 servings

Vinaigrette:

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup honey

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup chopped yellow or red onion

1 garlic clove, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad:

1 bunch asparagus – about 30 spears

4 cups baby spinach

4 green onions, sliced thin

Optional: 1 ounce Goat cheese

Place the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes only. Then take out quickly and place in ice water so the stalks maintain their fresh green color. Take out and cool in a bowl in the refrigerator while making dressing.

Place all dressing ingredients except olive oil in a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Turn off and pour a little oil in, place cover back on, blend for a few seconds and repeat until all oil is gone. The dressing should be nice and frothy. It will still be a bit chunky and that’s fine.

Place the spinach in 4 bowls, add the asparagus stalks. Divide goat cheese pieces up between the 4 bowls and pour the salad dressing evenly between the bowls. Sprinkle the green onion slices on top and serve.

 

Age Makes a Difference

When I was younger I never had a problem losing weight. If I weighed a few pounds more than I should, I lost it right away. Of course, I was A LOT more obsessive about my weight and looks then. Sometimes I would go entire days without eating and later, after running a few miles, I would wonder why I felt so weak or cranky or tired. The mere thought of eating dessert was enough to send me into a trauma.

Have things changed! And for the better, thank goodness!

Life has so many twists, so many surprises and experiences. Through them we learn, we hurt, we laugh, we battle against all odds and hopefully, we continue to move forward.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve added some extra weight, as many of us do, but I’m not emotionally distressed over it. I am determined to lose it however. It’s not a massive amount, but I do believe that I can be a better runner and certainly a better trainer if I am in the best shape I can be. Carrying around extra weight doesn’t help me at all.

And I’m losing it the right way, with healthy eating and lots of great workouts, both strength training and running.

In my fifties, losing weight isn’t as easy as it was all those decades ago. Even a few extra pounds turns into a major chore. It really isn’t easy. And one careless night of bad eating can add those lost pounds in a snap, which will take me weeks to lose once more.

But one of my goals this year is to be a better runner and I really cannot do that unless I shed some weight.

And just after five days of healthy eating and workouts, I’ve lost 3.5 pounds. I know it’s mostly water weight, but still not a bad start!

Have great workouts this weekend!

Cheers!

SNAGS AND SETBACKS

I’ve been reading this book “The Untethered Soul”, by Michael A Singer about reclaiming your life and true Inner Growth. It’s an interesting read, one that can help me quite a bit, as I tend to worry a lot about things out of my control. I’ll write a complete review of it in here when I finish it.

Stress is the big killer. Combine stress with unhappiness and it can lead to many things, none of them good. And it has been getting to me lately. I simply must find a way to let go the stress I’m experiencing these days.

It is a work in progress. I’m including meditation in my evening routine, as well as getting back into eating healthy and striving to reach my fitness goals. This will take three things: 1) time, 2) patience and 3) money. And I need to do a better job at all three.

But it’s OK. I will do them all. My first goal is to not be so hard on myself. The greatest damage we can do is to be our harshest critic. So, I’m going to smile back at myself in the mirror more and carry on!

I ran six miles last night through Downtown and along the Bay. It was wonderful! The weather was mild, absolutely no wind and I felt so free. Tonight, I hit the gym, ready to work out my trouble spots: Core, Glutes, Shoulders, Arms.

And tomorrow as Scarlett said, is another day.

Cheers!

 

PS: I’ve revamped my blog/website. It’s now much simpler to reach and it will have a lot more content, including exercise instruction, recipes and reviews. Let’s just say that it will be a great place to check back often!

HUNGER PANGS AND WILL POWER

Things are moving like a runaway freight train and for the most part and I’m loving every moment. All the strength and flexibility training I’m doing is paying off: my running is mostly pain free and doing great, even during my long runs and hill runs, no IT band or hip issues.

My workout usually looks like the following:

Monday – gym after work for core, upper body and strength training

Tuesday – hill or tempo run

Wednesday – rest or gym for core and strength training

Thursday – middle distance run

Friday – gym for core, upper body and strength training

Saturday – easy run and yoga

Sunday – long, slow distance run

In between all this, I am usually VERY HUNGRY. Even after a good, healthy dinner, I can be hungry. I have found myself going crazy at night, eating everything in sight. This isn’t good, I know, but sometimes my will power isn’t there.

To help fight back, I wrote up a list of healthy snacks to eat and have ready. Each are in single serving sizes that I can pull out and enjoy with zero guilt or weight gain. They include: 1 strip beef jerky, 1/4th cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup unsweetened granola, handful grapes and walnuts, 1 cup Icelandic yogurt, sliced carrot and hummus, toast with cottage cheese and pineapple.

I’ve gotten quite creative in my snacks. They have to have both carbs and protein but they have to be tasty and satisfying too.  So far, so good. I’ve keep the weight off I’ve lost and I’m well on my way to losing the rest.

Cheers!

Eating Well Doesn’t Cost A Lot of Money

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to cook. Mom started me out baking cookies and from then showed me how to make soup, spaghetti (it was never called pasta at Our house), fried chicken, potato salad, how to bake cakes and all the staples. But I went farther in my love for cooking. So much so that I almost prefer watching the cooking shows on PBS than I do most fictional television. Right now, I’m stuck on New Scandinavian Cooking and John Besh’s New Orleans Cuisine. He rocks.

Because money is tight, I’ve had to reign in my food expenditures, like everything else. This doesn’t mean I still don’t eat well. I might even be eating better. Not having extra money means I don’t eat out, I don’t spend money on extras like snacks or rich, packaged foods and nearly everything I consume now is made from scratch.

Now that most everything I make is from scratch, I can be pickier about the sources of my food. I try to make sure that most of my produce is organic. Sure, not all of it is going to be. But the majority is. One way to cut down on my costs is to only buy what I will consume. This seems like such a simple thing, but it’s really not so easy. Most packaging isn’t made for us single folk, so again, I do better buying the basic products or in bulk, where I can determine just how much I need.

This weekend I roasted a whole chicken. It’s my most favorite food, honestly. But it’s also great because I can make meals out of it all week. And then, I’ll make soup from the bones. I bought a free-range, organic chicken for around $11.00 at Trader Joe’s and it will be two meals a day for me at least through Wednesday. I will probably freeze most of the soup.

There is a cost on my time with all this good eating. I need to do more shopping than most, and that means more shopping in a few more places. I go to Trader Joe’s, the local vegetarian co-op, Farmer’s Markets and even the grocery store if I need basics.

I also plan out my meals. This not only helps my budget, but my weight. I’m losing pounds, to get down to my best running weight and I couldn’t be successful without having alternatives to the empty calories I used to turn to when hungry lurks. I know myself. I know how I get when I’m hungry and have no healthy alternatives  to eat. Take tonight. Even after dinner I was hungry. I waited 20 minutes to see if I was really still hungry and I was. Over the weekend I bought a big bag of deliciously sweet cherries and had a handful of those. That was perfect! They filled me up, cured my sweet tooth and gave me some nutrition besides.

Our lives are busy, I understand. But even though they are busy, there is time to take some moments to think about what we’re eating. This doesn’t mean you need to stop eating out, but maybe think about cooking once in a while. I’ll try to include more recipes in the future, with pictures of course.

Cheers!

FOOD & SENSIBILITY

A friend of mine asked on Facebook how to stop her from getting up at night and eating. And when she does eat in the middle of the night, it’s not anything healthy. This led to a big discussion about healthy eating, artificial sweeteners and a whole host of other issues.

Although I’m not a clean eating purist, I do try to limit the pre-packaged foods I eat and I try to not eat anything artificial. On the rare occasion I have soda, it’s usually at a bar atmosphere and I’ll stick to the sugared variety. But this is maybe, three, four times a year. I enjoy real, whole foods and I don’t have much of a taste for junk foods, with the exception of blue corn tortilla chips…

Wow, she wrote, this is not going to be easy….

And there is the realization that it takes work to eat well. But, it’s so worthwhile! It’s like doing a good job, getting good grades or treating others around you with kindness. The rewards from healthy eating are so great. The food is superior and delicious! The payoffs will be felt nearly immediately; you’ll look and feel better. And if you plan wisely, and cook for yourself, your finances won’t suffer.

Sensible eating makes so much more “sense” than dieting. I’ve yoyo’d more times than I’ll ever admit to in my life and I don’t want to do it again. I’ve been underweight and I’ve been overweight. I’ve been obsessed with eating and I’ve not cared. But now I’m in a point in my life when I want to feel as good as I can. I have some pounds to lose myself, so why not lose them while still enjoying meals and eating and, life?

I’ll keep writing about how it’s going as the weeks move along. So far, so good.

These days I’ve been super busy working out a lot.

Last week, I had two runs with two clients, and they went really well, my first kickboxing class, yoga, a couple weight training sessions at the Y, a group run and a solo hill run. Monday forced me to take a rest day with the only chance to do laundry and this week looks just as busy. I’ll give you a rundown on my workouts this weekend.

Cheers!

Purple kale from the Farmers Market

Purple kale from the Farmers Market

I HEART NEW YORK

This morning, I went out for my first run in over a week. It felt good to get out in the warm San Francisco air and get in a little over 2 miles. Even though I had been away and couldn’t get any running in, my legs felt strong and I wasn’t too tired out running up and down a few hills.

And even in the warm morning air, I missed New York City.

I had would could be considered one of the best vacations of my life. Everything went really well. I ate, I walked, I laughed, I met fantastic people, I ate some more, I walked and walked, I saw spectacular Rangers hockey, I awed over beautiful sites, I ate some more, and I walked.

It was incredibly cold in NYC during my stay. The temperature fluctuated a few degrees, but it never got above 35 degrees. On Sunday afternoon, it snowed, and the city couldn’t have looked more beautiful with that fresh coat of white.

Because I’m a city girl and very familiar with public transportation, I had no problem figuring out the subway system. It’s much easier than MUNI. The signs are everywhere and the trains run much more often. You can get nearly anywhere you want to on the subways. And because they’re old, there are few escalators, so you’ll be walking up and down A LOT of stairs. I have to say this about New Yorkers; they have strong leg muscles to walk up and down those stairs every day! It’s what probably helped with me gaining no weight.

That’s right! Even with all the bagels, pizza, pastrami, Junior’s cheesecake (THE BEST!!!!), and everything else I had, I didn’t gain an ounce. So. Much. Food….

But so many beautiful places to walk and run. The next time I go, I will stay closer to Central park so I can run. It just wasn’t practical where I stayed to get a run in.

But now I’m back home, ready to get going and tackle my 2015 goals. They are: To lose weight, tone up, and run the California International Marathon in December.

Here are some pictures from my trip. If there was any way for me to move to New York and work there, I would in a NY minute….

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Rangers hockey at Madison Square Garden

Rangers hockey at Madison Square Garden

The Mall - Central Park

The Mall – Central Park

The High Line

The High Line

1 World Trade Center

1 World Trade Center

Why I Don’t Juice

Juicing….can’t leave the house without hearing or reading about someone doing it. It’s become the Beverly Hills Diet of 2015, so hip and trendy. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution and Man’s obsession with weight loss, diets have plagued us. Juicing is just the latest diet craze.

I understand the psychological need to rid oneself of toxins, but the body does a terrific job of that all on its own. Don’t underestimate our own ability to wash away the “bad” stuff once we stick to eating and living healthy; it’s amazing what our own Self can do!

Some people get in the bad state of mind thinking that if a weight loss system works fast, it must be good. Sure, you’ll lose weight fast juicing, but people lost weight quickly using Slim Fast years ago too. And then they gained it gained just as fast, adding on a few extra pounds. Juicing is just another binge diet. Supporters can add on all the buzz words they want…. cleansing, anti-inflammatory, organic, add in any others you wish, but in the end, what’s happening is they’re limiting caloric intake and will lose weight.

Juice, be it from fruit or vegetables doesn’t fill me up. Whole foods fill me up. And if I’m going to have liquid food, I’ll take a blended smoothie; I like getting my fiber along with my foods.

My leg has felt terrific this week. I invested in a stronger brace and have been doing leg curls which have really helped with my IT Band. My run last night felt great.

Have great runs this weekend!

Cheers!