Iron – Woman & Chickpea Tabouleh

I have been doing a bit of lurking to see what my fellow vegan athletes (and wanna be athletes like yours truly) are eating to fuel their workouts. The protein isn’t so difficult to get, even though heavy exercisers - whatever that means – need a bit more, my problem area is more in the iron department. I am just one of those people who has a difficult time ironing up, and since I’m moving towards 40 miles a week I need to be careful to make every nutrient-packed calorie count (er, yeah, my twinkiesque cupcakes were loaded with iron, I know). Zipping around the blogosphere a bit back I happened upon a fabulous blog by Veg*Triathlete. Jen the Veg*Triathlete generously shares gorgeous pics of her menus in her Fuel section, and I enjoyed snooping around for some new ideas. And behold…

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safsouf or chickpea tabouleh

I think because it’s so chilly outside I’m thinking more hot-meals and I tend to forget how refreshing it can be to have a ‘cold’ salad. I’m a huge fan of taboulehs, making tons of variations depending on what I have on hand or in the fridge, but I tend to make them much more in the summer months when I can just toss everything in a bowl in the morning and have it be fresh, perfect and chilled by evening when I take it out. I boiled up the beans when out for my run, then tossed it all together and forgot about it until lunchtime. So good. I am a garlic fiend, so I added four cloves of the raw stuff, and I also added raisins for a little extra zam (this also keeps the vampires away, the garlic that is, not the raisins).

So thanks Jen for the inspiration!

And in a 30 Days of Yoga update, we’re cruising to day 10. I wish I could say my calves were loosening up nicely… I think because I generally manage to squeeze in about three or four yoga sessions a week I’m not seeing a huge difference yet. Patients, grasshopper. Patients.

 

Sundays = The Long Run

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Here are some beautiful moments from this morning’s run through the forest. It was still pretty darn cold when I took off, so there was some cool-looking misty-fog, which made me feel all daring and fearless, how cool is that?

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The forest where I run is the largest in France (so say the locals, anyway). If you’ve ever seen a French movie with a woodsy-forest scene in it, it was probably filmed here.

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There are also these fabulous rocky outcroppings which are amazing. In addition to the outcroppings, there are wild boar, and they freak me out a little (let us just say I have a very healthy respect for them after an unplanned encounter with them last year). I have no pictures of them, because unlike me, they are not vegan, and while they rightfully don’t appreciate we humans invading their turf, I don’t want them taking out their angst on little ‘ole moi.

30 Days of Yoga! Because Yoga Is Like Chocolate For The Soul…

I’m sooo excited about all the super-creative stuff I’m going to be working on this year. I’ve got a mini-mountain of projects just aching to move from the “can’t wait to do this” pile to the more active “look what I’m doing” pile. Changing my focus this time around, I decided to opt for very different (for me) resolutions this year: learning to knit & crochet (there were two others, but they are personal, but really, not exciting, so don’t feel left out!).

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For those who know me, it probably seems rather odd for me to be seemingly so excited about such -gasp!- domestic-y sorts of things, but it is my mission to constantly keep the world guessing about my true identity.

I spread all my crafty goodies on my bed during the Guppy’s nap today to try to decide what to do. I had almost half of a pathetically-basic beginner’s scarf done, but learned a beginning knitter’s lesson the hard way: keep all projects well hidden from curious 2 year-olds. I came home from teaching and Mr. Fish was trying desperately to fix the damage, which was super-cute, but futile. Helas. My incredibly gifted in the knitting and crochet department is coming for a yet-to-be-determined-when visit, and I can’t wait to learn from a human and not try to decipher cryptic instructions from books and the net.

Now, you read the above and well, I sound pretty chipper, don’t I? In reality I’m feeling a bit deflated. When my alarm went off today for my run I got up, walked to make an espresso, turned on the machine, and then just walked back to bed, tail between my legs (and the worst part is I didn’t even feel more rested when the alarm went off two hours later!). Who stole my mojo? Où se trouve mon zen? And while we’re at it, let’s look for that generally-over-abundant energy, please.

I run about 30 miles a week, which to most avid runners isn’t huge, but what I really dig about running is its subjectivity. It’s personal. Your PR is *yours*, no one else’s, and only you know where you started from, how much work you put in, and how much you’ve gained (well, unless you’re a competitive athlete and that’s different). In order to maintain my running habit I have to get up early (between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m.), which is also about perspective, but for me it’s really ugly early, and since I sometimes don’t get to bed until after 11 p.m. (like the midnight last night), the morning can be tough. This doesn’t usually bother me for more than my initial 15 minutes of waking up, and once I’m dressed & out the door I’m feeling good.

But not today.

I’m really in an energy funk, and I know we are all feeling some version of cabin fever, but it’s really getting me down. Getting up and running to beat the sunrise is one thing. Running in freezing temps with rain pelting you is another. Rain is my friend, but I need some zesty sunny energy goodness!!

Yoga is also my friend, and I try to hit the mat at least four times a week, though sometimes it’s more like two or three. For me, yoga is necessary- without it I can’t run, my lower extremities being a bit damaged from so many years of dance, but it’s not just about keeping my soleus from snapping like a ratty old window blind.

Yoga is like chocolate for the soul. You feel all yummy and warm and sweet when you’re done, and I think that’s what I need. It’s what we all need! So here we go, it’s the “let’s get February over with and out the door 30 days of yoga challenge”. I officially started on Monday, so this is day two for me. The rules are simple, for a day to qualify there must be a minimum of 10 minutes of structured yoga. I think if I can stick to it, it might help me find my fleeting mojo, or at least to concentrate on something other than the cold temps when my alarm goes off in the morning…I’ll keep you posted.

Toasty Toes!

Now, the way we feel (or endure) various temperatures is entirely relative to what the norms are for the season, the climate, etc. It’s also very subjective from person to person. Me, I really like warm, sunny, dry weather. I thrive. I joke with my favorite Auntie that our batteries run sunshine.

Thing is, lucky Aunt Jan, well, she lives just outside of L.A. Me, I live next to the largest forest in France, and while we have what is generally considered a temperate climate, it is a bit cold & wet for my tastes (if only I could teleport Southern Arizona to France…). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cream puff, and last time I was in Northern Michigan in the winter I went out for my runs in very negative wind-chills and came in with my eyelashes and eyebrows frozen, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

My biggest complaint when it dips below freezing (-1c, 32f) is my feet. My ballet dancer-past has made them a bit sensitive (and annoying) and I find that if it is below zero Celsius my feet really ache until at least two miles into my run. Now, pain is no biggie, but I find I change my stride because I am sub-consciously bracing myself, and that my dear friends, is not a good thing at all.

Now I have tried layering socks, and that does work with some temps and shoes, but not always, and when things get a bit too crowded in the running shoe it’s not very comfortable for a myriad of reasons (blisters, callouses, poor circulation defeating purpose of three pair of socks). I also know that there are fancy keep-your-tootises-warm socks out there on the market, but I just can’t spend money on ‘me’ right now.

I was reminiscing about my childhood, playing the the snow for hours with my sibs in our back yard, coming in with frostbite on my cheeks but not caring because of having fun, and then it hit me: plastic bags!

When I was little in the late 70s we didn’t have all these high-faloutin fabrics & plastics that we use for boots now. Or maybe we did, but my parents didn’t know. Or maybe because our shoe size changed every 5 minutes they opted for the less fancy boots. Anyway, I remembered my dad sitting me up on the washing machine and getting my feet ready for action- one layer socks (or two), a plastic bread bag, then another pair of socks. Pure genius! The bag kept in the heat, but also kept out the snow, which was a great plus in my non-goretexish world.

It also occurred to me that when I was dancing I would often don a pair of plastic bags and in turn cover them with bulky leg warmers if I had a wait before going on stage or during rehearsals. BINGO!

I am thrilled to say that my little experiment worked wonders this morning. When I woke up at 5 a.m. it was a balmy -5c and raining, so, perfect plastic weather. I put on two pair of thin socks, nylon first, cotton second, then slipped on two very thin freezer bags and then my shoes. It was fantastic! My feet were warm from the start, no jarring joint pain reminding me it was cold outside. Plus, they were dry (well, they were sweaty, but that’s just life), I mean from the rain! My shoes were pretty wet after my hour-long tromp, but the plastic bags saved the day.

I suppose some folks might need to be careful for rubbing or other issues, depending on shoes and plastic bag and socks used, but this solution worked more than well for me!

Thanks, Timmy!

Don’t you just love it when you’re waiting for a package to arrive? You find yourself peeking into the mail box at bizarre hours, listening when you hear someone in the stairwell, thinking that perhaps it’s the letter carrier with a little something for you? Well, my super box of holiday-gift-love arrived today! Yippie!

See, Shellyfish (that would be moi) is from a very large school ‘o fish, and since there are so many of us we swap names around the holidays (or there would be entirely too much gift buying/making/wrapping/sending, etc). My little bro Timmy got my name this year, and that is always a good thing. He had my name 10 years ago and got me the coolest lava lamp EVER. Seriously. I loved it so much I lugged it back and forth across the United States three times during various moves. This year, well, we’re a little older Timmy & I, and less zany (thought I would so dig a lava lamp), so I sent him a list of books I wanted because they are a little easier to deal with when it comes to shipping.

My two gifts say so much about me: La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer and Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels, PhD. I’m jazzed about both of them, because I love running, I love vegan cookbooks, and I love books plain & simple.

I have nare had time to do much reading of either, but I did do some serious flipping through La Dolce Vegan!, the third of Kramer’s cookbooks (How it all Vegan & In the Garden of Vegan she co-authored with Tanya Barnard). I have How it all Vegan, and think it’s a great sort of primer-vegan cookbook with lots of neat advice on DIY vegany things for around the house & home, good fake-cheese ideas, and general conversions of carnivore comfort foods that we find ourselves longing for when we are looking for something that reminds us (in a good way) of our pasts. There are lots of skillfully-penned reviews of La Dolce Vegan! out there so I won’t spend too much time writing about a cookbook I haven’t kitchen-tested yet, but a cursory look has given me time to agree with much of the criticism I’ve stumbled upon- it’s filled with pictures of Kramer herself, but not of the food. Now, I’m a firm believer in free-agency: it’s her book and if she wants to cram it with pictures of herself flitting about in retro-garb and flashing her garter belt at us, well, that is her trip to take. I will say, however, that it is a little distracting, and too bad that she didn’t think of holding up the dishes featured in the book to pose with her in the shot. Once I’ve had a chance to sample a few of the recipes I’ll have more interesting things to say.

As for my Daniels’ Running Formula, well, I think that Dr. Daniels is one of the most phenomenal coaches ever. In the world. That I know of. I’m sure there are tons of amazing, cutting-edge coaches out there, but not all of them have had the platform that Dr. D (if you don’t mind, sir) has had, training world-class athletes & being oft quoted in Runner’s World magazine, and locker rooms, and running club meetings, and in net forums, and all over everywhere runners convene. I am a newbie runner. I’ll talk more about running another time, but I am just so excited about starting this book that I’m ending my post right now to go see what it’s all about!

So thanks, Timmy, for the most excellent books and holiday love. And for JFTR (just for the record) I love that they came ‘late’- stretching out the holiday goodness is always a good thing.