So, I’ve been walking lately. A brisk morning walk several times a week, as well as walking wherever I can vis a vis taking the car. Although I have always espoused a life of decadence (i.e. rationalising my laziness), a pain au chocolat in one hand and a good book in the other, cozily ensconced in a mass of duvet covers, I can’t deny that time takes its toll on all of us unless we do something to counter it. And so, a little movement is in order to get this old ticker in some semblance of satisfactory shape so I will be able to one day walk my now-little-ones down the aisle or take care of some grandchildren.
I’m being dramatic.
No, I’m not. Listen here young and not-so-young parents…our health will one day be one of the best gifts we give our children. They (and we) may not realize that now, when she cannot see past the My Little Pony shelves in the toy store, or the rubber ball he is determined to break apart with his teeth, but one day they will.
Anyway, enough contemplation for now.
My morning walks...I do love them. Really. And coming from someone who cannot abide by any physical activity whatsoever, that is quite an admission. The inside of a gym literally makes me faint (as does the insides of sports stores fyi…the smell, it’s that weird smell of rubber). Sports are even worse for me because they combine two of my least favorite things in life…physical activity and competition (ironic that both my husband and my best friend are avid sportspeople who thrive in competitive environments). I knew I needed to get moving though, but the only times I actually don’t mind physical effort is when I’m shopping, exploring, dancing, or otherwise “just living”. And so, I’ve decided to build my “fitness plan” on just that…"just living”. Incorporating more activity into what I already do, or need to do: Turning my regular market trips into “marketcizing”, walking to pay my bills, using my feet instead of my car to pick up my daughter from pre-school. So many things can turn into a walk, just as so many things can turn into an adventure. Yes, doing this has injected more activity in my life and has (fingers crossed) made me a bit stronger (heart and lungs…I mean you!), but it’s also yielded some pleasant surprises: corners of my city I see with new eyes, my daughter’s love of our “little walks” that are now our own mini-adventures, and the amazing cobweb-clearing quality a good walk in the outdoors seems to possess.
And of course, there is that carbon footprint decreasing.
It must be said that I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against organized exercise. My husband is wildly in love with biking and has also just started a passionate affair with cross-fit. This is on top of his lifelong devotion to football. And he is one of my favorite people in the world. So more power to all that I say. But I know that it is not for me.
And truly, I am well aware that this sort of thing is not going to land me washboard abs or the ability to wear a short skirt. I am satisfied with the extra activity my heart (and lungs!) is getting…which will hopefully help me avoid keeling over on my next trip up some stairs.
It hopefully also gives me a little extra leeway for a few treats…like this one.
(adapted from Simply Anne’s)
- 215 grams all purpose flour
- 140 grams rolled oats
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 200 grams butter
- 300 grams brown sugar
- 1 cup guava jelly
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the mixture of dry ingredients. Continue mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but is still crumbly.
- Line a 9x9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper – I like to make sure the paper hangs a bit over the edge of the pan because this is what I use to lift the baked product out of the pan. Press a little over half the dough into the pan, firmly and evenly.
- In a clean mixing bowl whisk the guava jelly until light and smooth, about 3 minutes. This makes the sticky jelly much easier to spread.
- Spread the whipped guava jelly over the dough base, and then using your fingers, break up the remaining dough over the jelly. You don’t have to cover everything; it’s ok (and actually quite nice) if the jelly peeks out here and there.
- Bake this in a pre-heated 325F oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Let this cool completely in the pan, then use the parchment paper to sling it out onto a chopping board. Cut into squares.
Now, I know that guava bars may not be classified as health food by any standards but mine, where I file it neatly between fruit and oatmeal. If you practice the same such standards, please indulge! This is both simple to make and yummy to snack on if you like guava jelly (which I do, irrevocably). In my old school they make a tart with guava jelly…and I like to think this is reminiscent of that.
This got a 3 out of 4 vote in my household: everyone liking it except for my choco-phile little girl. She did get me thinking about doing this with chocolate chips, nuts, and marshmallows instead of the jam so she may just get her wish one day. I am certainly going to try this with other jams as well; off the bat I am thinking a mangosteen or a mango version would be delicious.
If you’d like to see my non-workout workout attempts, whether to inspire you (because if I can do it…), or to make you feel more virtuous (because you are already doing so much more I am sure!), or even just so we can virtually laugh together, you can follow me on Instagram and look for my hashtags #the80breakfastsfitnessplan and #idontthinkyourereadyforthisjellydonut :) You can also look for #marketcizing for specific market-centered “working-out” :)
And…if you are like me, and have always been avoiding exercise, why not strap on those neglected sneakers and just…go. Explore, wander, pick up a bag of pan de sal from the bakery two streets down, walk to the mall and buy yourself some killer shoes…discover, but on foot! (and if you are so inclined, go ahead and tag your photos with any of the hashtags above so we can all enjoy our glorious attempts at being more active together ;))