how to make a salad that’s not boring

Here’s my handy guide to salad making.

IMG_2523Base – start with a nice, tasty green base

examples: spinach, baby kale, mix greens, spring mix, but PLEASE not iceberg!

Fruit – I love fruit in my salads

examples: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or apple slices are some of my favorites

Protein – for me, a salad is not complete with some protein

examples: marinated tofu, white beans, chickpeas, black beans

Seeds or nuts – my version of croutons 🙂

examples: sesame seeds, pistachios, candied walnuts, sunflower seeds

Spice it up! – If you like a little kick, add some!

examples: shallots, red onion, garlic

Other – other fun things to add

examples: quinoa, cauliflower rice, corn, grape tomatoes, radish

Avocado – goes with any salad if you ask me!

Dressing – there’s so many choices, my personal favorite is olive oil and pineapple white balsamic vinegar

Today’s salad (pictured above):

  • baby kale
  • sliced strawberries
  • white beans
  • shallots
  • sprouted sunflower seeds
  • green tahini dressing
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summer reading update

Here’s a sample of what I’ve been reading this summer…

Seveneves by Neal StephensonSeveneves by Neal Stephenson

I loved the first half of this book, and I didn’t really care for the ending. However, I don’t think that should stop anyone from reading it.

Seveneves is a realistic, contemporary sci-fi novel that poses the question “what would happen if the earth became uninhabitable?”  Our characters learn they have approximately 2 years before that happens, and the novel follows their preparations, their struggle, and what comes after life on earth.

If you like sci-fi where the science is accurate, the technology is something that seems possible, then you will enjoy this book.

On the surface, it reminded me a little of the TV show “The 100”, except with better science, a more realistic plot, and well, it’s really not the same, except the part about earth being uninhabitable for a really, really long time.

 

And I Darken by Kiersten WhiteAnd I Darken by Kiersten White

I mistakenly thought this would be a young adult / fantasy novel about vampires. Turns out it’s historical fiction about Vlad the Impaler, but re-imagined with Vlad as a girl.

I loved this book, and found it very intriguing. I don’t know much about the Ottoman Empire and I feel like I’ve learned a little more after reading this. I’m looking forward to more from this author!

 

 

 

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

If you haven’t seen Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on Presence, go watch it now!

While I enjoyed this book, I felt it was a little repetitive, went off topic a bit, and could have been a lot shorter. If you really love her Ted Talk and want to know more, then read the book. Otherwise, just enjoy what you learned from the Ted Talk and read something else.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost)You're Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day by Felicia Day

Before reading this book, I knew of Felicia Day from her role on Eureka! and from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I had heard of her show The Guild, but never watched it.

Turns out that she and I have had some parallels in our lives. We’re about the same age, and we both grew up right as the internet was becoming mainstream. We both made friends online at a young age, when it wasn’t typical to do so. Both of us had mixed results when meeting those friends in person.

Felicia moved to LA to become an actress, and while I did not do that, while she was searching for an acting role, she became addicted to World of Warcraft. I can totally relate to that!

Her book is funny and honest, and was a quick, interesting read. After finishing it, I did watch The Guild, which I recommend to anyone who’s into gaming. It’s quite funny.

 

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what makes you faster?

There’s a lot of advice on how to be faster. There’s so much that it can actually be overwhelming to figure out what advice to follow.

Here’s a sample of things you can do to run faster:

  • Run slower (the thought being recovery is important and distance is important)
  • Run faster (intervals / tempo / speed workouts)
  • Run hills
  • Strength train
  • Run more (distance, duration, etc)
  • Lose weight
  • Run with a faster cadence
  • Change/improve your running form

So…. in July, I have run at 2 minutes per mile faster than usual without an increase in my perceived effort.I’ve been trying to run faster for a long time and I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck. I feel like I’ve tried everything… but I really haven’t. What’s my secret?

Running slower doesn’t seem like any advice to me, I’m so slow, if I run any slower, I’d be walking, so that one is out for me. Running faster makes sense, but I’ve always struggled to incorporate speed work into outdoor runs and found tempo runs easier to accomplish on the dreaded treadmill.

I don’t live near any hills and hill runs on the treadmill are just torture, so that’s not gonna happen regularly. I’m also really bad about going to the gym, and I have tried strength training in the past and I didn’t seem any noticeable speed gains.

Run more…. ah, I’m struggling to just run what I do now.

Lose weight…. I’ve lost about 20 lbs in the last 18 months, and I don’t think that’s it either. But I can see that if you weigh less it might take less effort to go faster.

That leaves us with the last two. Run with a faster cadence and change/improve your running form. I didn’t really set out to do either of these things, and I don’t think this explains ALL of it, but it is some of it.

I was out for a run earlier this month, and when I came around the corner on to my street for the final stretch, I sprinted the last block to my house. I noticed how different my running form is when I’m going all out versus when I’m at an easy pace. I would almost say if there really is a difference between running and jogging it would have to be form!

On my next run, I decided to try to incorporate more of the form I felt when sprinting into a regular run. I set out to do 10 1-minute intervals with a recovery period in between. What I had observed about my form while sprinting is that I’m more upright, my knees come up higher, my heels kick back farther, and and and… my cadence is faster.

I read an article online that with good running form, your feet should be landing just under your body and that you should be minimizing the time your feet spend on the ground. Trying to put your feet out too far in front, or push off behind you is actually counter-productive. So, while I was practicing my sprinting form (but at a slower speed), I tried to think about keeping my feet on the ground less and moving quickly.

I noticed right away that just trying to maintain this form made me faster. I could not go my usual easy/snail pace. It just didn’t work. And 1 minute was easy. At least it was for the first 8 intervals. By the last 2, I was struggling after ~40 seconds, but that’s ok. I was running out of air, which tells me I need to focus on breathing.

And that brings me to my last point. Breathing.

For the last month or so, I’ve paid more attention (in general) to how I breathe and how breath is connected to everything. Yes, I know, this is very familiar to anyone that’s done yoga. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention all this time in yoga class, or maybe I finally figured it out. Either way, I’ve been working on making sure I breathe more fully and into my diaphragm and not using just my lungs. 

Certainly, I have more work to do both on the breathing and my form, but I’m feeling energized by this unexpected speed burst this month. Let’s hope it helps me in my 10k that’s coming up soon!

–> What makes you run faster?

 

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