Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Health and fitness are on my mind today. I have a half-marathon that I am scheduled to run with Erika in less than two weeks. Since ushering in the new year, I have gotten serious.

I’ve been exercising almost every day — even if it’s for a 20-minute jog. And I have been eating much better: more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and more green tea than coffee. To incorporate more fruits and veggies in my diet, I’ve been partly leaning on recipes from Jennifer Cornbleet’s Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People. DH has joined me for it, although we are by no means purists. I still eat the occasional serving of meat and he can’t stay away from breads.

I will say though that Cornbleet’s recipes are delicious, filling and have given me renewed energy to stick to my workouts. An example of a meal we ate with a salad was stuffed red bell pepper with “Non-Tune Pate”.

Non-Tuna Pate
*Make sure to soak nuts and seeds for at least 6 hours.

1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds
1/4 cup soaked almonds
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons of minced celery
1 tablespoon of minced onion
1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley

Directions: Blend in a food processor and refrigerate. That’s it!

While I alternate my lunches and dinners between the raw food and other home-cooked meals or takeout, I’ve been consistent with breakfast: peeled and cored apple slices with almond butter and raisins. It’s not only good for a morning workout, but — Yum! What are your favorite fruit and veggie-laden meals?

In related health news: you could say I was sucked into this Women’s Day article, “10 common fruits and vegetables myths”. Here were some eye-opening factoids for me:

Myth: No matter the color, all cauliflower tastes the same and is equally nutritious.
White cauliflower is oh-so-good for you, but there are benefits to branching out. Orange cauliflower has 25 times more beta-carotene than white; purple has anthocynanis (also found in blueberries), which have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and diabetes. And green cauliflower, aka broccoflower, has slightly more vitamin A and vitamin C than its white brethren—not to mention a milder taste and faster cook time. You’ll have to look harder for the colored varieties, but the nutritional pluses and incredible flavors make them worth the search, says Ranno….

Myth: Iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value.
These days, iceberg gets short shrift in most healthy-eating circles. While it’s not the nutritional powerhouse that spinach or arugula is, it’s chockfull of vitamins A, C, K and B6. “Iceberg stands up well to the other leafy greens in terms of nutrient density per calorie. And it’s high in water content and low in calories so you can fill up without filling out,” says Jepson. “Iceberg is also a great way to introduce kids to vegetables,” since it’s milder and lighter than the other lettuces, she adds.

Finally, the Biggest Loser is back — as is Jillian Michaels! Michaels returned after missing two seasons and having two children with partner Heidi Rhoades.

Feel free to use this space as a health and fitness diary — as we haven’t had one in a while. What else is on your mind?

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

75 thoughts on “Hump Day Open Thread

    • Oh stop. I just saw on FB that you’re back on the wagon.

      But can I just saw that no matter what color it is, it’s still cauliflower. Ick ick ick.

      Hey Sue, I saw you were on FB early this am. Still with the insomnia?

  1. Portion control is my bane. I’m getting back on the wagon too, and that’s where I’m going to start, along with taking a cue from Bacon Baby and eating a clementine at every meal. At least I won’t have scurvy. Every day I’m thinking about running but that’s all I’m doing – thinking about it. Based on experience, that means I’m going to start up again shortly, but I also know that this doesn’t just happen. I have to make it happen.

    Also, I need to remind DH that dinner isn’t just a delicious, heavenly main dish (which he is SO GOOD AT) but we also need green things on our plate every night. NBD – I at least love veggies of every kind – but we have to re-establish that habit after vacation.

  2. Me and my girls today. Allll day. Dh is taking ds to his school I’ve skating party tonight after his late meeting. Dd1 is already driving me insane so I have to get us out of the house. Going to the indoor playground at the mall and I’m going to try to keep her from napping so she falls asleep easier and earlier tonight. Lord help me.

  3. Reading that recipe made me depressed :)

    I think one of the bigger barriers for me to eating more healthily is that it is just more trouble to make myself a salad or cooked veggies for lunch than to eat leftovers from the night before, which in our house is typically some pasta, grilled or broiled meat, and steamed veggies, but often more pasta is left over than anything else. It takes less than a minute to throw that in the microwave compared to a lot longer if I had to make something from scratch. I don’t have to cut anything up or wash a cutting board. That recipe above might be “easy” in terms of the steps that it takes – I agree it doesn’t look complicated, but it is still a lot more trouble than a lot of what I eat, particularly when you factor in soaking seeds for 6 hours and getting out and washing the food processor. No wonder eating right is easier for people who can afford a personal chef and housekeeper to do all the work for them.

    OK, let’s just admit I’m too lazy for this…

    • Yeah, cutting up veggies and fruit are a pain in the arse. I will say though that I made the recipe book’s guacamole and salsa and served with beans I made from scratch — took pre-planning but not necessarily more time — lettuce and fixings and the whole family ate tacos for dinner. (We still have leftovers.) DH and I ate everything except for the tortillas. Still delicious.

  4. THIS Is why I love Jezebel — they have a HYSTERICAL piece on diets today and this one on the medditerranean diet made me cry with laughter:

    “This is the reason why European women think they’re better than you. Because they would NEVER eat Dorito-ham-nachos in bed with the sun out. This diet sounds pretty sweet, if you have the time and money and willpower to make it happen: “[It] emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; eating fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; enjoying poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation; and saving sweets and red meat for special occasions. Top it off with a splash of red wine (if you want), remember to stay physically active, and you’re set.” OH, OKAY, JUST DO THAT STUFF. I mean, basically that sounds like regular food plus a shitload of exercise and also you live inside an elegant lifestyle magazine. So, yes. Sure. Great. Or, you know, just plop your Jimmy Dean Sausage Breakfast Sandwich on a terra cotta platter and call it a day (make sure to cook the sandwich in fragrant olive oil from the Peloponnesus!).”


      • That’s hilarious! My favorite part was this one:
        “This is USNAWRARWR’s #1 overall best diet of the year ever, because it gets 5 stars in both nutrition and “safety.” (Sidenote: Ummmmmm, I’m not a doctor, but can “safety” be a pass/fail, plz? Or…does the skinny kind of “health” matter more than the not-dying kind of health?) ”

        My anorexic friend once explained to me that her vegan diet was about control, not food; it was a way for her to displace a dysfunctional food focus with a positive one that still let her think way too much about her next meal. That made sense to me. Maybe all diets are about control, not food. There aren’t any foods with magical properties that I’m aware of. I’m pretty sure that as long as you can restrain yourself from eating crap or to excess, it probably doesn’t matter a hill of beans what diet you choose to eat, up to and including a (small, portion controlled) hill of beans.

        • Interesting. My OCD is food related too so when it ramps up I stop eating meat and a million other things. 100% about control. You could put a plate of something ridiculously delicious in front of me, but it gives me an iron willpower not to eat it. I realize it but I could easily see how that kind of willpower would be intoxicating, in the case if anorexia. (I’m doing fine now though. And, God willing, I won’t be pregnant again so hopefully I’ll never face it that extreme again).

        • I think my DD would agree with this. Her focus on food has shifted over the years, but the hyper focus and control haven’t totally gone away.

        • Interestingly…when I was working with heroin addicts, I noticed that a high proportion of the ones that were “cured” seemed to turn their addiction to something else. Quite often they became yoga freaks (up every day at 4 am to go to their yogi and train, etc), or health nuts (raw food diet, nothing artificial shall ever again enter the temple). I’m sure there’s a psychology thesis in there somewhere….

      • The Paleo diet makes me laugh and laugh and laugh, because the majority of the stuff people eat while being paleo didn’t exist during the paleo era. And, as Aussiegeek reminds me, almonds were actually poisonous during the paleo era.

        • My nieces came to visit over Christmas. They are on the enforced Palaeo diet with their crazy mother (who is a doctor and therefore an expert). We took them camping. They said things like “We don’t eat bread. It’s not healthy.” I said “No mastodons here and I’m not washing a plate for you. Choose as you like.” It took them about an hour to start scoffing down the bread, ham and cheese like they had been starved to death.

          And don’t get me started on things like “Corn is healthier than wheat.” Puh-lease. There is no natural equivalent to corn. It’s totally man made. Wheat at least exists in nature!

    • I love Lindy West so much it isn’t even funny. This was the line that did me: “OM GROMPH GROMPH HAMBURGER I WILL END YOU.”

      My sister and I have agreed that we must become friends with Lindy. Must.

  5. Big day for DH. One of the neighboring schools is closing and the community has to choose between his school and another as the designated recipient of their kids (the joy of small towns). DH’s school could really use the influx of kids- they’re down to 45 and if they get much smaller they may not survive. They had a meeting last night with the parents and school board and it was very positive, but his school is an extra 10 minutes away which is a bit of a downside. (Upside is that it’s a Spanish-language focused program and before and after care are free. ) If the kids come to his school, he gets to stay in his 2/3 combination class. If not, he has to move to 1/2 which means designing/ learning a new curriculum and working with an age group he doesn’t really love.

    So, good thoughts would come in handy on that front. He’s supposed to find out tonight.

  6. I can’t commit to a raw food diet, but that dip actually does look tasty to me. I’d do it – soak the seeds and almonds overnight, whiz in the morning.

    I’m not an “ism” person at all in my life – who has the time to be really dogmatic about anything? But there’s very little I won’t try at least once, and if it works and is practical, I’ll incorporate it in.

    As for a tip, I find tahini to be great with fruit and veg as well – I have it for breakfast sometimes spread on toast, or spread on apple slices, etc. Also, speaking of cauliflower, my friend recently posted a really awesome-looking cauliflower and sweet potato soup recipe on FB – anybody need it?

    • I’m with you. I stick with the Palin philosophy. Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.

      That I can live with.

      And I hate some of the claims made by extremists (like the nonsense about all the nutrients being lost by cooking, or people not evolving to deal with cooked food). Rubbish. There are lots of articles about the dangers of a completely raw food diet (especially in children). B12 deficiency, low bone density, blindness in older people due to a lack of fats, etc. This guy sums it up in a balanced way, I think.

      Eat raw food if you like it. Just don’t do it exclusively. It’s no better for you than an exclusively barbequed meat diet would be.

    • I grew up not eating red meat much (my mom never cooked it at home), and we were vegetarian for a while, too, much to my grandma’s dismay. I remember being 6 or so, and my mom telling grandma what I couldn’t eat, and grandma had such a worried look on her face, and said “but she needs chicken!” I went vegetarian again in college, and then eventually added poultry and fish back in. DH was vegetarian for almost 20 years until he finally added it back in, too. Then about a year ago, both of us just decided to stop restricting red meat. Mostly because I hate being a nuisance at someone else’s house, and we both like to eat red meat sometimes. I’ve still never cooked it, but I probably eat it once or twice a month.

      Being a healthy vegetarian or vegan is totally possible, but my level of skill/desire to source out all the different things was so minimal it just meant I ate a LOT of macaroni and cheese. I definitely eat better when I am not restricting myself from major food groups.

  7. In related news, my daughter has decided that she’s going to cook dinner once a week. Last night was her first attempt. She used this thing called a “recipe” and make macaroni and cheese that was WAY better than mine. Must find out how to use these things….

  8. Preliminary online house hunting in Pittsburgh: my internal monologue.

    Ooooh looks good! Lovely house! Cheap! Ok…why is it cheap. Neighborhood…decent. Uh oh, that only means one thing. Steps. yep a full flight if steps from the sidewalk to the front door. nope, no back alley.., no garage. that explains the price. DABBIT!!!!

    Rinse. Repeat.

  9. Ear buds for kids?? Lucy just got a new iPod Shuffle from her godmamas. She has a big huge pair of kids noise reducing headphones, but they aren’t exactly practical and portable to use with that teeny tiny ipod that is the size of a postage stamp. She’s never been able to get ear buds to stay in her ears. We’ve tried several types and none work for her. Has anyone had good luck with a specific type and brand of ear bud for small kids’ ears? She’s only 6.5.

    • No matter what ear buds we buy, the kids end up breaking them. I have no idea how they do it. I think they chew on the wires while they’re watching their iPods on the airplane.

      I’ve switched over to ear muff type noise limited ones to protect their hearing. They hate them with a passion. They’ll live. :)

    • We have been using an older, kid-size variation of this since our youngest was 2. It’s sometimes a bit of a pain to put them on (esp. from the front of the car to the back seat), but the good thing is they don’t fall out easily.

    • H loves his Skull Candy buds- they stay in well and we limit the volume on his iPod so he can’t turn it up too loud anyway. M has a pair that look like something you’d see on a radio guy in an episode of Hogan’s Heroes, except pink and sparkly. She loooooves them.

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