A Taste for Love

Tuesday, February 13, 2007; 10:50 AM

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, is it surprising that we're talking about love? The strong desire for food and drink is undisputed. Just ask anyone who's experienced a heartfelt craving for a juicy burger, pizza or ice cream. But what about the other side of the coin: Can certain foods and beverages increase your physical desire for other people?

That's the idea behind aphrodisiacs -- a varying group of foods and drink, from absinthe to chocolate that have long been purported to increase your libido.

Okay, so do they?

Learn the answer in today's Lean Plate Club column, where you'll also discover one surprising food proven to boost sexual desire. (Hint: Don't expect to see this one on the menu at your Valentine's Day celebration. But you'll find plenty of other possibilities below.)

Move It!

In last week's chat, a 26-year-old Lean Plate Club member from the Big Apple complained of feeling old despite logging some impressive long-distance runs. We ran out of time before this message from a Lean Plate Club member in Chicago could be posted:

"For New York, NY: I've found yoga to be a great complement to running. Not only is the stretching great, but I also feel my core strength and posture have improved (both beneficial to running). In addition, the tight IT band that stopped me from running for a while is no longer a problem. I'm taking Iyengar yoga because its detail-oriented instruction appeals to me, but there are so many other kinds that you may find one more suited to your personality. Good luck!"

Speaking of being more active...There are moves afoot to get all of us to make better use an overlooked national resource: our parks and trails. With that in mind check out the National Park Service offerings. (And no, it's not too early to start thinking about vacations and other getaways for summer.)

American Hiking Society has named a number of favorite trails. Albany's Red Trail in John Boyd Thacher State Park is cited as a great fitness and exercise trail. It's a 15-mile loop southwest of Albany, where, by the way, we have plenty of Lean Plate Club members who are readers of the Albany Times-Union. Look for a Snowshoe Walk there this Saturday. Rent a pair of snowshoes for $5.

In San Diego, there's the Guy Fleming Trail in the Torrey Pines State Reserve. The Hiking Society says that a "brisk one to two hour walk here would be memorable any time of year."

And whether you live in the Washington region or just visit here, you won't want to miss Burke Lake Park--one of the parks that we featured in last year's Fit for Fun Family Challenge.

Got a favorite trail or recreation area? We'd love to know about it in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. Or leave your favorites ahead of time.

What's for Dinner Tonight?

First, of course, there's Valentine's Day to celebrate this week . Then, there's Chinese New Year: Feb. 18 begins the year of the pig.

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