Sunday, December 11, 2011

Breaking Down Somebody Else's Year End List

One of my favorite Sunday rituals, after Mass and before I start cooking for the week, is reading the Mark’s Daily Apple Weekend Link Love post.  Shortly into the first article, I found myself alternating bouts of hysterical laughter with moments of pure dumbfounded-ness and something that felt anger.  The article was's list of The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness 2011.  First, congratulations to Mark for making the list at #26!  But here are some of my thoughts as I read deeper into the list:
#1 & #2 – Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper, Trainers
I’m terrified by the marketing power that is growing behind these two.  I won’t be the least bit surprised when Jillian introduces her new line of “healthy” meals at McDonald’s.  It seems that she’ll allow her face to be put on just about any label for the right price.  I also chuckled a bit at Bob’s redesign of the kettlebell.  Did he think the Russian design made exercise too hard?

So Delicious Mint Mocha

It’s that time of year.  It’s cold.  The calendar is filling up quickly. And by default, I’m already behind on my Christmas shopping.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy weaving my way through the crowded masses at the malls as I search for the perfect gifts for my wife and family… There are really quite a few things about the adventure that I enjoy.  Near the top of the list of “Things I Like About Christmas Shopping” is the peppermint mocha.  In my book, it tastes like Christmas.  It’s warm… countering the chill on the air.  It’s sweet… in contrast to the bitter attitudes of some of my fellow shoppers.  And it’s caffeinated.
In years past, before hitting the stores I would make a swing through a Starbucks drive-thru and shell out almost $5 for a warm cup of cheer.  According to the Starbucks Nutrition page, here’s what I was paying for…

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sweet Potato and Celeriac Casserole

“What is THAT?” inquired the lady behind me in the checkout line.  IT was my latest experiment… or at least one of the ingredients.  I was looking for something to put into a vegetable casserole of sorts. Something that would act like a potato, or perhaps a turnip.  Something I hadn’t tried yet.  I already knew that the dish would be topped with shredded sweet potatoes and have a base of onions, celery and... something else.  But, what?  Inspiration struck as I was browsing the produce section and about to reach for celery.  Lying next to it was its cousin, celery root (also known as celeriac).  It’s not exactly the most attractive vegetable in the produce section.  Regardless, I grabbed it hoping it would make a nice addition to my dish.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How I Got My Dad to Eat Brussels Sprouts

They were never served in my parents house.  They always carried negative adjectives with them.  Overcooked.  Soggy.  Stinky.  I suppose, as my Grandmother must have prepared them, the Brussels sprout never stood a chance.  Not knowing a thing about them (aside from the myths my parents imparted upon me), I didn't try them until my wife made them one glorious night.  It was a culinary/dietary epiphany on par with the times I (re)discovered sweet potatoes and spinach... both irrational fears stemming from "bad experiences" as a child.

So, what is different about these sprouts? 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Am Thankful For...

I realize that I am truly blessed and I am thankful for many things.  My health... My wife... The love and support of my family... The amazing trainers and awesome community at CrossFit White Rock... and of course, bacon and eggs.

Without them, I don't know if I would have made it this far into my journey toward a healthier lifestyle.  While today is Thanksgiving, and it will filled with many indulgences, I started the morning like I have so many others this year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Whole 30 Challenge - Results

After 30 days of eating according to the Whole 9 philosophy, I lost 5.5 pounds and 3 inches around my waistline.  Do those numbers seem a bit incongruous? I think the dramatic drop in waistline to the absence of the occasional diet soda in my routine... and possibly to my body not having to process dairy for a month.  I'll be very interested to see how my body rebounds in the next couple of weeks to the re-introduction of some of these things.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Whole 30 Challenge (Day 30) - The Final Stretch

It has certainly been a life changing 30 days... and as life would have it, not in any way I would have expected.  I didn't end up posting as often as I had planned, as I ended up interviewing and negotiating a new job that I will begin next month.  Despite the odd kinks that this process threw into my schedule, I have steadfastly remained on track with the Whole 30 Challenge.

I will post all of my statistics tomorrow after weighing/measuring in the morning.  Today, I'll recap some of the highs, lows and challenges of the past 30 days.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Roasted Autumn Medley

As the seasons change, so does the produce section.  The onset of cold weather means, “Goodbye” to some summertime favorites, but also, “Hello” to a new set of ingredients to play with in the kitchen.  When foraging through the store, looking for something to throw together for a family gathering, I started to ponder primal/paleo options for the upcoming Holidays.  Like every year before, there will be no shortage of creamy mashed potatoes or savory cornbread stuffing at my parents’ house.  With thoughts of integrating the menu this year (I’m not looking for a hostile takeover), I decided to try this one on the family at a dinner this weekend…

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Egg Muffins

Looking for a quick breakfast idea that (for some reason) doesn’t involve bacon?  What follows is a versatile recipe that can be customized to your taste.  Much like I do with my Bacon Wrapped Eggs, I make a batch of these on Sunday, put them in baggies, and eat them for breakfast throughout the work week.  The recipe that follows helped me start looking at breakfast differently.  Months later, I am still experimenting with different ingredients and flavors.  But, here is my standard recipe for…

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whole 30 Challenge (Day 9) - Knowing Your Environment

One week into the Whole 30 and I’m hearing a number of interesting things from other folks in the midst of it… about the successes and their struggles... and the sources of them.  Some feel like they are surrounded by naysayers and bad influences making it difficult to succeed and maintain the course of the Whole 30 challenge.
Paleolithic man was probably more successful when hunting on land he was familiar with.  The Boston Red Sox left fielder will likely play fly balls off the Green Monster better than the visiting left fielder.  The Fighting Texas Aggie football team responds better to the cheers of their fans at Kyle Field than they do to the taunts of an opposing fan base.  Most teams and athletes perform better when they have the home field advantage.  This concept transcends sports and enters everyday life in so many ways we may not immediately recognize.  In terms of eating well and living a healthy lifestyle, knowing your environment can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.  In order to give yourself a home field advantage...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Whole 30 Challenge

As part of my effort to progress toward the healthiest possible version of myself, I am embarking on a Whole 30 Challenge being put on by CrossFit White Rock.  While this blog, as a whole, will be Primal throughout its life… for the next few weeks I will be eating strictly Paleo while following the Whole 9 guidelines prescribed for this challenge.  [I’ll dive into the differences between (and my opinions on) Primal, Paleo and other similar lifestyles later.]

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Eggs

 “What am I supposed to eat for breakfast?”  It was one of the first questions I had when trying to make changes in my diet.  A bowl of cereal, a toaster pastry, donuts, meal replacement bars and drive-thru windows were all so quick and easy.  I didn’t have time to make an omelet every morning.  I didn’t want to clean up the mess from cooking (or leave it in the sink) every day. 

Do some of these concerns (excuses) sound familiar?  When I first started working toward a healthier breakfast, I was cooking a week’s worth of bacon on the stovetop and frying a dozen eggs over hard in bacon grease.  I found this to be messy and hard to eat on the go.  After a couple of weeks, I started cooking my bacon in the oven and my eggs in a greased muffin pan.  After another week or so and an inspiring conversation with a friend at the gym, I came up with…

In The Beginning...

In the beginning… I weighed in at 217 pounds.  At least, that’s what the scale said the last time I made the effort to stand on it.  Who knows? I may have packed on a few more pounds with stress eating in the days that followed.  But for the purpose of measurement and tracking, 217 was my starting point.