Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Food Workout



I seem to have a lot of recipes percolating on the not-quite-reliable stove. On Sunday I was forced to make substitutions to my lemon coffee cake (Greek yogurt for sour cream) with mostly happy results - a little spongey and not quite crumbly. So I'll be taking another crack at the perfect crumb.

Today I attempted to arrive at a creamy chocolate cheesecake and still fell short of the mark. The cheesecake is still cooling (a good 3 hour process) so I have not had the chance to test the final creaminess, but the top of my cheesecake resembles a circular Grand Canyon with a cavernous crack all the way along the edge of the cheesecake. The edges were overbaked and then cooled too quickly, causing the edge to pull away from the still molten center. Fortunately, while terribly unsightly, this attempt will still be edible without fear of food poisoning from uncooked raw eggs.


I spent this afternoon revising spinach lasagna - I want more flavor, fewer ingredients, cheesier filling, and fewer carbs. And less watery runoff when it bakes. I've been making and devouring spinach lasagna for years and it's a close second behind lentil spaghetti as my favorite "Italian" comfort dish, but over the years the recipe has become bloated with herbs and spices and ladened down with too much pasta. So the revised lasagna is cooling and it's doubtful the first attempt will be ready for sharing.


So I have no new recipe to share - but I have moved on to a new workout. While I've been waiting for coffee cakes to bake, cheesecakes to cool and sauces to simmer, I hit my workout mat and nudged up the intensity. At my youthful peak of 20 when I was hellbent on proving I could become a Navy SEAL, I could do hundreds of push-ups each workout. And sit-ups. And pull-ups. And still have energy left for swimming and running. I was a machine (literally, because I didn't think, I just worked out).

Now here's me, soft and a bit round in spots, happy to just complete a handful of pushups - not even bothering to contemplate running or swimming just yet. My aunt suggested I join a YMCA or gym to help keep me motivated and get me out of the apartment. It's a fine suggestion and I do plan to join a facility with a pool, but I can't quite face myself in the mirror without cringing a bit - I won't subject myself to other eyes (even if they're indifferent eyes).

Thus - lonely green workout mat, favorite tv show, and solitary apartment for my dismally short yet utterly exhausting workout. This is pretty much the same workout I posted last week, except I've ratcheted up the number of reps and increased the "hold time" for the plank and bridge. Just for good measure and to hopefully keep me from looking like a top-heavy, I've thrown in some calf raises for my spindly calves.

3 sets of:
  • 5 x plank (hold each plank 10 seconds)
  • 12 x crunches
  • 12 x pushups
  • 12 x bridge
  • 15 x squats
  • 15 x calf raises
Workouts and food - they're not quite best friends, but at least for me, they're inseparably linked. I can't workout and not follow-up with food. I can't eat without feeling I should probably stop and go work out. And I can't imagine love that doesn't involve food and workouts. Food - preparing, cooking, serving food - is like encapsulating or wrapping up love and letting the people you care about eat that love. Because if it's not love I've serving, I have no business serving anything.

And for me, just like food, workouts are an expression of love. When I was 20, I worked out because I couldn't love myself - and I wanted desperately earn self-love. Now that I've been given love (by others, for others, for myself), I workout to show that love. I'm not just my own - I'm shared. And I want to share the best part.

Wrapped up together, I can't seem choose workouts or food over the other. Because once I finish tonight's workout, I'll be back in the kitchen working on more love to share. Perhaps this is where calorie counting could help...




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