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January, 2013

  1. Viva la Vitamix

    January 17, 2013 by Laura

    On January 7 I started what is either a 21 Day Purification Program (if you’re a Whole Foods shopper type) or a LOSE UP TO 12 POUNDS IN ONLY 3 WEEKS MIRACLE DIET!! (if you’re more of a Safeway shopper). I do this maybe twice a year and always feel good eating all those veggies. It’s kind of a kick-start thing. Although last time I did it, it was more of a launchpad to the holiday smörgåsbord (don’t you love the excellent Nordic letters? Admittedly, I ate no Scandinavian food over the holidays), so I’ll have to figure something else out. This time around, I’m being a little less aggressive about it. Maybe because I’ve added the running. Also, I’m trying to develop good habits for afterward, as this is not sustainable.

    The program goes like this: you take 75 of the giant, gel-capped, “supplement” pills 9 times a day. You add the sawdust to your smoothies, which you eat instead of food. Then, you can eat anything on this list: fruit, vegetable, brown rice, wild rice, lentils. If it’s not on the list, a crazed, vegan, ultra-marathoner comes over to break your wrist. Simple.

    Today I am totally bored with smoothies. And with salad. It’s 28 freaking degrees outside, and I am blending frozen blueberries. Not into it. So in order to mix it up a little (by the way, in real life, I never say “mix it up a little”), I grabbed the cookbook that came with my Vitamix. Remember my Vitamix? The one I swooned over back in 2010 when I got it? I still love it. I use it every day. Lately, though, I think I’m sensing that it’s bored with smoothies too. I am definitely not using it to its full potential. After all, it can do ANYTHING. I’m trying to teach it to address my holiday cards, which I promise will go out this week. What? Martin Luther King Day is a holiday. Peace on Earth, good will toward men? What was I talking about?

    The nice thing for me about Vitamix food, it that you mostly don’t have to chew it. Since I got my braces, I’ve had trouble remembering to wear my elastics, so if I don’t have to take them out and put them it to eat, it’s easier (especially at work, where no amount of scrupulous hand hygiene and glove wearing can make you forget that you’ve just administered a suppository before lunch). Where was I?

    Oh, an easy recipe: Vegetable Soup I Made the Other Day and Ate for Breakfast Today

    Trim, peel, dice, and sauté in a soup pot until lovely the following veggies, reserving the trimmed, peeled bits:

    1 onion
    2 carrots
    2 stalks celery
    1 large parsnip
    2 cloves garlic

    Take the peeled bits, along with a potato and maybe some bones from the roasted chicken that the rest of the family ate, and put in a pot. Cover with water and boil the heck out of it. Normally I wouldn’t do it so crassly, but who has the time? Turn off the sauté so it doesn’t burn. Add 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (with or without the italian seasonings, I don’t care) to the sautéed veggies. When the stock seems to have taken on some color, strain it into the veggies. Simmer for a few minutes, then very carefully, in batches, blend it all up (in a Vitamix if you have one). Salt and pepper and other herbs and spices to taste. I also dumped Guthrie’s leftover coconut milk in it. All Done!

    This recipe is not in the Vitamix cookbook, by the way. Maybe next time.


  2. The Reward Game

    January 9, 2013 by Laura

    I must have this conversation 50 times a week:

    Child: I want x (nice thing not in child’s best interest).
    Me: Hmmm… well, you really need to do y (tedious task). How about when you finish y, you can have a little x?
    Child: NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! It’s too hard! I’m too tired to do y. I just want x.
    Me: C’mon, I’ll help you if you just start it. You start, and I’ll join in and finish up with you, and then you can have x.
    Child: NOOOOOOO!!! This is so stupid! I hate you. why won’t you just give me x???
    Me: Look, if you had started doing y, you would already be done by now, and you’d have x.

    And this is just what goes on in my head when I have to go running, but would rather have a beer, or some such thing. I won’t tell you how it ends, but you can imagine how it is when the boys are home. And I wonder where they get it.

    Yesterday I got all duded up in the Lycra and managed not to go running. Ever supportive, Dale asked, “Hon, did you run today?”
    “No.”
    “Sweetheart, I really want you to reach your goal, and I’m really concerned that you’re not going to.”
    “Go away, I don’t want to talk about it.”
    “Laura, how are you going achieve this?”
    “DID I JUST SAY I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT? STOP HASSLING ME!!”

    Seriously, I am insane. This is what happens when I go off the coffee cold turkey. But that’s another post.

    I did run today. Thirty minutes of run/walk in the previously described manner. Week 2, day 2 of the c25k. It is getting somewhat better. I notice that it is easier if I am not thinking, “Okay, how many more seconds??” with every running step. Occasionally I catch myself just running along for a minute (well, 4 seconds).

    Today I made a deal with myself that I could buy a new running shirt at the end of week 6: a reward. Dale, who is the super-ego to my id, says that in order to build a new habit, you should reward yourself immediately after doing the activity you want to um… habitualize (is that a word?) (And did I mention that Dale is Mr. Good Ideas Guy? He knows how to get better at everything. He reads about how to get better at things, and then he takes all that advice, and then he does the things they say, and then he gets better at things! It’s nuts!). So in order to turn running into a habit, I started eating a bit of chocolate when I finish up. Valrhona Manjari. Dale tells me he read that it builds neural pathways. So that’s why I’m doing it. Really. Eventually, says self-improved Dale, I’ll have my brain all trained up to look forward to running.

    Maybe I should eat chocolate after folding the laundry.


  3. Spare Change

    January 2, 2013 by Laura

    Today I dressed in my running clothes, but didn’t actually run until afternoon. Amos (age 5) gave me the once over, “Mom, you’ve been wearing those running pants all day.”
    “I know, I went running.”
    “Well, they’re not very good pants.”
    “They’re good for running.”
    “But they don’t look good on you… I mean, they’re real big at the top and skinny at the bottom. Pants are supposed to be kind of big at the top, and then just medium all the way down.”

    If you ever want to know if those jeans make your ass look fat, call my son.

    I got on the scale this morning (as I do every 90 minutes while awake, despite abundant warnings not to use this product more than once a week, except under medical supervision), and nothing had changed. Nothing. And when I checked out my butt in the mirror, Dale said, “I think it’s going to be a while before you see any change.” Isn’t that always the way? Looking for change on the outside? Today when I was running, I thought, “If I make it to the end of this (which is to say, exercise with no real end), and someone asks me how I did it, I’m going to have to sound like a damned Nike commercial.” I will have had to have made some internal shift, that no one will ever see. I don’t know why I find it a little depressing. Or lonely. Yep, just me, no one else can just do it for me.

    If you have always been active, you’re not going to get it. Did I mention that I was in remedial gym? I am a naturally bookish, indoorsy type with just enough interest in bugs and greenery to have become a bookish, outdoorsy type. I’ve reverted to indoorsy in the last few years. I may have lost the bookish during the same period. Now I’m pale and squishy, and I think in Facebook updates. Ew.

    Friday starts week 2 of C25K. I’ll have to run for 90 consecutive seconds. I think I’ll be okay.