The answer to is a long winded one, but one of my New Year's Resolutions is to make this blog more succinct and more pertinent to what is really important to me. It has lately become all about baking, and it is even beginning to bore me.
I actually haven't been anywhere physically but have been all over the place mentally. Though we travel more than any other young family that I know, we do not travel over Christmas week because DrRuckus always tries to be the good Jewish doctor and let everyone else get some time off to be with their families. Great for them, just sucks for us. I am always miserable during Christmas week because everyone is busy with their families and my husband is busy working and I feel housebound and lonely, like the only Jew in Texas. This year was worse than ever because we were all sick at various times, and were even more confined to the house. To exacerbate the torture, I was nursing a hamstring injury and so was not able to get the release and endorphin rush that I am so addicted to. I don't really know what we did except count the hours until Daddy got home, but we made it, one hour at a time!
On the positive side, we caught up on some of our recorded TV shows, watched and returned some of our Netflix movies and I read some great books. One of these, "A Homemade Life" by superstar food blogger, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette fame was really well written and contains some fantastic recipes (yes, I tried a bunch of them and just took some of her bread out of the oven). If you want to read a baking blog, go to her site because she is the real deal. And if you live in, or travel to Seattle, go to her new restaurant and report back to me!
One of the other books, "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall, has truly inspired me and helped me ring in 2010 with a whole new brighter outlook. I have been meaning to do a post about all of the books I have read on my Kindle and hopefully will get to that soon. But this one just came at the right time and is making my life so much better!
This book is part adventure story, part anthropology lesson, part history text, part manual and ALL inspiration! McDougall discusses an epic ultramarathon in the savage Copper Canyon in Mexico with the hidden tribe of Tarahumara Indians. He teaches us why we as an animal have evolved to run long distances and makes doing so seem like it can be pure joy. As someone who has slogged through countless long runs, the idea of doing so with much less work and much more joy is very appealing.
He also posits that the reason why there are so many injuries from running is that our modern, high tech shoes are forcing our feet and legs to move in a way that is unnatural to them and not allowing our bodies to do the work for which they were designed. The trend towards barefoot or minimal running is taking off and there is a great deal of evidence as to why this is ultimately better for us and will keep us running injury free. Since I was nursing an injury at the time that I read it, I was willing to jump on board. I cannot fathom going all the way to barefoot because I like having pretty feet way too much. However, I did buy a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes and have been learning how to run in them with a natural, short, easy stride. Crazy thing is, all of my leg pain is gone and my legs feel better each day that I walk around barefoot and workout in these. They look like gorilla feet, but they are fantastic!
One of the other secrets to the Tarahumara runners that McDougall discusses in his book is Chia. This ancient grain, consumed by the Tarahumara and other natives of the Southwest including the Aztecs, has incredible properties for overall health as well as for endurance. It contains tons of antioxidants, fiber, Omega-3 and Omega-6, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium AND is a complete protein. As if all of that is not enough, eating it also slows the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, prolonging their fueling effects. It also has hydrophilic properties that help the body to retain moisture and thus prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
I've been eating it for a few days now and the difference is incredible! Besides going from injury to recovery, which can be attributed to many factors, the biggest difference that I have found is in my energy level. I mix the chia with my oatmeal in the morning and have plenty of energy to get my kids going, get to the gym, do an intense workout, do something afterwards and not eat until about 1 p.m. I usually need some type of snack in the morning and then have to feed myself before I feed my kids in order to bite their heads off! Over the past few days, we have had some late dinners and I have not had the need to have a pre dinner snack (which I would normally have to do because I am used to eating dinner at toddler time) because I had a chia drink in the afternoon. Amazing stuff!
So much for succinct!