The Olympics ended yesterday. Did you watch? I’m always amazed at the performance and determination of these athletes. Years and years of hard training for one quick, “make or break” moment. You have to be made of steel to handle that kind of pressure.
Gymnastics was a major part of my life for over 10 years. I never made it to the Olympics or anywhere close to that, but the sport still had a profound impact on me. No matter how good you perform, there is always room for improvement: Perfection is never reached. While it taught me self-discipline, gymnastics also taught me that no matter what I do, I’m never good enough. Or at least that’s how my brain processed it. Sadly, this negative thinking rubbed off on all areas of my life. Fifteen years later, I still struggle with unrealistic self-imposed expectations. I’m a recovering perfectionist.
Lately, I’ve been working towards a healthier attitude to exercising. My workout of choice is running, and I used to keep track of routes, distance and pace through websites like this one. I’d compare workouts, analyze them, and try to beat personal records whenever I stepped outside. Sometimes, the self-imposed pressure to perform better than my previous workouts was enough to discourage me from running altogether. How unfortunate, as any exercise is obviously better than none at all.
So I’m now trying to rewire my brain to workout for health: To run without a stopwatch, to stop tracking routes, and to listen to my body – not my mind. If I feel energetic, I insert a couple of sprints, run uphill or for a longer amount of time. If I feel tired, I just run around the track next door at a slower pace and I don’t beat myself up over it. Simple, right? What a relief when there are no more personal records to beat. And you? What’s your relationship with exercise?
P.S. I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that oven-baked fries are a simple and delicious way to use up the root vegetables in your fridge.
Oven-Baked Rutabaga Fries with Honey-Mustard Sauce
- 2 pounds rutabaga
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp herbes de provence
- Salt & pepper
- Coarse salt, for serving
- 3/4 cup greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp old-style whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp cilantro
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Peel the rutabagas and cut into wedges.
Place in a large bowl. Add olive oil, herbes de provence, salt & pepper. Toss to coat.
Distribute the wedges evenly onto the baking sheets.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until the wedges are nice and golden, turning the pieces at least once halfway.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, whole-grain and dijon mustards, apple cider vinegar and cilantro. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
For serving, sprinkle the wedges with coarse salt.
Serves 4 as a side dish.