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It is DAY THREE of my month-long (actually on 28 days) health challenge and so far, so good.  I think…

Yesterday was a difficult day…emotionally.  I have a VERY close friend that was recently diagnosed with ALS and her symptoms are progressing rather quickly.  To call her a friend is really a gross understatement.  She is my family and I love her beyond words.  It’s hard to focus on what to eat, or not to eat when someone you love has difficulty just swallowing. But my friend sister is amazing.  She is strong and positive and she is my hero in so many ways.

So back to yesterday.  I ate well, but I didn’t drink enough water…I also think I may be coming down with a harsh cold.  Everyone around me has been hit hard.  Today I woke up with a slight headache and I’ve been tired most of the day.  Sometimes it’s easy for me to stay in bed, other times it’s difficult because I am constantly thinking of what I need to get done.  Today I have surrendered to letting go of what I need to get done.  I find that in life, most things we fret about rarely need to get done.  In other words, nothing earth shattering will happen if we put something off a day…or two.

But on the other hand, life can throw curve balls at you left and right, and in an instant, the path you were on shifts dramatically.  Sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse.  However, I have a problem with the worse view.  And for that matter, I have a problem with the better view as well.  It’s all perspective and how you choose to look at things.  I could write on and on about this, but I’ll just say this…years ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer and she had not spoken to her family in years.  There was a big falling out.  After she was diagnosed with cancer, the family came together.  They closed the door to the perceived impossibilities and opened the door to love…and life became amazing for everyone.  So can her getting cancer be called a “bad” thing?  I think most of us would say yes, but the alternative might have been living her life without the love and support from her family.

Wow, I have really gone off on topics here…

That’s all for now folks!  Until next time…go hug someone…

Today is my birthday and I’m off for a few days in Paradise!  I’m flying with a longtime friend to Honolulu!  I promise a VER LONG post when I’m back next week.  However, I do promise to post status updates when I’m there!  Here I go NOW!….

Measuring Up…

September 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

Two things you should know about me:  First, I can cook.  Second, I rarely, if ever, measure.  This has proven to be difficult when someone asks me to share one of my recipes.  I usually say, “…okay, I’ll have to write it down and send it to you…” And then I go through the process of telling myself I need to make that dish again and actually measure the amounts I use in my assembly.  Most of the time (99.9% of the time) I never get around to making the dish again and taking note of measurements.  The truth is, I often change up my dishes a little bit each time.  I also really never make the same in dish in the same, well, dish.

I make several versions of my tasty brussels sprouts recipe.  I’ll share my baked brussels sprouts with roasted tomatoes and garlic.  It’s a very delicious side dish that is filled with flavor and nutrition.  I’m going to walk you through it via pictures and descriptions.

BAKED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH ROASTED TOMATOES AND GARLIC

ORGANIC INGREDIENTS

Brussels sprouts, whole
Homemade chicken broth
Chicken stock drippings (the fat retrieved from making stock)
Whole, roasted garlic
Button mushrooms, sliced
Fire roasted, diced tomatoes
Onion powder
Sea salt
Freshly 
ground black pepper

1. Start by place whole brussels sprouts in a baking pan or dish.  Do not cut the brussels sprouts or stack them on top of each other.  They should be placed side-by-side in a single layer.  Add enough homemade chicken stock to cover half of each brussels sprout as pictured below (i.e., to the middle of each sprout):
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2. Next, place a healthy amount of roasted garlic (about 16-25 cloves) around and on top of the sprouts.  You can buy garlic already roasted at Whole Foods or you can roast it for yourself ahead of time:
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3. Add six to ten teaspoons of chicken stock drippings.  Don’t leave this step out.  It adds an important depth of flavor and needed fat.  You could use organic ghee if you prefer.  I think it tastes better with the chicken dippings.  Add your salt, pepper and onion power at this point:
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4. Add a healthy layer of sliced button mushrooms.  For convenience sake, I buy the pre-sliced mushrooms.  One package is usually just perfect for a pan this size:
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5. Lastly, add your drained, roasted tomatoes.  Spread them out evenly over the entire mixture.  For a pan this size I usually use two cans of organic, diced, fire roasted tomatoes:
IMG_35206. Bake the mixture between 35 and 50 minutes at 400 degrees.  After 15 minutes, mix the ingredients up in the pan.  Do this at least two or three times during its baking time.  The brussels sprouts are done when you can slice through them with a knife somewhat easily.  You don’t want them so soft that they smoosh when you try to cut them:
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ENJOY!  This is very delicious and good for you.  Even non-brussels sprouts eaters love this dish.  Great with any protein or just by itself.  It’s delicious eaten cold as well!

On Vacation…

July 27, 2013 — Leave a comment
A great place to have a run in the morning.

A great place to have a run in the morning.

So another crazy, busy week…especially since I had to finish up a great deal of work so I could take a short vacation.  I’m sticking to my Paleo diet, but I did decide to allow myself to have a glass of wine or two while on vacation.  I have two caveats to the inclusion of wine during this extended weekend.  I can only drink wine if, (1) I have less than two glasses per day, (2) the drinking of alcohol does not increase my appetite to the extent that I’m hungry when I shouldn’t be, and (3) I feel no adverse physical effects from consuming alcohol the following day.  If ANY of these issues crop up, I’m done and back to water and herbal tea only.  Last night I had a couple of glasses of wine and no problems.  In fact i woke up this morning EARLY and went for a long walk, sprint, hike from 7:50am to 9:10am.  Okay, it was more of a hike than it was a run.  I’m not conditioned…yet…to run or sprint up hills like these…Lord have mercy that was tough!

I’m here in Bodega Bay with my longtime grammar and high school friends.  We are celebrating our 20th anniversary of our first annual camping trip back in 1993.  Well, this year we are not so much camping as we are renting a wonderful house in overlooking the ocean. It’s absolutely a blessing to have people in your life who you have known since you were kids.  They are extraordinary people who make my life journey so full and exciting.

Back to the diet.  Last night my stomach was a little upset.  Although I am sticking to Paleo choices, certain food items are creeping in that have proven to be problematic to my body.  It may be simple as there are too many non-organic variables in the food choices this weekend.  I’m better this morning.  No issues.  We’ll see how the weekend progresses if I level out or if my stomach continues to bother me.

It feels very odd not to be weighing myself each morning.  I’ve been weighing myself every morning for almost three months.  Today is Saturday.  My next weigh-in will be on Monday morning.  I would be happy to stay the same, but given that I’m sticking to Paleo and choosing to exercise each day, I would hope to have lost something over this 4-day vacation.  I’ll post more later.  We are all getting ready for a day at the beach.  Gotta go sunscreen up!  Here I go now…

Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.

~ Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

Self-control is…

Today was a good day all around.  As soon as I woke up, I was determined to make my first double workout day.  I planned to go to the club in the afternoon to spin for and hour, but also I would also include 30 minutes on a suspended elliptical.  However, I started my day working in my home office.  Between answering emails and scheduling meetings for next week, I started preparing dinner.  What did I make you ask?  Carnitas!  If you have ever made carnitas, you know that it’s a bit of a long process…well, it can be.  It’s not difficult but it can take some time.  I’ll put up my recipe in the next couple of days.  They are yummy!

On the way to the club to workout.  I'm workin' this bandana, okaaaaay!...

On the way to the club to workout. I’m workin’ this bandana, okaaaaay!…

Now back to my workout.  So, I made it to the club around 3pm and somehow quickly made it over to a suspended elliptical machine.  The club was virtually empty.  This time of year (when it’s nice out) and in the middle of the afternoon, is the best time to work out if you’re someone who doesn’t like crowds.  Although we never have crowds at Healthworks, it was exceptionally sparse today.

So I did my 30 minutes on the elliptical.  I kept a medium evaluation at all times and I manually adjusted my resistance from 4 to 16 (max setting is 20).  Now, I wasn’t on level 16 for long periods of time, maybe 1 to 2 minutes, but I got there.  I’ll increase my duration over time.

About a half hour later it was time for spin class.  I was a bit tired when I started.  I could feel the muscles I was working on the elliptical doin’ a little screaming.  I just stayed focus on getting to the end of the class no matter what.  If I had to ride with little less resistance on the bike, so be it.  All in all I did well.  I got a second wind 30 minutes into the class and finished fast and strong.  It helps that our spin classes are incredible.  One of my spin instructors, Glen, is a fireball of energy and fun.  He loves to spin and he loves making people feel good about themselves.  He always brings a huge smile and a truckload of child-like enthusiasm to his classes.

Michelle (our club superhero) came into the class just after it started.  She walked across the floor and I could help think to myself, my God, she looks amazing!  There were a few times that I glanced over at her and was simply awe struck at how much she has transformed her body.  As she rode I could see how well her arms and legs have become defined.  No one would ever know that this woman had once carried an excess of 90 pounds on her body.

After class Michelle was nice enough to come up to me and congratulate me on my success for far.  We chatted about how when you start a diet program it can be so exciting and new; that it’s great to see yourself get to a positive place with all your hard work.  Michelle new that my initial 30 day cleanse was about to be up.  This coming Monday is my last day.  She asked me what my next step would be after the cleanse.  I told her I was going to keep on practicing a Paleo diet/lifestyle.  It’s works really well for me so far.  I’m dropping weight and it’s completely cut my hunger.  Michelle reminded me to be open to a possible time when maybe I need to “change it up.” She encouraged me to have a plan for when I’m dining out and when I’m at celebrations, etc.  She asked the question, “So, are you never going to ever have another potato chip again? Good question.  The answer is that I’m taking one day at a time and choosing to live and eat this way each morning.  My commitment is to a healthy and strong body, not a diet.  I will eat this way until it doesn’t work for me anymore, and then I’ll switch it up.

For Michelle, she loves the fact that she can have a single scoop of ice cream, love that experience, and not ending up wanting more or eating the whole carton.  This is a great way to look at living in the real world.  A world filled so many great culinary experiences.

For me, the most important aspect to remember about striving for good health and good nutrition is that we all have the power to make the choice to live a better life.  We can make great choices moment to moment–even in the shadow of bad choices, we can let go of the past and make good choices.  We can be successful because we simply state that we are going to succeed and take responsibility for all of our actions.  We can either create a story for ourselves that states that losing weight is hard and difficult or we can create one that says we can lose weight without stress, drama, or pain.  I’m going for the later.