October 24, 2007

Happy Healthy Things

This blog would not be called "Cranky Fitness" if all the things that were good for us were really enjoyable. In fact, this blog wouldn't exist at all, because what would Crabby have to complain about?

She would have to be cheerful every single day, and what an enormous strain that would be. She's just not wired that way.

Aerobic exercise--always fun, isn't it? Lean protein, steamed vegetables, whole grains, legumes--wow, aren't they tasty? Interval training followed by lifting some heavy weights? Sure, that sounds way more fun than sex with a hot celebrity. Expensive French champagne? No thanks, but could you please pass me some more of that delicious wheatgrass juice?

In other words, it's generally assumed here that "healthy" means some degree of unpleasant, while a "treat" is something Decidedly Not Good for You.

But every now and then, accidentally, something healthy ends up being simultaneously wonderful. And almost as rarely, Crabby finds herself in the mood to be appreciative of things rather than all whiny and gripey.

(Once before, for example, she admitted there were vegetables she actually liked).

So here are a few random healthy things Crabby found herself appreciating this last week. But she hereby reserves the right to go back to her normal grumpy self tomorrow.

1. An awesome aerobic walk/run around a favorite reservoir with just the right combination of caffeine and iTunes to make it exhilarating. Massive endorphin rush, hooray!

2. A delicious pasta meal made with semi-whole-grain fettuccine (Barilla Plus), loads of garlic, olive oil, nitrite free turkey sausage, broccolini, and a sprinkle of Parmesan. It was really, really good! (And as regular readers may have guessed, this was indeed the pasta that inspired this post).

3. An affectionate reunion with the Sweetest Cat in the World. (Sweetest Cat had been in the care of a conscientious house-sitter while the Crab and Lobster were in Washington). What's the healthy part? Bonding with animals can apparently lower blood pressure! The Cat seems happy too. She has been purring and drooling and sleeping on the Crab's head every night, which should be annoying, but isn't.

4. A glorious after-dinner walk with the Lobster through the neighborhood. Folks were out; the breeze was warm; everyone was cheerful. (Unfortunately, the same balmy weather that made the walk feel like "vacation" fueled the terrible fire situation down in Southern California. Perhaps a subject for a later, less cheerful, post).

5. A perfect cup of tea with the last few chapters of well-written novel (by Margaret Drabble, a long-time favorite author).

6. Dark chocolate covered almonds (until Crabby lost control and they had to be banned. Well, they were gone anyway so the 'banning' was sort of gratuitous).

7. A crisp, sweet (organic) apple from the farmer's market paired with some Fancy Pants smoked cheddar cheese and whole wheat crackers.

8. And a glass of Two Buck Chuck Merlot to go with it. (Crabby is not a Wine Snob). Mmmm, tasty anti-oxidants and resveratrol!

9. Wonderful restorative nights of sleep in our own bed, with our own cat, on our own firm mattress, after several months of exciting out-of-town adventures.

10. Fresh brewed coffee in the morning and a blog full of clever and entertaining comments to check in on while drinking it!

So, has anyone else found themselves accidentally enjoying something healthy this week?


  1. I am definitely with you on the Merlot! Please please please let red wine always be good for us.

    I started a kickboxing class and love it! Great exercise + taking out aggression makes for a happy cat.

  2. This week here in San Diego, the unexpected healthy things have been mental - helping each other. It's good to see how shared disaster can bring out the best in people (it's also good to ignore the worst it can bring out).

  3. Great post!

    Happy healthy: I sweat a bucketful in my spin class. Felt awesome.

    Cranky healthy: I took my kids to a Halloween party last night and was surrounded by cupcakes with unreal amounts of frosting lobbed on top, sugar cookies, and candy, candy, candy.
    Aaron made Halloween rice krispie treats yesterday.
    I got a new cereal that has so much fiber it's wreaking havoc on my digestive systen.
    A complete stranger (though a NICE one) touched my hairy ankles on tuesday in my weights class.

    hmm. I may have to do an appreciation post too...and soon!

    (although I am also very grateful I don't live in So Cal right now, crazy!)

  4. I started eating a bit of my own granola (yes I make my own) with brekkie this week as I could feel some blood sugar issues surfacing.
    It had been a while since I'd had any of said product and it's really pretty good.

  5. I had a happy-go-lucky moment this week spending some time with my kids. The two toddlers (3 & 2) made me healthier, I'm sure. While I'm sure bonding with a furry pet lowers blood pressure, I think the kids did the same for me.

    We went to the zoo for a perfect day of walking and enjoying the views. A few days later, I was in the midst of a playful romp with them both when I realized that I had played for a good hour.

    I was tired, but smiling.

  6. Some healthy things that make me happy:

    Hiking on the ridge in Stowe, VT (hardly feels like exercise at all); walking on the beach with a good friend; getting a good 8 hours sleep and waking up to fresh fallen snow; snowmobiling (even though it is motorized it forces you to use muscles you forgot you had); ice skating; skiing; snowboarding, etc. etc. I guess you can tell I'm one of those rare people who love the winter and can't wait to get out there in some fresh powder.

    Walkin'in a winter woderland...

    P.S. That pasta dish sounds delicious and I'm sure I can add that to my list.

  7. Thanks for this great post! I needed new ideas very badly!
    Here are a few things I am enjoying this week:
    1) I found some pre-packaged vegetables at Whole Foods that I'm *wild* about. I bought baby-zucchini, French green beans, and Brussel Srouts.

    2) A pleasant bike ride in the cool morning air. It gets mighty hot in the southwest, so when we finally got our first real cool snap this week, everyone rushed outside to enjoy the weather.

    3) Homemade chicken and vegetable soup! I'm making a pot today while studying. I can hardly wait!

    4) Walking to the park on a pleasant day to read a novel. Being outside in the fresh air makes a world of difference.

  8. First cool weather run of the season yesterday! Okay, "cool" is a relative term here on the Gulf Coast, but I wasn't dripping sweat within 5 steps of my door and I didn't come home leaving a trail.

    It was sunny and breezy and there were water birds on the bayou and a man walking his two white dogs. As I ran past the man and his dogs on my return trip, he bent down to them and told them, "Say bye-bye." I got the giggles. :-D

  9. It was warm enough to ride my bike the other day and is looking to be warm enough today too. I am only a fair weather rider, so I enjoyed it.

  10. I'm a huge wine lover. I adore good wine so I make sure I have at least a couple of glasses a week.

    One now-favourite lunch is very healthy and it also has me eating regularly, which is very odd for me. I grill some zucchini and peppers on the weekend and stick them in the fridge. Then, for lunch, I take a tortilla, sprinkle it with low-fat cheddar cheese, add some of the grilled veggies, fold the tortilla shell and grill for five minutes. Oh My God. It is SOOOO good.

    Exercise is never fun, no matter what. BUt I have been enjoying our glorious weather and forcing some exercise at the same time in the form of raking our millions of leaves.

  11. I forgot to add:
    Since I started Weight Watchers, I'm shocked at how good some of those recipes are. Truly delicious.

  12. happiness on cranky fitness? where am I? did I take a wrong turn?

    and yes - I found myself smiling after a run at 6am yesterday, but I've always considered myself a bit of a freak.

  13. I tried something new with my morning snack today and it definitely fit the fun and tasty bill. Normally I have some multi-grain or sourdough bread (in this case, sourdough) with either nutella or peanut butter (today it was peanut butter). I also went apple picking and have fresh galas and empires. So I spread peanut butter on the sourdough and topped it with slices of sweet apples. Ooooh. I want more just thinking about it....

  14. What, so now the Bag Lady has to be the cranky one today?!
    Okay, okay, so maybe I smiled once or twice whilst walking in the pasture, checking fences and cows and horses...I did NOT smile when I had to repair a quarter-mile of fence that the cows broke down because they thought the neighbour's grass looked greener...
    Crabby, go back to being cranky so the Bag Lady can go back to being happy-go-lucky...'kay?

  15. Quito, thanks for checking in. Our thoughts are with all the fire evacuees and those who have lost their homes (and even loved ones).

    And thanks everyone, for such awesome examples of healthy things that are actually pleasurable! It's weirdly cheerful to read about you all enjoying healthy foods and activities.

    But don't worry Bag Lady, I'll be back to my usual griping very soon, most likely in the next post.

  16. Vitamuffins Deep Chocolate ... oh my gosh they are sooooo good and since they are good for you and full of fiber, you are not too tempted to eat more than a couple in a day. yummmmm

  17. I love two buck Chuck too; although our two buck Chuck is three bucks because of all the taxes.

  18. Rice Krispies with fresh strawberries on top.
    I could eat them by the bucketful.

  19. had to check the url to be sure I was at the right blog there for a second LOL Glad you had such an enjoyable "healthy" experience - but we all know it doesn't happen often.

  20. Ooh, I love Margaret Drabble! Which book?

    Healthy things that I've enjoyed? Hmm... I tried out the leg press machine at the gym and quite enjoyed it... I adopted a new kitten... and I'm in the middle of making some entirely healthy cookies (dates, almonds, and coconut), which I think I will very much enjoy eating!

  21. I can't believe no one has yet mentioned the number 1 happy/healthy thing we all do: reading Cranky Fitness!

  22. Aww, anonymous, that's sweet!

    Lovin' all these happy healthy suggestions, everyone. (And btw, some of you are making me verrry hungry!)

    And Jaime--it was The Sea Lady, but I pretty much love all her stuff. (Oh, except for the one about her mother, which I couldn't get into for some reason).

  23. Yesterday afternoon I was unfeasibly, painfully, miserably tired. So tired that reading on the couch was too hard.

    I rarely let myself get to this point, but when I do all I want is CAKE.

    But even going to the shop to get cake was too much work. Rather than staying miserable I did 40 minutes of a meditation / yoga CD I have.

    I started off begrudglingly, knowing it was the "right thing to do", but ended up loving it. Startled by how much I enjoyed it and how much better I felt afterwards.

  24. Now, see, if Marie Antoinette had merely said "Let them do a meditation/yoga CD," history as we know it might have been entirely different ;)

  25. I don't have a dog, but I "borrow" one occasionally. It results in enjoyable, longer, more frequent walks. And the unconditional love part feels rather good too.

    Now, please pass the merlot!

  26. Hi Crabby,

    So I am in mid-revision and spend too much time sitting. This afternoon, I decided to take a break. It is a cool and wet day, but I really love to walk in that weather. As I was getting my sweatshirt out of the closet, I saw the mail truck, and the guy was heading for my front door.

    He was delivering my author copies of Murder New York Style. Well I ripped open the box and rifled through a book and there it is: my story Strike Zone starting on page 101.

    Needless to say I had a great two mile walk because I was walking on air!!


  27. Ah, dogs and merlot and CAKE--three of my favorite things. (Yoga is healthier, though--good for you, Kathryn!)

    And Terrie-- how cool! I'd be walking on air too.

    BTW, Do you burn more calories or fewer walking on air?

  28. Mm, kittens, yes.

    Also popsicles.

    This is how you make them (I hope I remember it right): 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup evaporated milk (not the condensed sweetened kind), 1/4 honey, and a 6 oz can of frozen orange juice, and a little vanilla. Blend it, and freeze it in popsicle forms. (Caveat: I am only hazily remembering the proportions. But you can always taste it.) Makes about 8. And I know the evaporated milk sounds like it would be yucky, but it isn't; it's just rather caramelly.

    I haven't made these in years, but we used to live on them. My three adorable girl children loved them with a passion. At first we made them with Papaya concentrate, but then we couldn't find the Papaya concentrate any more. :( The Papaya version was heavenly.

    Well, okay, they're probably a lot of calories, but at least they don't have high whatever-it-is corn syrup.

  29. Kitten popsicles? Yikes.

    Oh, no wait...

    Actually, these sound really good!

  30. 1. Grapes. For reals, I can't believe I don't snack on these things every day.

    2. That giddy, exhausted realization that while working out was agony and you're totally out of shape, it was less agonizing than last time which means you're getting better!

    3. Collapsing on your couch after a long jog and being comforted by your cat's immediate leap on to your chest.

    4. Coke Zero. I get my caffeine jolt without the calories but with pretty good flavor!


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)