Saturday, August 23, 2008

End of Summer, New Beginnings

At last, school has begun. The house is quiet during the day. I can actually work...and just finished the Beagle book I've been working on (it will be published early next year). I don't know how I got anything done at all during the summer, although I certainly did, finishing the Naturally Thin book I co-authored with celebrity natural foods chef Bethenny Frankel, star of The Real Housewives of New York City. Now I immediately have to start a book about living green with companion animals, and after that, I'll be co-authoring a book about the chakras with my BFF Rachel Klapper, a yoga teacher I've written about here before.

Obviously, whenever summer winds down and fall begins, my mind turns vigorously to the work at hand. Other things happen too, though. My quest for greater fitness in preparation for attending the Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park, Colorado, in September, continues successfully. I've already dropped about 8 more pounds (on top of the 15-something that disappeared while writing Naturally Thin), and I've been working out regularly and sinking deeper and deeper into my yoga practice. I feel great, and extra bendy. The best part about it is that I haven't sacrificed a bit when it comes to enjoying delicious food. I've learned how to eat whatever I really want, add what I need for good workout fuel, then stop after I've had enough to make me happy. It's working.

Last night, we went out to dinner with our friends Nick and Amy Martin to the Motley Cow, a restaurant known for its liberal use of fresh local ingredients. I spotted the owner, chef David Weiseneck, in the kitchen so I knew the food would be delicious. Amy and I ordered the fettucine with lobster (obviously, lobster isn't local but couldn't resist the pasta). Ben had the Iowa pork with French beans, goat cheese, grilled pears, and a delicious ruby-red beet sauce. Nick had the lamb. Mine was great but I couldn't eat very much of it because it was so filling. Two bites of Ben's pork confirmed it was fantastic. Next time, we plan to try their less opulent menu items, such as the pizza or sandwiches.

Today, we have a blissful quiet weekend without the kids and I'm just wrapping up the proofreading and printing out of the Beagle book, watching the European Grand Prix (it's our thing we do), and enjoying a delicious savory lunch of homemade chili, flavored with just a bit of shredded pork loin and loaded with chili beans and fresh local zucchini, chard, corn, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and summer squash, topped with some fresh locally made tortilla chips, a little sprinkle of cheese, and big scoops of salsa verde and pico de gallo, handcrafted by Carmen at La Reyna, my favorite local Mexican restaurant. Who knew I could be eating like this and still losing so much weight?

I'm up to a full five minutes in sirsana now. Life is good. Namaste and bon appetit!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Locavore Status and Losing Weight

Our quest to eat local has been going well this summer. Pictured above: Locally baked sourdough bread from the farmer's market topped with local free-range eggs from a nearby farm, garlic chives from my CSA share, and green salsa, handmade by a small local Mexican restaurant. Not all ingredients came from Iowa, but it was all made by Iowans. One thing about Iowa: we produce a lot of food!

However, we did cheat a little bit. A few of our favorite things are produced in states that touch Iowa--like the goat milk I like from Heartland creamery, various delicious cheeses from Wisconsin, and the occasional neighboring-state fruit, condiment, etc., so we expanded our rules to include these. It's been easy to find meat, milk, and just about every vegetable we could want (except avocados). We've also harvested greens from the garden, and although it needs serious weeding, the tomatillos I tried this year have sailed above the weeds and are producing well. They look about ready. The weeds haven't been so kind to my peppers, so I need to get out there, but my work schedule has been intense and of course it's summer so when I'm not working, I tend to want to be lazy.

Meanwhile, my CSA pickup has been full of great veggies so I haven't been wanting. Fruit-wise, we've gotten peaches from Missouri, and we've cheated a little when the kids really wanted something like plums or apples that came from states not bordering Iowa. Because if the kids want fruit, want am I going to say? "No! Eat some Iowa bacon instead!"

On the yoga front, I will be heading to the Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park towards the end of September and although I've been doing a lot of yoga, I'm still carrying some extra weight. I lost about 18 pounds while writing the Naturally Thin book with Bethenny Frankel, but I need to finish the job, so I've decided to drop 16 pounds by September 21. I think I can do it if I just cut back a little on the indulgences and step up the exercise. So that's my goal, starting today. My son, Emmett, who is 10 years old, is going to do this with me because he wants to drop some weight too. He's been having an overindulgent summer, as we all have, but he's not as active as his brother so it sticks to him the way it sticks to me. So together we are on a healthy eating and exercise quest, so we both feel better and have more energy. We can do it, Emmett!

This is Emmett, getting a good workout, mowing the lawn (with proper hydration, of course).