Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Walking for health and fitness

Walking, the universal solver of problems
By: Chef Cristian Feher

I thought about this article while going for a nice walk today.

I was really tired. I had been up since 6am doing maintenance on all my websites, not to mention menu planning for all my customers this week. Needless to say, by 4pm I was feeling pretty tired. So I decided to get some fresh air and go for a nice walk. 30 minutes into the walk, I started to feel pretty good - life started to come back into me. I didn't feel tired anymore. I realized that I hadn't gone for a nice walk in quite a while. And up until recently, walking had been one of my favorite activities.

I started thinking about walking while I was walking. And I could see how walking is the solver of all problems.

If you need to get some place, you can walk there. If you need to get some fresh air, you can go for a walk. If your job sucks, you can walk out. Wrongfully imprisoned? Getting to walk free would feel pretty good. Tired? Don't take a nap. Go for a walk. It will re-energize you. Are you sick? Do you have a headache? Cold or flu? (I've actually done this before with a 50% success rate [I probably didn't walk far enough the other 50% of the time]) walk until you feel better, even if it's a 5 hour walk. Having a fight with your spouse? Go for a walk to cool off. First snow of the year? Perfect time to bundle up and go for a walk. Depressed? Forget pills. Walk - keep walking until you feel better. Turn off your cell phone and just walk.

Walk through a new city. Walk by the house you grew up in. Walk to the store or the bank. Walk on the beach. Walk on a dewy field early in the morning.  Walk in a shopping mall. Walk to a restaurant and work up a hunger. Walk with your kids. Walk your dog. Feeling spicy? Walk through a dangerous part of town - but remember, keep one hand in your pocket, talk to yourself, and look like you own the place.

In 1941 Slawomir Rawicz, a Polish army lieutenant imprisoned in a Siberian POW camp, claims to have walked out. He said, "F this." And simply started walking South through the snowy forests. Since the guards never imagined that anyone could survive in the freezing conditions, they didn't bother to put up walls or fences. He was joined by six inmates, and together, they walked over 4000 miles through the Gobi dessert, Tibet, the Himalayas, and eventually made it to British India in the winter of 1942.

Forest Gump had enough with life and walked for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours.Then he said, "My mama always said you've got to put the past behind you before you can move on." (that's kind of how I remember it, anyways).  Anyone feel like shrimp?

I was once the chef on a wooden tall ship. It was a horrible gig. I hated every second of being on that ship, and to make a long story short, I walked off the ship when it docked in northern Poland in a city called Gdynia. I too, simply walked. I walked along the beach, over bridges, by factories and along train tracks until finding a security check post where the guys were nice enough to call me a taxi to get me to the closest airport. That was one of the nicest walks I've ever taken. It was just me against the world, in a foreign country, with $200 in my pocket, a sweaty chef uniform and my video camera. But I recall how alive I felt. And if I could do it all over again, I would.

When I was in my 20's I went to live in Margarita Island. I smoked cigarettes, ate like a beast, and lost 25 pounds in 10 weeks. I attribute it to the fact that every day I would walk. I would walk to the supermarket, the bank, the beach, and I would hike. I would hike for hours in no particular direction. Mostly just following the coast line. Or I would walk by the banana plantations to the next town. I once walked up along a jagged, rocky shoreline with low-lying cliffs. And as I was shimmying across a rock wall to get to the next path on top of the other rock wall, I looked at the crashing surf and the rocks about 50 feet below me and thought to myself, 'If I fall down there and break my leg, no one knows I'm here, and by the time someone finds me, I'll be long dead. And if I try to swim to the nearest beach with a bloody leg, I'll be a shark's dinner." Also, I was wearing flip-flops. So I turned around and walked back home.

I belive the human body was made for walking. And this world, whether it consists of exotic places, or just your own neighborhood, is meant to be walked. The next time you're feeling tired, bored, sick, or just not-quite as healthy as you'd like to be, go for a walk. And if you can't find motivation, just think of all the money you'll save on doctor bills, therapy, weight loss product, gas, and vacations.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

vegetarian recipes for carnivores

The Vegetarian's Dilemma
By: Chef Cristian Feher

Yesterday I wrote a really preachy article about the classification of the way we eat foods... And when I read it again this morning, it put me back to sleep! So I decided to re-write it to keep it light and informative.

The Vegetarian’s Dilemma is basically this – how do I have my food and eat it too – how can I eat tasty, energizing, nourishing food that actually tastes good and is good for me?

In this article I'd like to mention that there’s more wrong with processed carbohydrates like pasta, bread, flour, and sugar, than there is with meat. Your body is made of meat (not celery sticks), so unless your religion dictates otherwise, you should include animal protein in your diet – with veggies on the side!

Here are some ways in which I help customers swap out the bad stuff for the good stuff.

Sugar – the best way to avoid the effects of processed sugar is to avoid it altogether. Duh! Obviously, right? A lot of sugar sneaks in through our condiments. Ketchup is a big one, so is BBQ sauce. Try making your own ketchup using some natural honey by mixing 2 cans of tomato paste, ½ cup of white vinegar, 5 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, ¼ tsp of all-spice, 2 tsp of sea salt, 2 cups of water.

To make it into BBQ sauce, you can add a few squirts of your favorite hot sauce, and 2 tbsp of molasses (which adds vitamins and minerals)

Mashed Potato and White Rice are great side dishes, but they turn into blood sugar very quickly and are high in calories. For healthy dieters, I always substitute these things with garlic mashed cauliflower. Some people actually like it better than mashed potato  - it actually tastes pretty good, and is very low-carb, and low-calorie. It goes great on the side of a steak!
Simply wash and cut up a head of cauliflower, boil it in salted water for about 20 minutes until it’s soft. Drain, mix with butter, salt, pepper and 3 minced garlic cloves, and mash like regular mashed potato.

Pasta is probably America’s favorite starch, next only to bread. Again, this is a high sugar food that you may want to avoid or eat less often.

I recommend Dreamfields low-carb pasta. It’s found in the pasta section of your grocery store. It looks, tastes and feels like regular pasta, but it’s made in such a way that your body cannot really absorb many of the carbs. 

If you’re really trying to avoid pasta altogether, spaghetti squash (although it tastes nothing like pasta) does shred into spaghetti-like strands, and when mixed with sautéed onion, garlic, tomato, herbs and sea-salt, makes a really enjoyable dish!  Just stick a whole spaghetti squash in the oven at 450 in a baking dish until it browns on both, top and bottom. Take out of oven. Cut in half, remove seeds, and shred the strands with a fork. Sautee with the veggies I mentioned above, or with your own tomato sauce. You can even twirl it like spaghetti with your fork!

I hope you enjoy these little substitutions. And remember that a healthy diet should provide you with energy and furnish your body with the materials needed to build and repair your tissues and organs - animal protein, vegetables, and a very small amount of carbohydrates are ideal.