Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quick Turnaround on a Quick Tour

It's interesting how much my body really wants to be healthy. I guess it makes sense, from an evolutionary standpoint. I've been hiking the Scottish Highlands for the past 5 days, and I really do mean hiking. Lots of elevation, clambering on rocks, jumping off things. I'm really seeing how far I've let myself slip in Paris, and how much work I have to do to be ready for that bachelorette party hike. The fact that I'm now stationed in Edinburgh will help with that- this city is nothing but HILLS. Crazy hills. I was going to change into basic flats now that I'm city-bound again, but I think I'm going to stick with my Vibrams so that I don't find excuses to stay on level ground.

In addition to all of the walking and climbing, I'm also eating less often, and making a bit more of an effort to eat well. In the UK, they have many more foods that are closer to my American style of healthy eating- lots of beans, whole wheat and whole grain products, raw nuts rather than salted and roasted and smoked and the like, etc. Plus, the hostels have all had kitchens with fridges. Don't get me wrong, I've still been plenty naughty, but just five days of a slightly altered eating style and more movement, and my cheeks have hollowed out again.

I actually found refried beans on the remote island of Skye. It was a teeny 100 or 200 gram can, and they were spicy (really spicy!), but they were refried beans! I spread them out on a plate and melted some mozzarella cheese on top, until the edges were crispy. Heaven. This is what I'm planning on doing frequently for breakfast once I'm back home in the US. With regular refried beans (maybe even of my own making, if I get really into it) and a cheddar-jack blend, most likely, but the same general thing. I had them for lunch after a particularly extensive hike on Sunday.

It's odd how I get so much more of a mental buzz out of feeding myself nutritiously than I do out of giving in to a binge, yet binges still run my life to a certain extent. Still, over the past few days, I am seeing even more how healthy habits build on themselves. When I am out and being active and eating healthier, I get on a roll. I can't tell you how many times I tried to buy tofu during our travels this weekend. No one had it! Amazingly, the only tofu I found for sale was in a little remote town of 300 that takes over 90 minutes of traveling, via bus and ferry, to get to. They sold both tofu and vegetarian sweet chile sauce! I didn't get it there, because we weren't going to be cooking for ourselves that day, but I'm betting now that I'm back in Edinburgh I can find some. Even if the major shops don't have it, apparently there is an Asian market here. I am so psyched about the sweet chile sauce! I'd found a recipe to make my own, but the stuff in the bottle looks just like the stuff at my favorite restaurants. Also hoping that one of the Thai restaurants here serves my favorite appetizer (the tofu with the chile sauce), unlike the one in Iverness, which oddly had corn fritters instead of tofu (very delicious corn fritters, but not what I was hoping for).

Something really cool about European foods, as much as I miss my American foods: they are labeled "Suitable for vegetarians and vegans" (or sometimes just vegetarians) when applicable! No more scouring the label, wondering if they forgot to mention that the cheese is made with animal rennet, or if gelatin goes by any other name. In France, obviously, this label is much harder to come by, but up here in Scotland I'm finding it on most everything I think to look at.

Going to go walk the Royal Mile today, and probably do a little shopping. But I'm going to do it in my VFFs, and I am going to throw in a few hills. There's nothing like powering up a huge, endless hill to make me realize how out of shape I'm in, and know that I'm definitely doing something about it!

When I get back home in the US, I think I'm going to do hills every day. It won't actually be a big deal- I live right at the base of an extremely steep hill. It's not huge, but if every morning I speed up it three times, that will do so much for my endurance. If I want a huge hill, about a 20 minute walk from my house (up moderate hills) is an absolutely gigantic one. I always am wildly impressed when I see a biker attempting it. But just stick to the healthy eating, my Superfit, and adding in that little hill each morning. I'm getting giddy just thinking about it. Also still really hoping I can convince the parents to get a recumbent stationary bike off of Craigslist...

But first, Edinburgh.

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