run eat life

live life healthy and happy


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The dirty dozen

As I am reading more and more (again) about healthy living and eating, I am surprised and shocked how much of our leaf2food is contaminated by all kinds of pesticides, preservatives and other chemical processes.

No wonder our bodies don’t know what to do anymore with the foods we are eating. In my readings i came across the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 list that is being published every year by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and lists produce that are most and least contaminated with pesticides.

Here is the 2013 list as published by EWG: EWG’S SHOPPERS GUIDE TO PESTICIDES IN PRODUCE

Dirty Dozen:

APPLES
CELERY
CHERRY TOMATOES
CUCUMBERS
GRAPES
HOT PEPPERS
NECTARINES (IMPORTED)
PEACHES
POTATOES
SPINACH
STRAWBERRIES
SWEET BELL PEPPERS

Clean 15:

ASPARAGUS
AVOCADO
CABBAGE
CANTALOUPE
CORN
EGGPLANT
GRAPEFRUIT
KIWI
MANGOS
MUSHROOMS
ONIONS
PAPAYAS
PINEAPPLES
SWEET PEAS (FROZEN)
SWEET POTATOES

Print out the EWG’S SHOPPERS GUIDE TO PESTICIDES IN PRODUCE before your next trip to the store or market!

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Turning over a leaf

Well, it’s not a really a ‘new’ leaf, hence an incomplete idiom. 🙂

It’s been 11 months since I moved to California and a healthy lifestyle was something that I surely expected from a life in sunny Cali. But it wasn’t quite so.

I spent my last 11 months settling into a new place, getting to know a new job, new colleagues and making new friends and I had a great time. I reconnected with my favorite charitable running organization, Team in Training, and made great new awesome friends.

BUT

The healthy lifestyle stopped at regular exercise.

With a new year and my ‘honeymoon’ period over I am ready to get back to focusing on a healthier lifestyle. I have been following Jess Ainscough, The Wellness Warrior, for some time now. And finally I bought her newly published book Make Peace with Your Plate this week.

So the first thing I did today is run to the local Farmer’s Market and get some organic goodies.

My first goal: Get rid of the pesticides in my pantry and fridge!

I was successful:

20140126-192750.jpg

My second goal will be: Learn to get some of the great nutrients as a juice.

I will need to buy a juicer. So something to research this week. In the meantime I started small with my blender. Just some apples, bananas and kiwis:

20140126-192740.jpgIt tasted YUMMY!!

Healthy food is cooking right now. I’d better go and check on it.

Happy and Healthy Eating everyone.
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Changing habits

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I am on day 5 of my renewed healthy living pact. And this time it is for real.

No one else can change your life. You are in the driver seat!

That’s what I need to remember.

So far, it’s been fairly easy. I am following my own healthy choices that I laid out a few days ago. I am not following a specific diet. I have tried that a few times and failed each time. I am looking to make a permanent change in the way I view food.

What is food to me?

it keeps me energetic enough to live my daily life.

it keeps my strong enough to keep running longer distance races.

it keeps me healthy.

it gives me pleasure. I enjoy eating tasteful food.

it makes me social. Sharing stories with family and friends over dinner.

it makes me happy. That I can do all of the above.

Given all this, shouldn’t I be picky about how I feed my body and soul? And yes, the answer is YES!

No one said, changing habits is easy, but isn’t a healthy lifestyle worth it?

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

~Maria Robinson


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My secret ingredients

I grew up eating home made meals. My mom cooked every day. I never saw a pre-packaged ready-to-eat meal until my early twenties and I moved to the UK. Other than salads and sandwiches while on the go I have never  bought a ready-to-eat meal that just needs heating up in the microwave. With one exception that is. Lasagne. I tried ready-to-eat lasagne and didn’t like it. This stopped me from ever trying another pre-packaged meal again.

My mom is a great cook. Though I never wanted to learn all her recipes (she is a very traditional German cook using lots of potatoes, heavy meats and heavy sauces), I picked up how to change the taste of a meal easily through using different herbs and spices.

And I am not afraid to experiment with herbs and spices.

Yesterday I cooked one of my favorite easy meals: Texas Chili. It takes about 5 minutes of preparation, 10 minutes of cooking the meats and then just 45 minutes of mostly unsupervised simmering. To me that is E.A.S.Y.

In case you are interested in my recipe, you need to be open to experimentation as I use “eye” measurements rather than real ones.  Meaning I can’t tell you exactly how much meat or canned tomatoes I use. I make sure they are in proportion.

  • I import this whenever I visit Austin, TX

    1 onion

  • 1 red or green or yellow pepper
  • tomatoes
  • minced meat
  • canned tomatoes
  • rapeseed oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • Texas Chili Seasoning Mix

Use a tablespoon of oil and heat up in a large pot, add diced onion. Once onion look “glassy”, add meat and cook until it’s done (I always make sure my meat is properly cooked, maybe I am a little OCD, but works for me). Then add diced pepper, diced tomatoes and spices. stir properly and then add canned tomatoes. Let simmer to reduce water for about 45 minutes. Voila!

Chili done

The Texas Chili Seasoning Mix is my favorite. Might be because it brings back memories of living in Texas (smell triggers memories quite well). I am sure other chili mixes will work, too. 🙂

And since my mum taught me to experiment and use spices to alter taste, you can pretty much use the same recipe and exchange the chili seasoning for paprika, Italian herbs, oregano, basil, parsley, chives and you have a Sauce Bolognese.

Next, you leave out the minced meat and you have a basic tomato sauce. 3 recipes in one.

I usually end up cooking about 4-5 portions. I eat one, one goes in the fridge for the following day and the rest goes into the freezer. So, it might take an hour all in all, but per meal you are down to 10-15 minutes…

Don’t tell me cooking is hard! 😉


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Healthy choices

The events of this summer have let me stray away from my healthy habits. In fact, I found that healthy eating is probably not a ‘habit’ of mine. I have been indulging in way more sugary and fatty foods than I actually like eating. Though it’s easy to blame circumstance, I know that these are  my daily choices and I didn’t always make the right choice.

I gained some weight, I feel sluggish, I have been fighting nasal congestion that may or may not be allergies. And this right here is my motivation to make better choices.

My struggle has always been to make healthy choices a habit. It works well in my normal routine. But as soon as I travel or break my daily routine for other reasons, I fall off the healthy habit wagon. This is what I need to change.

The funny thing is as soon as I eat a well balanced diet I don’t ever feel any need or hunger for foods that are bad for me. This is what I need to remember!

Here is what I am focusing on for the next 4 months:

  • cut down on unrefined carbs – no more bread!
  • eat organic wherever possible – fruit, veggies and meat.
  • eat LOTS of fruit and vegetable. Go for 7 a day!
  • use nuts and fruit as snacks.
  • don’t eat any processed food.
  • only eat lean meats.

My biggest challenge will be not eating any bread and eating more veggies and fruit. I’ll be solving some of this through introducing more fruit smoothies and finally trying veggie smoothies.

To making healthy choices!


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Love and Nurture your Body Day

I am not one for Hallmark holidays, so Valentine’s Day does not feature in my life. However, I do like the notion of showing love.

Therefore, today I declare the 14th of February the Love and Nurture your Body Day. In celebration of this day, I headed over to my local health and whole foods store to stock up on some wholesome foods. As I was exploring the store (though the store is just a short walk away I hadn’t really spent any time in there until I recently decided to eat more healthy and wholesomely), I found their tea collection (I am a coffee and tea lover!). And here it was, the perfect LNYBD present.

Happy sipping! 🙂

Chocolate flake tea

Chocolate flake tea - Happy LNYBD!