France, Food, and Fat

Oh, the french. They smoke like chimneys, drink like poissons, and bread and cheese is practically a religion there. But I can count on one hand the number of obese people I encountered on my trip— and two of them were from Texas. Now, I’m not suggesting these habits are a path to health. Indeed, the idea of the “French Paradox”— that coronary heart disease death rates are low despite high consumption of saturated fat— has been pretty well put to bed (here,  and here). Yet still, obesity is not the problem there that it is here. Why are Americans fat and the French aren’t?

You’ve heard it before, but in my observation, it’s true:
  1. Meals are an event. They are eaten at a table, in good company and with plenty of time. Hardly ever on the go or in the car or at the desk.
  2. Food is high-quality. Organic, fresh, made in farms and shops and kitchens more than factories.
  3. Portions are much smaller than what you get in the U.S. It’s always enough, but it’s less that we’ve come to expect You don’t have to feel completely full to be nourished. Indeed, by lingering over the meal, you often realize you are, in fact, satisfied.
  4. They walk, bike, skate, and otherwise get around using their legs.

Nothing here is surprising, not even a little. But it’s powerful.


hello, lover.

I just got back from a week in Paris, and despite my living the vacation life, wine,cheese, and croissants included, I don’t feel gross. I like this food, when I have it. BUT: I like it in small portions, when I’m walking six miles a day and enjoying the beautifully crafted and plated meals. And interspersed with beautiful veggies and fruits, of course.

I don’t have the same love for this rich food that I do for fresh vegetables, light flavors, greens and berries and flowers and fruits. Some of it is in the taste and the aesthetics, certainly, but most of it is in my body, my energy. Maybe my spirit too, if that isn’t too woo-woo (I know. I know. It is). I don’t live the French life all the time— sometimes I eat at my desk, or watching Netflix. Sometimes I’m in a rush. So eating a primarilty plant-based diet works for me, at home. But I sure enjoy the reminder to put that food on a pretty plate and sit down for a few minutes to enjoy it.

Pourquois Paris?

There are multiple modes of travel. And I mean vacation, leisure travel, not the business travel I wrote about last week. The kind where you get to take the wheel and plan (or not plan) a trip that’s just for you. What do you want, here, now? Why are you itching to escape?

Maybe. . .
  • You need to relax, and not think. You’re working like a dog. You’re stressed. You have a crazy sleep deficit. You want (need) a real vacation. An all-inclusive somewhere sunny, maybe? With a swim-up bar?
  • You need to shake it up. You are having an existential moment and are thinking of backpacking in Asia for a few months.
  • You have an adventure in the works! You’re doing Ragnar, or climbing Kilimanjaro, or some other big goal. Yay, you!
  • OR: You want to celebrate, revel, and explore. You want to go somwhere different, with a language that gets in your ears and a cuisine that you dream of and street style that makes you swoon. This, mes amis, is me at the moment, and the reason i’m in Paris (!!?!) with my sister.

Do I love my job and my routine and my gym and my husband? Sure do. Does a week with my best girl in the land of croissants sound like the best idea I ever had? Mais oui! So after walking (walking A LOT, according to my apple watch) through Paris for a week, I’m in love with my life again. This week was my favorite. There was art. There was shopping. There was coffee. There was wine (beaucoup de wine), and girl talk. I’m full of appreciation and fun and time outside of worrying. And I’m just about ready for my regular life back- but with un petit pen de panache that I didn’t have before.

Using the legs to settle the mind— travel edition

Sorry for the short break. I’ve been traveling. I do a reasonably large amount of traveling— I’m not George Clooney in Up in the Air, but I travel for work a few times a year and for fun whenever I get the chance. Sometimes you go to Barcelona, sometimes you go to Indianapolis. What can you do?
Traveling can be a little taxing on everyone, but for the hardcore introvert (TM), air travel is a special kind of torture. Robbed of personal space, forced into small talk, bombarded with the airport and airplane noise, too close for comfort with the sounds and smells of thousands of strangers, lacking an escape route. This is the stuff introvert nightmares are made of. But it’s part of the deal, if you want to get from point A to point B in a timely fashion, which I do.
I arrive with a disorienting and uncomfortable fog over me. Every. Single. Time. All the standard travel advice in the world doesn’t seem to fix it— not hydrating properly, not xanax, not the perfect chic travel outfit. But one thing does help: using my legs, as often as possible. If I’m not home, you better believe I am moving myself through space using my legs.
starve log

anything to brag about? no. immensely helpful to my state of mind? absolutely.

I schlepp my stuff around from terminal to terminal at the airport, rather than sit at the gate. I go outside when I get there and walk around the block. I go out for coffee instead of going to the Starbucks in the lobby.  I find a body of water (there’s always a body of water!) and go for a quick jog. And it settles me, a little bit. Enough, usually. That leg-brain connection that gives us our best ideas when we’re a few miles in? Same magic here, I think. Do you have any tricks to settle the restless mind when you’re traveling?

welcome– you’ve got FEMALE!

International Women’s Day– yesterday– was a cool day on the internet. NYT published obits of women they had failed to memorialize in the past. Male friends honored their women friends on insta. Everyone wore purple. It was hip to listen to women! Cool. But I didn’t publish this post yesterday, and here’s why: women’s voices matter every. single. day. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! So without further ado, here are some thoughts on women and adventure in the media:
A few years ago, I read a copy of Outside Magazine on a plane. I like Outside— because I like adventure, and I like fitness, and it’s more interesting than Shape or whatever (which let’s face it, you’ve read one, you’ve read them all). But boy, did I get mad that day. The cover touted a story about some awesome women athletes (didn’t manage to get one in the cover shot, though!)— and I flipped to the article. I was dismayed to find it was actually more like a photo spread, with full-page photos of women in tiny clothing, and the text was mostly about like, what they ate for breakfast. Sad trombone, Outside. So, I looked back to ask myself if my magazine-reading habits were silently minimizing women, and guess what?

  • 2016 was 0 for 11 on women gracing the cover (yet they somehow managed to get noted outdoorsman Tim Ferriss in there?). Oh, and the Tim Ferriss issue contained the story that started it all— “these seven women will crush you”. Like that should be somehow surprising or notable that women might “crush” you? Anyway.
  • 2015 was 1/12— and she’s wearing a bathing suit (but at least she’s an athlete!). It doesn’t get better as you keep going back (you can look at their archives.)

I think, to their credit, Outside has recognized this and is trying to rectify it. I’m waiting to see whether they can walk the walk. So far, 2018 has had Amelia Boone on a cover. 2017 had Mikaela Shiffren as cover athlete, plus a special women’s-themed issue (XX factor-branded, co-sponsored by REI, where they put their men on hiatus for the month. I have mixed feelings about this*). I’m not counting the anonyous bikini-clad ass on the April issue.

But, there’s a silver lining! My fed-up female athlete ass went on a mission to find some better content for adventerous females, and lo and behold, Misadventures was there for me. You guys. Have you seen this? They have it at Barnes and Noble, and REI. But get a subscription!

Spread from Misadventures 1

tucson represent! from a glorious Misadventures story on BICAS.

They have  incredible articles and no sexy pictures. They write about conservation! And urban cycling! And surfing, and skating, and kayaking, and camping! The photos are gorgeous— and they’re of natural elements, and women athletes— including, frequently, women of color. They review gear for women— and not just by adding a pink one to the list. They review books by women. But what mostly makes me happy is the fierce, fresh female voice that runs through it. My experience of the first issue of Misadventures was kind of like when I watched Wonder Woman— IT ME!! I’ve been doing it all wrong letting men run the show! My tribe has arrived!

*Is this kind of like the thing fashion magazines do where they do a “size themed issue” or have a column about plus sized clothing, but don’t do anything to alter the rest of their content about dieting and featuring models with unrealistic bodies? Maybe. I guess we’ll have to see. I’ll be happier about it if, instead of putting their male writers, editorial staff, and photogs on furlough for a month, they start hiring more women into high-level jobs, and using more women freelancers, every month.

Kinesio taping: yea nor nay?

I’ve had a minor niggling calf pain for a week or so. Should I kinesio tape that sucker? Kinesio tape (also called KT tape, though technically that’s a brand name): it was a hot ticket at the olympics a few years ago (London, maybe?). I’ve used it before, for minor tweaks and sore spots. I see others at the gym doing it. Patients of mine ask about it. Professionals (hi PTs!) do it. Theoretically, kinesio taping is supposted to increase blood and lymph flow by lifting the skin— this isn’t the same as traditional athletic taping, which is meant to create stability. Because I’m a science person, I’m immediately skeptical of a claim without evidence, even if it seems generally sane.

So, let’s ask: Kinesio tape. Is it safe? Does it do anything? Should I cover myself in multi-colored tape before my next workout?
taped up and ready to run.

why yes, my KT tape does match my skoras, than you for noticing.

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Running, Thrills, and Awesome

It’s THRILLING to accomplish something you weren’t certain you could do. For all the babble out there and instagram quotes about comfort zones and breakthroughs and whatnot, that central truth remains. And to accomplish something you aren’t certain you can do, you have to, well, do something you aren’t sure you can do. For people who are risk-averse creatures of habit, this can be a huge leap— but so, so worth it. There are roller-coaster thrills, and then there are life-changing thrills. On the roller coaster, you know you’re on there for five minutes and everything’s been safety-checked. For the other kind, there’s no net— you don’t know what will happen.

Last weekend, I ran a Ragnar Relay with my sister and a bunch of other lawyers.

the van

what could go wrong?

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