Yesterday at the gym, I had yet another disappointing conversation about weightlifting with a fellow female. She’s a gym class junkie and probably has been for at least 20 years. In fact, we only ever speak in the locker room, because I never see her on the gym floor. Regardless, I’d say she’s dedicated to exercise and in very good shape. Our conversation went like this:
GCJ (Gym Class Junkie): what have you been doing lately?
Me: Same old, weightlifting and stuff.
GCJ: Is that all?
Me: Well I still do some other cardio and running here and there, but mostly lifting.
GCJ: You know what you should try? Pilates. It’s sooo good for you. I love it.
Me: Yeah.. I dunno… I’m really into the lifting. I know pilates is supposed to be great but I kind of want to be one of those girls deadlifting over 200lbs and doing 10 chin-ups.
GCJ: (you should have seen the horrified look on her face!)…
Well, be careful. I’m just saying, I used to do a lot of high-intensity stuff when I was younger and it really screwed up my back.
Me: Well, yeah, I mean, you have to be careful with form, and work up gradually to higher weights…
GCJ: Really, though, I used to do tons of high intensity aerobics and it gave me sciatic problems.
I pause to think. She is thinking “high intensity aerobics” is somehow like “heavy lifting.” Now, I know that both can be risky business, and I need to be careful with my lifting and all that. But at this point I am also realizing she’s one of those women who’s been totally afraid to strength train. As a result, she probably has very little muscle in her hamstrings, lower back, and core. And that’s why she had those sciatic issues from the high impact aerobics.
Me: Oh, really? I used to get a lot of back pain / sciatic problem when I was running a lot and not doing much lifting. But ever since I started strength training and working on my core, I don’t get that at all. Did you know that a lot of women don’t have nearly enough muscle on our back sides and that’s why we are prone to those sciatic problems?
GCJ: Yes, that’s true, but… (I think she didn’t know what else to say!) Well, just be careful!
Just to clarify, I have nothing against pilates or high impact aerobics. I’m sure they’re great for some people, but those aren’t the kinds of activities that are going to help me reach my goals right now.
My frustration here is that we have yet another female totally out of the loop on lifting. And I believe that when you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should be quiet and refrain from giving unsolicited advice. Better yet, shut up and be willing to listen. (This same woman has asked me in the past what she can do to pump up her routine. Apparently she has not ordered her copy of New Rules yet.)
I think I know a lot about food, so I’m eager to advise about it. I have a special talent for picking out the tastiest things on a menu so quite often my friends and family members will ask for my approval before ordering – or even appoint me to order for the table. But one thing I admit I don’t know much about is Indian food. Don’t invite me out with you and expect me to know what to order. For once in my life, I’d give up that control.With one exception. If there is something on the menu resembling this Chicken in Almond-Yogurt Sauce, I’d say we have to get it. Joanne says it’s authentic, and she’s a smartie so I trust her. It intrigued me enough to run out and buy whole cardamom pods as soon as I could – that was a first. And now that I’ve made it, I know it’s delicious and a must-try next time I’m out for Indian food (which, shamefully, would be the first time.)
Chicken Cooked in a Yogurt-Almond Sauce (Murgh Korma)
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Climbing The Mango Trees
via Eats Well With Others
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 2.5-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
5 coves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 oz slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tsp salt
two 2-inch cinnamon sticks
8 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
4 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 5oz each
2 tbsp (25gm) golden raisins
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are a deep reddish brown.
Meanwhile, place the ginger, garlic, and almonds in a food processor with 1/3 cup water. Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth paste.
Whisk together the yogurt, garam masala, coriander, cayenne pepper and salt. Set aside.
When the onions are cooked, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, keeping a medium heat level. When hot, add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and bay leaves. Stir once or twice. A minute later, push the contents of the pan to one side and add the chicken pieces in a single layer. Let them cook, undisturbed, for about 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned; flip and cook the other side.
Add the golden raisins to the pan, then the ginger-almond paste from the blender. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Stir and fry for 2 minutes. Now put in the contents Finally add the yogurt mixture and return the onions to the pan. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, still on medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring gently every now and then, until the chicken pieces are tender. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 12.5 g
Cholesterol: 82.2 mg
Sodium: 132.1 mg
Total Carbs: 16.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 44.0 g