August 1: Running, Becoming a Vegetarian, WWOOF and Chris


BECOMING A VEGETARIAN...FOR 31 DAYS.

Two months ago, I instagrammed stocked up on some new reads en route from San Francisco to Atlanta as we wrapped up the Yahoo! On the Road Tour. I feverishly read the Runner's World magazine from front to back and back to front as the issue was dedicated to those affected by the tragedy in Boston. Hands down, the best issue of Runner's World to date. Then I started reading Rick Steve's Europe Through the Back Door as we were tossing around the idea of a European adventure (obviously, we settled on Italy). Needless to say, I just recently got around to reading Scott Jurek's New York Times Bestseller Eat & Run

Since my freshman year of college (except for that blip of time when I turned 21, moved to Chicago and lost myself) I have been a pretty conscious eater. Once I was on my own in college and training for my first marathon, I gained a new knowledge for food and the importance of feeding your body for energy and survival versus taste (but trust me, you can have both). In the past couple of years, I have acquired more knowledge about pesticides, MSGs, GMOs, the importance of organic produce, etc. but there is still SO MUCH that I don't know and NEED to know.

Enter Eat & Run. Two of my favorite topics combined: running and eating. Perfect.

Scott's (can I call you, Scott?) book is entertaining and intellectual. Sometimes health books can be boring but the storytelling of how Scott Jurek became one of the best ultrarunners on a plant based diet reels you in. Plus, he tops off every chapter with a vegan recipe like a chef putting the finishing touches on a delectable dish. Voila!

I honestly feel like this book has opened the flood gates. I have so much more I want to read about in regards to becoming vegan and living a vegan lifestyle. I want to continue to learn more about where our food comes from and educate myself on exotic food from around the world that we can incorporate into our daily meals. But first, I am going to start small.

You see, I'm from the Midwest...specifically near St. Louis. I love BBQ pulled pork, BBQ grilled chicken, basically any meat you can cook on a grill and drown in BBQ sauce. I love it all. I also LOVE pepperjack cheese. And lastly, we travel full-time for our jobs so eating healthy on the road can be a challenge. I try to go to local grocery stores to buy fruit and nuts, but sometimes a Subway stop en route to our next city is the best I can do. Additionally, we love to try local dishes or specialities in each city (i.e. buffalo wings in Buffalo, NY).

Excuses? Yes, but cut me some slack.

I announced to Casey that starting August 1st, I will start small (instead of cutting out meat, dairy and cheese all at once), and try being a vegetarian for the month of August or for 31 days. Will it last longer? Maybe. Will I make it without a chicken ceasar salad or sausage on my pizza?

I will for 31 days.

I expected Casey to laugh at me, but to my complete surprise he not only supported my decision but shocked me when he replied, "If you're doing that, then I am going to cut red meat out of my diet for a month--no pork, no beef."

Who is this guy? Love him and his support!

So here we go, two carnivores on a journey to give our furry friends a break.


RUNNING

It has been 3 months since I've been able to run and 6 weeks from my last doctor's appointment. To say I've been going crazy would be an understatement. I am just about 10 weeks away from the Chicago Marathon and my hopes of running have diminished. All I care about right now is getting my knee healthy again. It still hurts to bend and the condition of it hasn't changed. Now that we're back on tour I have rescheduled my follow up appointment for September 5. I still believe it is a result of a tear and not a stress fracture and I'm holding out for a cortisone shot.

Until then, I have decided that I will take my gimpy knee for a test drive also starting on August 1. I'll ease back into running, continue to do lunges in my workouts and listen to my body. If it's not happening, I'll cease and wait until my doctor's appointment. For once, I have actually listened, went to a doctor, followed his advice and nothing has seemed to work.

I miss running. I'd become a vegan tomorrow and never sink my teeth into anything involving pigs, chickens, cheese or cereal (milk) if it meant I could run pain free "healthy" again.

With that said, I have become more realistic with myself and although I loathe the thought of a DNF, I have decided that my new goal is to be healthy enough to run 13.1 miles (half) of the Chicago Marathon on October 13, as a training race for a winter or January 2014 marathon. That's if all goes well and I'm hopefully healed and as good as new in the near future. Keep your fingers crossed.

WWOOF

I have mentioned to Casey many times over the years that once we settle down I would love to have a little urban garden in our backyard to grow a few fruits and vegetables. I have even been researching our potential states that we may call "home" and the best crops to grow in that particular state. However, I really don't know a lick about farming or even gardening for that matter.

As Scott Jurek took two of my worlds and mashed them together, the WWOOF organization takes my love of travel and the outdoors to a new level. I've been thinking that I could gain some knowledge about organic farming and sustainability while visiting a new country via this amazing organization. You see, WWOOF or Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms connects volunteers with organic and sustainable projects.

Basically, I could volunteer on an organic farm or like this couple (read more of their WWOOFing stories here) volunteer on an organic Tuscan winery in Italy, work outside (which I love), gain new knowledge while the farm/winery puts up the volunteers and provides shelter and daily meals. Not to mention, the new and extraordinary people you may meet in the process.

So, what I'm really getting at...is who wants to WWOOF with me this winter? 
Any takers or stories, please share! 


CHRIS BEAT CANCER

To go along with the theme of this post, I really want to include a story (and soon stories) I recently stumbled upon. Before sharing, I want to make it very clear that I am eternally grateful to modern medicine for discovering the lump in my mother's breast, for the surgery she had and the team of doctors and nurses that helped her through her journey. I will forever be thankful.

However, I truly believe in the power of healthy eating and what it can do to your body and this man's story is simply mindblowing. In fact, with two parents affected by cancer all I've ever known is the standard process of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. In 27 years, I have never, not once, thought are there other solutions? If my mom had told me she wasn't going to undergo chemotherapy, I would have probably hog-tied her, threw her in the backseat of my car, driven her to the hospital and cried until I forced her into treatment. I just wanted her to be healthy. Ironic?

I encourage you to open your mind and read Chris' story. As stated on his simplistic and probably handbuilt website, Chris Wark explains that he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer in 2003, at 26-years-old. He opted for surgery (and luckily for him, his cancer was operable) but refused chemotherapy. Instead he used nutrition and natural therapies to heal himself.

He shares his story in detail at chrisbeatcancer.com.

The part of his website that I found most intriguing was the "Natural Suvivor Stories" section. At first I thought this may be a very special story, something that is mostly unheard of and more entertaining than factual--like a movie that's loosely based on a true story. But scrolling through story after story of others healing themselves the same way or in similar ways as Chris really opened my eyes to something I've never seen or never even heard of before. I am beyond intrigued.

I encourage you to check out his website, watch some of his videos on YouTube and let me know what you think.

Either way....Chris, you have an incredible story and I'm listening. Cheers to you for kicking cancer to the curb!


IF YOU ARE VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN, PLEASE HELP A SISTER OUT AND PASS ALONG SOME TASTY RECIPES, PRETTY PLEASE? 

I'M IN NEED OF A NEW BOOK, ANY RECOMMENDATIONS? 

SERIOUSLY THOUGH, WHO'S WWOOF'ING WITH ME THIS WINTER?

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