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!

 

 

 

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.

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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Cauliflower Crush

Cauliflower Crush

 

I love cauliflower.  It tastes good, its satisfying and its low in calories.  This dish keeps me happy and keeps me from snacking after dinner.  I am always looking for new ways to make cauliflower.  Most of my recipes are unintentional.  Meaning, they come about because of what I have in my fridge or pantry!  This dish was accidental, but it is really good if you like spicy Buffalo sauce.  Other vegan buffalo cauliflower dishes have breading, but my version is tasty without the extra calories.  I may try a breaded version after I am back to running my usual mileage and injury free!

 

Spicy Tangy Buffalo Cauliflower

1 head of Cauliflower, washed and cut into 2 inch florets

2 T olive oil

1/4 C Buffalo sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot, mine is a grocery store brand)

4 T Nutritional yeast

1/2 t garlic powder

2-3 T water

Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl, coat cauliflower florets in the olive oil until all pieces are coated.

Roast cauliflower for about 20 minutes until they turn soft and have a little color on the tops. Turning them over once halfway, after 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them as oven temperatures vary.

In a small bowl, mix together buffalo sauce, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, water and salt.  If your sauce is too thick, add another tablespoon of water.

Pour the mixture on the hot cauliflower and serve with your favorite bread, grains or legumes.

This dish serves around 4 people.  And has approximately 130 calories per serving.

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Spicy Tangy Buffalo Cauliflower

 

 

Already November?

Already November?

Hello November!  I can’t believe the year is almost over.  I have finally gotten around to writing down recipes from my previous blog post “Cooking”.  For those of you asking for those recipes…so sorry for the delay.

I cook by the seat of my pants.  Whatever is in the vegetable drawer or is close to expiring, dictates the meal!  When I was a Food Service Director, we operated very differently.  The menu drove inventory purchases.  We had a 4 week menu and usually didn’t deviate unless something was going bad.  Then of course, we had a daily special!  Why don’t I do the same thing at home?  Well, I guess I like the spontaneity and I may be a little lazy.  I hope these recipes help you.

I am always looking for ways to cut calories.  Feel free to substitute your favorite option.  You can get creative from one little idea which can turn into something quite delicious!

 

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This is my go to easy option for lunch.

2 slices of Nature’s Own 40 calorie Bread

3 slices of Field Roast Wild Mushroom Deli slices

1 medium Tomato sliced

Handfull of washed Spinach leaves

2 T House of Tsang Korean BBQ sauce

1 oz Kettle Black Pepper Potato chips

Spread BBQ sauce on both slices of bread, one tablespoon each.  Assemble seitan slices, tomato slices and spinach.  Devour with chips.  I like to stick the chips in my sandwich.  It doesn’t always look so pretty when I am eating the sandwich, but I really love the chips in the sammie!

 

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2 C cooked rice (I use Basmati, but any cooked white rice will do)

1 can Black Beans wash and drained

4 Medium Tomatoes chopped

1/4 C Green onions sliced thin

1/2 Mango cut into long slices

1/2 Avocado cut into long slices

1/2 large Lime juiced

1 t Garlic powder (adjust to your taste)

1 t Cayenne Pepper (adjust to your taste)

Salt to taste

In a large saute or frying pan, add rice, beans, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.  Mix well and heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add tomato and green onions, heat an additional two minutes.  Add salt, serve with mango and avocado slices.  I like to sprinkle the fruit with a dash of garlic, cayenne pepper, lime juice and salt also.  This recipe serves 1-2 people depending on their appetite.

 

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1 C Chickpea flour

4 C Baby Spinach leaves

1/2 Red Pepper diced

1 1/2 C Water

2 T Roasted garlic chunks or 1 t garlic powder

2 T Nutritional yeast

1/2 t cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

Oil spray

Spray a medium frying pan with cooking spray.  On medium flame, add diced red pepper to the heated pan.  Cook peppers until soft.  Add spinach and let wilt.

While spinach is wilting, in a small bowl, add chickpea flour, water, cayenne pepper, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt.  Mix well, the batter should resemble thin pancake batter, however this batter will be gritty, not smooth.

Once the spinach has wilted, add flour mixture into pan, pouring evenly and let the mixture cook until solid.  Spray the top with oil spray.  The veggie fry will need to be turned over for both sides to cook.  With your spatula, quarter the fry and turn all four pieces over and spray with oil spray again.  Chickpea flour cooks quickly, I like to let mine form a slight crust.  This veggie fry is a nice alternative to scrambled eggs because chickpea flour is high in protein.  This recipe serves 2-3 people.

 

Mellow

Mellow

I am not sure when it happened to me or when it happens to others.  As I mark another birthday and shake my head at yet another mole or spot on my face, I realize that I am now mellow.   Mellow can mean:  aged, cured, developed, rounded, seasoned, cultured or smooth.  To me, it means that I am much more easy going than I was in my younger days.

As a kid, there is so much pressure on perfection and learning things properly.  Aaah, the exuberance of youth!  I see my kids always wanting things to be perfect or to be the best at something.  My 12 yr old son has to have all his electronics devices in a certain way.  My 9 yr old daughter has to have her stuffed animals in a particular order when she goes to sleep.  And both of them love organizing their backpacks in their own way.  Heaven forbid, mom puts a water bottle in the wrong place.  Their motivation makes me smile.

As teenagers, we still have all that energy, only we pretend we are too cool to care.  My room was my sanctuary during my teens.  My two younger sisters and parents were not allowed to loiter.  All my favorite bands and actors were on my wall in the coolest arrangement of course.  A mean comment from one of my friends would send me into a sad brooding spiral.  “How could she?!!”

In my twenties, it was all about eloping (that’s another post), career paths, promotions and graduate degrees. No pressure or need for perfection there…right?  What I remember about my twenties is that B and I worked really hard and played hard too.  Everything just mattered so much more.

My kids came along in my thirties.  I had to make the agonizing decision to quit working and be a stay at home mom.  Being first time parents is really hard.  I remember torturing my family when they came to see the kids as babies.

“Did you wash your hands?”

“Is this one of the sterilized bottles?”

“That is a choking hazard…!”

I went from that to “You can still eat that…we have acids in our tummies that kill germs.”

In my forties, I really just don’t care about all the things I used to obsess about.   I tell my kids that they need to relax, that other people have it much harder and to stop complaining.  By now, all my family members know each other really well.  We used to push each others buttons in our younger days.  Nowadays, we still push buttons but less frequently and then say something nice afterwards…

And my friends, many of them are still neurotic about things.  They stress about aging, botox, kids and keeping up with the neighbors.  But many of them have also mellowed just like me.  It’s funny that words of wisdom from the past can help us throughout life.  My karate teacher told me “stand tall and be proud”.  One of my uncles told me “health is wealth”. And a teacher once told me “be thankful for what you have.”  And I tell my kids “do your best, if it doesn’t work out, try again, if it still doesn’t work out, move on to something else .”

 

Mellow Drinks

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Bourbon Hot Chocolate

 

Bourbon Hot Chocolate

3 T Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate or any sweetened chocolate

6 oz Water

1 oz Bourbon

Heat water in a pan until boiling or microwave in a mug for two minutes.   Add chocolate and make sure it dissolves completely.  Add Bourbon.  Viola!

 

 

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Rum & Coconut Cooler

 

Rum & Coconut Cooler

1 C Orgain High Protein Almond Milk or nut milk of your choice.

1 T Coconut Sugar

1 t Coconut Flakes Unsweetened

1 oz Rum

This is a cold drink.  Combine all of the ingredients together, paper umbrella optional.

 

 

You are holding the key

You are holding the key

“How do you do it”?

“How do you have the self-control”?

These are questions I get asked all the time about not just being plant based, but portion control and staying fit.  These are not easy questions to answer.  We are all different and what works for me may not work for you.  I can however, provide you with some habits that I formed in my teens.  During my senior year in high school, I lost fifteen pounds and have kept it off using portion control and running.  This post is about eating, I will talk about fitness in my next post.

Eating a meal should be only that.  Just eat, don’t do anything else.  Don’t multi-task.  Look at your plate and pay attention to your food.  Enjoy the taste and get the satisfaction and nourishment that it provides.

Eat sitting down.  When you are eating anything,  a meal or even a snack or having a drink, sit down.  Don’t stand when you are eating or drinking.  Take the time to look at what you are eating and drinking.

When you are still craving more of what you just ate, change the taste.  For example, when I am craving more potato chips and I have already eaten two servings, I wait.  I drink some water, then eat something with a completely opposite taste like cherries, or vegan yogurt or sorbet.   I forget the taste of the salty, fatty chips because I have tasted something else.

Portion out your food.  I know this piece of advice gets such a bad rap and a bad reaction from people.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with measuring or weighing out serving sizes.   Eating snacks like chips out of a bag usually means overeating because of their small serving size.  Serving sizes for potato chips are usually around 150 calories for 28 grams or around 14 chips.  I usually lose count after 4.  I have an inexpensive food scale and measuring cups/spoons.

Eat your meals on smaller plates.  I have both 10 and 8 inch plates.  But I always use the 8 inch plates.  This optical illusion works by tricking my mind into thinking my plate has runneth over.

Not having bags of readily available junk food forces me to make my own snacks.  If I am feeling too lazy to cook, I end up eating a fruit or doing something else besides eating.  See below for an easy yet healthy smoothie bowl.

I am not perfect by any means.  We all have good days and bad days.  But starting with a health eating goal in mind everyday is really important.  Do your best and try to stick with your eating goals everyday.  It will pay off eventually.  Good eating habits and physical fitness can help with weight loss and improve health.  It won’t happen overnight, it takes time and patience to change behavior and break lifelong habits.  Next post is all about moving!

 

Easy Smoothie Bowl

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There are thousands of great smoothie bowl recipes.  This one is easy, lower in calories and high in protein.  I did not have any of my favorite berries to add when the above picture was taken, but feel free to top with blueberries or strawberries.

1 container Silk soy yogurt (or your favorite low fat yogurt)

4 T Trader Joe’s Chocolate Hemp Powder

1 T unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Around 8 Pistachios (mostly crushed or whole if you prefer)

In a bowl, mix yogurt and hemp powder together.  Top with coconut, pistachios and fruit.  Enjoy!

Using the nutrition labels provided on all the ingredients, I calculated this smoothie bowl at approximately 310 calories with 15 g of protein.