Monday, May 31, 2010

Macro Monday ~ Blanched Vegetables

Every Monday I'm trying a new macrobiotic recipe and posting the results at HHJ. I'm looking to incorporate macrobiotics into my dietary plan but am not sure if I'll go 100% with it. I've definitely felt better since adding macro dishes to my plate so we'll see where it leads...

Last Monday I checked out a recipe using burdock root and kept it even simpler this week with blanched vegetables.

Blanching is a great way to enjoy your veggies; this technique keeps them crisp and tender at the same time, providing a perfect balance in texture. I find them easier to digest this way too, although this result will likely vary from person to person.

Take your favorite veggies (I used cauliflower, broccoli, snap peas and carrots) and immerse them in a pot of boiling water. Remove after one minute and transfer them to a bowl of ice water, letting them sit for another minute. Strain and enjoy!

I eat blanched vegetables without a dressing but you can experiment with seasonings or sauces if you need a little something something. Black pepper, olive oil and lemon is a refreshing concoction to add to veggies and salads.

Interested in exploring macrobiotics? Click here for a cliff notes version to get you started

Monday, May 24, 2010

Burdock for Breakfast?

My latest addition to the healthy books nook at my nest is devoted to macrobiotic living. I first learned about macrobiotics while watching Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer documentary, which aired on TLC in March 2007. Macrobiotics was one of several different healing diets that Kris explored during her journey through cancer and it's the diet that saved my boss' life.

The word macrobiotics means "large life" and is a diet consisting mostly of grains, vegetables (including sea vegetables), and beans. Dairy, meat, caffeine and refined or processed foods are out due to their stimulating (and thus exhausting) effect on the body. Seeing that I had cut most of these foods out already I wanted to add some variety to my food plan with more healing foods and recipes.

Modern-Day Macrobiotics by Simon Brown provides a great introduction to the principles and benefits of a macrobiotic diet as well as a variety of recipes and menus. And when I decided to be adventurous and buy some burdock root without knowing what the heck I'd do with it, I knew Simon's book would come in handy.

A popular use for Burdock includes a macro recipe and style of cooking called Kinpira.

Simply cut one burdock root and 1-2 carrots in matchstick pieces. Saute the burdock for a few minutes with some olive or grapeseed oil. Add the carrots to cook for an additional minute. Glaze the pan with some mirin rice wine and stir for an additional 5 minutes or until tender.

Why eat burdock?
It is said to be a blood purifier and can help with skin issues including those of the scalp (like dandruff) and acne (among other things).

It's healing, but does it taste good?
Carrots and burdock root were not foods I had expected to eat for breakfast but I felt the meal grounded and balanced me; it was a perfect feeling with which to start the day. I've made it several more times for it's healing effects, particularly the effect on my skin. And burdock tastes earthy like potatoes. It kinda reminded me of breakfast potatoes I had in college. Totally do-able for breakfast. Just took a little getting used to.

I make Kinpira a few times a month. I'm not totally committed to macrobiotics but am finding that the recipes I make definitely make me feel more energetic and centered.

What's next?
I'll be posting a new macrobiotic adventure every Monday as I continue to explore this way of eating. My fingers are crossed that the sea vegetables are palatable. Oy.

If you're in the Philadelphia area and looking to check out macro cuisine, visit Essene's Natural Foods Market for their buffet of prepared foods. Yum!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One Tough Broad

There was hype.
There was heat.
There were open fire hydrants.
And there were two holistic health junkies...
rocking the Broad Street Run.

The running guru and I met up in the wee hours of Sunday morning, as per the advice of the organizers, to make plenty of time for the expected crowd. The Broad Street Run is the largest 10 mile race in the country, consisting of 30,000 runners. Broad Street was also going to be my farthest race, and run for that matter, to date. Yikes!

In the three weeks leading up to BSR I had been majorly slacking with running; my weekly routine consisted of two 2-4 mile runs with a 7-9 mile weekend run. I was counting on adrenaline and the cheers of people who lined the streets to get me to the finish line. Little did Ed and I know that it would be the hottest race day on record since 2001 with humidity and a high of 89 degrees.

The race was very well run (pun-intended), especially in light of the weather. Organizers upped the supply of water and gatorade and opened fire hydrants to spritz runners. Ed got sick and towards the end I felt pretty weak but surprisingly I experienced none of the usual issues during practice runs (cramps, knee problems, etc...). We passed a number of people who needed medical attention; some were less than 1/4 mile from the finish line! Ed and I did cross the finish line...and with decent timing too!

Ed's time - 1:18:12 - placed 1995 out of 26251 runners.
My time - 1:38:17 - placed 11749 out of 26251.

I want to give a big thank you to Ed for being my running guru and helping me meet my goal! And if you're thinking of doing a 10-miler, Broad Street is the race to run! You'll get pumped. You'll want to do it again.

What's next? A half-marathon in Philly, of course! Stay tuned.

Photos courtesy of Ed and Rose, the iPhone.

Subway Ride to the Starting Line

The Crowd at the Starting Line

View from the Finish Area - 5 miles from City Hall