I want to reward myself after spin class with something delicious. After all of that hard work, I don’t want to replace all those calories with one meal. This meal is indulgent, but the flavor comes from fresh herbs and citrus. Coconut is remarkably healthy, too.

1 pound mussels, de-bearded,

musselsrinsed well 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced in thirds

1-2 cans coconut milk (it’s remarkably inexpensive)

juice of 1 lime, and lime slices

1 tsp. coconut, or canola oil

ground coriander, about 1 tsp.

cilantro, cut however you like, or not

coarse grain salt to taste

Place coconut milk, coriander, lime juice, oil, lemongrass and salt in a pot.

Gently bring up to an agressive simmer.

Add mussels, spoon some coconut milk mixture over them, cover pot, watch carefully.

As soon as mussels open, remove from heat.

Add cilantro, serve.

I don’t have to force myself to go to spin class. I have to force myself to stay there. Pushed to physical limits by the trainers leading the class, something happens to me. I inadvertently activate my dormant spoiled-brat alter ego, into an infantile state of mind in which I almost feel infringed upon. To keep myself from leaving, I curse, gnarl, and whine inside of my mind. Being internally caustic helps me release the demons somehow.

Here is it how it goes. The trainer motivates us, while my internal dialogue rages.

“You can do it! Resistance up as high as you can take it, now pedal fast as you can! Come on!” says the trainer.
No. You can’t make me. What’s going to happen if I don’t sprint at a level 10? Is it against the law? Law, law…what is that Emerson quote, “No law can be sacred to me but that of my own nature.” That’s it. Obedience is against my nature. And after this song is over, I’m leaving this class and never coming back.

“Keep those legs sprinting! Push through the pain!” the way-too-happy trainer insists. She didn’t mean sprint, I know this, because I have declared today Opposite Day. How nice it is, pedaling slowly while everyone else is in a flat spin. I’m leaving after this next song. Really. How dignified I feel being a non-conformist. I can go at this anti-speed as long as I want, exercising independence instead and defying unrealistic expectations, while everyone else is mindlessly pedaling away. One of them is bound to topple over. Silly people, just pedaling away. Everyone here, doing what they’re told. Everyone else, still going. Everyone else, everyone else…is everyone else then tougher than me?

“Okay, slow down and take a break now”, the trainer catches her breath and takes a sip of water. When do we sprint again? Excuse me, can we sprint again? I came here to work, that’s what I’ve got to do. I’ve had my silent tantrum, I’ve cursed you during our internal dialogue, and now I’m ready to pretend no one else is in the room and work. I promise, I’ll work and prove that I’m tough, too. It’s just that, everyone else here, their reasons and motivations and own levels of ability, it just throws me off. I will stay out of my head and inside my core. Okay? Can we sprint already? I’m, like, really sorry for pedaling slowly when I was supposed to be going fast.

“Okay, ready everyone? We’re doing five minutes of rolling hills!” the trainer warns. Ooohhh, I LOVE rolling hills! Check the clock. I only lost ninety seconds to two minutes during my silent tantrum. Say, fifty calories I had the potential to burn if only I were tougher – stop! – get out of your head. I’m rolling, I’m rolling…

“Remember, if this is too much for you, take the resistance down a bit. It’s your class, go at your own pace!” affirms the trainer. My own pace? Why the **** didn’t you say so? What is my own pace, anyway…if not to surpass everyone else, is it to beat my own best, or worst, effort yet? Could be, that is exactly what I’m doing…

“Good job on those hills. Take a sip of water. We’re going to do jumps next,” the trainer says while smiling. I think I understand now (again) why she’s smiling. I really like this trainer.
musselsWhen I leave spin class – after the trainer has called us off our bikes or down to stretch – it’s like I’ve worked a lot more than the abs, biceps, or quads. I’ve beat my own worst self with a better part of me, but not even that – I stayed in motion.

That’s a victory in itself. And that’s how I roll.

Smantha Gianulis

Samantha recently released my her family food memoir, Little Grapes on the Vine…Mommy's Musings on Food & Family .

Samantha is a self-taught chef. She worked in the Catering and Special Events industry for seven years before becoming a stay at home, now a work at home, Mom.
She appeared on NBC's ivillage Live.

Smantha Gianulis

Latest posts by Smantha Gianulis (see all) GianulisApron Strings Cooking ColumnHome CookingCooking and RecipesMUSSELS IN COCONUT MILK, LEMONGRASS AND CORIANDER I want to reward myself after spin class with something delicious. After all of that hard work, I don't want to replace all those calories with one meal. This meal is indulgent, but the flavor comes from fresh herbs and citrus. Coconut is...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids