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Chobani YUM YUM Giveaway!! April 2, 2011

Filed under: food,giveaway,good things — Susan @ 10:48 pm

Well, the Chobani Fairy was certainly smiling on me this week. I was greeted one day by a GIANT BOX that had been delivered to my door, containing this stunning array of Chobani yogurts! I have to admit. I love a certain Other Greek yogurt and had never even TRIED Chobani until this week. WELL.

Where have you been all my life?

Since then, I’ve been eating Chobani for breakfast and snack (and sometimes dessert) all week. It is WONDERFUL. I’ve had the peach, the mango, the pomegranate, the blueberry and the pineapple. Members of my Extremely Helpful Family have tasted the vanilla, the black cherry, the strawberry, the lemon and vanilla. All of them have been given the thumbs up but my hands-down all time favorite is the MANGO. All of them have chunks of real fruit and not just the weird jam-like stuff that other yogurts have. It is so, sooooo goooooooooooooood.

I just emailed all of my local grocers and begged them to stock the Mango, if not all the other flavors!

And you know how awesome and generous the Chobani Fairy is? She has agreed to bestow the same awesome sampler case upon one of my very very lucky blog readers! Yes, this is one of the sweetest giveaways ever.

To be eligible to win win win all of this yum yum yum, you need to do the following things:

  1. Leave a comment HERE telling me which flavor you are most excited to try.
  2. Go to Chobani’s Facebook page and “like” them. Which is certainly not hard to do. Say something friendly to them. :-)
  3. Go to MY Facebook page and “like” me. (but I hope it’s real like, and not just airquotes-like!)
  4. Leave a comment on Chobani’s facebook page that says “I hope that I win @Foodie Mcbody’s awesome yogurt giveaway on http://www.foodfoodbodybody.wordpress.com!!” (<<copy and paste so the links all work) NEVER MIND! Don’t do this one anymore! Do the next one instead.
  5. Go to ANY post on this blog, read it, and leave a comment (not about yogurt, about the contents of the post!)

Okay, got it? The giveaway starts NOW and will run until 5pm (Pacific time) on Tuesday, April 5th! Nearly instant gratification!

GOOD LUCK, everyone!!!!!!

 

Yoga KICKED MY BUTT. But I might go back…

from bikram yoga

I haven’t done yoga in many, many years. In fact you might say I have had a yoga phobia. I’m not even sure why.

When I was in college (like a million years ago!) my boyfriend and I took up a home course in Bikram yoga after seeing the extremely sexy and appealing yoga-in-a-Turkish-prison scene in Midnight Express. It looked pretty irresistable. So we bought this book, and I bought a Danskin leotard (LOL) and we commenced to learn the poses along with Bikram and his cast of inflexible movie stars. (he had these hilarious pose photos – you can do it perfectly like Bikram here, but if you are a normal person with hamstrings of concrete, you may do it like … Debbie Reynolds!) But seeing the imperfect movie stars was kind of reassuring.

After that one stint of doing yoga in- what – 1978? I stopped and actually have not been back since. I’ve had a weird chip on my shoulder and I don’t even know why. At some point I came to associate yoga with sanctimonious Cafe Gratitude- type vegans AND with women who put on makeup and $150 Lululemon clothes to exercise. I mean, if you’re going to do yoga, I kind of think you ought to be doing it while wearing rags on a concrete floor. LOL. It’s supposed to be a spiritual practice, not a practice in consumerism and looking stylish.

Also, I can’t sit upright with my legs extended and since you have to do that ALL THE TIME in yoga, it makes me feel cranky and inadequate. Maybe that’s the REAL reason.

BUT… my friend who moved to New York was back in town for just a few days, and she invited me to her favorite yoga class, and said the instructor is AMAZING, and then we were going to go to the Bakesale for Japan together, and it’s really the only opportunity we had to get together, so… what the heck. I went.

First of all. This was a Level 2-3 class. Hahahaha. Second of all, it was PACKED. (popular teacher/ Saturday morning) Thirdly, I thought it was an hour class but it turned out to be 90 minutes more like 100 because he went overtime. YOW.

It started out innocuously enough. Some “getting in touch with your breath/body” stuff which segued into some very gentle neck stretches, and it had been going on forever, and I thought, not so bad.

Then it got bad.

There was a lot of downward dog and plank activity, and warrior pose stuff and even flying on one leg, but the thing that got to me was the Rabbit. (picture above) Except we not only did it like the picture, we also did it while our back quarters were still downward dogging, and one leg up in the air. We were to put all the weight of our bodies on our HAIRLINE. I mean, ow.

This yoga is no joke, people. I have had a few forays into “gentle” yoga or “restorative” yoga and this was a total kickass workout. I was shaking and trembling and sweating and really FEELING IT. It felt like it went on and on forever, but in fact it was around 95 minutes. Give or take.

When it was over, I was trembling like a scared Chihuaha for about an hour. I felt really… shaky. But then after that I felt good. Really good.

That’s my takeaway message. I’m probably going to do more yoga because it’s like good medicine. I think it’s good for me and does things that my other workouts don’t do. I’m going to start investigating different classes and see which ones might be a good fit for me. This one was pretty hardcore. At one point people were actually doing HEADSTANDS and I was like… whaaaaattttt? No way I was even going to go there. But it was good, and I do think another barrier was broken in Foodie McBody-land.

After the class we went over to the main Bakesale for Japan location. In my mind I was thinking this might be a day when I’d break my chip vow and try some sugar. Everything looked freaking AMAZING. But in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth it to me. I took a tiny nibble of something called a “sesame stick” and it was on the sweet side so I didn’t eat any more. But I also got some miso pork (made from Sendai miso, how perfect could that be?) and some farm eggs and little cheddar crisps made from cheese and black rice – wow, right? Yum.

It was a good day. And I definitely stayed on track, both exercise and sugarwise. Yay!

Tell me: what do YOU think of yoga? What kind do you do? What kind do you like?

 

Race Recap: Oakland Running Festival Twilight 5k! March 28, 2011

So y’all know that originally I was planning to do the Fight for Air Stairclimb, the Oakland Twilight 5k AND the Oakland Marathon Team Relay all in one weekend. Crazy, right? Right! And the 5k for a while felt like a bit of a consolation prize when I tried to register for the team relay and it was sold out. Well, it all turned out to be just riiiiiiiiight. (as it often does)

I did the stairclimb yesterday morning, then came home to blog (naturally) and rest and shower and nap. (<<<<excellent move) Then I woke up, had a nice cup of coffee and headed down to Jack London Square where I was to meet up with Sabrina again (she had had no nap, but a full day of sightseeing in San Francisco! Yow!). As soon as I got to the Square I found her AND a bunch of other people I knew! I met a friend whose daughter had gone to school with my daughter. I was so thrilled to see that she was there and ready to run her very first 5k. I was so excited for her! Go Jill!

Then I found my buddy and very first Couch-to-5k running partner, Mary. That made me feel so happy and emotional! She was the one who started it all with me, from our very first 60-second run that I wasn’t sure we would survive. How awesome. It seemed like every time I turned around I was bumping into someone else I knew. It was such a big PARTY! There were tons of kids, from little ones to teens, and older people and just every kind of person imaginable. The vibe was very big Oakland party.

They announced that they were moving the course last minute (?!) because of mud or puddles or some such thing, and that we were all going to walk a block down the Square to some green line on the ground and line up behind it.  Huh? But we all did just that, and at some point people started running and we were off. I put on my iPod earbuds and my regular running music and went. My only goal was to run the whole way at whatever pace. Often when I am training-running I will do some walk intervals, but I just really wanted to run this whole thing since I knew I was not going to be running any part of the Sunday marathon.

When we started out, it was just a huge sea of people. The kids were running all willy nilly, darting in and around the crowd, and the spectators were loud and noisy and boisterous and YAY! I just felt so overwhelmingly happy and full of love for Oakland. It was truly twilight and the weather and the light were beautiful and perfect. I just took off feeling relaxed and loving the feel of all the people around me. We headed through the square toward the Port of Oakland and then at some point not too far off, all of a sudden the front runners were heading back the other way. I actually love this feeling, seeing the fast runners just pushing it out. It’s so inspiring. I got so excited seeing them, including some awesome looking women and one small, very fast child. It was incredible!

Then before long we turned around and made a U-turn too, and back through the Square full of all the cheering people. YAY that was fun! Then we ran down toward the boathouse where my daughters have been rowing crew for the past 6 years. Man, I know this path so well. I have walked and run it so many times before, and there was something so lovely and comforting about that particular stretch. I saw the 2 mile mark and was like, What? Only 1.2 miles left? I was feeling so good. A lot of people were walking around me now, and I passed a whole bunch. Including some of those kids who had charged out of the gate so early.

I passed one guy walking with a cane, and one paralyzed arm, like he’d had a stroke or brain injury. He was just trucking along. There were two women walking backwards in front of him, cheering him on. It brought tears to my eyes. I saw quite a few people of significant size, and I was like, GO YOU! You’re not waiting to get to X weight to do this! You’re doing it!

I saw so many people who inspired me during this race. It just filled me with pride and happiness. My body felt great – not any soreness at ALL from the stairclimb. I just felt relaxed and good. When we came to the last .1, and that Finish arch was right THERE, I decided to just push it out into an all out sprint. It felt amazing. I just tore through that finish and all I can say is I hope that someone took a picture because I was on fire.

Then I stood at the finish and watched everyone else come in. I loved it. And then the craziest thing happened. I was standing there, and this woman I didn’t recognize said, “Excuse me, but do you blog?” I said, “Yeah…” and then she said, “Are you Foodie McBody?” I could have fainted dead away right there! She introduced herself as Bethany (@, a reader and blogger herself! WOW! WOW! I think that was one of the absolute highlights of the weekend.  Today I went and found her blog and it’s awesome! Everyone go read her!

That's @bgetnhot

Then I met up with Sabrina, who had ended up walking the race with the friend of friend, and apparently they had the best time chatting away! I was so excited to be with her at our SECOND finish line of the day! Yahoo!

That's @brematt!

Then we went and met up with Mary and her family at Souley Vegan, an awesome restaurant up the street. Yeah… vegan soul food! You can read my full review of it here but needless to say it has redeemed my estimation of vegan food! YUM!

Mary's daughter gazing adoringly at the Everything Platter

Crispy Tofu Burger is a thing of wonder!

I have to say that this was one of my favorite race experiences EVER. There was so much to love: being in my own town which I love, with other Oaklanders (and fans of), having such a cool and enthusiastic crowd to cheer us on, feeling totally relaxed and without pain or struggle. It was just wonderful. The only thing that would’ve been better would be getting some nice BLING but that didn’t happen. Ah well!

I had been feeling all sour grapesy about the actual marathon, but this morning I just wanted to be part of it. I knew my friend Lydia would be running the 2nd leg through my neighborhood so I made a sign (with two sides) and went down to Montclair Village to see the marathoners coming through. Well, I have never participated in a race as a Spectator before, and let me tell you, it was awesome. It was so exciting and I was so happy to see the runners and frankly very grateful that my running for the weekend was OVER. :-) People were SO happy to see my sign, and many of them yelled out, “No, YOU are awesome!” (What?!?) and “THANK  YOU!” It was fantastic. I just loved being there and again felt so inspired. Lydia zipped right past me before I could get my phone out to take a picture. She looked fabulous!!

I came home and it was time to get my own workout in. Yeah, there’s no days off with this #30daychip! Because TODAY I also completed my 30th day in a row of exercise! It felt great. Now I’m waiting for my #30daychip to show up. @Bradgansberg? :-)

Day 30 done!!! Yippeeee!

When that was over, I was ready to rest and sit down. Finally. My friend Ericka and I met up to see the movie Jane Eyre. Which I loved. It was the perfect ending of a pretty much perfect weekend. YAYYYYY!!!!!!!!

 

Who Wants Rocco’s New Book?? March 24, 2011

Filed under: body image,cooking,food,giveaway,good things,health,recipe,recipes — Susan @ 3:31 am

You all know I was lucky enough to win a copy of Rocco DiSpirito’s amazing cookbook Now Eat This! We have been going through the recipes and they have been shockingly EASY, fast and delicious. We’ve already made the tortilla soup half a dozen times and now we’re really into the turkey nachos. YUM. On the heels of the bestselling success of his low-calorie Now Eat This! cookbook, Rocco Dispirito has a new book featuring a weight-loss program “guaranteed to produce maximum results with minimum effort.”

Award-winning celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito changed his life and his health-without giving up the foods he loves or the flavor. He has lost more than 20 pounds, participated in dozens of triathlons, and-after an inspirational role as a guest chef on The Biggest Loser-changed his own diet and the caloric content of classic dishes on a larger scale. In NOW EAT THIS! DIET, complete with a foreword by Dr. Mehmet Oz, DiSpirito offers readers a revolutionary 2-week program for dropping 10 pounds quickly, with little effort, no deprivation, and while still eating 6 meals a day and the dishes they crave, like mac & cheese, meatloaf, BBQ pork chops, and chocolate malted milk shakes. The secret: Rocco’s unique meal plans and his 75 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snack time, all with zero bad carbs, zero bad fats, zero sugar, and maximum flavor. Now readers can eat more and weigh less-it’s never been so easy!

Now Eat This! Diet was published for the first time two days ago on the 22nd (congrats Rocco!) and I am lucky enough to have a free, signed copy for a giveaway! Here’s a little peek into one of the recipes: (click to enlarge) I’ll be giving away a copy of this book ON FRIDAY (April 1st) so if you want to be that lucky recipient, leave a comment here and tell me your favorite comfort food! I bet there’s a healthy version of it in Rocco’s book.

For anybody who really wants this book and either can’t wait or doesn’t win – there are many ways you can get your hands on one.

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/hGdqDl
Books-A-Million – http://bit.ly/elumlG
Borders – http://bit.ly/fAOF5J
Hastings – http://bit.ly/dOKm9Z
Powell’s – http://bit.ly/eKmbjv
Tower Records – http://bit.ly/fgdzt5

EDITED TO ADD: The giveaway winners will be announced on Friday, April 1st! AND…. I just got the exciting news from “Rocco’s people” that there will be FOUR WINNERS! YAHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

 

Healthy Steps Giveaway: Nifty Tools for Healthy Eating! March 14, 2011

Filed under: cooking,food,giveaway — Susan @ 11:50 am

mmm... citrusy water!

I recently had the good fortune of receiving some very nifty tools from the folks over at Healthy Steps. They sent me some cool serving utensils and also a water infuser, to make water taste yummy and interesting. The water infuser is basically a ball that snaps open, allowing you to put in whatever you want. I put it some tangerine and some Meyer lemon and then popped it into a pitcher of ice water. You can also put in cucumber, mint leaves, strawberries – whatever you can think of to give your H20 a hint of flavor.

Pretty much every spa I have ever gone to serves “fancy water.” It just gives it something special. I have no idea why it never occurred to me to do this at home, but the water infuser has now gotten me inspired. We all need to drink a good amount of water and I am probably among the guiltiest for not really doing this enough. Having fresh fancy water could really help me with this goal.

I also received some nifty serving utensils. They are designed to help you serve up the appropriate servings of food. There’s a protein spatula thing that is just about the same size as the ubiquitous “deck of cards” serving for proteins. There’s a biggish scoop for “vegetables” and a mediumish scoop for “starch.” (<<< I actually thought this word was kind of old school) It doesn’t have an amount like “half cup” or “cup” but it’s just a visual reminder – “This is about right.”

I have been given the opportunity to give away TWO (!) sets of these cool kitchen tools to my awesome blog readers. All you have to do is leave a comment for me here – tell me what you’d flavor YOUR water with – and go to Healthy Steps’ Facebook page. “Like” them and then write a post on their page telling them you came from @Foodie McBody’s giveaway on http://www.foodfoodbodybody.com.  A few words about how much you’d love to try their cool tools probably won’t hurt either! Please RT and spread the word!

Copy and paste this to Twitter:  GIVEAWAY on @foodiemcbody’s blog: Nifty Tools for Healthy Eating http://bit.ly/fY2OAX Please RT!

Deadline: April 1, 2011 Good luck!!!!!!!

 

these could be sitting in YOUR kitchen soon!

 

Healthaversary #2: Rainy but Inspiring February 6, 2011

January is the month that I mark my Healthaversary, aka my Blogaversary, aka when I woke up and decided it was time to be healthy. Last year I marked it with a hike to a volcanic labyrinth, blowing bubbles and brunch. This year it was pouring rain and I knew the hike down to the labyrinth would be ankle-deep mud. So I decided to skip the hike part and just do a little ritual in my living room. I wasn’t sure who would come.

In the end it was about a dozen women (plus Mr. McB!) who showed up, some I’ve known for many years and one Twitter friend (hi @debroby) whom I was meeting for the first time. First we had an amazing feast prepared by Qi chef Patrick Bremser. He showed us the most seasonal, local dishes he’d made, for a transition into spring. There was a giant pot of potato leek soup with “pungent herbs,” (bright and pungent being the most appropriate foods for this time of year), a most amazing kale and radicchio soup that had been MASSAGED with sea salt and… grapeseed oil? and all I can say is, man, I’ve got to start massaging my kale! It was sooooo tender and fluffy and just.. incredible. There were also little bowls of walnuts, some quinoa, some long-cooked onions (mmmmmmmmm), olive tapenade (MMMMMMMMM), pumpernickel walnut bread, orange zest (zesty!), and some dessertish crostini with pear compote. It was all to. Die. For.

After having this most amazing lunch, we went to our health altar where we’d all put some items symbolizing our health goals for 2011.  Therapy bands, running medals, a heart, a little sumo wrestler, a stalk of broccoli, photographs, mementos and other things. We all lit candles. It was just lovely and I felt so … supported and held up as I go into my third year of health.

This second year has been both easier and harder than the first. On one hand, I feel like I am more comfortable with it. It feels like a more solid part of my identity. But this is also where I feel the foreverness of it all. The very long haul. Most days it doesn’t feel like  a struggle, but sometimes it does, especially when, like this January, when I’ve felt sick and not with my usual high energy. I don’t like being tired or sick.

But it was wonderful, and wonderful to see the ripples out as others have gotten healthier and others have faced challenges with great courage. I love and admire my community, both local and invisible-and-far-off, and I could not, could NOT have gotten these two years down without you all.

This goes out to all the invisible ones who weren’t in attendance but who have held me up so much these past two years. Much love.

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Friends with Snow Again January 11, 2011

Sargent Wilderness Area, Chama, New Mexico

By the time I’d gotten to the heaviest of my Before phase, I had become a true hater of snow and snow sports. I grew out of my very-largest, expensive snow pants and SWORE I was not going to move up to the next size. So I’d go out in the snow with the pants unsnapped and only halfway zipped up. That was, er, chilly and distressing. I also remember that the maneuvering that involved snapping or buckling ski boots or other such things resulted in an uncomfortable/impossible squishing together of my ample midsection, and just tightening my boots made me dizzy enough to pass out. Often I’d opt to sit by the fire and drink lots of hot cocoa. Eventually I ended up opting out of going to the snow altogether, it was so unpleasant.

It had been probably more than 3 years since I’d done anything snow-related. But my very best college friend and the godmother of my daughter was throwing a 50th birthday bash with all her besties in the New Mexico mountains, and it involved cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and I could not say no. I thought maybe I’d end up sitting by the fire and reading/writing all weekend. But no.

The first NSV (nonscale victory) came the night before the trip, when I went down to the basement to rummage around the piles of snow clothes. I found the hated VERY BIG snowpants that I could not even zip up 3 yrs ago. Then I found the 3-sizes-smaller ones that my kids had worn when they were maybe in junior high. I held my breath. I tried on the small ones. HEY! THEY FIT! So that put me in a pretty good mood.

I got there, and it was beautiful. So beautiful! I am spoiled by being one of those people who can “go to the snow” and then leave it. And this was some of the nicest, prettiest snow I had ever seen. The flakes were giant crystalline shards of beauty. I was entranced!

My friend had rented me some cross-country skis. Back in the day, I was probably the World’s Worst Cross Country Skier. One, I had absolutely no stamina or cardiovascular endurance. So after about three feet I would be panting. Secondly, I was absolutely terrified to go up or down the slightest incline because I would immediately fall to the ground. NO JOKE. Once I went to this X-C ski resort with the family and I signed up for this hellaciously long (could it have been more than 2 hours?) X-C group ski lesson. It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my LIFE because I was either panting in absolute oxygen debt, or I was trying to struggle up from an upside-down turtle position on the snowy ground, while the entire group looked on in abject pity and disgust, or left me miles behind. It was miserable and I swore on ten frozen Bibles that I would never, ever, EVER cross-country ski again.

But my best college friend, the hostess and birthday girl, had rented me some X-C skis. What was I to do? Well, the REI gods were smiling on me. They sent me one defective ski so that I could not for the life of me get it latched on to my boot. DEFECTIVE BINDINGS saved my dignity. I praised the Lord and reached for the snowshoes. Which I loved. And adored.

It is damn near impossible to fall down while wearing snow shoes. And thanks to all the running I did in 2010, I was not the least bit cardiovascularly challenged by this activity. I tromped through the snow, sometimes up to my knees, in total glee. It was freakin’ AWESOME. And it made my heart pump and my DirectLife activity monitor wake up and say “hey, she’s not dead!” and a happiness rang out across the snowy land.

So now I am friends with the snow again. I went out twice on Saturday and once on Sunday, the first exercise I’d done since the Plague hit me on New Year’s Day. It felt really, really good! And now I can actually contemplate the idea of renting some snowshoes again and going to play in the snow in my own home state.

PS. One of the nicest things about this weekend was learning how to make homemade chai. SO DELICIOUS and so simple. There was always a pot of chai on the stove and I became obsessed with it. Recipe and how-to photos here!

happy birthday, JAZ!

 

 
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