The Healthy Hedonist

Photo: Joits

With a name like Crabby McSlacker and a blog called Cranky Fitness, it would be easy to assume that I'm always whiny when it comes to good nutrition and exercise.

And, okay, maybe most of the time I am. If someone were to compile a bitchy-to-cheerful ratio of my posts, it would probably be a very large number. Or heck, how about a pie chart?

Of course a lot of my orneriness is a reaction to what's out there already in the media. With so many health magazines and books shouting "Easy!" and "Fun!" and "Effective!" and "Instant!" and "Permanent!"and "Young!" and "Sexy!" you'd think adopting a healthy lifestyle would take maybe two weeks, tops. And that it would never involve sacrifice. And that when you were "done," you'd be totally fit and strong and hot and lean and smart and energetic. Oh, and immortal. Because we all know that if you eat enough antioxidants and do enough high intensity intervals you will never, ever, die.

So I try to provide a counterpoint. But sometimes I just have to come out of the Cranky Closet and admit: sure, at times it can be a pain in the ass but there's a lot to love about healthy living! And the funny thing is that so many of the pleasures feel just as self-indulgent and sensual as vices, only somehow, they're not.

So for a change of pace, here's a random list of a bunch of things I recently remembered that I love that aren't even bad for me. Some of these I've written about before, but what the heck, Cranky Fitness readers are noted for their patience with, and kindness to, repetitive Crabs.

Things Crabby Enjoyed Recently That Weren't Bad For Her:

1. Getting high on the elliptical again, and not even caring that I was making a fool of myself by dancing and mouthing the words to my iTunes songs. (But not singing them out loud. I'm not a complete ass).

2. My breakfast:

Surprise! Crabby's photos still look like crap.

Actually, by "breakfast" I don't mean the very first meal of the day, which is always liquid because to me, the thought of solid food first thing in the morning is totally barfy. Instead, I start with a gigantic cup of strong coffee that also contains almost two cups of warm nonfat milk, plus a small glass of orange juice. Then after I work out, I eat breakfast number two.

I've been obsessed with this breakfast (or similar variations) all summer. I look forward to it starting the night before! (The Lobster is often amazed at how much I love food. I truly do. Eating is one of my favorite past-times).

The first item is a fruit and vegetable smoothie. (This one: 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup raw cauliflower, 1 1/2 cup raw spinach, 1/4 cup frozen banana, 1 cup nonfat milk, some vanilla and some Truvia (the newfangled stevia that doesn't taste as nasty).

And the other item is a whole wheat english muffin with a little almond butter, a little honey, and a bunch of walnuts on top. I'm especially proud of the walnut invention, because I don't tend to like walnuts in most settings. If I'm eating a brownie or cookie and come across icky walnut pieces, I will spit the intruders right out, precious Omega 3's and all. But when paired with almond butter and honey, walnuts become suddenly lovable!

(Note: those of you on calorie restricted diets must be going: WTF??? How the hell much does she eat every day? The answer: a LOT. Weirdly enough, as I've switched to healthier foods and gotten smarter about high intensity exercise and weights, I can eat way more calories than I used to when I weighed an extra 25 pounds.)

3. Tea Dance, which will have to be the subject of a post of its own sometime. Basically, it's a high-energy summertime dance party at a local waterfront gay bar. The coolest thing? It's full of boomer-aged folks (mostly men, but plenty of women too) so we don't feel out of place on the dance floor. And, get this, it takes place before it gets dark, from 4-7 p.m. When I was in my twenties, "going dancing" meant heading out late at night to a smoke-filled bar, and it involved more standing around feeling self-conscious than it did dancing. To have rediscovered bopping around to great music for an hour or two, cooled by fresh bay breezes and surrounded by other folks having a blast? It's hard to count it as exercise it's so much fun.

(And okay, the pre-dancing low cal mojito we have before we get there may have something to do with it.)

4. Bootcamp. Well, not while I'm in the middle of doing push-ups or lunges or burpees or whatever. But the feeling of camaraderie and accomplishment more than makes up for the temporary burning muscles and the gasping for breath and the wanting to die.

5. Biking. Why am I always reluctant to climb on my bike at the beginning of the season? It takes me half the summer to get back in the habit, but once I do I spend the rest of the time congratulating myself for discovering such a pleasant, efficient form of transportation.

6. Shrimp and broccolini pasta. I make it with tons of garlic and olive oil, a bit of whole grain pasta, and I garnish it with a ridiculous amount of pine nuts and some parmesan cheese. Heaven! The Lobster opts out of this one, being a broccolini hater, so it's my go-to meal when it's Fend For Yourself night.

7. The Rock Walk. I wrote about this walk along the breakwater when we first moved to Provincetown, and I was afraid I might burn out on it. Nope! Still beautiful and peaceful,only now it's even better: lush and green instead of staid and brown.

8. Looking forward to running on my favorite trail again. So this is kind of a cheaty one, because I'm only enjoying the memory of it. My actual runs now take place on a high school field that hosts a flock of geese and a lot of goosesh*t. But soon I'm gonna try my old route, which is a gently rolling foresty fire road that goes by several ponds. The stupid mosquitoes stole it from me in the height of summer, but I'm ready to take it back.

9. Watermelon. What's not to like about fresh sweet watermelon?

10. The Gym! I know I've been blogging about how much I hate the gym, but getting a good break from it helped to make for a great recent workout. I know soon enough I'll be hating it again, but, note to self: all that stuff about "mixing it up" and "trying new things?" Er, not actually a bad idea!

Anyone else find stuff to love about healthy living?

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