Friday, February 1, 2013

Take recipe to heart: A recipe

It seems like these days there's a special designation for every thing. January is Hot Tea Month and National Oatmeal Month. Today is National Bubblegum Day and April 17 (my birthday) is Ford Mustang Day.

But there's one observance that I can get behind, especially as a woman: National Heart Health Month. It's February, hence the post today, Feb. 1.

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According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease, and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. It doesn't have to be a death sentence, though. A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and good nutrition can offset many of the risks and improve health.

Though I'm still trying to figure out the definition of good nutrition for me, WomensHealth.gov said you should eat mainly:
  • Fruits and vegetables 
  • Grains (at least half of your grains should be whole grains, such as whole wheat, whole oats, oatmeal, whole-grain corn, brown rice, wild rice, whole rye, whole-grain barley, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, and sorghum) 
  • Fat-free or low-fat versions of milk, cheese, yogurt, and other milk products 
  • Polyunsaturated (pol-ee-uhn-SACH-uh-ray-tid) and monounsaturated (mon-oh-uhn-SACH-uh-ray-tid) fats (found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils)
  • Fish, skinless poultry, lean meats, dry beans, eggs, and nuts 
Did you catch that last part, the one about lean meats? To maintain heart health, you don't have to eat grilled chicken with steamed broccoli and brown rice or unseasoned pork loin with sweet potatoes and steamed spinach.

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Nope. You can have something like Slow Cooker French Onion Meatloaf.

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The key is to select a quality, lean protein (chalk one up for Weight Watchers' lessons) like Laura's Lean Beef.


Laura's Lean Beef is at least 92 percent lean (some products are 96 percent) and it's free of hormones and antibiotics.

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And it's the star player in this flavorful and hardy dish, which Mark enjoyed for dinner two nights in a row and I enjoyed not really having to cook.

Note: This recipe is also toddler tested and approved.

Slow Cooker French Onion Meatloaf

1 pound Laura's Lean Beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/3 - 1/2 cup whole-wheat Panko bread crumbs
1 onion, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup beef broth
1 bay leaf

In a bowl, gently combine beef, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, egg and bread crumbs. Form into a loaf and place in the crock of a slow cooker. Arrange onions and mushrooms around the meatloaf. Pour broth over onions and mushrooms; toss in bay leaf. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or until cooked through. Makes 4 servings.

Disclosure: Laura's Lean Beef provided me with product vouchers but all opinions and commentary expressed are my own. I was a consumer of Laura's Lean Beef before the opportunity. For more recipes, visit the their website.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Here I Go Again: A book review

The following is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. 

I probably should have been arrested as I ran through Stepford additions in the St. Pete area of Florida last Thanksgiving.

I was huffing and a puffing through a 9-mile run (crazy that I can still remember that more than a year later), and the only thing saving me was not the Island Nectar Gu Roctane I had tried to take but the audiobook edition of "Pretty in Plaid: A Life, A Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase." I was listening to Jen Lancaster (or whichever actress was paid to read it) talk about meeting Candice Bushnell an what an even it was, to meet someone who was so much of an icon. All I could think of was how Jen Lancaster was that idol to me, and I plotted ways to garner her attention and a meeting.

My social media efforts, lackluster at that, have been unsuccessful thus far but my love for her work is unwavering. And so it was with great enthusiasm that I applied for the "Here I Go Again" Blogher Book Club campaign.

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"Here I Go Again" is the second novel from Jen Lancaster (most of her work is memoir/non-fiction).
Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn't understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped ... beloved ... feared. Present day, not so much. She’s been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she’s struggling to start a business out of her parents’ garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom. Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it’s not like she can go back in time and change who she was...or can she?
"Back to the Future" meets every nerd's fantasy, readers see the exploits of Lissy Ryder blow up in her face and learn that what might seem like the best way to right a wrong doesn't always garner the greatest outcome. Not intended to be more than a beach read (I hope), Jen Lancaster manages to make what could be a predictable story of learning the meaning of life an engaging, funny tale full of nostalgia for anyone who grew up in the 1980s.

Lancaster takes a big risk in asking readers to suspend disbelief - everything from time travel to a ditzy woman owning a mega PR firm to people staying friends after high school. Wait, maybe I'm the only unlucky one on that last part. Anyway, it could be a problem for some but I pushed the "huh?" thoughts aside to give myself the best chance at enjoying the story. And I did enjoy reading the story.

Where the book fell short for me was in its tone. Lancaster wrote it in her trademark voice - full of snark and sharp wit - the one I love so much. It became difficult, though, to separate Jen Lancaster the writer from Lissy the Ryder and I found that the tone became a bit tiresome and juvenile in "Here I Go Again."

Join the discussion on the Blogher Book Club page. If you are interested in following Jen Lancaster on social media she's on Twitter and Facebook. And, of course, you can also find her on blog, Jennsylvania.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Healthy City: An intitiative

It was not by luck but professional obligation that I learned of the My Healthy City initiative.

I was editing some listings that run in Saturday editions when information about the group, created to help improve the health of Fort Wayne residents, and its first meeting. It immediately piqued my interest, and I quickly found myself signing up on Eventbrite for the breakfast, which was held this morning. I thought it would not only help to get involved in the community but network with fitness and health professionals as I make shit happen in 2013. Bonus: Coffee was served.

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The group is the brain child of Justin, the owner of a CrossFit box in Fort Wayne. An advocate of health and fitness, he found the inspiration to start an effort after attending a Social Media Breakfast. The format clicked, and he thought it would work well to allow like-minded individuals and groups to collaborate and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

As well as dispel some nasty titles. Fort Wayne has been topping the charts on lists that dub cities the fattest, stupidest and most artery clogging.

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If the number of gyms opening up in town is any indication, those titles aren't so true - or people don't want them to be true. According to one of the attendees, between 60 percent and 70 percent of people are inactive. The good thing, though, is that two-thirds of them would like to be active. (I'm not sure if that's Fort Wayne specific or nationwide.)

One of things we mentioned in this morning's initial brain-storming session was that there are programs to help or guide people but they might not be marketed well or they have an intimidation factor. I think this can be especially true in the running community (and I said as much) as there aren't many running groups and many of the clubbers are standout athletes. For someone staring out, maybe wanting to participate in our Fort4Fitness events, it can be challenging to find a training partners or group.

Anyway, enough of my personal beef. Among the issues we discussed:

  • Collaboration
  • An umbrella group
  • Increased social media efforts to disseminate information
  • Create a face to share stories and inspire

Many of the attendees were already engaged in efforts - dietitians, health educators, the director of the YMCA and representatives from the city. There were some health enthusiasts, as well, including a yoga instructor whom I sat next to. It seemed like a good mix of people who are doing fitness and those who have the resources to engage the community.

I'm really excited about the group and look forward to see where it's going. The plan is to meet once a month, ala the Social Media Breakfast format, and hopefully create more connections among the members to make shit happen (so to speak).

It is 2013, after all.

WIAW: Kim goes to Korea

I have a secret to tell you. Come in.

Closer.

Closer still.

Here it is: I ate oatmeal for breakfast yesterday, and I didn't take a picture of it. Astounding, right? Even more astounding was that it had no artificial sweeteners or added sugar or muffin tops. It was oats, banana, raisins, cinnamon, egg whites and a dash of vanilla.

Wait, there was some peanut butter, too. Cut me some slack.

While I didn't nab a photo of that post-run bowl - nor the quarter mini bagel I ate before the run - I felt it was time to track the comings (not goings) of my mouth.





Morning snack.

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Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with hazelnut spread - not Nutella. Nutella is a trademarked brand, and my jar has the name Kroger on it. Whatevs. The muffin was most definitely Ezekiel. It was my first time trying the variety, purchased by me with moneys, and it had that hardy flavor that Ezekiel products have and that I so enjoy. It wasn't as sweet as most cinnamon raisin products but I, for one, was glad to see it wasn't sugar-loaded.

Lunch.

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Once or twice a month, I go out to lunch with a co-worker. She and I both love love ethnic foods and both have husbands who are less adventurous eaters. Whenever we go out, we try to go exotic. Tuesday was Korean. At a restaurant neighboring a Marathon gas station. What can I say, we keep it classy.

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I started out with egg drop soup and kimchi salad, both of which were lovely.

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As part of the lunch special, the server/owner brought out a plate with crab Rangoon, egg roll and mandoo. I am not one to turn down a Rangoon so I ate that and enjoyed the insides only of the other fried treats.

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My entree was the pork bulgogi, which was on special, and sounded very authentic. It was good. If you ever come to Fort Wayne, we can go and then you can tell me it's good.

Snacks.

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I was a busy girl yesterday afternoon. Blarg. Being busy is dumb. But it does keep you from eating.

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I managed an apple and an orange throughout the afternoon, and I had a cup of no sugar added hot cocoa while I interviewed a job candidate.

Dinner.

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Can I get a thank you God for the slow cooker? Slow Cooker French Onion Meatloaf (made with Laura's Lean Beef), Alexia Sweet Potato Tots (spotted at Target) and spinach. Most of it once frozen. Except the beef. I bought it that morning. All of it was delicious.

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After dinner, I had a handful of Walmart brand honey nut O's or whatever you want to call 'em. And then,  later, a half-cup with almond milk (I prefer Silk unsweetened original). Further proof that I can't have cereal in the house.

Snack.

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Skinny Cow. My last one. For a while probably.

What have you been eating lately?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Golden girl

They love me. They really love me!

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Or they at least like me enough not to call me out for being in an age group that, we'll say, is busy - too busy to run in a lot of points races.

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On Sunday, the Fort Wayne Track Club held it's annual banquet and my participation (and placement) in three races last year earned me first place in my age group for the points race series during the ceremonies.  There are more than a dozen races in the series and there were 18 members who managed to complete them all. Some of the age groups had winners with 1,400 points. (For reference, I had 230). But I got the plaque all the same.

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And the cake.

In addition to the awards, there was also a half marathon clinic, delicious dinner - I opted for beef and, yes, I ate the rich chocolate piece of heaven - and a keynote speaker in 1972 Olympic Gold Medal winner Dave Wottle.


Last year, the track club worked its tail off to lure Shalane Flanagan to our dinner, and I have to admit that my heart sunk just a tiny bit that someone as fresh off competition wouldn't be speaking. How else would I become besties with Lauren Fleshman? (Seriously, call me Lauren.) My feelings changed, though, once I heard that Wottle was a BGSU alumni like me ... and when I saw his stunning 800 meter final that garnered him the Gold medal.


Watch it. It's seriously amazing.

Wottle interwove stories of that day into what turned out to be an engaging, inspiring speech (sshh: it was much better than Shalane's talk last year). He said there were three things that were key to his Olympic success.

Concentration. Confidence. Competitive spirit.

Concentration. Wottle said that during the 1 minute, 45 seconds he was running, he was focused on nothing else but the finish line. He didn't see the crowds. He didn't hear their roars. Not only that but in training, he concentrated on that goal of an Olympic medal. Often times as he ran through Bowling Green, he would visualize the race. And he wasn't winning. He was coming from behind and teaching himself how to maneuver in situations that might fluster other athletes.

Confidence. It was those visualizations helped give him the confidence that he needed to win. A runner who was 20 meters behind in the first 200 meters of an 800-meter event might have worried himself out of the race but Wottle said his training scenarios  showed him that he could come from behind and finish ahead.

Competitive spirit. Yeah, this pretty much doesn't need explanation. Mostly because I was too busy listening and a whole lot not busy taking notes on my iPhone. But let's just say he said you needed a competitor's spirit - not just to beat someone but to better yourself. Sound good?

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Of all the things he said, what stuck with me most was what he said about his pre-race ritual. Yes, there was the golf cap and the silence but there was also a prayer. Though I'm not a particularly spiritual person, his words to God really spoke to me.

Allow me to try my best, do my best and accept whatever outcome.

Words to run by. Words to live by.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spring into Training: Week 4


Spring Training posts document my training for the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon on March 30 and my "A" race, the Wisconsin Marathon half, on May 4.

The week, in training:

Monday: 3 miles, treadmill
Tuesday: 5 miles tempo, treadmill
Wednesday: 45 minutes on the elliptical + RAW class
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 4 miles hilles, treadmill
Saturday: BODYPUMP
Sunday: 8 miles, long, outside

◊ ◊ ◊

Ladies and gents, I have something different and possibly fun for you today. I was feeling inspired by Theodora of Losing Weight in the City and her vlog this weekend that I thought I'd try one to recap this week's training.


Let me know in the comments if you liked this or never want to see my face on camera again :)

Happy Monday!