Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vegan MoFo

I've decided to participate in Vegan MoFo this year. What? It's short for Vegan Month of Food, and it's a commitment to do at least 20 blog posts during the month of October. It will be good inspiration for me to write more, and share more recipes, along with the occasional Deep Vegan Thought. I'm excited! Hope to see you here, all through October!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

30-Day Vegan Challenge

When I went vegan, after 20-something years of being vegetarian, it was an overnight, feet-first leap. When I finally decide to do something, I just do it, and that's that. But I know for some people it's not so simple, and thankfully, there are all sorts of resources out there to help newbie vegans get going on the right track.

Here's something that might help you get happily jumpstarted into a vegan diet. The 30 Day Vegan Challenge, with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an online program based on her book by the same name. Colleen really knows her stuff, and although I don't think I have a need for the program myself, I've signed up for it, just to see what it's like. I'm sure I'll learn some great things, and I think it would be a great place to start for any new and confused vegan. She's offering a special introductory price right now of only $20. Cheap! Go check it out, and come find me on Colleen's Community page.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Peachy Pancakes

I picked up some peaches at the farmers market the other day. Since they're possibly the last of the season, I felt I needed to do something a little more special with them than just stuff them in my face. Sunday morning pancakes seemed like a good way to go, and I was right. These cakes were face-stuffing good.

In case you're one of those people who doesn't read the whole recipe before diving in, you'll need a total of 4 cups of chopped fresh peaches to make the pancakes and the sauce to go with them. Make the sauce first, so it can be simmering while you cook the cakes.

Peach Pancake Sauce
2 cups fresh peaches, chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/4 tsp each, nutmeg, ginger, coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp arrowroot, mixed with a little bit of water

Place all ingredients (except arrowroot) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for a few minutes, until the peaches are soft and the sauce starts to thicken. Add the arrowroot gradually, and stir in well. Reduce heat to low, just to keep the sauce warm while you make the pancakes.

Peachy Pancakes
2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (either quick or old fashioned will do)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp each, nutmeg, ginger, coriander
1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups nut milk or other non-dairy milk
2 T maple syrup
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh peaches, chopped
1 cup water

Mix dry ingredients, up to the spices, in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients, up to the vanilla, in another bowl, whisking together well. Stir in the peaches, and add gradually to the dry ingredients. Add the water, stir well, and let the batter rest a few minutes. If the oats absorb too much moisture, add more water to thin the batter down to a good pancake consistency.

Cook on a hot, non-stick griddle, flipping them when the edges look dry about 1/2 inch into the center. Serve with Peach Sauce. Makes about 15 1/4 cup pancakes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just Keep Going

I guess it's normal to feel a bit of a let-down after a big event, especially one that's been anticipated for many months. I'll admit to a mild case of the post-race blues, but I'm not letting it get me down. I need a new goal, that's all. And while I don't know what that will be yet, I'm starting training for it now, just in case I come up with something in the more immediate future than a year from now.

I took a week off from running after the race, and went for my first run this morning. I decided to skip the interval timer today, and just see how far I could run before needing a walk break. I set out on my "easy day" route, which is 3.3 miles, along the usual slippery, dusty, hilly gravel roads I've been training on since last February. I figured it might be kind of hard compared to Disneyland, so didn't set my sights too high. But as it turned out, I was able to run an entire 3 miles without stopping or walking. Amazing. And cool. It's the first time I've ever done that, and on these tricky Taos roads, and at an elevation that makes a lot of people wish for sherpas just to help carry in the groceries, I really feel like I've made some great progress.

Certainly the world, and regular life are not as easy and happy as Disneyland. And while reaching my half marathon goal is a completion in itself, it's also a beginning. Where will I go from here? I have no idea. But I know there will be a pair of running shoes going with me. I can do a lot more than I think I can, and that feels pretty good. For now, all I have to do it just keep going. The rest will take care of itself.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Half Marathon - Check!

I did it! I ran my first half marathon on Sunday, and I have a feeling it won't be my last. I had a terrific time, and I did really well for a first-timer, finishing the race in 2:44:37. Overall, out of over 17,000 runners I placed 8083. Of the women I was 4364. In my age group I was 123. I'm pretty pleased. My training really paid off, and so did my diet. As far as I'm concerned, vegan running is the only way to go. I was passing younger, more fit looking people the whole way, and I'm convinced that the right fuel was a big part of that.

Training at 7,000 ft in elevation, here in Taos, NM, certainly helped too. I had every intention of sticking with my timed run/walk intervals, but the reality of the race was quite different than running on the dirt roads in my neighborhood. It was noisy out there, and fun and chaotic, and entertaining. I couldn't even hear my timer most of the time, or I'd hear someone else's and get mixed up. And, it was so crowded in the beginning, I found that I just wanted to keep running so I could find a little room to move. I ran almost all of the first 7 miles, and was never out of breath, thanks to the lower elevation. I finally decided I'd better take a little break, and walk for 3 or 4 minutes, but as I continued along, I realized that it was actually easier to run than to walk. I was smiling the whole way, but at that moment I laughed to myself and said, Hey, I'm a runner!

I have pictures for you, of course.

I bought the package of photos taken by the official race photographers, and if you look closely, you can find me in this one...

Lauren did great, as I knew she would. She started out a couple of "corrals" ahead of me, so she was able to get to a spot near the finish line where she could cheer me on. It helped! Here we are a little bit later, with our shiny new medals.

After resting up by the pool for a while, we were ready to play. We spent the evening in Disneyland, and most of the next day at California Adventure, wearing our medals the whole time.

We were even able to find some decent vegan food, which I'll talk more about in another post. For now I'll just say that while Lauren is mostly vegetarian, she's not as obsessed with healthy diet as I am. She's young and healthy (and gorgeous), but I was the one with all the excess energy to burn. At one point she said to me, Mom, you have the energy of a seven year old at Christmas! I can't keep up with you! Think I'll keep eating my veggies. And running! Who wants to join me next year? It was a blast!