Monday, August 13, 2012

Information Overload

It's interesting when things I read for personal interest intersect with my job. I read a blog post this morning about information overload, a concept discussed often in library circles, applied to researching information about health and fitness. It resonated with me because it related to work, but also because I've struggled with sorting through information during my own quest for finding the ideal plan for myself. I will often pull up two articles about fitness plans or healthy eating that have completely opposite advice. It's hard to know what's right, and there are times when I've felt totally overwhelmed by information to the point where it's almost paralyzing. I still struggle with wondering if I'm doing the right things to get myself in shape.

My schedule is going back to "normal" this week as our Fall semester classes start on Thursday. This is good because it lets me plan out my ideal workout week. Right now, I'm planning on:

Sun - strength at gym
Mon - cardio
Tues - home workout with a strength/toning focus
Weds - cardio
Thurs - strength at gym
Fri - hike/cardio
Sat - rest day with yoga or long walks

The point of the blog I read this morning was that you should pick a plan and a goal and stick with it for at least 12 weeks and then make note of what worked and what didn't. The other point was that everyone is different and will have different things that work. This is something I fully believe in. I encourage everyone in my life to make small changes and do what they can within the limitations of their lives. However, I do think that food is an addiction and it's very difficult to sustain a healthy life without making ideological changes. I read a quote over the weekend that was something to the effect of everything we eat or drink either improves our health or makes us sicker. I think that's true, but that it's still okay to make a choice once a week or so that we know isn't the best. I think about the pleasure you experience from eating a cookie or a piece of pizza and recognize that it causes a high similar to any drug that stimulates the pleasure areas of the brain. It's hard to stop yourself from seeking that pleasure even when you know that it's going to potentially harm you later. This is why so many people get addicted to drugs, and why it's so hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I read another blog this morning titled "How Much Cheese Should You Eat?". It basically talked about how in our American culture we expect to be able to eat what we want, when we want, in whatever quantity we want and that foods should be engineered in a way that makes this possible. The post makes the absurdity of this ideal clear, but it's so ingrained in our society that it will be tough for most people to break without more societal support.

Now that my deep thoughts for the day are done, I can put up the food pics that I know everyone appreciates! Friday night we had one of those nights where the thought of cooking was completely miserable. We went out to Jia's, our new favorite Asian restaurant. We both got miso soup. I got a veggie roll (and was able to get extra veg like yellow pickles in it!), inari (tofu wrapped around rice), and szechuan asparagus. Carly got wasabi shumai and also ended up getting inari. Their sushi chef is amazing and they have a fantastic selection of vegetable sides to order. We will be going back to Jia's at least once a month!
Veggie roll and inari

Saturday we did our morning grocery trip and then Carly dropped me off at the gym for an hour of strength. She picked me up and we did lunch at Qdoba (I got my usual veggie burrito) before a long trip to Target. I got a new yoga DVD since Netflix dropped all its workouts from instant. I haven't tried it yet but will hopefully get to it next weekend. We spent the night in and made pasta for dinner. Carly had stopped at the farmer's market when I was at the gym and got a pint of cherry tomatoes. We sauteed them with onions, garlic, and peas to make a sauce. I sauteed some green pepper on the side to add to my sauce. I had mine with a piece of Gardein Chick'n Scallopini and Carly had shrimp with hers. It was good, as our pasta usually is.

Sunday morning we got up at our normal work time to get ready to meet one of my co-workers at the mountain for a hike. We brought the dog and she loved it! Carly and the rest of our group were taking a leisurely hike so I went ahead at my normal pace to the top. I made it up faster than ever before and felt fantastic. I think it was a combination of the cool morning and all the work I've been doing. I turned around and went back to find them on the trail and went back up with the dog. She kicked butt on the stairs and had me running up them two at a time to keep up. We hung out at the top for awhile which was nice because I usually only spend a minute or two.
Hiking beagle

We had wraps for lunch, mine was hummus & veg and Carly's was curried quinoa & turkey. We took a nap after lunch. I slept poorly and we were all wiped out from the morning. I have had a bag of Gardein buffalo wings in the freezer for months so we decided to have wings and pea-tato salad for dinner. The pea-tato salad came out AMAZING so I'm going to share my recipe.
Pea-tato salad with Gardein wings

Pea-tato Salad
1 bag Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes (or similar small potatoes), cut into thin rounds
Several handfuls of snow peas, snap peas, fresh green beans or a combination, cut into small pieces on a bias
1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 Tbsp garlic olive oil (or regular)
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1/4 C white balsamic vinegar
Spices (we used s&p, garlic powder, aleppo chili flakes and sundried tomato flakes)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potato slices and cook until just barely fork tender.

Add chopped peas/beans to water with potatoes. Cook 3-4 more minutes until peas/beans are tender. Drain.

While that's cooking, combine oil, vinegars and spices in a bowl.

When the veggies are done, pour half in a large bowl. Add half of the dressing and the scallions. Pour the remaining veggies on top with the rest of the dressing. Stir carefully to combine and enjoy!

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