12th March, 2010

Back on the bike!

Hello Friday!  I decided to forgo the circuit exercises today and to run instead.  Yesterday’s run was pretty painful, despite all the work I’ve done it seems staying cooped up inside the past few months, and my inability to endure the treadmill seems to have really taken a toll on my running endurance.

Ten minutes into today’s run, my left knee got a really weird ache.  This ache felt like one that I shouldn’t push.  My workouts over the winter have consisted of mainly plyometric circuits, running, and skiing.  All pretty hard on the knees.  So I hobbled home.

Ten minutes was not enough, its relatively dry and snow free on the roads and paths.  Time to break out the bike!  It was great to get back on the bike, back onto the “Hill of Doom”. 

I was very intrigued to see that cycling was resulting in a higher max and average heart rate than running and circuits.   I really needed that, I feel completely re-invigorated.

Have a great weekend!

5th February, 2010

I eat too fast, which results in eating too much…

Eating fast is one of my biggest problems.  I suspect it came from my teenage years where in an effort to get away from my family (whom I was rebelling against) I would power through the meal – allowing me to get back to my dark basement bedroom full of computers and other things. 

Add to that the past 10+ years of being a software developer in today’s incredibly fast paced world- with all the bad, fast eating habits that pushes on me (eating at my desk, eating while I work, etc) and I’m now a power eater.

I can power through a meal consisting of a 10+ oz steak and sides in a matter of a couple of minutes.  Often after doing so, I’ll still feel hungry!   Next I’ll graze on whatever is available, or maybe finish off my wife’s leftovers.  Shortly after that, the satiation kicks in, in overdrive because I’ve eaten way to much.

My wife always said, “Eat slower, you’ll feel fuller, faster”.  Now however a has been published which also states this, so I can believe her =).  In a nutshell it states:

Eating fast may curtail the release of hormones that help regulate appetite, potentially leading to overeating, researchers said. Eating slower allows the satiety hormones to work effectively.

A good summary of this study can be found .

Some suggestions for eating slowly

Use smaller cutlery.  I’ve started using the smaller forksVariations of size in standard cutlery and spoons which force me to take take more bites, resulting in eating slower.  This, in addition to using smaller plates seems to really make a difference.  

Slow down the chews.  This is hard.  Slowing the chews down really increases the length of time needed for each bite and as a result increases the time spent eating.

Count the chews.  This is insanely hard.  It feels unnatural.  I’ve been counting my chews – trying to chew each bite ten to fifteen times.

Talk during your meal.  Don’t talk with your mouth full, but if you’re eating with someone try having a conversation during the meal.  Hey, if no one is around to talk to you during your meal – talk to yourself.  It’s ok, there won’t be anyone around to think you’re crazy =)

Take a break to eat.  Stop working.  Don’t eat at your desk.  Sit, relax, enjoy your meal.

Keeping these things in mind when I eat is tough – but it is helping slow down the eating.  It seems to be helping too.

31st January, 2010

Fad diets vs the Sustainable lifestyle change

I kinda really don’t like the word diet.  When I hear most people talking about diets they’re normally doing some weird “drink only juice” or eat only blueberries covered with chicken.  If i had to define diet in my own words it would be something like  “balanced combination of food to provide the appropriate nutrients for the body to thrive” – or something like that, not “Atkins” or “Weight Watchers”.

Many years ago, I went on one of these “fad diets” that my mother in law told me about.  You know what – it worked.  I lost 50 pounds very quickly – in like two months.  I got down to 200 pounds and was all excited.  The problem was I was eating tuna and chicken breast almost exclusively.  I cut out carbs for the most part and ate less than 10 grams of fat per day.  This was not a sustainable diet!  Eventually I couldn’t eat tuna OR chicken anymore – and I went back up to 250lbs.

I’ve come to realize I think the secret to my success over the past year and a half has been that I changed my lifestyle in an extreme, yet sustainable way.   Not only did I lose weight, I built exercise into my my daily life.  I lost the weight slowly, I built my metabolism and strength/endurance.  Now, exercise is as much a part of my life as eating. 

I’ve been “stuck” at 180 lbs for a while now – though I still have a little weight to go I see this as a huge milestone.  I’ve stopped eating in and I’m just eating what I now consider to be normal “diet”.

My ultimate goal is almost realized – maybe one more weight loss “push” and then I can just live…

22nd January, 2010

Fartleks – a whole new kind of fun

<Please insert fart joke here>

Ok, now that that is out of our systems…I asked for a new set of and they arrived earlier this week.   It’s always nice to change things up.  The Tuesday/Thursday component introduced me to the concept of .

I tried my first fartlek today and man was it rough.  Following the example on wikipedia I started off with a one mile warmup.  Next I ran “hard” (170 heart rate) for about one mile.

The next part was really tough for me with my weird workout OCD – the five minute walk.  I have this problem where I have a really hard time not giving 100% – even though I know that this bit is required to increase the overall duration of the workout.  Longer workouts are good!   I managed to pull off four of the five minutes of “slacking” though =)

Next for “speed work” I used street lights as distance markers.  I sprinted for two street lights then walked briefly.  I repeated this ten times.

Finally I wrapped up the set with a little hill climb and jog back home.  My ass was pretty much kicked with this one.  After about twenty five minutes I was done.   I can really see how this is a strength builder.. 

I’m going to hold off on the fartleks until spring though – I almost crashed a couple times thanks to the good people who don’t clear their walks and let them ice over…

8th January, 2010

Chef’s Knife–an investment in your dietary future

One of the first things I bought for the kitchen after I started this journey was a .   The chef’s knife is the workhorse of the kitchen – a jack of all trades.

My mother-in law has a set of Cutco knives, and after a bit of looking around I decided to also go with a .  They offer a , and a huge selection of various knives. I’ve been using this knife now for about a year or so and I love it.  It’s wickedly sharp.  The difference between my previous (shit) knife and this is night and day.  This thing is like a light saber for food, only difference is the lack of whooshing noise, light, and super cool handle.  Also the knife came with an idiot proof sharpener – and you can also send your knives in to be sharpened.

My family now has a great gift idea for me – they can buy me additional Cutco knives to round out the set.  (The steak knives are super nice, hint hint=])

I also picked up a proper knife block.  Storing knives in a drawer will result in them getting damaged, dulling more quickly or you accidentally cutting yourself when you need it.  There are also some really cool magnetic knife holders out there too.

If you invest in this tool – take some and check out some videos on .  Seriously, I can’t emphasize this enough – we ALL need our fingers – especially as coders, or IT pros.   Of course – never EVER get cocky when using your knife.  I had recently been thinking “damn I’m getting good with this knife”.

I was SUPER lucky one night recently – I was cutting an onion (and probably being cocky) and one of the layers of onion slipped.    This caused my knife to deflect off and hit my hand.  Sooo lucky, the blade hit the nail and I pulled back just in time to prevent cutting off my finger tip.  It did leave quite the notch in my nail. 

Soo lucky..

26th December, 2009

Epic pecan pie fail

I was tricked into bringing home the leftover pecan pie.  “Oh I’ll just put it in the freezer and have a piece once a week” I said.

Yah, well that lasted all of an hour.  I was down in my office playing and the pie was calling to me from the freezer.   “I’m here, come get me, you know you want it”.  Ok, so what the hell I’ll have one more small piece.

Next thing I know, I have the pie in one hand and the mouse in the other and I was .  Pecan pie is like a butter tart with pecans in it…

I caught myself though, and I managed to stuff a good chunk of the remaining pie in the .

25th December, 2009

Merry Christmas and a healthy new year!

I know its corny but I couldn’t resist it.

Just got back from the family Christmas fun.  Three things of relevance I thought I would share.  First I received from my mother my very own espresso / cappuccino maker!  Thanks Mom!   This thing is GREAT and its going to save me

My wonderful wife and family in-law got me a Polar RS200 Heart Rate Monitor.  This thing is freaking awesome.  The chest strap is pretty high quality and very soft/pliable.  It looks like it does stopwatch, heart rate, distance and speed tracking – with the included foot pod.  I’m pretty stoked to try it out.  Too bad its like minus one beelion out there…

Finally – we also received one of the best things EVER.  KitchenAid Food Grinder and Pasta Roller attachments for our Stand Mixer.  I can’t WAIT to try these things out.  I can’t wait to make some burgers with ground beef made from higher quality meat cuts, or even better – tacos using ground chicken breast!  I’ve bought ground turkey and chicken in the past – but you never know what kind of crap is being put in their meat grinders… Home made, fresh whole wheat pasta is also sounding good….

Anyhoo – have a safe and awesome holiday season

22nd December, 2009

Running in extreme cold

This is what happens when you run in –34C…

15th December, 2009

One fast food burger can’t hurt?

Yesterday my friend Marty and I were out at the range for a little frigid target practice. On the way back into town we both agreed we were pretty hungry. He brought up the Wendy’s Baconator and how awesome it was. I said sure let’s hit Wendy’s!

baconator

It has been over a year and a half since I’ve had any sort of fast food other than Mr. Sub. What’s one burger gonna do? I’ll work it off in no time! So we pull through the drive through and I order the double Baconator. No fries, no soda. Two years ago that would have been at least a triple burger, super sized fries and a large soda. I was pretty proud of my new found restraint.

The food comes and man was it ever tasty. Processed cheese, greasy white bun, crispy bacon. I scarfed it down and drove off quickly before I went back for a second. So I dropped off Marty and went home.  I then looked up the nasty that I just consumed and cried a little on the inside =)

baconator nutrition facts

That night though, the burger came back to haunt me. Huge upset stomach. Cramps. Other nasty GI problems. Kept me up most of the night. I guess that is my body’s way of telling me to stick with Mr. Sub…

6th November, 2009

Guacamole Recipe

I love the guacamole, but only if its home made.   Guacamole is made primarily using .  Avocados have gotten a pretty bad rap over the years.  Yes, they’re high in fat.  Yes, they have cholesterol – but its the “good cholesterol”, which helps reduce the “bad cholesterol”.  They’re also very high in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

That said – I think avocados are a great addition to my diet – but like everything – in moderation.

Choosing Avocados

Picking avocados can be tricky at first.  If you’re buying it for same day preparation you need to buy a ripe avocado.  A ripe avocado will be brownish in color.  Green colored avocados are not quite ready, but you can buy them and let them ripen at home.  Next the avocado should be soft – but not mushy.  This is the hard part.  I usually buy a few extra if I’m not sure.

Once you cut into an avocado (remember there is a giant seed in the middle) the flesh should be greenish white in the center, and a nice green on the outside.  There should be very little or no brown.  If its mostly brown you picked one that is too mushy.  The avocado should scoop out with a spoon easily

The Recipe

We’ve devised an awesome guacamole recipe that I wanted to share with you.  For this recipe you’ll need a blender or food processor.

  • 3 Avocados
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 whole tomato
  • 1/8th cup cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeds removed (optional)
  • Fresh limes (1-3 depending on juice quantity)
  • Salt/Pepper

Peppers and heat

The recipe calls for a jalapeño pepper.   When preparing the pepper for this recipe I cut it in half length wise.  Most of the “heat” if the pepper is contained in its seeds.  I like to keep a few of the seeds (literally maybe half a dozen).  When I’m adding the pepper to the blender I’ll add those seeds to infuse the guacamole with a bit of heat.

You may want to consider wearing plastic or latex gloves (powderless ones) when working with peppers.  If you use your bare hands the burning oils of doom from the pepper will get all over them, and then don’t wash them well enough and you touch your eyes, nose or other you’re gonna be really really sad for 30 minutes or so.

Prep

  1. Cut the avocados up and scoop out the flesh into a bowl or blender. 
  2. Remove the skin from the garlic and cut up finely.
  3. Dice the tomato.
  4. Cut up the jalapeño and remove the seeds.   Keep some of the seeds if you want to add some heat to the guacamole.
  5. Chop up the cilantro

The Makin

Mash the avocado up a bit and transfer it into the blender.   Add the garlic, tomato, cilantro and jalapeño if you would like.  You can also add some of the jalapeno seeds if you would like some heat.

Next cut one of the limes and squeeze it over the blender to add its juice.  Now carefully start the blending.  Stop once and a while to push the guacamole down to meet the blades if it doesn’t seem to be moving.  Add lime juice as needed until the entire mixture starts to flow nicely with the blender.  Once its blending nicely taste and add lime juice / salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer it to a bowl and enjoy!  This makes enough for good size bowl of guacamole.  I’ve found this keeps a day or two in the fridge.   You’ll also notice the next day that the guacamole will be hotter if you added jalapeño.

Try it out and let me know what you think!