Too Many Drinks to Run 13 Miles

Well, 13 miles at 7:45 pace didn’t happen on Sunday.  Erin and I went out to dinner on Saturday night and met some friends afterward in the city for some drinks.  We ended up staying out for a while, and I had a few lot more drinks than planned!  So even though I didn’t feel nearly as bad as I deserved to on Sunday, 13 miles was just not in the cards.

I’m getting ready to do the run right now, early Monday morning, to keep my training schedule on track.  Once I get back, I’ll write my normal post to let you know how it goes.  We made dinner for my dad and his wife for Father’s Day, so I have a great new recipe to post too!  See you then.



Bad Weather, Good Food

Happy (rainy) Saturday, everyone!  I was planning to do a 13-miler today, as per my Week 1 training schedule, but I’m going to wait until tomorrow and hopefully find a dry two-hour window to get the run in.  I’ll do an indoor Core Performance Endurance workout and some foam rolling today instead (look for a post one of these days about the godsend that is the foam roll).

We got up early this morning to beat the rain to the farmers market, but alas, the rain prevailed.  We got soaked but we were happy to see that more and more new veggies are showing up at the farmers market.  New stuff today included garlic–we got some elephant, which is supposed to have a mild flavor–and fava beans.  I tasted a fava bean for the first time and it was very good, but really, five dollars for a little basket of them?  I could get a Big Mac and fries for that!

We were in such a rush to beat the rain this morning that our smoothie had to wait until after the market.  Today I made a chocolate one, using Chocolate Amazing Meal, which I forgot that I still had to try until I saw it on another blog (for the life of me I can’t remember which).  Here’s what I put in it:

[chocolate smoothie ingredients photo]

I really hate old bananas, but they’re perfect in smoothies.  Cinnamon has become a smoothie staple; so has ground flaxseed.  Oops, this photo gives away a little secret of mine–when you see flaxseed oil that’s close to its expiration date and is 50% off, drive a pickup truck to the store, load it up until the truck looks like the Grinch’s sleigh, and freeze it until you’re ready to use it!

chocolate smoothie

Anyway, the smoothie turned out to be just alright.  Tolerable, but I must say I prefer just using the plain Amazing Meal with my normal fruit smoothie.

Remember how I said that the Blueberry Almond FEED Granola had a little bit of an aftertaste?  Well, I got over it.  I tried a handful yesterday, one handful turned into two, and pretty soon I had gone on one of my half-bag binges!  I really ate way too much granola yesterday–at the end of the day I realized that I had eaten four of the five different flavors at different times!  Though I suppose that’s better than, say, hot dogs.

[blueberry feed granola photo]

Root Vegetable Saute Recipe

I have a quick recipe for you today.  We ate this for dinner two nights ago, and it was really nice with some simple lemon-garlic wilted spinach.  Simple, humble food; my favorite kind to cook these days.  And it has a wonderful tarragon flavor.  If you’ve never had anything with fresh tarragon, do yourself a favor and make something with it.

Truthfully, this wasn’t the perfect dinner; it felt like there was no main dish.  I suppose the “square meal” bias is a relic from my meat-eating days; I’ve mostly gotten away from thinking in terms of main courses and sides.  But I couldn’t help telling Erin that I thought this would be damn good with roasted chicken!  Still, it was delicious without, though I think it would have made a better lunch than dinner.

Here’s the recipe; it’s adapted from one I found in Fine Cooking’s Make It Tonight.  One thing I’ve changed is the size of the chopped vegetables–I thought the small pieces in the original recipe cooked way too fast.  Enjoy!

[root veggies photo]

Ingredients (for 2 main courses, or 4 sides):

  • 1.5 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 small leeks, white parts only, chopped into half-inch lengths and washed well
  • 2 pounds of  mixed root vegetables, chopped into 3/4 inch chunks, should yield about 5 cups (I used carrots and white turnips, but I think pearl onions, potatoes, or parsnips would be good too)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon
  • salt and pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over high heat (use a skillet that has a lid).  Add the leeks and root vegetables and cook them for just a minute or two to get them started.  Add some salt and cover with a lid; reduce the heat to medium-low for about 5 minutes.  Remove the lid, raise the heat to medium, and cook until tender.  For me it only took 10 more minutes, with the larger pieces I’ve suggested, it should take more like 15 or 20 and the vegetables will have time to develop some color and flavor.

Remove from the heat, stir in the tarragon and season with salt and pepper before serving.



Apple-Pinto Tart

christine apple tartHey guys!  This is Christine and I’m back to kick off your weekend with another healthy dessert!  For this Sweet-Tooth Friday I had my mind set on something elegant.  You know, the kind of dessert you can bring to a dinner party and fill the room with ooh’s and aah’s.  I also wanted something that you, the NMA reader, could easily whip up with professional results.  The catch?  Sneaking some pinto beans into the filling while keeping it tasting yummy.  The result is this Normandy-style Apple-Pinto Tart and it is DELISH!

Wait a minute–pinto beans?  That’s right, but before you run for the hills hear me out.  First of all, there are so many variations of this pie from buttery applesauce to straight custard that I’m sure the French wouldn’t mind if we added just one more change.  (Oui?)  Secondly, though uncommon in the U.S., beans are used in desserts all over the world.  (Just maybe not France.)  For example, there are Thailand’s black beans and coconut, China’s red bean paste, and India’s many lentil based desserts.

If you’re still on the fence, think about the amazing health benefits added to our tart.  Pinto beans are full of dietary fiber, protein, and other heart healthy nutrients.  That’s unheard of in a dessert!  Plus, we aren’t just adding beans, we are swapping fat and animal products out!

apple tart ingredientsBeans aren’t the only good thing this tart has going for it.  The main sweetener in this dessert (besides the apples)  is demerara sugar.  Demerara is raw and has not been bleached from its original color, and also retains some of the minerals from the sugarcane plant.  Although it is still sugar, it’s nice to eat food that’s less processed.  Another interesting ingredient is arrowroot, which is used as a thickener.  I wanted a tart without a crust for simplicity, but that especially means the filling needs to stay together on its own.  I like arrowroot better than cornstarch because it holds up for the long periods of baking and is more flavor neutral.  That is especially important when we are already working to compensate for the flavor of beans.   Finally, I snuck in some ground flaxseed to up the nutrient ante even more.

I wanted to let you know that I drew on the Idaho Bean Commission (who knew!?) recipe for Pinto Bean Pie as an outline for this recipe.  I used walnut oil and the apples in place of the butter, the apples and demerara for sweetness, and a flaxseed mixture for the eggs.  In the end the only common ingredient left were the pinto beans, so now I am proud to present to you my very own NMA Apple Pinto Tart.

[apple tart pinto beans photo]

Apple-Pinto Tart Recipe


5 apples

1/3 cup demerara sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs arrowroot
1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground flaxseed
2 tsp egg replacer
1/4 cup warm water

1.5 cups pinto beans
2 tbs walnut oil
2 tbs pure maple syrup
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

If using dry beans, soak overnight.  Rinse and simmer for about 1 hr or until soft.  If using canned beans, rinse thoroughly to remove saltiness.

Preheat oven to 375.

Peel and dice 3 of the apples.  Mix the diced apples, lemon juice, arrowroot, spices and salt and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the ground flax and egg replacer with the warm water to thicken.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl mash the beans roughly with a pastry cutter until they measure 1 cup.  Add the flax mixture and beat well to further break down beans.  Add the walnut oil and maple syrup.  Add apple mixture.  Stir in walnuts and oats.  Pour mixture into greased pie plate (I just use Pam.)  Bake for 25 minutes, rotating it around about half way through.

While the tart is in the oven, slice the other two apples into quadrants.  You don’t have to peel them; the skin looks pretty as decoration.  Remove the seeds, then slice each wedge lengthwise into very thin pieces.  They should kinda look like half moons.  Cut about 4-5 of these slices in half to use as the center of the rosette.

After 25 minutes remove the tart from the oven and place on rack.  Carefully arrange the apple slices in a circle around the perimeter of the pie pan using an overlapping pattern.  Push down slightly to secure.  Make another circle of apple slices, overlapping the outside circle.  Continue arranging the apple slices in this pattern, switching to the smaller pieces as you reach the center.  Stand the smaller pieces at more of an angle to resemble a rose.  It’s not rocket science, so if you prefer to arrange the apples into a pinwheel or even a smiley face, go for it.  Return tart to the oven and lower temperature to 350.  Bake for 30 minutes more, rotating once.  Cool thoroughly before slicing.

I hope you enjoy this pretty dessert, I know I sure did!  I was really surprised by how much the texture of the beans resembled the apples after baking.  Such a show-stopping way to get your protein and fiber!

Come back next Friday for a special No Meat Athlete request…a baked goodie especially for you athletes and athletes in training.

xoxo, Christine
Pinto Bean Muffins on FoodistaPinto Bean Muffins



Feed Granola

Check out the feedbag I got from Jason at Feed Granola yesterday!

feed granola

I’ve only started eating granola since I stopped eating meat (I picked it up on sale in the health food store one day, and since then I’ve been addicted).  Recently I’ve been eating it the way someone much more slovenly might eat potato chips–right out of the bag, in front of the computer or TV, sometimes devouring half the bag in a sitting.  The only difference is that I feel about a billion times better an hour after granola overindulgence than I do with chips.

The granola that I first bought was Bear Naked, and I liked it so much that I mentioned it on this blog a while back.  But my always-one-step-hipper friends Eric and Laurie told me that Feed flat-out demolished Bear Naked in terms of taste, so I got in touch with the guys at Feed to see for myself.

feed in handThe best thing about Feed, taste aside, is what goes into their granola.  They believe in adding flavor with spices rather than loads of sugar, and the result is granola that tastes like I would imagine homemade granola does.  In addition to all the organic whole grains, there are all kinds of great extras like organic coconut chips, almonds, pecans, expeller pressed canola oil, organic flaxseeds, organic poppy seeds, chicory root fiber, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the list goes on.  This is from the Cranberry Coconut flavor, by the way, the one I have with me at school today (since it comes in a little two-ounce bag).

Feed sent me five flavors to try, here’s what Erin and I thought of each of them:

  • Cranberry Cocunut – Tasty and spicy, think holiday baking.  This would be great in the winter.
  • Raisin Nut – The most traditional flavor, far and away the best granola WE’VE EVER HAD!  Such a deep, “real” flavor compared to other brands.
  • Blueberry Almond – Our least favorite, kind of a weird aftertaste.  Not overly blueberry though, a good thing.
  • Apple a Day – Good and spicy, sure tastes like apple but might take some getting used to.
  • Bittersweetness – Delicious!  Sweet and dessert-like, with a rich chocolate flavor.  With a glass of almond milk,  this would be a perfect evening snack.  And surprisingly low in sugar.

So there you have it.  Raisin Nut and Bittersweetness were our favorites, if you couldn’t tell!  Eric and Laurie were right–for now on I’ll be buying Feed.  But Bear Naked Banana Nut flavor will still have a place next to me on the couch, among the Feed bags.

Marathon Training

My track workout the other day was painful and exhausting, and I can’t wait to do another one.  Funny how easy it is to forget that you cursed at yourself and said “This is so miserable, I swear I’ll never do it again.”  Somehow all that pain turns into pleasure once you’re a few hours removed from it.

The goal of the workout was to run three miles at 6:01 pace with a minute rest after each.  I wasn’t able to do it, but I got a hell of a lot closer than my last attempt (back in February, before my injury and when I was still a carnivore).  Back then I ran the miles in 6:01, 6:30, and 6:50.  This time it was 6:03, 6:05, 6:14.  Pretty dramatic improvement, and over the course of a few months with very limited training due to the injury.  And I thought I was in great shape back then, having run two marathons in the previous four months.  Take home lesson: if you’re a runner and want to shave some time, try giving up meat!  It’s so counterintuitive, but I can find nothing else to which I can attribute my recent performance.

Alright, enough of this blogging and granola-munching.  I’m off to do to the second such hellish workout of this first week of marathon training, this time a tempo run.  But it won’t be so bad; the track workouts are definitely the hardest for me.  And don’t forget, Sweet-Tooth Friday tomorrow!  My sister Christine will be back with another sneaky-healthy dessert for you, so be good to her.



Anniversaries, and a Movie You Must See

Three-Month Veggie-versary!

Yesterday marked the anniversary of two momentous No Meat Athlete events, if there is such a thing.  First and foremost, it was the three-month anniversary of my new diet!  Actually, three months ago is when I turned pescetarian; it was still another month or so before I stopped eating fish.  So big ups to me (and Erin), if I don’t say so myself!  Honestly, it has not for one second been a struggle.  I was so worried about what it would do to my passion for cooking, but if anything, my cooking and eating have become more varied, more interesting, and far healthier as a result.  But what has been a struggle…

Three Weeks of No Coffee and the 30-Day Challenge

Today marks three complete weeks without coffee for me, and roughly three weeks for most of the readers’ 30-Day Challenges!  How are yours going?  My guess is that we haven’t lost anyone since last week; I’ve found that after a few weeks of interrupting the old pattern, the habit is mostly broken.  But I must admit that even though I don’t crave coffee anymore and there’s no chance I’ll bitch out on the Challenge for a cup of it, I’m still really looking forward to being able to have some again.  When Erin realized I was counting down the days, she said something like “Sounds like you’re not ready to give it up.”  And I think that’s true.  I absolutely want to be able to enjoy coffee from time to time, realizing that it will give me some anxiety but that the pleasure of having a cup or two now and then is worth the tradeoff.  But knowing I can go 30 days (or more, if I desired) without having it kind of makes me feel like I control my coffee habit, not the other way around.  If I start drinking it every day once this challenge is over though, I expect you to give me some hell about it!

Food, Inc.

food-incThere’s a new movie being released (in a very limited fashion, I’m sure) that’s doing free screenings now.  It’s called Food, Inc., and it details the atrocities of the industrial food system and the Western diet, very much along the lines of the Michael Pollan stuff that I’m always pushing.  The real-food world is quite abuzz about it; I first heard of it when Oikos included a little flyer for it in the package of yogurt they sent me.    I would love to see it, but for now I’m forced to get my fix by reading reviews from those who have.  I found a really good, comprehensive, well-written one yesterday, on the new blog Jujudish; take a look!

Reading about this kind of stuff makes my blood boil.  And I’m generally a pretty passive guy.  I don’t have strong political views (I’ll admit that all a politician has to do for my vote is ease up on gambling legislation), and I don’t get inflamed about anything.  But this food-industry stuff (is “food” even the right word anymore?) strikes a chord with me like nothing else.  It used to make me proud that I eat well, as if somehow I’m above it all, but the issues run so deep that it’s really impossible not to be impacted.  And to think of the hundreds of millions of people who are completely oblivious frustrates and overwhelms me to no end.  Again I’m reminded of the quote “Be the change you want to see in the world,” but often it feels like that’s not enough.

Please check out the review of the movie, get ahold of it or see it when you can, and share it with others.  Before anything can change, people need to know about what’s going on.  Thank you, readers!  You can see a trailer here (featuring Michael Pollan himself), at the blog Feed Me I’m Cranky.



Smoky Chipotle Chili with Black Beans and TVP

Now that marathon training has officially started, I’m looking forward to my first track workout tonight– three miles, 6:01 pace, with a minute rest in between each.  When I did this same workout back in January right before I got injured, I could only complete the first such mile.  After that, I think I had to do a 6:30 and a 6:50.  I can’t wait to put this veggo diet to the test tonight and see the difference!

TVP Chili with Chipotle

chili-1Also as part of marathon training, I’ve decided to make even more of an effort to get the right foods in me.  We’ve been slacking a little on the grocery shopping, planning meals the day-of instead of shopping for the week.  When that happens, I tend to make what’s convenient, not what best supports my body.  This is how I fall into those three-days-in-a-row pasta ruts!

So yesterday when the electricity was strangely out for three hours, I got out some cookbooks (no power means no internet) to get some ideas for the week.  It always feels so great to do this, because when I plan my meals for the whole week I can make sure I’m getting a variety of vegetables, different types of whole grain carbs, and enough protein.  Even though I’m normally not too concerned about protein, I do want to make sure I’m not deficient now that it’s marathon season.

For dinner last night, I found a Fine Cooking recipe for Beef and Black Bean Chili.  And since TVP tacos turned out so well, I had no doubt that TVP (textured vegetable protein) would be perfect for de-beefing the chili.  TVP is a soy product, which I’m not huge on because of the potential dangers of too much soy (lower sperm count?  not good eats.) but I look at it this way.  If I eat soy every single day, in smoothies for breakfast, and for dinner as my primary protein source, then that’s too much.  Hell, if I eat carrots that often, there will probably be some weird side effects.  I think going crazy with soy consumption is what most of the fuss is about.  But if I eat soy only as often as I eat any other single vegetable, choosing to get my protein mostly from other beans and the occasional dairy product, then I’ll be just fine.  And with TVP, I can make chili, tacos, and sloppy joes taste and feel like the real thing.  (“I made ’em extra sloppy for ya!” — who can tell me where that nugget comes from?)

This chili turned out really well, considering I just sort of winged it with the TVP.  It had a great smoky heat, not that burn-your-tongue, wash-your-hands-BEFORE-you-go-to-the-bathroom heat, but a slower burn in the back of your throat that creeps up on you, so that halfway through the meal you wonder why you’re sweating.  Erin even liked it, and she’s not a spice person at all!  I don’t think the chili had quite the depth of flavor that real-meat chili does, but Erin said she thought it was indistinguishable.  I just added a little soy sauce to give the TVP a little bit of a meaty flavor; if you have other tricks for this I’d love to know about them.  Also, I like a little sweetness in my chili, so next time I’ll probably add a little brown sugar.  But there will definitely be a next time; it was that good.  Yet another four cows out of five!


Vegetarian Chili With TVP Recipe

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 1.5 cups of dry textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 15-oz cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 1  15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle pepper with 2 Tbsp adobo sauce from the can
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • juice of 1 juicy lime
  • big handful of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Boil a cup and a half of water and pour over the TVP in a bowl.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

In a food processor (I suppose you could use a blender), process the chipotle and adobo, the tomatoes, and about a third of the beans until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add about three quarters of the onion and saute for 3 minutes, until translucent and lightly brown.  Reduce the head and add the chili powder and cumin and saute for another 30 seconds or so, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t burn.  Add the TVP and soy sauce, black beans, and the mixture from the food processor.  Add a cup of water and let everything simmer for about 10 minutes.

While the chili simmers, combine the avocado, the remaining quarter or so of onion, and half the lime juice in a bowl.

Once the 10 minutes are up add half the lime juice and half the cilantro to the chili.  Add salt and pepper until it’s seasoned to your taste, and add more water if necessary to thin it out.  Serve, topped with the avocado mixture and garnished with cilantro and optional cheese.



Marathon Training Begins, Social Life Ends

Well, we’re back from our trip to New Hampshire/Massachusetts.  Oh, how I will miss seeing Red Sox logos every frickin’ place I look.  The wedding was really nice, and I was right on with my veggie-pasta premonition.  Here’s a quick shot of it, and one of me and Erin all dolled up.  Imagine how good it would be if my mug weren’t in it!



We were seriously missing our smoothie after a weekend of on-the-road eating, so today we had a big one with banana, frozen cherries, and Amazing Grass SuperFood powder.  I’ve been really happy with the Amazing Grass powder; it doesn’t affect the taste of the smoothie at all.  Come to think of it, I should have brought a few of the packets on the road with me, but then I’d have had to mix them with water, and I just don’t know if I’m ready to take my relationship with Amazing Grass to that level.

Marathon Training Starts This Week!

Yesterday marked exactly 16 weeks until the Wineglass Marathon, where I’ll be making another run at the goal I’ve been chasing for seven years, qualifying for Boston.  Which means my official training starts tomorrow.  I explained my tentative training schedule a while back in How I Plan to Qualify for the Boston Marathon, but now I have a much clearer picture of what I need to do to get across that line in 3 hours and 10 minutes.

matt-runningI have mixed feelings about my chances to actually do it this time.  On one hand, I feel extremely confident because my new vegetarian diet (and resultant weight loss) has allowed me to run faster than I ever have before, even with limited training due to a knee injury early this year.  My recent race times of 19:16 for a 5k and 1:34:27 for a very hilly half marathon are indicative of the fitness level associated with a 3:05 to 3:10 marathon.

But even though a 19 to 20 minute 5k is what you’d expect from a 3:10-marathoner, it’s not even close to a guarantee of a 3:10 marathon.  To run the marathon without breaking down after 15 or 20 miles requires intense training and a significant mileage buildup, and preventing injury during such training is perhaps more difficult than the exercise itself.  And that’s where I’m not so confident.  Although my knee seems to be healed and hasn’t affected any of my runs in a long time, the substantial rest the knee has required has prevented me from building up the mileage base that I had hoped to have at this stage.  I’ve managed 10-20 miles per week for the past few months; the mileage required by my training program will eclipse this amount in the first week.

The Training Program to Get Me To Boston

The training program I’ll be using is a hybrid of the programs in Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster and Core Performance Endurance.  Here’s my plan for a typical week:

  • 3 workout runs– 1 track workout, 1 tempo run, 1 long run.
  • The track workout consists of short (quarter-mile to mile), fast intervals at prescribed paces.
  • The tempo  consists of 20-45 minutes of running at a relatively uncomfortable specified pace.
  • The long run consists of 13-20 miles at a pace which gradually increases so that at the peak of the program, I’ll be running 20 miles at the pace required to qualify.
  • 3 Core Performance strength and core workouts, done on the same days as running workouts.  These are a series of dynamic plyometric exercises designed to improve running form and prevent injury.
  • 3 between-workout days, when I’ll do either easy runs or cross-training (swimming or biking), depending on how I’m feeling.
  • 1 rest day.
  • 1 day of weightlifting, if I can fit it in and not feel overworked on between-workout days.  It will consist of front squats, deadlifts, quad and hamstring extensions, and light upper body lifts.

So that’s my plan.  Certainly there will be plenty of modifications along the way as I figure out what works and what doesn’t.  The absolute must for me is avoiding injury, since I feel that my conditioning level is already fairly close to what’s required.  But an injury that sidelines me for two or three weeks is all that’s needed to derail the whole thing, along with another season of my Boston dreams.

And the Chobani Winner Is…

Dea, whose perfect Chobani snack is a roasted onion dip made with plain Chobani, fresh thyme, black pepper, and sea salt!  And how did I pick Dea?  Very complicated.  I said, “If I could eat any of these Chobani treats right now, which would it be?”  And since I’d already had a smoothie, I was in the mood for something savory.  Of course there were lots of other great ideas, like peach Chobani with blueberry jam from LisaM, sweet potato fries with honey chobani dip from Christine, and of course a shameless attempt to appeal to my mathematical side by Alison from Mama’s Weeds.  Thanks to everyone who entered; more giveaways are in the works!



Eating on the Road

Hey everyone!  Hope you enjoyed my little sis’ guest dessert post yesterday.  You can look forward to those for the next few Fridays.  Today I’m coming at you live from the great state of Massachusetts.  Go Red Sawks–NOT AT ALL!  In fact, one might classify me as part of Red Sox Hation.  But the people here are nice, so I won’t hate.

amazing-grass-chocolate-barI’m here for a wedding in which Erin is a bridesmaid, so here I sit in the hotel room, taking weird pictures of myself holding an Amazing Grass Chocolate Green SuperFood bar, while she’s off doing whatever it is that girls in the bridal party do on wedding days.  I hung out with some of the other estranged husbands for a little while, so as I write this I’m just a few beers deep, which means that for the first time I’m doing what is known in blog circles as drogging (drunk + blogging).  Although I suppose a better word for me is buzzlogging, because surely I couldn’t craft such elegant prose if I were totally sauced.

This is the first time since I became vegetarian that I’ve had to eat on the road–if you’re even a little bit of a conscious eater, you know how hard travel can be on your diet (remember the nasty Roy Rogers sandwich I was forced to eat on the way home from the Tony Robbins seminar that started it all?).  I’m sure traveling has been the cause of countless blown diets for people.  Thankfully, I’ll never again be on the type of diet capable of being blown by a weekend of bad eating; when you don’t eat meat, it’s sort of hard to stray too far from a healthy diet.  But of course, traveling requires a certain amount of deviation from one’s normal eating routine.

I was able to eat breakfast at home yesterday before I flew up here, and on the plane I just had a cup of decaf coffee and an Amazing Grass Green SuperFood bar.  I’ve really enjoyed all of the Amazing Grass products I’ve sampled so far, but the bars have not been my favorite.  I love that they’re made from organic whole foods and that I was able to get some greens up in me while on the plane, but the taste isn’t much better than the fake protein bars I used to eat when I was really into lifting weights.  Imagine a spinach salad loaded up with nuts and too many dried sweetened cranberries, and you’ll be pretty close to the taste of the SuperFood bar.

Breakfast is usually the hardest travel meal for me–I’m lost without my smoothie–but thankfully the people we stayed with last night had some cinnamon raisin bagels for us since they knew we wouldn’t want bacon and eggs.  Nothing against eggs; I use them all the time in my cooking.  I just have not been able to eat them by themselves ever since I ate too many dyed, hard-boiled ones in an Easter-morning fervor one year when I was a kid.

For lunch both days I’ve had margherita pizza, with a salad yesterday and with two beers today.  Definitely not something I feel great about eating, but one can do much worse than this when on the road, and as I said before, my relationship with food is such that a few days of less-than-perfect eating doesn’t mess anything up.

At the rehearsal dinner yesterday, there was no vegetarian entree so I got by on sides.  Green beans with almonds, salad, and some baked ziti filled me up.  And half a slice of cheesecake.  It’s funny that most people probably ate this same stuff, plus a big piece of meat!  Skipping the meat has really become second nature already, and it feels great.

As for tonight, the bride was kind enough to make sure there’s a vegetarian entree for us.  When we specified two surf-with-no-turf’s on our RSVP card (we were still mostly pescetarian back then), I guess she realized something was up and scored us the veggie entree instead.  My money is on pasta with veggies, and you won’t hear me complaining if that’s what it is.

So you see, traveling doesn’t have to mean turning your meals into a free-for-all or being forced to eat the crap that fast-food places pawn off as healthy food.  You can eat well, even if it’s not what you’d eat at home, without making too many special arrangements or bringing your whole kitchen on the road.  And best of all, you can have fun while you do it and not look like a stick in the mud.  I mean come on, what would the other husbands have thought if I’d have ordered a salad and a water instead of pizza and beer at lunch?