Excerpts from my Newsletter: El Zanjón del Gato

I’m on week 14 of my newsletter, which brings food news and recommendations from Buenos Aires to your inbox every week. This is an excerpt from a past edition, but if you want regular food inspiration from me, sign up! 

 

I went to a new restaurant on Saturday. It’s Tuesday, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Continue reading

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What Are You Eating This Weekend?

Hello! I’m still running and eating, but these days I’m writing about food in my newsletter, What Are You Eating This Weekend. 

It’s a weekly newsletter, in English, that will arrive to your inbox every Thursday full of food news, restaurant suggestions, and miscellaneous food information about Buenos Aires.

Here’s a preview of one of the restaurants featured this week, Vinotinto Cocina Andante:

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Photo:  Vinotinto

Sign up here, and you’ll get the latest version right away.

I hope you’re eating lots of delicious things this weekend. Happy Friday!

Still Writing, Running, and Eating

I’ve been writing over the past few months, just not here. Four years ago I started this blog to keep my family in the loop about my adventures in Guatemala, and to practice writing, and I’ve been able to publish (and get paid for) some articles in places other than here! So it served it’s purpose.

I’ve written about Whole30-ing in Buenos Aires, the connection between dairy and acne, ending up in Argentina, and why I love this city. I made a website, too, if you want to check out more of the things I’ve written lately.

I’ve also been enjoying food. A lot. Victor joined me for a Whole30 during the month of August, and contrary to what you might think (because of the limits on grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, and alcohol) I actually felt more creative when it came to cooking. I tried out lots of curries, roast chicken variations, and discovered that leaving meat in the oven for four hours can produce buttery, fall-off-the-bone meals with little active preparation. I saw my  skin get better, energy get more stable, and lost five pounds in the process, all while eating delicious whole foods.  Continue reading

Buenos Aires Favorites

I’ve taken a break from writing on my blog recently to work on some other projects, and this is one of them:

Last week my article for National Geographic Travel got published. I’m forever obsessed with making and sharing maps on Google, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create yet another Google map.

Read my article: A Local’s Guide to Buenos Aires 

And then check out my accompanying map of places from the article to check out on your next visit to BA.

Map: Annie’s Buenos Aires Favorites

Why “Wellness” is So Much More Than an Instagram Hashtag

Trust that your body knows what it needs, and when you get a hankering for chips, chocolate or courgette, look to that craving: the rumble of your belly is not a saboteur.

-Ruby Tandoh “The Unhealthy Truth Behind ‘Wellness’ and ‘Clean Eating’

Can you imagine if you replaced the food items in that sentence with words like heroin or alcohol? Would you ever tell an alcoholic to “look to that craving” for alcohol or “just have one beer per day”–after all, everything in moderation, right?

Of course not! So why do we insist on shaming those that can’t handle moderation? I can’t handle having a lot of things in moderation–I know that there is no such thing as “just one handful” of chocolate-covered anything, so I refuse to bring it into the house because I prefer feeling happy and energized to guilt-ridden and buzzing on too much sugar.

A friend sent me that Vice article the other day because she knew it would get me fired up about clean eating.As much as I disagree with many of the arguments in the piece, I encourage you to read it! I recognize the author’s perspective because we see it all over the place, and the article is a reminder that so many people truly believe what she does–that “wellness” is an annoying Instagram fad and moderation is the key to a healthy happy life. Continue reading

On CrossFit, Movement and Humanity

Since starting CrossFit, I have never felt more human. And not just when I am using my entire body to climb backwards up a wall into a handstand, or lifting a barbell over my head in a snatch during a Workout of the Day (WOD). And not just because this is Reebok’s slogan for their CrossFit apparel line. I can’t think of a better way to describe how CrossFit makes me feel. Human. Alive. 

I ran three marathons in the past two years, and while I loved the challenge of increasing my distances every week, there was something missing. I almost felt…comfortable in my training. You could argue that I wasn’t training hard enough or running long enough (I’m sure I could have run further and harder) but I think I was also missing variation that could challenge every aspect of my fitness.

Now, with CrossFit I am doing one hour of activity per day during the week and feeling more alive than ever. I bound up the stairs of the subway on my way to work, instead of calculating how little effort I could expend in order to get to the top. I don’t pray for a seat on the bus because I can trust my strong leg muscles to support me for the entire ride home. And I carry heavy bags full of my kilos and kilos of vegetables the four blocks home after my Saturday grocery run without having to set them down. Even when I was running 30-40 miles a week and considered myself in great shape, I would get tired or lethargic doing simple tasks. 

Eating a mostly paleo diet and getting plenty of sleep have lots to do with this extra energy, I’m sure. But I’m convinced that my newly discovered cross training habit has just as much to do with it. Jumping on top of wooden boxes, climbing ropes, doing handstand push-ups, and lifting heavy barbells does not just improve my WOD times and performance within the four walls of the box–in only four months I have already noticed how much it translates to my real life. Continue reading

Happiness is Fresh Produce

“We are all born happy. Life gets us dirty along the way, but we can clean it up. Happiness is not exuberant or noisy, like pleasure or joy; it’s silent, tranquil, and gentle; it’s a feeling of satisfaction inside that begins with self-love.” — From The Japanese Lover, by Isabel Allende

I’ve experienced a recent obsession with Isabel Allende’s twisted love stories infused with historical background. I loved The Japanese Lover, and once I finish season one of the Serial podcast, I’m going to finish reading The House of Spirits. Love stories aside, I’ve highlighted countless standalone quotes that just casually blow my mind on early morning subte rides to work.

I love this quote because it clarifies happiness for me. I love when quotes do that—when you find the perfect one and it puts into words something that you’ve felt for a long time but haven’t had the right way to say. Continue reading

Dinnertime as an Anchor in a World of Chaos

You know when you’re in a different culture or you spend time with someone else’s family, and you start to appreciate something about where you came from?

My parents have given me many gifts in the form of food: they have exposed me to many ethnic foods and cooking styles, they have given me an appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables, and they have always encouraged a curiosity for improved nutrition through food.

One of the greatest gifts from my parents in terms of food is the custom of sitting down to family dinners. Regardless of the daily chaos of our schedules, rarely a day went by that we didn’t have some semblance of a family meal. Somewhere in between swim practice, teaching aerobics classes, basketball, karate, and the multitude of other things we had every night, we managed to sit down for 15 minutes all together (or whoever happened to be home at the time) to eat and recap our days. Continue reading

“Fat isn’t Bad, Stupid is Bad”: Language and Whole Foods

As an athlete, I’ve always found that being in training helps me to view food for what it does for my body, and not just what it does for my taste buds. I’m more concerned about eating a nutritious lunch when I know that I need that food to fuel my long run later in the day. I want to have plenty of protein, fat, and vegetables. I like to pay attention to what ingredients are in the food because, after all, you are what you eat.

I’ve recently discovered Food52’s Burnt Toast podcast, and I especially loved the episode with Michael Ruhlman, titled “Fat isn’t Bad, Stupid is Bad.” If you haven’t heard of the podcast, download it right now! Or at least that episode! It has forever changed my morning commute.

Food52 podcast

“Food isn’t healthy. It’s nutritious. Words matter” says Ruhlman. And he’s right. We use so many words to describe our food and how it fits into the trends of the moment that I think we sometimes forget what they even mean. Continue reading

Would I Still be a Runner if I didn’t Run?

Once I had run three marathons, I finally considered myself a runner without hesitation. But if I ran three marathons, and then my running slowly trickles to once a week, then once every two weeks, and then I’m more dedicated to CrossFit than I am to pounding out the miles, what am I? A ranner?

Don’t worry, though, I’m back! I decided I don’t want to have to contemplate that question, so I bit the bullet and signed up for a half marathon on June 5.

I’ve been enjoying the intensity and convenience of CrossFit. I love the mental peace that it gives me: all I have to do is run the six blocks to our local Box, and once I show up, I don’t have to make any decisions. I just follow instructions. Compared to running, CrossFit is a mental breeze: I don’t have to decide how many miles I will do, or which route I will take, or what playlist to listen to, or whether I should carry a water bottle or stop for a drink along the way. I don’t have to wait for my watch to find my location. I don’t have to constantly tell myself to keep pushing. 

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The beautiful dirt trails at the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve on a sunny day are enough to lure me back into distance running!

Continue reading