I wasn't going to make it a "Workout". Just a little walk. I even wore my ancient, cozy hippy-esque Old Navy long sweater with the wrap ties. So I set off a bit slowly and figured I'd stroll for a while, snap a few pics and call it a day.
My neighborhood must have been planned by a bunch of lab rats because it takes the shape of a complicated labyrinth. Some of the roads circle around and then change names.
You can feel horribly lost, but really you are never far from home. All of the streets eventually lead back to a main road, where you can get your bearings. An embarrassing admission: Even though I no longer get lost, I still don't know all of the names in my neighborhood. There's only about seven or 8 streets, 9 or so names, but they are all Italian, and I never bothered to commit them to memory despite living here for 12 years! :-?
Photo: Pretty Succulent Garden
I have an odd dislike of walking the same street twice, in the same direction. I must have a deep-seeded fear of someone looking out their window and thinking I must be lost, or worse, demented, because I'm covering the same route again. Weird I know! So I decided to play a mind game with myself- trying to figure out how I could negotiate the labyrinth by covering each and every street, but in each direction only once. Easier said than done, but it did get me chugging all over the 'hood in search of a new street I hadn't hit yet. At one point, I realized that (with the exception of the main road) I actually had a shot at doing the whole maze successfully, but it would require me to walk an extra 20 minutes. So I picked up the pace a bit.
Photo: These guys are HUGE and look like artichokes...getting hungry again!
Before I knew it, the Hippy Sweater was slung around my waist in true Boho style and sweat was starting to accumulate on the brow.
Photo: This one looks like a rose- so pretty! It's also huge- at least the size of a basketball :-)
While I hadn't burned a lot of calories, I spent a good portion of the morning in the fresh air, doing a nice low impact exercise and snapping photos of lovely gardens with the best camera I've ever owned (my iPhone). Finally home, I felt sweaty and accomplished and like any good lab rat, I indulged in a piece of cheese to celebrate.
Photo: Gratuitous kitty picture. "You must worship me".
A few months back, I got ahold of these babies at Tar-Jay:
Man, are they good- so chocolaty, but they are not covered in chocolate- just dusted with cocoa powder and Splenda (calories are inexplicably the same as plain almonds...hmmm, how does that happen?). Anyway, I did what any wild and crazy, fun-loving Vita-Mix owner would do- I made a home-cCocoa Almond Butter. And it was crack-licious. Really. I sent some to HEAB and I think that she said it lasted two days with the help of her hubby CD. While I love love love the taste of Splenda, I'm just not sure about what it's doing to my body in the long run. I knew I needed to Deb-ify this recipe and replace the splenda with stevia.
So last night I made the healthy version... it was yummilicous and almost as good as the Emerald original with Splenda. So my new invention, CAB stands for:
Cacao Almond Butter , AKA
Crack Almond Butter
Into the Vita-Mix goes:
- Roasted and raw organic almonds (could use just roasted, but NOT just raw...too dry)
- Organic cacao nibs- (they are a bit bitter, so I did need the stevia to balance it out)
- Stevia, to taste
- Sprinkle salt, if desired
- (edit to add: I would add Dark Cocoa powder also- YUM)
THAT's IT!! SO easy! Tamp it down repeatedly and it comes out smoking hot and FABO!
By the way, you don't need a Vita-Mix to make CAB, you just need some cocoa powder or cacao powder (buy it at the health food store, or put nibs into the food processor, blender or clean coffee grinder). You could even carob powder (YUM!! my next experiment!). Either use your own elbow grease to stir or try it in the food processor.
Here are some CABs and a plain AB cooling. Aren't they cute? They look like they are on stage, taking a bow to their adoring fans! BRAVO! BRAVO! ENCORE!!
3 of these bad boys are going to go on a little journey- someone in Tennessee might want to keep their eyes on their mailbox. Better yet, just camp next to it.
Husband: Yeah, I think you should write a post on Over-Blogging.
Just thought I'd share that with you guys. Feel free to discuss!
Have a great Saturday!
Last week, I took it as a sign: I opened up my beloved Oxygen magazine and there was an article about overtraining. Then I checked Charlotte's blog (welcome back, we missed you!) and she talked about it. I hate it when you read about the symptoms of some horrible disease and you conclude that you must have that brain tumor, autoimmune disease or STD (kidding!). Well, it was one of those moments: I was overtraining. Again. I overtrained about 2-3 years ago when I was at my lowest weight, and I believe that I pop in and out of overtraining states on an ongoing basis.
I think that this happens because (thankfully) I love to exercise. And if you can't tell from my blog, I get very, very excited about it! I fall head-over-heels in love with a class or a new sport, and I jump head-first into it. I get all the gear for whatever sport it may be (practically had to mortgage the house when it was mountain and road cycling), and I do it so much and so often that I either get injured, bored or both.
Thankfully, I discovered that I am not an exercise addict, in which you need to be about exercising 12+ hours a week. My average hovers at about 7, which I think is plenty!
Here is a link that discusses overtraining from About.com.
Just to summarize some of the signs:
- Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
- Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
- Pain in muscles and joints
- Sudden drop in performance
- Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
- Decrease in training capacity / intensity
- Moodiness and irritability
- Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
- Decreased appetite
- Increased incidence of injuries.
- A compulsive need to exercise
- Could not get up off the floor during exercise ( I was screaming at my heart rate monitor "C'mon, GET UP!") OR
- Would not go below my lactate threshold, thus burning precious muscle (again, screaming at the poor monitor "C'mon, GO DOWN!") OR
- Would shoot up walking up the stairs at Ikea!Huh?
There is another method called Orthostatic Heart Rate testing where you take your pulse laying down, then you stand up and take it again at intervals for a few minutes. It sounds like I'll be sleeping with my heart rate monitor on my bedside table for a few days to do that test. Perhaps it's a good gauge to see what sort of workout (if any) to do for the day? I like the idea of that.
I don't know what came over me, but I felt compelled to put rainbow sprinkles on top of my coffee and foam. It put a spring in my step- or perhaps that was the sucrose.
In the past 5 years, the only yoga I did was at Malibu yoga, where Ted McDonald taught, but was not the owner. One day I showed up and it was closed- gone- poof. And so was the series that I had purchased. Grrrrr. Ted spent the next year and a half looking for a suitable location to land on his own and he finally found one in the northern part of the 'Bu at Point Dume. This is where I was headed today. The studio was small and basic, but peaceful and attended by friendly people. I was a happy camper as I left, drenched from a typically fabulous class.
I headed back down the Pacific Coast Highway, showered and picked up Dad. We had the day off from hospitals and doctors, so we took advantage of the fabulous weather and headed right back up the coast. We had a terrific meal at a newish restaurant in Malibu called Plate. It's always well-attended and now I know why. Dad had grilled halibut on rice with grilled pineapple and bok choy. I had grilled shrimp wraps with chopped cukes that had orange marmalade and BBQ sauce on the side...a surprisingly good combo (sorry no photos).
Then we headed for the historic Adamson House. Built by the water in the 20's by the family that basically owned all of Malibu, it was 4500 square feet of Spanish colonial revival luxury. I had a patient who was a docent there and have passed by it, oh maybe 500 times but this was the first time to see it. I'm so glad I did. It turns out that the state "bought" the property in 1968 so the grounds are completely open to the public from sunrise to sundown. I can foresee a picnic or twenty on that prime spot.
This photo cracked me up until I was in tears...a gust of wind blew my hair at the moment the lady was taking the photo, so naturally I screamed like my life was in danger! What a drama queen!
(Obviously the photo is of my wonderful Dad and me...at the Adamson House)
Then we went to Ralphs for some grocery shopping. I spotted Minnie driver shopping undisturbed (as almost all stars do in Malibu), and look what else I spotted on the shelves!
Yes, half of the Dynamic Duo of Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum...to make the best smoothies on the earth. Not cheap though, eh!! But one bag lasts you months if not years. Well worth the investment :-D
Back home, I had to share my snack with you because it was so darned pretty! I saw that Angela got a hold of the interesting-looking pink Dragon fruit. So... monkey-see-monkey-do: I had to get one and try it. YUM YUM! Not too sweet and so much fun to look at. I didn't even need to add rainbow sprinkles! I put some Greek yogurt into the empty half of the fruit skin and then had a nut butter concoction on the side: PB2, Better N Peanut Butter, some water and chopped mixed nuts. So filling it might be dinner!?
(Pretty...and delish! Dragon fruit!)
If I could live anywhere it would be Malibu. Where would you live if you had the chance?
As I've said before, I LOVE LA. Of course I'm biased as I was born and raised here. But it's nice to know that despite all of its drawbacks, I do appreciate what the City of Angels for what it has to offer. I love the fact that on a random Tuesday in the month of August, I can be exposed to three different Asian cultures before lunchtime.
I love the fact that on a random Tuesday in the month of August, I can be exposed to three different Asian cultures before lunchtime.
I had just left my downtown Gold’s Gym, where I had a wonderful experience with a number of elderly Chinese women. I was a bit early to pick up some lunch for me and my Dad, who was stuck on a potassium drip at USC University Hospital in the Clinical Trials Unit for an experimental medication for Lymphoma and Leukemia. However, I was passing by Little Tokyo and there was a newly remodeled Supermarket that had just opened. Perhaps you don't know about me and foreign supermarkets...I adore them! I really wanted to check it out.
Turns out the new Japanese market is also a Korean Market. So I got a 'two-fer' today! Woot woot!
As expected, it was fabulous. Of course there was a huge section of incredibly fresh fish, along with Grab-N-Go sushi meals, and Korean meals as well. Interestingly they also had a lot of Western "health foods" like organic cereals from Nature's Path! Also there was a huge produce department with (YAY!!) an organic section.
There was also a "Department Store" upstairs, which was filled with wonderful plates, bowls, chopsticks, rice cookers and everything you could need for the house. No self-respecting Japanese department store could exist without it's own Hello Kitty store. I couldn't resist the red and blue PJs- sooo cute!! :-D
Here are some of my favorite food-related photos:
Roasted Corn: OK you know when you make popcorn and there are still burnt kernels at the bottom? This is a whole bag of the stuff. The calories (150 for a Tablespoon- really?!?!) scared me off buying these bad boys.
Miso Section- This is for all you Miso Mistresses out there- this whole section is miso- every color and type imaginable. The next few shelves was (of course) tofu.
Shirataki Section- This is in honor of Hungry Girl aka Lisa Lillian. In the foreground is her beloved (and branded) Tofu Shirataki. However there are THREE ENTIRE shelves of the stuff in different shapes, sizes and colors. Regular Japanese shirataki is made from yam flour and is definitely NOT for everyone. It is a nearly calorie-free substitution for pasta (depending upon if you believe the labels, anywhere from 5 to 40 calories for an entire bag), but you need to rinse and soak the bejeezers out of it or you get a horrid taste and smell. Really, Gag, Barf. The Japanese eat a ton of this stuff- perhaps one reason that many of them are so slim.
The Grain section:
Look at all this bounty...so many fabulous grains and legumes I’ve never seen before. I think many of these must be Korean because I haven’t seen many of them in other Japanese markets. There was a mind-blowing assortment of pressed rice, barley, green millet (yes, green), horse beans (?!) among countless others. Have a look at all that bounty!
The squash section: This is for Heebie aka HEAB: Feel the kabocha love. Also, check out “Old Squash”- what is that anyway?! All I know is each one is the size of a man’s head (make that a man suffering from Acromegaly). It would take me a month to eat one!
The seaweed section (Nori for sushi, for snacking, for all that ails you)
The healthy snack section: Another possible explanation for the fact that most Japanese people are slimmer than Americans…they snack on little dried fish, squid, crabs, and seaweed, rather than Cheetos, Doritos and Funyuns (yum, does anyone remember Funyuns- my brother used to eat those all of the time- didn't he know that they are supposed to taste like onions, and as a rule, kids DO NOT like onions!?? Love my bro!! :-D )
The YUMMY snack section: OK, there was a fabulous section including some seriously scrumptious rice cookies and all sorts of candies. LOVE me some Pocki. Mmm.
Check out the name of these cookies: reminds me of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally! I’ll have what she’s having! :-D
OK, how much fun was that!? I could have spent about 2 more hours just studying all of the goodies, but I headed 5 minutes north to our favorite Chinese restaurant and got yum yums to go! I really do love this town!
Unless of course your names are Lourdes, Rocco and David Banda.
Yesterday, I was given a free-day pass at Equinox in Westwood, which gave me the opportunity to take a nice easy "gym yoga" class before meeting the familia for lunch. The club is nothing short of swanky- in a very zen sort of way. There's even a spa!. By the time I made my way past the stainless steel, dark wood, orchids and bamboo, I was sure I'd be in for a relaxing stretch class.
The Class- looks so mellow, right?
In addition, the music was really interesting- lonely Indian sitar one minute, hip-hop the next, and reggae following that. I loved the variety and the vibe. Unfortunately you need to be a member of Equinox to attend that class and I already belong to more gyms than should be legal in California.
Yesterday's class reminded me of some of the amazing benefits of yoga:
So I intend to try to schedule one class per week to start. Then who knows, I may end up traveling with my yoga mat once again.
Here's my beloved leopard print yoga bag. I got it at in Hawaii 8 years ago at Maui Yoga. LOVED that studio. Magical.
Do you practice yoga? What kind? What does it do for your mind and body?