Thursday, April 21, 2011

C'est la vie & Portobello Tacos

So, I would love to have come back here to say that the Vibram FiveFingers have solved all of my problems, and I am now one of the fastest runners in the world racing against the likes of Kara Goucher, I have a fulfilling career, and I've learned how to perfect cold fusion.

Alas, my foot problem came back with a vengeance April 9, 2011.  I took one week plus some change off of  running and assumed that I would be all better.  I ran for the first time this past Tuesday, and the pain came raging back.  And I mean raging.

I do not blame my Vibrams in the least bit.  After all, the first time I had this issue was when I had the most supportive shoes of all.  I guess the only logical conclusion at this point is that I am broken, and that the benefits of years of evolution have bypassed me in favor of more deserving individuals.  More to come on this later.  

On a positive note, I did make some amazing tacos tonight.  Grilled portobello tacos with salsa verde to be exact.  

Then again... anything paired with three shots of tequila might be amazing. 


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  •  I adapted this recipe from the above link for my fiance and I:
  • Marinade:
  • A  glug of canola oil
  • 1.5 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2  tsp. black pepper
  • Tacos:
  • 3 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 5 6-inch soft corn tortillas (2 for me, 3 for him)
  • 1 avocados, sliced
  • Enough green leaf lettuce for 5 tacos!
Salsa Verde:
  • 1 12 ounce can of tomatillos 
  • 1/2 a large green bell pepper 
  • 1/2 a jalapeno pepper, de-seeded
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, leaves only
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Couple of squirts of agave nectar
  • A glug of canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS


1. Preheat grill or grill pan to high heat. To make Marinade: combine all ingredients in small bowl.
To make Tacos:
2. Brush mushroom caps with marinade (I just dunked them in the bowl). Grill mushrooms 3 to 5 minutes per side. Cool until easy to handle, then slice into strips.
To make Salsa Verde:
3. Purée all ingredients in food processor 1 minute, or until smooth.
4. Lightly warm tortillas 15 seconds per side in skillet or on griddle. Fill tortillas with sliced mushrooms, avocado slices, and lettuce.

The salsa verde was delicious!!!  Don't even get me started about the portobello mushrooms; so satisfying!  I highly recommend this meal with some tapatio on top (oh, and three shots of tequila)!

So, I still have a foot problem.  After this dinner, drinks, and a walk around the block with my fiance (plus an eventual foot rub...), that problem is at the back of my head (or rather the arch of my foot).  I guess having foot problems regardless of the type of shoe you wear, a dead end, soul draining job, and the inability to produce massive quantities of energy at room temperature is just part of life.  

C'est la vie.     

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vibram FiveFingers Review: Part I

I recently purchased a pair of Vibram FiveFingers.  I tried to remain conservative and bought the least ostentatious color:

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Although trying to remain conservative when purchasing Vibrams is probably an oxymoron.  Needless to say, I fell into the barefoot running craze and finally got up the courage/money to purchase a pair.  Rather than jumping into how I feel running in them, which I've been doing for about a month, I'd like to start from the beginning of my running "journey."  (Note:  I put the word journey in quotes because I hate using that term, but I understand that it can be useful fairly often.  Something about it just sounds so...cheesy in a The Biggest Loser kind of way.  Double note:  I actually like The Biggest Loser, despite its cheesiness and horrendous product placements.)  

Anyway, I've been running regularly for a little over a year now.  I consider St. Patrick's Day 2010 my "runniversary."  I got so into running that I ran out to our local running store and purchased as much crap stuff as possible.  The sales people were very nice and helped me pick out a pair of running shoes and even watched my stride to help me figure out if I under or over pronated.  Throw in a running bra, some moisture wicking socks, and a water bottle with a compartment to hold my cell phone, and I was several hundred dollars poorer but SUPER excited about running.  


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Fast forward three months to my very first 5 mile run, and I'm cringing due to a sharp, consistent pain in the arch of right foot.  Icing, ibuprofen, rubbing, stretching, etc. do nothing to make it go away.  I go back to the running store and they tell me that I need the super-duper-inserts for my shoes.  They take a look inside my running shoes and see that they already sold me those inserts.  So they further suggest supportive flats to wear to work and to purchase a Strassburg Sock.  It was around this time that I started to read about barefoot running.  I don't know whether to credit Wired.com or Born to Run by Christopher McDougall with my introduction, but if you do want to see a great article about the topic, I highly suggest this Wired.com article.       

I decided to stick to the shoes + inserts I had at that time and run my scheduled half marathon in August of 2010 with them.  It was after this half marathon that I took a huge break from running and didn't truly pick it up again until January 2011.  It seemed that every time I tried to run I got that nagging pain in my foot.  Slowly over time, in a very non-Eurekia moment kind of way, I started considering that all of the foot wear might actually be part of the problem, and not the solution.  I decided to start slowly to test this hypothesis and removed my super-duper inserts...
My fiance and I after our first 13.1 miles

Check back later for Part II of this series where I will detail the changes I've made since studying barefoot running and how it has affected me physically.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Welcome!

Hello, Blogosphere!  This is my very first post, and I feel it is appropriate to detail what this blog will be about.  



My name is Mackenzie, and I am a scientist.  Am I employed as a scientist? No, but I believe everyone, whether they're a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator or an elementary school child mixing vinegar and baking soda, is capable of living and thinking as a scientist.  My hope is that one day I will finish my scientific academic pursuits by gaining admission to graduate school, but until then I will continue to approach life in a scientific manner.

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It is in this manner that I approach this blog.  I've seen around the web a great deal of food and exercise blogs detailing the struggles and triumphs of the journey towards a healthy life, both in body and mind.  Many of these bloggers have inspiring stories that give others hope and inspiration to make a story of their own.  As an aspiring blogger and healthy life liver, I have seen a plethora of diet fads and information.  While everyone agrees that get-thin-quick programs aren't successful nor healthy, it seems that many good intentioned people fall into healthy fad traps regardless of the extent of their knowledge. 

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With my background and knowledge of human evolution, desire to be scientific in my pursuit of healthy living, and passion for educating others, I hope to shed some light on eating and exercising fads that even most healthy bloggers think are okay.  I also intend to look at fads, scientific studies, anecdotal evidence, etc. in the light of evolution as not only is that where my expertise lies, but as Theodosius Dobzhanksy puts it, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light evolution."  I intend to reformat this famous quote as, "Nothing in the human diet and physiology makes sense except in the light evolution."


I hope that this blog finds its way to individuals who will find it useful as well as insightful.  Perhaps occasionally funny or inspiring... but let's not get carried away.  :)