Saturday, January 28, 2012

Biggest User 8-Week Challenge Begins

I've blogged about OSU's Healthy Campus Initiative before. Well, they are back with another fun PR stunt. This time the goal seems to be to increase use of the various campus recreation services. The project is called Biggest User and registrants have 8 weeks to sample a number of services (most typically have a cost) for free.

Here's what we get:
  • 2 Fitness assessments ($30 value)
  • Goal-Planning Session ($20 value)
  • 3 Personal Training Sessions ($115 value)
  • Nutritional Counseling ($30 value)
  • Monthly Seminars
  • Outdoor Adventure Challenge Course ($23 value)
  • T-shirt
  • 10% discount on follow up personal training or massage therapy appointments
  • Support from fellow participants
  • Encouragement from the staff
The catch? You must participate in both fitness assessments, a minimum of 2 fitness classes per week and at least 12 more activities during the 8-week period or you will be charge $50. I'm fine with that. I'm most interested in the goal-planning, personal training, nutritionist and fitness assessments. If I only do those activities and nothing else, $50 is a deal! (Of course, my competitive streak will force me to do my best to "win")

You might have noticed, I called this a "stunt." You know I love a good (i.e. strategic) PR stunt, and I think this qualifies. Why? Because I'm pretty sure there are a few goals at play here:
  • Educate the campus about the variety of services offered (I didn't know we had all this and I've been on campus 17 years)
  • Increase use of services (increased use=job security & funding security)
  • Gather data on the impact of services (remember those required fitness assessments? they are going to have a nice little study on our beginning fitness levels, the level of participation for 8 weeks, and the results)
The best part: all three of these directly tie in to our goal of being the Healthiest Campus in America. Good on you Campus Recreation.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, New Food: Parsnips

With one rare exception (I'm giving the hairy eyeball to you, cauliflower) I have yet to meet a vegetable I didn't like. As a picky child, turned adventurous adult diner, I was beginning to wonder if I'd tried all the vegetables out there. Surely not.

Along came Whole Foods, OKC, and now a have a new source for some "exotic" produce you don't find in a small town Walmart. Enter the parsnip. I'd never tried this root veggie, but when it was highlighted in "Vegetarian Times" and "Runners World" in the same month, I decided to track one down and eat it.

Now, what the heck to do with a parsnip? I decided to toss it into a crockpot of root veggies (just like pot roast vegetables, sans roast). Here's the cast for our dinner: mushrooms, carrots, sweet potato, pearl onions, butternut squash, and one big ole parsnip (front and center).
In the store, it looks like a mutant, albino, zombie carrot. Here it is all cleaned up.

You clean up nice, little parsnip. I chopped it up and dumped into my crock pot with the other veggies.
The verdict: The parsnip fit right in with the other root veggies and friends. It tasted like a cross between a carrot and a white potato. It softened up much more than the carrots, though, so evidently parsnips don't need to cook for hours like most of the veggies in this dish.

What's the most "exotic" veggie you've tried? Was it a winner?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Year, New Food: Tofurky

I've decided to try to liven up our menus and audition a few new foods. Today John and I tried Peppered Tofurky Deli Slices. Since we've gone 99% vegetarian, I haven't had a turkey sandwich in ages. I was eager to see how this meat substitute stacked up to my memory of the real thing.

Our lunch sandwiches had 5 slices of Tofurky, a slice of colby jack, half a packet of spicy Wholy Guacamole on whole grain sandwich rounds. John and I both gave the Tofurky a thumbs up.

It's certainly not a life-changing taste sensation, but regular ole deli meat isn't either. The texture was pretty good. If you didn't know you were eating faux meat, the texture wouldn't give it away. The color was a little odd, kind of a yellowish brown, not a pinkish white you'd expect of the real thing, but once it's in the sandwich it isn't noticeable. Taste was good. The peppery flavor was really strong which I liked. They also have oven roasted and hickory flavor, I'd liked to see how those stack up.

If you're experimenting with meat substitutes, I'd recommend it. I'm certain this will become a regular item on our Whole Foods shopping list.

What do you think? Would you dare to try Tofurky? If you're a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian, what is your favorite meat substitute?