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Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is Just Around the Corner!

So maybe the groundhog was right this year....spring seems to making its way onto Long Island earlier than usual. Or maybe it just seems earlier after the brutal winter we had this year. Either way, I'm loving the milder temperature and sunshine we've been having. I know this blog is about food, but veganism and fitness go hand in hand. So I'll chat a bit about my favorite outdoor fitness activities. I was a competitive distance runner back in high school and college, but a chronic foot problem has kept me from running in the past two years. I keep looking for activities that give me the same satisfaction as running, namely the "runner's high." When I lived in South Korea, hiking was the most popular sport because of the mountainous terrain covering most of the country. Danny and I bought some gear and went hiking a few times and loved it. I will have to give it another shot this summer on New York's Appalachia Trail. This past winter we went ice skating, and it turns out I'm a natural on skates. Danny suggested we buy some rollerblades for the warmer weather, so we both bought a pair of K2 skates a few weeks ago. I tried them out this past week, and the "soft boot" technology makes them so comfortable. I'm super clumsy, so I bought the protective knee, elbow, and wrist padding set too. I enjoy biking as well, but I feel too constricted on a bike and my butt tends to hurt after sitting on a seat for too long. I prefer rollerblading, because it allows more freedom of movement, so it's closer in feeling to running. Aside from running, my favorite all-weather fitness activities are yoga and pilates. I have only taken classes two or three times, but I prefer to do yoga and pilates in my own home using an MTV dvd set. My absolute favorite is Power Yoga, which is the only activity that gives me the same lean and toned look as running. Since following the dvd 2-3 times a week, I have felt stronger, more flexible, and I rarely experience back or neck pain anymore. I used to use the Pilates for Dummies dvd in college to help tone my muscles and prevent injuries while I was a runner.

The weather was so nice yesterday that Danny and I had a picnic dinner in Huntington's Hecksher Park. We stopped at Live Island Cafe for the first time to pick up a gourmet sampler of raw vegan food. The owner, Chef Okima, has just opened the cafe, so it is currently take-out only and the menu changes from day to day. She walked us through everything included in our sampler trays: caprese salad, marinated stuffed mushrooms, falafel, sundried tomato pizza with cashew cheese and kale, zucchini pasta, nut and seed crackers, sauerkraut, and tabouli salad. Everything was incredibly flavorful and fresh. We also had chocolate chip cookies for dessert, which tasted just like raw cookie dough (but were made instead with nuts, coconut, cocoa powder, and probably dates)! Raw food involves too much preparation and expensive appliances, so I don't think I could do it. But I would like to take one of Chef Okima's raw cooking classes to see what it's all about! 

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