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Healthy/Geeky: My Epic Health Adventure!

Last year, I was the most fit I’ve ever been (besides that one sweet year in elementary school when I aced the Presidential Fitness test for the first – and last – time). I ate an almost perfectly clean, vegetarian diet; joined the bootcamps with  A Healthy Balance  normally twice a week; cardio 3-4 times a week plus kickboxing and yoga, and started to enjoy some serious weight training.

Then: my knee gave out, no reason given. It started to hurt when I drove, going up stairs, even standing for long periods of time. And being the stubborn idiot I am, I thought it would just go away if I stopped working out on it for a little while – especially so as not to exacerbate something potentially serious. That “little while” turned into an epic ten-month black hole of self-pity, eating terribly, and erasing all the hard work I’d done the year prior. When I finally realized last month that not one piece of my clothing fit  and that I was spending more than one night a week weeping into a pizza or pint of B&J’s about, ironically, how unhappy I was with my body, I finally went to the doctor to get my knee checked out. Then, I went to TJ Maxx and bought some ponchos…

Read the rest of my epic health adventure here on the A Healthy Balance blog, where I’ll be posting weekly!

Healthy/Geeky: The Astonishing Super-Powered Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa, as in, “It was really keen-wa when Johnny took me to the soda shoppe. I think he’s going to give me his Varsity jacket!”) is any superhero’s best friend – it’s a complete protein, and considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet, cultivated by Incan tribes in the Andes Mountains of South America. I’m pretty sure Hoth or Caprica doesn’t have anything comparable (duh, look at the climate on Hoth, you idiot!). I’m also pretty sure there was an Indiana Jones movie about the quest for the ancient Quinoa grain of the dark Incan mountain.

And so, my secret recipe – for this nearly perfect, completely vegetarian meal (great to bring to cookouts!), with tons of protein, healthy veggies and fats, and a little cheese thrown in there for good measure. Enjoy, healthy geekies!
 

The Astonishing Super-Powered, Protein-Packed Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

(adapted from a recipe by Coulter)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 tbs garlic salt/powder (or to taste)
  • 1.5 cups uncooked quinoa (I like Bob’s Red Mill Organic Grain Quinoa)
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
  • 1 large red, orange or yellow bell pepper, diced (mix up the colors! you can also use jarred roasted red peppers if you prefer)
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh or dried chives
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil*

*a salad dressing will also work for this instead of the vinegar and oil – balsamic vinaigrette or a red wine and vinegar dressing is best, and you’ll only need a few tablespoons – the flavor goes a long way!

Directions

  1. Start by sauteeing the onions and garlic salt/powder in some light olive oil in the large saucepan you’ll use to cook the quinoa. Once pleasantly browned, pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. You won’t need to stir it, but keep an eye on it that it doesn’t get too dry.
  2. Once the quinoa is finished cooking, dump it into a large mixing bowl, where you’ll want to immediately, gently, stir in the crumbled feta cheese (so it gets a little melty over the grains – nomnomnom!), balsamic vinegar, olive oil. De-seed the lemon and squeeze the juice over the quinoa mixture – stir everything, then let sit for 5-10 minutes, depending on how patient you are!
  3. Once a bit cooler, the fresh veggies go in – stir in the bell pepper, cucumber, olives, chives, until evenly mixed. Serve warm or, I prefer letting it sit in the fridge overnight to get cool and flavorful.
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Healthy/Geeky: Adri + Yoda’s Jedi Power Smoothie

Since I moved back to Massachusetts about 7 months ago, I’ve had to say peace out to my Brooklyn frequents of the past few years and create some new weekly haunts. Which wasn’t hard, considering there are a couple of nearby spots worth infesting: Jerry’s Comics & Collectibles, and Rawbert’s Organic Garden Café – an all raw, all vegan restaurant – in Beverly, MA.

My favorite after-workout orders are the kale chips and their Yoda’s Jedi Power Smoothie, which I OBVIOUSLY first ordered for its name – but then became hooked. When I order it now, I’ve modified it to be more diet-friendly (I’m trying to keep below a certain number of calories) but the whole thing is super-healthy.

The best part? The smoothie is GREEN. Judge it by its color, do you? This smoothie’s ally is DELICIOUSNESS!

So, if you can’t make it to Rawbert’s Organic Garden and want to try out this sweet and fluffy high-protein, high-fiber smoothie, here’s the recipe to whip one up yourself…with The Force. Or, you know, your blender or Cuisinart-thingy.

Adri + Yoda’s Jedi Power Smoothie
(Modified from Rawbert’s Organic Garden in Beverly, MA’s recipe) 

Ingredients

1 medium banana (frozen preferable)
1- 1/2 cup berries of choice (Goji berries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon Spirulina or Spirulina Protein Powder (What’s Spirulina?)
1-2 tablespoons of sprouted buckwheat, wheat germ or flax seed
Water and ice to desired consistency

Directions
Blend in a blender, you dummy! (said in the voice of Dr. Steve Brule)