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I’m an Evil Genius June 30, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Recipes and Food.
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For over a year, I’ve been having low back issues.  Last year, I thought my back pain was a side effect of a migraine medication that I was taking.  I quit taking that med, did some PT, and it got better.  I was able to run again, and worked my way up to longer distances, peaking at 5 miles.  Then this past winter it became a problem once more.   Back to the doctor I went, and this time she ordered x-rays.

The x-ray didn’t reveal much, other than some minimal lumbar spondylosis (aka spinal osteoarthritis).  Yes, it’s minimal.  Very, very minimal.  Also, 20 years early.  But minimal.

When I whined about it to anyone who would listen, a friend of mine told me her father’s story.  He was diagnosed (at a much older age than me, just saying) with spinal osteoarthritis, and started taking gelatin.  Every morning he stirred a spoonful of plain gelatin powder into cold juice, and drank it down real quick.  Next time he went in for tests, they found that his condition had been reversed.

I’m so into gelatin now.

The problem is, it’s revolting.  Trying to stir it into cold liquid is impossible; it never dissolves, and just swirls around in the glass.  Between the time you stop stirring and start chugging, it’s already all fallen to the bottom, no matter how fast you move, and at the end you get a mouthful of gooey ground up cow hoof. Lovely.  The whole thing is just gross and I’d rather eat sea urchin.

But I’m an Evil Genius.  (I’m reminded of this by the button I wear on my jean jacket, a gift from my honey about 15 years ago.) Accordingly, I experimented with several concoctions until I found one that made the gelatin drinkable. It covers up the taste and texture completely.  And, when I calculated the nutritional info, I was surprised to find that it’s actually kind of healthy.

This drink even makes a good snack.  It’s surprisingly high in protein (thanks to the gelatin), and keeps me feeling full for a while.  Plus, gelatin is supposed to make the hair and nails stronger.

Mwah-hah-hah Mocha

Servings: One

1-2 heaping tsp instant coffee powder (I use an espresso powder, you may need more if it’s regular coffee)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp xylitol
1 tbsp unflavored beef gelatin
cinnamon, salt, vanilla to taste
1 cup hot water

The key to making this a nice drink instead of  a lumpy disgusting mess is to mix the dry ingredients together in a mug.  Nuke a cup of hot water and then slowly add the hot water to the dry ingredients 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until you have a nice smooth slurry.  Add the vanilla, the rest of the water, stir and enjoy.  Try not to think about the fact that it’s the powdered bovine foot that makes it creamy instead of the more traditional bovine additive of milk.  See?  Evil.

Calories 65.3
Total Fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 7.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.0 g
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g
Protein 11.1 g

Note: I didn’t use salt in mine, so didn’t include that in the nutritional info.


Put Your Butt Cheeks Into It! June 18, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Dragon Boat, General Exercise.
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Howdy!  It’s been a while since I posted. Life has conspired to keep us apart for the last few weeks, my dear Reader, while I’ve been busy with dragon boating and trying to rest a hip injury.  By the way, it turns out those two activities ARE in fact mutually exclusive, and prescription pain killers are a marvelous thing. But I’m over the hump now (and the hip).  We just got back from the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat race (where we finished 7th in the Rec B Championship round, heck yeah!) and I’m looking to get back into a regular routine.

My dragon boat peeps are a funny bunch and are always making me laugh. One of our jokes on the boat is “put your butt cheek into it” because when paddling, 80% of your weight is on one side and you kind of have to let the other butt cheek fly free.  It’s turned into a great way of saying “give it your all” in any situation.

My team mates are also smart, committed to the sport, incredibly hard working, and I’m always learning new things from them.  At the race this weekend, one of them mentioned an exercise idea she picked up from one of those extreme weight loss TV shows.  The advice was to do 15 reps each of push-ups, crunches and squats during every commercial break while watching TV. My knees don’t particularly like squats, so I’m going to do lunges instead. Despite all my activities, I also watch a lot of TV, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a couch potato. I should take my own advice and put my butt cheeks into it…or at least get them off the sofa. (Probably what will actually happen is that I’ll watch less TV so I don’t have to do push-ups, but that’s not such a bad thing, either.)

And now, because I love you (and because hundreds of dragon boaters can’t be wrong), here is one of my personal favorite salad recipes that has also been a big hit at the dragon boat races when we bring pot luck food for lunches:

Beet and Mango Salad with Curried Mango Dressing

Servings: 8

For the dressing:

1.5 ripe mangoes, peeled and pitted, finely chopped
2 tbs white distilled vinegar
1.5 tbs pure maple syrup
1.5 tsp dry mustard, dissolved in 1.5 tsp water
1 tsp curry powder
salt to taste (optional, I didn’t include any in the nutritional info below)
2.5 tbs canola oil

For the salad:

6 medium beets, roasted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and separated into whole leaves
1.5 ripe mangoes, peeled and pitted, cut into long strips

To prepare  the dressing, combine mango, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard mixture, curry powder and salt (optional) in food processor and process until smooth.  Add oil and process until emulsified.

To prepare the salad, toss the beets with half of the dressing and let stand at room temp for 30 minutes.  Arrange romaine leaves on platter.  Spoon the beets across the romaine leaves and arrange the mango slices on top and around the beets.  Drizzle remaining dressing over top.

Hint: You can chop up the romaine if you’re bringing the salad to a picnic-type situation, but don’t toss the salad.  The beets will turn the whole thing pink and you’ll lose the pretty orange color of the mango as a contrast against the purple beets.  We eat with our eyes first, right?

Calories: 146.2
Fat: 5.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 50.0 mg
Carbohydrates:  24.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Protein 2.4 g

Quinoa? I hardly even know ya! June 2, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Recipes and Food.
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I’ve been looking for more things to do with quinoa, and here’s a recipe that started as a riff on tabbouleh and ended up as something…well, just something.  I didn’t have cucumber, and I can’t eat tomato, so I substituted apple and beets.  I know, it’s crazysauce.  The apple and mint was a unique flavor combination, but the longer the flavors had to meld together, the more I liked it.

Ta-quinoa-leh Salad with Turkey and Spinach

Servings: 4

12 oz fully cooked turkey breast, bone and skin removed, diced *
1 cup uncooked quinoa, prepared according to package directions
1 large fuji apple, chopped
1 – 2 tbsp fresh mint, minced
1 tbsp canola oil
1 large roasted beet, chopped *
5 oz fresh baby spinach, wilted or lightly steamed

Combine the cooked quinoa, apple, mint, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Gently fold in the chopped beets. Try not to mix it too much after you add the beets, as they will stain the surrounding ingredients a bright red.  If you over-stir, your whole salad will turn pink.

Refrigerate the salad to let the flavors combine.  To serve, place about a cup of salad on top of 1/4 th of the wilted spinach.  Layer 3 oz of the diced turkey on top.

I pre-portioned 4 servings and brought this to work for lunch several days this week.  Hits the spot!  Next time I’m going to try grapes instead of apples, and I’m going to slice the raw spinach into ribbons and mix it right into the salad.

Calories 373.7
Fat 8.0 g
Cholesterol 58.7 mg
Sodium 115.4 mg
Carbohydrates 41.7 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Protein 33.1 g

* I roasted the turkey breast and beet myself.  If you purchase prepared turkey and beets, it will save you time but could affect the nutritional values, especially sodium.

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