Today’s Mini Goal: Pick one small part of my day and do it mindfully. I read an interview with Thich Nhat Hanh in this month’s Oprah Magazine and found myself totally in awe of his thoughts about our simple, daily actions. We can infuse whatever we do — walking (or perhaps running), drinking tea, listening to someone — with an awareness and a caring. Beautiful.
I really admire bloggers who seem to have a set pattern of meal-planning and eating, like Meghann or Caitlin, for example. I tend to try very hard to emulate this and have realized that the organization actually just ends up giving me a sense of anxiety — I do typically eat three meals a day, but my snacks and desserts will vary a lot. I really like Janetha‘s five meal a day thing. But again, sometimes I want to have three evening snacks and no dinner, or an extra dessert. Or a brunch. Or two big mid-day snacks instead of lunch. I have tried really hard to orient myself around the meal-snack-meal-snack-meal-dessert pattern, but I just end up frustrating myself. I think I’ve learned it’s best to listen to my body at this point.
So tonight I had no dinner! I was in the mood for a giant snack around four and I went with it (huge juicy grapefruit, frozen yogurt, an hour or so later pb pretzels, trail mix, coconut). Super random, but no harm done. If it works, I’ll take it, I guess. Do you tend to have a set pattern for your eats, just eat when you’re hungry, or graze throughout the day?
Part of me feels like there’s hardly a point in wasting thought space over this; people all over the world have learned to give their bodies what the need when they need it. I think the simple fact that we have so many foods in America — the healthy, the unhealthy, the processed, the natural, the outright bizarre — has created a mindset of overabundance. I just want to eat whole, healthy foods without thinking about it, but because of our cultural relationship with food, I find this hard. Not only is there food available everywhere (although, sadly, not everyone has access to it when they need it — this is another paradox of the system that I don’t understand), but we have an odd attitude toward food: I think food should definitely be an artful, social thing, but it is not a love object. There is a fine line here. Gena wrote a really wonderful post about this a while back. In fact, you should most definitely go read her post from today. It’s one of the most eloquent, unique, and empowering bits of food-writing I’ve ever read. Thoughts?
I’m thinking just working on my mindfulness overall will help me understand (and have compassion, not anger towards) my relationship with food, meals, and cooking.
I was not in the mood to run today. The weather was ragingly nasty (think slush, snow, rain, puddles, and cold all at the same time), so I knew it wasn’t going to happen outside. I fell asleep after work, and by the time I awoke it was evening, and I hate going to the gym in the evening. But just as I was trying to talk myself out of it, a friend texted me asking if we could make cookies! Perfect — I could ask if she wanted to go to the gym first. Thankfully, she did, and my workout was saved. I mean come on, once a friend shows up at your door, you’re not going to say, “oh, I changed my mind.”
I meant to do some strength training before my run, I really did, but I hardly had any time before my treadmill time-slot (grrrr — for a rant about this, see this post). I did a few pull-ups and ab leg-raise thingies. I’m so technical, I know.
Run (inspired by Janetha’s workout from this post):
10 minutes @ 6.0 mph
2x (1 minute @ 5.5, 1 minute @6.0, 1 minute @6.5, 1 minute @ 7.0, 1 minute @ 7.5, 1 minute @ 8.0, 1 minute @ 8.5, 3 minutes @ 6.0)
The first two minutes of the set (@ 5.5 and 6) were done at a five percent incline. I was going to do the set three times through, but I was drained. This was absolutely killer! My face was plum red afterwards, which never happens.
20 minutes @ 6.0
Total: 5.0 miles, 47-ish minutes.
My camera battery died during the day so I didn’t end up taking any pictures until this evening. I thought I would do a fun little round up of my dietary staples, why I eat them, and what they do for my body!
The cast of characters:
We have: trail mix, spinach, yogurt, oats, dark chocolate, apple, and peanut butter. These are the staples I have on hand tonight; there are several more things that I’d include, ideally: carrots, sweet potato, dried mango, salmon, milk, black beans, and tofu, for example. But let’s focus on the yumminess pictured above now.
1. Trail Mix:
I usually keep a few mixes on hand because they are easy to grab for an afternoon snack, add to meals to increase their bulk, or take on the go. I look for pre-made mixes that consist of simple ingredients (nuts, fruit, spices), or I make my own with a bit of dry cereal, nuts, animal crackers, chocolate, and dried fruit. Trail mixes usually provide a nice dose of fat, protein, and fiber. They never fail to keep me full, and they can instantly boost any meal’s flavor factor. Try adding to oatmeal, salads, or yogurt!
2. Peanut butter:
I definitely consider good old PB to be a power food. I love the fat, carbs, and protein combination that it offers, and the taste is inexplicably delightful. With everything. I like mine with oatmeal or cereal, toast, frozen yogurt, or chocolate. Oddly enough, I don’t really find peanuts (a legume, by the way) all that appealing. But give me a jar of peanut butter and a spoon and, well, we might be soul mates. PB is full of vitamins, like B and E, and the monounsaturated fat in it is good for your heart.
I usually get a giant bag of apple’s from the farmer’s market every week (sometimes twice a week, if need be). Apples obviously provide fiber, but they also have antioxidants and may help prevent some cancers. I love their textures — sometimes crunchy, sometimes melty, sometimes peely. Always perfect. I eat them plain as snacks, with oatmeal, or pb and cinnamon. They are excellent in baked goods. I encourage you to branch out in your apple repertoire — there are so many delicious varieties! My favorites, at the moment, include gala, fuji, cameo, mutsu, and suncrisp.
Dark leafy greens are excellent for you. Spinach has iron, calcium, magnesium, and loads of other good-for-you-nutrients, without packing a calorie punch. I find spinach to be the tastiest green, although I also love rainbow chard and baby bok choy. Spinach is also an easily disguisable veggie — you can add it to smoothies, soups, sandwiches,and many other things and hardly know it’s there. I love the bulk it can give a meal, and I use it as a salad base quite frequently. Make sure you wash it carefully.
Oats are easily my favorite whole grain. Fiber, protein, carbs? Check. Oatmeal is my go-to breakfast and never fulls to keep my full and energetic. I like mixing it with cinnamon, apples or banana, and peanut butter. It’s also wonderful in cookies, crisps, and, I have heard, savory dishes. It works well in raw desserts and there are limitless breakfast possibilities with this powerful little grain.
I’ve been doing a little dairy free experiment lately (minus the fro yo I had this afternoon :)), but normally I love yogurt. I usually go for Greek varieties or Stonyfield, which doesn’t have the fake ingredients that many yogurts do. It has a lot of protein, which makes it a great breakfast component or afternoon snack. It’s also got calcium and, if you go for 1 or 2%, the perfect little bit of fat. I eat it plain, with nuts, fruit, cereal, or granola, and even use it in cooked recipes. My favorite flavor is either pomegranate or raspberry!
7. Dark chocolate:
One of my favorite simple desserts. Dark chocolate has antioxidants, and I’ve heard it’s also good for your heart. I find that a few squares of the good stuff will satisfy my perfectly. Pictured above is Green and Black’s, a smooth, reliable brand. I like their Maya Gold and 70% varieties. Dark chocolate mixes well into hot cocoa, hot grains, yogurt, or pairs well with citrus fruits. It is also powerfully associated with ideas of love, the heart, and companionship; I think it’s good for the soul.
What are your staple foods and why do you enjoy them?
Okay, happy Friday everyone! I hope it is a most excellent beginning-of-the-weekend for you!