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Monday, February 24, 2014

Smoothies, Eating Raw and Superficial Wieners

I don't know of anyone that wants to die of heart disease and yet thousands die of it each year.  In the United States billions of dollars are spent on health products and diet plans each year.  Yet, more than one-third of Americans are considered obese and thousands die from preventable diseases.

Those in the "healthcare" industry really don't make it easy for people to get into shape.  Yes, they all claim they want to "end the trend" of obesity but what they really want is money, money, money.  Face it, any exercise program will work IF IT'S USED! Companies that keep adding new programs to their already bloated set of routines tacitly admit the one prior to that just didn't work.

Supplements are a total waste of money and give obese people a false hope in a panacea.  Eat your greens, veggies, and fruits.  Anything you need to live a healthy life is found in the produce section of your supermarket - and not just at Whole Foods.

Just  few questions I need to get off my chest:

  • Smoothies: Why do healthy people look down on those that use smoothies as a way to get more phytonutrients into their body? We eat our food we don't drink it.  Please.  If someone is "eating" a smoothie with 2-3 servings of greens, a couple of servings of fruit, and some flax seed why would you want to denigrate their efforts.  If blending greens and fruits for an adult doesn't work (for whatever reason) then neither does baby food or split pea soup.  Stop being pretentious tools and cheer people in their efforts!
  • Raw: I eat a ton of raw food and enjoy it.  The people that believe raw is the only way to go are not helping the cause of a healthy lifestyle.  Face it: Not everyone is going to dehydrate or sprout their food.  Cheer them in their efforts to eat cleanly and if they're interested in your "rawsome" lifestyle they will ask.  
  • Superficial Weenies: Those that operate healthy companies often come across as superficial wieners.  I was excited to get a smoothie e-book the other day and was sorely disappointed in the contents.  What is it written by the 1%??? Himalayan Sea Salt WTF is that? I don't have a degree in geography but believe that the Himalayas are land-locked so the how does one get sea salt?  Ionized water - wiener.  Goji berries - wiener.  Acai - wiener.  Stop making things so difficult for people to eat right!  
That is all. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Whole Foods and Trade Joe's Not Required

I realize all the rage is to shop at Whole Foods for people that are "health conscious" but it's not necessary.  I guess Trader Joe's is similar (I don't really know but often hear them discussed in pairs).  I've been on plant strong diet for a few years now and have never stepped foot in either one.  Not that I have anything against them it's just that where I live we don't have them.

I live in the midwest and the best supermarket (in my opinion) is Meijer.  Great produce and pretty much anything I want can be bought there.  We have a small health food store where I purchase nutritional yeast flakes and chick pea flour but those were rare instances.

People that migrate from a carnivorous / omnivorous diet to a herbivore diet often make things way to complicated and give up before they even get started.  Don't be a quitter.  Press through!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tripe S Challenge Day 3

I'll really be glad when all of the Valentine's Day candy finally disappears! Sheesh.  It's making my "challenge" way too challenging.

Yesterday was day 2 and I did fairly well after choking down the world's worst smoothie.  I ate large salad (arugula, bok choy, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and quinoa) then had a bowl of split pea soup and tossed in some fresh spinach for an extra boost.

Today, was P90X shoulders and arms.  I went heavy today - low reps.  Change things up a bit.  My smoothie was much better today: Kale, mango, banana, date, ground flax seeds and water.  Lunch will be salad and a vegetable white bean soup for dinner.

Need to steer clear of the candy jars at work though!  Plus, there are Girls Scout cookies EVERYWHERE! I can do it!

Spectacular Split Pea Soup

When I was younger I loathed peas.  One day while visiting a cousin my aunt cooked split pea soup and surprisingly I liked it - even at 8 or 9 years old.  Now that I'm older and much wiser I realize it is one of the most nutrient dense foods available.  It abounds with fiber and for those veggie people that squirm when cornered with the question, "Where do you get your protein!?!?,"  this is an awesome rebuttal! Split pea soup has about 16 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber in a one cup serving! Boo YA!

Split pea soup is easy to make:


1 pound of split peas (soaked overnight, drained and rinsed)
1 cup of chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup of chopped potatoes (optional)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
Sufficient water to cover peas by 2-3 inches

Bring peas to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.  While simmering sweat the carrots and celery for 2-3 minutes.  Add all other ingredients to the pot and continue to simmer until peas are tender.  Add water as needed to create the consistency that you prefer.  Remove bay leaf before serving.  Salt to taste

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The World's Worst Smoothie

I've done it.  Without a doubt I made the world's worst smoothie today.  To make matters worse it's all I had available for breakfast so I'm "choking it down" as I type this morbid post.

I received a portable blender (Nutri-Bullet) for my birthday a few days ago.  I figured I could take it to my office and use it there and use my oh-so-awesome-Vitamix at home.  So I toted this clunky contraption on the train along with my laptop, shoes, and food for the week.  I pre-loaded the mixer with the smoothie contents and bleh.

A few handfuls of kale, about a cup of blackberries, a date, chia seeds, and topped it off with almond milk and OJ.  OH. MY. GOD.  It's absolutely disgusting. I'm sure it's good for me but yuck! It even smells yucky.

Memo to Tim: Don't make this again.

Hope my days gets better from here.

I ran 3 miles today on the programmed hill routine on the treadmill.  It took me 33 minutes and says I burned 400 calories.  So at last that is good.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Triple S Challenge

Over the next 6 weeks I am going to lose at least 12 pounds and don't intend to find it ever again!  Bye, bye love handles, and excess back fat, and pudgy pecs, and round face.  How? The Triple S Challenge.

I've been contemplating this challenge for quite some time and put into practice today.  I'm going to track my progress, use this blog to keep me accountable and if I get the results I expect will formalize it all.

So what is it? It's a simplified way of eating that provides maximum nutrition with minimal calories.  Each day I will have  a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and soup for dinner - Monday through Friday.  Or they can be mixed up to suit my needs for that particular day.  On the weekends I have 2 of the 3 and eat a "sensible" meal for the others. 

I believe it's simple and most certainly will be effective.  Now it's time to "flesh" it out.  So today I did the first P90X routine (Chest & Back).  I had a smoothie that contained Kale, pear, peach, date, chia seeds, and almond milk.  Lunch was arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, and bok choy.  I cooked two larges pots of soup: vegetable & white bean and split pea.  I will eat off of those for the remainder of the week. 

Today I weighed in at 161.2 pounds and I intend to be less than 150 on March 31, 2014.  Honestly, it's not all about the weight - it's about being healthy.  Being overweight is unhealthy.  There are many bad things that accompany being overweight and none of them are good for us. 

I think this will be a simple and effective method to kick start a healthy life!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nutri Bullet

I had a pleasant surprise on my birthday.  My in-laws gave me a Magic Bullet because they know I "do my best to eat well."  The cookbook that came with the machine is very good.  Full disclosure: I'm a cook book or cooking show junky.  The majority of recipes are for smoothies but there are some good soup recipes in there too.  For the most part the recipes are plant based which is awesome.  I wondered how it would operate though.

I threw together a smoothie with spinach, pear, frozen peaches, cilantro and almond milk and it worked like a champ.  I was very pleased.  Having the connected cup is convenient too.  I believe I will take this contraption to my office and make my post-workout smoothie at work rather than at home. 

All in all it's nice little piece of equipment!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cardio: Meh

I really don't like to run.  If someone is chasing me with a hatchet I think I could run with a little more enthusiasm but typically I need motivation.  For me, that comes in the form of music.

I was raised primarily in the 70's (my musical formative years) with old-school rock (Bob Seger).  Of course as I entered my teens I listened to anything that appeared rebellious (hello hair metal) and other heavier music.  Now, my tastes are not quite refined but most definitely eclectic.  Here were the 10 songs that helped me endure today's run to heart health:

  1. The Wizard - Black Sabbath
  2. Dani California - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  3. Private Idaho - B52's
  4. Over My Head - King's X
  5. What a Shame - Shinedown
  6. Awake and Alive - Skillet
  7. Yahweh - Hillsong
  8. John Perkins Blues - Switchfoot 
  9. I'm Not Afraid - Fleming and John
  10. Should I Stay or Should I Go - The Clash 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Top 5: Calcium

Calcium is vital for strong bones and teeth, right?  Ever wonder how a Clydesdale horse or elephant developed such strong bones?  Surely it was from all of the milk, yogurt, and cheese consumption.  Or was it (he says as he scratches his chin and wonder)?  Adults should get about 1,000 mg of calcium per day.

Here are 5 non-dairy ways to increase calcium without supplementation:

  1. Okra - with a whopping 172 mg per cup this one is a calcium powerhouse!  Don't fry it - please.  Okra is a staple for gumbo.  Yum!
  2. Collard Greens - this one is huge at 266 mg per cup.  Collard don't require ham hocks or neck bones either.  Yes, cook them and eat them with black eyed peas or use collards in a smoothie. 
  3. Celery - Less than okra and collards but still fairly strong with 40 mg per cup.  Celery is key to any type of Louisiana cooking as well as stir fry. 
  4. Broccoli - 62 mg per cup of broccoli.  Hold the cheese but add it to stir fry or eat it raw in salads.  
  5. Almonds - one ounce contains about 75 mg of calcium. Snack on them.  Add them to oatmeal.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

February: Heart Healthy Month

Don't you like the way "someone" determines the theme of our months and days?  It's kind of obvious why February is "heart healthy" month based on the red hearts we see everywhere - kind of easy for word and picture association, right?

Unfortunately, our efforts and lifestyle simply do not have us on the right track for a heart-healthy February.  Approximately 60 million pounds of chocolate (it's not as heart healthy as the headlines indicate) is purchased and most likely consumed on 2/14.  The scary thing is that Easter and of course Halloween crushes Valentine's Day candy consumption.

I love when (okay I'm lying I don't love) people say "A little chocolate won't hurt - it's a holiday!"  I get where they are headed but there is typically always a reason to eat things that are unhealthy:

  1. New Years Day
  2. Super Bowl Sunday
  3. Valentine's Day
  4. Big Mama's 50th wedding anniversary
  5. Clint and Karen's Wedding
  6. Fat Tuesday
  7. St. Patrick's Day
  8. Grandma Bertha's Birthday
  9. Baby Shower
  10. Wedding Shower
  11. Easter
  12. Passover
  13. Baptisms
  14. Memorial Day
  15. Get it???? 
Enjoy Valentine's Day just don't let the folks at Hershey, Mars, and Kilwin's knock you off track. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fast, Faster, and Fastest Food

Fast food gets a bad rap and rightfully so.  It's believed by many that fast food is responsible for poor health, obesity, and heart disease.  I have to vehemently disagree and will give three examples why:

Fast: Leftovers are fast food.  When making a pot of chili, quinoa, brown rice, or salad (for example) make enough that you can always go back to the fridge and get more a few days later.

Faster: Have bags of frozen veggies on the ready.  These can be steamed or chowed (wok) in a few minutes. Also sweet potatoes are easily nuked and enjoyed.

Fastest: Fresh fruit and vegetables are the ultimate fast food.  Even most gas stations will have bananas or apples available at the checkout counter.  Peel and eat or wipe off an eat.

Get out of the drive-thru window and begin to flip the notion of fast food on its head.

PS - now that I have a Vitamix fast food has a whole new identity.  More on that at a later date.

Any other suggestions on fast food?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Get Up Offa That Thing

Everyone knows that exercise is good for our hearts, minds, and waist line but not everyone knows where to start!  Should they get a membership to the YMCA, Planet Fitness, join Cross Fit, or what? I have a great suggestion that will cost you $0 and have tremendous benefits: Walk.

Yes, walk even if it's cold outside.  I currently walk 1 mile each way to a train station pretty much every day.  Full disclosure when the windchill was -35 I wimped out but other than that...

Read the linked story.  Jodi is real person and used walking and she's still doing it today.

Be encouraged!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top 3 Brutal Beachbody Workouts

I like the Beachbody suite of workout videos.  P90X was a significant step in the right direction for me.  I know many people (Cross Fit* folks I'm looking at you) snicker about P90X and other home video stuff.  I always found that kind of odd.  One would think they'd be happy people are actually exercising.  To each him own, I guess:

  1. Plyo X (P90X) - the first time I did this routine - yea I hurled.  Then I walked gingerly for about 3-4 days.  Navigating stairs was nearly impossible.  Tough - tough - tough workout that is scaleable (like all of these)
  2. Pure Cardio (Insanity) - When Shaun T said, "I'm nervous about what's next." I started to sweat a different kind of sweat and took a deep gulp.  In this routine I am required to take breaks as my heart rate races to dangerous levels!  Great routine - fast and too the point. 
  3. Yoga X (P90X) - I was new to yoga when I began this routine.  Honestly, I only did the entire routine 1 time as 92 minutes is just too long for people that don't work out for a living.  However, the DVD has natural cutoff times and it's easy (well not really easy) to stop at 45 and 60 minutes.  This routine is challenging on so many different levels. 
Anyone want to chime in? 

* I see guys in my gym do Cross Fit type exercises and those guys and gals are in mad, fantastic shape!  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Post Super Bowl Reset

Statistics (those darn things!) indicate the majority of Americans ate and drink more than they typically do - maybe even more than on Thanksgiving yesterday.

So what's one to do?  Put your behind in the past and move forward. Don't stop reaching for your goal.  Don't stop pressing for the prize.  Don't give up!(Is that enough cliche talk?)

Improved blood lipids are in your future.  Improved blood pressure, sugar, and resting heart rate are within your grasp!  If you went gastronomically overboard yesterday let's do a reset starting today!

Today is a new day with new possibilities.

I'm with you.