5 Things You Will Love About the Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet

Have you ever picked up a book and after reading the first couple of paragraphs you were suddenly in a better mood? A smile slowly starts to spread on your face, the wheels in your brain kick into gear and a voice somewhere inside starts chanting – you can do this! 
That’s how I felt the moment I cracked open Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead’s new book The Fit Bottomed Girl Anti-Diet. 


I think most people assume that if you work in health promotion in any way, or if your persona is all about eating vegetables and staying active, that a healthy lifestyle comes super easy for you. That choosing kale over French fries requires no internal debate and that every evening you lace up your shoes ecstatic over the four miles you have get to run. 
Untrue. 
I have my ups and downs. Times when I gain weight and lose weight. Times when kale tastes good and when it tastes awful. Times when I bust through an eight mile long run and when I have to walk after just one mile.
I have to admit I was experiencing a down when I got this book. It launched me right out of it!
If you are a blogger, you remember those blogs you associated with at the very beginning when you first started out. Fit Bottomed Girls is one of those for me; one I connected with. I can still remember Jenn’s motivating comments on some of my original posts here at Fake Food Free. She and the Fit Bottomed Girls crew continue to motivate me. I’ve been thrilled to be featured a Fit Blogger We Love on the site and share a few guest posts on Fit Bottomed Eats over the past few months. 
Their new book truly encompasses what is great about their site. These are five things I loved about it, and you will, too.
  1. It’s about ditching the diet mentality and getting back in touch with eating because you’re hungry, because it tastes good and because it nourishes you. 
  2. It’s loaded with tips for quick exercise sessions that encourage movement, not punishment. It even gave me a few new ideas.
  3. It focuses on the positive and being grateful. Too few healthy lifestyle books emphasize gratefulness. Being grateful for what you have, for the simple fact that you can walk or run, changes your attitude. 
  4. It emphasizes balance. I know there are people who feel that balance is not an achievable reality, but I completely disagree. It’s one of those journey, not a destination type of things and this book highlights that. 
  5. When you read scenarios in the book like the dreaded weigh-in you will laugh out loud while saying – holy crap, that is exactly me. 

Intrigued? Good news, the book was released yesterday! Get yourself a copy and as they say – drop the diet drama. 
If you are already a fan of the FBG website, then I’m sure you are also familiar with the Big-Ass Salad. It always makes me giggle a bit when I read the term, but I love it when Jenn shares her ideas for healthy lunches. 
There are some quick and healthy recipes in the book that you’ll love, but I decided to share one of my salads with you in celebration of a healthy eating attitude. 
It felt like such a long wait, but cherries, nectarines and peaches are beginning to show themselves at the farmers market here. Since they come at a time when we go back and forth between cool and warm temps (well, that’s pretty much always the case in the Bay Area), I struggle to decide between a cold salad or a hot lunch. This recipe combines the two. Perfect solution. 
Congrats to Jenn and Erin on the book! 

Roasted Cherry and Nectarine Salad with Honey-Walnut Dressing

Servings: 2 to 3
Dressing
4 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
3 yellow nectarines, pitted and sliced
1 cup cherries, pitted
4 cups mixed greens
3 oz. crumbled cheese (Blue cheese or feta works well. I used goat milk feta.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil or coconut oil. 
In a small food processor, add 2 tablespoons of the walnut oil, walnuts and honey. Puree until the walnuts are finely chopped and a paste forms. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of walnut oil and puree for about 30 seconds. You will be left with a thick walnut paste and a sweet milky liquid. Transfer to a bowl. 
Whisk in the vinegar and salt. This will take a little time, but trust me, it will turn into a thick dressing. Keep whisking. Set aside. 
Place the nectarine slices and cherries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until softened and the juices begin to bubble. 
Place the greens in a bowl, add the warm fruit and cheese. Pour in the dressing and toss well to coat. (You can also serve the dressing on the side as pictured, but because the dressing is thick, it really works better to toss the salad in it.) Serve right away. 

Disclosure: The book in this post was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to write about it and received no compensation for doing so. 

Gluten Free Baked Shrimp Etouffée Recipe

I laughed out loud.

I’m not talking about chuckling or giggling here. I’m talking about a huge, hearty laugh. Again, and again, and again.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a book make me laugh like Gluten Is My Bitch, Rants, Recipes and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux. At first it might seem odd to laugh at such a serious health condition, but laughter is medicine and humor is healing.

Now I should explain that I don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, nor do I opt out of eating gluten for personal reasons. I have had my fair share of stomach issues in the past, but mine were corrected by cutting out all artificial sweeteners and fat replacers. In an indirect way, I can relate.

Keeping up on the various ways of eating and nutritional issues is also part of the deal after you spend your college years studying nutrition. The science, the mechanisms, the nutrients – as much as I love food and eating from a creative standpoint my left brain would never be satisfied without the scientific side.

This book has it all, and a little something extra.

When reading about conditions like celiac disease, what you don’t often get is the personal side. A side explaining what it is really like to be forced to change your diet. To eliminate things you love, not because you want to lose weight or reduce risk of disease, but because if you don’t, you will be in serious discomfort. It’s not a choice. There is no option.

I wouldn’t have thought there was a way to make such a serious issue so completely hilarious, but April figured it out. Along the way there are tips for eating out, feeding kids with gluten intolerances, traveling and substitutes for your old favorite foods.

Along with all this laughter and helpful information, there are also lots of recipes, bringing us to reason I wanted to review the book here. Cocktails, cakes, cookies, pasta dishes and meaty main courses like Fried Chicken and Waffles and Italian Meat Loaf.

I knew that the timing of this post would likely align with prepping for my first marathon (it’s Sunday!), so I wanted to make something filling. Something with plenty of (gluten-free) carbs. I also wanted it to be something I hadn’t tried before.

Enter, the Baked Shrimp Etouffée.

This hit the spot. For a gluten free version, April’s recipe calls for millet flour and gluten-free bread crumbs. The flavors are delicious and I love that this baked version is a one pot meal.

Whether you have a gluten intolerance, want to learn more about it, want some great recipes, or simply want to laugh out loud, add this book to your summer reading list.

Baked Shrimp Etouffée 

Copyright © 2013 April Peveteaux, reprinted with permission from Abrams Books

Cajun food makes an impression. Or maybe that’s all the booze you ingested with your boudin. Which is why I still remember an etouffée that had a little extra somethin’-somethin’ from my very first trip to New Orleans, which was ages ago.

After experimenting, I do believe the crust atop this shrimp etouffée is spot on with the roux, and the stew, and now a little cheesy crunch. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 35 minutes
Makes: 10 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 Spanish onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
¼ cup millet flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon oregano
1½ pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
5 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons gluten-free bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
Parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat the butter and oil. Add the garlic, pepper, onion, and celery, and cook until soft.

Whisk the flour into the onion mixture until well combined. Add ½ cup of the chicken broth and whisk to combine. Gradually add the remaining broth and cook until the mixture has thickened.

Add the salt, pepper, hot sauce, cayenne, paprika, and oregano. Stir, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 6 minutes. After 6 minutes, add the shrimp and continue cooking for about 4 minutes more, until the shrimp are pink. Do not overcook the shrimp.

Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a medium bowl. Place the cooked rice in the skillet, and top it with the shrimp mixture.

Sprinkle the gluten-free bread crumbs and Parmesan evenly over the shrimp mixture and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until slightly golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, top with the parsley, and serve.

No-Bake Running Snacks and Christmas Carols

 
As I pulled up to a stoplight on my commute to work last Thursday, the radio scanner stopped on a local station. I sat there for a few seconds before my ears recognized what I was hearing.
A Christmas carol.
Normally, this time of year, I would immediately change the station and swear off any mention of winter wonderland, snowmen and reindeer for a few more weeks. But not that morning. I listened and I thought – this is kind of nice.
It felt a little like a guilty pleasure, a secret I should keep to myself. Kind of like when you have the second cookie you don’t need. Or the no-bake chocolate snowball.
That is, unless you are talking about these No-Bake Chocolate Snowballs.
I came across the recipe when I was catching up on Michelle’s blog at Find Your Balance Health, and I couldn’t wait to try them.
There are many healthy bars, protein bites and energy cookies around the web and these are perfect pre- and post run snacks. The only problem is that many use dates as the base, and while I can handle them in moderation, I get tired of that date flavor.
Big bonus, these don’t have a date in sight! I’m already on my second batch and I’m still loving them. You can get the recipe at Find Your Balance Health. It’s nice and simple, and bananas, nut butter, maple syrup and unsweetened coconut just happen to be staples in my kitchen.
Turn up the Christmas carols and grab a couple snowballs. Around here 2012 is going to be one great holiday season!

The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick: a review

I’ve been trying to determine if I know anyone who never gets sick. I’m not sure that I do. My husband would likely be the closest candidate, but even he will get the sniffles a couple times a year. In fact, most people I know are always complaining of being sick or feeling like they are about to get the latest bug.

I have very little doubt that getting the common cold and flu has everything to do with eating and exercise patterns along with sleep and stress, but it’s nice to have a little science to support my claims.

A couple weeks ago I was asked to review the book The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick by Gene Stone. I took a close look before agreeing to do so. I usually only review cookbooks here, but with my book recently being published I had the healing power of food and other healthy practices on my mind.

No stranger to research and writing in health and wellness, Stone has offered himself up as a human guinea pig, taking part in everything from scientific trials to the latest fad diet. In his recent book, Stone interviewed 100 people who could rarely, if ever, be found under the weather. The book contains the top 25 secrets which also have some scientific evidence to back them up.

Most of us associate several of the practices with wellness including running, yoga and avoiding germs. Others give credit to the culinary suggesting plant-based diets and garlic. Some extend to the far reaches of the up-and-coming or the hard-to believe such as probiotics and cold showers.

There are habits associated with those things we often underestimate such as friends and positive attitudes. Then there are those you want to start doing whether they really work or not like napping and moving to Costa Rica.

While all of these things may have the potential to keep us healthy and well, what makes this book worth the read are the stories told about the people who strongly believe in their method to avoid illness. Each chapter goes on to give an unbiased view of the current research that supports or contradicts the idea.

You will also step away from these pages a whiz at health trivia. For example, did you know the first doctor who suggested that medical professionals should disinfect their hands before entering the maternity ward to deliver babies was thought to be crazy and died in an asylum? It wasn’t until Pasteur that this practice became widely adopted. Talk about conversation starters at your next party.

As it turns out, the book is not without recipes. Throughout the chapters you will find recipes for Chicken Soup, Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna and a Salad Wrap.

If you want your next read to be as intriguing as it is informative, creative as it is research-based and historic as it is cutting edge, then this book is it. You just might find your own method and you’ll be the one sharing your never-get sick-secret.

I already eat a lot of garlic and a largely plant-based diet, so I think it only appropriate that I start experimenting with the napping theory first.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to write about it and received no compensation for doing so.

______________________________________________________________________________

Between work travel and very little creative time in the kitchen, recipes will be slim for the next week. I’ll be back before you know it with some culinary tours and springtime meals and desserts so no need to miss me. As always, thanks so much for reading!

Nutritionist, Food Blogger… Author

I try to make it a point to celebrate the small things we encounter daily that make life interesting and enjoyable. Every now and then, though, life brings along a big thing and you don’t have to try all that hard to start the celebrations.

Enter The Everything Guide to Food Remedies by Lori Rice, MS.

Yep, my book has arrived!
I received copies last weekend and it was a huge surprise! I knew the book would be published in March, but I didn’t know when I would see my first copy.
It is an interesting feeling to hold a book in your hand and as you flip through it recognize that these are your words, and in this case, your recipes. There is excitement, pride, humility and gratefulness. I’d also be lying if I said there wasn’t a slight bit of sadness since I’ve put freelancing on hold currently to return to work in my field of study.
With this though is also a huge sense of accomplishment.
Just a few short months after we moved to Brazil I was struggling with what I should do with my time and how to take full advantage of no longer being commented to an employer. If you’ve ever lived in another country or been a so-called expat wife, you can probably relate. I was filled with big ideas, but they had gotten lost in the confusion of learning a new culture.
One night as I sat frustrated, my husband told me that I could do anything I wanted to; I just needed to choose something and do it. Due to his advice I decided I wanted to be a freelance writer.
I spent the following months working from scratch and tackling a major learning curve because I knew absolutely nothing about the art. I read blogs, tips, advice, forums and began applying for jobs. Soon I found myself with gigs for small articles and blogs which then led to an ebook project.
I continued writing when we moved back to the US in 2009 and last spring I finally got what I would consider a pretty good gig – this book.
While I would someday love to have a book that tells my story, perhaps about my experiences abroad or with travel and food, the more I think about it, this book tells my story too.

It represents me leaving a secure job where I was well respected to accomplish a dream of surrounding myself by a new culture. It represents me focusing my energy to accomplish the goal of becoming a writer.

On another note, it represents part of my food journey. Four years ago, I might not have been able to write a book like this because at that time I still believed in mainstream diet foods – low fat, low carb and processed. The changes in my food and health views shown here through Fake Food Free, allowed me to write this book from a perspective that it is truly something I believe in.

The Everything Guide to Food Remedies: An A-Z guide to healing with food (Everything Series)

The Everything Guide to Food Remedies: An A-Z guide to healing with food  covers diseases and ailments that plague our society and identifies the whole foods (not pills or isolated nutrients) that help to alleviate those conditions. With each chapter the reader will find five recipes that utilize these nutritious foods.

This blog has been a big part of my food journey and will continue to be for as many years as I keep on blogging. Thank you for reading and sharing it with me!

I have three copies of my book to give away right now and there will likely be more opportunities in the future.

If you’d like one tell me your food philosophy in the comments.
Do you feel that food contains all we need for optimal health?


Thanks in advance for the thoughtful comments. And by the way, please no drive-by comments. Only those who thoughtfully answer my question will be considered.

I’ll select three commenters at random on March 14, 2011!

The book is available via advance order at Amazon and other online bookstores.

New Growth in 2011

One really wouldn’t be able to tell how excited and motivated I feel about 2011 by looking at me today. With holiday time off from work it has been permanent jammie mode around here. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been unproductive. Jammies just happen to be the preferred clothing for productivity, or so it seems.

We’ve cleaned out our back bedroom which has been sitting full of boxes since we moved into our house last February. It is now a place where I can take pictures, and should we have more than two guests, he or she can actually sleep in there without fear that a giant spider may climb out of a box and swallow them alive. Kentucky spiders are huge, by the way.

We took advantage of the warm weather and took down all of the Christmas decorations, organizing our storage tubs and storage space in the process. I even went through my piles of magazine recipes, categorized them and created a binder.

I know. We’re really on top of our game around here.

So even though I look like a lazy bum today, I’m feeling rather organized and inspired to start off this new year. Of course we can set goals any time, but there is just something about the beginning of a new calendar year that makes things seem fresh, new and motivating. And I have to admit that starting it on the day 1.11.11 makes it that much more interesting.

2010 was a good year even though there were times I felt as though I was simply sitting and watching it pass me by. That has a lot to do with readjusting to the US. This was our first full year back in the States and the adjustment was much more exhausting and emotional than I thought it would be.

Despite that, we got our house. I ran my first half marathon and authored my first book which will publish this March. I gardened, learned how to can and began a new job in September. In December, we topped off our year by rescuing a new pug, Dixie. She and Macy Mae are slowly, but surely becoming best buds.

In 2009, I really rocked my resolutions (or goals, whatever you prefer to call them.). However, in 2010 I barely remember what I set out to do. Life seemed to take over and I went with the flow. In 2011, I’m ready to get back on track so that this time next year I can check off all that I had hoped to accomplish.

It feels like a year of new growth to me, and in honor of it I’m doing a little growing of my own in our back room which is now clean and spacious. This summer I bought two dwarf Meyer Lemon trees that are doing quite well. Now they have their own private space in the sunshine. Hopefully in a couple years, I’ll have some lemons to show for my efforts.

My brother gave us a small AeroGarden as a house warming gift this past spring. Since it was just about garden time when we got it, I decided not to take advantage of it until winter. Now I’ve got basil, chives and thyme that I hope will sprout any day now.

With all the growing going on in our back room, I think I need to plan for a little growing myself this year. My main priority when it comes to blogging this year will be less stress. I got really concerned, and honestly, stressed out when I started my job back in September. I had less time to cook exciting food and when I did, I had no light to take photographs. When our weekends were busy with races or travel, I couldn’t even catch up with posts then. I had trouble keeping up with my own blog, and those I once loved to read on a daily basis.

This year I’m not going to let it get to me so much. If I have a busy week, there may not be a post, but some other weeks there may be 4 or 5. I’m finding that I need to relax the pressures I put on myself so that I can continue to enjoy my favorite hobby.

In addition to that, here are a few other things I plan to do in 2011. How about you? Care to share your goals for the New Year?

If 2010 was the year of running, 2011 will be the year of yoga. I plan to do yoga at least once per week, preferably more, and deepen my knowledge.

But I won’t be giving up running. In 2011, my goal is to run at least two half marathons.

Weight lifting is one thing that has fallen to the wayside when it comes to my fitness program. I will be incorporating a lot more of that this year as well.

I will focus more on ethnic cooking. I’ve tried to do this in the past, but seem to constantly fall back on the standards. I really want to challenge myself with Indian, German and Thai cooking from finding the ingredients to perfecting my results.

In addition, I will focus on utilizing all the great cookbooks I have. In 2010, I tried to make a lot of recipes from other food bloggers. This year I really need to explore all the great resources I have in print.

I want to learn to knit in 2011. Please still act surprised when you get your scarf for Christmas next year.

I want to begin to learn German. This is something I plan to focus more on in the summer and fall.

I will submit to one writing and one photography contest this year. I have no plans of winning, but I think identifying some contests and submitting will help me challenge myself to keep learning when it comes to my writing and photography.

I will recommit to my Flickr 365 projects for food and everyday living. I sizzled out about July/August in 2010, but I really enjoyed doing it and looking back so we are going to give it another go.

Finally, I’ll revisit my goals in April and October to see how this year is stacking up.

Happy 2011!

Thinkfood Cookbook

Don’t you just love it when you’ve been working on a project and the time has finally come to share it with others? That is exactly how I’m feeling today due to the launch of the Thinkfood cookbook and the Recipe of the Week campaign.

A few months ago myself, and 49 other food bloggers, were invited to work with PositScience, a science-based software company that develops products to exercise the brain and improve brain health. The goal of the project was to take an integrated approach to brain health that includes brain training and brain healthy eating. The result is the Thinkfood cookbook which contains recipes from each of us full of foods associated with mental health and wellbeing!

The hard copies of the cookbook will become available in mid-July with part of the sales going to charity, but today we are announcing the Recipe of the Week campaign which gives you the opportunity to see and print the recipes for free.

By signing up for the campaign, you will receive one recipe from the cookbook via email for the next 50 weeks which will arrive in your inbox on Wednesdays. Recipes include snacks, appetizers, sides, salads, main courses and desserts. (I know. You are excited that dessert is considered brain food!)

I am so happy to be a part of this project! It is, of course, focused on real food; real food that maintains the health of one of the most important parts of our bodies. I am thrilled with what they have done with my recipe regarding photography and layout, and I can’t wait to see what everyone else involved has contributed. Be sure you sign up for the campaign so that you can see the recipes too. Then stay tuned because once the books are released in mid-July, I’ll be giving away one to my readers!

If you want to know a little more about PositScience you can follow them on Twitter or check out their Facebook page.

Travel Secrets eBook for Charity:Water

A few months ago I participated in a game of blog tag over on The 3 Star Traveler which allowed me to share some of my best kept travel secrets. This fun project was initiated by Katie of Tripbase and after the huge response from travel bloggers it was decided that the tips would be turned into an ebook published by Tripbase and used as a way to raise money for charity.

The Travel Secrets ebooks launched today! They are full of helpful travel tips from experienced travelers and cover just about every continent around the world. My tips for the morning journey in Ubud, Bali and the Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand were included in the Travel Tips book, and my tip for Ilha do Mel in Brazil is featured in the Worldwide Beaches book. However, you all might be interested to know that there is a Foodie Travel book as well!

The ebooks are free and for each download Tripbase will donate $1 to Charity:Water, an organization that works to bring freshwater wells and clean drinking water to people in developing nations. One hundred percent of public funds donated to this organization go directly to water projects.

I’m thrilled to be a part of this exciting project! Please take a moment and click on the badge below to download a Travel Secrets eBook. It costs you nothing, but a little space on your hard drive. As a result, not only will you have an excellent travel resource at your fingertips, but you will be helping to support a great cause.

I helpedpeople get clean water
led by Tripbase

The Marathon Spectator

I think I get it now.

I’ve been involved with running events for a long time, since the beginning of college. They were mostly 5Ks and in addition to running a few I’ve been the race coordinator for some too. Despite my involvement and running my first half marathon in March I really didn’t get it until this past weekend.

I’m not sure I was prepared for the excitement, passion and power of the Flying Pig race events in Cincinnati. My husband had planned to run the marathon, his first, since January. I was thrilled to go and support him, but aside from the emotion of seeing him tackle an incredible challenge I thought I would be a simple spectator.

It rained…a lot. As we walked in the dark towards the start line of the full and half marathon there was a mixture of racers ready to go and their support teams holding umbrellas and wrapped in rain gear. As the crowd swarmed around us I couldn’t stifle the tiny voice in my head saying – oh, I wish I was running!

I’m not sure that this was truly how I felt. The thought of doing another 13.1 miles in the rain exhausted me, but the excitement of this specific event had taken over. That is what it is all about. It motivates you. It motivates you out of your comfort zone and beyond what you thought you were capable of.

I stood on 7th street in downtown Cincinnati. It was mile 5, the only place I would get to see my husband before the finish. Usually I’m snapping photos like crazy, but the rain had changed those plans and I had already gotten the flip so wet that it was, well, flipping out on me. It was just me, my eyes, my voice and my hands. So I cheered, and cheered, and cheered.

I remembered what it was like when I ran my half – the rain, the lack of spectator support, how incredibly hard it was because of those two things. I didn’t want to let anyone else go through that, not even at mile 5. So I cheered.

I was moved to tears more times than I could count. I caught runner’s eyes and they smiled as I clapped especially for them. Some said thank you. It was beautiful and it felt amazing that I could relate to them and how they felt at mile 5.

The crowd was loud when large groups of runners came by, but their shouts and cheers dwindled as the hour passed. I was frustrated with this crowd, to say the least. If they understood how these runners had stepped out their comfort zones to run these races, then they should have been willing to step out of theirs to cheer. I know it feels uncomfortable to have only your claps and yells heard in a crowd, but the support is so important.

I had a gentleman come up to me and tell me I was a good cheerer and I explained my half experience a few weeks before. His granddaughters were running their first half. This was one of many interesting conversations I had throughout the day.

The finish line was, of course, the most amazing part of the event. The support was still mixed until a man stood behind me and did more cheering than I had even mustered. We talked about all the people standing by to watch with closed mouths and hands in their pockets. He was frustrated too. I do believe he cheered for each and every person that passed us from that point on.

I had positioned myself just before the last tenth of a mile on the marathon side and watched both half and full runners finish. I was inspired as I saw half marathoners holding hands to cross the line, a woman at least 6-months pregnant jog in, and a man at least 70 lbs. overweight run past me. Think weight is a barrier to fitness? Ha! He finished the half about 20 minutes faster than I did.

I watched marathoners cross the line with smiles on their faces, some with tears in their eyes and others grimacing in pain. Some looked as though they had just run 3 miles instead of 26 and some were nursing an injury. I remember one specific guy who stopped and began walking in front of me and I cheered as loud as I could at him that he was almost there. I turned to watch him start running again on to the finish line. Cheering and support matters.

I had my camera all set up to take the perfect picture of my husband running in. I saw him, started shaking with excitement and sent my finger over my dial throwing my shutter speed out of whack. Good pictures just were not in the cards for us.

I screamed, I yelled, but he didn’t hear. I snapped bad pictures and took off running towards the finish line, knocking over a few people in the process. They all seemed to understand.

He finished in about 4:39. Incredible. Inspiring. He is amazing. I am so proud of him, but never doubted for a minute that he could do it.

And I get it.

It has nothing to do with being athletic, an exerciser or even a runner. It is about the passion and ability to push yourself beyond your perceived capabilities. Even if you never run a half or full marathon, I encourage you to at least go watch one. What you witness will change you and it is a lesson that can be applied to every area of life.

Finding the Right Word

No one seems to like the word resolution anymore. It’s as if it’s some term that is certain to set you up for failure. I’ve seen that in 2010 we should set goals instead, but that doesn’t really strike a chord with me either. I’ve been thinking about it a lot though, and this year I think I will call them commitments. These things I choose to better myself in the next year will be promises to me and actions that I commit myself to.

I think last year was the first year that I took my resolutions/commitments seriously and I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished. (I honestly can’t believe I’ve been running regularly for a year now!) I don’t like it that this New Year’s practice has gotten such a bad reputation over the years, so I decided to change that for me personally. I agree we should set goals and make commitments throughout the year, but what better time to evaluate ourselves and recommit than a brand new year. I think reflecting on our faults and shortcomings and making a promise to better ourselves is an important part of wellness.

So here you go. These are my 2010 Commitments. I’ll be checking back with them in the spring to stay on track and I think there are a few that have the potential to result in some great reading and recipes!

Run my first half marathon on March 28th.
I’m giving it a try. I’ve grown to enjoy running although I can’t say it is my favorite activity just yet. This could be my one and only half, but I have to give it a try to challenge myself and my abilities.

Make at least one recipe from a fellow food blogger each month.
Like most of you, I have recipe after recipe bookmarked from all the great food blogs out there. I’m going to commit to trying one or more each month. My goal with this is to leave them relatively unaltered so that I can try some great food, give you a new recipe you may have missed in your reading and spread the word about some of my fave blogs.

Make at least one recipe from a cookbook each month.
Similar to food blogs I have cookbooks and magazine cut-outs galore. It is time to start trying some of these recipes more often!

Read one informative book & one novel each month.
This one may be tough, but I want to structure my time to get in more off-screen reading. I love mysteries because they help me unwind and take a break from work. Similarly I want to keep up with reading nonfiction, informational books such as those focused on nutrition, cooking, environmental concerns and world religions.

Visit as many local food festivals as possible this year.
No I don’t have a number associated with this, but I’m thinking anything better than zero will be a good start. There are so many local food fests around Kentucky. From spoon bread to strawberries to bourbon there always seems to be something going on. This is the year I’m going to make it a priority to attend. Now that I’ve learned about cultures halfway around the world I’m realizing how important it is to learn more about that which is right in my backyard.

Make at least 75% of our food purchases local and sustainable.
I’m not exactly sure how I will measure this, but I will figure it out. I would say now we are somewhere in the 50% range and I want that to change. I chose 80% because there will always be some things such as grains which we eat that are not likely to come from nearby. In addition, I enjoy eating and cooking ethnic foods and those ingredients aren’t always available locally. To define the foods I’m talking about here, locally grown produce, grass-finished beef, naturally raised chicken and pork and local honey are examples.

Frequent my local international markets.
My plan is to shop here once a month for grains and spices. My goal is for this to also help me diversify my cooking and start making more of the wonderful foods we’ve had the opportunity to try during our travels.

Okay, so what do you think? I’m actually pretty excited about it and ready to get 2010 underway!

I’d love to hear what some of your food and wellness related commitments/resolutions/goals are this year!

Also, if you are looking for some support while adopting some healthier habits this coming year, check out the Ten in 2010 event going on at Recipe Girl. I’ve joined in with the goal to stick to my half marathon training and lose 10 lbs.

I also wanted to be a part of it because I’m seeing a lot of commitments to eat less fat and carbs. I think we all know how I feel about that. I certainly believe in everyone’s right to their definition of health and healthy eating, but I’m hoping I can use myself as an example to debunk some of those old school healthy eating myths. I’ll be eating lots of full fat, whole grains and naturally grown foods. I’d love to see you join in if you haven’t yet!