Late April Snow Showers

hello world. I’m writing from a warm nook in one of my favorite places to read, write, and drink this side of town. Mother Nature sure has been throwing us for a loop this year – early March I was writing about all those warm, sunny days and now its pouring rain, cold, and there is snow in the forecast for the rest of today. April showers (rain or snow) better bring more May flowers! I suppose I’ll just continue listening to this song.

Although I advocate for the “everyday is Earth Day” I hope you all took a moment yesterday to do something kind for our planet! If we don’t, we’re going to end up with more snow in spring and summer months. So let’s get on that.

Wouldn’t it be fun to wear Earth like this? Or not… but it’s a neat design, ya?

Typically Sunday mornings I’m up early to be at the yoga studio at 830 but given my need for rest, I took this weekend off. ’twas lovely to be able to sleep in a bit longer. Instead I woke up at 8 and ventured into town to visit Jeanne at Allegro Hearth Bakery. I had a cup of coffee while her and I gabbed in and out of her helping customers decide on which of the million delicious breads and bakery items to choose from.

Katie met me down at the bakery a bit later and we went up to Jeanne’s to grab Eddy (my favorite non-human running and walking companion!) and took her on a walk. We ventured through Squirrel Hill to campus and dropped Katie off at home. Eddy and I continued on our urban hike – literally as I was starting to feel gaspy for breath. I’m normally the fast walker but I had to begin tugging on her leash some to keep her from dragging me at a faster pace than I could handle.

Now I am sitting here, coffee in hand, urban agriculture literature spilling all over my work space, and distracting myself with pictures. Speaking of pictures – how did it take me this long to finally venture onto foodgawker?

I love the colors and textures in the picture below. I want this blown up and framed!

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I’m Still Here!

Gosh, I feel it’s been a long while since my last post. Time is flying by as I am wrapping up the end of my semester. After I handed a 20-something page research prospectus early this afternoon, I decided to stay outside and get some fresh air, nevermind that it is cold and rainy. Now that I can’t run (see below) for a little while – I need to stay a-walking! So I grabbed Jeanne’s pup and headed over to Schenely Park. Was a wonderfully wet & muddy afternoon!

Even though the parks here don’t look like this, I’m convinced some of the trees here are this vibrant:

So why can’t I run? Read on.

Thursday morning I woke up to a perfectly sunny and warm day. I decided to knock out an 11 mile run before working on research the rest of the day. Enjoyed every single minute of that run and thought “gosh, finally long runs with no knee pain!” I knew I’d be able to handle the half marathon in 2 weeks, no problem!…until…

… Thursday night happened & my glory came to screeching halt. As I was biking home from Katie’s after we left the library, a curb decided it wasn’t going to let me up on the sidewalk and promptly threw me off my bike with all its might, smack onto the very unforgiving concrete. OWWW! Busted up knees, shins, elbow and ribs – cracked ribs anyone? I don’t recommend it. Perfect timing as I have also developed a cold or sinus infection. The sneezing and runny nose isn’t pairing well with my ribs killing me each and every time I breathe and move. I can’t help but laugh (yes, this hurts too) at what a mess I became in matter of 24 hours. The only thing that bothers me is now I can’t run!! I hope that if I lay low for a few days I will miraculously heal before the end of the week… I am determined to finish that race, busted ribs or not.
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And now for some fun facts about estrogen! yay!

Recently I had blood work done to check up on my hormone levels in hopes of finding an explanation for my low estrogen. Still have no solid answers. Since I hope to have a little me running around someday… and I certainly don’t want early onset osteoporosis… I need to pay more attention to this issue.

As I have been riffling through some literature on foods and herbal supplements – I came across some interesting tidbits…

First, there is a list of estrogen-inhibiting foods (inhibit estrogen from absorption in gut and preventing it from entering bloodstream). Included in this list are: berries, citrus, corn, green bean, onion, broccoli, cabbage, grapes, pineapple, figs, squash… oh NO! Considering I’ve been downing broccoli, cabbage, grapes, and pineapple as if my life depends on it. Funny how I’m craving the foods I should be avoiding… I’m curious if it’s only broccoli and cabbage that inhibit or the entire brassica family. If its the brassica family , I’m screwed. I eat and drink brassicas every.single.day – all day. Think kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli – basically all my favorites. I don’t know how I feel about this.

Thankfully some foods I enjoy that contain naturally occurring estrogens include: beans/legumes (chickpeas, black, lentils), apples, cherries, papaya, dates, oats, brown rice, flax seed, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, garlic, beets, carrots, celery, cukes, eggplant, peppers, taters, yams, and tomatoes.

As suspected, it is also recommended not to be strict with raw foods – especially vegan raw – as I may be limiting rich sources of iron and zinc. I had my anti-vegan stint in late February but got over that as soon as it hit. Early March I had a small bite of raw, wild-caught Pacific salmon prepared by Kevin Sousa at Salt of the Earth (probably best chef in Pgh… so you know it was good) but willingly handed if off to Jeanne as I immediately felt nauseous. I feel I may need to eat some animal protein to rebalance my hormones but this may be easier said than done… Even though Katie and I accidentally ate cabbage that was cooked in bacon fat two weeks ago. Who does this anymore?! Why are people still cooking with lard?!? (Unfortunately it was the best cooked cabbage I’ve probably ever had and I guarantee that bacon fat was why we both had about four servings – prior to us knowing how it was prepared mind you). I laughed, she laughed, we got over it. We’re happy & healthy and that’s what counts.

Back to estrogen…

Before I get nuts and turn into a crazy carnivore (which will never happen, lets face it) I figure I’ll stick to my Maca powder regime and begin to look more seriously into Chinese herbs. I try to consume 1-2 tsp of maca each day as its been linked to regulating hormone levels in both men & women, without actually containing hormones or pseudo-estrogen. Even if this doesn’t help regulate – at least its chock full of nutrients!

Once all my class work is turned in I’m going to look into proper herbs and tinctures. Excited!
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Haven’t been doing much in the kitchen lately – lack of interest and time. My laziness has turned me back onto Mexican food (I think I’m up to three times in two weeks?) – but it seems to be the best way to enjoy spring temperatures, friends, and works wonders for stress. Chips & salsa, margaritas, and good company are always a winner in my book – healthy or not.

Anyways, the one thing I have made recently was for a potluck – Cinnamon Peanut Butter Chickpeas. A healthy, tasty, cheap and easy snack to make:

1 cup garbanzo beans
1 HEAPING tablespoon of peanut butter (can replace with any nut butter of choice)
1 tsp cinnamon
sprinkle of raw sugar *optional

Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees F. Toss drained beans on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon. Shake pan to coat all beans. Roast beans 15-25 minutes. Remove when beans are crunchy but not yet burnt! Keep a close eye on them…

Scoop peanut butter in a bowl and add hot beans. Keep stirring to make sure all chickpeas are coated with peanut butter, add more cinnamon & sugar if desired. Place in freezer or refrigerator to turn them into a cold, extra crunchy treat!

I’ll end with this picture as I completely agree. Now, go get outside your comfort zone and see what you discover!