Embracing my Inner Hippie: Vegetarian Eating and Barefoot Running

I’ve a couple of Lenten posts in the mill for this week–sorting through what I’ve been reading, but I thought I should take a gander at the other parts of my Lenten discipline: no meat, no book purchases.  My dear sweet son, TG, has taken all of this Lenten discipline and the changes in running as a sign that I am every bit the hippie he accuses me of being.  While I’m not sure exactly how hippie came to be an insult (kids these days, honestly), if this is neo-hippie, I’m good with that (dude, I so love the Urban Dictionary.  Neo-hippie indeed).

For the most part, 18 days without meat has been pretty simple (but for an odd craving for bacon or two).  Mmmmm….bacon.  I’m most pleased with the ways in which I have been forced to reconsidering cooking; prior to Ash Wednesday, I had 20 or 30 meat-centered dishes that I cycled through without much in the way of thought about the cooking process or, quite frankly, the enjoyment or lack thereof at the table.  Cooking vegetarian (and occasionally vegan) dishes for myself has reignited my interest in cooking–as well as in eating.  I find myself experimenting with flavors and playing with recipes, even the meat-based ones I am prepping for the rest of the family.

Today’s adventure will be making pomegranate molasses, in preparation for making Pomegranate BBQ Tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance (a cookbook that is taking on an increasingly significant role in my home).  Aside from the FABULOUS suggestion for oven roasting Brussel sprouts with garlic–I got my husband and son (TG), both of them avowed anti-Brusselists–to eat them and enjoy them, what I really enjoy about this cookbook is the fairly simple preps (a must, since both G and I work) and the focus on keeping costs low, something a great many of the cookbooks on my shelf lose sight of.

The  joy of cooking and eating is an amazing gift that I’ve lost sight of over the years.  I am so pleased to have stumbled upon it again.

18 days (truth be told, I’d not bought any books for a week prior to Ash Wednesday and no new books for at least 14 days prior, so my fast is a bit longer) without book purchasing.  *Sigh*  This has been far harder.  I went into the den of iniquity bookstore yesterday to get tea (now that sounds silly, however true it may be); I opted not even to browse, knowing dang well I’d find something I wanted.  I’m thinking I should work the steps with books in mind:

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over books–that our lives had become unmanageable.

Um, yes.  I’m looking around at the state of my poor bookshelves and floors, and, well, unmanageable does seem to be an apt description of the situation. I do need a far better handle on my book buying, though I can’t imagine abandoning it entirely–too many gems to be found.  Perhaps, though, I can be more judicious in my choices when I buy in the future.

18 days.  *sigh* It’s been (insert whiny voice) haaaaaarrrrrdddd.

So I’ve been buying shoes instead.

Well, I’ve been buying shoes because I needed new running shoes, and I’ve decided to play a bit more with my running, since I can do that pretty effectively while doing 5K and 10K races–marathon training, not so much, though I hope to be able to be more playful during that training this year as well.  Anyway, a friend and colleague has been barefoot running for a few months, and in conversations with him, I have gotten quite intrigued.  My interest in such had first pinged over winter break, when G gave me Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superatheletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  McDougall writes at length about barefoot running, why we run, etc. See page 172 and his “Painful Truth Number 2: Feet like a good beating.”

For a bit of context, inasmuch as my mother now curses that I was born in CA (she blames my birthplace for all of my “crazy liberal notions”), what really provided me with the foundation for my crazy liberal notions (note:  I prefer progressive and some day we’ll need to chat about why owning a home is not always the most fiscally advantageous choice–unless one can protect large tracts of land in the process…sorry, silly digression) was my early rearing by that same mother, she of the fresh baked breads and barefoot running child, since that was what my pediatrician recommended (no, her notions were not exactly out of the realm of normal, merely engaging in her favorite sport of exaggeration here).    Anyway, I grew up without shoes–until I injured my foot recently, I generally shed my shoes as soon as I walked in the door at home.  I was notorious in grad school for shedding my shoes at work, too.

My calluses are forces to be reckoned with, I tell you.

So, given my love of a barefeet life and the studies suggesting that barefoot running can strengthen feet (something my poor feet need these days–they’ve lost the elegant strength of my teenage toe ballet and tap years), I thought that barefoot running sounded pretty groovy.  But, I also thought that barefoot running on asphalt for long periods might accidentally present a problem, so I gave into suggestion from my colleague and bought these as my new runners:

Going Barefoot

For the uninitiated, these fine fellows are Vibram Five Fingers Sprints.  I luuurve them, especially being able to feel my toes.  My stride in these shoes is quit different than in the Nike Vomeros and the Asics I’ve been wearing for some years.  I can’t quite describe it yet–TG says that from his observations, I’m hitting the ground more heavily (which was surprising, since my feet certainly don’t feel that way), so I’ll have to pay more heed to that in future runs.  I did discover in my first time out in these that making sure that my toenails are of proper length is essential, as my big toenail on the right foot was bloody after running, presumably because it was getting caught (though, again, I didn’t notice until after the fact, so it apparently wasn’t particularly painful).  The upside of that discovery was that I also discovered how easily these suckers clean up.  Rinsed them out, and, *poof*, no blood.

I’m also working on trail running, and my Nike’s were okay so long as there wasn’t much in the way of loose rock, etc.  Fairly good traction, but not much protection from the rocks and other sundry hard stuff.  Moreover, since we are preparing for a couple of big ole hikes this summer at Glacier National Park and Mount Rainier (and I hope to do some trail running in both places, too), I needed some better trail shoes.  Thus, a pair of Montrail Mountain Masochists came home recently (love that name).  I haven’t taken them out for any really good trails yet (that would be today), but I’ll report in on them once I do.  I will say that they are remarkably comfortable thus far, though.

So, that’s were we (me and my inner hippie) are for now.  Peace, all!

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One response to “Embracing my Inner Hippie: Vegetarian Eating and Barefoot Running

  1. Pingback: I Know it’s (Almost) Lent Again… | Beautiful Disease

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