Tag Archives: Scott Jurek

Congratulations! And Here’s Your Citation, Sir

“Did you hear about Scott Jurek?” someone asked me recently during a Saturday group run.

“Yeah,” I said. “He set a record for running the Appalachian Trail.” The ultrarunning legend had completed the 2,200 mile trail in just over 46 days. One 50-mile run is a real challenge for me; Jurek averaged 50 miles a day.

“When he finished he got a littering citation,” my friend added, “for spilling champagne on the trail.”

"You can see for yourselves the damage that can be wrought by an inferior brand of bubbly."

“You can see for yourselves the damage that can be wrought by an inferior brand of bubbly.”

That sounded like one of the ludicrous but true stories in the This Is True newsletter (which I subscribe to, and recommend). But I suspected there was more to it than Prohibitionist park officials. And as an Outside magazine subscriber, I received an email linking to their story on the subject. If you’re at all interested in our National Parks, you should read it (click here).

Jurek had finished on Mount Katahdin in Maine’s Baxter State Park, and the park’s director decided to set a public and highly visible example. The champagne wasn’t the real issue; rather, it was the commercial aspect of his finish, which hadn’t been authorized by the park. There were also far more people there than park rules allowed.

It’s ironic that efforts to get people exercising outside, and to experience our wilderness areas, can lead to overstressing the wilderness. We entrust park officials to preserve and protect the parks but also to permit public access to them. It’s a fine line to walk.

The story remains controversial. (For another perspective, read the Runner’s World article here.) But perhaps that’s the point. Hopefully it will bring abuse of park property into focus and help educate people how to enjoy wilderness while preserving it for others.

In an upcoming post I will address my disgust with another controversial “athletic” activity taking place in our National Parks. While “following your passion” sounds great and fulfilling on the surface, it can wreak havoc with other people who don’t deserve to have to clean up when things go wrong.

In the meantime, I’d welcome your thoughts on whether the Baxter State Park director acted appropriately or went overboard with Mr. Jurek.

Toh-Fooey

QUESTION FOR YOU ALL. How many of you have a food philosophy similar to the following:

I want to eat better. I won’t give up chocolate.

No problem. The two statements aren’t mutually exclusive. Chocolate is one of those rare gifts, like sex and anything by Monty Python, that both bring us pleasure and are good for us. Yet despite its beneficial effects and nutrients, it contains a fair amount of saturated fat and sugar. So it is at least theoretically possible that there is such a thing as ‘too much chocolate’ – at least in any given 24-hour period.

Not sure chocolate and Spam work together. Maybe Spam, Spam, Spam, chocolate and Spam...

Not sure chocolate and Spam work together. Maybe Spam, Spam, Spam, chocolate and Spam…

How do we get past this dilemma? Could one get the goodness of chocolate into something less fattening and even more nutritious? Well-meaning people have been trying to solve this problem for a long time, and yesterday I tried out the latest attempt from champion ultrarunner and vegan Scott Jurek.

In Scott’s book Eat and Run, which I am currently reading, he includes a number of his favorite recipes. I’ve tried two so far. One is his vegan chili, which is a winner and which I will write more about shortly. The second is called “Carob Chia Pudding” although you can substitute cocoa powder and make “Cocoa Chia Pudding.” This is what I did, since I stand firmly behind Al Sicherman’s dictum that, ‘lips that touch carob don’t touch mine.’

There are several keys to this faux-chocolate dessert. The first is to use silken tofu as the base in place of cream, butter, and eggs. Maple syrup serves as the sweetener, and chia seeds provide a nutritional boost and thicken the pudding. Add cocoa powder and a touch of miso, toss it all in the blender, and you’re done.

I can hear you! I agree. Meh.

I can hear you! I agree. Meh.

The good news first. The texture was very similar to pudding – nice and creamy, and the Special Dark cocoa powder gave it a strong, though bitter, chocolate taste foundation. Unfortunately, the rest of the ingredients didn’t contribute much. And the chia seeds didn’t fully gel, so the pudding was slightly crunchy, although pre-soaking should fix that. No style points for color, either.

Okay, so by itself it’s not a keeper. What if we tossed in some fruit? That would add some natural sweetness.

Tofu cocoa pudding 2

Still not right. But after some more thought and experimentation, I believe I found the right combination of additions to make it work:

Got it! Now where did I put the whipped cream...

Got it! Now where did I put the whipped cream?

So there you have it – the way to incorporate tofu and chia seeds into a good-tasting, nutritious dessert. Or you could just make Jell-O brand with skim milk. Or you could do what I did after my Sunday bike ride and visit the Coffee House Creamery for this:

Winner! Espresso shake with Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream.

Winner! Espresso shake with Chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream.

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Note: This was supposed to be a post for my new blog, but I’m still finishing its design and didn’t want to wait. So what the hell.