Wellness Wednesday: recipes to make your life delicious and nutritious

This just in: a press-release from marathonsam! I have two excellent pieces of news. I received word via the banana-phone that my mom got out of the hospital today and is headed back up to our awesome mountain home! The second piece of news concerns a new feature here on the blog. Hold onto your hats, today is Wellness Wednesday!

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That’s phenomenal! Hold all my calls, there’s healing and running and food to be discussed!

I took a nine mile run this morning, with 6 miles at tempo effort. During my run, I started thinking. I thought about the experiments I had planned for the day; I thought about how much I love seeing the sunrise over Greenlake; I thought about how hard this tempo run was starting to feel after about four miles, then I told myself to change my narrative and finish it strong; I thought about breakfast; I thought about this blog; I thought about my mom, and her recovery from surgery; I thought about breakfast a little bit more. Suddenly,  I was hit by a flash of inspiration!

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Shockingly the inspiration was NOT about breakfast….for once.

I was thinking about what I hoped to accomplish with this little blog of mine. I created marathonsam to document my training for the Tacoma City Marathon, and fundraise for the Seattle Humane Society. Somewhere along the way this digital journal also became a forum for me to rant about climate change, share oatmeal recipes or other things that I enjoy, ponder patriotism and personal identities, and, lately, post lots of selfies with a bananaphone.

Keep this phone call brief...I've got cells growing and I'm going to have to peel off any second
Keep this phone call brief…I’ve got cells growing and I’m going to have to peel off any second

I started this blog to help the animals. I continued this blog because, in writing it, I discovered how much I enjoy the process of creating content. Recently, when I posted about my mom’s neurosurgery I was overwhelmed by the positive response and expressions of support I received–both from our close family and friends, as well as from people I only have interacted with through social media. Surprisingly, the thing I created to help others ended up helping ME. My overall goal for this blog is to be a force for positivity: I hope I can make you guys laugh, make you guys think, and help you live healthy and happy lives.

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And post lots of pictures of fruit, I guess…

So, as a part of my efforts to spread good vibrations, excitations, and promote mastications I am introducing a new feature on this blog called: Wellness Wednesday! Wellness Wednesday will be devoted to tasty, healthful recipes that are achievable on a graduate student’s time and financial budget.  Hippocrates said: “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” That wacky old Greek may have been off-base about some basic physiology, but he nails it on the importance of a well balanced diet.

I get why the patient is naked, but why is the doctor?
Pictured: “The Hippocratic Bench.” I get why the patient is naked, but why is the doctor?

What does a well balanced diet mean? There is so much pseudo-science, food-industry funded misinformation, and political skullduggery permeating the info-sphere about what is healthful and what is harmful. Fat was our foe, but then we went paleo and started eating bacon three times a day. All carbs were the devil until we learned about glycemic indices and remembered that we like eating beans. We flew to South Beach and the Mediterranean, worshiped the False Idol Dr. Atkins, cut out salt, ditched dairy, and somehow, somewhere everyone developed gluten-sensitivity.

Pictured: a gluten-free food. Healthy?
Pictured: a gluten-free food. Healthy?
Gelato is also gluten free
Pictured: another gluten-free food. Healthy? In moderation.  Soul-nourishing? Definitely 

Mark Bittman had an excellent editorial in yesterday’s new york times pointing out one fundamental, but often forgotten fact: no single food or food group is innately good or bad. Healthy eating comes from a varied, well balanced diet of minimally processed foods.  I think Michael Pollan puts it best in his three simple rules:

1) Eat food (not packaged crap)

Pictured: Barack Obama made entirely of Peeps. Impressive, but not food
Pictured: Barack Obama made entirely of Peeps. Impressive, but not food

2) Not too much.

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Pictured: A gigantic pile of vegetables. Definitely food….likely too much. I’m a hungry-distance-runner-person, cut me some slack

3) Mostly plants.

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Pictured: My CSA box full of gorgeous plants from sky root farms (click through the photo to their website. I love my farmers! Yum!

I will try to share a recipe each week that meets these criteria. I love cooking, and I love eating. I hope this will be as fun for you guys as it will be for me. For this first installment I am going to share what I had for dinner a couple nights ago. This meal is so simple I feel like a charlatan calling this a recipe; however, that is part of the goal. Healthy eating should be attainable and sustainable, it shouldn’t require tremendous effort or expensive magic potions.

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Pictured: The most magical potions of all!

So without further ado. Here is the “recipe” for a super-simple work-night dinner featuring fish, zucchini, and potatoes. This serves one hungry grad-student-runner-person, but could easily be scaled up to feed more people.

Ingredients

Fish

1 Filet of tilapia, approximately 4 ounces (that’s what I had, this could definitely work with sole, cod, or salmon…don’t like fish? Tofu would be tasty. Scared of tofu? Pound a chicken breast thin between two sheets of wax paper and run with that).

2 Tbsp Rice-wine vinegar

2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 ½ tsp Mirin (sweet japanese cooking wine)

1 tsp minced garlic

½ tsp Sriracha (more if you like things spicy)

2 dashes Thai fish sauce.

Combine all ingredients except for the fish in a ziploc bag. Mix it all up by squishing the bag around. Put the fish in the bag, then seal it and put the bag in the fridge. You’re going to let it hang out in the marinade for about 10 minutes. Longer is OK, but don’t let it go too long because the acid in the vinegar can start to cook the fish.

Potatoes

7 Baby red potatoes

Scrub your potatoes under cold, running water. Put them in a medium-sized pot, fill up that pot with water, add a generous pinch of salt and start it boiling. You’re going to cook the potatoes for around 20-30 minutes until they are fork-tender.

Zucchini

1 Zucchini (asparagus would be good here as well, so would peppers, mushrooms, onions, summer squash, eggplant….god I love vegetables)

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Cut the zucchini into rounds the width of your thumbnail. Toss the rounds together with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until they are evenly coated. Arrange the rounds in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Putting it all together

Turn on your broiler. Take the fish out of the fridge and put it on the baking sheet next to the zucchini. Put the baking sheet under the broiler and entertain yourself elsewhere for about five minutes. Check on the fish and veggies, they should be starting to get some color, but not be totally blackened. Flip the fish and veggies over and put them back in for another five minutes or so. You know the fish is done if it flakes apart easily when prodded with a knife. Take everything out of the oven, and put it on a nice plate. Those potatoes are probably ready by now: go stab one with a fork and check. Pour off the water and put the potatoes next to the fish. Make yourself a big-ass salad (or not!), pour yourself your beverage of choice (white wine would be nice), sit down, and enjoy! To make the potatoes extra delicious, smash them with your fork before you dig in, pour some olive oil on top, and add salt, pepper, and some dried dill-weed.

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Boom. Dinner.

That was easy, right guys? I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! In the future I’ll try and include more specific directions, and step-by-step photos. I might incorporate some slightly more complicated recipe ideas in the future as well. As always, I welcome your feedback: if there’s anything you want to learn to cook, let me know and I’ll make an effort!

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

What’s your go-to work-night dinner?

 

10 thoughts on “Wellness Wednesday: recipes to make your life delicious and nutritious

  1. Thanks, Sam! I love it. And I’ve honestly never broiled fish- I always bake or grill it- so I’ll have to try this next. Also, I never knew that other people love breakfast, especially oatmeal, quite as much as I do, until I began to notice a pattern of oatmeal shout-outs in your posts :) Happy Wellness Wednesday to you, my friend! Hope your mom is happy and comfortable now at home!

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    1. Liz! Breakfast ALWAYS comes first in my book. I’m sort of joking, but also sort of completely serious. I remember you always brought oatmeal packets on weekend trips, and sometimes you had the cool dinosaur egg ones!
      I broil fish (and other stuff) all the time, mostly because I tragically don’t own a grill right now, and the broiler is basically an upside down grill that is indoors. You and Dan must own a grill, right? Isn’t it part of the Texas state charter that all residents cook outdoors at least 50% of the time? I disagree with your adopted state a lot of the time, but we can find some common ground on the issues that truly matter: barbecue. :)

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  2. Sam! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to jump on the banana band wagon. Now that I have been to the store and bought some bananas, maybe I should try to sneak into that Facebook circle. Or did I just miss the boat, and I will look like the nerdy kid who can’t keep up with the cool ones? Probably worth throwing caution to the wind and just use my new banana phone.

    I have rediscovered a love for oatmeal, thanks to you. My blood sugar thanks you also.

    Here is a potato dish to try — boil or bake the taters until almost done, then place them in neat little rows on a shallow baking dish. Then slice each tater almost all the way through several times as though you are slicing them for potato chips. Leave them intact on the bottoms. Then drizzle olive oil and sprinkle nutritional yeast and salt over them. Bake for about 10-15 minutes to get a little brown crust. These are so amazingly good.

    So happy to hear of your mom’s progress, and hope to run into her and your dad soon. And Obie too!

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    1. The bananaphone train is still barreling down the tracks! I’m still choosing Chiquita for all of my telecommunications :).

      That potato recipe sounds GENIUS. I love nutritional yeast- such a tasty way to get B vitamins for (mostly) plant-based people. I’m going to have to try that.

      How’s Oliver settling into his new digs? I hope Augie’s not pushing him around too much.

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