A Legend…in my own mind

A Legend…in my own mind

The rule is…there are no rules!  For decades, I had three rules that I ran by.

  1. Once you start running, don’t stop until you finish your said miles.
  2. If you can talk when you are running, you are not going fast enough.
  3. No music, that’s cheating.  I am a purist…thank you very much.

So, those rules worked in my twenties and thirties.  Nowadays, I have a phone and GPS watch strapped to my left arm, water bottle or pepper spray in my right hand.  And I will mention the metal plate and six screws in my right leg.  (Fell down the stairs during my second pregnancy at 37 weeks, tri-malleolar fracture…that story is another post).

My younger self would have never believed it.  But to be fair to myself, I am running longer and faster than I ever did.  Aside from training for marathons back then, I usually ran twelve miles a week in my twenties and fifteen miles a week in my thirties.  That is all it took to stay in shape back then.  Aah, youth.  I run over 25 miles a week now…Dear metabolism…thanks for nothing!

I have come to accept aging and all the rules I have to break to manage.  I think breaking those rules and getting rid of my running vanity has made me faster and able to run longer.  Apple music has made my hot and humid Raleigh runs so much more bearable.  Stopping to drink water is just a necessity in our humid state.  And talking while running is okay too because slow days are necessary to prevent overuse injuries.

A lot of my runner friends have asked me what I listen to when I run.  I have no shame in liking these songs.  Whatever works right?!

I have so many favorites, but here are some tunes with a fast beat that take me up those hills:

Fantasy, Aldo Nova

Original Sin, INXS

Evenflow, Pearl Jam

Magnificent Seven, Clash

Legs, ZZ Top

Dr. Feelgood, Motley Cru

Kickstart My Heart, Motely Cru

Iron Lion Zion, Bob Marley

How Do U Want It, 2Pac

Renegades of Funk, Rage Against The Machine

No Church in the Wild, Kanye and Jay Z

Bullet the Blue Sky, U2

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Bono, U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour, Chicago, United Center, 2015

 

Happy running to you all!  I will have my Chickpea Fry recipe in my next post!

 

 

 

Trying It

Trying It

When was the last time you tried something new?  Something you never imagined you would do or even like?  The last new thing for me was becoming a vegan three years ago.  So, it had been a long since I did something new until a few months ago.  My husband kept bugging me to try art classes at the Art Museum.  My response to him was “Meh…”  I thumbed my nose at the idea.  I liked my comfort zone and didn’t want to leave.  Then he left the colorful brochure from the museum on my desk.  I was signing up the kids for art classes and ended up reading about the adult classes.  I  signed up for a paper art class.  I am an artist and illustrator.  I knew nothing about paper art.  In this class, we had to use four pieces of card stock to make a three dimensional scene.  We used X-acto knives to cut designs into the paper.  It was really cool and really fun.

I didn’t think much about the class after taking it.  But slowly I started noticing paper.  There are so many cool things made with paper.   Cardboard, fast food packaging, various food product packaging, electronics packaging (iPhone boxes), gift boxes and greeting cards.  Paper is such a beautiful material.  There are so many types of paper from shimmery card stock, plain white watercolor paper to stiff solid colored card stock.  I got a variety of these papers, an X-acto knife and a paper trimmer and I have been having a lot of fun since.  Paper art is not the same as illustrating, painting or digital art.  The art class made me think of designs in a whole new and different way.

 

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My First Paper Project

I have included some cards that I have made further in the post.  My cards are for sale at my Etsy shop (My Etsy Shop).  I encourage you to try something new.  Get out of your safe zone and just do it!  You never know what you might like, what might inspire you and where it will take you.

 

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Gray Lotus

 

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Dandelion

 

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Pineapple

 

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Home Sweet Home
Only on the weekends

Only on the weekends

My kids told me the that their Dad makes better grilled cheese and better chocolate milk than I do.  How can that be possible?  Well, he adds extra cheese and butter on the sandwich and extra chocolate in the milk of course!  As a family, our diet is mostly healthy and we eat out only once or twice a week.  However, I often find Oreos, Doritos, premixed chocolate milk, yogurt with candy pieces and ice cream of all varieties when my husband B. goes shopping.  I can’t even go on about the secret weekend donut/dessert runs.  These take place early in the morning on weekends when I am still asleep or out for a run.

I have told B. that taste is acquired for healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits.  While sugar is readily accepted by kids.  Kids have more taste buds and their taste buds are more sensitive.  Taste involves not just physical signals but sensory ones too. (Accounting for Taste)  We find food to be tastier if it is plated nicely on pretty dish or a fancy spoon.  Food appears attractive when it it is presented with garnishes.  We are already bombarded with images of unhealthy foods that are loaded in fat, calories and sugar.  And those images are not of fresh, whole foods that are unprocessed fruits, vegetables or grains.

With each meal, I try to include a fresh fruit or vegetable.  I would like my kids to be exposed to these tastes everyday.  Taste can be changed.  For example, people with health issues that are forced to cut back or sugar or salt, find the foods they used to eat previously taste too salty or too sugary after a few months.  The more we eat certain foods, the more we get used to the taste.

While I can’t stop B. from buying junk food, I do have solace in the fact that taste changes with age.  (Taste changes with age)  As we get older, the number of taste buds adults have decreases.  Adults have around 10,000 taste buds and kids have 30,000.  And, we are more inclined as adults to try new foods and new tastes.  Grown ups look at food not only from a taste perspective, but a health perspective also.  I am confident that my kids will eat better as they get older.  Both of them now eat tomatoes, lettuce, onions, olives, broccoli and green beans which was unheard of just a few years ago.

I can assure you that I am not the food police in our house.  With a Dietetics and Nutrition background and I know how to counter the unhealthy food.  I let them eat the unhealthy food, but in limited quantities.  Big desserts in our house are for the weekends only.  I adopted this rule from one of my daughter’s classmates who was lamenting how horrible her life was without weekday desserts.  Before you think I am a mean and awful Mom…during the weekdays, my kids drink chocolate milk for breakfast and lunch.  I pack a little something sweet in their lunch like a small cookie or chocolate.  And they eat a PB&J for lunch everyday at school (their favorite).  I know they will remember the “dessert on weekends only” with great fondness…hardship makes us stronger…right?!

The following recipe is a vegan Hot Artichoke Dip that even my kids love.  It is low in calories and big on taste.  I hope you like it.

 

Hot Vegan Artichoke Dip

2 cans of quartered Artichoke Hearts (14 oz cans)

2 T Vegan Mayonnaise (I use “Follow Your Heart” Veganaise)

2 T Nutritional Yeast

1 t Garlic Powder

1 t Salt

Drain the artichokes and add them to a food processor.  Add the Veganaise, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt and blend until smooth.  If your dip is too thick, try adding a tablespoon of water or several as needed.  Empty into a serving bowl and microwave for one minute or empty into a pan and heat until hot.  I like to eat mine with veggies, toasted baguette slices or toasted pita/chapati/naan.

 

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Hot Vegan Artichoke Dip with Veggie & Baguette slices
Not Organic?

Not Organic?

A friend of mine assumed that I only consume organic food made from scratch. That is very far from the truth.  Unless you grow your own food, you are eating processed food.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are minimally processed and meat substitutes and nut milks are heavily processed.  Most of us don’t have the means or the knowledge to grow our own food.  Although I eat a lot of fruit, vegetables and whole grains,  I certainly do consume my fair share of seitan, pea protein, nut cheese and some soy based products.  I just don’t have to time to make my own.  With an active family and schedule, I don’t feel bad about that.

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Grilled Eggplant, Red Pepper & Red Onions

Fruits and vegetables do not have to be organic.  I used to follow the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) Dirty 15 rule  because it ranked produce with a percentage of pesticides found after harvesting.  But, according to the Journal of Toxicology (article), some pesticides are more toxic than others and they are not all equal.  So, I try to buy organic when possible.  But, sometimes stores are low in organic inventory or the non-organic produce looks fresher than the organic.  A good washing of non-organic fruits and veggies removes most pesticides.  Simply eating more fruits and vegetables is beneficial along with a balanced diet.

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Orgain Vanilla Almond Milk

My husband and my kids are not vegan.  They consume mostly organic eggs, milk, chicken and fish at home.  But, the kids get fast food when they are out with friends and we go to restaurants that do not serve organic meat and dairy.

According to the Washington Post, there are two main differences between organic and conventional animal products.  One is what the animals are eating and the other is the level of Omega 3’s.  I do care what the animals are eating and not so much about the Omega 3 levels.  (article)

Organic milk, eggs and meat come from cows that are pasture raised and grass fed and free range chickens that are not fed animal or poultry by-prodcuts.  I just feel better buying organic animal products, but when we go out…

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Roasted Garlic & Quinoa Burger Salad.  See below for recipe.

As long as you are eating a diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruit and grains with some protein (animal or plant based), you are on the right track.  If that diet includes organic foods, even better!  I would love to be the perfect, puritanical, organic, and unprocessed vegan but I’m not and I’m okay with that!

Roasted Garlic & Quinoa Burger Salad

1 package Morningstar Farms Roasted Garlic & Quinoa Burgers (4 patties)

2 C Mushrooms, washed

2 Medium Tomatoes, washed

1 Medium Yellow or Red Pepper, washed and deseeded

2 T Garden Gourmet Basil Paste (or fresh basil if available)

2 T Olive Oil

1/2 t garlic powder

Salt to taste

Cook burgers according to the package.  While they are cooking, add olive oil, basil paste, garlic powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix well.  Chop mushrooms, peppers and tomato into one inch pieces.  When burgers are done cooking, cut them into one inch pieces and add them and the veggies to the mixture in the bowl.  Mix well so the dressing coats all the pieces and serve. This recipe serves two.

As Requested

As Requested

A lot of you have asked for my easy Veggie Chili recipe.  I have been making this Chili for years.  When I became a vegan three years ago, I switched to vegan meat crumbles.  The Morningstar crumbles contain egg whites and are not vegan.  I have also done a variation of this chili with onions too.  Saute the onions first before following the recipe.  This recipe is very simple and very delicious.  I hope you like it!

Veggie Chili

1 package Morningstar “Meat” Crumbles or Beyond Meat Vegan Crumbles

1 red or orange red pepper diced

1 can red bean kidney beans (washed and drained)

1 can tomato sauce

1 large tomato cut into half-inch pieces

1 tsp garlic powder

1tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

Juice of half a lime

Red chili flakes to garnish

Salt to taste

Spray a medium pan with oil spray.  Add meat crumbles to the pan, on medium heat, saute the crumbles until soft and slightly browner, about 5-6 minutes.  Add diced peppers to the pan, let peppers cook with crumbles for about two minutes.  Add the tomato sauce, tomato, garlic, chili, cumin, lime juice and salt.  Stir the chili well.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about ten minutes.  Garnish with red pepper flakes  and serve with tortilla chips or warm tortillas.  If you are vegetarian, add some grated sharp cheddar or monetery jack cheese.  If you are vegan, add grated Chao vegan cheddar cheese.

 

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Small Steps

Small Steps

It is the middle of January.  While I haven’t been perfect in checking off everything in my New Year’s to do list, I am on the right track.

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On getting enough sleep:  I have made it to bed at 10:30 only once in the past two weeks.  My bed times have been between 11 pm and 11:30 pm.

On managing my time:  I am doing better on this one.  I have been finishing about 90% off my daily to do list.  However, I haven’t started meditation yet.  I did download several apps to help me do this.

On getting back to my usual running pace and mileage:  This one is going well.  I have managed to get back to doing physical therapy.   I am back to my usual mileage and the physical therapy is going to get me back to my usual pace.

Trying to improve my habits is going to take time and won’t happen overnight.  Small steps will lead to my goals.  I have to remember that each day is a fresh start and a chance to improve.  It’s funny that I am so disciplined in certain areas of my life such as my Vegan diet, exercising and managing the household.  But I slack off with sleep, time management and physical therapy.

I am entering everything I need to do into my calendar.  This way, my schedule is on every device:  iPhone, iPad and Mac.  I have got reminders and alerts on items that involve others.  The calendar will help me become more mindful of what needs to get done.  Hope your New Year plans are going in the right direction also!

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A Brand New Year

A Brand New Year

The New Year is just days away.  Every year, I have friends and family who make resolutions.  Resolutions to change habits, lose weight, do more of something…the list goes on.  Many of them achieve success but many of them don’t make it past March.

I have never made New Year resolutions in the past.  But this year, I plan on improving myself.  The path to change is not easy right?  It is not enough to say “I want to change…”.  There needs to be a plan with details for change to happen.  Writing down the changes you want to make, may or may not help you.  This year, I am writing them down.

Change 1:  Get enough sleep.  Shut everything off and be in bed by 10:30 pm.

Change 2:  Manage my time better.  Write down a schedule for each day of the week because everyday is different.  I will use my calendar to help me from missing events and scramble last minute.

Change 3:  Get back to my usual running pace and mileage.  I have been plagued with injuries and simply need to do my physical therapy in order to improve certain muscles.  I have been blowing off my exercises and it has really affected the way I feel and how I run.

It is a brand new year and I want to make it count.  I want to make it an awesome year for me, my family and my friends.  Will keep you posted on how it is going!  (Pun intended…)

Are you planning on improving yourself this year?  How will you do it?

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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Florida