Apr 13, 2013
I am pretty sure I have never made the same soup twice. Sure, I have come pretty close, but never have I created two identical pots of soup. Because I never measure. And I never follow a recipe. And the reason I make soup is to go through whatever is in my refrigerator and not have to think too much. And I am not interested in changing these habits, thankyouverymuch.
Soup is wonderful because you really can’t mess it up. A little liquid, a little substance, a little flavor, and let it all sit together on the stove until it is bubbling and delicious. So when I have a refrigerator full of produce and not a lot of time or energy to make it into an elaborate 5-course meal, soup is my go-to.
I am sharing this week’s soup recipe (or as close as I can come to writing what I made here) because it was so well-received by all five members of my family. And because it uses kale, which apparently a lot of you are having trouble incorporating into your family’s diets. However, feel free to add or subtract things as you wish, because that is the beauty of soup for dinner, and you know I am not going to follow the recipe next time I make it… ;)
WHITE BEAN, POTATO, AND KALE SOUP
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
½ sweet onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 baby red potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
Salt, to taste
1 Tbsp. crushed rosemary
½ cup frozen corn
1 can Cannellini beans
3 cups chopped kale, stocks removed
Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add just enough vegetable stock to cover the bottom of the pan and add onion and carrot, cooking until slightly softened (3-4 minutes). Add garlic and cook one minute more. Add potatoes and remaining vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add salt, rosemary, and corn. Stir together until corn is completely cooked through. Add beans and kale. Cook until kale is wilted and bright green. If not avoiding dairy, top with freshly grated parmesan. Serve with gluten-free rosemary sea salt foccacia*.
*The foccacia is not actually a recipe. All I did was take a package of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix, follow the directions on the package (substituting flax mixed with water for the eggs), form into a rectangle on a baking sheet, top with sea salt and rosemary, and bake. Super easy, and REALLY delicious.
Feb 21, 2013
***WARNING: This recipe is not vegan. It is plant-heavy and full of real, wonderful ingredients that are as delicious as they are good for you. However, if you are a strict vegan or cannot handle dairy, this one isn’t for you…see variations below.
My mom is an amazing cook and entertainer. She is one of those gifted people who can have a house full of guests and make each and every one of them feel special and welcome…and they always leave full.
One of her go-to appetizers was a spinach dip that she served in a hollowed-out loaf of Hawaiian bread. When I was really young, I wouldn’t touch it because of all the green. Then I realized it was absolutely delicious and I would request it whenever possible. And THEN I discovered the ingredients list, and I vowed to never eat it again. Until now.
My dip is different from my moms, but it has everything I love about hers: creamy texture, a little bit of crunch, and a perfect balance of tangy and smoothness. Even better, I have added kale to give an extra punch of nutrition and a dash of cayenne for heat. Instead of bread, I serve mine with carrots, celery, and tortilla chips. But I really think I could eat this with a spoon!
1 Cup finely chopped kale (I like the frozen kale from Whole Foods Market!)
¼ Cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
¼ Cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 ¼ Cup chopped spinach
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
¼ tsp. dried parsley
½ tsp. agave nectar or stevia (optional)
½ Cup- ¾ Cup Greek yogurt
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add kale, onion, and garlic and sauté until onion is softened (2-3 minutes). Add carrot and bell pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add spinach, salt, cayenne, and parsley and heat until spinach has wilted (approximately 1 minute). Remove from heat. In a bowl, combine vegetables and yogurt (I like my veggie-to-yogurt ratio high, so I use less yogurt) and add sweetener if desired (it cuts down on the “tang” of the yogurt). Stir until everything is well incorporated and refrigerate until cool. Serve with crackers, chips, or chopped vegetables.
Feb 4, 2013
As much as I like to think that I take pretty good care of myself, there is one thing that I have always been really terrible about: eating breakfast. I know...the most important meal of the day, blah blah blah. But honestly, I am lucky if I get a chance to drink a cup of coffee in the midst of the morning rush here at my house.
I created this recipe to try to change this. These little pancakes are SO yummy and are perfect for revving up my metabolism and giving me good energy for mornings at the gym. The recipe is for a single serving because I like to make them fresh each morning, but I am sure that you could make a bigger batch and store them to grab and go throughout your week.
1/4 cup gluten-free flour (I like Cup 4 Cup or Trader Joe's *new* all-purpose GF flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 TBSP ground flax seeds
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Vega, but use whatever you like best here)
1 TBSP dried cranberries (I have also done lemon zest and blueberries...and maybe chocolate chips on a particularly indulgent morning...)
Mix flour, applesauce, flax, and protein powder together in a bowl with a fork until well-incorporated. Fold in cranberries. Heat pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour 3-inch circles of batter into pan. Once pancakes are bubbling on top, flip and cook other side. Eat and don't share :).
Jan 30, 2013
Okay, let me have it. It has been MONTHS since I have posted a single thing on here. You thought I abandoned you. You thought I had fallen in a hole and couldn’t claw my way out of it to type you a goodbye letter. You thought I stopped this plant-based eating thing and went and ate a big ol’ steak. I am happy to report that none of that happened. Life just happened…it got busy, and I decided rather than overwhelm myself and try to juggle 2,504,493 things, I would try to juggle only 2,504,492. It made all the difference.
First, I have to let you know that I finished that marathon thing. With a broken foot. And I survived. I even got one of those “26.2” magnets for the back of my car, because when you finish something like that, you should brag about it. I ran hundreds of miles training for that thing. I devoted MONTHS of my life to accomplishing that task. And I shall brag about it for a good long while. Perhaps on my headstone? “Here lies Kellie, devoted wife, mother, and she ran a marathon that one time on a broken foot.” Lovely.
Second, there have been new developments in my health situation and I have been encouraged to exclude gluten from my diet now. I have to tell you, this was a MAJOR blow. I may have even had a little pity party for myself, because I <3 baked goods and good grief, I am already cutting-out meat, dairy, and eggs…what am I allowed to have?! To be honest, I haven’t been really great about being gluten free. My hope is that by joining you here, even if “you” is just an imaginary person who I have created to read this little blog, I will be able to look at this new challenge not as yet another limit to my diet, but rather an opportunity to try new recipes and ingredients and be as healthy as I can be for my family.
I have been working on some great recipes for the coming weeks, like curried lentil stew, Cajun rice and beans, and oatmeal pancakes that have become my new morning staple. And Mr. Kneadfresh got me a VITAMIX for Christmas!!! It is amazing and everything I dreamed it would be! I am also going to be trying all kinds of new and exciting workouts this year (as a welcome break from all that running), and I will give you my reviews here. I may even include some pictures of me completely embarrassing myself in a Zumba class…
So I am back. And I hope you are still here with me. I really do love this little project and I am so excited for what is in store for it this year!
Aug 31, 2012
We just returned from a family road trip that had our whole family trapped in the van for 15 hours each way. That's fifteen hours of feeding, entertaining, and coordinating bathroom breaks for five people. And then doing it again after a week at the beach. Crazy, right?
Actually, the kids were amazing, happy with some coloring books, a homemade scavenger hunt, and napping (we did not use the DVD player once...500 parent-of-the-year points for Jim and me!). And for me, the trip gave me an opportunity to plan our one big stop for lunch, which of course means that I was going to find a vegan restaurant and make the whole family eat there so I could review it for all of you. That is the joy of being a decision-maker :).
Nashville, TN was roughly halfway between home and our final destination, which is awesome because I think it is a pretty cool city. My sister lived there during school and it was always fun to visit her and explore her town. And while I am sure it would be easier to find a restaurant specializing in fried food and biscuits, I was pretty confident that I could find a solid vegan spot there.
It didn't take a lot of research to discover The Wild Cow, and a brief look at their menu online convinced me that THIS was the place to stop. Smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and baked goods: all standard cafe fare that the whole family could get into, but all done vegan for me.
We pulled-up in our minivan about five minutes before they opened. Of course, we didn't know this because there is an hour time change between our house and Nashville, and after driving IN THE CAR FOR SIX HOURS WITH THREE KIDS WE FORGOT TO TURN BACK THE CLOCK OH PLEASE FORGIVE ME. We made the grave mistake of opening the door upon arrival where we were met with glares and quickly shooed back outside until opening. We sat on a bench and peered through the window, watching the staff socialize and steal glances at us until they flipped on the switch for the "open" sign.
Mind you, I wasn't too put-off at this point. I get that they weren't open and we weren't supposed to go in yet. This is just how the experience started, and it sets the tone for the entire visit.
Once we finally got inside, we waited by the sign that said "Please Wait to be Seated" while other (I am assuming regular) customers breezed by us and seated themselves. Finally, a server--clearly disgusted by our ignorance--told us to find a table. We did, and then Jim and I took turns ushering the kids to the bathroom, because we had been IN THE CAR FOR SIX HOURS WITH THREE KIDS AND YEAH THEY HAVE TO PEE BEFORE YOU TAKE OUR DRINK ORDER. Meanwhile, several other tables filled, and the servers tended to them while we got ourselves settled.
We ordered smoothies and water, and by the time those came out, most of the other tables already had their food. Not because we took so long to order, but because we were clearly being treated as a last priority.
And here is where I started to get a little steamed. Not because they were breaking restaurant etiquette (I have worked in restaurants and know that you serve guests in the order that they arrive, not in the order that all of their kids are done peeing), but because they were acting like a club. A hipster, black-rimmed glasses-wearing, facial pierced, tattoo-sleeved, Kool-Aid hair colored vegan club to which we were not given an invitation.
And I get it. I am a suburban mom from Ohio who drives a minivan and I am not "cool." I would love to have a sleeve of tattoos, but I can't think anything cool enough to have permanently drawn up and down my arm (a collage of produce, perhaps? A ball of yarn and knitting needles?). I get my hair highlighted at a swanky salon and it has been a decade since I had anything other than my ears pierced. But I don't eat meat, dairy, or eggs, and this is a restaurant that makes food that I can order without asking for a list of ingredients. A whole stinkin' menu of it. And I want to eat here and enjoy it. I am paying you to let me do that. I drove IN A CAR FOR SIX HOURS WITH THREE KIDS TO DO THAT!
It occurred to me while we were there--and as we continued to be treated like we were carrying some sort of disease of uncoolness--that people like this are why I hate calling myself a "vegan." There is this culture that surrounds the word that has less to do with what we choose to eat than it does with an attitude of "I am cooler/more disciplined/more compassionate/better at life than anyone else because I am a Vegan." The staff at Wild Cow treated us like we were less than them because we didn't look the part. In fact, our server took it upon herself to define "tempeh" for us after we had ordered it, most likely assuming we had no idea that we were eating at a vegan restaurant until it was too late. Little girl, I can prepare tempeh in my sleep.
All of this is such a shame because the food really was actually pretty good. I ordered the Buffalo Salad with tempeh, and it had the perfect balance between flavor and spice. It also utilized Daiya cheese in the first way I have ever enjoyed it. It was served with the best ranch dressing I have ever tasted, vegan or not.
The Buffalo Salad with tempeh from Wild Cow
Jim ordered the Buffalo Grinder, which was my meal on a bun. It was good, too, but we both agreed the salad was the way to go. A (age 2) and N (age 5) both ordered the kids peanut butter and banana sandwiches, which were fine except that they came toasted and open-faced making them quite messy in their little hands. We ended-up cutting them up and letting them attempt to eat them with a fork, but both eventually gave up and stuck with their peanut butter kale smoothies.
2-year-old A digs into a peanut butter and kale smoothie...couldn't you just squeeze those veggie-loving cheeks?!
And here is where things get "Oh my, I HAVE to recreate this at home." The kale smoothies were velvety and wonderful, full of peanutty flavor and green kale goodness. They were soy-based, but the menu had the awesome option of substituting hemp milk for a small surcharge. I tried to convince Jim that only a Vitamix could make kale incorporate into a smoothie that well, but since the server was so unapproachable, I never had the chance to confirm. On a side note, I have made strides in convincing him that a $600 blender is a wise investment...more on that in a future post :).
But the big winner of "best order at the restaurant" has to be O (age 8) who ordered the chickpea salad sandwich. It is their take on the classic chicken salad, but made with O's beloved garbanzo beans (the kid can eat his weight in hummus). Chopped veggies and dressing rounded-out the salad, which was served with all the fixins' on multigrain toast. He finished the whole thing with gusto, minus the one nibble he allowed me to try.
The server gave us the check without asking if we would like to have dessert (even though she watched me walk-up to the pastry case)...a major bummer since I was kind of excited to try the raw cheesecake...and maybe take a cookie for the road. Instead, we went to the only Jeni's outside of central Ohio which happened to be right next door. Not only are they super hip there, but they are also incredibly friendly and served us all happily. My little scoop of Wheatgrass Verde Vinho sorbet made all the poor treatment at Wild Cow just melt away (well, kind of...I suppose I am still talking about it here, huh?).
So here is my review of Wild Cow in a nutshell. Food: good. Atmosphere: cool. Service: I wouldn't wipe my two year old's butt with that kind of service. Sure, if I looked a certain way, I am sure the service would be just fine. But if you are a vegan restaurant...heck, if you are a restaurant period...you should be excited about sharing what you make with whoever walks through your door. You should treat them well, because they chose you and are giving you an opportunity to introduce them to something you believe is worth eating. And especially in this little world of vegan food, whether your motivation is health-based, out of compassion for animals, or whatever, we have a lot more at stake. The way we eat is weird, and it is linked to often strong beliefs that can be offending to some people. If we don't treat people well, if we don't make our food accessible and inviting, if we treat people who don't eat like us as inferior, then we forego the opportunity to possibly change the way they see healthy eating. And that, my friends, would be a real shame.
Don't worry, kneadfreshers. This was not the end of the road for our vegan vacation adventures! Our next stop was so amazing and wonderful and delicious that I have been dreaming about it ever since. Stay tuned for details :).
Aug 21, 2012
I have officially completed the first half of my marathon training, and I am feeling a little exhausted. I am running most days of the week, leaving little time for any other types of exercise that I enjoy (like weight-training, yoga, or kickboxing). My body is holding-up just fine to the training, but I feel like my brain is getting a little bored with doing the same thing over and over again. However, there is a sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching this point, and I am trying to keep my mind on the excitement of the event itself to overcome the monotony.
Total runs: 9
Total miles: 72.59
Good thoughts: Like I said, we are at the halfway point here. I have made it this far and that is a good thing. And thanks to wearing some orthotic flip flops around the house and some diligent stretching, my legs are feeling great. The most strenuous weeks are still to come, but I am confident that I can make it through as long as I keep preventing injuries rather than waiting for them to happen. A 20-mile run looms in the distance, so keep checking-in to see how that goes.
Not-so-good thoughts: Weather. One of the things I like best about running is that I get to be outside. Breathing real air. While I accept that the treadmill is a useful tool, I really can’t stand it. However, the weather can be a running enemy, too, and the past two weeks of training have proven that to me in a big way. First, it was my 5 a.m. 8 miles in what started as a cool and breezy morning and ended in an ark-worthy storm. A fine drizzle doesn’t bother me. Heck, I can even handle a good steady rain. But ground-shaking thunder and lightning? Torrential downpour? That is the kind of weather that makes me pray out loud and want to cry. I ran very very fast that morning :).
Then came our trip to Florida, where the opportunity to sleep-in was too good to pass-up. And I paid for it big time in heat and humidity. I have a whole new respect for runners in places where it is always that hot. I started sweating just stepping outside, and came back from all four of my Florida runs completely spent. I ran a half marathon the day we got back and it felt so much easier than 5 miles in the southern sun.
Vegan thoughts: We found a great little food truck in Florida called Raw and Juicy serving fresh juices, smoothies, and vegan fare (much more on that later this week!). I ate there at least once a day during our stay, and it was the perfect kind of fresh food to fuel my runs. I will be implementing a lot of their ideas here at home, and can’t wait to share more with you!
Aug 7, 2012
Well, it has happened people. I had a tough week. No more sunshine and rainbows marathon training here…just grueling miles upon miles of excruciating running. I have learned some things after this week though, the most important being not to over-train. Up to this point, I have been cross training several times per week with kickboxing, weights, and cardio interval training. I think cross training is fabulous, and I really enjoy these activities, but I am going to have to choose between them each week rather than participate in all of them. As we up our miles, my body is protesting and I have to respect it if I want to survive until October. But just because I had a tough week, that doesn’t mean I am any less excited about what I am doing. I pushed through this training even when it wasn’t fun, and that makes me feel stronger and better prepared for the tougher weeks to come.
Total runs: 8
Total miles: 43.6
Good thoughts: Eight runs?! What on earth was I thinking?! And why in the world am I talking about it in my “good thoughts”? Because I am running with my kids, people! That’s right, I have inspired my kids to lace-up their shoes and get out there. This has actually been going on for a few weeks, but this is the first time that they have wanted to go out multiple times in one week. Yeah, it pushed my miles over the edge. And you bet there were a couple times where I wanted to cry when they asked to run. But I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that a.) my kids want to do something with me that they know I enjoy, and b.) that I am inspiring my kids to take care of and challenge their bodies. Combine that with all the Olympic events we have been watching, and I feel like my little athletes are ready to take on the world. Oh, and my eight-year-old had a personal best mile with a time of 8:02.
Not-so-good-thoughts: Where do I begin? How about the pain in my left foot radiating through my ankle, up my shin, and to my knee with every step? Or how about with the thunderstorm that greeted us on our 14-mile run this past weekend? Or maybe I should start with this lovely Ohio humidity that makes me feel like I am drinking the air every time I inhale? Obviously this wasn’t the smoothest week of running, but like I said before, I am figuring some things out and am ready to tackle this week with a new outlook. Plus, I have some orthopedic sandals on their way that I am going to wear around the house to hopefully alleviate some of this foot pain. Yeah, orthopedic shoes are so sexy, I know ;). If anyone has a recommendation for a relatively lightweight shoe with some good arch support that can withstand long runs, let me know.
Vegan thoughts: I have to be honest, I rarely think about the fact that I am a “vegan” anymore. This is just the way I eat, and it has to fall in line with the demands of my training. I get plenty of extra protein (thanks to Vega powder in my green smoothie every day) and take a couple supplements to fill-in where my diet can’t (like B-12). I have been ordering a plant-based sport drink powder to keep in my fuel belt for our long runs, but this week I ran out. Knowing that it wouldn’t arrive in time for this week’s 14-miler, I experimented in the kitchen a bit and wouldn’t you know? I made my own Gatorade! It has lemon and lime juice for flavor, a little agave nectar to subdue the tartness of the citrus fruits, and coconut water to replenish electrolytes and provide slow-burning sugar. It is so refreshing and it really tastes so good, minus all the dyes, artificial sweeteners, and who-knows-what-else you can find in other sports drinks. And because I am such a swell gal, I am sharing the recipe with you here!
LEMON-LIME SPORT DRINK
1 cup coconut water
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
Combine all ingredients. Stir or shake vigorously until well combined. Drink and enjoy.
Aug 1, 2012
You know those cooking shows where they dramatically reveal a secret, often crazy, ingredient and expect the competing chefs to utilize it in every dish of a meal? That’s what I feel like I did here. Because you would never expect BEANS to top the list of your cookie ingredients, and yet they do here, and it totally works.
I have tried all kinds of “light” cookie recipes, and not once have I had a batch turn out with the right texture or flavor. They are always a little too cakey and bland to be that indulgent little treat I want from a cookie. Dessert is a once-in-a-while thing, so it better be worth it, right?!
But now, after countless attempts, I really feel like I have stumbled upon something wonderful. The kids gobbled them up, and Jim was too busy grabbing another to comment. Not only are these free of eggs and dairy, but they are also oil-free and gluten-free (as long as you use gluten-free oats, of course). Seriously, though, no one would know unless you told them…and why would you do a crazy thing like that?
It says a lot when there is not a single picture of these cookies without a bite taken out of them!
WHITE BEAN SNICKERDOODLES
¾ cup oats
1 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup white beans, drained
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Pulse oats in a food processor until finely ground. Stir together oats, rice flour, baking powder, baking soda and ½ tsp. cinnamon. Set aside.
Puree beans. Add applesauce and ½ cup sugar and blitz in food processor until well-combined. Stir in vanilla extract, then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing well.
Mix together 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Form dough into tablespoon-sized balls and roll in sugar mixture. Smoosh slightly and place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes and let cool slightly before enjoying with a big glass of almondmilk.
Jul 30, 2012
Hooray for taper week! Our long run was only 9 miles this week, and it is amazing how much shorter that feels having gone so much further the past few weeks. At the same time, it is funny to call 9 miles a “break,” because not that long ago, 9 miles would have been all I had in me. Bottom line: training diligently really does work.
Total runs: 6
Total miles: 31.31
Good thoughts: I still feel strong at the end of a run, which is such a big confidence booster. Don’t get me wrong…I am pushing myself out there, especially on shorter days when I play with my stride and cadence a little bit. But even then I don’t feel completely spent when I get to the end of a run. I know I have more in me, and I know I am feeling pretty good that those extra miles in me are what will push me to the end of 26.2. Long story short, I am really thinking I can do this.
Not-so-good thoughts: Gnarly feet. Can I tell you how gross my toes are right now without compromising our friendship? Good, because my feet are gross. I have had running calluses in the past, and to be honest, I have never been much of a pedicure kind of girl. But the past several weeks of blisters and tape and callous-building have made my feet an embarrassment. No black or lost toenails yet, but then again, we aren’t even halfway through training. Hopefully that won’t happen until we are well past flip flop weather!
Vegan thoughts: Dates are one of my most favorite treats in the world. Yeah, they kind of look like cockroaches, but they are sweet and gooey goodness. Plus, I can grab one right before a run for a natural boost of energy that won’t weigh me down mid-run. Sometimes, though, when I plan ahead a little, I make a batch of my own homemade energy bites, and they take all the goodness of dates and combine them with healthy fats and protein to make a seriously amazing treat. My friend Karen originally posted the recipe a few months back on her blog, and you can see it here with some pictures. But really, these things are so good they are worth sharing again…
COCOA-COCO-ALMOND ENERGY BITES
9 pitted prunes, chopped
15 pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened coconut
7 raw almonds
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. stevia (or powdered sugar, if you prefer).
Combine the first five ingredients in a food processor and pulse until sticky and clumping together. Add additional coconut or almonds if the mixture is too wet, or add additional dates if the mixture is too dry.
Mix together 1 Tbsp. cocoa and stevia (or powdered sugar). Roll tablespoon-sized balls of the mixture in cocoa mix.
Refrigerate until firm, or keep in freezer if you plan to carry it with you on a long run.
Jul 25, 2012
It has been a little crazy around here lately, thus combining two weeks into one for this post. Long-term power outages, food poisoning, knitting orders, and the general craziness that defines the day of a mom has kept me from sitting down at the computer for any significant period of time. But it has not kept me from running! My foot is feeling great, my legs feel strong, and I am finding it pretty easy to keep a good pace and control my breathing. I ran 14 miles on Saturday and if I am going to be honest, I probably had a few more good miles left in me. That means my training is doing what it is supposed to, and it is getting me so much more excited for October.
Total runs: 11
Total miles: 68.09
Good thoughts: Amy and I have been keeping at a 10-minute pace on our long weekend runs, going a bit faster during the week on our shorter runs. That will give us a completely respectable time on race day and should keep us injury-free during our training. However, this past weekend we were feeling a little crazy and kept a 9:37 average pace, and I have to say that I felt just as good after that run as I ever have. We probably won’t train that way every week, but it is great to know that we are capable of smashing our already lofty goals (finishing a marathon is lofty if you ask me!).
Not-so-good-thoughts: Animals. Everywhere. I usually leave the house well before sunrise, and sometimes I even return in complete darkness. Turns out that is when all of the wildlife in my little town likes to play, too! Raccoons, foxes, opossums, skunks…all of them have been hanging out on the running paths while I am out and they don’t seem to mind that I am there. They just sit there, and if I don’t see them in the dark, they still SIT THERE. Can I tell you how terrifying it is to notice an opossum too late and have to JUMP OVER ITS GIANT RATTY BODY?!? Or have a mother raccoon hiss at you as you swerve into the road screaming? I am not what I would call an animal lover—just because I don’t eat them doesn’t mean I want to hang out with them. I am looking forward to when it is cool enough for me to run in daylight, for sure.
Vegan thoughts: My diet is still serving me very well, and this was proven true to me again when I was struck with a nasty case of food poisoning a while back. We had eaten out after church, and within a few hours I was doubled-over in pain and didn’t leave bed for nearly 48 hours. Nothing to drink or eat…I just couldn’t take it. But when it was over, I was fine. There was no “getting back on my feet” period like I have had in the past…I was simply back to my old energetic self. The idea with the way I am eating now is that my body will be able to recover faster from physical activity so that I can go out and do the same things again sooner and thus be able to train better. But that quicker recovery transfers over into everything, including recovering from sickness. This is the first time I have been sick since switching to plant-based eating, and I am amazed at the difference in my recovery time.