Food

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

PONDERINGS IN A CONGESTED FOG….

0ae6f743062792fdcd26de8b83ec29d6

So, I’ve had a cold for a few days. I don’t feel too bad any longer. I did make it to work today. It felt great to leave the house and be in contact with other people. I contemplated going for a run tonight, but decided against it, figuring I will go out tomorrow night instead. I’ll rest one more evening and be more than ready for an easy run Thursday night.

During my down time, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (and eating unfortunately). I thought about starting another website to promote health and fitness for folks 50 and over, but then I reminded myself that even though that sounded like a great idea, one is enough for me and I can combine whatever I want to do within here.

Eventually, I will add more to this site. There will be more in 2017. I will add more recipes, more health info and a lot more content, especially for those of us who are no longer on the shy side of 40. I will be adding interviews with inspirational and professional people I think readers will enjoy. I’m excited about the improvements and additions I’ll be including and I really can’t wait for 2016 to end. I will write more about how the year was for me, but it’s not making an easy ending for me, I’ll say for now.

Until my Holiday post, I hope you don’t drink too much egg nog (there’s like a thousand calories in that stuff), keep working out, be kind to those around you, (we’re all stressed out) and take a little time out to appreciate what’s really important ( the material things aren’t it).

Cheers!

20161206_184654

View from the top of Kearny Steps

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!

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

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!

GOODBYE 2014

So, I’m spending New Year’s Eve at home, as I usually do. I’m not a fan of NYE celebrations; I don’t enjoy being around drunk people, especially masses of them, and I before I was injured, I wanted to go for a run on New Year’s Day. Instead of that, I’ll enjoy my morning, do some reading, stretching and watch hockey. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

I bought a bottle of Trader Joe’s Sparkling Wine Chardonnay Grape Juice to open for the occasion, but I couldn’t get it open. In my drinking days, I opened hundreds of champagne bottles, but I could not get this one uncorked.

So, I looked at this unopened bottle as the past year. There are lots of good things and great moments, but the best is yet to come.

2014 has been a year of hard work, disappointments, proud achievements, frustrations, amazingly wonderful surprises and through it all there were the people I truly care about: my family, my friends, my foam roller and my new friend, the roller ball.

The Holiday Season was difficult for me this year. It was a little lonely and also hard because of my lack of finances but once Christmas Day was here and being with my friends everything was right again. When it comes to Christmas, the best thing is to enjoy yourself as best as you can and ignore everything else. Ignore all those boasting about what presents they got, or where they’re going or anything else that you wish you could have or do. Just enjoy what you already have.

And that’s exactly where I continue my journey in 2015…enjoy what I have already, PLUS open that bottle!

This past year was about setting the foundation. The upcoming year is about setting and finishing the first floor.

My workouts will take center stage. Weight control is of prime importance and once I can start running again, I will add on the miles and be back in business. Until then, I need to get my core, legs and arms strong.

Attitude is another area I will be working on. Many times I defeat myself by being so self-judgmental. If I recognize those self doubts when they rear their ugly head, I can stop them. And if I can do that, my attitudes towards everything will improve.

For 2015, my fitness goals are:

  • Run 1 half marathon and 1 marathon
  • Lose weight
  • Obtain my Personal Trainer Certificate
  • Be more positive in my thinking

Enjoy your New Year. I just know 2015 is going to rock!

Cheers!

A Product Review And A Recipe

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I ate too much after the race and enjoyed a lovely day.

At the Turkey Trail Trot Thursday morning, I had the opportunity to pick up some sample bars I wanted to write a bit about. I usually don’t buy these, as I try to make my own. But sometimes I don’t have the time to make them, or I’m away from home and have to rely on store-bought items.

Some brands are better than others, and many energy bars are much better than others. I’ve always liked Larabar as a brand. So I was pretty happy seeing their fruit and nut bars as samples.

Uber bars

Uber bars

LARABAR UBER ROASTED NUT ROLL

LARABAR UBER STICKY BUN

Both bars tasted really good. Both are gluten free, non-GMO and Kosher. They use honey, so they’re not vegan. But all the ingredients are REAL FOOD in each of them makes this bar a great go-to one if you can’t make your own. The salty, sweet crunchiness of the Nut Roll made it my favorite, but I wouldn’t turn down the Sticky Bun either.

Each one of the sample sizes have 130 calories with 80 calories in fat. It’s the perfect bar for apres-running. I’d even cut a full size bar in half, as a whole size would be too much in one sitting after a run unless it was over 10+ miles.

Most energy/protein bars are either all sugar or chemicals, but these seem to be the ticket for those who want to eat more whole foods.

Of course, a handful of nuts could do the same thing. But if you still want a bar, I would reach for an Laramar Uber.

And now a recipe:

CRANBERRY SAUCE

This is quickly cooked and can be used in everything from your holiday table to your steel cut oats. I love it!

1 bag fresh cranberries

½ cup fruit juice – apple or cherry juice works great

½ cup honey or other sweetener

1 cup diced fresh pineapple or fresh oranges

Pick out the discolored cranberries and then combine cranberries, juice, honey and other fruit in saucepan and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes under low heat. Cool to room temperature.

Store in container. Will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Cheers!