There’s a belief in Ireland and elsewhere that Americans are fat. It’s a stereotype to be sure but a quick look at the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that “more than one-third of adults and approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S.” are obese. While it’s unfair to capture all Americans and lump them in one big fry-pit, if things don’t change it is conceivable that by 2o2o, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women in this country will be extremely unhealthy.
What I can’t help but wonder is this, “Where are all the large people the C.D.C. is talking about?” They’re not living near me on the edge of the Rockies. The trend here seems to be quite the opposite. I wasn’t kidding when I wrote back in March about the 60-year-old with arms like Madonna and the well toned thighs of some ladies taking a Boxercise class. The people around me are fit. Really fit. I mean…über fit!
There’s a joke among us “blow-ins” about how many athletic enthusiasts live around us. There are walkers, joggers, mountain bikers, road bikers, hikers, rollerbladers, tennis players, golfers, lacrosse teams, rugby teams, swim teams…the list is endless. Those of us who are new to the area find it funny until we get hooked too.
Take me, this morning. I rode my bike 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) to buy ingredients to make my family’s favourite soup for this evening’s supper. TWELVE MILES! Getting to the shops was easy: it was mostly downhill. It was the six miles (9.6 kilometers) back up the hill that was the killer. Remarkably, I enjoyed it.
As I rode my bike I kept thinking, “What would my friends back in Ireland say?”
“Kim! Are you mad?” immediately came to mind.
Mad? No. A little crazy? Maybe. Thrilled I made it? Definitely!
Today marked the day I went from blow-in to settling in. Actually, I’m not ready for that leap, so let’s just say I’m a temporary “local” bucking the American trend towards obesity. You might even say I’m living Irish in America. In Ireland people don’t think much about exercise or their weight because they walk everywhere. Conversely, in many America cities, shops, restaurants, schools and churches aren’t within walking distance so people are forced to get into their car and drive. With such a sedentary lifestyle it’s easy to pile on calories and gain weight.
Twelve miles to make Pea & Mint Soup…was it worth it? Absolutely! What’s the craziest thing you ever did for exercise?
Pea and Mint Soup
1 bunch spring onions/scallions (or onion) roughly chopped
1 head iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
900ml/3 ¾ cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 large sprig mint
For the Garnish (Optional)
1. Wilt the peas, onions and lettuce in the olive oil.
2. Add the stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Add the mint and liquidize. For a smoother texture, the soup can be put through a sieve.
4. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and the mint leaves
Note: This recipe is taken from Terence Stamp’s cookbook called The Stamp Collection