Today it happened again. I was on the trail with Boo and had stopped to clean up his waste and a gentleman I have passed many times on this very trail came running by and stopped. He said, “Hi, I see you running EVERYWHERE.” I chuckled, a bit embarrassed, and said, “Yes, I love to run and I run a lot.”
We then chatted for a few minutes, him asking me how many miles I run on average, talking about all the places in the three local towns he has seen me running. I answered his questions about how much I run, what race distance is my favorite (marathon) and about triathlon.
It was a pleasant conversation. The reason I am blogging about this is because this happens often. I run into someone uptown or at the school, on the trail or on a street corner, you name it. Its usually a similar conversation where the person has seen me running around locally and they want to know how much I run. Its fun. I enjoy this as its a great opportunity to show people how much fun you can have running, your body in motion, simplistic exercise.
Running gave me freedom from my old body and my old self esteem issues. It has also given me a voice to share with others how fun it is and that it doesn’t have to feel like a chore. You never know who you may be inspiring when you get out there and move and strive for fitness. These encounters inspire me to work harder, to never cut corners, and to enjoy the opportunities I get to live an active lifestyle.
Today as I rode my bike for a recovery ride I thought about how much riding with power has changed my strength. I got my power meter back in January. While I was happy to finally find one, I really didn’t do much with it or understand it very well until very recently. It was attached to my bike, and collecting data. And while I had a basic idea of what an “easy” ride was compared to a “hard” ride, I still had little understanding of what the meter could do for my cycling.
Things changed in June. I really started working with it more intensely, with more focus. I had a new FTP (Functional Threshold Power—here is Joe Friel on FTP) and new power zones with which to work while riding. I received very specific instructions via my coach on how to ride, what zones to stay in, what cadence, etc. It is such an entirely different way of training. What I love is the specificity of the data I get. I know exactly how hard I am working on the bike, which allows me to train more effectively and become a stronger cyclist. I am a numbers person! I thrive in this type of specificity through from swim to the bike to the run.
Here’s a recent example of what I am talking about. I had a bike specific block of training recently that really worked my leg strength. After a nice recovery week, I did a 10K time trial on the bike. WOW- what a difference. I really saw an improvement in my numbers, speed, stamina over the last time I did that same route for the 10K TT. I felt stronger too and more able to mentally push myself to a higher level, to not give into the voices in my head wanting to back of just a tad. In addition to that feeling, I also have had these moments on my bike where I am working hard and I feel that same sensation that you get on a hard run where its work but it feels good, you feel happy and content. This makes me very happy.
Today as I wrapped up my ride I glanced at my data and saw that my overall power was much higher but my heart rate was nice and low in zone 2. My average speed was faster, too. That I have had this growth and I’ve just started working with power excites me about the future. I know I have much room to grow and with this tool I will get there in time.
Yellow split peas often go overlooked. These little guys pack 25 grams of protein and 26 grams of fiber in a 100 gram serving making them a solid staple They are quite versatile and can be used as a side dish or, as is the case with this recipe, as the main course,. The yellow split peas themselves are not strongly flavored and as a result can be used almost any genre of food. Our kids absolutely loved this soup and we hope your family enjoys it as well!
- 3 cups of yellow split peas
- 10 cups of water/veggie broth
- 1 small white/yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 TBS minced fresh garlic
- 1 TBS or more or less depending on taste curry powder
- 2 tsp or more or less depending on taste turmeric
- 2 tsp or more or less depending on taste cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- brown rice, quinoa or other grain of choice
Rinse the peas in water then place into a pressure cooker or large stockpot with broth. Bring to pressure and hold for 10 minutes or if you are using a standard pot bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer for approximately 30-45 minutes, or until the peas are tender and falling apart.
In the meantime, saute in water the onion until translucent. Next,add the rest of the spices. Saute until the spices are aromatic and turn off heat; add water if needed to prevent the pan from drying out. Once peas are done place the spice and onion mixture into the soup. Let it simmer for a short while and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on top of the rice or other grain of choice along with some greens and other vegetables!
The above recipe makes approximately 10 cups of soup.
We love vegan sushi, especially when we can smother it in wasabi! Eric and I both are glutton’s for punishment with the wasabi - seeing just how much can we tolerate. Typically we both end up with tearing eyes and running noses by the end of a meal.
This weekend I wanted to make sushi but was lacking the time to properly roll it. If you haven’t rolled sushi before it can be a bit trickier than you think! I found a recipe in which you simply make sushi “balls”. This seemed simple as it was, but I wanted über simple so I took it to another level.
Basically, I took the sushi ball recipe and didn’t roll it up! I served right from the bowl, sprinkled some sesame seeds on top, and each individual added however much tamari and wasabi they desired.
Cook up the sushi rice to make approximately 2 cups when done, usually this is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons sugar or a mixture of sugar, agave and/or stevia per your tastes
- 1-2 tsp salt, taste as you go along and adjust to your liking
- 2-3 sheets of nori, toasted and then cut very small or crushed up
- 4 carrots minced
- 4 green onions minced
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, black for a more dramatic look
- Wasabi and tamari soy sauce as desired!
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Once the rice has been cooked mix it in with everything. Put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours in order for the flavors to mingle. Serve with some sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Finish it all off with tamari and wasabi to your liking. Enjoy!
Our kids especially LOVE pancakes. So naturally when we decided to go gluten free this was a concern- how will we make GOOD tasting pancakes?
Eric came across a great recipe that worked really well. We have used it many times with great success. I loved the recipe but I always am trying to find a way to make things as healthy as possible so I began tinkering with it. I started with adding protein to the recipe. Our son, in particular, is a carb lover and I am always trying to find ways to sneak extra protein into his foods. I worked on being able to add enough protein powder to make a positive difference without changing the texture or taste of the pancakes. What I have found is I can do one serving of a mix of plant proteins, pea protein, or rice protein thinned into a bit of almond milk with no changes.
Next up I wanted to work on the oil in the recipe. I try to not add oil to our foods with the belief that oil should come in its natural form: inside and part of a whole food such as a nut or avocado. Read this for more information on this topic.
What I use now, and have had no change in the outcome of the recipe, is Coconut Manna. This is a great whole food to use in place of coconut oil as it has a blend of the coconut meat, containing good protein and the oils that are inside the coconut naturally. You get the nutritional powerhouse of both!
I then changed the egg replacer. Ener-G egg replacer has yielded success with respect to texture and taste but lacks a lot of nutritional benefit, so I have easily replaced that with either making a “flax egg” or “chia egg.”
Here is the breakdown of the recipe:
- 1 thoroughly mashed Banana
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Manna
- 1 chia or flax egg
- 1 Tbsp Sugar (or Agave Nectar)
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 cup non dairy milk
- 3/4 cup GF All Purpose Baking Flour
Begin by whisking together banana, coconut manna, flax/chia egg, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, cider vinegar and milk. Next, add flour and stir until just combined. Now you’re ready to cook! You can use an oiled skillet or griddle as you would with a more traditional pancake. Makes 4 servings but they’re so good you may want to consider doubling the recipe!
This is the Coconut Manna.
This is what the almond milk mixed with the apple cider vinegar looks like- makes it almost like buttermilk in consistency.
This is a flax egg! Going into the batter.
The plant protein mixed with a bit of almond milk before adding to the batter.
Adding in blueberries! Yum!
Cooking on the griddle, I especially love the splatter “baby” pancakes.
Delicious pancakes topped with earth balance and maple syrup!
Between different training schedules and two silly kids with different taste buds Eric and I have found it very convenient to have “burrito night” often at our house. I have so many renditions of this that I do it’s hard to list all of them. I’m going to do my best at showing a wide variety of choices here but feel free to change it up-that’s the beauty of this meal. For tortillas we often have a few choices, gluten free brown rice tortillas, corn (taco) tortillas, hard taco shells, and collard greens! Yes collard greens! The beauty of using collards is that you get the burrito fillings wrapped in an uber healthy low calorie nutrient dense wrap!
To go inside-
Beans of your choice, we often do pinto, black or refried beans
cooked rice, quinoa or even millet works nicely
daiya cheese has a great pepperjack shredded version that is tasty
avocado or guacamole
chopped onions, green are nice or white/yellow work well too
greens or lettuce for garnish
Set up all your ingredients and let everyone in the house build their own version!
The beauty of this recipe is that it is so flexible and can be altered to your needs, tastes and desires! Its very hearty and satisfying. We made ours Gluten Free with a new recipe to us of GF Seitan.
Double up to make a larger casserole dish, this is approximate to make a pie dish sized casserole.
1-2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
1 cup cabbage or other leafy green shredded
3-4 servings of tofu, seitan, TVP, beans of your choice
1-2 TBSP of cornstarch
vegan worchestershire sauce
Boil and Mash 3-4 potatoes (I use Yukon gold for a creamy texture and we don’t have to add any Earth Balance Butter).
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Dice an onion, saute (you can omit oil and saute in water, just add a bit if it starts to run dry).
Add in carrots, peas, corn, cabbage, other veggies to your liking 1-2 cups each. I added shredded purple cabbage at the end of sauteing the vegetables).
Saute and add in some pepper, salt, pinch of powdered ginger, and vegan worcestershire sauce, dash of tamari or more to taste.
Once the veggies are softened but not mushy add in seitan (we made a GF Seitan and it was awesome), tofu, tvp, or beans of choice, kidney beans/cannellini beans would work well too.
Mix and add in a cup of broth and slowly whisk in some cornstarch to thicken. Add the cornstarch to some water before adding to the veggies and broth as it will clump up, a tablespoon of cornstarch to an equal or little more water works well before whisking it in.
Once thickened put the veggie mixture into a pie dish or casserole pan.
Top with the mashed potato’s.
Bake 30-45 minutes with foil covering the dish. When bubbling and hot throughout take off the foil and let the potato’s brown up a bit and then its done!