Archive for the ‘Diet’ Category

Morning Run

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Did a walk-run thing this morning. Walked the halfK to the track, where I ran for about 43 minutes before walking home. It was a 2 minute run / 2 minute walk event, as I seek to gather my endurance. I ended with a 100 meter sprint before walking home. 48 minutes, 3.22 miles total. I couldn’t find my heart rate band, so I don’t think I pushed myself the way I usually do.

Slow, but it’s still burning calories. I look at it as more of a mental health break. Eventually I hope to see these runs as rewards rather than as obligations. My dinner date got cancelled, so it’s an opportunity for a squat session.

But the real surprise was having a visit this morning by someone I hadn’t seen since 2006. Back then I was 187 and had a very different shape: round. After reminiscing a bit, she said “by the way, you look great.” Although many of my friends have seen me at various times, a few people haven’t seen me since 2005, when I was at my worst. I was eating primarily white food – potato chips, dips, pasta, rice, beer and ice cream with a twice weekly serving of chicken wings. It was pleasurable, but I was beginning to have a hard time walking around, and I thought I was having heart problems. Fortunately I wasn’t. I was just fat.

So it was a little social proof I needed. Just enough so that I’m ordering a salad rather than Chicken Vindaloo for lunch.

I’ll have it another time.

Current weigh in – 177. Moderate goal: 155. Final, maintenance goal: 140.

Categories: Diet, Running


Crossfit workout today. In my Vibrams.

I completed an 800 meter run.
5 medicine ball throws.
55 squats
17 pull ups
15 burpees
800 meter run

about 27 minutes.

The gym’s been going to more of a calisthenics / high repetition phase in teams. I prefer heavy weights, myself.

Yesterday I ate a meat sauce over spaghetti squash; for dinner chicken marinated in a onion, garlic, salt and pepper, cinnamon, garam masala, and cumin blend with sauteed vegetables (squash, spinach and onions). Oh yes – and a bottle of wine. There were three of us, and we did in four bottles, actually. And I feel fine. Must be the Cuban cigar.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet, Food, History Tags:


Over the last month I’ve kept my weight at about 171. That’s good, because I’ve not exercised much due to a sprained wrist. And my doctoral thesis. The sprained wrist might keep me out of crossfit for a while.

Aside from a few planned exceptions, including a flourless chocolate cake a couple weeks ago, I’ve been sticking to the diet. I did have a beer to celebrate sending in the thesis. Usually, I’d have 4-5. Now, its no more than two. I think I’ve made some solid changes – I rarely have chips, rice, pasta, or bread. And the few times I have, it’s been modest. I’ll have chips and salsa, but I’ll have a salad and chicken as an entree rather than rice and beans.

Not having my wrist at 100% has really made it hard for me to do some of the workouts I enjoy. And it’s not healing fast. The doctor said it seemed like a sprain – and I agree- but I’m not taking great care of it. I sprained it by trying to lift something heavy without leverage. I tried to lift about 20 lbs without using any leverage from my arms. Then I tried to do some pull-ups.

But I’ll be back to the discipline, pushing myself a bit more this month, even though I’ll have lots of socializing. Socializing usually means booze.

But I think I can lose another 15 lbs. Especially if I stop before I’m full, and not when I’m stuffed. Thats my current strategy. Strict paleo, while being mindful about how much I eat. I don’t want to have to count every calorie.


March 21, 2010 4 comments

I’ve been working hard on my doctoral thesis. I only went to crossfit once this week, but have procrastinated by reading all sorts of information on lifting and the evils of sugar.

Moving from sugar has been alright. My father wasn’t a sugar addict. My mother used sugar in traditional desserts and high quality chocolate. I didn’t consume much sugar, as High Fructose Corn Syrup became as ubiquitous as it is now. So making these changes hasn’t been psychologically challenging.

I do think we are all potentially addicts. Today I had sodabread and coffeecake offered to me for breakfast. I chose the fruit salad. And later, a neighbor said, “You’ve lost a lot of weight.”

Matt Baldwin and Mark Smith pointed me to the video by Robert Lustig:

It pointed out how fructose was responsible for numerous health problems.

I thought Maple Syrup and Honey are, actually, glucose (but apparently they also have fructose as well). Lustig points out that fruits are our way of getting fiber. Sugar kills the liver, without the buzz of alcohol.

Still, I’ve been good about staying away from most sugars, unless its giving me a lot of fiber.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet Tags: , ,


March 10, 2010 1 comment

I’ve been off the strict Paleo phase for about 17 days now. I’m still feeling strong and making different food choices. The thirty days were very effective in breaking some habits.

I’m still in a “try it to see how it feels” phase. I had a couple beans in chili recently. I made banana bread, but I replaced 3/4s of the flour with almond and coconut; I replaced 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/3 cup of maple syrup and an extra banana. It turned out dense and a little crumbly, but delicious. Not exactly paleo, but it confirmed my suspicion: I don’t need a lot of sweet; and there are suitable alternatives to white flour.

But now I’m shopping at a greater variety of places in order to eat “clean.” Where can I get grass finished beef? Where can I buy pasture butter? Are there price differences in Spaghetti Squash? Why can’t I find canned Icelandic fish? Where’s the best place to get high quality Sardines? Shiratake?

I will spend a good three minutes reading a label like I was a Sanskrit scholar translating a verse from the the Upanishads. I ponder the phrases “organic” when I read them. I consider the meaning of “fed a vegetarian diet.” Not grass fed, but no risk of Mad Cow, I think. Corn is bad, but not many options at this grocery store.

I get veggies from the cheap Asian market: my spaghetti squash, mushrooms, and yams. Whole Foods is expensive in some things, cheaper in others. I’ll go down to Fairway in the city to find less expensive, but organic, meats. Trader Joes has 6 dollar Spanish Olive Oil.

Wild caught fish will be expensive everywhere. So will heritage geese. There’s a greater difference between flours and nuts. Occasionally I find an amazing steal: my Asian grocer sells domestic prosciutto for $10 a lb. Not every grocery store has my fascination of the day.

And I do get canned ingredients – especially in the winter. I had baby corn and bean sprouts in the stir-fry medley of “mixed vegetables” in my pantry last night for a generally paleo thai chicken dish I concocted. It’s a rule I have: use whatever canned vegetable is in your kitchen pantry.

It is probably a rule I’m going to change.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags: , , , ,

My first foray into sugar

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Yesterday was my first foray into some serious sugar, aside from my reentry into the drinking world.

Fan and I went into NY to see a play. She’d gotten tickets for free due to cancellations to the play, Mr. and Mrs. Fitch. It was entertaining and smart, if vapid and soulless.

Before the play my first cheat at “New York’s best” diner: half the hashbrowns with my avocado / jalapeno pepper omelette. I chose no cheese with the omelette. I accidentally put half and half in my coffee. Just one, however, and it didn’t make the coffee taste better. The coffee was pretty bad, with or without cream. The company was fabulous, and the diner was fine, but I’m spoiled.

After the play we went to City Bakery. I first went to City Bakery about four years ago, and since then I gave up hot chocolate. Because there is no other place else that could compare to the luscious, creamy liquid pleasure they served.

And I had a chocolate chip cookie.

We took an extra long walk back to the train station, but that evening I went to a wine tasting for a friend’s 50th birthday party, a distributor of high quality Australian wines especially from the Margaret River. As it happens, a well known pastry chef made a buttery cake. I’d resisted successfully until I was led by hand to the cake itself.

I’d been good around the appetizers. No cheese. Some prosciutto. I’ve been around enough cakes to have experienced the mediocre, dry, plastic in a box birthday sugar fest. Once led to the chef who was receiving plenty of praise from adoring fans, I decided to have a bite. If it were a cake of exceptional quality, I’d consume. If not, I’d leave it.

As it turned out, it was pretty amazing.

I do not feel guilty. Although I completed the challenge on Tuesday, Saturday I had my first bite of sugar. I believe that I’ve successfully changed my habits. Today, I’ve remained sugar and alcohol free, but I think I enjoyed the cheats more than before – precisely because they are rarer and for special occasions.

I don’t think I failed in these choices: they were deliberate, thought out, and even planned. It wasn’t a matter of me “slipping.” I even brought an extra piece of cake back for my brother and lady.

And I didn’t even slip a bite for myself.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags: , , , ,

Going forward

February 26, 2010 2 comments

I completed 30 days.

I’ve discovered lots of great things:  I can replace foods that make me hungry with lots of alternatives.  I have been cooking at home.   I’m in the habit of saying “no.”

I’m sure, of course, some butter has slipped into the food that I’ve had in restaurants. Refined sugar has also probably crossed my lips as an additive and preservative. And once, I accidentally ate a mint. I did not seek to make the lives of my food handler’s crazy, but consistently made good eating decisions. I needed to practice that, and I believe I now have a discipline.

It wasn’t easy, but I had prepared with small steps over time.  Over the last 5 years I’ve given up processed sugars such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, all fast foods (with the occasional exceptions).  The bread I bought was fibrous. However, I did have some bad habits: booze, rice, waffle fries, and the occasional pizza.  And chocolate chip cookies.

What will I do now?

My diet will remain predominantly unprocessed.  It will be generally sugar free, with occasional tastes of honey, cane sugar, and maple syrup in a way I currently use salt. I intend for this to be permanent.

Now is the testing time. 

I’m giving up sugar, although I’m sure there will be exceptions.  A close friend’s birthday party may require a bite of a piece of cake.    When I go to the Fat Duck or Alinea, I will most likely try one of their desserts. But it will always be a cheat.

I think I’ll continue the way I did my first evening without the rules: I had some bread which was instead made with almond flour, rice flour, and molasses. It was still flavorful. It was fluffy and dark, between a cake and bread. And especially made for me. How could I resist?

Instead of potato chips, I’ll buy sweet potato chips and Terrachips. I’ll snack on Larabars (which I now consider delicious). Sweet Potato fries instead of fries. If I do order a dish with fries, I’ll insist that other people eat them.

After cutting out bacon in the first week of Paleo, I’ll now add it. In two weeks I’ll be getting whole raw cream and pasture butter, using it infrequently, now that Coconut oil is my mainstay. And I’m going to continue having my coffee black.

I did do one 24 hour fast, which wasn’t as hard as I thought. This will be my primary way of doing calorie restriction. Over the next month I’m going to focus a bit more on overall calorie intake.  I didn’t care about how much I ate over the last 30 days.  Sometimes I just felt like I kept eating.  But I was satiated more quickly.

I’m going to consume less salt this month and drink less coffee.

And finally, I’m going to focus on getting more sleep, which will allow me to continue my rigorous exercise regimen.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet, Food, Uncategorized Tags:

Almost Finished

February 22, 2010 2 comments

I’m almost finished.

Last night, after salsa dancing I picked up my brother at Sala. Of course I resisted having my normal glass of Rioja. I was both glad I resisted, but looking forward to a glass this week.

Over at Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark highlights the importance of sleep. For that reason this night owl is going to be in bed before midnight during Lent. Ideally I’ll be in bed before 11.

The second goal is to celebrate my 50th Crossfit WOD by April 5th. I’m halfway there.

And last, I’m continuing the low sugar, low carb lifestyle.

A quick review over the last month:

I’ve consumed no refined sugar intentionally. No chocolate chip cookies. No juices. No ice cream. However, I do suspect it was in a couple dishes and sauces I ate.

No bread, potatoes, oats, or any other grain, although one time I had to pick several crumbs off the meat of a sub sandwich from which I removed the roll. Indian food was with cauliflower, not naan or rice.

No beans.

No milk, cream, butter, yogurt or cheese. No half and half in my coffee. However, I suspect I ate food that was cooked butter.

And no alcohol.

I discovered coconut oil, spaghetti squash, mashed cauliflower, Trader Joe herring, almond flour, applesauce and coconut cream.

I feel like I was once an addict. And now I know what it’s like to taste freedom.

It ends tomorrow at 1:00pm. I’ll write what my final observations are, and how I will add what I’ve learned from Paleo into my lifestyle.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet, Food

The Feast Day

February 17, 2010 3 comments

Yesterday was Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday” or “Shrove Tuesday.”  It’s about clearing out the larder and finishing all the food that won’t keep.   It means breakfast for dinner.  Sausage, ham, and cake.  Pancakes.

I don’t eat pancakes often.  My father used to make them every weekend, so I’ve usually reserved them for special occasions.    I have never made them from a mix, and always with real maple syrup.

But I’ll probably not consume them again for a long time.

It would be penultimate cheat day.  If I decided to return once a year to a strict Paleo diet, Lent would be the season.  It just so happens that this year I started Lent a few weeks early.

So until I find a suitable replacement recipe, perhaps made with almond flour and applesauce, no buttermilk blueberry pancakes with maple syrup.

Pass the fruit salad.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have dinner for breakfast.


February 15, 2010 1 comment

“Hey Michael!”

Michael is a trainer at the Y.  He’s a former semi-pro basketball player, and very fit.   A woman is shouting at him, trying to get his attention.   He’s obliging and addles over to the treadmill where she is walking.

“Guess what!  I decided to get healthy.”  I’ve seen her a lot at the gym, and like many of us, she is struggling with finding effective ways to get healthier.   “I bought a juicer!  Didn’t you say getting a juicer was the way to go?  My whole family’s doing it.”

Michael smiles.  “Well, Juicing is alright.”   He’s agreeable, and doesn’t want to disappoint.  “It does get nutrients into the body fast.  But…” He pauses for a second.

At one point, Mike probably juiced.  But he’s realized that this was now questionable advice.

“The benefits are that it goes into the bloodstream quickly.  But the fiber is also useful.”

“Oh.”  She thinks about the consequences of this.

“So…” he’s tries to find a way justify her expensive health food toy.  “If you can find a way to use the fiber, save it somehow, you know, because it’s also good for the body….  But juicing for some people isn’t a good idea.”


“Well, for some, juicing isn’t good at all.  Without the fiber it’s not great for diabetics.”

She looked perplexed.  “So perhaps I shouldn’t juice. At all?”  She need just a little empathy.  She was so enthusiastic.  And now the disappointment of not getting a health fad right.

“Well,” he smiled sheepishly, “if it helps you eat vegetables, then that’s a good thing.”

“I do love vegetables.”    Most likely, she’ll put the juicer away in a cupboard, and in a few years she’ll have a garage sale, and some other person looking for a way to get healthy quick will buy it for a Jackson.

I do use one of those juice extractors for cooking.  A good cook always has a handful of lemons and limes around; and it seems that if you want to have orange juice it merits putting a little elbow grease for it.    Once in a while a v-8 juice hits the spot.

Even with the salt, it’s better than a Snicker’s bar.