Friday, September 13, 2013

Cucumber Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

All last school year, every Monday I went to a group personal training session. A trainer came to work and a small group of us pushed ourselves through a punishing number of of press ups, burpees, TRX rows, and the like. I did this every Monday. Every Monday, that is, except one.

One certain week I was running late and didn’t leave my desk on time. Then I discovered I had forgotten my socks. And I was tired, a bit grumpy, and feeling lazy. I just gave in to the excuses and went home. It was the first time I had skipped a session. And I regretted it almost immediately.

As I got home I was really sad that I gave in to my excuses. Now I know that not having socks is just an excuse not to exercise; I know because the very next day I didn’t have socks and I went for a run anyway. I was not going to use that excuse a second time. I would have been too ashamed to ditch another workout so easily in the same week.

Now that I know what my potential excuses are, it seems easier to deal with them. I sometimes use the excuse of feeling tired; I try to deal with that excuse by reminding myself that exercise gives me energy. (Sidebar: I don’t exercise when I’m feeling sick and tired. Rest days are important, too.) Another excuse that has popped up recently is that it is too hot in Singapore to run outside; ugh, it’s been up to 30 C recently. So I deal with that excuse by going for a shorter run, or allowing myself walking breaks, or going at a cooler time of day. And when it gets truly unbearable, the treadmill is a good air-conditioned option.

Moving on to the subject of healthy eating. I also use excuses to avoid eating healthfully. Excuses such as not having a key ingredient, feeling tired, and being a bit grumpy and lazy. But I have learned that these are excuses that can be dealt with. Having an arsenal of healthy, easy recipes is my main strategy. And trying new things, because then I feel less bored with healthy eating.

This cucumber salad is just what I need: a new idea, cumin vinaigrette, added to a laughably easy recipe. There are no excuses when eating healthy is this easy.

Cucumber Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette
adapted from Speed Vegan: Quick, Easy Recipes with a Gourmet Twist

serves 4 as a generous side dish

4 cucumbers
1/3 c chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)

for the vinaigrette:
1/2 t cumin seeds or ground cumin
1/4 c (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 T maple syrup
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T wholegrain mustard
7 cloves of garlic, minced or pounded
1/2 t salt
1/4 t chilli powder or cayenne

Cut the cucumbers in half and then into slices.
Mix in a large bowl with the cilantro.

Heat a small pan and dry toast the cumin for a few minutes until fragrant.
Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients together.
Toss with the salad and serve.

Do you succumb to excuses not to be healthy?
What advice can you share?

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