eat and exercise for your health and fitness

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Marathon Monday, Veggie Dogs and Earth Day!

It's been quite the 48 hours for health and fitness! A couple of my friends were major running rockstars and accomplished the great task that is the Boston Marathon yesterday. Eve Weiner ran to raise money for the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Lauren Deeley ran in support of Good Sports. Congrats, ladies! You guys are awesome. I'm making it a personal goal of mine to compete next year.

In honor of Marathon Monday and Patriot's Day, I attended a celebratory barbecue in some really fabulous Boston spring weather. One of the guys who threw the party is also a vegetarian, which led me to my discovery of a truly amazing vegetarian product - Morningstar Farms Original Veggie Dog Links. Honestly, I took a bite and thought there had been a mixup on the grill. It truly tasted like a regular hot dog! Summer barbecues will definitely undergo a truly dramatic change for me now ;o)

Today is also Earth Day! I hope you all take a moment and consider how your daily habits are affecting our planet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Power Food of the Week: Avocado!

As a fun, new VeggieRun initiative, I have decided to incorporate a weekly installment highlighting and profiling a different "power food" - get excited!

Power Food's debut comestible is none other than the yummy, green avocado - a personal favorite of mine. I can't get enough guacamole, and I won't visit Boston-area Mexican restaurant, Z
รณcalo without a taste of their unique, homemade guac.

Did you know the avocado is actually a fruit? And you thought it was a veggie ...

Yes, I know what you're about to say; avocados have gotten quite a bad rap as a fatty food we must beware. Surprisingly though, there is such a thing as good fat and bad fat; avocados boast the former, not the latter. Check out some more fun facts about avocado's benefits:

  • Most are monounsaturated. This lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol and raises "good" HDL levels.
  • A typical serving (half an avocado) contains only 160 calories and provides the equivalent of fiber found in one slice of whole wheat toast.
  • Avocados have more potassium than bananas, which may help lower blood pressure.
  • In comparison to many fruits, avocados have higher concentrations of many B vitamins, in addition to beta-carotene, magnesium, and vitamins E and K, nutrients that aid overall health and support energy, metabolic functioning and strong bones.
If you're a vegetarian, check out this yummy avocado smoothie. And for all you meat-eaters out there, how about adding an avocado slice or two to your next hamburger?

Eat some good-fat-for-you avocados this week, and be sure to
tune in next week for the second Power Food installment!

More Avocado Nutrition Information: Avocado, A Versatile Fruit
More Avocado Recipe Ideas:
Note: Sources for avocado information include Martha Stewart and AARP.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Runner In Me

I'll admit - last Saturday was my first run in quite a few months. I'd been staying in shape throughout the frigid Boston winter months by using my roommate's elliptical machine, and let me say, it does not keep you in good running shape. Never have my calves been so sore after a run! I blame my winter running wussiness on the previous winter, which I'd spent in Los Angeles. Needless to say, winter weather there was hardly "frigid," and I got spoiled.

Alas, I'm happy to be getting back into my running routine now that spring is here. Still, I wasn't always a runner. Besides my short stint on the indoor track team my sophomore year of high school, the majority of my life was spent being a hardcore soccer chick. I played soccer since I was five years old, rockin' the coed pee-wee teams in my early years, mid-New Jersey select teams during my middle years and club and high school teams in my later career.

When I arrived at Boston University and felt the need to give up my interest in the competitive edge of soccer (BU has a D1 team), I found myself on intramural teams since BU does not support soccer as a club sport. Although I played coed on a number of indoor and outdoor teams and in a few different leagues, my soccer frequency wasn't enough to sustain my athletic drive. This led to my interest in - that's right - running!

I've really learned to love the sport. Besides my recent winter abandonment, I've been running an average of four to five times a week for the past three years and have really loved the results I've experienced. Even with a full college schedule, running keeps me motivated and energized and makes me feel happy and healthy. Running also helped me achieve some noteworthy philanthropic goals as well. Last October, I competed in the 2007 B.A.A. Half Marathon, raising $627 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and finishing in
1:49:36. Running 13.1 miles knowing I helped support an honorable cause was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life, making it worth all the training and preparation.

Running has become an important stable in my life, and something tells me I'll be a runner for a long time to come.

What has running/exercising done to improve your life?

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Veggie In Me

I wasn't always a vegetarian. In fact, I am currently twenty-two years old, and for about twenty-one of those years I was a proud omnivore. So, why the change?

There are many reasons people choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle - health, morality or religious beliefs, to name a few. I respect every reason for my readers' choices of diet, and I am hoping this blog will attract foodies and veggies of all forms (though I'm hoping the revelation of my past in the next few lines won't turn some of you off). I want you to know more about me, so I can tell you I'm one of those health-motivated vegetarians. But let's take a step back for a second and examine my past ...

I grew up loving all forms of meat - chicken, turkey, pork, beef, fish - you name it, I ate it. And I wasn't one of those "well-done" carnivores, either. My burgers and steaks were tender and rare.

On the other hand, the health history of my family does not exactly endorse this type of eating lifestyle. We have been plagued with heart disease, and eating red meat doesn't exactly help the reduction of this risk. While my consumption of red meat was dramatically reduced following the scariness of my father's open heart surgery when I was twelve, I continued to savor it.

With the independence of apartment-style living in college, my consumption of meat became even scarcer. I'd rather spend my free time doing other things (i.e. running and working out) than preparing extensive meals. As a result, I rarely prepared my own meat, and thinking back, was pretty much a borderline vegetarian anyway.

I can't remember exactly why I decided to make the full transition to vegetarianism. I was probably in search of a new project or a new challenge and thought I'd give it a try - I'm random like that. Nevertheless, last May, I ate my very last hot dog at my favorite stand (which, if you're not a veggie like me, you should check out) and have been a devoted lacto-ovo vegetarian ever since.

I will often field the question of why I don't eat fish. "It's healthy for you, and if you're not a vegetarian for moral reasons, I don't see the point of excluding it," they'll say. Good point, but I've always been a believer that if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it 100%. This is why I'm not one of those borderline vegetarians anymore. I will admit, though - I did consume some lobster a few months back. I'd never had it, I was in Maine, and I was coerced by some Mainers (and yes, it was pretty delicious). Hey, being a blogger means being transparent, right? I promise though, as long as I continue to call myself a vegetarian, it will never happen again.

...And if you want to say I've only been a vegetarian
since that little veggie-sin, it's fine by me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Truth Be Told

Welcome to VeggieRun! You're currently reading the inaugural post - lucky you! My name is Pamela, and I am currently a student at Boston University studying communications - specifically public relations ... but not for long. While I plan on telling you more interesting things about me in future posts, I figure I'd use VeggieRun's premiere post to explain what this blog will be and what this blog won't be. After all, if I've learned anything from my passion for social media, it's that you shouldn't try to be something you're not.

So, for clarification purposes ...

You don't have to be a vegetarian to subscribe to/enjoy/benefit from this blog.
You don't have to be a runner to subscribe to/enjoy/benefit from this blog.
I happen to be both. You can be either, neither or all of the above.

VeggieRun will highlight my experiences (positive and negative) with health, diet and fitness and provide some advice, recommendations and sometimes just plain, comic satisfaction. I am by no means a dietitian or a physical trainer, and there may be times when you disagree with me, and that's perfectly fine. Actually - I welcome it. We can learn from each other, and VeggieRun can serve as the platform.

In any event, I hope you'll come back and subscribe - I have a bunch of cool ideas up my sleeves ...