Despite my valiant efforts at anti-inflammatory eating, icing, anti-inflammatory gel application, and continued rehabilitation exercises, my IT band/knee is still giving me fits. Back in June I thought I had recovered completely, but after a race at the end of that month, a nagging pain started setting in during the last few minutes of my longer runs. A few more weeks passed, and the pain started happening even sooner. Now, some days I can only run a mile before the pain hits; other days, I’m good to go for three, four, or even five miles. There’s no rhyme or reason, and that’s part of my frustration.
And so frustrated tears were shed, there may have been some yelling (hey, I’m Italian), and I entered last weekend at a turning point. It was the Great Race 10K, something I registered for back in February before I even knew what my IT band was. Continue reading
Last week, I was the lucky invited guest of Market District at a cheese and beer paring event in its Robinson Township store.* Because of the time of year (Oktoberfest, anyone?), the evening’s activities centered around those two hallmarks of Bavarian cuisine. Yes, they’re not exactly hallmarks of an anti-inflammatory diet, but I am a firm follower of the rule of moderation, so a night of cheating with cheese and beer still works with that philosophy.
Giant Eagle’s cheese category manager, Gianfranco DiCarlo, Jr., led the group through a tasting of five beer and cheese combinations, most of them German inspired, which really opened my eyes to how beer can influence the taste of food. I’ve done the same thing with wine many times, but never beer, but as DiCarlo pointed out, beer is actually much easier than wine to pair with foods, especially cheese. I’m totally editorializing here—DiCarlo did not use this particular analogy, merely the essence—but wine is like a cat, a little finicky and difficult to get along with unless you find the right combination. Beer is more like a dog, friendlier with a variety of foods and generally easygoing with everyone. Continue reading
I am such a bad food blogger. I’ve been enjoying this ice cream all summer long and I haven’t shared it with you until now. The biggest reason why? I can’t stop eating it long enough to take a picture.
But that’s okay, because there’s nothing bad in here at all. It’s literally just bananas, cocoa powder, and a hint of almond butter and vanilla. No dairy or sugar for those of us on anti-inflammatory diets, yet you’d never in your life know it. Technically, that makes it a banana sorbet, not ice cream, but who’s really counting? Whatever it is, it’s delicious and healthy yet feels like you’re indulging. Continue reading
Even though there’s a good three weeks before the official start of fall, summer’s been winding down for a while now, and for most people, this weekend marks the end of the summer grilling season. If you’re hosting or attending one last cookout this weekend and looking for an extra side dish, have I got a salad for you. Continue reading
Although some might call quinoa a fad by now, it really has its place in an anti-inflammatory kitchen. It just so happens that the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has deemed 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa,” so I guess it’s doing something right.
It’s cooked and served as a grain, but quinoa is really a seed, and therein lies the secret to its nutritional value. Like most seeds, it contains everything needed to grow a new plant: it’s like the plant version of stem cells. According to the Year of Quinoa site, the seed has several advantages over traditional grains: it’s higher in protein, calcium, healthy fats, iron, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamins B2 and B3 than your everyday whole wheat. Continue reading
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Remember the food cleanse that wasn’t? Turns out, all I need to follow a plant-based diet is a little extra motivation.
Somehow, beyond all reason, in the past year I’ve become a runner. As any runner will tell you, runners are crazy—they’ll do anything and continue to push themselves in order to get that running fix. Threaten to take that away from them, and they resort to desperate measures.
Such as essentially going vegan. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Continue reading
Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing, especially when it comes to food. At least that’s what I realized after a food nerd trip to Graffiato in Washington, DC. The experience also reinforced the notion that food is indeed a universal unifier, a truth that most of us know already.
I was in DC for a work trip at the end of April (yeah, April; here’s why it took so long for me to write this) when I found myself at the restaurant with small group of foodies, one whom is a good friend, one whom I mostly connect with through social media, and three others I had literally just met. Eric (the social media friend) lives in the area and arranged the meet-up at this hard-to-book restaurant run by Mike Graffiato of Top Chef fame.
If you know me, you know I’m kind of socially awkward, especially when it comes to small talk with new people. I have an insane fear of not knowing what to say, which manifests by me usually not saying anything at all or just responding to other people’s well-meaning, conversation-starting questions with conversation-killing answers. Brilliant, right? It happens every time.
But shockingly, it was not the case this time. Because again, food is the universal unifier. Even if we had nothing else in common, we all loved and appreciated good—and, as I learned, moderately adventurous—food. Continue reading