Friday, January 29, 2010

Perspective, be nice and Breakfast

Commentary on a picture taken from space, of planet earth.

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

-Carl Sagan

For all of you that have never read that, did you enjoy it? I loved it when I first read it years ago, and I still love it today.
BE NICE, enjoy life with all it's varieties and differences and don't take it all to seriously ;-)

Back to food;

Great 20 minute workout yesterday morning, that had me drenched in sweat and hungry about 30 minutes later. Check out Chris's latest post on Conditioning research, for good info on post work out nutrition and the importance of exercise.

 Sauted in some herb butter from Kerrygold, red onion and asparagus. One fried egg and topped with a few slices of smoked salmon.

Have a great weekend everyone

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Random Variety

I've been thinking about this for the past week and it's difficult for me to put it into words as eloquently as I would like. Art Devany has some very scientific examples of this "randomization" principle and wrote about it often, years ago. I don't know if he has addressed it recently, as my paid subscription to his site expired.

So here goes my "observational speculation";
With the exception of your (happily) chosen field and the practice of unconditional love, everything else done  steadily/daily will not serve you in optimal ways. (this even includes breathing and meditation)
I guess my thoughts about this aren't exactly earth shattering or new, I mean how old is the expression "variety is the spice of life"?
But after running the half marathon and many people flat out calling me crazy, I just started thinking more and more about this. My work outs are random, what I eat is random, how I run is very random.
Since I'm having difficulty putting this onto words, I will share my own personal examples.

I will hit the gym hard lets say for 4 weeks (3 x a week), and then just like that, I won't go for 2 weeks. This doesn't mean I'm not active. It just takes a different form, maybe lots of bodyweight stuff and outdoor sprinting. I might play tennis 3 times a week for 2 weeks, and then I'll be missing in action for 2 weeks, not playing any tennis. I might join my friend at his crossfit gym for a week, but it will be 3 months before they would see me back there. I might run a 5k or a half marathon and then not actually run for 6 weeks. Only speaking from observation and experience, I have been getting stronger and I never seem to injure myself (years ago, I would always get injured). I think that the steady running, the steady lifting, the crossfit 6 days a week, creates a repetitive strain  that our bodies just don't appreciate. Injury usually occurs. And I think that's where the much debated "what is fitness" question comes in. To me it means being strong, injury free and the ability to participate in the physical and mental activities that you are attracted to.  My kids who used to like making fun and say "dad works out, cause he wants to be buff", are learning that it's not about that. Dad wants to be surfing a lot when he's sixty, and that's only going to happen if he keeps in shape. I also think sometimes that it makes them feel good that their dad doesn't look like all their friends dads. But I could be wrong.

My eating patterns and choices are very random. I go from eating once a day, to 4-5 times a day and everything in between. I might IF for a few weeks and then not for another few weeks. Just the other day I bought a large package of smoked salmon at Costco, its about 2 pounds I think. I will finish this in 3 days, and then not have it again for 6 or 8 weeks. I can devour some Fage yogurt for 14 days, and then not for the following month. Do you see where I'm heading with all this? Keeping it random is very important I think.
What are your thoughts on it??

Enjoy your life, stick to what you know works for you, BUT SWITCH IT UP.
So completely random. Last night I wanted some rice. No idea why. A bit of rice topped with Cobia (fish)
sauteed onion, asparagus and a squeeze of tomato paste. Fresh cucumber and an evoo drizzle on the rice.
Crappy phone sorry.

A bit of a ramble I know, but try and use this to look at your own eating and exercising habits. Are you keeping things varied and random??

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Salsa Verde

Before I get to this most decadent easy to make little condiment, I thought I'd give you an update on how I felt the week after running that half marathon.

My knees got progressively more sore and sensitive on Sunday, and by Sunday night I could barely take steps. Monday morning my knees were fine. No pain, no sensitivity whatsoever. My thighs (quads) were a little sore now. Mid day on Monday the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) took hold. I got progessively worse over the course of the day, and by 5 pm I was walking like some old fashioned cowboy that just got off his horse after a 5 day ride. Woke up Tuesday morning with NOTHING hurting or even sore. To be honest, I was kind of on a 'high" till Thursday from the race.

I am formulating my thoughts, and soon will share some of them on "random-ness", especially in regards to exercising with weights and running.

Ok, back to food.
Salsa Verde;

This one is so easy to make. Ten fresh tomatillo's, three jalapeno's and four cloves of garlic. If you look close you will also see a "scotch bonnet/habanero" pepper. I did not use it, but it's color looked so nice with all the green. Grab yourself a pot of water and boil the tomatillos and jalapenos until soft. Mean while, in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, warm the garlic on low heat. Get out your food processor and put the garlic (with the oil), jalapenos, tomatillos and a few sprigs of cilantro in it.Pulse until you get your desired texture. Some like it chunky, other might like it a bit more runny. I know, I know my pics are still phone pics. I will get the new battery for the camera today!

Try this, grill chicken thighs or flank steak, and mix some of this salsa verde with a tablespoon or two of full fat greek yogurt. Spoon the mixture on top of your grilled meat. It's delicious, trust me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Stupid is, as stupid does" AND The best shout out ever.

I guess I will start with the adressing the great quote above from one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump.
There are of course many others from the movie, but  this past Friday a business associate called me to go over some things and at then end of the conversation he said "hey; do you want to run the half marathon on Sunday? I'm one of the sponsors you know? " My Forrest Gump brain took over and I answered "yeah sure, that sounds like fun"  , (stupid is as stupid does). Great he said, I will sign you up and I will see you Sunday morning at 6 am. Race starts at 7. I hung up the phone and said to myself  "cool, I'm running a half marathon." My next thought was, are you freakin crazy?!!! You haven't ran a mile since the 5k December 12th. and youv'e never run more than 5 miles at a time. The more the day went on, the more I rationalized my decision. I was just going to do this. (thoughts on "random-ness" coming later in another post)
What's better than a little adventure? I think putting yourself on the line every now and then is important, it makes you feel alive!

I woke up early Sunday morning got dressed and when I got outisde it was a little breezy and raining. Thank goodness the local cold temps had left and it was a balmy 62. My car started this time when I left, and
I got there right at 6.  I was immediately blown away by how many people there were, it was just ELECTRIC. So much positive energy and excitement in the air, don't know about others, but I could sure feel it. My adrenaline started coursing.......
I found out after the race that this is a very popular half marathon and draws about 2000 people. That's a lot for our sleepy town. Lots of people from other parts of the country.  \Nice way to take a little trip I'm guessing.
I meet up with the rest of the gang, and the conversations around, started talking about training runs, last years half marathon, split times, know "runners talk". It was at this point that a little bit of self doubt crept into my dumb head, but like I said, the adrenaline was al ready coursing. At one point a gentlemen that I had met for the first time, said to me "when did you run your last long training run? I ran my 13 miles days ago and have been tapering down, so I'm ready today." I really must have looked like Forrest Gump at that point as I just stammered "uhhhh uhhhh uhh". I then made the mistake of telling the small crowd that I have never really run more then 5 miles. As much as I like being the center of attention ;-) , I didn't enjoy it right at that moment!!! Everyone looked at me like I had 3 heads. I told them I had no expectations and that I was running real slow today.
At 6:50 am all 2000 people were waiting at the starting line. The organiszers were playing some great music and just before 7 the star spangled banner came on.....although I'm not sure...I was so caught up in the excitement of the moment, that it could have been America the beautiful, or even something else, but I was just really enjoying it.

I decided to take it nice and slow, well, there was no chioce really, you had to because of the crowd.
At mile 1, my time (thanks to a guy with a watch next to me) was a 10 minute and 30 second pace.
There was a lot of nice conversation to be had with other runners and I picked 2 ladies from Wisconsin to pace me. They were running 10 minute miles. The gentlemen I had met earlier, was also running with us at that 10 minute pace.

At mile 3, I smiled to myself, because neither of my calfs had cramped and I took that to be a good omen.
At mile 4, I was surprised how fresh I was feeling. The course took us through Old Naples and a block from the beach. The setting was spectacular. When I saw the mile 5 marker, I got happy and said to myself "new personal record" and decided to listen to my ipod shuffle for a bit. My "pacers" seemed to be doing fine, but I was ready to start picking up the pace a tiny bit. So I left them and ventured on my own......into the unknown ;-)

I found a real nice stride and coupled with some great music I just enjoyed my little adventure. Around mile 9, I started looking at runners ahead and setting my sights on someone I thought I could catch up to. Once I did, I would look ahead again for the next one.

I did not run this race in my VFF's. I ran it in my Nike Free's

The reason I decided on my Nike's was two fold.
1. I never ran a really long distance in my VFF before
2. Don't laugh......I knew I would be the only person there in VFF. I was worried that if I didn't finish the race, or collapsed somewhere, people would say, "You know, that guy that collapsed with the funny shoes...."

At mile 8 and 9 my feet felt very very warm. It was really the only discomfort I felt all race. When I hit mile 11, I got very very excited. I felt like I had made it. But then.....that mile got tough. I turned up my music louder and started singing along. Might have not sounded great for others, but it fired me up and before I knew it, mile 12 was in sight. I ran the last mile trying to pick of as many runners as I had the energy for.
I made it through the finish line at 2:10 and 35 seconds.

I felt fantastic and I took my shoes off as fast as I could.  Some observations and thoughts: I wasn't surprised but yet I was grateful that I never felt winded. Hey, I sang out loud at mile 11. Short burst intense work outs do really work. The runners "high" really does exist, I felt it around mile 6. I KNOW most runners I talked too had been eating pasta for a few days prior. "carb loading" they called it. I dont have to tell you what I ate : )  In the morning around 6:30 I had a banana, I dont eat those too often, but I was hungry and there were only bagels and bananas. I also will share this with you, around mile 5, the volunteers handed out water and orange gatorade in cups. I had one of those little paper cups filled with orange gatorade. It just looked sooooo inviting. It tasted even better. I tried to "feel" my body actively after ingesting it..........but I noticed nothing.  Not even my saliva thickening....which I can feel if I eat sugar now. After the race I was amused that taking steps felt strange. I mean running for 2 hours and then taking normal steps is a sensation you dont feel often. I started getting a bit sore about 3 hours later. The nap in the afternoon felt FANTASTIC. The only sore part this morning are my knees. Interesting because I don't remember my knees ever hurting. Not from soccer, tennis tournaments or heavy sessions of box jumps. All in all I was really happy I did it. Like I said, it was like an adventure. I won't be running anytime soon...........I will give you my thoughts on that in my next post about "random-ness"

I got the best comment on Friday. Rusty from Fitnessblackbook , left me a comment that said "you're famous buddy" When I followed the link I saw this
When I saw what Rusty wrote about my little blog, I was so humbled. I can't thank him enough. I mean sometimes just getting affirmation that what you do is appreciated is so encouraging! And what he said is true, I really like connecting and sharing with all of you. It's what life is about isn't it?
Rusty, THANK YOU!!!! I look forward to the day when you visit Naples and I can show you around and we can have a beer on the beach together.

Follow your dreams, put yourself on the line every now and again, and remember that you can do anything you set your mind on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I added the link to to Dr. Kurt Harris's site PaleoNU. I meant to do this a while ago, but the administrative duties of my blogging usually fall behind schedule. Hence the lame lay out ;-) At some point I will get my butt in gear and make it look a little nicer. In my third year of keeping this effort up, so I don't feel too bad about it. I hope it continues to provide all of you with simple ideas on how to keep on going.
PaleoNU has been one of my favorite daily reads since its inception. Many articles I re-read, to fully comprehend the informatin so generously shared by Dr. Harris. Go have a look if you are not familiar, you will not be dissapointed, I promise.

Richard's latest post on Free the Animal is a MUST read for anyone following a paleo/primal/ef lifestyle. The comments are eye opening and I never knew that people experienced so many difficulties. Are you experiencing issues? I was going to leave a long comment, on Free the Animal, but decided to do a post and offer some support and thoughts on the subject. I am NOT a researcher, scientist, Dr., scholar and am in no way qualified on anything really.........BUT for the past 4 years I have lived N=1 and M=1. I can share with you what I've learned through trial and error and careful observation. Example, had you told me 5 years ago that if I didn't work out for 2 weeks, I would improve body composition and get stronger, I wouldn't have believed you. I had to find out for myself. Had you told me I could play 5 hours of a tennis tournament competition in a fasted state.....I would have laughed at you. My list can go on and on, but you get my point. You MUST ultimately make it your own........find out what works for YOU. Go and read some off Brent's Health care Epistomecrat for amazing writing about n=1,m=1 and bricoleurs. I have also added his link on the right. I have a feeling you will be hearing more from Brent over the coming years. I would even dare make a bet that he will publish a well known book at some point in time. So Richard's latest post has I think caused quite a stir. We have not heard the end of this in my opinion.

My thoughts;
This will be a ramble so try and stay with me ;-)
I will start a list followed by some thoughts on those statements. Again ...these are MY feel free to fire away on me if you don't agree.

1. Most people come to paleo/primal ef because they are overweight and want to loose weight. I think many startt off too strong and hardcore. Much like when folks decided to "get in shape". It's all to much, to fast.

2. A lot of people over analyze the whole paleo/primal/ef concept. Maybe that's were I'm actually lucky that I am not so learned. One only needs to closely look at Art Devany's older meal pictures and you have a perfectly clear picture to send you on your way. Over the past 1-2 years, his EF way has been somewhat questioned by the crowd that has been following him for 4 or more. But if you look will see that he eats the "variety of foods" that I think has been missing from many that have come to the (hardcore) party over the last year or two. I remember comments on his site like "isn't that a lot of fruit?"
or "you're portions are so small?"  (in your mid 70's you need less food then mid 40's)  Art changed his eating ways over 30 years ago. He has stressed many a time "stop worrying, it will come, it takes time, enjoy the journey etc etc" I have a feeling he suffered a few "symptoms of change" 30 years ago....after all, he too ate plenty of cheese burgers and drank to many beers at one time.

3. Alcohol. I suspect many many folks still drink to much. Once your "internals" start changing, too much alcohol (FRUCTOSE) causes havoc. I know this again from careful personal observation. For some, 3-4 glasses of wine is ok, for some one glass might be to much.

4. The art of living. This paleo/primal/ef way is an art. You must make it your own. What works for others will not work for you.

What to take away from my ramble?  EAT REAL FOODS and GET BUSY LIVING!

Real foods includes EVERYTHING that doesn't come in a box or can. It might take some time for your sytem to come back to normal, but once it does VARIETY is key. Yes you can eat watermelon, yes you can have an organic potato. I've always called it ef/paleo/primal, the combination of all 3 makes it perfect in my humble opinion.  

That's it for now, let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spanish Ground Lamb

Still no battery for my camera, funny how sometimes the simplest of errands, take the longest to accomplish. hmmmmm.......
So my apologies for the crummy phone pic.
I'm going to share one of my all time favorites with you today. Spanish ground lamb.
This is so super easy to make.
Ground lamb, garlic, onion, olives (any kind except for those tasteless canned black ones), fresh tomato (or some tomato paste), sweet or hot smoked paprika, butter, heavy cream, salt and pepper.
Lets say you're making this for 2 people. 1 pound ground lamb, 4 cloves of garlic, 1/4 of a large onion, 6-8 olives, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, one small tomato, 2 tbspoons heavy cream.
Got it ? Let's do it;
In butter, saute the onion, when translucent but not browned add the garlic. When you smell the garlic, add the diced up olives. Saute together for 2 minutes. Add your ground lamb.
when pink starts to disappear, add your smoked paprika and some salt and pepper. Turn down your heat a little and add your diced up tomato. When tomato gets soft, add your heavy cream. Stir well for another minute and serve. A nice glass of heavy, full bodied red wine is perfect with this dish.

This is also a great dish to bring a long if you need to bring food to a party or get together.

"Not everything that counts can be counted......and not everything that can be counted counts" Albert Einstein

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tomatoes and Sunset

The area where I live is one if not the largest producers of tomatoes in the U.S. Just yesterday I was fortunate enough to get a back door pass to one of the farms and packing houses. Pretty neat and I learned a lot about tomatoes. From a paleo/primal perspective, I now understand why there are many people that can't tolerate them well, as they are part of the night shade family. It's not easy to grow them with out a lot of "intervention". Took this picture of the field that was quite beautiful.
I thought I'd also share this picture with you all that I snapped New years eve at sunset.

Have a great weekend everyone! As promised next up, Spanish Ground Lamb Recipe.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The "Murph" a CrossFit workout

Little Crossfit workout this morning to start the new year.
The "Murph" consists of the following.

1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 squats
1 mile run.

My calf is still not right, so I "rowed" for the 2 miles instead.
I started with 20 pull ups, 45 push up and 20 squats.
From there my numbers only decreased and the last 25% of the work out, I could only muster 5 pull ups, 12-15 push ups and 12-20 squats. It's a tough cookie.....give it a shot. My time was around 47 minutes.

Man was I looking forward to breakfast an hour later.....
Left over Spanish ground lamb, with one small boiled potato. Recipe for the lamb to follow with picture.

Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Universal Chicken Dish & Avocado Soup

I'm just taking an educated guess here, but I think almost every culture has a version of this chicken dish. Namely, chicken with garlic.
I've tasted it from many different cultures, but I think one of my favorites is this version from Spain. It's a classic Feel Good Eating dish. Easy to prepare, fresh simple ingredients and super flavor. A real crowd pleaser if you will.
Here we go and because I'm sharing this with you all......promise me you will try this sometime. You won't be disappointed. I wasn't going to share this one as it will be served in the restaurant one will be a staple there for sure.
Ingredients needed. 1 organic chicken cut into 8 pieces with skin (you can use thighs with skins just as well, about 3.5 pounds), 25-30 cloves of garlic,3 tbsps almond meal, 2 cups chicken stock, 3-4 tbsps of smoked paprika (hot or sweet your choice), 4 tbsps dry white wine, fresh thyme, cilantro and parsely (you can use dried too, but fresh is best.) 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional) salt and pepper to taste. Evoo and butter for saute-ing.

In a large skillet, saute the garlic cloves in butter or evoo. After 2 minutes, remove with slotted spoon. Now the oil or butter will be nicely infused with garlic. Coat the chicken in the almond meal, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. In a large skillet brown the chicken on both sides. About 10 minutes. Watch your heat! Remove the chicken from your pan and add the fresh herbs, chicken stock and white wine. Turn up the heat and add the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Remove the chicken and bring the rest of your liquid to a boil. Reduce until about 1/2 cup is left. Optional add a splash of heavy cream, mix well and pour over your chicken.

Sorry about the "phone pics". I need a battery for my camera.

So many people I know have an avocado tree in their back yard here. I don't have one, but this time of year I get so many avocados handed to me, I'm not upset that there is no tree in my back yard. Now "Florida" avocados are a little different then the "hass" variety. They are not quite as dense, and they are much bigger with more water. Here's what they look like:

Since I had about 3 of these guys ripe and ready to go, I made some cold avocado soup. Very simple and super tasty. If you have just one hass avocado you can make this too.

Thinly dice and slice some onion, a little bit of fresh pepper of your choice (I used cayenne, but jalapeno works well too), chicken stock, full fat yogurt, lemon juice and fresh cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. In your food processor, mix the onion, pepper and cilantro together. Now add your avocado and process together. Transfer to a large bowl or container and mix in your chicken stock (the stock shouldn't be warm). Last mix in your yogurt. You could use sour cream, but the full fat yogurt gives it a better flavor in my opinion. If you have some crumbled bacon to add to it before eating, have at it. I didn't have any on hand.

Really yummy soup.
Will you guys let me know what you think of the chicken recipe? And what garlic chicken varieties do you know??