Running Goals and Food as Fuel

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For the past 15 years or so, I have been a casual runner, entering the occasional 5K race and always enjoying it. Last year about this time, I decided I would venture into new running territory and run in a local women’s 10K race. Why? I have no idea, but it seemed like a fun thing to do (and it was!).

Assisted by an unusually mild winter and spring (pretty much the opposite of this year), I started running regularly and using a GPS program called Run Keeper to log my mileage and time. I couldn’t believe I did it! I was beyond excited that even in the 95 degree heat, I could run a complete 10K race–the farthest I had ever run. At the race, I met a woman who, without knowing it, changed my whole year. And maybe my life. She started running later in life and together with her daughter had run many of the Disney races. She encouraged me to go for a half marathon at Disney. She said I could do it. Those words are very powerful.

At home, in a crazy fit of lord knows what (running endorphins?), I signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. And signed up my husband, Tom, as well. Then I panicked. How in the world would I run 13.1 miles? Well, friends, there is nothing like investing about $3,000 in a race, hotel, airfare, etc. to help you along with a goal. I downloaded a Jeff Galloway training plan and we were on our way.

Last week, we ran our race. It was awesome. Full of Disney magic, fun, hard work, beautiful weather and personal satisfaction. While the race itself was fabulous, the journey of our training over the past 6 months was really the greatest part. I am learning to appreciate so many things about my body and to treat it well. To give it rest when needed, to strengthen its weaker parts and to feed it what it needs.

And now we have a new goal! We are signed up to run a full marathon in November and the Disney Coast to Coast Challenge in 2015. We have a long way to go to double our distance, but it will be fun trying.

Spring is a time when many of us decide to pull out our dusty running shoes and get outside. But just as important as what we wear, is what we eat. Here are some links to recipes that have worked especially well for us over the past few months. Some are meals and others are snacks/desserts. I hope you find these helpful!

Banana Bread Oatmeal

Chili Lime Shrimp Salad

Clean Energy Bars

Crunch Chai Spiced Granola

Double Chocolate Raw Fudge

Fish with Tomato and Fennel

Mediterranean Shrimp and Feta

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Raw Honey Almond Butter Truffles

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

Swiss Chard with Mushrooms and Eggs

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad

Winter Vegetable Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

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Tutorial Tuesdays #13–Understanding the Carbon Footprint of Food

Tutorial Tuesdays #13–Understanding the Carbon Footprint of Food

The older I get, the more I appreciate the aspects of strength and balance in my life. If I live to be 90, then I officially reached the mid-point in my life this month, which is cause for some introspection. While there are some issues (and my patient husband sees this more than anyone else) where I still have strength of conviction along with hair-trigger emotional responses, I also have a greater ability to step back from life, watch what is happening, and be more balanced and patient in my reactions.

So it is with the choices we make about how we live. I have the strength of conviction that I want a healthier, less toxic life for my family (and your family, too), but I also realize that we have to make balanced choices and sometimes those choices involve tradeoffs. It would be nice if we could have zero impact on the earth and the environment, but I’ve read stories of people who have tried and it nearly drove them mad. Maybe the goal should be to make the choices necessary to have the least impact while maintaining a healthy personal life.

Here is a link to a great resource on understanding the carbon footprint of the food we eat. This tool is helpful (and especially fun  if you have children) in understanding how the choices we make about food have an impact on the health of the world. Just one more resource to bring informed decision-making and, hopefully, greater balance to our lives.

http://eatlowcarbon.org

But sometimes food options that have a low carbon footprint are not necessarily the best foods for you. Homemade cookies, for example, have a fairly low carbon footprint, but that doesn’t mean you should eat them at every meal. And eggs have a low carbon footprint, but factory chicken farms are notoriously inhumane.

So it all becomes a balancing act. Maybe you have a steak one night, but balance the impact of that with lower impact dishes during the week. Or maybe you switch to chicken. Or buy only pasture raised eggs. Or maybe you decide meat isn’t important enough and go vegetarian altogether. Whatever you decide is right for you, it’s good to have the tools needed to make strong and balanced decisions about your life and your body.

This website isn’t a cure-all, but it is fun, engaging and informative. I hope you enjoy it and learn something new, as I have! Now, maybe I’ll go have a cookie :-)

Poached Salmon and Citrus Cous Cous at the Musee d’Orsay

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I’ve worked in museums my entire career and no matter where I have lived, one thing remains constant. Art museums tend to have the best food. Typically, though, American museum dining is a very disappointing option. Designed to serve the masses quickly, American museum food service tends to fall back on a fast food model of prepackaged foods or hamburgers, pizza and fries. I’m not sure how much of that is to keep the profit margin high and how much is because we don’t think people will want anything better. Clearly, we don’t see food as a source of national pride. I usually stay away from these places unless I am desperately hungry.

But France is another situation entirely. Food has a place of prominence here, although obesity is rare. Quality over quantity.

We visited the Musee d’Orsay in Paris yesterday and I think it is now one of my favorite museums. Not only is the art in this renovated train station absolutely lovely, the building itself is an architectural gem. I heard that the restaurant in the museum was beautiful and quite good, so we decided to give it a try. Oh. My. Goodness. It was pricey, but that is probably the second hallmark of museum dining, so not a surprise.

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I had “Le plat” (special of the day), which was described to me as “salmon”. That waiter was a bit understated. What showed up was a plate of loveliness–that would be a better description. A generous fillet of the silkiest poached salmon I have ever had was perched on top of a bed of Cous Cous with minced carrots and other vegetables. All of it was laid on top of a citrus beurre blanc that I could have licked off the plate. On a chilly, rainy spring day, this was nourishing and delicious. Not sure I can replicate most of what I am eating here, but this is one I have some confidence about.

Sometimes the best things you bring back from vacation aren’t souvenirs, they are ideas!

Paris and Food Access

My first post from Paris! How is food access different here than in the states? Well, for one thing, fruit and vegetable stands are everywhere!!! All over downtown, there are little fruit stands, like this one that is just across the street.

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Also, in the subway!!! We came out of the Montparnasse station to find not one, but two fruit vendors!

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We have a lot to learn about access to fresh fruit and veg. And, well, a lot about pastry, too, but that is another post 🙂

Au Revoir!

Resolutions for A Healthier Food System

Danielle Nierenberg and Ellen Gustafson from Food Tank (the food think tank), wrote this great piece on new years resolutions for a better food system (click HERE for the article). Here is a summary, but definitely check out the full article!

  • Ways we can improve our food system in 2013:
  • Grow more food in cities
  • Create better access to sustainable food
  • Demand healthier food
  • Cook at home more
  • Share meals with others
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Waste less food
  • Involve young people in farming and cooking
  • Protect workers
  • Love your farmers
  • Recognize the role of governments
  • Shift the focus from higher yield to great quality
  • Fix the broken food system

What are your new years resolutions?

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