Well Fed on Food and Money?

Iryna Yeroshko

Money and gluttony go together like peanut butter and jelly, which is, in a round-about way, what I’m writing about today: FOOD.

I figured I’d review a book and trying convince you to purchase it.

The cookbook Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat may just be their saving grace. With more than a hundred recipes following the Paleolithic diet – composed primarily of meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds – this collection by Melissa Joulwan allows access to a wide array of healthy and easy to digest home-cooked meals.

Patterned after the eating habits of Stone Age humans, it is believed that these foods are those that are best suited to the body. The paleo diet avoids unnecessary calories and fat often found in grains, dairy, legumes, soy, sugar and alcohol, which are often believed to be among the causes of obesity and medical risks in present time.

Before anything, Joulwan opens the book by providing the readers with a walkthrough to paleo dieting. She even shares her personal experience adapting the lifestyle to aid everyone in preparing a paleo-ready kitchen and pantry, listing the necessary tools and food lists to serve as guides.

This book is also a good way to get acquainted with the basics of paleo dieting, as it gives a bird’s eye-view of its concepts and practices. The cookbook reflects the simple and straightforward logic of the paleo diet, as reflected in each of its pages.

Well Fed serves as a written testament that dieting does not always mean ruining eating habits, such as skipping meals or reducing food servings.

In fact, it encourages regular and speedy food preparation to sustain a person’s daily activities through healthier food options.

Unlike most diet programs, the paleo diet remains relaxed towards snacking in between meals. This cookbook even provides various options to choose from, should you feel your stomach growling for some food.

Joulwan’s cookbook is generous with the number of recipe options, ranging from sauces and seasonings, proteins, vegetables and salads, hot plates, and fruit mixes.

What’s notable here is that it also lists variations for preparing each meal, suggesting other food items that can be used as substitutes to the original meal components.

It leaves room for home cooks to improvise, especially if some food elements are not easily available. This further expands the reader’s selections in terms of meal planning and preparation, and provides an exciting play for the taste buds. Dieting does not always mean bland and lifeless food, and Well Fed effectively gets this message across.

A very kitchen-friendly feature of this book is The Weekly Cookup, which serves as a how-to in running a paleo diet kitchen like a restaurant.

The pantry is stocked with various protein and vegetable options on a per-week basis, which makes it exciting for home managers to play mix and match with various ingredients for exciting meal choices.

Using this method also improves meal planning skills and effectively shortens prep time, leaving more room for other activities. This is convenient particularly for people who are always on the go.

Cooking becomes less of a burdensome deed and more as a simple daily task, as the recipes are also very simple and easy to follow.

Following a diet plan does not always mean that you have to starve yourself in order to remain in good shape. You only need to choose healthy foods every time you feel the urge to eat.

Being equipped with numerous yet still healthy choices are probably one of the world’s best gifts to all health buffs, and it is embodied by this very friendly cookbook.

My Ideas about Running

It’s pretty easy with running to measure your progress. There’s lots of ways to tell if you are improving. You can tell if your distance increases or you cover more distance in less time.

I always like checking my progress. If I’m not getting anywhere, what I like to do is look at cues my body is telling me and try to improve them.

I’ve put together a list of stuff I like to do to improve my progress.

Eat before I run

I like to add some fuel to my body before I run. About 1 to 3 hours before I run, I like to eat a small amount of carbohydrates. This helps fuel me for longer runs.

Get strong

During the winter, I’m a little lazy when it comes to running. I’ll run when it’s above 20 degrees but I won’t run on a treadmill.

Instead, I do a core strengthening routine. I’ll do yoga and weight strengthening. The workouts target specific muscles I’m weak in. Getting stronger at your weak points will help improve your overall fitness level, making you less susceptible to injury.

Cross training

As mentioned, I won’t run below 20 degrees, but I will go out and ski below 20 degrees. I’m not sure why I have this arbitrary cut off line but skiing is great cross training.

Cross training allows me to keep my cardio but use other muscles. It keeps me from being a one-trick pony.

Improve your gait

You will need help from your podiatrist or physical therapist for this one. But, they can help you analysis your gait, which can help you with soreness and help reduce injury, making you more efficient.

Go easy, go hard: Increase slowly

Injuries often occur when people jump into a new activity without acclimating to that activity.

Running is no different. A good rule of thumb is to increase your mileage less than 10 percent each week.

The gradual change helps your body build tolerance to the new stress.

Get the right shoes

This may sound like a no brainer but it is important: Buy running shoes that fit your feet. Also, running shoes wear out faster than walking shoes because of the constant pounding while running. This means that you should replace them every 6 months or so.

Do a trail run with a group

Running solo is great but running with a group is better, but doing a trail run with a group is best, in my opinion.

You get out in the woods and get chatting with friends while running. Cool stuff.

Get a massage

Massages are great. They can help improve your flexibility, relax your muscle, and up the blood flow to the muscle.

Set goals

When you set training goals or racing goals, you are more likely to follow your program and be more successful. That’s no surprise because you have a vision of what you want and know how to achieve it.

Grab some grub after a run

Your body uses its glycogen stores during a long run and you want to replace them as soon as possible after running. It’s a good idea to eat a small amount of carbohydrate and protein after your run.

The carbs replace the glycogen and the protein helps with muscle repair.

Running is a great sport that can be taking up by just about anybody. It will take time for you to figure out what works best for you but you will learn from experience.

Why cooking is a good hobby for my health

Credit for photo: Rene Schwietzke, CC-BY-2.0

Like any pleasurable thing that you want to keep on doing and have no plan of discontinuing in the future (sounds like addiction defined to me), I sometimes find a need to justify why I should continue cooking as a hobby.

There is a slight guilt to it, I guess, especially when my cooking takes on the shades of decadent tastefulness to sinful indulgence. I wake up heavy some mornings, with too much carb and protein eaten over dinner. Then I worry, too, when my kid starts preferring cheeses, and meats, and dairy. I can’t blame them, if you ask me!

Hence, I need to convince myself that cooking is not at fault here. Here are reasons why cooking shouldn’t be faulted over expanding waistlines, kids’ picky taste buds, and budget going overboard. Honestly, gourmet food ingredients don’t come cheap; and we haven’t even mentioned organic yet. But that’s quite another issue; so again, here are the reasons why I shouldn’t give up on cooking:

1. Even when it’s making an impact to the budget, cooking your own fare is definitely way much cheaper than buying already cooked or dining out.

2. With discipline, you can control the amount of salts and sodium, altogether eliminate offending additives, and substitute ingredients for healthier fare. Okay, underscore “with discipline.”

3. Cooking has a uniting effect to the family. It brings you closer to each other. Whoever said that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I think he was also talking about families. And that’s not just the core or immediate family; it also works for the extended family. They are easier gathered when they hear I’m cooking (sounds like there’s no modesty there).

4. Cooking is a sweet quieting time — until I start banging on pots and pans or scratch my best nonstick cookware.

I am a lone cook, much like Mom, I guess. I think my son would have to grope in the dark about cooking not unlike what I did years ago, because he can’t learn from me. I love to cook on my own, and he finds pleasure romping outdoors (Except when he chases the pets to the kitchen and around the kitchen island; of course, that’s when I yell).

5. Cooking opens other interests – gardening, for instance. We have also incorporated our love of food and (my) cooking with travelling. It is a great bonding time to visit places, try their food, second-guessing how they are prepared, and replicate them in my kitchen.

I can actually go on and on with the reasons; it will be endless. I will be more healthful and attentive to the calories, taper the fats and sugar, and be less indulgent in the choice of ingredients. But cooking isn’t something I am about to give up. Unless everyone agrees we all give up on eating, too.