Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sometimes frugality is the way to go

Last Wednesday I met with a classmate at the campus student center to work on an assignment for a class we had together. We were coming from another class project meeting and she suggested that we work on our assignment at the campus center during the hour before our next class, that way she can grab dinner. I obliged, but knowing that I needed to drop my car off at my apartment and bike to the campus center, I decided to grab some food and minimize what dinner I would purchase at the campus right?

So I grabbed a Clif bar just in case my meal was light, and I grabbed half an avocado that was in the fridge. Whatever I decided to get could only have been better-tasting with the avocado spread on it. And the Clif bar was just in case nothing was appealing.

My vegan options were from the following vendors:

-A tofu burrito from Currito Burrito (wheat wraps are huge and I wasn't in the mood for all of that despite the amazingness of the burrito)

-Subway- I guess I could have gotten some kind of vegetable sandwich there? I never go to Subway so I don't really know their menu items)

-Gerlanda's pizza- Occasionally they have a vegan pizza pie which I would have grabbed a slice of, but this day they had none already made (and I wasn't about to order a pie by myself!). This pie is only vegan because they don't use cheese which is healthier, but definitely not as good as Tata's vegan pies that I'm raving about every now and then.

-King Pita Palace- A Mediterranean food vendor with plenty of vegan options!

I decided to order a falafel and eggplant pita wrap with hummus from King Pita and it was amazing. Too bad I had to actually work with my classmate and was forced to scarf my food down to have any kind of time to get work done. (Another classmate who was sitting nearby would actually comment on how fast I was eating later on during class.)

Now, the reason I titled the post the way I did was because I brought the half avocado along with me to the student center. I had a feeling that the classmate I was working with was going to ask me why I brought an avocado and not just asked for avocado to be added. Even if I had thought about that, King Pita doesn't offer avocado so that wouldn't have worked. But I found the thought interesting nevertheless.

The opinion I created can be found somewhere within the following sentences: Isn't it interesting that people often talk about how expensive fresh produce can be yet order a $7 or $8 salad to eat healthy? Often when Val and I go out, avocado is offered as a topping for a wrap or sandwich usually for an extra $0.50-$1.00. So all we think about is how good that sandwich will taste with avocado and we fork over the extra dollar for the quarter slice of an avocado the restaurant will add to the sandwich. I find it interesting that I've been so willing to do that yet every time I see the price of avocados at the farmer's markets we frequently shop at I have to pause a moment and think about how many we need during the current shopping.

Moral of the story. There is nothing wrong with bringing half an avocado with you and putting it on your food yourself! It's a way to ensure you are getting certain nutrients during your day and it could help you save money in the end! Val and I have done with before when we each brought a banana with us and went to get some muesli for breakfast from a local coffeehouse place. Listen, college students need to be frugal whenever possible and I think this is a generally easy way to be frugal around campus!

Whew! Done with that rant...

I'd like to share briefly about what's been up with my running.

I've been getting NJ Marathon director updates each week and they certainly aren't helping with my nerves. So far there have been three sent out by the race director starting at 10 weeks out. Just yesterday I received the 8 weeks out email and I feel like I haven't progressed in my running since the first email was sent! Winter has really kicked my butt and I literally have no idea if it's worth having a goal for this marathon next month. I have about 6 1/2 weeks of training left before I start tapering for the 26.2 miler and I  need to make every one of those days count. I'm going to start doubling up on my long runs like I did during ultramarathon training. I know the marathon and the ultramarathon are completely different beasts, but I'm going to be somewhat strategic about what mileage I go for during these double long runs. I have to be smart so I avoid injury training like this.

Today's run was a quick 8 miler around Rutgers campus. I don't know if any of you readers saw a guy in a bright orange jacket and short shorts running around, but if you did, it was that vegan runner. I averaged 7:07 for the 8 miles which I was really happy about. I am going to be open with you and reveal to you my goal of running 7 minute miles for the marathon which won't be easy by any means. The 7:07 average for 8 miles was good because it gets my body used to the pace I am shooting for. My beginning miles need to be a bit faster so I don't have to play as much catch-up in the latter half of the marathon, but I was happy with my end time for today.

We'll see if I hit that marathon mark or not. My training has been all kinds of messed up this winter so part of me just wants to enjoy this marathon down at the shore and soak it all in after such a snowy and icy winter.

I'll be focusing many of my posts around my marathon training as a way to show how I train for this distance and also to help motivate myself.

Most of this post was centered around this amazing fruit: the avocado. If you haven't had an avocado before, I definitely encourage you to give this fruit a try. You can eat it as is shown in the picture or you can spread it on sandwiches, tortilla chips, put into salads, use as a pizza topping; the uses are probably endless. Another obvious way to eat avocado is to make guacamole with the fruit, but be careful: purchasing guacamole in the store and eating it is nowhere near as healthy as making fresh guacamole in your own kitchen with fresh ingredients!

So why are avocados so good for people, especially runners and are kinds of exercise-doers? Avocados are an excellent source of potassium which is important for muscle health and optimal muscle functionality. Trying to do any kind of exercise when your potassium levels are very low or frequently low will have a noticeable impact on your ability to lift those weights, run those miles, swim those laps, and whatever else you may do.

Avocados are also great for its fat content. What?!? Did I just use "fat" and "great" in the same sentence? Yes and here's why: People need fat! It's plain and simple. Fat is used to protect our body's organs and it is used to insulate us especially in colder climates and temperatures such as this past one. But a primary reason why runners and endurance athletes need fat is because the body used both carbohydrates and fat during exercise. Now, which is being used during your 5 mile run depends on how you are running those 5 miles, but it is still safe to say that you need to consume an adequate amount of fat each day and avocado is probably the best food you could be eating to meet your daily need.

I encourage you to look up avocados and do some reading about the other benefits of this food such as its Vitamin C, K and B6 content.

Happy Running!


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