Wednesday, April 20, 2011

These are Not the Fries You're Looking For

These are not the fries you're looking for.........I hope.

I like french fries (and Star Wars) just like any other natural born American.  However, I try to stay away from fast food simply because I don't like how it makes me feel, and I know fast food is the fast way to fast el b's!!  But....when it's time to splurge with no guilt (check this blog out from a fellow Institute for Integrative Nutrition colleague of mine on no guilt eating.) I try to eat fast food that is not packed full of "stuff".  

Wendy's is promoting "Natural Cut Fries".

.....and the truth of the matter is they are not all that natural.  

--They are sprayed with sodium acid pyrophosphate, a chemical that prevents them from turning brown from two baths in frying oil

--They are coated with dextrose, a sugar derived from corn, for similar purposes

--They contain dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone-based chemical that helps keep the vegetable oil from getting foamy after countless rounds of frying.

Here's the article I found explaining this in more detail and comparing how Five Guys Burgers is a better choice when it comes to your french fries.  If  you are going to splurge and eat fries, you might as well eat with no guilt and no crap in them.  


Monday, April 18, 2011

Just Keep Moving Forward

It was a busy week in our house.  We are an interfaith family, Jewish and Methodist.  Palm Sunday and Passover (and my 39th bday) packed together.  We are cooking, preparing, and working in two soccer games this weekend.  But.......this was the Sunday I was going to run alongside Dean Karnazes, The Ultramarathon Man.  If you read my post a few months ago, you know Dean is running across the United States to raise money and awareness for Action for Healthy Kids, an organization devoted to kids' health and undernourishment in our country and specifically in our schools.  So this was right in my wheelhouse!!!

My busy weekend was interrupted by a 5:15 a.m alarm clock for a chance to meet this guy who I  have read about, followed on Twitter, and have admired not only for his incredible physical and emotional strength, but because about the manner by which he goes about it.  Here's a guy who has run a marathon at the South Pole!  Here's a guy who has finished in the Top 5 at the Badwater Ultramarathon, a grueling 135 miles through Death Valley culminating at Mount Whitney....IN JULY! (you must read about this race!) Here's a guy who has run 50 marathons in 50 days across 50 states!  

This guy is pretty unbelievable.  And here's a guy who is inspiring people to move more and eat well.  I can't argue with that.  Here's a short clip about he is.....

So yesterday, my life long friend, Randy and I took off to run 2.5 miles around the Indianapolis Speedway with Dean as he passed through town.  He got here the day before after a 40 mile day, woke up at 5:15 a.m. to run 2.5 with Randy and me and roughly 300 others on a 35 degree Palm Sunday morning.  

Here's a few moments from yesterday....

The world famous speedway pagoda with Dean's transportation services.

Dean's crew in one of his two custom buses. (Kelly Ripa was not there!)  :(

 Grumpy and cold Good Morning America production guys.  We were on live!

My only close up of Dean to get an idea of how small his is and how fit he looks!

Dean finishing up.  I beat him!  Ha!

So what this guy does in incomprehensible to the vast majority of the population, but I see this guy as an opportunity to learn more about my own health and fitness which is what I believe he is all about.  While some would view Dean Karnazes as egotistical, I choose to see him as something else:  humble, incredible, inspiring, and real.  

Some observations from my experience:
1.  This guy eats 8,000 to 10,000 calories PER DAY when he is doing this stuff.  And he is a tiny and incredibly ripped/athletic man.  Proof in the pudding that you are what you eat!

2.  He does not worry about pacing with this kind of experience.  His goal is to finish.  He said, "As long as I am moving forward, I don't care if I'm doing a 9 minute or 12 minute mile."  Something to consider in my own training whether it running, Crossfit, a sprint triathlon, or swimming.

3.  This guy has major sponsors, Live with Regis and Kelly, books, a team of doctors, nutritionists, a sport psychologist, two running buddies, and much more following him.  He was interviewed live in front of us on Good Morning America.  With all of this, he still stopped to not only sign autographs, but look people in the eye, smile, talk, engage in conversation, ask questions of complete strangers, cheer on others, and just exude an incredible positive energy while being real about it.  After all, he puts his shoes on the same way you and I do every morning.  This energy was contagious and something I think is often overlooked by many.  While a produced piece of media, I think this video demonstrates this about Karnazes very well...

4.  This experience rekindled my desire to continue running, something I've put on the back burner since discovering Crossfit.  I've put a goal out there before to run a sub two hour half marathon, and running around the world famous oval today with a life long friend may have lit that spark again.  

5.  Patience is a tough concept.  Thinking about what Karnazes does in order to better me is tough given what his body is capable of versus mine.  However, I believe the principles he follows can comparatively transfer to my life or anyone's for that matter.  My point?  I need to be patient with my training, my expectations, and my overall fitness goals.  There should be no rush to achieve as long as I'm doing the same thing Dean is doing on his run across America:  

Just keep moving forward!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I've been thinking a lot this week about my health nutrition.  If you haven't read my last post, you may be interested to find out that I had a party that no one attended.  Pity parties are often like that.  So this week I got back in it.  I ate well.  I ate clean.  I worked out keeping in mind I needed a week to regain my confidence.  I feel much better and am slowly recovering from my ailing groin injury which I talked about several several weeks ago.  I've also been knee deep into my Nutrition and Health Coaching program through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I've studied lots of stuff the past several weeks:  Info. on Low Carb Diets, Slow Carbs, No Carbs, Grains, Macrobiotics, The Importance of Water, and much more. However, what sticks out to me lately with my own eating is how fast I eat.  I live in the racing capital of the world, Indianapolis.  If you haven't heard, there is a pretty big event here next month.  However, I'm not much of a race fan 11 months out of the year, but I sometimes feel like I could give this guy a run for his money racing.....

Eating fast has never been so apparent to me than when our oldest child start to genetically inhale his food at the table.  He paternally gets it honestly.  I paternally get it honestly.   At the dinner table we have referred to him as Kobayashi and this name has now been reserved for anyone at our house who eats too fast. 

Chewing has become my new goal.

But not like this......

or this......
because that guy could end up like

this guy

I mean chewing my food.  I mean taking the time to chew my food thoroughly so I can enjoy it more.  However, I've come to learn there is more than enjoying your food when it comes to chewing your food thoroughly because digestion starts in the mouth.  Well chewed food allows more nutrients to be released from the food thus being healthier for you.  Well chewed food is better digested, so there is less aggravation in the gut.  Well chewed food releases more taste in the mouth.  And.....why not just try to slow life down a bit.  If you are interested in learning more here's a good resource for you.

This guy wants to know......What is something you could do more slowly?  Leave me a comment or send me an email at

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Cheese Grits w/Shrimp
Hush Puppies
Island Drinks
Hot Dogs
Ice Cream
Leftovers from my Kids
Oh, and beer

Just some of the gack I took in while on vacation.  Don't get me wrong.  We grilled chicken, burgers, etc. with salad and such for dinners in while feasting on great seafood our last night out, however on vacation I found myself with little conscience about what I was eating, how much I was eating and how often I ate.  All the while, I rationalized it as, "I've come so far.  One week won't destroy me."After all, it's vacation. I've needed a break from work and the stresses of life and I deserve it."  (more on this excuse in a bit)  Then.......
Upon returning home from a 12 hour car ride that consisted of a trip to Crackerbarrel and Chipotle, I woke up the following day to "get back into it" at Crossfit Carmel thinking I'd be a bit off my game, but.......

I attended the 9 a.m. workout which was.......

As Many Rounds As Possible in 20 minutes of......
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 air squats

After my first round, I felt like.......
No energy, weak, and dejected.  I've never.....EVER wanted to quit a workout in my 10 months or Crossfit until this one, but I didn't.  I took my time and finished with 13 rounds.....much slower than I've done this in the past.  But......I thought it was a good warm up for why I showed up:  I wanted to re-try the Crossfit Games Sectional WOD #3 as I discussed in my previous post.  This was....

165 lbs. squat clean
165 lbs. jerk

On vacation I did this WOD at Crossfit Hilton Head and produced 7 rounds.  Not a great result by competition standards, but I was happy with it by my standards and expectations.  However, on this day, back at home, after the worst workout feeling I ever had, I could barely lift the bar over my head.  In fact, the first attempt at cleaning the weight sent me almost on my a*s!  BLECH!  I felt TERRIBLE and 
I wanted to start sending invitations to my Pity Party before the five minutes were up.'s why I love where I work out.  Here's why I love Crossfit:

People were still encouraging me, screaming at me to keep it up, get after it, stay focused all the while there was Trent next to me....a 44 year old guy pounding out his 26 rounds and Caitlin hammering out her 25 rounds!  And there's me....stating I want to bag it......clearly struggling..... and Lin, the owner/coach, is yelling, "Do another clean.  Just stay in it."  And so I did.  My result:  

2 rounds plus 1 clean. BLECH!!!
Since no one was attending the party I was clearly trying to throw, I reflected quickly on what I'd been doing to my body the past week and refused to pout, kick, or scream (at least not in public).

It's no great secret that eating poorly and not sleeping well have adverse effects on the body.  Certainly, this is not groundbreaking news.  But I made one decision based on this pitfall in which I found myself.  I'm not going this long eating this way again.  It's not worth it based on what I enjoy doing for exercise.  It's not worth the impact it has had on my mood, my confidence, and my spirit....all things often overlooked.

My solution?
--ramp up the veggies (nowhere near enough of them in my body the past week
--eliminate alcohol for a period of time (maybe one or two on the weekend if any)
--eliminate grains for at least a week (going back to my Paleo ways to cut back inflammation in the gut!)
--water, water, water (a given)
--Eliminate cheese (vacation was first time in several months!  Make me lethargic and tears up my gut!)
--Look into juicing (I've been toying with this idea as an occasional cleanse, so stay tuned on this.)
***BE REALISTIC:  Perhaps the most important here......
Clearly I was trying to be the guy on the left.  Who did I think I was?  After all, I'm the one studying to be a Certified Health Counselor.  I'm the one who has proven to myself that proper dietary habits combined with strength training and endurance training can transform my body, my fitness, and my spirit.  I'm the one who has been so excited to lead this new life and so who did I think I was with such an expectation?!?!  Shame on me!  So.....

It's a new day.  A new start to getting back on track.  And it's really no.  big.  deal.  I'm glad I've put myself through two Whole 30 Paleo challenges.  I'm glad I'm studying different dietary theories.  I'm glad I continue to surround myself with like-minded folks.  I think it allows me to not only be realistic, but it provides the confidence to snap right back into action and TAKE ACTION.  In the past, I would have wallowed longer than an hour or two.  I'd string a week like I just had into several weeks, months, and before long I'm right back to where I started on the left side of the My Progress page.  

And so today, my in-laws were in town and took the family out to breakfast, and so we found ourselves a superior spot on the north side of Indianapolis called Tulip Noir, a great place for local, organic food, coffee, etc where the menu changes with the seasons!  I usually dive right in for a smoked salmon sandwich w/cream cheese, bagel, etc., but......remember my solutions above?  Instead I went for the veggie hash and eggs.  Check it out on the Spring menu. (My 8 year old son genetically ordered the smoked salmon sandwich and would not budge on giving me a bite!  Maybe all things do happen for a reason?!)

Have you been in a rut?  What have you done to get out of it?  I'd be interested in hearing from you.  Drop me a comment or an email.

I loved our vacation, our time with friends, the beach.  At the same time, it's good to be home.  I'll keep you posted.....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hilton Head, Crossfit, and a Daily Affirmation

So I spent the last week under the sunny skies of Hilton Head Island, a family destination and tradition of ours for the past couple of decades.  This time, we went with family and friends, which meant instant entertainment (and built in babysitting) for our children.  That meant.....daddy and mommy could actually vacation a bit.  THAT meant.......a week of food that I normally do not eat (stay tuned for a follow up post on that, for I have a lot to say on my return to "food reality").

After a few days of fun in the sun, I ventured away from the family to Crossfit Hilton Head, just a couple of miles from our beach house.  I was excited to be at a new gym, away from home, and I was a bit nervous not knowing what to expect.  I was a bit insecure about working out with a younger guy who played college lacrosse at Syracuse!  BUT.....I was more nervous about how my body would react after treating it like a playground the night before (again....more on that in a post to follow).  I'll give you an idea of SOME of what I ingested then night before.....

Daiquiri bar at Hilton Head's famous Frosty Frog

Walking in, I was immediately greeted by Craig, the owner (of Crossfit...not the Frosty Frog!)  After some idle chit-chat, a couple of others walked in, both visitors to the island like me.  We spent time stretching together.  We all did two minutes of as many double unders as possible, and then we all spent time working on our shoulder mobility with a lacrosse ball.  The workout of the day was brutal on a normal day let alone after stuffing myself with toxic food and drink the night (ok...NIGHTS!) before.

Here's the WOD (Workout of the Day)

That is a total of....

150 squats
105 pull ups
45 ring dips (I used a resistance band under my knees...just can't do them alone....yet)

My time:  24:23

At first it was a bit intimidating working out with a guy who played college lacrosse at Syracuse, however once the workout started, I never thought about him as Craig, the owner, was coaching, motivating and pushing me just like I was at home.

  It was nice to go 12 hours away from my home gym and get the same kind of instruction, coaching, and motivation.  Reminded me of this....

So I retuned the next day to complete the Crossfit Games Sectional WOD #3. (If you don't want to click on the link, I'm competing in the sectional workouts of the Crossfit Games to see how I stack up against others out there in the world as this truly is a world-wide event.  No way in hell, I'd advance, rather it's a litmus test for me to see where I am fitness-wise.)  

As Many Rounds as Possible of....

165 lbs squat clean
165 lbs. jerk

In case you don't know what that's an idea of a guy much lighter than me doing much better than me

I have to say...I did not think I'd even get one rep.

My score:  7 reps.  I was fine with that as again....I spent the last several days not caring for my diet. previously stated....stay tuned for my next post on how my food impacted my second attempt at this workout.  

It was great and energizing to be at a new Crossfit gym.  It was awesome to get the same kind of experience as I do at home.  It was great to compete away from home and do better than expected.  At the same time.....I returned home feeling physically unfit, lethargic, and thinking like this.....

Stay tuned for a full report on my return to reality......

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MIA and Lots to Share

Been away from the blogging world for a bit getting some sun, sand, and relaxation.  Stay tuned for a report about my trip to Crossfit Hilton Head.  Lots to share.....


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