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Monday, March 4, 2013

It's A Good Thing I Like My Orthopedist

A couple of years ago, my friend Heidi was really enthusiastic about exercise boot camp.  She was doing it out in California (in the nice weather), and she raved about how enjoyable it was to exercise outside. It sounded good to me, so I decided to give it a try.

My boot camp leader had a somewhat sadistic streak.  This became very evident when, as I was running around the track (at 5:30 in the morning),  I heard/felt a troubling pop in my knee.  A smart person would have stopped running to assess the damage, but my trainer kept screaming at me to run.  So I ran.  And I ran.  And I ran until I couldn't walk.

Then I had knee surgery to repair a "shredded" meniscus, and spent the next couple of months on crutches and in physical therapy.

After regaining mobility in my knee, I decided to try something a little less challenging.  I decided the best course of action was to take a nice little walk in the park.  Anyone can walk, right?

Nope.  On my first day out, I felt a little twinge in my foot.  I was at least a mile from home, and had no cell phone with me.  By the time I crawled home and removed my shoe, my foot was at least twice it's original size.  I figured it was just bruised so I hobbled around on it for six weeks.

It did seem like it was taking a long time to heal, so I finally admitted defeat limped over to my orthopedist's office.  Numerous x-rays later, I was informed (by my amused orthopedist), that I had broken my foot and that I would have to trade in my Prada sandals (the only shoes into which I could fit my swollen foot),  for an attractive large black boot.  I cried.  It was ugly and my foot was... broken.

I went on an exercise hiatus after the broken foot.

Deep down inside I am an optimist.  I refused to give up on the notion that I could have a flat stomach and firm thighs.   And so, last September I decided to give exercise another try.  I first took up spinning, which was fun and required very little coordination.  This was good news for me.  I also threw in some Pure Barre classes, which was... hard... and hurst a lot.   I couldn't even tell you what we did at Pure Barre.  It just involved a lot of standing still, tucking in my butt and squeezing.  How could something with so little motion be so painful?

I have finally decided to just bite the bullet and join a gym.  I have gotten myself a trainer, and also developed a love affair with the treadmill.  I think I like the treadmill because I can watch the 8:00 a.m. hour of the Today Show.  Distraction, I have discovered, is the key to all exercise.

So far I haven't had any exercise induced injuries.   I'm being careful.  I think my orthopedist has seen enough of me.

This recipe has absolutely nothing to do with exercise.  It does, however taste good.

Recipe:  Salmon with Lentils
Barefoot in Paris, 2004


1⁄2 pound French green lentils (lentilles du Puy)
1⁄4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for salmon
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 1⁄2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
1 1⁄2 cups chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
4 (8-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets, skin removed


Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the vinegar and season, to taste.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

For the salmon, heat a dry oven-proof saute pan over high heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning-sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned. Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.

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