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Anne Macaulay | First Thoughts
Greetings friends!

Here are my "First Thoughts" on mindset, real food and behavior change. 

Quote that I am pondering: "We don't laugh because we are happy, we are happy because we laugh!" William James. This reminds me to turn on comedy radio whenever my mood needs a boost--and it works!

What I’m reading: "Eat for Energy" by Ari Whitten. This could be the only health book you need to read. Ari Whitten comes from a background of chronic fatigue, but his insights apply to everyone because energy is key for fitness, mental sharpness etc. The science is quickly and clearly summarized. For every topic, there are actionable tips broken down so that you make one change at a time as you build new habits. Warning: I may be giving a copy to everyone I love!

What I'm experimenting with:  Intermittent Hypoxia Training. As an off again/on again runner, I always loved that when I would start running, I could suddenly do 4 flights of stairs without puffing. Post injury, I've chosen not to go back to running beyond what I do in agility, so I've been looking at other ways to boost my fitness and energy.

Intermittent Hypoxia Training is a ridiculously simple practice: While on a walk, hold your breath for as many steps as you can counting each step, then let your breathing return to normal as smoothly as you can. Repeat five times. That's it. It doesn't add any time to your exercise routine if you already walk and it improves both number and efficiency of your mitochondria. Yay! I'm three weeks in and finding I'm not losing my breath on steep hills. 

Programs I'm leading: I'm excited to be leading some new programs for Eating for Your Health, formerly known as The Suppers Program.

  • May 25th at 11:30 in Princeton (and every last Wednesday of the month), I'll be leading an At the Table Meeting for the Inflammation and Autoimmune Issues group. This month's topic is How You Feel is Data® and our menu features Dandelion, Jicama, and Orange Pre-Biotic Salad and Moroccan Lamb Hash. Contact me for registration details. 
  • Sunday, June 12th at 3pm I'll be leading: How to Grow a Delicious Garden (Even in Small Spaces). My garden will be turned into a demonstration space and we'll be talking about planting and maintaining a vegetable garden.  

What I’m cooking right now: Chicken Laab

I love how Southeast Asian recipes treat herbs like vegetables. This is my favorite way of using the bounty of cilantro, mint and lettuce that arrive in my garden all at once in May. 

  • 1 lb ground chicken breast (pulse cubes of chicken breast in the food processor)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint, chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemon grass--bottom three inches of stalk trimmed, sliced, and then minced in food processor
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 T Thai fish sauce
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 T New Mexico chili powder (or cayenne, use less!). Omit if you are sensitive to nightshades.
  • 1-2 tsp toasted rice powder (toast rice in a dry frying pan until golden then grind in a coffee grinder). Optional, but adds a nice nutty flavor. 
  • Fresh spring lettuce 

Boil the water and add ground chicken. Stir until cooked through. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients except lettuce and stir to combine. Serve over a bed of lettuce. 

Source: True Thai by Victor Sodsook with Theresa Volpe Laursen and Byron Laursen. 

Notes on growing mint and cilantro: Mint is a thug. Plant it in a big pot to contain the roots and then sink the pot into your garden or hide it among the foundation shrubs around your house. It won't care! Cilantro is a fast-growing annual that should be planted every three weeks throughout the growing season to keep you in a steady supply. Cut an inch from the ground to harvest and expect to get two or three cuttings from a patch before it bolts (flowers and goes to seed). 

What's in bloom: Ornamental Onions (Allium Purple Sensation)

This was one of those happy accidents that make gardening such fun! I often toss weeds and dead flowers into this patch of poison ivy at the edge of the woods. Apparently, I tossed some ornamental onion seed heads there and this lovely patch has sprung up all on its own. 

That's all for now.

Love, Anne
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