Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pink, Glorious Pink

My new inspiration:


These are the pink-and-black Vibram FiveFingers Treksport (no affiliate link here, they are just awesome). They are like my basic KSOs, but a little more specific to trail running. 

More importantly, they are pink. 

These are my new inspiration. I can't talk myself or my parents into springing for these ($100) if I'm not an avid trail runner. Therefore I must become one. Therefore I must run.

They make me SO HAPPY. I just get a total buzz from looking at them. I kept popping up to look at pictures of them during my push-up regimen today, to power me through the last few sets. Hey, whatever it takes, right?

On that note, I'm pretty proud of my push-ups today. I was still sore from last time, but I got down on the floor and pounded them out anyway. Strangely, the 4th push-up of each set was the hardest. Not the last one, not the second one, the fourth. Each time. But after the second set, the pain in my muscles went away temporarily! I think my muscles were too fatigued to even bother sending out pain signals. "Why bother, she's just going to keep doing this to us anyway. Let's save our energy...."(I imagine this in a little squeaky voice, but then, I am currently high on pink running shoes, so feel free to sidle away slowly).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Getting Back on Track... I think

Starting a habit of waking up earlier- it's going quite well thus far! Don't feel like I've had restful sleep the past few nights, but will work on that. Getting better food in me and more exertion out of me, as I am starting to do, should help. I also think I've gotten comfortable enough in the new room to keep it darker and my music quieter when I go to sleep.

Point being, getting up earlier is allowing me to do more productive things with my mornings. My current checklist items are:

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast (generally my version of Vegan Overnight Oats)
  • Study French (French homework, listening to French podcast, reading Harry Potter in French, flashcards, etc.)
  • Small bit of organizing (wash dishes that soaked overnight, take down trash, make bed, clear desk, etc.)
  • Small resistance workout of 10-20 minutes (alternating days of the "6 Weeks to 100 Push-ups" program and Ab-Ripper X from P90X)
  • Write (character profiles, outlines, actual scenes)

Update on Food:
    I found the Whole Foods/Trader Joes here- Naturalia. It's really quite tiny, but so very well stocked! I was doing happy dances and trying so hard not to grab everything in sight. Finally found my red lentils, for that Indian Lentil Curry on NoMeatAthlete, some quinoa pasta (!!!), oats and almond milk for my overnight oats, and a few other items. I finally figured out that almond milk doesn't actually have to be refrigerated, and a whole new world of breakfast foods that I can make suddenly opened up. Overnight Oats! Breakfast Quinoa! Healthy pancakes!
    Trying my first week of Meal Planning. Overnight Oats most mornings, and last night I made a wonderful peanut sauce that I had over green lentils and brown rice. Planning on doing that again tonight/soon for lunch, and also a small meal of one of my various healthy pastas with tomato sauce. I have a slight obsession with healthy pastas, it would appear. First, I couldn't find any whole wheat pasta, so I grabbed penne made out of vegetables. Then, I found whole wheat penne. I figured, why not have both! And then, as previously mentioned, I picked up some quinoa penne. At least I could have made one of them a rotini... I'm set to break into my white beans tomorrow.

My Vegan Overnight Oats:

  • Approx. 1/3 cup oats
  • Approx. 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Hefty dash of vanilla extract
  • Approx. 1 tsp of chia, maybe a tad more
  • Shake or two of cinnamon (can you tell I have no measuring instruments?)
  • Tiny sprinkle of salt
  • Somewhere between 1 tsp and 1 tbsp of brown cane sugar
Mix all dry ingredients except sugar, then pour in milk and vanilla. Stir. Let sit for 30 minutes to overnight. Stir in sugar when almost set, or at least 30 minutes prior to consumption. Enjoy!

Update on Resistance Work:
    The level of effort I go to in order to avoid my common area is both ridiculous and impressive. So, as you can imagine, the P90X is not so much with the happening. I have restarted the Push-Up regimen, however, and while it is difficult as all get out, I'm so much better than I was when I started the first time. The first time around, I could barely eek out 4 good-form girl push-ups and thus started on the absolute base level. This time, I gussied up and tried the second level, and actually managed to complete it, though my breaks between the last few sets were more around the 2-minute mark. And since you are supposed to take days of rest in between for both it and the Ab-Ripper X, I'm alternating them as part of the morning routine. It's something that is actually working for me at my current level of dedication. They say that will-power is like a muscle- it's not a matter of either having it or not, it's a matter of working to build it up. So small, compact things that I can do first thing in the morning, without getting into my workout gear, without having to have a perfectly clear floor or shift furniture (which I had to do to complete P90X in this tiny room), removes pretty much all of my carefully constructed excuses. Once I prove to myself that I can stick with something on my own steam, I can start to build up. At this small of a requirement, I will feel like an absolute idiot for not doing it. Progress!

Update on Running:
    I have read so much about running in the past few days- and done precisely none of it. As I start classes near the Luxembourg Gardens tomorrow, I'm trying to work out some way that I can pack my running gear, then change after classes, go for a loop, and walk back home. My only thorn with this problem is figuring out where I would leave my other clothing, school supplies, and purse. Maybe one of my housemates will have the same time schedule as me, and would be willing to take it back with them?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Experimention, Part 2

This hypothetical-item-which-shall-not-be-named works lightyears beyond where my last hypothetical-item-which-was-also-not-named worked. As in, it can actually create and sustain a roiling boil. Really fast, too!

Lentils are... not bad. Not yet good, but not bad. I think stronger flavoring that coconut milk will be required, and also just repeated eating. I think it will be an acquired taste. And it seems like a good one to acquire!

Just occurred to me that I fearlessly dove into eating a new food. This bodes well for future vegetable additions, I would think. Still a big difference- lentils are essentially a different kind of bean, while vegetables are... well, the dreaded vegetables. It's more of a mental block than anything. Baby steps, I guess.

For my "Lentil Training Period," as we shall call it- I think probably lots of garlic and salt, mainly. Oooh, maybe some butter.... Keep the lentil flavor there, but distract myself with lots of yummy otherness. As I find myself decreasing the add-ons, I'll know I've made it.

Experimentation Time!

Got back from my "shopping trip" and now I'm experimenting happily away with lentils. It's entirely possible that this first set will taste horrible, but now I'm at my luxury to try out multiple different ways.

On today's menu: Green lentils, cooked in water with a dash of curry powder and coconut milk, probably to be mixed with more coconut milk and spices. Quinoa, cooked in water and coconut milk, possibly mixed with more coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.

Going to look up information on running in the Jardin du Luxembourg while the lentils simmer.

Will update with the results of the feast!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Grains, Greens, Beans

I'm slowly working my way past the whole no-refrigerator issue. Partly it is because I am accepting that not everything actually has to be refrigerated as much as we Americans tend to, particularly if kept in an air-tight container, and partly through a new awareness of the concept of meal planning. If I make a batch of something, or open a can of something, if I have planned my meals out for the week, I can make sure I use it all within two days or so, so it is still good.

Also, I may or may not be getting a hot plate for my room, which you nor I know nothing about.

NoMeatAthlete was doing a post on how to afford a healthy, athlete-friendly vegetarian lifestyle, and he brought up a suggestion that has taken the comments, and me, by storm. A simple one-pot meal, A Grain, a Green, and a Bean. This is totally something I can do! Admittedly, greens will be scarce for a while, but once I come up with several reliable, flavorful favorites, I am going to bully myself into adding small torn up bits of spinach.

Some ideas I have had (many will include lentils and quinoa because they can cook quickly, and therefore I can justify making only a single serving, or brown rice, because I can buy these adorable single-serving microwave-ready packets here):

  • Red lentil curry over brown rice (see inspiration recipe here)
  • Quinoa and black beans in coconut milk with a dash of cinnamon and vanilla
  • White beans lightly mashed with lemon and garlic, quinoa
  • Green lentils and quinoa with coconut-curry sauce
  • Coconut red beans and brown rice (see inspiration recipe here)
  • Brown rice with peanut sauce- what bean or lentil to go here?
  • Green lentils with garlic and rosemary, salted quinoa
Any suggestions? I anticipate playing around a whole lot with coconut milk, often with cinnamon or curry added. 

Trying to work up the nerve to take my laptop and P90X down into the gym on the community floor here. I don't think many people use it. It would give me more space, and access to some machines, which would help with the bands because I haven't found a sports store that carries any here. But it does mean that I have to venture out into the world of French college kids, wearing my little running skirt and VFFs. A main point behind the purchase of the hypothetical-object-which-shall-not-be-named is to remove the excuse of not having enough courage to go downstairs to use the kitchen. During the limited hours it is open. I want to remove as many excuses as possible, since I know I tend to cling to them. Maybe I can convince one of my girlfriends on my floor to join me- make it a regular, bonding thing...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Accidental Thriving

Note to Self: Even if not kept in a warm place, chia seeds left soaking will start to sprout in 2-3 days. I know Thrive talks about the benefits of eating sprouts, but I want to eat chia gel, not chia pets. So, in future, will only make as much chia gel as I will be eating in a day- and then committing to actually eating it all in a day!

Another Note to Self: Should actually read Thrive. NoMeatAthlete is obsessed, and a few other bloggers have mentioned it as well. If they don't need to be refrigerated, this could be a way for me to actually get in some real, whole foods while I'm living in France without a refrigerator.

They don't refrigerate as many things in France, I am finding, even without all of the preservatives that Americans use, and people lived for thousands of years without fridges, so I'm probably actually able to use a lot more than I think I can. But then I remember that people also died a lot earlier for thousands of years, and I worry that it has a lot to do with food poisoning....