Not So Drought Resistant

Here in CA there’s always talk of the drought.  Or, rather “The Drought”. We are told to shorten our showers; urged to let our lawns die or replace them with drought resistant plants; turn off the faucet; allow our yellow to mellow,etc.

And that’s all good.  I’m all for conserving where we can and help lessen the strain on our water reserves.  Because, according to the people who know this stuff (aka the Scientists), our water tables in the Golden State are being rapidly depleted.

Yes, we did have an amazing rainy winter.  And because of that there still is a lot of snow in the Sierras that will melt and flow into our streams, rivers and reservoirs.  This is great news,  but we need a lot more rainy winters to make a huge, long-term impact.

So because we’re good stewards of our planet we continue doing what we’ve been advised to do and helping our state with water conservation!  But there are other things we can do that will help even more.

And it’s all about what we choose to eat.   See, every food source has a  “water footprint”.  This is how many gallons of water it takes to produce one serving of the food.

I don’t know about you, but I never really equated how much water it took to produce food.  I mean, I go to Safeway or the farmer’s market and buy stuff.  It’s just there for me.  I don’t garden (very well or very much) so have no clue about what fruits, veggies, cows or pigs require.

Lucky for me there are people who study this stuff and can help simpletons like myself.

In the October 2015 issue of the Nutrition Action Newsletter there was a great infographic (see below) identifying the water footprint of 15 food items provided by www.waterfootprint.org

I was surprised to learn it takes 464 gallons of water to produce on serving of beef.  One serving is not a steak, it’s not a pound, its 4 ounces.  I don’t know the math, but how many 4 ounce servings can you obtain from a cow? Yeah, wow.

But you like meat, right?  You like steaks and burgers.  And while it sucks that it takes that much water to make a chicken or the egg that’s a bummer because these things are tasty.  I get it.  But even if you don’t entirely change your eating habits, you can still make a difference.

You’ve heard of Meatless Monday, right?  It’s a very simple way to eliminate meat one day a week and increase your fruit, veggie, legume, bean and grain input at the same time!  Brilliant!   Bean and rice burritos for dinner.  Veggie and rice soup for lunch. Oatmeal, cereal or avocado toast for breakfast.

Who knows, you may like it enough to do it more than just Mondays.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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Work It

 

I run an outdoor fitness program.  And when I talk to people about the program there’s a mixture of responses but over half go like this.

  1. Is there running?
  2. I don’t run.

So I explain that yes we do run but that you can walk, run/walk, etc.  The main goal is to move and we can modify it for any level.  Because it’s true that you don’t have to be a runner to start but I promise, you will be running.  And it happens gradually so you don’t even realize it.

Now if you have an injury or are not able to run; I won’t have you run.  There are a slew of exercises we can do to get your heart rate up.  A slew. 🙂

But back to running.  I’d say easily half of the people in my group today would not classify themselves as runners.

Yet, in class they run.  In fact, for today’s workout they ran 2 1/2 or 3 miles, in quarter mile intervals.

Mighty impressive, I’ll say.

So the next time you head out for a walk or a hike add in some running, faster walking, or throw in a really steep hill.  Breathe harder, work more, step outside of your comfort zone.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Boston 2017

So I was getting ready for work yesterday and flipped over to the tv coverage of the Boston Marathon.  (I love Xfinity’s voice-activated remote control “find Boston marathon”.  It’s the best thing ever.)

The broadcast had a split screen (kudos to whatever station I was watching!) so you could see the Elite women and the Elite men running side by side.  There were 5 women in the lead pack at mile 12 or so and about 10 men in the lead pack at maybe mile 8.

As a runner and a marathoner I had a few thoughts as I watched.

  1.  Their form was tight.  Arms close to the body, upper body relaxed while their legs turned over quickly.
  2. Zero emotion on their faces.  Like ninja warrior runners.
  3. Damn.  They were fast but looked like very little effort.
  4. I bet their race pictures always looked good.

Watching a marathon is pretty exciting because at this level you know there’s strategy playing out, there are mental games going on and there’s going to be some movement in the pack as one or more runners starts to break away or drop out because they can’t handle the 5 minute per mile pace.  I know.  Right??

Watching a marathon is also pretty inspiring.  My favorite moment was when Kathrine Switzer lined up in her starting corral with her 261 Teammates.  (Kathrine Switzer, for those who don’t know is the first woman to enter   the Boston Marathon, back in 1967.  What made it such a historical event is that it was a men’s only race and that she was almost dragged off the course by the race director.  I’m sure you’ve seen this photo before.)   

Anyway, back to my moment.  In the corral was Kathrine Switzer and the ladies who were running on her team.  All wearing maroon sleeveless running tanks with 261 emblazoned on them.  All ready to crush Boston.  Loved it.  The crowd cheered, she waved.  Loved.  It.

I was inspired.

Even more inspiring was that Kathrine Switzer rocked a 4:44 marathon.  At age 70.  Drop the mic.  Walk away.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

Checking In

Here’s a life hack to help you reach your goals.  It’s called a check-in.

It can be weekly, every 2 weeks or even once a month.  And all the check-in involves is re-establishing your goals and identifying what you need to do to stay on track.  Because I’ll tell you, it’s so easy to let life get in the way.  A check-in can take as little as 5 minutes.

Here’s how it works.

My goal is to run 25-30 miles a week.

Every Sunday I grab my calendar and a pencil and determine what my week should look like.

  • Am I feeling strong?  Can I add miles to a day?
  • Have I been tired?  Should I cut a few miles off?
  • Am I training for something and need to add hills or speed?

Then I jot down my mileage for each of my run days and total it up to make sure I’m within my goal.  Some weeks are closer to 30 and some I drop down.   It’s a simple yet very effective way to make sure I’m on track with my running.

Giving yourself time to check in will make sure you are doing the things you need to reach your goals, whatever they are.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant-Powered Ragnar

So yeah, it was like that. Without the glue sniffing…

Last fall I joined a team to run the Ragnar So Cal relay.  Then I went all plant-based for a month and realized I liked eating this way and would keep it up.  But I forgot about Ragnar.

Ragnar is a 200 ish mile relay run with teams of 12 split into 2 vans with each van  holding 6 runners.  Van 1 runs 1 leg each, Van 2 takes over, then you swap off until each runner has run 3 legs and you cross the finish line.  I’ve done 2 of them before so I was prepared for the experience.

But not running on plants. Hmmm.

As I’d shared before, I’d committed to 30 days being plant-based and then privately decided I’d go for a full 90 days and see what that felt like. But when I made that decision, I forgot about this race.    My bad.  But I’m no quitter so I decided I’d figure it out and make it work.  I mean, better, more accomplished runners have done it.

Luckily plant-based eating is great for runners because you get to eat carbs.  Rice, pasta, potatoes, bread. Yum. Running 25 miles split up over 3 legs in a 24 hour period meant I also needed to plan for some muscle-repairing protein.  My pal Stephanie was on my team and since she’s also a mostly plant-based runner we partnered up to plan our meals; making sure we had what we needed.

We packed oatmeal, almonds, Craisins, peanut butter,  Larabars,  thin slice Dave’s Killer Bread, cashew butter, cuties, fruit, and raw potatoes (I’ll get to those in a minute).  The night before we left for the race I made soba noodles with peanut sauce, carrots and green onions and portioned it into 4 containers.  This would be dinner, lunch or a post-run refueling snack.  Oh and Pringles and dark chocolate covered-cherries.  Just because.

The morning of the run I boiled potatoes, added season salt and threw them in a baggie.  Potatoes are great for a quick carb pop before a run.  And season salt is tasty.

The night before the run we had Mexican food.  I had a margarita (because we weren’t planning to win this thing) and a bean and cheese burrito with rice.  Usually I skip the rice, (not a fan of Mexican rice),  but I knew I needed that energy so I ate up.  Because I knew I didn’t need any “intestinal distress” I only had half the burrito.  (That was a smart move as there wasn’t any bathrooms on my first leg, a 12.2 mile run.)

All in all, the plan went well.  We were able to run each legs with the nutrition we’d brought.  Oatmeal, nuts, Craisins for breakfast.  Peanut butter on Dave’s Killer Bread was for post run.  Nuts, fruit and Larabars for snacks and Pringles for “salt replenishment”. The potatoes were a hit and the peanut noodles were a refreshing and filling snack after one of the long legs.

I’m happy to say that  I had energy and enough fuel in my belly for my runs.  And I didn’t just run a few miles for each leg, I ran some long, challenging legs.  The warmer temperature for both of my long runs were the biggest problem I face.  But that’s a hydration issue vs. a food issue. So all in all, my plan worked.  That’s a great feeling.

Listen, I know that many of you are not able to relate to the plant-based thing.  And that’s ok.  But don’t miss the important message here.

You can accomplish anything. You just need to decide what you want to do and then do it.  You and only you hold the key for change.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

 

Power to the Plants

A plant-based diet is one based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.

Yesterday marked the end of a 30-Day Challenge.  I committed to eating a *mostly* plant-based diet for 30 days.  No meat.  No dairy.  Yes, that includes cheese.

I was very deliberate about the *mostly* part.  Because the reality is, I was not sure if I could do it.

Wait. Rewind.

The week after my 50th birthday, I started cleaning up.  No, not the house, I started cleaning up my diet.  It had been a few weeks of celebratory eating and drinking and I was feeling it.

So I did what I usually do; planned and shopped.  You know, fruits and veggies, lean protein, etc.  Having good food in the house because it helps to have the right tools for the trade, so to speak.   And then I read that Bob Harper had a heart attack.  You know, the Biggest Loser trainer, Bob Harper.  Super healthy.  Super fit.  WTF??

That threw me because he seems to be really healthy.  Eating right, exercising.  But sometimes that’s not enough.  Genetics can be a bitch.  It reminded me again that I rolled craps on the Genetic health dice.

But  after the Bob Harper thing I watched a few more documentaries, listened to some podcasts, followed some athletes who are plant-based and one evening decided that was it, I was going to try it for a month.  It was one of those times where I went to bed, then got up out of my bed, came down the hall to where Brad was watching Sports Center and asked him if he’d be on board trying it for a month.  I had to promise to shop, cook and make sure he didn’t starve to death but he agreed.  Then I wandered to Alexa’s room asking her the same thing.  So I got down to business.

Doing some more research and reading I came away with two schools of thought.

  1. Go all in.
  2. Start slow.  Eliminate meat first, get used to that for a while.  Then remove dairy, etc.

One pod-caster said it took him a year.   I don’t do well with long drawn out plans so I figured option 1 was the ticket.  The only thing that would put a wrench in my plans was if I was not able to sustain my level of activity.  I still had to have enough energy to run 5 days a week, teach boot-camp 4 days, work and be a mom and a wife.   If not, I’d have to re-adjust.

I mean, it was just for a month.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  Vitamin B12 deficiency, beriberi, starvation?

I started on March 4th.  The first thing I had to do was pull some recipes together.  Soups were made, a pot of beans simmered, rice prepared, salads made, menus put together.  Like any healthy eating plan the devil is in the details and you have got to have a plan.  What would you eat, when would you eat it, how would you fuel your body.

I kept a journal for a few days because I knew that I wanted to revisit the early stages honestly.

Day 4

I woke up hungry.   And at 3:00 am.  Tuesdays are run days and I knew that I couldn’t run on an empty stomach.  Because it wasn’t just empty, it was hollow.  So I made a bowl of instant plain oatmeal with some raisins tossed in and cinnamon sprinkled on top.  It’s a usual pre-long run breakfast so it did the trick, even for a 6 miler.  The run was fine.  It took me a long mile to get warmed up but I felt fine at the end.

Overall, I’m still not feeling great.  Not what I expected.  I expected to feel really good, but I’m kind of headachy and have that hollow feeling again.  So I did some reading (yes, Virginia, there’s a lot to learn) and figured out that I’m leaning too much on veggies, fruits and grains.  I have to add more starchy veggies and fats.  This is good to know.  Grabbing some peanut butter on my apple and a whole grain tortilla right now.

Day 5

Tried an almond-milk latte from Starbucks.  Rethinking this whole goddamn thing.

Day 6

It’s a run day and I wake up hungry.  I have a 6 mile run so I fuel up on oatmeal before I head out.  I’m not fast but not slow and I don’t feel like I’m starving.  Good news.

But I’m dragging, and I’ve been dragging since the start.   So I hit the Internet and Google  “I started a plant-based diet and feel horrible”.  Apparently it’s common to feel like crap.  Some of the things I can expect are feeling tired, flu-ish, foggy and not quite myself.  Good to know I’m not alone.

Because I’ve cut out a lot of the processed foods, meat and dairy I imagine I’m detoxing.   It does not feel good.  At all.

Day 9

Today was a 9 mile run so I made pasta and veggies for dinner the night before.  Carbo loading and all that. I let the family add their own cheese, mine was cheese-free.  The meal was delicious and it adequately topped off the tank for my long run.  I felt strong.  After the run I had leftover curry and greens for breakfast.

Day 10

I am lucky that I enjoy cooking.  If I didn’t this would be very hard to do.  The downside is that I’m doing a lot of dishes and I have to constantly sweep my floor and clean my countertops.  I’m a messy little cook.

That was my last journal entry because by that time I didn’t feel like crap anymore.  I wasn’t starving and I had figured out what I could make that most of my family would eat.    In fact, I started to feel good.  Lighter, if that makes sense.

It became easier to eat because if you’re not eating meat or dairy, you’re taking a lot of variables out of play.   At a restaurant, for example, I will have the beans and rice with corn tortillas, no cheese.  See, easy decision making.

Now, I’m no saint, I still enjoy wine and beer, found a cashew milk ice cream that I have to hide from my daughter, and like to grab a handful of tortilla chips or BBQ lays.  Well, maybe two handfuls or a small bowl.  See, this is where the *mostly* plant-based part of the challenge comes into play.

I successfully ate out at a few restaurants, survived a lovely buffet at a Bat Mitzvah and was able to maintain my running and boot-camp classes.  In fact, there was no impact on my running at all.

One major benefit is that my family eats better.  I will send Alexa to school with rice and beans or a curry dish for lunch.   She’ll eat the pasta shells made with tofu “ricotta” and the creamy red chard linguine.    I figure if I make healthy plant-based meals at home and they eat what they like when they go out or we order in, that’s a good compromise.  For example,   Brad “meats” on me at his weekly business lunches and I still make the foods that they like.  If it’s scrambled eggs or a turkey and cheese Panini, I’m ok with that.

So now that my 30 days are up what’s next?  I decided that I’d extend it for another 30 days.  Primarily because I don’t have desire to eat another way.  That may change and I’m not vowing to never eat animal products ever again.  But for now, I’m good.

I’m going to add a tab to the blog page for plant-based stuff.  Recipes, resources, FAQs, etc.  That way if anyone is interested they can check it out.

Now go run!

Keli