The Black Eyed Peas & Korn…salad in a jar
To get hyped up for running or working out at the gym, I require two things: an adequately fueled body, and some heart pounding music. So when I created a recipe that actually fulfilled both of these needs, sort of…I got so excited!
I’ve been running since 1997 when I worked at Rodale Press, publishers of Runner’s World. I actually worked in the Men’s Health book division, but the Runner’s World people convinced me to try running and it absolutely changed my life.
My music selection has changed over the years. I hadn’t even heard of the Black Eyed Peas until 2004, when a friend of mine, upon hearing about my move to California, said, “You should look up my friend Fergie when you get there. She’s in this group called “The Black Eyed Peas.” Well, I was moving to Cali to co-host a cooking show. I had not yet heard of The Black Eyed Peas, but I didn’t look up Fergie because I had my own thing to focus on.
Sometime later I stumbled upon their music and fell in love with the song, “Let’s get it started in here.” That’s an awesome running song, especially when you want to quicken your pace. I run almost daily on the Santa Monica beach path and I’ve heard that Fergie does too. Maybe one day I’ll get to meet her and tell her about our mutual friend from back east.
Another of my all-time favorite workout songs is “Freak on a Leash” by Korn. I love to run or jump rope really fast to that song. The thought of it makes me want to get outside and just take off running!!
While talking to someone about a black eyed pea salad I said, “I haven’t made black eyed peas since I was in culinary school.” This person was saying that some people add corn to the salad and I chimed in, “Well, that’s a great idea because corn is a grain and it complements the protein in the black eyed peas.” Each is deficient in an essential amino acid, making them incomplete proteins, but when you combine them, they make a complete protein. However, even adding corn doesn’t necessarily give you enough protein to help you adequately rebuild muscle after exercise.
I was just reading a study about the benefits of adequate animal protein in relation to what the researchers termed “appendicular skeletal muscle mass,” which refers to the muscle mass on our arms and legs. As we get older, these muscles easily diminish unless we perform strengthening exercises and eat adequate animal protein. It’s actually quite difficult to get ample, whole food protein sources on a vegetarian diet.
The study looked at diet and exercise data collected from 2,425 individuals who were 50 years old or older. They found that adequate, high quality protein made a difference in muscle preservation in exercising and non-exercising individuals, but of course, those who exercised had the highest percentage of muscle mass on their extremities compared to those who were sedentary. However, obese subjects who exercised and ate less than 70g of protein per day, had less muscle mass than their sedentary counterparts who also ate less than 70g of protein per day. This means that exercising and not replenishing protein stores will cause your body to essentially feed off its self.
Your body uses protein for more than just building muscles. In fact, building muscle mass is not a priority. Your body’s priority is maintaining your immune system and making enzymes and hormones. So if you breakdown body protein during exercise and use it for fuel, your body isn’t worried about replenishing those muscle protein stores. Your body wants to survive, and having a bunch of bulky muscles is not survival. However, if you don’t make an effort to eat adequate protein, then you will see the effects as you age and your body begins to fall apart. So do yourself a favor and enjoy each meal with a bunch of vegetables, a little whole grain or starchy vegetables, and a 3-4oz portion of protein rich foods about the size of the palm of your hand.