Tag Archives: Healthy Happy Eater

Organic Restaurant Nora in DC is Not All That: Food Needs Fat

When traveling, as at home, I make an effort to eat fresh, local real food. Last week in Washington, DC I visited tony Restaurant Nora near Dupont Circle for what I expected to be a spectacular meal. Having read that in 1999, Restaurant Nora became America’s first certified organic restaurant, and that chef Nora was a pioneer in the sustainable food movement, I had high hopes. The $75 (plus tax and tip, not including wine) tasting menu left me flat; the food wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t all that great. Here’s what I had:

  1. First Course: Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
  2. Second Course: Goat Cheese Tart
  3. Third Course: Grass-fed Beef Filet with Carrots and Mashed Potatoes
  4. Dessert: Banana Bread Pudding with Coconut Ice Cream

The best thing I had was the filet which was absolutely tender and flavorful; there is nothing like a good steak from a cow allowed to forage, breathe fresh air and … well, be a cow. As for the rest of the food, I think Nora may not have gotten the message that traditional fats are actually good for you (e.g., butter and lard). I think that’s the missing piece in her menus.

Other observations: the wait staff that served my table were aloof and slow; the restaurant is decorated with museum-quality antique Mennonite and Amish crib quilts that are spectacular and perfectly lit.

The bottom line is that I wish I had read the following Zagat review about Restaurant Nora before my trip: “Never trust a skinny chef: the food here is as dull as it is overpriced. If you care more about seeing the organic label than you do about food quality, then …”

P.S. The perfect place to stay in that neighborhood is Embassy Circle Guest House.

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Filed under Restaurants

Healthy, Happy Eaters: Wear Vibram FiveFingers (if you don’t already!)

My brother, the healthiest, happiest eater I know, first told me about Vibram FiveFingers. He actually ran barefoot before buying this “barefoot” footwear. My brother’s a real athlete (even competed several Ironman Triathlons), and I never considered myself to be one, but I’ve really gotten into working out outside with Camp Gladiator

Right out of the box, these shoes made a huge difference in my form and speed while sprinting. Here are two comments from CG this week, inspired by my new shoes which I’ve just had for a week. One trainer to another, “Did Kelly run track in high school?” No, sir. A contender friend to me after an extra fast sprint lap, “You just rocked that lap!” I answered, “Yeah, it’s the shoes.”

I’d thought about getting some Vibrams for a while, and I’m so glad I finally did. One of the trainers at boot camp is very knowledgeable about VFF, so she gave me great tips. While sprinting, exaggerate the motion: like high knees in front and butt kicks in back, landing on the balls of my feet. I did this, and I felt like Michael Johnson! For jogging, she said to take small steps and land on the balls of my feet. For more instruction, see the FAQs on the VFF site.

Mark Sisson, primal living guru and author of The Primal Blueprint, recommends going barefoot or wearing these shoes. Why? Because the human foot is a marvel of natural engineering. As the Vibram website says,

“The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised … Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will … make you stronger and healthier … improves your balance, agility …”

Here are six reasons why Vibram recommends wearing FiveFingers:

1. Strengthens Muscles in the Feet and Lower Legs – wearing FiveFingers will stimulate and strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, improving general foot health and reducing the risk of injury.

2. Improves Range of Motion in Ankles, Feet and Toes – no longer ‘cast’ in a shoe, the foot and toes move more naturally.

3. Stimulates Neural Function Important to Balance and Agility – when wearing Vibram FiveFingers, thousands of neurological receptors in the feet send valuable information to the brain, improving balance and agility.

4. Improves Proprioception and Body Awareness – those same neurological receptors heighten body awareness, sending messages about body mechanics, form, and movement.

5. Eliminates Heel Lift to Align the Spine and Improve Posture – By lowering the heel, our bodyweight becomes evenly distributed across the footbed, promoting proper posture and spine alignment.

6. Allows the Foot and Body to Move Naturally, Which Just FEELS GOOD.

I bought my Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas at Whole Earth Provision Company in Dallas. The shoe fitter recommended the Bikila version for running on pavement, which is where most of my running is done. I LOVE them! For years I’ve worn a super supportive version of Saucony running shoes, for which I was fitted at the running store. In my Bikilas, I feel liberated; running feels more natural. If you wear VFF, will you tell us how you got into them … and what you think about them? Be well.

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Filed under Have Fun, Move Your Body

I Wanted McDonald’s Today

…but I didn’t get any. It was an interesting experience. Having been a lifelong fast food eater, and being “sober” for almost four months, I was surprised that it sounded good today. I was surprised, because ever since I discovered real food, I have happily not wanted fast food. So what happened today?

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t get enough nutrition in this morning … just one glass of raw milk on the way to work. Now I believe that raw milk is a complete food, but not necessarily a complete meal. By lunch time, I was really hungry. I usually bring my lunch, most often leftovers from last night’s dinner, but not today. McDonald’s popped into my head and stayed a few minutes. I thought about the fries, and an extra value meal sounded good.

I thought those days of eating massive amounts of McDonald’s food and Coke in secret, in my car, were behind me. Instead of freaking out or white knuckling it, I calmly and objectively assessed the situation:

Q: Why does that sound good?
A: It just does.

Q: Ever since getting off fast food, you’ve felt so much better.
A: Yes, I have. It’s kind of weird that I want it now.

Q: Where did this thought come from?
A: I passed a brand-spanking new McDonald’s yesterday. It doesn’t look like those nasty roadside joints. It’s made of stone, and it’s in an upscale area. Maybe I should eat there while the oil’s still fresh and the restaurant is clean.

Q:  What about the quality of the food. Do you want to rethink that?
A: Let’s see, there’s:

  • the rancid vegetable oil they cook the fries in
  • the Russet Burbank potatoes that come from a perilous monoculture
  • a cheese-like substance
  • soybean oil in the sauce
  • high fructose corn syrup in the ketchup
  • buns made of refined white flour
  • beef from cattle fed a diet of genetically-modified corn … on a crowded feed lot …whose stench you can smell for miles … who are killed and processed in factories where workers are treated like animals
  • and all that sugar in the Coke …

My whole thought process was quick, much faster than typing about it, and I moved on. I ended up at Chipotle where I got a carnitas quesadilla with guacamole and water. Read Chipotle’s “Food with Integrity” story, and you’ll see the difference. Will I ever darken the doorway at McDonald’s again? Maybe to buy a bottle of Dasani water, ironically made by the CocaCola company.

By the way, I’m not opposed to burgers and fries; in fact, it’s one of my favorite meals. But why have low-quality fast food, when you can have a truly great burger and fries? By truly great, I mean delicious, satisfying and nutritious. The best I’ve had so far are the ones I made from the America’s Test Kitchen show, Best Burgers and Fries. I made everything exactly according to the recipe, and I just swooned … so did my husband. Will you let me know what you think if you make it? Be well.

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Filed under Head Trip, Real Food Education, Recipes