Food rules on the rodeo circuit

  • By Barbara Quinn The Monterey County Herald
  • Monday, July 21, 2014 12:01pm
  • Life

Cowboys and cowgirls in town for the Salinas Rodeo in Salinas, Calif., recently had me thinking of my college rodeo days. My collegiate team members and I took competition very seriously back then. We were highly motivated by the axiom (which is still inscribed on one piece of my gear), “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Believe me, we had plenty of opportunities for which to prepare as we took off every weekend hauling horses across New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Success in competition came from practice. Every day. We wanted to be ready for what came our way, be it a 150-pound man-eating billy goat or a horse that suddenly came unglued.

When we were not prepared, we missed key opportunities to perform at our best. And sometimes-even when we were ready for our events-opportunities eluded us. Cowboys call it the luck of the draw.

We cowgirls also had to maintain our strength and stamina for competition. And that meant being alert to every nutrition opportunity (and detour) that came our way.

Take truck stops, for example. There’s a story of a young woman who looks at the menu in such an establishment and sees two salads listed. One is a “tossed salad.” The other is a “tossed salad deluxe.”

“What is the tossed salad deluxe?” she asks her server.

Without hesitation, the waitress replies, “Tomato.”

Score.

Another night as my traveling companions and I journeyed across west Texas, we stopped at a restaurant outside of Amarillo. It was the famous “Big Texan — home of the 72-ounce steak.” (It also had a horse motel for our tired steeds.)

In addition to its regular menu, this restaurant offered — and still does, according to their website — a “free” 4 plus-pound steak dinner to anyone who can eat the entire meal, which includes shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad, and a buttered roll. In one hour. (Ambulance ride to the hospital probably not included.)

No contest, we decided as we ordered smaller fare. It was not an opportunity we were prepared to accept.

I’m no longer chasing animals from a galloping horse or flying out of a saddle to tie a goat. But life continues to provide opportunities for which I need to be prepared, health-wise and otherwise.

For example, a recent article by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) seeks to define “powerhouse” vegetables: those most strongly associated with a reduced risk for chronic disease. In the top standings are cruciferous vegetables such as watercress, cabbage, kale and arugula. Green leafy vegetables such as chard, beet greens and spinach are also top contenders.

We can improve our chances for lifelong health when we prepare and eat more of these types of foods each day, experts suggest. Maybe I will look for more of those opportunities.

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Email her at bquinnchomp.org.

More in Life

Artist Justin Hillgrove, creator of Imps and Monsters, in his studio. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Where the wild things are in Snohomish

Step into the studio of Imps and Monsters creator Justin Hillgrove for a Black Friday sale.

Meet Nellie, Thor, Raven, Lola, Jasper, Gunner and Bella

These six dogs are waiting for loving homes.

Did you know? Bats edition

Worthwhile Everett library reading and viewing about bats of the animal, sport and hero varieties.

Don’t forbid friendship with back-talking neighbor kid

Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked… Continue reading

How birds stay alive in winter and what you can do to help

When the weather turns chilly, columnist Sharon Wootton’s thoughts turn to birds coping with cold.

Don’t get scammed: Think before you click on email links

An email that was supposedly from iTunes is a scam that targeted busy parents.

Sweden’s Glass Country sparkles like a hand-blown bauble

You can blame my Norwegian heritage, but I’m not so hot on… Continue reading

The pros’ snow: Lake Tahoe a big draw for skiers of all stripes

North Lake Tahoe is home to one of the largest concentrations of ski resorts in North America.

Teen idol David Cassidy remains in Florida hospital

The former pop star is dealing with multiple organ failure.

Most Read