Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lucky Number Seven

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year, New Music

Some things never change. Like going back home and losing at least one piece of iPod equipment. For Christmas, I lost the cord that connects the computer to my iPod, but that doesn't mean I stopped downloading new songs. Here's what's new and motivating me this year:

Rise Up by Yves Larock

We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool & DcupGrenade by Bruno Mars

Made for Us by Mackintosh Braun

Space Bound by Eminem

Paradise (Molella & Jerma Edit) by Molella

Momma's Place by Roisin Murphy
Cheers (Drink to That)by Rihanna

Erase Me by Kid Cudi & Kanye West

Letting Go (Dutty Love) by Sean Kingston feat. Nicky Minaj


The Secret to a Great Spinning Class

What's up with spinning teachers and the remix of Alanis Morisette's Uninvited?

I have heard this remix played in multiple classes from every type of teacher. I've heard it in the class with the old school road racer who teaches hour long climbs just for fun, and in the crazy, metrosexual, Brazilian fitness buff's house music fueled class and today in the girl who wears only Lululemon and plays the best music ever's class.

Seriously, is there an unspoken code between spinning instructors about this song?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'll have the burger, raw

When I decided to try raw food, I knew that I wouldn't last on fresh fruit, carrot sticks and salads. That would feel way too much like a diet. And I don't do diets. But that's exactly how I ate the first time I went raw, and I passed most of the time with a pain in my stomach - either because I was starving or from all that roughage.

I had started googling raw foods and recipes a week earlier to see what was out there. A lot of raw recipes call for time consuming steps such as dehydrating and marinating, but the ingredients were surprising simple and readily available. The odd ingredient or two out there - such as miso or nutritional yeast - were still readily available and inexpensive. Vegan recipes cannot boast such things.

Since this was only a week long experiment, simplicity was the name of my game. So I axed any recipe that called for dehydrating, soaking or marinating. I also took to using the daily plate to keep track of the nutrition in the food as well.

The first raw recipe I went for came from a very familiar source. I read the vegan nutrition book by professional triathalete Brendan Brazier this summer and I loved his simple recipes and his "recovery" theory on improving performance. Brendan inspired me to quit coffee (something that I love with all my heart and soul), and many of his recipes were raw or had the option to be made raw. So I knew that my first recipe would have to come from an old friend that I could count on.I went for a recipe that was basically devoid of the crazy supplements he loves to add - such as the seaweed dulse or hemp protein powder and chose the simple Almond Flaxseed Burger. Just six ingredients, all already part of my kitchen staples, and one simple step - blend in food processor. The only substitution I made was to replace the balsamic vinegar with rice vinegar, as I had just run out.

The burgers came out awesome and each bite was an explosion of flavor. Processing all the ingredients together gave the burger a nice, sticky and slightly creamy texture that made the recipe seem, well not quite cooked, but not raw either. My only criticism on this recipe is that the garlic taste was quite strong, so if you just have a hot date the next day, I would suggest cutting the garlic in half.

I'm not interested in getting in trouble for posting recipes that belong to someone else so I can't post the recipe on my blog, but lucky for you one of the blogs I love to read, No Meat Athlete, has the recipe to share.

And with that first raw recipe, I was converted. I had imagined the raw food as a punishment for my holiday indulgences, and that the pain and suffering, the gnawing in my belly, was penance for all those Christmas cookies. At the end of the week, I imagined that I would emerge delirious and light-headed, but no longer hungry because the sensation had become de rigueur. Instead, after only day one, I was energized and (dare I even suggest it?) excited to eat more raw food.

If only cleaning up after all my other indulgences and extravagances was this much fun.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Central Park 3.73 Mile Jog

Here's a run that takes you by Bethesda Fountain, the mall, and around the bottom of the reservoir.

Today it was only 22 degrees during my run and my legs were starting to tingle because I didn't wear my extra thick tights so I had to turn around early instead of completing the small loop. Oh well, lesson learned! Under 25 degrees, I have to bust out the thick tights. (In case you are wondering, my thin tights are from Nike and feel like spandex and the thick ones are from Hind and feel like thin fleece.)

Happy Tuesday! Raw Recipe to come later on in the week!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rawful or Rawsome?

It's time to clean out the closets if you will. A month spent gorging on butter cookies, spiral hams, artisanal cheeses and Ketel One martini's takes a certain toll on the body. But I let myself go, with the promise that in January I would adhere to a strict raw diet for a week.

Here's a summary of my diet. You will notice that I didn't fully adhere to the raw diet, and that's because I'm addicted to coffee. I love it and I really don't care if its raw or not. I'm drinking coffee, okay!

Sunday night I had my last meal - a cheese burger and fries and then some tortilla chips with the cheese dip that you buy in the jars from the grocery store. The concept of cheese that doesn't need to be refrigerated is repulsive, but I am addicted to that processed, creamy goodness. Anyway, what I am trying to say (besides the fact that I could get just as much satisfaction from a meal made from the chip aisle in the grocery store as a say a Jean Georges meal) is that I didn't get hungry until midmorning, when I had a grapefruit and a cup of coffee.

Lunch was a salad I brought with me of almonds, red peppers, and tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette . For dessert, I had a banana and later on an apple as a snack. That's actually a pretty standard lunch for me, raw or not.

That night I made a "veggie burger" from almonds, garlic, flaxseed, sea salt and a little coconut oil. I just put everything in the food processor and blended. It didn't quite stick together like a veggie burger but it was bursting with flavor and very satisfying. Day one - a success.

More coffee and fruit for breakfast. I think it was an orange, apple and banana. Lunch was an experiment. I made a cold avocado soup from one avocado, one cucumber, red pepper and some sea salt the night before. The result was a slimy bland soup that I could barely get down. I bought some cherry tomatoes from the Grand Central Market and snacked on those all afternoon, plus I caved and bought some wasabi peas to snack on as well.

Dinner was homemade gazpacho and a salad. The gazpacho was just one tomato, a cucumber, sea salt, and a little onion blended together. It was cool and light. The salad was arugula with some fresh chopped veggies and "croutons." I made the croutons in the food processor out of almonds, cashews, ginger, sea salt, and a date. These were a savory with a little zing.

I had the same breakfast, and another lunch that I eat frequently - the tahini salad. Composed of arugula, one chopped green pepper, pumpkin seeds, and a dressing made out of lemon juice, tahini paste, sea salt and garlic, it's full of flavor and really satisfying.

Dinner was sort of a fail. It's the type of dinner that you only would be willing to eat when you live alone because no one else is around to stare at you and make disgusted faces. The health food store across the street from me sells these raw kale chips with “cheese” on them. They are delicious. The cheese flavor comes from nutritional yeast. I know this sounds gross and completely unappetizing, but these things are awesome. Crunchy, cheesy, salty. So I ate two containers of the kale chips. The containers are small and only have about 300 calories in each.

The same breakfast. Despite my evening dinner coming from a grocery store package, I had spent most of Wednesday evening cooking - for my lunch. I put together a pesto sauce made of cashews, sundried tomatoes, spinach, a little olive oil, garlic, onion, and sea salt. I put about half a cup of this pesto on one zucchini, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler and a bunch of cherry tomatoes halved. This lunch was delicious and satisfying and I even stuck my finger in the bowl to lick up some of the extras. It was that good and using zucchini as a pasta substitute was not nearly as painful as I expected.

That evening I had a special night out planned so I knew I was going to be eating some non-raw things. I had guacamole with tortilla chips for an appetizer and a salad with coconut meat, chicken, cucumbers, jicama, tortilla strips, and a chipotle dressing on it. In hindsight, I could have asked them to drop the chicken and tortillas and made it vegan but I guess the glass of Cava I was enjoying had made me forgetful.

I had a few bites of a red delicious apple and a coffee from Starbucks. The apple was bland and mushy so I couldn't finish it. It was a busy morning at work and so even though I was starving the whole time, I really didn't have any time to eat anything else. For lunch, I just ran down to Dishes in the Grand Central Market and got half a pound of a salad made from cucumbers, radishes, fennel, dill, and dressed with a simple vinaigrette. It was light and refreshing and satisfying.

For dinner, as planned, I abandoned my raw meal plan because, it's Friday and it's time to enjoy the week. You can only eat so much raw food. I went into the week expecting to be craving something cooked by Monday afternoon, but I never felt deprived. With all the new meals that I was whipping up, I was actually excited for each meal. Almost all my meals were homemade too and the prep time was surprisingly minimal. Most recipes consisted of one main step - either add everything to the food processor or chop up.

My original plan was to eat healthy this week to purge my system of the impurities and excesses of the prior month, but now that the week went so fantastically well, I am going to extend my raw meal experiment. I was to try out some new recipes and maybe even start using a dehydrator too.

The final verdict: rawsome!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I am back at writing on my blog. In case you are wondering, this is not part of a New Years Resolution either. After running the marathon, I decided that I would take off December to eat, drink, sleep and relax as much as my little heart desired. Like a little chipmunk preparing for winter I ate all sorts of things that I don't normally eat such as cheeseburgers and martinis and cheese fries. YUM! And as a consquence I've packed on a few pounds. My belly is all soft - like a bowl full of jelly!

To be honest here, I am a bit dismayed about the effects of last months binge. Finding a dress for New Years Eve - from my closet full of dresses - was not an easy task. Few fit right and those that did, dug into my skin or made me self-conscious of trouble areas. But the way I look at the past month is that what can be done in one month can be undone in one month too. Seriously, all is not lost. After all, I enjoyed some fine Christmas ham, some heavenly Christmas cookies and the best french fries in all of New York City.

This brings me to the new spin I am going to put on my blog this year. I know it's called Amanda Runs New York, but this year, I am going to stop writing love stories about running, and focus more on healthy living.

The focus on healthy living is two fold: first, many people have asked me how I lost weight and so I would like to share the wisdom that I have learned, and second, because two holiday trips to the grocery stores in Michigan have shocked me into realizing that there is a serious misconception about what it means to eat healthy.

So this year, I will share healthy recipes and tips about how to deal with temptations for bad food, how to eat while on vacation or for special occasions, and a lot of tricks and tools that you can use to eat healthy. Most importantly, I want to dispell the idea that eating healthy means that you need to be hungry and deprived.

Happy New Year!