Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taste and Indigestion

Today I had little to pack for my lunch.  I found some canned tuna and mixed in a tablespoon of organic wasabi mayo (non Paleo).  I sliced up a green pepper and ate it raw.  I also work in a school, so I went back to my old friend:  the school salad bar.

I made my usual mound of vegetable artwork mixing up color and textures.  ( broccoli is nasty!  It looks like my 5 year old's plastic food pieces in her play kitchen!  I stay away from that.)  So I had to make a critical decision.  Salad dressing or not.  Back in the day, I ate honey mustard like it was water.  Previous to my Paleo experiment, I always added some salad dressing.  However, today I drizzled maybe a tablespoon and a half.  And today......I have INDIGESTION in my upper chest and near my throat.  You know, that hot stuff that neither comes up or goes down.  It just kind of hangs out there.  The only thing I changed about my diet today was the salad dressing.  I've had a bit of the mayo before, so I knew that could not be it.

Conclusion:  GOODBYE SCHOOL (and other heavy) SALAD DRESSINGS!!!

Oh......and goodbye nasty mayo filthy chicken salad.  It just looked awful.  (I used to eat a small plate of that and pile it on crackers.)  Just looking at it made me want to toss my cookies.

Conclusion: My tastes and food desires for some things have really changed.

Where I've usually finished things hardcore and fallen off the wagon, the Whole 9 30 Paleo Challenge continues to have a profound impact on my health, diet, and lifestyle!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Processed Foods in Schools

If this does not make you think twice about what our kids eat and processed foods then I'm not sure what will.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paleo Mayo Take 1

This may be the most boring video in the history of the world wide web, however I wanted to show the consistency of my first batch of paleo mayo.  I have to say, it was a bit of a pain to make as it required adding the oil drop by drop.  I think as much as I don't eat mayo, that I may stick to regular, organic mayo.  (again...everything in moderation, however I just don't eat mayo that often.)  I may give another go at it as there has to be a way to not have it so runny.  If you have any secrets, let me know.  Here's the recipe I used as I hunted around online at various recipes.  
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything except the oil last.  Add drop by drop so it does not separate.  Put in fridge to chill.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I'm not a big multiple post per day kind of guy, but I wanted to share a little bit more of what happened today.

It's Sunday and usually a rest day, but given my back injury, yesterday was my first WOD in 7 days.  See previous post, Annie for details.  Today, my buddy Mike asks me to come over and make up a WOD together given that Crossfit Carmel is closed on Sundays.  We come up w/the following:

25 double unders
25 air squats
25 push ups
4x for time 

Mike was jealous I showcased my pooch this a.m., so he dubbed today's WOD, Aggie.  He does have a freakin' good pooch as you can see, however she has not taken a bullet, is not blind in her eye from being stabbed, and her tail is in superior shape.  But this post and WOD was bigger than Aggie (sorry Mike and Jayme) which I will explain......

...........Last night I veered of the Paleo path and found my family and me at a gem of a restaurant in Carmel, Indiana.  Pizzology!  While I had the best bowl of muscles in this history of my life, I added two very scrumptious hoppy ales from The Victory Brewing Co. later that night with my trusty neighbor, Don.

1 Hop Devil and 1 Hop Wallop
Some of the best food and pale ale I've had in awhile.  But..........remember Aggie.....this story was bigger than that pooch right???!?!??!

Here goes......I spent 30 days on a strict Paleo diet.  I felt great.  I saw gains at Crossfit, and I JUST.  FELT.  GREAT!  I woke up this a.m. and I'll spare you the details of how my stomach was acting.  After the newly dubbed Aggie WOD, I felt reflux in my chest and my stomach ached a bit.  A far cry from how I felt after WODS while on my 30 day challenge.  While I believe in having that cheat meal or even a cheat day (whichever you can handle w/out going overboard), I don't like how the food and beverage made me feel the day after.  Granted, I've been off Crossfit for a week, I still know my stomach, and I know how it felt when I was not eating those foods.  So I've made the following conclusions:

#1:  Pizza is a food I often can not control, so I can not have pizza and beer together as a cheat meal and expect to feel good and perform well during a WOD a day or two later.  I'm not 17 anymore.

#2:  Beer can only be a treat once per week at the most and not in huge excess.

#3:  I don't like how I feel after beer and pizza now that I know what it was like during my 30 day challenge.  

#4.  The contrast b/t how I felt today versus how I felt when eliminating such foods/drink is incredible.  

#5:  It's easy to slip on dietary habits when injured or coming back from an injury.  

Thanks Aggie!!!


The hero Crossfit WODS are named after fallen military heroes.  I have the utmost respect for each and every Crossfit WOD despite being a hero WOD or one designed by the coaches at Crossfit Carmel.

This is my 17 year old beagle sheltie, Annie.  We got her from the pound when she was roughly 2-3 years old.  When we got her spayed the doc. pulled a bullet lying on the top of her spine.  She is totally blind from a puncture would to her left eye, and the tip of her tail is bent permanently.  She has been the perfect family dog and a hero to our family.  Nonetheless......

My first WOD back this weekend was Annie (here's a video of Crossfit guru Chris Speal making it look effortless).  50, 40, 30, 20, 10 reps of double unders and sit ups.  With a sore back I thought, great.  At least not heavy lifting.  My time:  Not the best.  I agree w/Speal.  The sit ups were the work.  For me, the double unders suck after getting broken from them.  Then, my heart rate soars.  You can see the whiteboard below.

I hated being on of the last to be done, however what I love about Crossfit is that when folks are done, they are all routing for you to get done.  The competition is with the self, and it's about my own expectation of me.  Not about me beating the next guy or girl.  Later that back tightened up.  (That post I made about Patience is sitting on my shoulder tugging at my conscience.)

I've never respected working out or athletic activity like I do Crossfit.  What looks "easy" always (I repeat....ALWAYS) turns out to be the hardest thing I do that day, week, or month.....every time.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Superhuman or Supercrazy?

When I saw this on t.v. the other night it reminded me when I came across Dean Karnazes somehow a couple of years ago as I was training for a half marathon.  This guy is something else.  His nutrition is crazy and very non Paleo.  His endurance and drive is relentless, and his book Ultramarathon Man is a superior read for anyone interested in "mind over matter" stuff.  It's not just a "running book".  I am in awe of ultra-marathoners!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Take on Me

I started this blog with the intent of combining my Crossfit, eating, and wellness experiences together in on one place.  That way, I get a chance to share what's swimming around in my mind, and hopefully create an online community of like-minded folks.  With the awful timing of a back injury at last week's weekend hopper (I want another crack at you Deck of Death WOD!  It was not you who did me in, rather my poor form and lack of stretching!) I have found myself steered more towards the food side of my wellness.  As I mentally wrestled with whether to create the My Progress page, I concluded that if I did, it would be even more of a motivator to keep things going.  (I consider myself the average guy....suburban living, work for a public school, and my weight has yo yo'd over the years as has my fitness.)  Now, going to Crossfit is never a hard thing, however continually eating well....I mean day in and day out eating a battle......for anyone!  At breakfast with the family yesterday I had another "aha" moment.  ("Take on Me" was not playing, but you can hear it, can't you?!).

It hit me.  The key (for me) is getting to the point where you can combine eating for sustainment AND eat for enjoyment.  It's hard for me not to do something 110% when I set my mind to it.  Train for a half marathon:  nothing gets in my way.  Get a great, creative idea at work:  110%!  However, like the rest of society, sometimes my expectations are so high and sometimes the adrenaline is so astronomical that the ends don't sometimes justify the means.  Oh, the letdown.

Eating well is no different for me.  I come from a long line of emotional and conversational eaters.  I love beef brisket, bagels, lox and cream cheese, pizza, sausage, pasta, carrot cake, dark, hoppy beer, and food, food food!!!  However, the food will be here long after I am gone.  "All things in moderation!!!" you scream.  I agree.  "How is all of that food so bad??!?!" you reply?  It's not.  However, did I say I love food?

My Paleo experiment was just that, but I love how I feel after the 30 days.  I miss pasta and I don't want meat all of the time.  I plan to treat myself to some hoppy libations (I love pale ales!), now and then, but i don't need it for the whole weekend.  I have to mentally remind myself that I am full after a plate of food is gone, and here's a big one........When there is "nothing in the house to eat", I don't need a huge meal production.  In the's really all about me, what I eat, and how I choose to fuel my body.  It's a slippery slope because it's easy to lose steam and fall of the wagon.  At this point in the game, I've worked too hard and seen too much progress that I've never seen.  Come on food.  Take on me!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

Home on Fall Break this week.  Again, since my back is on the mend, I've made a commitment (to me and to my wife) that I will cook more.  I loved stuffed peppers growing up.  However, I'm not big on recipes.  I kind of just throw a bunch of stuff together.  Call it "the guy way", but I'll look at a recipe and then copy most of it and make up some of my own along the way.

Today I three together........

ground beef, 1 diced onion, diced tomato, chopped pepperoncini's, about a tsp. of cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon, kosher salt, pepper, and chopped fresh oregano.

I cook the meat and onions together.  I throw in all the spices next.  The peppers and tomatoes go on last as I turn off the stove so they don't get too mushy.

Our peppers come from our CSA and we got some really great sized ones this week as you can see.

Threw it all in the oven for about 15 minutes.  I like the peppers a bit crunchy but hot.  That way, I can cut the pepper and then eat the piece with my hand.   Each little piece is like a "boat" with the stuffing in it.  Another meal where eating was pleasurable and sustaining.  Heck, any time you put mean, onions and peppers together, it's hard for me not to over eat.

Enjoy and Sustain

Great morning breakfast at Bub's Cafe, a local place in Carmel, Indiana.  While always a bit too pricey, you do get what you pay for.  Everything is fresh, lots of options, and incredibly generous (really too big) portions.

My meal was a 3 egg omelette with elk sausage, extra onions and extra roasted red peppers (big fan of these lately!).  Also added a small bowl of fruit which was by no means small.  

While my wife go the pumpkin pancakes and my son the chocolate chip pancakes, I was able to eat for enjoyment and sustenance.  Bonus!!!

Great place to eat, be full, and eat well.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


So today I wake up.  I check the Crossfit Carmel WOD for the day, and I remind myself that I am crazy if I try to attend despite my injury, as minor as it is.  My chiropractor says to take a week of.  My coach at Crossfit says to take a week off.  However, I love to keep at things and not stop.  But today, I experienced a few things that reach beyond Crossfit and they all seem to fit together as if my current situation is the road I was meant to be on.

A dear friend of mine sent me a very good website concerning Crossfit.  She is an A.C.E. certified personal trainer.  In the article, which you can read in its entirety here, the author discusses one of the potential criticisms of Crossfit being the pounding of so much heavy weight leading to injury given the fatigue in energy, endurance and form.  While I have many thoughts on the article, it made me think, "How long have I been neglecting form for time?"  "How many times do I compromise form when the Crossfit coach isn't looking" (like I used to do in h.s. when my soccer or basketball coach turned his back!)  And....."How many times have I left Crossfit WITHOUT STRETCHING after a WOD?"  The answer is.....too many.  I can not thank my friend enough for sending me the article because.......

Later in the day I had a frank discussion with my colleague at work who attends Crossfit intermittently amidst her busy life:  two working parents of toddlers.  We discussed her issues with finding time to continue to attend Crossfit.  She loves how it makes her feel, but she does not love working out, which I think represents a lot of people out there.  The theme of our talk was finding the patience to let other stuff in our lives go so we can invest in our health.  Of course, easier said than done.

Lastly, I answer an email today from a Crossfit friend.  This is the same person I did the Paleo 30 day challenge with.  We emailed our food intake to one another every day for 30 days keeping one another accountable.  Part of my email to him was the fact that I was so impatient today as opposed to yesterday about not being able to work out.  I miss it.  I look forward to the challenge every day, and his reply was that he was not working out going on 5 days now to let his own body recover, and he is not injured.  Ahhhhhhhhh.......patience he has. (I heard Yoda saying this to me as I read his email.)

So today was not about food discovery, or a new PR of any sorts.  Rather, today was about a series of events that take place in all our lives:  an email, a conversation with a co-worker, and a thought provoking article to read.  All of these together made me think that this fitness road that I am on has lead me to a different street.  In order to keep making gains physically, I need to remember that a little bit of patience and "slow down" will get me further in the long run.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm struggling today to accept that I need to take a week off from Crossfit.  I don't say this to prove how much I exercise or gloat.  Rather, I say this because I have never been that excited to work out day in and day out before I met Crossfit.  It's what I look forward to (albeit some days with anxiety depending on the WOD of course).  

After throwing my lower back out and seeing my chiropractor who just happens to be a personal friend and after listening to my coach at Crossfit Carmel, I am accepting that I need to take at least a week off.  

One of the best resources I've come across is from Robb Wolf, who wrote the book The Paleo Solution.  He talks about recovery being mandatory and how diet is a necessary part of recovery.  As I read articles in The Crossfit Journal, I like when he says, "recovery comes down to: Eat a Zone favorable or other hormonally intelligent diet with predominantly antioxidant rich "Paleo" foods. Sleep 8–10 hrs per day in a completely dark room. Go to bed as early as possible. Laugh. Avoid excessive stress." All great things to focus on in a time of letting my body heal.  

As I struggle to accept that I can not work out in a way that I FINALLY love doing, I look to credible folks like Robb Wolf, my chiropractor, and my certified Crossfit coaches, who know what they are talking about.   

Monday, October 18, 2010

Paleo Cereal

I've had some time on my hands today given my back injury has me home from work.  So I thought I'd share my mid- afternoon snack:  I originally got the idea from a Paleo site that I can not recall, but I modify the idea given what fruit and nuts we have in the house.  I call it Paleo Cereal.

I usually eat it for breakfast to break up the egg monotony and if I have this for breakfast, I've pretty much had my fruit servings for the day.  Today, I ate it for a lunch/snack.  

Today, I have strawberries, blueberries, red raspberries, sliced grapes, walnuts, and almonds.

I pour almond milk over it but not too much so you don't get all the fruit too soggy too quickly.  I used to struggle to put fruit in my diet, but the Whole 9 30 day challenge changed how I see and taste fruit.  

Injury, Good Form, and Finding Good from Bad

After four months of Crossfit and all the good that has come into my life because of it, I finally experienced my first injury.  While I am not celebrating this momentous milestone in my Crossfit life, I am discouraged and trying to keep as much focus in treating it as I do in a daily WOD.  Saturday's WOD was the "Deck of Death" which included box jumps, kettle bell swings, push press, and burpess.  Half way through the deck of cards I reached for the kettle bell and felt my entire lower back lock up.  I tried substituting pushup's but upon moving to the next box jumps, there was no way.  I knew to respect Crossfit enough to not push further, thus my first official DNF.  Awful feeling while others were pushing ahead.  Saturday was my 5th WOD in 6 days (probably a mistake).  I was more sore from the day before, but I'd been there before.  I'm pretty sure the picture displayed below did not represent my form at the time of my injury (it's so easy to lose that good, flat back when tiring), but you can bet that I'll be even more focused on my form the next time out.  

It's easy to take form for granted (in my opinion).  While I have never neglected form, it is now more important to me than ever.  Neglecting good form (to me) is like falling off the dietary wagon.  Do it over the course of time and catching up becomes harder than ever.  Today will be about focusing on the start of another sound dietary week, heat, and ice.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Inside Out Sandwich

I was looking for some new Paleo ideas and came across a tasty sandwich idea with portabello mushrooms as the bun.  It had meat in the middle and was very tasty.  You can check it out here.  So I got to thinking that it would be cool to reverse the idea.  So here is my "Inside Out Chicken and Portabello Sandwich."  

I sliced a chicken breast raw then pounded down the two thin pieces so they were even thinner.  I added salt and lemon pepper and pan fried in coconut oil.  I put the portabello in the pan as well along with some fresh kale.  Total cooking/prep time:  15 minutes.  It's a bit of a mess to eat.  


Here is a shot of the ingredients to my omelette this a.m.  One thing I've absorbed over the past several months (years actually, but this has been enhanced from eating Paleo) is to focus on the amount of color that is on my plate.  The more color, the more array of nutrients, vitamins, and other healthy good stuff.  I don't (can't) always grasp the science behind eating well.  Quite honestly, it bores me.  I'm visual.  I need to see what you are talking about.  For this reason, the color tip always hits home.

Included here are red, yellow, green peppers (frozen packages from Trader Joe very good back up to fresh), white onion, and fresh kale from our local CSA.  

Robb Wolf Website

A wealth of information on all things Paleo.  This is where I got most of my information for my 30 day challenge along with the following site:

Thank you to my Crossfit friends for the info and tips.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Is Cross Fit?

This video shows the essence of Crossfit.  I love it.

Paleo Challenge

I just finished a 30 day Paleo challenge:  meat, veggies, fruit, and nuts.  No grains.  No dairy.  No legumes.  No sugar.  I dove into this w/two day's notice, something not like me at all.  30 days later, I feel amazing!  I've survived parties at friends with chips, dips, etc.  I've survived ordering the right Paleo food in a restaurant.  I've said no.  I've taken the verbal harassment from friends when I wasn't drinking.  And it was all worth it.  I have more energy.  My stomach doesn't hurt anymore.  I have more endurance during workouts.  I am stronger.  And I am more confident.

While I am unsure if I could live a Paleo lifestyle 24/7/365, I do think I will take the following principles with me permanently (at least that is my plan):

1.  I don't need bread or grains at breakfast.  Fruit, almond mile, eggs, or meat are all fine for me.
2.  Breakfast must be my largest meal of the day.
3.  Dinner does not have to be a huge production
4.  Eating can be about sustaining, not always about indulging.
5.  I like fruit now and I only need 1-2 servings of it per day.
6.  Spicing up food can replace the taste cravings I used to have for other less healthy foods.
7.  Saying no is easy.  I will need to do it more often if I want to maintain my health to my expectations.
8.  I don't need rice...even brown rice.
9.  A cheat/indulge day is a must but w/in reason.
10.  Fighting cancer is hard.  This dietary lifestyle is not.

People as me, "How much weight have you lost?" and "Why are you doing this?  It looks ridiculous."
My answer is as follows:  I love working out and pushing myself.  I have fitness and health goals I want to achieve.

I want to run a sub 2 hour half marathon.
I want to do a triathlon.  At least a sprint tri and maybe longer.
I want to lose my gut permanently.
I want to be strong enough to do my Crossfit workouts w/out having to modify anything.  Ever.

At age 38 I have finally, finally realized the only, ONLY way to be as healthy as I want to me must entail a consistent, smart diet and the same rigorous exercise I enjoy.  For this reason, I have started this blog as an attempt to have a way to share my thoughts, findings, conclusions, and experiences in hopes of connecting with others as enthusiastic as I am.  Hope you enjoy as much as I do.


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