Sweet-Tooth Friday: Vegan Cranberry Spinach Bars

[christine with cranberry bars photo]Hey guys, it’s Christine here wishing you a happy Sweet-Tooth Black Friday!  I hope you had a nice veggie filled Thanksgiving yesterday.  If you are taking a break from shopping and noshing on leftovers already, be sure to set some cranberry sauce aside for today’s recipe, Vegan Cranberry Crumble bars, made with a secret helping of spinach!

The Sweet Side

Now you may be tired of cooking after yesterday’s big meal, but this Cranberry Crumble will carry you all the way to Christmas.  The tart flavor adds a nice contrast to both savory dishes and desserts.   Best of all, this berry packs a powerful nutritional punch.  Besides being filled with vitamin C, cranberries also have phytochemicals that act as antioxidants.  Cranberries can even fight bacteria, like the ones that cause gum disease and urinary tract infections.  Their bright red skin adds a splash to any holiday table, but more importantly, that red color comes from anthocyanins, another super powerful antioxidant.

Environmentally speaking, cranberry bogs offer a couple of benefits as well.  Cranberry bogs need quite of bit of surrounding land to support the wetland, which provides homes for other wildlife.  These wetlands help prevent the spread of urban sprawl.  With some pressure from the EPA, cranberry farmers are starting to use natural methods for controlling pests and weeds.  For example, instead of pesticides, they apply a thin layer of sand to the cranberry vines which buries insect eggs, fungus spores, and seeds that may compete with the cranberries.

The Sour Side

Unfortunately, the enviromental effects of cranberry bogs aren’t all so sweet.  Farmers still use pesticides directly in the fresh water that covers the cranberries, and this water runs off into other streams and river.  Even when chemicals aren’t used, cranberries bogs can still affect local water.  Farmers need to keep running water over the vines to keep them from freezing.  The addition of this running warmer water heats up other local water sources, which can harm species that need cold water for survival, like trout.  Finally, cranberry bogs are rarely constructed from scratch.  They are usually built on top of natural wetlands, an already endangered environment.  Check out this cool article from TLC and How Stuff Works for more information.

On the baking side, although there are many benefits to cranberries, there is always one prevailing problem: sugar.  Cranberries need a lot of sweetening to be palatable in desserts.  But with the increasing availabilty of stevia and agave nectar, there are lower sugar ways of solving the tart issue.

Vegan Cranberry Crumble Bars

For my first cranberry dessert of the season, I decided to rework an old favorite: Vegan Blueberry Crumble Bars.  When I first made that recipe, I liked it so much I vowed to make another variation of it.  This time, instead of the blackberry jam and fresh blueberries, I used a can of Organic Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce.  If you are using fresh homemade cranberry sauce, you may need to increase the arrowroot or cornstarch to thicken it up.  To make a more seasonal dessert, I substituted a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice for the teaspoon of cinnamon, and used pecans instead of almonds.  Finally, instead of almond extract, I added a teaspoon of orange liqueur to better complement the cranberries.  I went for “bars” this time instead of “wedges,” and found that in the 8 inch square pan I used needed another 5-10 minutes of baking.

The result?  A delicious and healthy dessert that definitely got me in the holiday spirit!  The darkness of the cranberries worked well with the spinach, and just like last time, the spinach was totally undetectable in both taste and appearance.  These Vegan Cranberry Crumble bars would be a super way to introduce something healthier to your cookie exchange!

[cranberry spinach bars photo]

Ok that’s it for this week!  I just wanted to say thanks to Matt and Erin for the delicious and healthy Thanksgiving dinner; I know they worked really hard preparing it.  The Spicy Curried Pumpkin Soup and the Pecan Brussel Sprouts were just to die for.  Thanks guys!!

Check back in next week for some “sweet” homemade Christmas gift ideas!

xoxo Christine

AG_logo_OGSFAmazing Grass Sale

Hey everybody, it’s Matt.  Just wanted to let you know that the nice folks at Amazing Grass, who did a giveaway on this blog a few weeks back, asked me to pass along the message that they’re having a Black Friday sale today.  30% off anything except combos and sale packs, today (11/27) only.  Just use the coupon code “greenfriday” at checkout.  A lot of you said that the price of Amazing Grass was the only thing you didn’t like about it, so here’s your opportunity.  And if you go there right from my site, I’ll get credit for the referral, so by all means, do that!



Run every day in November plan = Fail!

Picture of abort retry fail for the article
Image via Wikipedia

Happy almost-Thanksgiving!  I’ve been busy all day with cooking for our first turkey-less turkey day, and there’s still lots more to do, so this post will just be a quick one.

Well, the title says it all — I took Sunday and Monday off from running.  I said at the beginning of this challenge to run every day in November that I wasn’t going to do anything stupid, and if I needed a break then I’d take one.  The funny thing is, I didn’t really feel like I needed a break after running 12 miles at JFK on Saturday.  But then I woke up Sunday morning with a weird tingling/numbness/pain in my right hip.  It actually hurt just to walk around Sunday morning!

I have no idea what this was about, because after two days off it’s totally gone.  I ran 10 miles yesterday and 7 today (in my Vibram FiveFingers, again) and everything feels great, so I’m not worried.  But taking two days off was the right thing to do.

My bitching out on my challenge is made a little more excusable by the fact that I’ve done some two-a-days.  So while I wasn’t able to run every day in November, I have averaged a run every day in November so far.  See, math comes in handy!

Far more important than this is the fact that the challenge served its purpose.  I’m feeling a million times better than I was when I set this goal as a means to get myself out of a little rut I was in, mentally.  It’s amazing how when you’re feeling sluggish and lazy, doing the thing that’s hardest to do (getting outside and moving) can be exactly the thing you need to give you more energy.  That, combined with eating a cleaner, greener diet with lots of vegan meals, has left me with more energy than I’ve had in a long time.  And I have an 18-mile trail run on Saturday, so it will be needed.

Alright, that’s all for now.  I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures of the food we make for our first veggie Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to actually be thankful for something!  Like having carpet in your house instead of hot lava, for example.

P.S. There’s still time to enter my Recovery Sock giveaway.  And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve already got another great one lined up after that!

P.P.S.  Want more to read?  Check out Megan’s newest Running Shorts post on fall foods for runners.  Better yet: print it out and be the coolest one at your Thanksgiving table!



How to Avoid Shin Splints and Stress Fractures

Anterior leg muscles
Image via Wikipedia

Shin Happens

Shin pain sucks.  It’s so frustrating to feel that your fitness is improving but the small muscles in your shins are preventing you from becoming the runner you know you can be.

During my first three or four years as a runner, I was plagued by shin problems.  As soon as I began training for my first marathon, I developed shin splints.  Being a new runner and not knowing what might happen, I did my best to manage the pain and keep on training.  I even shaved the bottom six inches of my legs so that I could tightly wrap them in tape! This probably did more harm than good, and within a few months I was diagnosed with a tibial stress fracture and had to wear an aircast and stop training.  Against doctor’s orders, I ended up doing the marathon, though “running” isn’t the word I’d use to describe the second half of it.

I endured several more starts and stops over the next few years, each time committing to really run a marathon, and each time having to stop as my shin pain became unbearable with the increasing mileage.  Finally in 2006, after four years of frustration, I figured out the magic formula and ran the marathon I had — quite literally — dreamt about.  Since then, shin pain has become a non-issue, so far removed from my focus that the days of fighting it feel like part of another life.

Here’s a list of the things I did that allowed me to beat shin pain once and for all.  I’m sure that not all of them mattered, but it’s hard to know which helped and which didn’t.  I’ve put them in order of decreasing importance based on my gut feeling.

Disclaimer: this is what worked for me; everyone is different.  Do more research before incorporating these ideas into your training.

How to Avoid Shin Pain

  • Increase stride rate to around 180 steps per minute. You can measure your stride rate by counting the number of times a single foot hits the ground in a minute, then multiplying by two.  180 is the rate that most top endurance runners have.  Compared to a much lower rate, which I naturally had, taking 180 steps per minute forces you to run much “lighter,” the way you might run if you were running on eggshells.  The easiest way to train yourself to increase your stride rate?  Find a running song (see song #5) with about that tempo, or run on a treadmill and make sure that you take three steps per second.  It’s extremely awkward at first, but eventually it feels natural.
  • Minimize the number of hard workouts. A huge part of my problem was that I was going for too much, too fast.  Running hard puts more strain on your shins and creates acid in the body, which can weaken bones.  Build up a slow mileage base until you beat shin pain.  At the very least, don’t run hard two days in a row.  Mix in very slow runs and off days to let your shins recover.
  • Run almost exclusively on soft trails, tracks, or treadmills. I really enjoy pounding the pavement in the city.  But to get past shin pain, I made it a point to stick to the soft stuff.
  • Get neutral shoes, not stability shoes. When I first got fit for real running shoes, I was diagnosed as an overpronator and was told to run in stability shoes.  Sure enough, I still got injured.  When I bought my next pair, I based the decision solely on what felt most comfortable, and that happened to be a pair of neutral shoes.  Having since learned the rationale behind barefoot or almost-barefoot running, I’m not surprised that I responded better to neutral shoes than high-tech stability shoes.  To this day, I run in neutral shoes.
  • Do shin stretches after every run. I’m now of the belief that stretching doesn’t help prevent injury, but this was something I did at the time so I’m including it here.  After each run, I walked about 60 steps on my heels and did other shin stretches.
  • Take calcium supplements. This is another one that I now feel is of minimal importance.  I took calcium citrate pills to strengthen the bones in my shins, but based on what I now know about how the body absorbs supplements versus whole foods, I’d rather get the calcium through my diet than through pills.

A final word of advice: the best way for me to tell when I had “turned the corner” from shin splints to a (more-serious) stress fracture was that with the stress fracture, the pain was very localized.  I could identify a precise spot that was tender rather than a general area.  If you think you have a stress fracture, see a doctor and consider taking a few weeks off, since more activity will only worsen it.

And of course, a nice pair of Recovery Socks probably doesn’t hurt, so enter my giveaway before Saturday!  Recovery socks weren’t around back when I had shin pain, but they are purported to lessen the incidence of shin injuries by stimulating blood flow.

This post is part of a series of posts designed to teach you how to run long and strong.  Go check out the rest!



Recovery Sock giveaway!

[Recovery Sock logo]Ah, another weekend gone by with priority given to living over blogging.  Luckily, I have a sweet giveaway to make it up to you… more on that in a minute.

JFK 50-Miler

I spent my Saturday crewing for three friends from my running group who ran in the JFK 50-Miler.  This basically meant that another friend and I had the job of meeting our runners al0ng the course to give them changes of shoes and socks, take their sweaty clothes after the sun came up, keep them fueled with whatever food and drink they needed, and even run with them a little bit.

[matt with runners]The good news: everybody finished!  One of our runners finished in 8:58; the other two ran together and finished in 10:27.  It was awesome to be a part of it all.  The excitement of seeing them at all different points in the race and running on the course with them for miles 15-27 got me even more fired up to do my first 50, which I’m hoping will be sometime this Spring after I have a few 50K’s under my belt.

A few more things about the race:

  • Vegan ultramarathon superstar Scott Jurek ran it, coming in 11th with a time of 6:31:12.
  • While I was running on the course, I met David from EnerChi Fitness, a vegan Chi- runner and NMA-reader!  Congrats to David, who finished the race in 9:39.
  • Our only DNF (did not finish) of the day came at dinner after the race.  The lesson: consuming beer to celebrate running 50 miles is fun; consuming ONLY beer after running 50 miles is not a great idea.

Congrats to all JFK finishers, particularly Ron, Kath, and Shawn.

[ron, 15 miles]

[kath, 27 miles]

[shawn, finish]

Recovery Sock giveaway

I’ve posted so many post-long-run pictures of my legs in Recovery Socks that there’s really no need for any more.

One of the things I love most about running is the fact that you don’t need a bunch of expensive stuff to do it.  But seriously, Recovery Socks are one product that’s absolutely worth it.  After a hard run, my legs feel a million times better when I wear Recovery Socks for a few hours than when I don’t.  I’ve worn them after every tough run I’ve done in the past few months, and I even wear them on long car or plane rides where I need to sit still for an extended period of time.  I can’t say enough good things about how well they work.

The idea behind Recovery Socks is that they provide gradual compression to stimulate blood flow and prevent blood from pooling in the legs after a run.  Honestly, that’s all the blood science I care to know.  For me, an “if-then” statement is enough.  If I wear them, then my legs feel good.  For that day and the next.

The best part: the nice folks at Recovery Sock are giving away a pair, allowing one lucky winner to circumvent the $34.90 price tag!

As usual, all you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post, and I’ll choose a random winner this weekend.  For extra good karma, you can link back to this post, tweet about it, and check out my new Running Shorts post about how stretching doesn’t help prevent injuries, but none of that will actually help you win the contest.

Last thing: Recovery Sock sent me a pair of armwarmers to review, but unfortunately (fortunately?), it hasn’t been cold enough to wear them on a run.  But look for that post once the temperature drops!  Also, they sent me more Recovery Sock headbands than I know what to do with.  They’re just cotton headbands, but if you want one, just ask.  I’ll send one out to the first few people who ask.  (Come on, save my gift recipients from a Recovery Sock headband Christmas!)



Sweet-Tooth Friday: My Ten Best Baking Tips

[christine baking]Hello foodies!  It’s Christine here for Sweet-Tooth Friday!  As the holidays roll around, it’s time to show off your culinary prowess!  To go along with my post on how to be a healthier baker, I thought I’d let you in on some more general (but uber-important) tidbits I’ve picked up as a professional baker.

Ten Tips for Better Baking

  1. Ditch the timer
    That cake is done when you say it’s done!  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is blindly following the time given in a recipe.  Sure, you can use the time given as a guideline, but it can totally vary based on the size of your pan, the nuances of your oven, and even altitude!   I always start checking on my goodies at least five minutes earlier than the time listed.  Keep an eye out for signs your cake is done: edges that are pulling away from the sides of the pan, an unjiggly center, and a knife that comes out clean!  If whatever you are baking is browning on top but still not done in the center, just loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil.
  2. Get an oven thermometer
    I cannot stress this enough: setting your dial to 350 degrees does not guarantee your oven will heat to 350 degrees!  Many ovens I have worked with are fifty degrees too hot, so setting it to 350 actually means 400.  This is a sure-fire way to over-bake or burn your creations, so before you unnecessarily chip away at your baking confidence, just go get a thermometer already!  Mine works great and was less than ten bucks.
  3. Know thy oven
    Does your oven have a hot spot in the back left corner?  Do cakes on the bottom rack burn if they don’t have sheet pan underneath them?  That’s how my oven is!  If you’re not sure about yours, try to stay in the center of the oven and rotate your pan around about half way through baking.  When you have something on both the top and bottom racks, swap positions there too.
  4. Make every stir count
    For light and fluffy baked goods, it’s important not to over-stir.  Over-stirring strengthens the gluten, which can make your cake tough.  There are several ways to efficiently stir your batter.  First, make sure your dry ingredients are completely mixed together before you get them wet.  Next, instead of stirring vigorously like a cartoon chef, gently scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl and mix with a folding motion, constantly incorporating a new section of batter.
  5. Use the right pans No, you probably don’t need that teddy bear sheriff cake pan.  But if you only have your trusty 9×13 casserole dish and muffin tin, it may be time to branch out.  A 12 cup bundt pan makes an effortless presentation, plus it requires less icing than a normal cake.  A springform pan has a removable bottom, and is nice for coffeecakes and other tarts so you don’t have to flip it.  Finally, an insulated cookie sheet will bake your cookies without scorching the bottoms.
  6. Chill out
    Let your cake or cookies cool before taking them out of the pan.  (Better yet, let them cool on a wire rack so air can circulate around the bottom.)  Otherwise you risk getting burnt, or more tragically could cause your baked goods to break.  Breads, brownies, and “custard” pies especially need time to finishing baking after they come out of the oven so just let them be for twenty minutes of so.  And you!  Yes you, Johnny Impatient.  Don’t even think about icing a hot cake or cupcake- you’ll be much happier with the room-temperature results.
  7. Find a trusty recipe source
    If you are going to use your valuable time and ingredients, you should know your source.  I’ve had great success with epicurious.com and as you know I also love to “ask Betty“; Matt really likes finecooking.com.  For vegan fun, nothing tops Isa and the gang at The Post Punk Kitchen.  And, ahem, there’s yours truly. You can always hit me up with your baking questions in the comments.
  8. Make the recipe yours
    Substitutions are your friend when you can’t find the healthy recipe you want.  See my post on healthy baking on how to veganize any recipe.  Also, remember to read recipes with a critical eye- typos do exist.  If something seems really off, say a quarter cup of salt, it probably is!  Finally, feel free to mix up the flavors and add-ins, but don’t go too crazy.  One to three flavors usually work best.  For example, Lemon Cake is good, White Chocolate Lemon Cake is good, and White Chocolate Lemon Cake with Raspberries is good.  White Chocolate Lemon Poppy Raspberry Walnut?  Too much.
  9. Don’t forget the finishing touches
    Sometimes a dash of rainbow sprinkles is all you need to pull a dessert together.  A dusting of powdered sugar is also a nice professional touch- just a teaspoon goes a long way.  A drizzle of melted chocolate or chocolate syrup looks elegant on the dessert and the plate.  Fresh berries make a lovely garnish too.
  10. Get out of your comfort zone
    Still hoping for that pie crust to roll itself?  Wary about yeast breads?  If you’ve been avoiding recipes that require seemingly complicated skills, go ahead and give it a shot!  It takes some practice, but it’s not rocket science.  Just don’t save your experiments for an hour before your big dinner party.

And finally, I hope this is obvious, but have fun!  The holidays are a great opportunity to get your oven revving, and your friends and family are sure to thank you for it!

Have a sweet Thanksgiving!

xoxo Christine

About the Author: Christine Frazier writes vegan recipes through lots of research, trial, and error … now she is applying the same theory to her other passion, writing stories. Follow along as she deconstructs bestsellers and learns how to write a novel.



All things running

Take one down, pass it around

[no meat athlete shirt trail race photo]As of yesterday, 99 No Meat Athlete shirts (plus a few freebies) are floating around this planet!  Most are in the U.S. lower 48, but I’ve shipped some to Hawaii, Australia, Denmark, and many to Canada (eh?).   This is so neat for me, since when I first considered getting shirts, I was pestered by my own nagging “Why would anybody want a shirt from your stupid blog” thoughts.  So it is awesome that so many people have bought them and it’s cool to hear people tell me they saw someone wearing one in a race.  Just yesterday, NMA-reader Elisa sent me this photo of herself showing her veggie pride at the Jack London Trail Race in Nashua, NH!  Thanks Elisa. (And the other 98 of you, feel free to send me your photos.  You, too, could have your photo on this newfangled interweb!)

Two runs, one day

I just got back from a nice 7-miler this morning, and tonight I have my weekly trail run.  For those scoring at home, that’s two runs in one day!  This is actually something that serious runners do a lot — your legs get a chance to recover, and you can refill your glycogen stores — but I’ve never in my life run twice in a single day.  I’ve just never wanted to; it’s always been a “workout” mentality for me.  One workout a day, no need for any more.

But it’s not about that anymore.  I really just love running recently.  When I’m running, everything is good.  I told you Stu Mittleman‘s book was a little bit of a daisy-picker so far, but maybe it’s rubbing off.  When I consciously direct my focus and try to enjoy running, I’m finding that it gives me the same sort of “high” that I get from coffee (which, by the way, I haven’t had in six days).

Four 50K’s, four months

Part of my motivation for putting in more miles recently — every day in November, going strong — is something I haven’t told too many people about yet.  I’ve signed up for a 50K (31 miles) race in each month from December through March!

This is definitely a change from the “train for a marathon” mindset, where you build up to the race and go all-out on race day.  It will be a nice test to see if I can maintain consistently high mileage for an extended period of time, rather than training in terms of build-ups and rests.  I certainly won’t “race” all of these; I’ll take some easy and use them as long, slow training runs.

Of course, this is all in preparation for a 50-miler which I hope to do in the spring.  I was really hoping to do Bull Run, but I’m realizing that April 10th is just a bit too close for marital comfort to our baby’s due date of April 19.  But there are plenty more; I just might have to do some traveling to get there.

And one thing vegan

Michelle from Eating Journey and Katy from Silly Tater Tot have gone vegan for the week!  They asked me to participate by going vegan for the day, which is coincidental since I’ve been vegan for the week too, ever since I found 1,000 Vegan Recipes.  They’re having lots of guest posts about vegan stuff, so check out their blogs and think about going vegan for a day this week!

Stay tuned

[Recovery Sock logo]I have an awesome giveaway in store for next week, one that I know you runners/athletes will be excited about.  Now, I don’t want to mention any names and spoil what it is, but somewhere on this page I have placed a very subtle clue.  It’s one of my favorite things, something that I use ALL the time, after every long run.  Hmm, what ever could it be?

Enjoy the rest of your week!



Three meals from My Current Favorite Cookbook

My newest cookbook/love/obsession, 1,000 Vegan Recipes, is still batting 1,000.  I’ve made four meals from it and all of them have been very good.  I already told you about pasta with white bean and garlic sauce; here are the next three I’ve tried.

Red bean chili:

[vegan chili photo]

The stuff that kinda looks like meat — bulgur wheat!  This chili was delicious, but just a bit too spicy.  Still, the best vegetarian chili we’ve had.

Ziti with roasted pepper-walnut sauce:

[vegan ziti photo]

No, that’s not parmesan cheese on top… it’s ground walnuts!  The sauce in this one was really flavorful — roasted red peppers, tomato paste, onions, garlic, and some spices, combined in a food processor.  Better than any non-vegan ziti I’ve had.

Salad with fennel, macadamia nuts, and dried cranberries:

[macadamia salad photo]

Of everything I’ve made from 1,000 Vegan Recipes, this salad is the best so far.  It has a light, sweet vinaigrette dressing with shallot that goes really nicely with the cranberries and nuts.  Here’s my adapted recipe for that one:

Vegan Macadamia Cranberry Salad

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • half a small shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl.  Process the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Mix and eat!

The one problem I’ve had with the book so far is one that a commenter mentioned — some of the measurements seem a little off.  This isn’t a huge deal for me, since I usually eyeball ingredient amounts anyway, but it can be a problem.  Exhibit A:

[scorched pot photo]

My freaking Dutch oven got scorched!  And we’re still trying to get the char off of it.  This is what I presume happens when there’s not enough water in a chili recipe and you let it simmer for 45 minutes.  As we were adding the water, I mentioned to Erin that it didn’t seem like enough.  Should have done something about it.  Luckily, we salvaged the chili.  And eventually, the Dutch oven will be cleaned.  For now, it sits soaking in the sink and filling the house with wonderful aromas.



Cleaning out the ol’ pipes

[cleanse drink photo]

You may be wondering why I’m choking down green slime.  I’m doing a seven-day cleanse; that’s why.  To be honest, I have no idea if these things work.  I know there’s a lot of doubt about whether herbs and fiber can actually do anything to clear out your liver, kidneys, lymph system, and a bunch of other (grosser) stuff.  But even if it’s just a placebo effect that leaves you feeling lighter and more energetic afterward, I’ll take it.  I will henceforth refer to this cleanse as Super Colon Blow II.

So why am I doing Super Color Blow II?  Well, I’ve found myself extremely busy recently.  With grad school, running, three blogs, and all the other things I like to do, I just don’t have enough time.  (You should see how gross my car is, I haven’t cleaned it out in so long.)  So I got the idea that I need to start sleeping less.  I think I average seven and a half or eight hours now.  And I really don’t think I need that much, especially with my diet and the amount of exercise I get.

[cleanse photo]So I need to have more energy if I’m going to train myself to sleep less.  Since digestion consumes a buttload of energy, I am trying to clean up my diet even more. (This is partly where 1000 Vegan Recipes comes in.)  So I picked up some Amazing Grass Green Superfood and I’ve been drinking that daily, and now I’m officially starting everything with this cleanse (Super Colon Blow II).  With the cleanse comes a cleanse diet, which for me just means lots of fruits and vegetables and raw foods; in particular, alkalizing ones like greens, limes, lemons, avocado, and almonds.  And not drinking any coffee or (much) alcohol.

Having given up coffee in the past for as long as a month, I don’t see that happening long-term.  I never feel like I need it and I’m fine when I don’t have it, but I just enjoy it too much to say I’m giving it up for good.  And I’ll make no attempt to stop drinking beer; doing that after trail runs is just too much fun. (And I’m going to brew a new batch of beer soon, what fun would it be if I couldn’t drink it?)

So that’s the plan, Sam.  We’ll see how it goes.  On a related note, I got my copy of Stu Mittleman‘s book Slow Burn yesterday.  So far it’s a lot of daisy-picking fluff, but I’m hoping that once I get out of the “Think” section and into the “Train” and “Eat” sections, it will be more inspiring and informative.

That’s it for now.  Off to pop some more cleanse pills, watch Monday Night Football, and limit myself to seven hours of sleep!  Super Colon Blow II, MNF, and self-imposed sleep restrictions — typical guy night, huh?