Sunday, March 1, 2015

2015 in 2015 Challenge - Two Month Check-In

Back at the start of the year I wrote about the 2015 in 2015 Challenge, and how Woody, Grace, and I joined forces to take it on. Two months in, it's time for a check-in.

Woody did a little math (cause that's how he rolls) and found that we need approximately 1.84 miles per day over the course of the year. That's a lot of miles, and while I've been running a number of years now, I think the only year I may have run upwards of 650 miles in one year was 2009, when I ran the NYC Marathon. This all means I have to buckle down, tie up my laces, and get on the treadmill if that's what it takes to log the miles. 

Warm weather running in Florida - Dec. 2014
So, here are my stats so far:
  • January - 63.19 miles
  • February - 74.3 miles
  • Total - 137.49
My highest mileage week was last week, tied with this week (including Mar. 1) at 18 miles. While this isn't much for some people, it's solid work for me and I'm really proud about it. After suffering from chronic stress fractures for several years, and being diagnosed with osteopenia, I have to be careful.

Running a few laps of Wash Park when Grace visited Denver - Jan. 2015!

As a team through February we've run 353.38 miles, ahead by 27.67 miles! While Mother Nature was shining on Denver during much of January, there's been a lot of snow and cold lately - less running outdoors - so we're off to a fantastic start.

Wash Park

To support the increase in mileage I've been focused on getting enough calcium (through a variety of dark leafy greens, tofu, supplements...) and protein (beans, vegan protein shakes, nuts, tofu, quinoa...) in my diet. A little planning and prep is all it takes!

Did you run this weekend? * Have you been logging more miles on the treadmill lately or are you an all-weather runner? * Are you participating in the challenge?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tofu Chili for Everyone

For the past six months or so Woody and I have been following a mostly vegan diet. Spurred on by our continuing quest to live healthy and long lives, we've decided that cutting out most animal proteins from our diet is a step we feel comfortable doing as part of our efforts. I haven't talked about it much - if at all - because it's still new for us and we're figuring it out. Beyond this, I'm not planning to turn this into a vegan blog or try and convince everyone to make the switch like we are. While I generally hope that people will work to eat healthy diets (most of the time), what works for each of us is different, and likely changes quite a few times over the course of our lives.

How can I live without cheese?
It's true, giving up cheese and Greek yogurt were, by far the hardest things I've had to cut from my (almost daily) routine, but after a while it just wasn't a big deal anymore. To be perfectly frank, when I say we're following a mostly vegan diet that's because we have made a few exceptions and know that when we eat out a few things might have butter, or a little bit of egg (and we did indulge in burgers at Delmonico's when we were in NYC last fall). But generally we're pretty conscious of what we're eating and don't include meat, dairy or eggs when cooking at home.

With all that said, we've been experimenting with different foods lately to get the nutrition we need. With the cold and snowy weekend we've had, a big pot of chili sounded perfect for Sunday dinner. As Woody said when he finished his last bite, it's nearly the perfect meal - pretty cheap, really easy, and healthy (how I make it, anyway). To change it up a little I decided to add some tofu to the mix. 

Chili is really all about throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and letting in simmer for hours. As far as I'm concerned, it's even better the next day. The basics: lots of onion, garlic, and peppers...

Throw these into a pot with tomatoes (I opt for a mix of no salt added diced tomatoes & fire roasted diced), with a combination of black and kidney beans.

Using firm tofu, I drained then pressed it for about an hour to get a good amount of the liquid out. Then I rubbed in a bit of black pepper and chili season on both sides and baked at 400 degrees for just over an hour - flipping half way through. 

Cut into cubes I added it into the pot, added more chili seasoning and a little bit of ketchup and simmered for several hours.

So, all that was:
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Bell Peppers (any color will do but a mix is best)
  • Diced Tomatoes (no salt added & fire roasted)
  • Beans - Kidney and Black
  • Firm Tofu
  • Black Pepper
  • Chili Seasoning
  • Ketchup
I don't list quantities because it really depends on how big a pot your using and how many people you want to serve. I often make one pot then add a little more veggies for the second night if it seems like it could use a little bulking up.

The tofu really just added another texture to the chili. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't have much of a flavor, so it won't overpower the other ingredients, but it does add a lot of protein without many calories. Next time I think I'll try preparing the tofu like a scramble - which should replicate the texture of ground beef. 

When Neil Patrick Harris was just about to take the stage for his Oscars monologue (really, he's the perfect host), I dished up the chili and topped it off with a bit of avocado, because let's face it, everything is better with avocado!

Did you have a favorite Oscar dress or moment? How much snow did you get this weekend? If you make tofu dishes, what's your favorite?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Don't Love Patterned Running Tights, And That's Okay

I’d like to preface this by saying that I fundamentally have nothing against the trend of bright-colored patterned yoga pants and running tights, and I do believe everyone has the right to express their personality in whatever way they like (so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else of course) and what gets one person off the couch and working out doesn't always work for someone else. As this is my blog, however, and I have the right to espouse on any subject of my liking (within reason, of course), I feel it’s a “safe” place for me to discuss my personal opinions about a new trend in fitness gear (or “athliesure wear,” as has been dubbed the new term) as I have a feeling there are some who might feel the same way I do - and many who don't.

Okay, that was a long introduction.

I'm sure you've noticed the proliferation of bright, patterned yoga pants that have been popping up everywhere over the past many months. They're all over my Instagram feed and on almost every page of the Athleta catalogues that arrive in my mailbox on a weekly basis. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that at least 60% of the women who read this post have at least one pair in their collection of workout gear.

Well.... I have a confession. I'm not a big fan of them.

Crazy, to some, I'm sure. But I'm perfectly okay with it. Don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal. We've been wearing black and grey yoga pants and running tights for well over a decade now and there are only a few ways to make those basic colors stand out from the rest of the pack. Even though sales of "athleisure" wear are surging, how many pairs of black workout tights can each of us really handle?

I can picture it now: a group of designers and marketers sitting around a big conference table looking over sales numbers and tasked with finding a way to sell more tights. When bam! Inspired by a floral or teak printed top, one genius person muses, "why not make tights out of that?" 

Okay, so that's probably not exactly how it started, but maybe.

When I started working out regularly and then began my relationship with running, I only wore the ubiquitous Nike shorts that make your butt look kind of poofy no matter what size you get. At that time there weren't a whole lot of choices. I probably had a half-dozen pairs of those shorts - in black - and a few pairs of running tights and capris, in black. Likely a result of living in New York City with a wardrobe that didn't wander far from varying shades of black and grey. Thankfully those days are over, but I haven't really strayed all that far.

My collection of running tights and capris has grown to a respectable, yet far from outrageous, five pairs, all of the Oiselle variety. I’m also embarrassed to admit how many false starts there were before I actually pulled the trigger on purchasing the two pairs that aren’t black or navy. And they aren’t even that crazy, heck the Moto Lesley Tights aren’t even patterned, they’re just gray (and I love them)! 

While most of the patterned running tights are quite beautiful on the hanger, and look fantastic on a lot of people, like every style of clothing they’re not for everyone, and I’m pretty sure they’re not for me. Call me boring if you like, but I enjoy sticking to the basics and adding in pops of color here and there. I’d rather not call attention to my least favorite feature with patterns in vivid colors. This is as crazy as I get with my running tights...

So what I’ve been trying to say in a very long-winded way, is that if you're also one of those runners, yogis, or simply someone who prefers to spend their life in the comfort of yoga pants but isn’t jumping for joy over this new trend, know that even though it may seem like it at times, you’re not alone my friend. 

Disclaimer: I maintain the right to change my opinion at any time with no fear of consequence if I meet the right pair of bright-colored patterned running tights.

Are you a fan of the new patterned tight trend? * What's your favorite workout for a snowy weekend?