Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


Power Packed Protein for Parents, Kids & Athletes

In the past couple of months I scoured the internet for the recipe for a high-protein drink that was a daily fixture of my pregnancy diet.  My weight just before pregnancy was 102 pounds.  I was vegetarian at the time, and I had a very difficult time gaining weight on my diet of tempeh, tofu and bean diet verging at times on veganism.  At my early check-ups my doctor, worried about my vegetarianism, once said that I was taking a risk that my baby would be in the lowest weight percentile.

Häagen-Dazs ice cream was part of my prescription for weight gain and I ate it often.  So much so that I remember telling people that I never thought that I would consider eating ice cream (one of my favourite foods) a chore.  Just goes to show you what a MUST will do to make something normally pleasurable, seem less so.  Funnily enough, my son just loves Häagen-Dazs ice cream and stocks up on it when it goes on sale at Sobey’s, which seems to happen fairly regularly.

Last Saturday at a 50th birthday party for a friend, I noticed a copy of Laurel’s Kitchen, the very book from whence the recipe for the high-protein drink came. My copy had disappeared in my years of living in co-op houses.  The birthday girl agreed to lend me the book.  I don’t think the newer version has this recipe. So,  ta-da . . . straight from a very yellowed copy of Laurel’s Kitchen, A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition is my memory lane recipe.

High-Protein Blender Drink

  • 3 tbsp. whole soy powder
  • 3 tbsp. non-instant skim milk powder
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 cup fresh skim milk
  • 1 tbsp. toasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 teaspoon torula (I use brewer’s yeast)
  • 1/2 teaspoon carob powder

Authors, Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders and Bronwen Godfrey

Before I knew I was pregnant, I developed an aversion to coffee.  I view this as an example of the laws of the body taking hold.  Near the end of the second trimester I began craving meat.  It was quite a shock to my meat-eating husband when I nibbled on some Italian sausage he was frying.  From there, I never looked back and to be honest, I get sick far less than when I was a vegetarian.  To each his own, I’m convinced, is the way with diet.  For me, blood sugar stability seems to work better on a high protein meat diet.

I gained about 23 pounds, my son was 7 pounds 10 ounces and it took three months to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Due to the heavy demands of breastfeeding, I went under my pre-pregnancy weight by 4 pounds to a very skinny 98 pounds in year one of motherhood.

My son was never keen on bananas except when served in a quickie-kid version of the high-protein drink.  I used to make this for him when he insisted that he did not want breakfast.

Power Drink

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate milk powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter

When he was a teen he wanted to weigh more than could reasonably be expected of the son of two very lean parents.  I used to supplement his drink with skim milk powder.  I can’t remember why, but I did not tell him this, and he never noticed.

Proving my doctor’s fears were unfounded, my one-and-only has grown to be over 6 feet tall, nearly a foot taller than his mom and a couple of inches taller than his dad.

Voila! I give you the mostly-vegetarian baby at 23 years.

Product of High-Protein Power Drink


Carrots, the breakfast of champions

If you started your day with a chocolate, raise your hand please.  And carrots?

Today is the day that I try and remember how bad it feels to overeat with the inevitable sluggishness, torpor and lethargy that follows. I did well in the early part of yesterday with a mandarin orange, banana, YOP yogurt drink, grapefruit juice but after my late-morning run I had a large turkey dinner and finished off with more than half of a fair sized chocolate bar. The fatigue of overeating ensued and I had to take a little nap. Bonking on a blood sugar high is not the way I really want to spend my time.

Heading out for a run in High Park


For the third time in the past seven days I ran with my Saturday pals. This may be a record for us. I appreciated their availability as I find it far more difficult to get out the door when I have all day to run.  Too much choice seems to  lead to much procrastination. I resisted a momentary urge to have chocolate before my run and returned from my 7 miles with thoughts of a healthy breakfast.

Carrots for breakfast, yum!

Earlier this month I learned of a Carrot Cake Oatmeal recipe from a friend’s blog Frugal ‘n’ Fit, who learned of it from another food blog called Oh She Glows. I have always been an oatmeal lover and my early days of marathoning involved double bowls of oatmeal for breakfast. Here is my adapted version of the recipe with a holiday twist.

Holiday Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Holiday Carrot Cake Oatmeal (adapted from Carrot Cake Oatmeal)

* 1 cup regular oats
* 2 cup almond milk (or any other type of milk)
* 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
* 2 large carrot, finely grated (1 heaping cup)
* 2 tbsp whipping cream or coffee cream
* 1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon, to taste
* 1/4 tsp ground ginger
* 1/8th tsp ground nutmeg
* Pinch of kosher salt
* 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
* 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
* 2 tbsp crushed walnuts, divided
* 1/4 C. coffee cream or whipped cream + 2 tablespoons maple syrup (to drizzle on top)
* Shredded coconut, for garnish
* Cinnamon, for garnish
* Raisins and coarsely chopped pecans, for garnish

Lynn’s Cranberry Sauce
Add one bag cranberries, zest of one orange and juice of two oranges to a microwavable dish. Microwave at high for 10 minutes and then at medium for 5 minutes. Add sugar to taste (1 cup or more).

Directions: Finely grate the large carrot to yield 1 heaping cup of grated carrots, using the fine grate, so carrot shreds are very small.

In a medium sized pot over medium heat, add almond milk, lemon juice, and cream. Stir well. Add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) and salt. Stir until mixed.

Stir in grated carrots and oats. Adjust heat if necessary or reduce heat to low if mixture boils. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. When mixture has thickened, stir in vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of maple syrup. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.

Top with pecans, raisins, coconut and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Mix cream + maple syrup mixture and drizzle over top. If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon to garnish.  3 servings

Homemade cranberry sauce goes with everything

The original version of this recipe calls for coconut cream instead of cream but we only had coconut milk in the house.  When my friend posted the recipe I commented that the original recipe is quite high in calories.  A whopping 1200 calories for one large serving.  I’ve doubled the recipe and consider it enough for 3 medium servings.  I would estimate that each serving has 700-800 calories which is still quite high but at least you get your carrots and ingredients that will metabolize more slowly than chocolate.

Happy breakfast!

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Meals for Marathoners

Of all weeks, the two weeks prior to a marathon is when I most carefully watch what I eat.  There’s no point in carrying extra baggage for the 26.2 miles.  A staple for this period is my favourite healthy food, tabouli.  I really love this dish but it is a lot of work to cook the grains and chop the greens so I only make it for special occasions like pre-marathon week or parties.  Yesterday I made a double batch and will be taking this for lunch 3-4 days in a row.  It keeps very well.  I usually add the tomatoes day to day, as they are the one ingredient that does not keep well.

Tabouli with Wild Rice

Lynn’s Tabouli with Wild Rice

(a recipe with inspiration from Anne Lindsay’s Lighthearted Everyday Cooking and Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé)

3/4 cup bulgur

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 can chick peas

1/3 cup finely chopped green onion


1/3 cup lemon juice

3 cloves garlic

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup olive oil

black pepper, to taste

Soak bulgur in 6 cups hot water for an hour.  Place cloth on the bottom of a colander and pour bulgur on the cloth.  Let drain and then gather the cloth and squeeze as much water as possible from the bulgur.  While bulgur is soaking, bring chicken stock and rice to a boil in a saucepan; cover and simmer fro 40-45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Drain, if necessary; let cool.

In salad bowl, combine bulgur, rice, tomatoes, parsley, mint, green onion and chick peas.  Stir ingredients for dressing, pour over salad: stir to mix.   Cover and refrigerate until serving time or for up to 3 days.

That’s not to say that I won’t indulge in a bit of meat and potatoes.  My body craves protein and a bit of fat and my husband cooked up one of his best breakfasts ever on Sunday morning.  I was ravenous when he produced this winning breakfast spread.

Eggs, beef breakfast strips, bagel and home fries

Empire Sandy - Monday, November 29, 2010

As for the run today, well, I just love the freshness of these late fall mornings.  The Music Garden was decked out for the holidays, an enjoyable festive sight and dawn on the lake was as beautiful as ever.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say iit many times more, what better way to start the day. Sigh . . .

Music Garden in a holiday mood

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Guess where I was at 6:30 a.m.?

Sobey's - open 24 hours

I you said grocery store, you are correct.  I forgot to set my alarm last night and woke at 5:45 a.m. rather than the usual 5 a.m.  Rather than rush out the door to run 8 miles, I decided on the double-workout as I did on Monday.

Eyes closed but wide awake

The light bulb went on, as I realized that a 24 hour Sobey’s is about 15 minutes from our place.  The exact amount of time I wanted to run this morning.  So, off I went with my mini-backpack to fetch the parsley I needed for my bean salad lunch.

In case you are wondering how got a photo of myself, I propped the camera on a display and set the auto-timer.

I have taken my lunch to work 14 straight days and was headed to 15 days but a workmate has asked me to lunch with her tomorrow. We will dine at the Auberge du Pommier and probably order their lunch special.

As for the bean salad, it is an extremely easy salad to compose. It is an adaptation of a salad recipe I found years ago in Metropolitan Home magazine.

Lima Bean Lover Salad

1 can lima beans
1 can black-eyed peas
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, chopped in half

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or balsamic cream
1 tablespoon honey

Lima bean lover's delight

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The promise of winter

So today, on the heels of yesterday’s exhilarating run I woke to wet, cold rain. It is time to mulch the garden and pull out the cold weather running gear. I had some speedwork planned, and there is some risk involved in running fast in the cold and wet, so I ran to the YMCA and hopped on a treadmill.

There are positives to running on treadmills; shoes last longer; the rubber running surface is easier on the legs; you can readily monitor your effort and pace; among other things. One aspect of my running psyche that keeps me going is that I am very flexible in the ways I enjoy running be it; fast or slow, with or without company and indoors or outdoors.

Running on the treadmill means less stopping, no worries about pit stops and a chance to catch up on TV news. Sometimes I focus on devoting a chunk of treadmill time to work out practical issues and make chore lists while running, with pen and paper close at hand.  I ran 8 x 1 minute hard and the run totaled 8 miles.

On the nutrition side, I’ve had a couple of good weeks of healthy lunches. Last week, and so far this week, I’ve taken my lunches, bean salad and quinoa pilaf from Thanksgiving dinner (augmented with chick peas). It’s time to be more thoughtful about fueling up.

Here’s a recipe for quinoa patties from the Whole Foods website.  Click here for the RECIPE My husband has been a quinoa devotee for many years, having discovered a recipe in the New Basics Cookbook 15 or 16 years ago. The nifty thing about Whole Foods is that you can find the recipe for most items sampled in their cafe on their website.

We passed through Las Vegas earlier this year, while en route to Utah and he had a delicious quinoa burger at the Whole Foods. You can make a batch and freeze them as well for a thrifty and healthy meal.

Quinoa patties from Whole Foods