CW: Discussion of larger bodies, the social construction of fatness and eating disorders.
One of my favourite podcasts over the past couple of years has been “You’re wrong about,” a space where the hosts re-examine big (mostly American) cultural moments involving personalities (think, Tonya Harding, OJ Simpson, Vanessa Williams) from an intersectional lens. That pod is a freewheeling, funny and well researched romp through the impact of capitalism, media dynamics, race and sexism, especially how they combine in our cultural construction of young women.
Several months ago, one of the hosts, Michael Hobbes, launched another project, called Maintenance Phase, with co-host Aubrey Gordon, focusing on the diet industry and the cultural construction of bodies. Catherine wrote about their episode on The Biggest Loser a couple of weeks ago. I find both hosts an incredible blend of well-informed, caring and irreverent. In my experience, it’s one of the best spaces examining the complex relationship between individual experience in our bodies and the way that overwhelming culture shapes that experience.
This week’s ep is one of the best yet. Michael and Aubrey interview Erin Nicole Harrop, a researcher (and person with lived experience) in the little-understood zone of eating disorders in people with larger bodies. People who look like they have a “normal BMI” who seek help for disordered eating are very very often misdiagnosed, and frequently either dismissed or even mocked. (“How could someone who looks like you be restricting food?”)
It begins, “People have reached out to me asking how they can make their outdoor groups more inclusive for transgender people. (This is with the hope that we can go back to meeting up with new people in person soon!)
I always share my personal experience, but I felt like I wanted to do more. So I talked to 35 transgender, non-binary, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people about what makes them feel safe and included in outdoor groups. Here is what they told me…:
Feature photo credit: Roman Koester, via Unsplash.
Does running risk upsetting your stomach? Do you have to treat it tenderly when you get back home to ensure you’re comfortable the rest of the day? How do you balance your nutritional needs with that overwhelming desire to live off of starchy carbs?
Saturday, I wrote about some of the meals and foods I can enjoy for breakfast that help me feel better during my runs. Now, I want to address the post-run meal. I come back from my runs ready to enjoy something, but not ready to eat. I also want to reset my gut so I can enjoy more fibrous vegetables and satisfying meals with more protein and fats than I have usually put into that day’s breakfast. Here are the “rules” that seem to work best for me post-run to help me avoid an upset stomach and get me back into my regular eating routines.
Rule one: Have a recovery beverage asap. I read somewhere that dehydration can add to that sour stomach feeling, and maybe it’s a factor for me. So, I make sure to have some water with a little juice or other sugar in it right away. I might not be ready to eat immediately, but I find having something cold and refreshing immediately following my run really helps me to get back to feeling normal faster. I’ve put two of my favorite ways to rehydrate below.
Rule two: Keep food easy to digest for the next few hours at least. Cooked veggies over raw, moderate fat, some low-fat meat is fine for a protein boost.
Rule three: Eat when I’m hungry just until satisfied, not until full. After a run is not a time to stuff myself, which honestly isn’t a habit of mine in any case, but I have been known to keep eating when something is really delicious. That overfull feeling doesn’t mix well with my post-running stomach. It’s also not a time for a rich dessert.
If I follow these guidelines, I feel mostly normal and back to my usual eating options by the time for my afternoon snack rolls around. I keep hoping that someday I won’t need to negotiate so much with my gut before and after a run, but after years of running, I’m beginning to think that this is just how my body works. I enjoy running enough to keep doing it, at least one day a week anyway. But if I couldn’t find a way to work with my eating challenges, I’m not sure that would be true. I’m happy to have found solutions that allow me to integrate running into my weekends and still feel like I’m taking care of myself nutritionally as well.
Homemade Orange Sports Drink
This is my go-to beverage after a run. I mix it up and either keep it in the fridge ready to enjoy when I return, or if I’m running outside of my neighborhood, keep it in the car to enjoy as soon as I get back to it.
Mix together orange juice concentrate with twice the cold water recommended.
Add a dash of salt.
If you’re a meathead like me, you can put your daily creatine powder in this as well, to check off that box for the day.
Stir or shake together until fully combined.
Ginger-Apple Frothy Recovery Drink
Ginger has natural happy-tummy abilities, reducing nausea and upset stomachs. This is a great option for days when you’re really struggling to set your stomach right.
In a blender, combine until the texture of a slushie:
Apple juice (or concentrate plus water)
Maybe half a frozen banana
Pureed Vegetable Soup
Whenever I get around to lunch, I want to get back to my full serving of vegetables, since I’ve avoided them before my run. This soup really works for me.
In a large stock pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and 4 cups chopped carrots, onions, and celery. Frozen is fine. Don’t bother to chop anything really finely, because you’re going to blend it all up later.
Add another 4-6 cups chopped other vegetables of your choice such as more carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, etc. I also like to add a red garnet yam for the sweetness. Again, you can “cheat” and just throw in some frozen veggies, if you want to save time.
Flavor with 4-6 cloves of crushed garlic and 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger root. If you want curried soup, also add 2 tbsp curry powder, 1 tbsp each cumin and powdered coriander, and some hot pepper (to taste).
Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is very soft. This can take an hour or so, but you don’t have to pay attention to it most of that time. It can burn as it gets close to being done, so check on it every 5-10 minutes or so near the end and give it a good stir.
Add 8 cups of (preferably homemade) vegetable or chicken stock.
Use a stick blender to blend it all together until completely smooth. Add salt to taste and adjust seasonings. Allow to simmer a bit to combine flavors.
I freeze this in 1-2 cup servings and pull out one each weekend. It makes 10-15 servings, depending on how much you eat at a time. When it’s time for lunch, I add some shredded chicken and a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. I make it a balanced meal with some toast or a muffin on the side.
Do you have dietary “rules” you follow to help you feel good after a run? Have a favorite post-run food? I’d love to hear them.
Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher. She can be found slowly cooking vegetables on the stove, picking up heavy things, and putting them down again in Portland, Oregon.
I have been joining my swim club at the indoor pool for three weeks now. It mostly feels wonderful. It is my big social event of the week, and it feels great to catch up with friends. On Saturday I was so keen to get going that I wore my mask right into the pool! Luckily I realized it before putting my face in.
I love getting feedback on my strokes. I am frustrated with how tired I am afterwards. It has been ages since I needed a nap after practice, but I’m back to napping. I am a little frustrated that I am the fastest person in my lane, and I need to wait for the slower people because we can’t pass for COVID reasons. A swimming friend from the UK shared this image today after her first swim in a year. I feel that way too:
We have all forgotten so much – technique, lane etiquette, and occasionally how to stay apart safely. Some of our muscles and organs seem to have forgotten how to worksuspect that will be a challenge for many sports going forward, assuming we get to keep doing sports indoors or in groups.
In anticipation of yet another lockdown – and because open water season is almost upon us – I met up with a couple of friends on Sunday to see if we could get into the river. Sadly, the open water was only knee deep and none of us had remembered to bring an ice chipper. Aimee was the only one who bothered to get in.
Still, it was nice to get together and compare notes about how different pools and clubs are managing through COVID restrictions. We will try again next weekend. Hopefully we will still feel safe standing or swimming two metres apart with no masks.
This post is a reminder to me (and others reading this post) that slow isn’t a bad thing, even if, or especially if, you also care about going fast. I’ve written before about recovery rides which are a specific sort of slow ride.
“As we have mentioned in an earlier article, you should focus your training around the polarised training concept. This involves making sure 80 per cent of your training is done at low intensity (slow) with 20 per cent of your training comprising high-intensity interval sessions. The key to the polarised training model is ensuring that your easy rides remain easy (slow). One of the most common mistakes the majority of amateur cyclists make is feeling that they need to ride hard on each session in order to make an improvement. They spend large amounts of time training in this heavy intensity domain (the sweet spot) as they are often too afraid to go slow.”
“The takeaway here is to manage and distribute your intensity correctly. Yes, these races are great to motivate and get you to push yourself. But be careful not to make these races too frequent. Over-training can take weeks to get over and in severe cases can take months or even years to recover fully from. Enjoy the these races occasionally but don’t throw away your chances of racing well in the real world by pushing too hard, too often in the current situation. Key tip: Keep it easy most of the time. A good rule of thumb is to keep 80 per cent of your sessions at lower intensity; and watch your performance improve.”
And in the honour of dad bods, and the great “dad bod” discussion, I thought I’d share some of our past posts on the subject.
Oh, and if you’ve been living under a rock and you’re wondering what a dad bod is here’s this from The Odyssey
The dadbod is a physique characterized by undefined muscles beneath a light layer of flab, usually topped off with a beer belly. “The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time,’” explains Mackenzie Pearson, a Clemson sophomore.
Here’s what we’ve had to say about dads and their bods in the past:
News flash: after being banned for 28 years, Alabama public schools may soon be able to run yoga classes. The state house of representatives passed the bill this year, voting 73-25 in favor. It’s the third year in a row that the bill has been introduced, but the third time was apparently the charm.
Oh wait, I’m not supposed to say “charm” around the Alabama legislators. They seem very skittish about anything that sounds non-material or spiritual. The bill is very specific about limiting yoga practice to physical poses. An Alabama state newspaper described it this way:
“The bill aims to allow yoga without any religious connotations. Students could learn and practice poses, exercises, and stretching techniques. The legislation prohibits “chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, (and) namaste greetings.”
According to the Washingon Post, no other state has such a ban on yoga in schools. Whew.
It’s too bad about the no-mantras and no-mudras requirements (I like them both), but no-frills yoga is better than no-yoga-at-all.
Of course, some yoga instructors and yoga disagree. Religion News reporter Mat McDermott (yes, Mat with one t) writes:
“The benefits for students using the traditional names of asana, in terms of cultural sensitivity and awareness, far outweigh any issues of schools promoting religion… Furthermore… the bill as written erroneously conflates the greeting namaste with a religious chant… “
“Teaching school kids about Hinduism and yoga does not threaten anyone’s faith and may even increase the benefits of yoga by teaching them to appreciate another culture, rather than appropriating it without acknowledgement.”
Below is my previous post about yoga and religious connections (or not). What’s your view these days about yoga and spiritual practice? Are they inseparable to you? Are they two entirely different things? Do you worry about this at all? We’d love to hear from you.
Is yoga a religious practice? A form of exercise? A form of therapy? A tradition that’s been co-opted and distorted beyond all recognition (think chocolate or wine-infused yoga)? An excuse to buy more tie-dye yoga pants (oops, that may be just me…)?
In case you’re curious, I just bought these recently, and they’re cutey-cute.
Do we have to care about the question of what is yoga?
Maybe not, but lots of others are forcing our hand/calling us out/dressing us down for doing yoga. In particular, the pastor of an Assemblies of God megachurch in Missouri warned his congregation that the positions in yoga were “created with demonic intent to open you up to demonic power because Hinduism is demonic.”
Let me be clear. By “demonic”, he did not mean that yoga was demonically difficult, as this pose might mislead him to believe:
I scheduled a break for my students this week in the Syllabus, knowing how long the semester will be for everyone without a traditional Spring Break. While they’re watching short documentaries related to their class, I’m in an AirBnB in St. Charles, Missouri, along the storied Katy Trail, working on my book.
If you’ve read my previous entries for this blog, you know I usually cycle with my youngest, who loves distance riding, often when I am on a trip with him and my cycling spouse is not. But I’ve come to enjoy solo cycling every once in awhile so this week, I brought my bike.
And yes, this is the week that the trees are greening and the invasive bush honeysuckle is a bit welcome as one of the first plants on the forest floor to leaf out. The magnolias have bloomed, the occasional wildflower is out while more are hovering right on the edge, and the dogwoods and redbuds will bust out any day now.
And I, being unable to work every waking hour, have made space on nice days for some rides. If you’re ever looking for a trail-related getaway to the midwest, biking the length of the Katy Trail across Missouri and camping/catching hotels, or picking a town and radiating out in either direction, might be fun.
For me, I want just an hour or two on the trail, in the 10 to 20 mile range. Someone else might fancy a bigger bite of it, and be delighted by the way the scenery changes over the course of each day. The bits I rode were only slightly inclined and, by and large, pretty flat and fast, even on my comfort hybrid bike.
The entire 240 mile length of the Katy is one of the longest stretches of converted Rail To Trail in the US, built on part of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas/MKT, or Katy, Railroad. There are 26 trailheads along the way where one could park a vehicle and explore either direction. The trail surface is soft pea gravel, possibly even finer than that. I wouldn’t want to wipe out on it, but it’s pretty solidly packed in most spots and one only occasionally hits a bit that shifts out from under you. There are sturdy benches approximately every mile, some with lovely views of the Missouri River or surrounding woods and fields. This blog entry will be about my Northward venture from St. Charles on a stretch of the Katy.
If you’re setting out on the Katy from St. Charles, you’ll start somewhere along the Missouri Riverfront, probably at Frontier Park. There’s car parking nearby at the Lewis and Clark historical sites, or the strip of parking between the historic Main Street–brick surface, timber, colonial architecture, and all–and Frontier Park. The percentage of parked vehicles with bike racks is a good bit higher than most places, for good reason.
Going north from town (the direction behind me in this picture), you pass by some neat old warehouses and steel foundry buildings that have been converted into an arts centre, an indoor soccer facility, and the excellent climbing gym Climb So ILL; it started in southern Illinois just across the Mississippi from St. Louis. If you like climbing as well as cycling, it might be a good stop to add. Then you might notice numerous little trails off into the woods between the Katy and the Missouri River. These are lovely for a walk or even biking. But you might want to make sure you have a bike, and trail riding skills, ready for some light hills and rough trails. They’d be a cool oasis in mid-summer, I’m sure.
Not too far out of the city, you will pass a junkyard that is just waiting for you to engage in the world’s most exciting game of jenga. But in no time at all, the woods remain on the east between you and the Big Muddy AKA Missouri River, while bucolic stretches of flat Missouri farmland stretch into the distance.
After a short bit of sunny trail, straight as an arrow, you come to a winding bit that enters woods on both sides. Here, the trail surface is a bit softer, but still in pretty good shape. As you enter the wooded area, you may hear a woodpecker pecking, or frogs calling out for mates–as I was riding, the spring peepers and click toads were picking up steam.
Even in the woods, you’ll find benches with a view of the river, or looking back into the trees.
I snagged one up for a bit to watch the river pass. And such a lot of river there was!
I carried on about 5 1/2 miles out past the wooded section, on into the areas between fields on either side. This was when I really noticed the wind behind me and thought about pushing back against it on my return trip for even longer if I carried on out into the countryside. I got my scenic agriculture on, appreciated a cluster of silver silos and a red barn in the distance, and decided to turn around.
On my way back through the woods, the wind was fierce (you can hear it on the audio, along with a slight rub of my front brake calipers on an irregularity of the wheel), but this video gives you a sense of the wooded areas of the trail, running alongside Big Muddy, south back towards St. Charles.
All told, I went almost 11 miles–though you won’t be able to tell from my Runkeeper screenshot, below, since I only started it at the point at which I decided to turn around and head back, into the fierce headwind.
It was hard work and there’s just nothing quite like the feeling of moving through the world, putting the power down, on a bike. That’s true of any ride. But solo rides offer particular pleasures, especially for people like me–I am a short fat woman who sweats really well–who wonder how their exercise is being perceived by others but who love to move and feel our own strength.
On a solo ride, only you set the pace. You decide when to stop and explore a little hiking trail. Or whether to snag a bench. Or that you’ve gone far enough and would like to see that last batch of things now, from the other direction.
It doesn’t matter if you worry about keeping up with other people; there are no other people.
It doesn’t matter if a sight or sound strikes your fancy that you don’t want to make other people stop for; there are no other people.
It doesn’t matter if your outfit isn’t as fly or sparkly or spandexy or even as functional as other people’s in your group; there are no other people.
It doesn’t matter to other people how you breathe or how you jiggle or how you puff and lean going up a hill; there are no other people.
Every ride is a no-drop ride when you ride alone.
When I got back to St. Charles, I propped my bike up against a mighty tree outside the Bike Stop Cafe–food, beer, wine, bike equipment, and bike rentals including e-bikes–to sit at one of the well spaced-out tables, with an option to sit by a gas firepit. I took off my helmet to let the wind dry my sweat-damp hair, and had a cold soda. Not a bad way to end a good, short bike trip.
Stay tuned for the second installment of my short solo rides on the Katy Trail, headed Southward from Frontier Park, a few days later. Some more of the same, but also some different scenery and more miles and a tip on where to stop for snacks.
Feature photo credit: Marcos Paulo Prado, via Unsplash.
What do you eat before a run? Does what you eat impact how you perform?
I struggle with a sensitive stomach on running days. If I eat the wrong things beforehand, I get a sour stomach during and/or after my runs, which can send me rushing into the bathroom repeatedly and disrupt my appetite for the rest of the day.
Based upon my own experimentation, I have found a few rules for a happy gut and a good run. Today, I want to share what I have found works for me before a run. I’ll post later on what I do afterwards.
My eating “rules” for the meal before my run:
Rule 1: Eat something. I run in the morning after breakfast. I tried running on just coffee, and my energy tanked rapidly and the run just plain felt harder.
Rule 2: Don’t eat too much fiber. One of my B365 habits is to aim for 2 cups of fruits and fibrous vegetables at each meal, but I make an exception for breakfast before my run. Fruit seems to agree with me more than vegetables, but even then I need to be careful. One apple or a banana is totally fine. A cup of berries might cross the line into unhappy tummy land.
Rule 3: Focus on easily-digested starchy carbohydrates like hot cereals, bread, or yams.
Rule 4: Avoid too much fat. Fat slows down our digestion, and I don’t want too much food hanging out in my digestive track during a run. So, I aim for enough to keep me satisfied and not hungry on the run, but not so much that I feel full or heavy.
Rule 5: Get enough easily digested protein to feel satisfied. My preferred sources at breakfast are eggs, usually mixed with egg whites, and/or plain Greek yogurt.
I let my gut tell me when it’s time to head out. Some thirty to sixty minutes after breakfast, I need to use the bathroom. When that business is done, I can safely head out to do the work.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 whole egg plus 6 Tbs. egg whites (2 large whites), or two large eggs
In a microwave-safe glass measuring cup, bring to a boil (2 min. in my microwave): ½ cup soy milk (or dairy, if you prefer) plus ¾ cup water
Slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. This tempers the egg and keeps it from becoming scrambled eggs.
Turn on the heat to medium under the egg mixture. When it returns to a near boil, lower the heat and whisk in, 2 Tbs. Cream of Wheat or other wheat farina product, and 3 Tbs. oat bran.
Cook at a slow simmer stirring frequently until thick, about 4 minutes.
Stir in cinnamon, 1-2 Tbs. raisins, 1 Tbs. of peanut butter, and 1 cup other fruit as desired (chopped apple, banana, peaches, etc.). Heat through.
To serve, pour it all into a large bowl, plop on top ½ cup or so of plain Greek yogurt and sprinkle with a little brown sugar.
Banana Nut Pancakes
I make my own “pancake mix,” which is really just all the dry ingredients from a favorite pancake recipe, mixed together in bulk and stored in a container in my cupboard. My absolute favorite of the moment is from Jane Brody’s Good FoodBook (multigrain with buttermilk), but I have also used the Joy of Cooking Basic Pancakes recipe many times (subbing in some whole wheat flour).
In a small bowl, whisk together: 1 mashed banana, 1 whole egg, 1 Tbs peanut butter or 2 Tbs chopped nuts, ½ tsp vanilla, a shake or two of cinnamon, and enough liquid (water or milk) for one serving of pancakes (¼-⅓ cup for the recipes I use).
Stir in the dry ingredient pancake mix for one serving (½ cup-ish on my recipes). Adjust the texture as needed.
Cook on a hot griddle with a tetch of butter melted on it.
Serve with Greek yogurt, a little real maple syrup, and a couple eggs/scrambled egg whites.
These have been my go-tos for breakfast before my runs. What are you eating? If you struggle with tummy issues on your runs, what keeps you satisfied but doesn’t upset your stomach?
Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher. She can be found searching up new pancake recipes, picking up heavy things and putting them down again in Portland, Oregon.