Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Today was an easy day of running, unlike many Tuesdays (Helloo, Speedwork Tuesdays), given that we had the race on Sunday. Although it was only a 5k, I subscribe to the belief that you must listen to your body regardless of the distance and that intuitive fitness keeps you active, healthy, and injury free (oh, in addition to strength training and foam rolling). 4 miles on the mill with another 10 minutes on some cardio equipment. Add in a few weights and I called it a day. Now that we got through that, let’s get to the original intent of this post.

In the month since I’ve watched Food, Inc., I’ve done a lot of research on the food industry and its disgusting practices that have a stronghold on America’s eating habits. Despite what you think, you do have a choice in the matter. In an effort to help support the farming community and to make small waves in changing food industry practices, I’ve officially convinced Chris, after lots of begging, to be a part of the Red Fire Farm CSA. Being a part of a CSA Farm Share (Community Supported Agriculture) means that Chris and I have bought a share of the Red Fire Farm in order to help sustain its business in return for a portion of its weekly haul of organic vegetables. Although there is the ability to buy into 24 weeks of veggies, we decided that we would first start with the 20 week Summer program. Families can also buy into a fruit share, egg share, and/or flower share, all for an additional charge. Red Fire Farms also allows CSA members to head to their farm located in Granby, MA to pick shares of excess crops, like beans and strawberries, for free!

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 9.04.27 PM Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 9.04.43 PMThe amount you pay is based on a sliding scale and the honor system, as Red Fire Farms hopes that those who are financially more stable can contribute a little more, so that those who are not as financially sound can pay a little bit less. Although the total cost of the share feels daunting at first, when you break it down into a weekly budget, its most likely right around what you are already spending on veggies. This particular CSA also allows you to pay for your share in smaller increments. I also knows friends (who first shared this information with me) that split the cost of the share with another couple, making it that much more affordable! Furthermore, Red Fire Farms thankfully has pickup locations in two separate parts of Somerville (where we currently live), with one of those being less than 5 minutes from us. They also have pickup locations in Cambridge, Newton, Brookline, Jamaica Plain, etc.!

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 8.38.26 PM

Each Thursday for 20 weeks starting in June, I will be able to walk to our Somerville location, reusable bags in hand, and pick out as many veggies that are available to me that week…and yes, that is the danger of buying into a farm share. If you have a poor growing season, then your shares will obviously be smaller and you’ll have to supplement your supply by going to the grocery store. However, the same goes for when the season is flush; the more they grow, the more I can bring home!

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 8.38.20 PM

Finally, Red Fire Farms states that:
Our goal with the CSA is to provide a good source of seasonal local produce for the community that is a good value for organic food, and raised sustainably for the environment and the farm crew. Staying with the local outdoor seasons of the produce makes the CSA a better value. While saying that, our farm is one of the leaders in season extension, and you will get crops earlier and later than at other places because of the extra work we put in in the fields!”

I look forward in taking part of this year’s share and am excited to take the time to create dishes made from locally sourced, organic, seasonal vegetables. Once the season arrives, I will certainly share my experience with you readers!

Has anyone else participated in a farm share or shop regularly from farm stands throughout the summer? Gripes or likes?

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7 Deadly Sins- Gluttony

Traveling to Vermont this weekend. Hectic week at work. Crazy weather. New nephews. What do all these statements equal?  No running.  No running for four days straight.  To be honest, I hadn’t done anything remotely active from Wednesday of last week until today.  Woof. In order to pay for these sins, I did what every good little girl should do: I repented by going out on a 7 mile run today.

#proof

Getting back to the weekend, Chris and I stayed with friends in one of the most amazing places I had ever seen. It was an entire home left the way it was intended to be, an artifact of 1972. Each nook and cranny was filled with antiques and unique items. Chris couldn’t help but comment that you could visit this place every weekend for a year and still discover something new each time you visited. Some of our favorite finds included a gentleman’s cookbook from 1962, offering about 16 different recipes to cook eggs; even ones that included “meat jelly”. Please someone explain to me what meat jelly is? Maybe I don’t want to know….

Throughout the weekend, I wasn’t very good at being healthy but I WAS very good at sleeping, being a bum, and being way too indulgent. Seriously…I ate an entire bag of cheddar Ruffles potato chips in the land of healthy, organic, green food.

Regardless, Chris’s and my favorite destination to eat at was the Green Goddess Cafe in Stowe, Vermont. The food was so fresh, the gluten-free bread tasted gluten- filled, and we were stuffed like sausages after we each consumed a single sandwich and a cup of coffee.

Coming back to Boston meant treating our bodies with a little more respect. In doing so, I ate one of the most fulfilling meals that I’ve had in months, all thanks to a little article I read in Real Simple magazine. The recipe consisted of four items: 1 egg, 1/4 cup cooked quinoa, 1/4 cup chopped avocado, and 2 slices of smoked salmon. With the exception of the salmon, the remaining items were heated up on the stove top, along with cayenne pepper and a dash of salt. The fat and protein kept me filled until lunch!! That my friends, is entirely unheard of. Well, I mean, I had a banana as my morning snack too, but usually breakfast and snack time never keep me satisfied until lunch!
The rest of the day consisted of a veggie-laden salad with panko-crusted chicken, a granny smith apple, and half of an avocado.  I may or may not had two squares of chocolate as well, but knowing me, I did a pretty darn good job of eating today.

Food and Fitness News:
Want to know what 200 calories looks like among different items of food? The photo evidence is pretty scary. Check out WiseGEEK’s article here.

Let’s chat, shall we?


How do you make yourself feel better after a Fitness Fail?
Did you do anything fun this weekend?  What do you think I should have for dinner?

Food Cravings: A mirror into your soul (As brought to you by Natalie Dee)

That title might be a little more deep than I’m willing to go, but what I wanted to discuss is how my food cravings, in particular, have changed since I started running and what I think that means.

At a very tender age, I was always the chocolate girl. If I were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I would be that kid that drowned in the river of chocolate. Gomomgo can attest to that (I may or may not have also been the child who hid behind the couch to eat a stick of butter, but I digress).

Don’t get me wrong, if given the choice between chocolate and a carrot, the fudge is always going to win (and don’t even BEGIN to pretend that you would choose a vegetable). 
However, over the last several years, I’ve noticed that I’ve craved richer, denser, saltier, cheesier, warmer foods.  I was really flabergasted by this change because I’ve always been a sweets kind of gal. 
A few years ago, I looked up what these changes in food cravings meant and I’ve stumbled upon some interesting resources. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no nutritionist nor am I certified in any way to dole out advice, but I do have my degree in GOOGLOLOGY, which makes me an expert investigator of all things found on the internet. What I’ve discovered about food cravings is really interesting.  Come, let’s take a look:
1. Some sources suggest food cravings are related to nutritional deficiencies, others suggest psychosomatic complaints, while the third groups thinks its a combination of both. 
2. If you crave chocolate and sweets, that’s more an indication of your emotional state. Some studies suggest that serotonin is released when you eat something like chocolate. It helps to boost your mood.
3. Craving salty foods may suggest a mineral deficiency, such as lower levels of calcium. You might also be tired, lack energy, fatigue easily, or require more salt because of your active lifestyle. Salt is the lifegiver. 
4. If you crave spicy foods, its suggested (and in my eyes is a bit of a stretch) that you crave the increase in heart rate, spike in adrenalin, and rapid breathing. I have also read that you might crave spicy foods due to poor thyroid functioning. 
5. Water- you need more Omega 3’s, Ice- low in iron!
6. Are you craving read meat? You might be missing out on iron, B vitamins, and carnitine.
7. Coffee/Caffeine- Dude, you need a spike in your adrenal gland function. You might be tired, lacking iron, or you might be low in vitamin C. 
Again, I’m no expert, but this is definitely some food for thought. Get it? HA!
Want to know what food cravings say about you?  Take this quiz from Women’s Health Mag.
                                                                                                                                                                   
So tell me, what is it you crave the most? Any food that makes you weak in the knees?

HIIT me

As I am going out to dinner with friends tomorrow evening, I switched my “Speedwork Tuesday” workout to Monday.  I know. Things got a little…crazy.

I officially went back to school this morning and I realize that getting 10 hours a sleep is a must. That just means I have to start going to bed at 7:30 p.m. every evening. I agree with you; very feasible.
When I drove up to my building in a deep, deep fog (actual foggy weather, not what my brain was doing…wait), I tried to remember what it was that I actually did for work. I was quickly reminded the minute I walked into my office. Things started rocking and rolling right away and before I knew it, it was 2:15 and time for the kiddos to head home. One faculty meeting later and a very hungry hippo in my office (that would be me), I rolled out of the parking lot around 3:45 to head home, not before I decided on a spiffy little HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout based on one created by Nutrition Nut on the Run (I just googled HIIT workouts online). 
I had every intention of running this:
But instead, my workout looked more like this:
    1 mile at 6.8 mph
    1 mile at 7.5 mph
    1 min @ 8.4/ 1 min. @ 7.0- repeat 2x
    1 min @ 8.6/ 1 min. @ 7.0- repeat 2x
    45 second break to catch my breath
    1 min @ 8.8 / 1 min @ 7.0- repeat 2x
    1 min @ 9.0/ 1 min. @ 7.0- repeat 2x
    Move to another treadmill for more running mojo and to catch my breath
    1 mile at 6.8
PHEW!  5 miles total, not sure about the time because there was switching and brain tricking happening. Either way, I was glad to get it in, when I wasn’t so sure what kind of work out I had in me.
Total miles this week: 12 (Sunday=7, Monday=5)
(source)

When I got home, this beautiful man was making me dinner. Thanks, Chris!! Next time, don’t look so enthusiastic!

The menu for this evening consisted of Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Burgers, avocado, turkey bacon, tomatoes, and a smidgeon of mexican cheese all on two pieces of romaine lettuce. Bon Appetite! 

(What a guy!)

You might be a little curious about how I’ve been doing with the whole Weight Watchers thing after looking at that dinner. As of this morning, I put on weight from last week. Update completed.
Seriously though, I decided that this week I’m really going to try to log in my food with much more consistency, instead of just guessing that 7 pieces of fudge equals about 2 points, give or take.
                                                                                                                                                                   
How did your Mondays go today?  Did you get a workout in? What was the best thing you ate today? Anyone stranded thanks to all the canceled flights?

Its official: Red Wine is essential to your health!

Well, let me explain.  I just read through Dr. Oz’s article in Time Magazine (BF has a subscription) entitled “What to Eat Now: Uncovering the Myths About Food“.

I would just like to note one of the most important lines from this article which states, “Still, you should drink some red wine every day: it has relatively few calories and induces milder hangovers than other sources of alcohol, and it is thought to raise good cholesterol and reduce the bad kind, as well as protect arteries against cholesterol-related damage.  Red wine is also usually consumed in the company of others, so it encourages human connection, a very powerful factor in maintaining health.” However, Dr. Oz doesn’t suggest turning into a boozebag.  Its all about moderation.

Sold.
(photo courtesy of my Italy trip and MC photography)

But seriously, the article does shed some light into food myths that I have read about over the years.  Whole milk is good, but in moderation.  Why?  Because when you take out the fat in milk, you are left with too many natural sugars that act like insulin.  Calcium and fats from dairy are used to bind with fat being processed in your stomach, thus lowering the absorption.  Moreover, there were no differences among children’s weights when they consumed skim, 1%, or whole milk.

The same can be said about low-fat foods or no fat foods that we’ve seen on the market over the last several years.  I, at one time, subscribed to these beliefs because I thought that they would help me lose weight.  In fact, I think I saw myself gain weight at this time!  Why?  Again, when you take the fat out of food (that’s naturally processed) you then increase other things like sugars and carbs (which ultimately break down into sugar).  These foods also leave you feeling less full and you wind up eating more calories than you had hoped.

Basically, this is information many of us have known for years and what I’m excited to report I have already established as my Munching Mantra, which is that you can eat what you want, but in moderation.  Stick to the vegetables, fruits, meats, carbs, and fats, but do it all in moderation.  You CAN have too many fruits and diabetics know this well.  You CAN have too much meat, as is seen in higher cholesterol counts.  You CAN have too many vegetab… well, if you have a lot of broccoli you have a lot of gas.  I don’t think having a TON of vegetables will ever be bad for your cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, etc.  But still, remember that your Munching Mantra should include Moderation (and alliteration for all of you nerds out there).

(Spinach is often seen in my meals)

Atkins got squashed because your glycogen stores become too low.  The same was said for the Paleo Diet as Dr. Oz suggested that many grains help to fight cancers, and most paleolithic people lived only until the age of 40. You might have a sick body, but you’ll be dead.

Ok, that might have been a tad exaggerated.

Dr. Oz was also sure to mention that people are different.  A small percentage of people cannot tolerate sodium in their diets, thus they must be mindful of what they eat.  The same goes for those individuals with Celiac disease or other intestinal diseases that affect the absorption of grains and carbs.  But instead of taking out that group of food altogether (you need Salt for your heart to beat) try products like quinoa and chia for those with Celiac or yogurt, kefir, cheese, and other fermented dairy products for those with a lactose intolerance.

(a bowl full of cottage cheese, strawberries, and chia)

Moreover, Dr. Oz discusses the balance between diet and exercise.  The old philosophy is true, in that calories in must equal calories out to maintain your weight (calories in less than calories out means weight loss, and the vice versa leads to weight gain).   However, new research suggests that its not just how many calories are found in the foods you eat, but the types of food you eat.

Foods that added pounds:  No surprises here…. French Fries, Potato chips, sugary drinks, meats, sweets, and refined grains.  The foods most associated with losing weight: yogurt, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  And although there might not be the superfoods still yet to be discovered, we know that berries and broccoli are our best friends.

Dr. Oz also discussed, in depth, about supplements and vitamins but all I could really pull from that was that each person has a specific vitamin regiment that you should use based on diet, sun exposure, exercise habits, and alcohol intake.  Then you go somewhere fancy and they give you their fancy idea of what you should be taking and when.  However, when Dr. Oz began to follow his new routine of vitamins and nutraceuticals, he noticed a significant weight gain thanks in part due to people’s psychology; basically, what you can’t have you want, and you make poorer choices when you think you are invincible.

Sure you could go organic, but you could also go to ye old supermarket and stick with fresh meats, veggies, fruits, whole wheat and multigrain breads, nuts, olive oils, and dairy products.  Just the basics, with some dark chocolate and red wine to boot.  Oh, and moderation is your Munching Mantra, remember that.

All in all, eat well, eat mindfully, don’t deny yourself, but remember to stick with the basics!

Oh yea, and go to Living Social where you can spend $10 to get $20 worth of food at Whole Foods!

Dinner din din Dinner

I love being a busy bee. It sometimes drives me crazy, interferes with all things running, and makes it difficult for me to take care of myself and get some alone time.  However, I couldn’t imagine a life that doesn’t consist of running myself ragged in the beautiful New England area.

After an…interesting…first day of school, I went out to meet some of my closest friends for dinner at the Russell House.  I’m not really sure why the first several posts of my return voyage all have to do with food, and less so about running, but at the moment…all is quiet on the western front in that world.  Sure I’m training for two halves, but I figured nothing was that super interesting to blog about. Like, blah blah blah I worked and then ran a few miles.  When something interesting happens in the world of red sox and running, I’ll be sure to report the breaking news.

For the time being, I’m going to write about my experience at the Russell House in Harvard Square.  

Russell House.  You were awesome.  First off, all of your food is like, super organic like, grass fed, beef heart loving, oyster shooter dancing, delicious.  Your bar was beautiful.

 I started my night off with a little bit of a cocktail called the British Bee which consisted of Oxley Gin, Domaine de Canton (Don’t ask me what that is but I’m already on the fancy pants list because I ordered it), Lemon, Honey Simple, and sparkling wine.

Then, I gots myself a nice oyster shooter.  Just because they make me feel as fancy as Domaine de Canton.  

Mmm drink that up, right before I dove into only half of my flatbread pizza.  I might need to mention that I’ve consumed flatbread pizza three out of the last four days.  Once at Stats, once with bf making grilled pizza (a post soon to be born) and then here.  I can’t describe this pizza either because the website doesn’t have it listed, just know that it consisted of cheese, clams, flat bread, garlic, and olive oil.

Bring on dessert. which is also not listed on the menu.  It was chocolate and cakey and strawberry-y.  We “split” it between five of us which really just consisted of everyone else taking A bit and me eating the rest.
(eat me)
After a few good laughs, some tall tales, and three hours of chatting, we scooted our way out the door to begin a new day of running, red sox, and eating.  Oh and probably about a million bajillion frustrating stupid things too. Oh and the best boyfriend ever, who brings you flowers.

How to make the most ridiculously unhealthy dessert, ever.

Dear friends,
   A few of you are able to see that I’ve been up, down, and all around…as I post on all that is holy on facebook.  However, if you only follow me through the blog, you might have gone and assumed I died, which is very accurate.  Alas, tomorrow begins the first day of school and my summer of adventures comes to end.

Luckily, I was able to get in a Red Sox game before the end, thanks to Baby Snake and her boyfriend (aka the best seats ever in the State Street box).

Now onto the most ridiculously unhealthy dessert ever…and I don’t care.  Sometimes life deserves a little ridiculously unhealthy food once in a while.  Don’t get your panties all in a bunch there, Jillian Michaels.

Ok, so while I was babysitting, Boo Bear and I decided to make…drum roll please.. the Keebler Ready Crust Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Recipe.  Ridiculous.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 Keebler® Ready Crust® Chocolate Pie Crust
  • 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)

 

Directions

 

1. In large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. 

 

 

2. Beat in peppermint extract and food coloring, if desired. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined after each addition. Fold in 3/4 cup chocolate morsels.

 

 

3. Place crust on baking sheet. Pour in cream cheese mixture. Bake at 325°F about 35 minutes or until almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour.

 

 

4. Meanwhile, in small saucepan combine 1/2 cup chocolate morsels and whipping cream. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

 

 

4. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired. Store in refrigerator.

 

(source)

 

Finally, bring to your friend’s house for a bbq, and EAT IT while wearing matching twinsie shirts with your boyfriend.  

Happy Labor Day, y’all! 


Breakfast waffles!

I told you that I’m a Red Sox Runner…. A pic of me and the bf at the game last night.


Ok, let’s move onto the breakfast waffles; a low calorie, totally filling breakfast!  I wouldn’t recommend this before a long run, but I certainly eat this most mornings (which helped to contribute to my recent 5 pound weight loss).  The recipe is courtesy of self.com

Ok so first you take 1 multigrain breakfast waffle.  Obviously you toast it. (115 calories)

Then combine a half cup of lowfat cottage cheese (90 calories) with your choice of 2 tsp of nuts.
I went with pecans (roughtly 45-50 calories). 
Cut up your choice of 1 whole fruit. Apple, pears, banana; whatever you want!  I decided on two apricots.  Did you know that 1 apricot is only 17 calories!!! Two is only 34!! 
Then top with your favorite spread: butter, honey, or sugar free syrup!  I went with the sugarfree syrup because I love it with all of my heart no matter how unorganic it is.  
Then combine!  My photo here does not make it look very appealing so I’ll show you what it would look like using pears and almonds and photographed by Self.com.
P.s. I love their Drop10! Challenge recipes.  Muy delicioso! 
So total calorie count isssss…..  approximately 285!!! plus the calories of your topping…so for me it was probably around 320-340 calories with the syrup!! Hip hip hooray!!!  Believe me when I say its a lot of food! I have to put it in a bowl to eat it because its so much!
Happy Friday!  I’m off to New York State again.  Family love times, fair love times, college friends love times.  Back Sunday!
Not to mention…I will be attending a tribute concert that my sister is singing in, for Geoff Armlin, who I mention in my blog page: Team in Training, The story of Geoff.