Long Distance Running: Great for your body, soul, endurance, and overall health and happiness? Or unnatural, knee destroying waste of time? This topic is hugely debated but let me throw in what is sure to be first installment of many on my two cents.
I haven’t run more than 3 full miles at one time since I hobbled past the finish line at a half-marathon in China, back in May. After 13.1 miles, a few of which were downhill stone steps, my knee completely blew out and I have yet to recover. While I didn’t initially swear off running, I was unable to run more than 100 meters for at least a month after the race, and now continue feel pain once I hit mile 2.5. Over the past 5 months my brain decided that long distance running is, in fact, completely unnatural and only contributes to major joint problems down the line, but today I read an article that contested that thought.
Hmmm…Maybe I should go back to why I started running in the first place: camaraderie, exploring new areas, an activity with friends that doesn’t involve eating out/drinking, etc., instead of focusing on the exercise aspect.
ALSO: watch out for the tidbit on why, yes, humans SHOULD eat meat (hormone free, grass fed, vegetarian fed, free range, non-commercial, etc.). Our ancestors ate meat millions of years ago and it is what helped us to become strong and powerful and super brainy. People who are vegetarian solely based on the fact that meat is unhealthy and contributes to diseases are looking at the issue entirely wrong (IMO). I’m not talking about people who are morally against killing animals for food, btw, totally different. Our ancestors didn’t eat industrialized and super processed meat, they ate what they hunted! Of course weirdo meat is going to do weirdo things to your body and the environment. But good, healthy, humanely raised and not to mention WAY more delicious meat deserves an A+.
It’s an incredibly frightening truth that the majority of what Americans eat these days are highly processed. Below is a cool excerpt of an article posted on Marion Nestle’s blog calling attention to the fact that eating processed food is terrible for one’s health and is a leading factor in obesity and disease.
Next time you sit down for a meal try to think about how much of what you’re eating is REAL food, and how much has been messed with beyond all recognition. It could change your life.
I love this part: The editorial argues that nutritionists’ focus on nutrients, rather than foods, has led to the assumption that if foods contain the same nutrients, they are the same—even though it is never possible to replicate the nutritional content of foods because too much about their chemical composition is still unknown.
Food created to resemble food is not what we should be living on! I know it’s difficult to eat what we should be eating considering how f’d up our access to proper food is, but with a little effort it’s possible and sosososososo worth it.
Cleanse: after a weekend, er, months of debauchery, today calls for some massive juice flushing (gross?). This stuff is divine and Liquiteria owns a little piece of my heart.
Mr. Green: carrot, apple, beet, ginger, green superfood (spirulina, blue-green algae, chlorella, oat/barley/wheat grass) & liver-kidney detox (burdock, yellow dock and oregon grape roots, dandelion, red clover blossom, nettles, red root & ginger). Delish!
Wait, what? I’m TORN: http://gawker.com/5675624/juice-cleanses-the-truth-is-out-there
Ok so maybe the juice is just a placebo, but hey, it made me feel good and clean and revitalized so $15.00 later in juice, I’m a happy camper…….PLUS I followed it up with this wholesome goodness which I highly reccomend:
Hummus and cucumbers from Sahadi’s in Brooklyn. Heaven on Earth and a great place to buy nuts in bulk (thanks Laura!).
OH yeah, reason for the juicing in the first place, I made this cake weekend (as well as lemon bars and chocolate chip cookies from Ad Hoc At Home). I’m calling it the Matilda cake….
The recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen and by adapted I mean I didn’t have enough sugar so I used 3 cups white sugar and half a cup brown sugar, AND I didn’t have enough buttermilk so i added a few extra tablespoons of oil. Good thing cakes, unlike cookies, aren’t so sensitive to the ebbs and flows of molecular gastronomy. Turned out great and HUGE (and all organic!!). The frosting is a simple ganache (not the one from Smitten Kitchen) made with organic heavy cream and dark chocolate disks from Jacques Torres: Put cream over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer. Before it boils, pour it over 16 oz of chocolate (any kind depending on how sweet you want it). Let chocolate and cream sit for 1-2 minutes, and then stir until it looks like gooey ganache.
Um, when did so many random foods start getting their own days, and who exactly brought them into existence? Whatevs, let’s celebrate:
Whipped Banana Sucanat Oatmeal (2-4 servings)
1 C Steel Cut Oats
3 C water
1 Large Ripe Banana
1 Generous Pinch Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons Sucanat
Put oats and water in a pot and cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When oats look about ready, add banana slices and whip furiously until banana dissapears. Mix in salt, top with sucanat, add any additions/toppings, enjoy!…or make a huge batch and keep in the fridge for easy oat access.
Veggie Additions: Whip in some pumpkin puree OR use a hand blender to incorporate shredded carrots/zucchini (a la carrot cake/zucchini bread)
Topping Suggestions: Chopped Walnuts/Pecans/Almonds, Butter
Why Steel Cut Oats? They are (most often) a grain that is left intact. Intact grains pack a way bigger nutritional punch then their processed counterparts and maintain the fiber, nutrients and vitamins (E!) that they were created with. As soon as you start grinding grains and milling them to pieces, you start to lose tiny amounts of wonderfulness that will make you strong and healthy.
Why Sucanat? Sucanat, or sugar cane natural, is pure dried cane juice and is not processed or refined. Woo!
People who pick up and move to a foreign country experience many of the same culture shocks. New language, new food, new customs, etc. Dealing with these culture shocks can be extremely difficult and coping methods can often fail, but there is one tried and true system that works time and time again. LOADS OF TV SHOWS.
Literally everyone I know who has lived abroad has gotten addicted to countless TV shows. Maybe it’s all the free time? The need to be transported somewhere else for a few hours? All I know is that I somehow and somewhat scarily went through all of the following:
Dexter seasons (1-4), Californication (1-3), How I Met Your Mother (1-5), Prison Break (1-4), Gossip Girl (1-3), True Blood (1-2), United States of Tara (1-2), stayed up to date on The Office and 30 Rock, and watched tons of Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’m sure I’m forgetting something here.
I mean I only work 10-12 hours a week I can’t be reading books and doing productive things ALL the time. =)
All this TV nonsense, Insanity + weight training, cooking, trying to eat more protein and wandering aimlessly has really kept me sane/happy and funnily enough is exactly what I do at home. Culture shock coping mechanisms to the rescue. As much as I really want to immerse myself in Chinese culture, as humans we ARE tribal beings, and sometimes I just miss my tribe ok??
Today’s protein conquest:
+ Insanity and upper body weight training
+ New show = The Tudors….amazingly spicy scenes goin on…have I mentioned that China is holding my sex drive hostage?
+ Wandering (the result of my wandering was documenting different common Chinese snacks that I had to stop eating months ago because they were making me gain massive amounts of depression inducing weight….more on that tomorrow).
Yikes…spicy as hell =) but loaded with MSG
Chinese bread is really sweet! The most common of these is the “bao zi” on the top left. Filled with meat. Damn I used to love these things. One Chinese slang i learned recently is saying “ni shi bao zi.” Ni shi = you are, bao zi = steamed stuff bun, ni shi bao zi = you are fat. Ha! True story.
You can get ANY sort of drink you could ever imagine here. Any fruit flavored drink, coffee, tea, topped with red beans, tapioca balls, jello, ice cream, you name it. An old favorite:
This actually isn’t so bad for you considering its 80% ice and has beans on top! And on a hot China summer day, these frappacino like “sha bings” (which literally translates to sand ice) are LIFESAVERS because holy hell, China gets HOTTTTTTTTTTT.
This snackage right here was probably the most offensive thing I’ve ever done to my body. This is basic dough, flattened, covered in spices and MSG (I saw the dude pouring it on) and practically deep fried.
People really love this stuff here and I completely understand why—it’s delicious and SO addicting. Dangerous territory since the MSG keeps you wanting more and more and more and more……
And then there is salvation:
These fruit stands are EVERYWHERE in China. I hit this place up multiple times a day. Wo xi huan shui guo = I like fruit.
Anyway, enough of this rainy day off randomness…time for me to go out and wander/explore the streets of China yet again. I only have 4 days left (4 days!!) so I’m sure that I’ll be doing lots of reflections on health/depression/exercise/fun Chinese things so stay tuned!