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That Was Easy

I wanted to pop two pills.

After taking the summer off, I played tennis for nearly two hours yesterday and my legs ached from my hips down to my ankles. Also, I had a headache.

Oh, how I wanted ibuprofen to be the answer! Pop the meds, mask the pain, and let me go to sleep. But I decided to hold off. A few little thoughts floated around in my head: What is my body trying to tell me? Could yoga help?

The headache was probably because I was dehydrated. It was hot on the courts. I drank some water and then set the glass down on a table. Sitting on the floor, I raised my arms over my head, clasped my hands together, and turned my palms towards the ceiling. I lowered onto my back and squeezed one knee into my chest while keeping the other leg straight. Switched sides. I did a few spinal twists to remove the stiffness in my hips. Gentle, easy stretches. And I felt so much better afterwards.

That was easy. And it took less than twenty minutes – the time it would’ve taken the ibuprofen to reach my system.

Walking Barefoot

I’m at the BlogHer conference in downtown Chicago mingling with 800 other women (promise I’ll link to some great food and yoga blogs once I process all the info that’s pouring into my brain).

The first day, I decided to get some exercise by walking from the train station to the conference center. I was wearing sandals and carrying a heavy laptop bag. I got lost. One hour and five blisters later, I finally arrived. I was smart enough to take a cab back to the train station that night, but once I made it to the suburbs (where I’m staying with a friend) I had to walk another mile to their house. My friend’s husband, Brad, was with me, and he watched as I limped and cringed.

“Ow, ow, ow,” I said as my sandals rubbed against my blisters.

I slipped off my shoes.

“Ow, ow, ow,” I said again as the sharp little pebbles on the roads and sidewalks cut my feet.

“You’re a yoga blogger!” Brad said.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked.

“Some yogis walk over hot coals and stuff,” he pointed out.

Now that he mentioned it, I did recall reading a passage in a book about firewalking at a yoga retreat. Although none of the yoga classes I’ve attended have involved hot coals, we do practice in bare feet. Still, smooth wood floors and soft sticky mats may help strengthen my soul, but they don’t sturdy up the skin on my soles.

Walking home that night, I stepped off the sidewalk and onto the grass. It was long and cool and damp. It cushioned my bare feet and brushed in between my toes. I completely forgot about my blisters as I focused on how nice it felt to observe the world through from the bottom up. It had been a long time since I’ve walked barefoot in the grass.

To some, barefoot hiking is a hobby. Richard Frazine wrote a book about it called The Barefoot Hiker, and Common Ground, a sustainable living magazine, wrote an article about it here.

How often do we take time to feel the crunch of leaves or the slick slime of moss or the powder puffs of dirt through our feet and toes? Not to mention walking barefoot is gentle on the planet. I think I will start taking off my shoes more often, especially outside.

As quoted on this website, Sitting Bull said:  “Healthy feet can hear the very heart of Mother Earth.”

Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomato and Kalamata Olive on Wasa Crispbread

Ingredients

2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
4 teaspoons sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped
½ tablespoon pine nuts
2 teaspoons Kalamata olives, pitted, sliced lengthwise into quarters
1 tablespoon fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 pieces WASA Multigrain Crispbread (may substitute any WASA variety)

Directions

Toast pine nuts in small skillet until lightly browned, set aside.
Place 1 ounce mozzarella on each crispbread.
Sprinkle with ½ tablespoon of basil, 2 teaspoons sun dried tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Kalamata olives, ¼ teaspoon pine nuts. Serve immediately.

TIP: Substitute any nuts for pine nuts. Substitute feta cheese for mozzarella if desired.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 279
Total Fat 14 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 36 mg
Sodium 584 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Protein 17 g
Calcium 456 mg

Wasa with Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

¼ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced thin lengthwise
2 tablespoons goat cheese
2 pieces WASA Hearty Rye (may substitute any WASA variety)

Directions

Sauté zucchini in a non-stick skillet until soft and golden in color.
Spread 1 tablespoon goat cheese on each crispbread.
Top with sliced tomatoes and layer zucchini on top.

TIP: Substitute eggplant or yellow squash for zucchini.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 205
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 15 mg
Sodium 260 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34 g
Dietary Fiber 7 g
Protein 9 g
Calcium 94 mg

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