Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy and Healthy Holidays- Part 4

After the party

- Get outside and walk to improve digestion.

- Take leftovers to a homeless shelter, or don’t take them at all.

- Appreciate yourself for your accomplishment. It wasn’t super easy, but you had a great time, you feel great, and your immune system is still going strong.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy and Healthy Holidays- Part 3

At the party

- Wear something that you feel good in, something that you look forward to wearing. When you feel good about yourself on the outside, it will help you to respect yourself from the inside.

- Fill half your plate with veggies.

- Chew thoroughly- this is guaranteed to eliminate overeating.

- Chew gum to avoid going back to the buffet for thirds.

- Don’t deprive yourself, have a few bites of the less healthy foods that appeal to you.

- Drink lots of water. Water will help fill you up and prevent the next day’s hangover.

- Take a quick walk outside with anyone else who might be feeling full. This will give you a burst of energy and help take your mind off of food.

- Do not take leftovers with you. This is how we turn 2 or 3 holidays into a month-long binge.

- Think about why you're trying this new strategy this year. Envision yourself at your ideal weight, with more energy, fewer colds and headaches and living longer. This will remind you that what you are doing is well worth the effort.

- If you buckle once, don't use it as an excuse to cave entirely. Think about how great you'll feel later for accomplishing your goal. Even if you mess up, you'll still be in a better place than you were last year.

- Remember that this is just another meal. The real meaning of the holidays is about being with your family and friends. If you think you should eat a lot just because its the Holidays, you probably will.

Check back tomorrow for the after party!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Healthy and Happy Holidays: How to have your cake and eat it too!

Part 2...

Before the party

- Get your workout in, even if it’s a short one.

- Create a plan. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Give a little thought as to what you will eat and in what quantity.

- Think about how you will turn down offers for food and drink that you would prefer not to eat in the interest of your health. Of course you will indulge a little, but what about the treats that aren’t worth it? How often do you eat things to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? You don’t have to eat things to make other people feel good, especially when you will feel worse for it later. You can say that you're too full or that you're saving room for something else.

- Prepare a healthy version of a traditional dish to bring to the party. People will appreciate it and you'll have something to fill up or fall back on.

- Don’t starve yourself! One of the worst mistakes that people make is saving their appetite for the big meal. Have a light snack before you head out.

Check in for more tomorrow!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Healthy and Happy Holidays: How to have your cake and eat it too!

This is going to be a series of posts on Healthy Holiday Eating... so keep checking in!

Where do you spend your Holidays? Do you cook the main meals or do you visit family and friends? How can you make some minor adjustments at and around meal times to avoid feeling like you overdid it this year?

Over 2/3 of Americans are currently overweight or obese. Of course there are numerous reasons for this epidemic, and our "national gluttony" over the Holidays plays a large part. This overwhelming, over-consumption also taxes our immune system and makes us more prone to winter colds and flu.

But don’t worry, I am not the Grinch or a Scrooge trying to take the fun out of your Holidays. There are many ways to get through the rest of this month-plus binge without gaining weight and getting sick. And the good news is that you can still enjoy your Holidays as much, if not more than you always have.

Motivating facts:

- The average person puts on 5-7 pounds during the Holiday season.

- During a typical Thanksgiving feast, the average person eats 7000+ calories.

- You can approach Holiday eating differently this year.

Check in tomorrow for helpful tips.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blog Cooking

A couple of days ago I was catching up on twitter updates and I saw that @jenwilltri had posted a new recipe on her excellent blog, Good Family Food. Sunday was a day to run errands so I decided to pick up the ingredients needed for Jen’s Mushroom Barley Stew. It sounded like the perfect meal for a cold and windy Sunday evening.

Once again, I did not follow the recipe exactly (although this time I came pretty close). I happen to have a great local store for picking up fresh veggies so I went with fresh snap peas and fresh pearl onions. I had never cooked with pearl onions before, and let me tell you, there must be a trick that I’m unaware of because I cried my eyes out while peeling each individual little onion. I wasn’t even cutting them. It was a time-consuming, difficult project. If you try this recipe, follow Jen’s advice and use frozen pearl onions. Along with switching from frozen to fresh, I also added ribboned collards that I had in the refrigerator and I added some of the greens from the carrot tops for a little nutritional boost. Instead of the biscuit crust, which sounded delicious, I made corn bread because I already had ingredients for that.

This meal was well worth the time involved and the time wasn’t all spent preparing the food. There were a couple of steps that required waiting for 30 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time to fold laundry and get some other cleaning done. I will definitely save this recipe.

You can find the original and full recipe here.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This Holiday Season: Trick People into Thinking You are Gifted

Here we are in the midst of my favorite time of year as far as eating and cooking are concerned. Thanksgiving has come and gone and the rest of the holidays are swiftly approaching. What will you be cooking for your holiday parties? How will you spread the Vitamin L (love)? Recently I spent some time in my kitchen testing a magnificent new winter squash recipe. It's healthy and delicious and you will definitely trick people into thinking you are a Master Kitchen Magician.

Delicata squash is an oblong, striped winter variety with a creamy taste that is similar to a sweet potato. This winter squash arrives early (September) and stays late into the season (February). Low in calories and fat and high in fiber and nourishing vitamins, it is an incredibly healthy treat for this cold and warm and rainy and snowy and windy season. What the heck is up with this weather anyway?

A note if you are new to my style of cooking and recipe writing... the key word here is intuition. I am not much of a paint by numbers recipe follower. I simply use recipes as a guide, a mere suggestion for creating an amazing dish. When I write a recipe you will often notice a "choose your own adventure" quality to the ingredients and directions. By doing this I'm encouraging you to think outside the cookbook and make each dish your own by choosing flavors, textures, colors and so on according to your own palate. You WILL try things only to discover that your particular choice/combination doesn't work. You might feel like you failed and your family might make faces, but I promise that for every time you mess up you will learn a new and valuable lesson... you've become a better, more intuitive chef.

Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa and White Bean Stuffing

You will need:

2 delicata squash, halved with seeds scooped out
1 large garlic clove, minced
extra virgin olive oil
1- 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer Eden Organic brand)
a few handfuls of your favorite greens, finely chopped (such as: spinach, collards, kale, chard)
1 Tbsp minced parsley (or basil or sage)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
small handful of dried cranberries
1 cup apple cider and 1 cup water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
crushed walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash halves (skin side down) in a baking dish. Drizzle with some olive oil and season with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Bake for about an hour, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, bring the cider and water to a boil. Add the quinoa and dried cranberries and lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 mins. So far, so easy...

In a saute pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat then add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the greens and continue to saute until wilted. Now add white beans and parsley (or basil or sage). Continue to cook until heated through.

In a separate bowl, combine the cooked quinoa with the beans and greens mixture. Allow to cool slightly while you think about how easy this has been and how impressed people will be with your cooking prowess. You can even start to clean up some of your mess here.

Once the squash is cooked you are ready to fill the halves and you are very excited about it. Bring the oven to 425 degrees. Divide the filling between the four halves, making a mound on each. Drizzle each with some maple syrup and a dusting of crushed walnuts, if it tickles your fancy. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Finish cleaning up your kitchen.

Now, take the masterpiece out of your oven, get your camera, take a picture and post it to your blog.

Serves 4. You may even have leftover quinoa stuffing which you can feel free to go crazy with. You can eat it plain, you can stuff it into portabella mushrooms, you can use it as a bottom layer when serving chicken or turkey, etc. You might want to eat it for breakfast. Esecially if you're a triathlete. Especially if you like to win races.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Are you sure you want to cancel your ING NYC Marathon 2008 entry?

Hello, Christine! You have cancelled your entry in the 2008 ING New York City Marathon. You will receive a guaranteed spot in next year's Marathon provided you register and pay all applicable fees. Watch for information regarding registration so you can secure your spot.

Sunday, Sept. 28, was the NYC Marathon Tune up. My training up until that point was low volume and I was just starting to increase the mileage. I was also starting to feel an occasional sharp and quick pain in my left butt cheek area and also a tightness in my left hip flexor. Because of this, in the days leading up to the 18-mile race I decided to take it easy and actually did not run from Wednesday through Saturday. My plan for Sunday was to run at least 18 miles, aim for 2o miles, and if I felt amazing run 23 miles. I started out feeling great but at mile 2 things started to feel sore. As I continued to run I thought about my options. I could push through it and risk severe injury, I could stop right away and have to deal with getting home, or I could finish the first 6-mile loop and re-assess. Being lazy and not wanting to walk to the bus I went with option C. At the top of the first loop I was feeling a bit better and I noticed that the pain lessened as I slowed my pace. So I decided to do another loop and re-assess. At the time of re-assessment I was under the influence of a runner's high and I actually wasn't feeling pain anymore. I got through the race with my third loop faster than the others. I ran the mile home at a relaxed pace, completing 20 miles for the day.

When I got home I stretched, then prepared an ice bath and "relaxed" in there for 15-20 mins. I was having a hard time walking but I was managing. I had a protein shake and decided that since I didn't sleep a wink the night before, I should nap. A few hours later I woke up and tried to get out of bed. I couldn't. I couldn't bear weight on my left leg and I panicked. With severe pain I was finally able to limp to my computer, where I did the obvious thing... logged onto twitter. I also decided that I hate the ER enough that I would tough it out until I could see my doctor the next morning. Coach Josh (SpeedySasquatch) came to my rescue that night to help me get dinner and put me to bed.

The details of the diagnonsense are painful and annoying to relive, so here they are in fast forward:

"Doc, I think I broke something. Fix me. Look, I can't even walk"

"I think you pulled a muscle, but let's get an x-ray. Here are some crutches that are much too small for you"

3 days later I have discovered that crutches are the enemy and when I called for results my doctor had no recollection of seeing me in the first place. He finally looked me up...

"The x-ray results do not show a stress fracture, however, you have a soft tissue growth on your right side above your bladder and you need to get an ultrasound to rule out anything scary"

"Yeah thanks, but I'd rather make it so that I can walk first"

"Nope. I won't see you for the hip pain until you get the ultrasound"

The soonest ultrasound appt wasn't for another 3 weeks, so I went back to my doctor to demand an MRI. I had the MRI last Saturday morning. The doctor calls me on Monday to tell me that it is indeed a stress fracture and I need to be on crutches at all times. He prescribes something for pain, reviews the MRI films with me and suddenly seems much more interested in my injury and treatment.

Now for the best part, Dr. Stark has prescribed a special treatment to speed the healing process. He has managed to hook me up with an Ultrasound Bone Healing machine ( This device will be worn for 20 mins a day and will stimulate the cells to heal my fracture 38% faster. Hopefully this means that I will be better in 4 weeks, rather than 6. And the best part is that I don't have to spend the $3500 to buy the machine.

So here I am, trying to live my life on crutches. It's impossible. I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket as I am hurtling down the block, but I don't have hands to answer because I am now using my upper body for walking. If I want a coffee I have to take the time to stop and sit down somewhere to drink it. I'm also going broke through my excessive cab use. The worst part? The crutches hurt more than the fracture. The best part? I'm going to beat you all in an arm wrestling competition with my enormous guns by the time I'm back on my feet again.

P.S. I promise I'll post about food, hummus first. As you can see, I've had a lot going on. Ill be crutching myself to the store for some chick peas and tahini early next week. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Problem with Taking Friends' Advice

Ask and you shall receive. People want me to blog? For all of the crazies out there, who are interested in my life and what I have to say, here you go! I feel loved.

Now, how does one approach a first post? I should start with an exploration of the events that got me here today. It all started with a direct message from a twitter* friend that said "There is a christine love fest on Triscoop. Check it out. People are touching themselves while listening to the sugar podcast".

Yup. So naturally I check out Triscoop**
and find that someone has started a thread entitled Bring Back the Holistic Guru. As I read I feel like I'm getting a giant virtual hug! It really made my week. And in that thread, the fact that I do not have my own blog was highlighted, reminding me that I need to move that to the top of my priority list.

So here I am, setting up my account on blogspot, and it is time to choose a title. Well I want the awesomest title imaginable but my creativity is letting me down. So I cry out for help in the form of an email, a contest to name my blog, sent to some creative and silly homies.

Well the responses came immediately. The first:

Christizzle the Shizzle

Then I get:

"what will the blog cover? - consider everything and then prioritize for us. If just nutrition, I'd choose 'Eat Me Better'" (a pun on my website

Then: a suggestion that relates to the circus and wearing tights and walking on a wire.

And finally:

A suggestion to include an image of me running towards a happy smiling cow with a butcher knife, but the cow doesn't mind because he has lived a happy organic life.


So I am still in the same 'untitled' boat, but I got a few laughs out of it.

*Twitter- a fantastic website that allows you to be completely up to date on the most important things that happen in friends and strangers lives. You will never feel lonely knowing that so and so just stepped on an ant and that someone else is thinking peanut butter for lunch.

**Triscoop- a website devoted to nourishing your inner triathlete.