Friday, July 10, 2009

Return to 'The Grit' and a new book

After last night's first encounter at The Grit here in Athens, I had to return for a repeat performance to see if I could be amazed two nights in a row. Many of the reviews I read online said that the "Golden Bowl" was a must-try at The Grit so following in the footsteps of those before me, I ordered it and added the optional cheese on top and grilled veggies down below including broccoli, mushrooms, onions, and carrots. The standard Bowl is browned tofu cubes sautéed with soy sauce and nutritional yeast served over brown rice. The only part of that which made me a little bit uneasy was the tofu. It just hasn't ever looked good on the grocery shelf but I've heard it can be really good if cooked correctly. Well correct it was because this dish was fantastic! The 'browned' tofu had an interesting surface and taste but it went well with the entire mixture and there was an abundance of it on the plate as you can see in the picture. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and will certainly return here on my next and final trip to Athens in March 2010. The only thing (or person) missing tonight was Marjie... :-(

Afterwards, I craved one iced coffee with some milk and cinnamon syrup. Since the solo Starbucks in Athens was too far out of the way, I made my way to the Borders bookstore that I'd been running by each morning and got my fix of iced coffee. While there, I also wanted to search for books by Dr. Sarno. Dr. Sarno is referenced in the newly-released August edition of Runner's World. Ben Cheever writes about his experience with pain/injury and eventually coming across Dr. Sarno, a controversial doctor who has drawn fire from the medical profession for this stance on psychosomatic illnesses, those illnesses that connect the mind to physical ailments. What intrigues me so much about this is the kind of people very susceptible to the main condition of TMS (Tension Myoneural Syndrome): work in high stress environments, hardworking, perfectionists. Dang, that's me down to the letter. In a tiny little nutshell, his theory is that the brain will decrease bloodflow to the nerves in the lower back thus reducing the oxygen levels in the area. This results in lower back pain. I'm not a medical person by any means but I really want to read his book "The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders" and will be the next book I read after the one I picked up tonight. (see below the video) Dr. Sarno has a strong belief that so much stuff has been misdiagnosed in this country and we've grown dependent on drugs to cure it all. He doesn't dispute that people do have physical issues, but that many times, it's the mind causing the trouble. It's definitely not a 'one size fits all' diagnosis. Still, I find it captivating and look forward to reading about it. Below is from a NBC News story that interviewed him and gave a birds-eye overview of his theory.

Afterwards, I sweet-talked the ladies at the counter and said I'd received a 25% off coupon in my e-mail (which I had) but didn't have it with me. They happily said I could get the discount if they could look up my Rewards account. Happy with that, I went back and grabbed "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. This book has been all the rage lately in ultra-running circles and one that I've been dying to pick up. I'm a slow reader so I only knocked out 2 chapters tonight but so far, so good. I can tell there will be all kinds of quotes to repeat in this book but here's one already in the 2nd chapter. The author is talking about spikes in the running population after major negative nationwide events. The last one he mentioned was the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country and he says: "...trail-running suddenly became the fastest-growing outdoor sport in the country. Maybe it was a coincidence. Or maybe there's a trigger in the human psyche, a coded response that activates our first and greatest survival skill when we sense the raptors approaching. In terms of stress relief and sensual pleasure, running is what you have in your life before you have sex. The equipment and desire come factory installed; all you have to do is let 'er rip and hang on for the ride."

Get out there everyone, and Happy Trails!


Sensationally Red said...

Interesting post. Tofu is really nothing but a spongy vehicle for tasty sauces. It's good stuff. Benjamin Cheever's article really caught my eye as well. How could there NOT be a mind/body connection?

Bob said...

I just picked up Born To Run at lunch today and can't wait to dig into it (25% coupon also)!