Thanks for all the encouragement about my long cycling commute. Last week was a short week, but I thought I’d update you on my commute. I am still working on the optimal way of combining gym + cycling commute, but later in the week, I cut down on my distance by going to the gym closer to home. Instead of 37km, I biked 25km each day. I am also biking at a moderately leisure pace instead of racing to work. My instinct is always to push as hard as I can, but I told myself I was focusing on endurance this week. One of my favourite downhills in the city always used to have me trying to go faster than 50 km/h. This time, I didn’t ride like a madwoman and still maxed out at 47 km/h. I thought I would be super sore by the end of the week, but it has actually gone very well.
Part of the problem on Mondays is that I really like Steve, the spinning instructor who teaches downtown on Monday mornings. Sadly, the gym next to my home has poor programming Monday mornings but I stuck closer to home for the other days. The route uptown from home is also safer, nearly 80% on the Don Valley bicycle path, so I am away from cars and traffic lights.
So is the commute downtown worth it for the spinning class? I think so. I am drawn to positive instructors. A group exercise instructor does a lot more than lead a routine. It is about inspiring the class (“the team”) to push themselves further than what they would do otherwise. Steve’s classes always seem to push me. He explains the intensities of the exercises at a level that is very easy to grasp (challenging but comfortable, pick a resistance that you can only sustain for 5 minutes, etc) and makes it easier for me to challenge myself. He is also great at using inspirational messages. In normal life, I know it sounds so dorky, but when you are pushing yourself to the limit, his messages keep me going longer. For a while he was reminding us never to say I can’t do this. It is just something you haven’t done yet.
If you love inspirational messages, check out a few more gems here:
Know your limits, then defy them
If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.
Yesterday you said tomorrow.
Nothing hurts more than sitting on a couch.
Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. (Henry Ford)
No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.
Now about this salad. It is another salad bursting with whole foods and boasts a higher protein content. Wild rice is not rice at all, instead it is a seed. Higher in protein, with a lower glycemic index, it is a great gluten-free option for hearty salads. Coupled with edamame and tofu, loaded with carrots, sprinkled with greens and doused in a sesame-lemon-miso dressing, you have an unassuming salad that will make you anticipate lunch time.
For those of you who go to exercise classes, do you feel drawn to your instructors? Do you feel guilty when you skip their classes?
Wild Rice and Edamame Salad with a Lemon-Miso Dressing
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
2 cups water
16 oz block extra firm tofu, pressed and chopped into 1-cm chunks
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s
fresh ground pepper
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup shelled edamame, thawed
3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 cup chopped pea shoots
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp agave nectar, or to taste
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 shallot, minced
3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Add the wild rice, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30-45 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, press your tofu, then chop into 1-cm chunks. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and then add tofu chunks. Fry until lightly browned on all sides, turning occasionally. This can take 10-15 minutes. Stir in tamari/soy sauce to deglaze the pan and stir. Set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, place the carrots and edamame. When the wild rice has cooled, add it to the veggies in the bowl.
4. Meanwhile, prepare your dressing by combining the miso, agave, sesame oil, rice vinegar, shallot and lemon juice in a small cup. Make sure the miso has completely dissolved. Stir into your wild rice and vegetables.
5. Prior to serving, stir in the pea shoots, cilantro, tofu chunks and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.