Web Roundup 2

It gets hard to blog about fitness when you’re buried under snow drifts and feel like the world is ending. Did you guys know that Boston is buried under unprecedented amounts of snow right now, with more in the forecast? Yeah, that’s a thing. My workouts lately have consisted of shoveling, shoveling, and more shoveling. Lifting and tossing shovels of snow onto snow piles that are taller than you is a killer abs and oblique workout, in case you were wondering. I’ve been taking lots of personal days to take advantage of the snow, and have to say that the skiing this year is fantastic, so as long as I focus on that I don’t get too cranky. I’m heading out to Stratton this weekend for a few more days, and I’ll be packing lots of technical base layers, because the projected high for Sunday is negative 24 degrees with wind chill. That’s… I don’t even know. I don’t think those are real numbers. I can’t process it.

Anyway, sorry again for the lack of blogging. On top of the weather nightmare, which has resulted in lots of fitness class cancellations, I had to have another series of biopsies this week after seeing my dermatologist. She took samples from two spots on my neck – one possible basal cell, another showing possible signs of melanoma – and the positioning of the spots meant that wearing any bra, let alone a sports bra, was pretty much impossible. Without a reliable way to rein in the girls, there wouldn’t be any cardio for me for a few days while the biopsies heal. Luckily, I got the results back (in record time – props to the dermatology lab at Brigham & Womens!) and both spots are benign, so I have that good news to carry me into the weekend.

Since I don’t have much original content to share, I want to instead point you to some of the awesome things floating around out there on the interwebs these past few weeks. Without further ado, here’s my latest installment of the best of the web!

best of web banner

What’s the true cost of industrialized meat production? The New York Times published an investigation into research practices overseen by the Department of Agriculture. Warning: this article is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it does expose some truly repulsive practices in pursuit of maximizing profits. Just another argument in favor of seeking out humane sources for meat- investigate your local farms!

line

I really, really can’t stand the term “diet.” I haven’t written much about it on this blog, but anytime I’ve tried to hold myself to a restrictive diet – the Jenny Craig program, Atkins, Paleo, whatever – it hasn’t ended well. Imposing too many rules ends up really messing with my head and I find that I set myself up for failure, and I’ve had much more success just seeking for balance and overall healthier choices in my eating and in my activities. Dr. Linda Shanti over at Eating Disorders Blogs tackled this subject last year; a friend of mine shared the link on Facebook and I wanted to pass it along. Dr. Shanti writes about how diets contribute to disordered eating, and I personally found her writing to be a helpful perspective that resonated strongly with my own experiences.

line

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I am still very much an aspiring runner. I’ve done a few races, and I’ve committed to running a half marathon in October 2015, but I’m still getting the hang of the right way to train. Amanda Brooks recently shared some tips for post-run stretching over at her blog, Run to the Finish, and I bookmarked it as a handy resource. I all to often feel tempted to skip the post-run aftercare, but as I start training for longer distances I know that it’s going to be more important than ever to take care of my body and take the necessary steps to keep everything in working order. This post focuses on IT bands and hips, which is where I’ve had tightness and soreness in the past after races, so it’s a good thing for me to understand!

line

Breakfast is the most challenging meal of the day for me. I’m always in a rush to get out the door. Smoothies are a go-to in warmer months, but with the winter tundra greeting me every morning, the last thing I want is to be holding a frozen beverage as I’m heading to work. The MyFitnessPal blog recently shared a post with fifteen healthy breakfast options for on-the-go people, and it instantly became a Pinterest staple. There’s a great variety represented in this post – sweet and savory, eggs, oatmeals, yogurt options, you name it. I know that when I fall into a rut of having the same thing every day, I’m more likely to feel tempted to splurge on a bagel or muffin from the coffee shop when I start to feel bored. Make sure to switch up your meals often so that you keep a rotation of fresh, healthy foods in your diet!

line

Did I mention that I live in Boston? Specifically in the band along the coast that keeps getting hit hardest in all of these storms? I’ve been working from home a lot, and my local fitness studios have been forced to cancel classes, so that has meant a lot of at-home workouts. Shoveling has provided the bulk of my cardio, but a girl needs some variety. I have a lot of DVDs to choose from but sometimes I like to add something new into the mix! This FitSugar video is a forty-minute follow along bodyweight workout that doesn’t require any equipment and doesn’t take up a ton of space. It’s definitely getting added to my rotation of hotel workouts for when I’m traveling, too!

line

How do you stay active when you’re snowed in? Any tips for surviving the winter storm blues? 

Advertisements

My first Boston Organics delivery!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently signed up for Boston Organics home produce delivery. I got my first box on Saturday – delayed a day thanks to the totally ridiculous snow getting dumped on us here in Boston – and I wanted to share some of the awesome recipes I’ve been experimenting with.

I ordered the Dogma Box, which only sends locally sourced produce. Since it’s February and I live in New England, that meant a lot of root vegetables, which is fine by me! The box included beets, carrots, and potatoes – all awesome for winter roasting.

However, the box also included some ingredients that I haven’t worked with before – which was exciting for me, because I love a challenge in the kitchen. For instance, I had no idea what this particular vegetable was:

You're not a potato... I don't think you're a turnip... Google, help!

You’re not a potato… I don’t think you’re a turnip… Google, help!

Fortunately, the box comes with a list of ingredients, so with the list in hand and a few quick Google image searches, I was able to determine that it was a daikon radish. The wheels started turning… daikon radish and carrots – perfect for pickling! I am a huge fan of banh mi sandwiches but don’t live or work near any restaurants that make a good version. So – why not give it a try at home?

I've got big plans for you guys!

I’ve got big plans for you guys!

Banh mi is traditionally served on french bread, but I found a recipe for banh mi tacos that caught my eye. Corn tortillas have a longer shelf life than the rolls from my local bakery, so this was a better option to prep ahead for my lunches all week. I used the same blogger’s recipe for the pickled vegetables, and they came out great. I used rice wine vinegar for my pickles, and definitely recommend it over plain old white vinegar. If you haven’t used this ingredient before, give it a try!

For the pork, I stuck pretty close to the recipe. I omitted the lemongrass (because I forgot to grab some when I was at Whole Foods – not for any preferential reason!), and when I chopped the jalapeno, I removed half of the seeds to cut back on the spice. The finished product was still pretty spicy, so if you like things more mild, I’d be even more conservative with this particular ingredient. I put it all in my slow cooker on low Sunday morning… and promptly forgot about it because there were slightly more exciting things happening that day. I remembered it after the game, after about 12 hours on low, and it wasn’t any worse for wear. The pork was still perfectly tender, and the sauce was dark and full-flavored. Yum!

Banh mi is great because it’s packed with flavor and offers a great contrast of textures – the crispness of the pickled vegetables counters the tender, flavorful pork. There’s something so satisfying about sitting down to enjoy a meal when you’ve put the work into making it, and knowing that you chose good ingredients to fuel your body.

I love that this produce delivery is pushing my boundaries in the kitchen. I’m on my second work-from-home day this week, courtesy of the snow burying my car, and in addition to answering emails, I’ll also be devoting some time to making sunchoke and celeriac soup. These two ingredients also came in my delivery, and I’ve never used either of them before, so I’m excited to see how it goes! I’ll report back later this week on the results.

Do you like to experiment with new ingredients? Any recommendations for other ways to use these vegetables? Let me know in the comments!

If you’re interested in giving Boston Organics a try, use my referral code for 10% off your first delivery! Enter “8657bod11b” when signing up for your first delivery. Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link – I’ll also receive 10% off for any new customers that sign up. However, Boston Organics is not paying me to write about their service, and I pay for my own delivery boxes.