Florida coast 1….Fort Lauderdale!

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Healthy Living: Who is it for? (and a tutorial!)

A quick and full-of-goodness scrambled egg tutorial at the bottom! I promise the read is worth it but feel free to skip down. 🙂

On Saturday, September 20th, NBC’s TODAY show held “Shine A Light” Health Fair in Baltimore City, MD, in conjunction with Living Classrooms and the Baltimore City Health Department.  The event was part of the year-long “Shine a Light” campaign, dedicated to helping the city improve its health and fitness by showing city residents how to exercise in creative ways; encouraging and teaching healthy cooking and eating; and empowering the city residents to improve their lives on their own.  All in all, a great message and goal that I could analyze and discuss for multiple posts so I’ll move on for now.

A little background: part of the reason the TODAY show selected Baltimore is because of the city’s high rates of diabetes, obesity, and residents who smoke.  However, the problem is greater than just the simple “health + fitness” formula: Baltimore’s easy access to drugs, lack of conveniently accessible grocery stores, abundance of gas station convenience stores, high infant mortality rate, and lack of funding in public schools for gym class or sports makes it one of the least healthy cities in the country.  And those items aren’t even the entire list! As a resident of this fine city for over 2 years, I see this clearly.

But on the other hand, I also see the exact opposite lifestyle all over the place.  Indeed, we are a city of contradictions! Personally, I experience farmers markets and exercise fanatics.  People who choose to bicycle to work instead of drive. And the best part, group fitness classes in parks scattered throughout the various Baltimore communities. These things are what I see and experience in Baltimore.

I went running Saturday morning around 7 a.m. and on Sunday morning around 8 a.m.  My favorite time of the day in the city is the morning (on weekdays it has to be about 6 a.m. to get the same effect); no one is outside, no sirens or panhandlers, the harbor is quiet and pretty, and the only other people out and about are the other runners.  It’s a strong community, the people who jog around Baltimore city and explore the history on foot, whether within a Meet Up! group, a community oriented group like Friends of Patterson Park, or just neighbors and friends.  However, it is clear that the young middle-class adult exercise community lives in a city that is functionally miles apart from the city residents the TODAY show focused on.

The point of this rambling is that healthy living comes in all shapes and sizes.  I believe that a person’s affinity for healthy living comes from how you were raised and where.   My parents don’t exercise but due to living on and running a farm, they never stop moving.  When I moved to a city, first Columbus, OH,  then Baltimore, I had to find a way to be just as active but without the built-in exercise that is living on a farm – hence, now I marathon!  I have friends who exercise because they hate only having law school in their lives.  Others have health issues that need to be controlled.  And for The Pilot, if he doesn’t exercise and get all the extra energy out, it leads to some cranky times in the house.  (Admittedly, I have the same issues – I once had a temper tantrum because I didn’t have time to run the 12 miles I was scheduled to and could only do 6.  Pathetic, I know. #nojudging)

So, who is healthy living for? Everyone. But in their own way. You can’t force someone who has been taught that Doritos and Sprite are dinner to shop only at the farmers markets any more than I can make my roommate train for a marathon with me or The Pilot make me do a Triathlon next weekend. We all should live healthily on our own terms! With that said, the TODAY show’s message of demonstration, encouragement, and teaching is a wonderful vessel to bridge the gap and show an alternate healthy living style to those who may not have been taught the basics of healthy eating and working out.

I’m passionate about this because I have seen the disparities, and how much they can drive a wedge between people, communities, and specifically, socio-economic groups. I’m from a mid-western farm; you think that working criminal defense in Baltimore only taught me how to file paper work? Nope! So much life learning came with it.

So, work with what you have! Don’t ever feel like you have to buy specific, organic things at the store. Empty out your fridge and put together the things you love anyway to do some healthy eating and a little treat will be that you’re wasting less food! Cha-ching!

Scrambled Eggs with Peppers, Tomatoes, Ham, and Cheese (aka: the stuff that was going bad in my fridge)

I had all this stuff in the fridge and it was starting to go bad.  I don’t eat an egg a day, I get sick of them easily so sometimes they sit too long.  Mix it up to make it more exciting!

First: chop up your veggies and put them over heat.  Whether you brown them or just soften them up, they just taste better with the soft eggs when they are a little soft too.  Then, I chopped up the ham and tossed it in with the veggies.  I browned it all up and when it was good and crispy like I prefer.  When it was done, I put it aside.

Next: mix together some eggs and milk (salt and pepper if you are a fan of that).  Put it in the same hot pan you just used for the veggies and ham.  Make the eggs however you like and when they are almost done, add in the veggies and ham.  Mix together.

Finally, the cheese!  I had sandwich cheese so I laid it on top and put the lid on for a minute but if you have shredded you can probably mix that in with the veggies!

Finish it all to your preference, make a fresh cup of coffee, and enjoy! You just prepped a great meal, you saved some food from being thrown out, and you are still on your healthy living trek!

L

For more information on the “Shine a Light” program: http://www.today.com/allday/tag/shine-a-light

And how it is at work in Baltimore:

http://www.today.com/health/shining-light-weekend-todays-baltimore-health-expo-2D80163205

http://www.today.com/allday/todays-weekend-team-shine-light-healthy-lifestyle-habits-2D11897190

 

 

New Contributor!

(Originally posted by L on Tiny Girl Eats at tinygirleats.wordpress.com)

It’s my turn to blog!

Hi readers! I’m going to join this little piece of the Internet and share some of my adventures that are likely similar to yours. I want to make this first post about the struggle I am facing trying to figure out my priorities and ACTUALLY prioritize them.

Short introduction: I am a law student, a student leader, an employee at a law firm, a dancer with a local company, a runner trying desperately to make time for a half marathon in a few weeks, and more importantly a daughter, a sister, and a long-distance girlfriend to a very intense U.S. Marine Corps Pilot. I’m sure my world is slightly different from yours but I know you can relate to the mass of roles we play in our lives … and that sometimes it’s hard to figure out which one is most important.

When I started my third year of law school there was a lot going on in life. Changes were happening for my family a few states away, the long-distance Pilot moved from California to a very close (and accessible in under 15 hours) North Carolina, and I am moving from just finding “experience” with my legal jobs to trying to find a “real” job. I know that last year I spent a lot of time and emotional energy on things that were not actually important – most of it stemming from school and classmates. I knew that starting this year I wanted to find out what was important to ME and focus on that. So, I tried to make a list.

My Priorities:
– My health (eating right, exercising, sleeping enough)
– Being available to my family (even from 500 miles away)
– My Pilot
– My schoolwork and my involvement at school

Now, lets see how well I’ve done after four weeks of school: NOT GOOD. So, this post is going to serve a dual purpose. It is my introduction to you all and it’s my promise to myself that I’ll fix those priorities.

I struggle with priorities and putting myself first because I never, ever want to let someone down. I get sucked in when someone asks for a favor and, truthfully, being there for other people is what makes me feel the best. But I realized over the last few years that I was letting my “helping others” get in the way of my own well being and my own goals. I feel like this is a problem that a lot of people have, especially Type-A females. (Disclaimer: the discussion of men v. women will happen later, if it ever does. That does not mean that you won’t likely glean my feelings on the differences I see and experience between the two. I respect your views on this and if you want to talk about it, I’m in; so please also respect my views.)

Back to it: I was starting to make myself sick with guilt (read: not sleeping or eating well) when I told someone I couldn’t help him or her. I was losing my exercise time because I was stepping in to fill holes left by people who backed out of things last minute. I am not going to lie, I think a persons’ willingness to abandon a responsibility is the biggest indicator of their personality (or my less PC way to say it: failure as a human). However, it does not always fall to me to fix that personality defunct in others. I was starting to feel like my self-worth hinged on being around to fix the holes left by those people, and it’s not! Don’t let another person’s lifestyle drive yours. That is what I am trying to remind myself of every day.

I feel like I’m doing better at not feeling guilty for not always being able to fill the gap. I said “no” to a phone conversation that I didn’t have time to have with a person who definitely hasn’t earned the right to invade my free time.  I am going to leave this post and go on a long run in my efforts to get to that half-marathon and then go grocery shopping so I have more than PB&J all week. I will do my schoolwork today to be ready to go for the week. And finally, my new promise for the week: I won’t say yes to any new responsibilities this week. I will finish what I’ve committed to for the week and keep reminding myself that I need to go to bed at 10:30 so I can wake up at 5:30 to get my run in every day.

So, what do you struggle with on the daily/weekly? Do you feel guilt when you have to say “no” to someone? Any suggestions on staying strong?

Thanks for reading and adios for now!

L

Promises of posts to come: how to eat and eat well when you have no time and little money, why long-distance relationships are a little selfish no matter how much you love them, packing lunch – ugh, and any of your requests!