Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kaleo! It's the Magic Pill!

Did you hear? I'm starting a new fad diet! It's called Kaleo. Kale + Paleo = Kaleo. It's a plant based Paleo diet. Genius, no? I'm going to write a diet book and exercise program, hawk them on my blog, badmouth everyone else's way of eating, cherry pick and post a few outlying studies that support my philosophy, get lots of advertisers to pay me to pimp out their products, and make a million dollars. No one has EVER done anything like that before, after all.

B: green smoothie (watermelon, blueberries, spinach, kale, cucumber, avocado, raw protein)
L: 2 rice cakes with natural peanut butter, cubed tofu with olive oil and salt and pepper, small peach/strawberry/cucumber/kale smoothie
S: 2 rice cakes with avocado, apple, peach
D: 2 Praegers' california burgers (speaking of pimping out products, I gotta plug these guys, they're pretty decent for convenience food. They're made almost entirely of vegetables, vegetables that still look like vegetables. Other than some 'soy flakes' pretty far down the list, there's no franken-food in them. They're FAR better than the standard boca/morningstar meat substitute offerings, although still inferior to homemade), 2 whole wheat tortillas, sliced heirloom tomato, mustard.

Cal: 2629
Protein: 135
Fat: 104

AM: 30 minute bodyweight circuit
PM: worked on OHS, freestanding handstand, and clean and jerk. Got up to 115, only 5 pounds off my PR. I'm almost back, guys!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Stopping in to Say Hi

Hi! Been too busy to blog the last couple days. I know I forgot to post my body fat percentage on Saturday when I posted my weigh in, it was 12.4%. That's lower than this device has ever measured me at.


Still staying on program with MyPlate, it's getting easier to get my grains in. I'd forgotten how comforting a big bowl of warm brown rice with a little olive oil and salt and pepper can be. Today's calorie count was right about 2700.

Today's workout:
squat: worked up to a 1 rep max, 155. That's only 5 pounds off my PR, and I've been sidelined from heavy squatting for a month by this darn tailbone injury. That felt good! Then 5 x 5 @ 95. For the record, I squat well below parallel, as close to ATG as my stiff arthritic knees can go.
Several sets of pullups
Assisted dips: 15 w/ assist @ 120, 12 @ 100, 10 @ 80, 6 @ 60, 3 full bodyweight

Saturday, September 17, 2011

9/17 Log

First things first, I know you are all DYING to know what happened with my weigh in today? 1 week in to my MyPlate experiment and my weight this morning...

drumroll please...


What's that you say? I lost 4 pounds? I LOST 4 POUNDS?!?!?!

I lost 4 pounds.

I'm going to explain why now. Paleo/primal readers, feel free to skip this part. You won't believe it anyway.

See, I burn 3000-3500 calories on a normal day. I know this because I've been tracking my diet daily for over three years and I know how many calories it takes to start gaining weight, and how many it takes to lose weight. So when MyPlate gave me a daily allotment of 2600 calories I knew I would lose weight. No matter how many carbs I ate, or how many servings of grain, or how much fructose I consumed. Even if I ate 2600 calories a day of cupcakes, I knew I would lose weight. Some of the 4 pounds I lost was water weight, as depleting my glycogen stores via a calorie deficit also depletes the water that is bound to glycogen molecules. Over the next 3 weeks I will continue to lose weight, but not at as fast a pace. If I stay on a 2600 calorie diet indefinitely, I will continue to lose weight until I reach a body weight and activity level that requires 2600 calories a day to maintain. Even if all I eat is twinkies, I will lose weight until I reach that weight. And then I will maintain that weight until I die of malnutrition from eating only twinkies.

So there ya go.

Today's log:

B: green smoothie
L: salad with chopped veggies, a bit of salmon, and an apple
S: cucumber/kale/honeydew juice
D: veg sushi with a ton of white rice. Needed to get those grain servings in.
S: honeydew. A whole honeydew.

Cal: 2769
Carb: 434
Protein: 127
Fat: 74


3 mile run, followed by
15 round of: 15 jumping pullups/15 box jumps/15 second handstand

Friday, September 16, 2011

9/16 Log

Not too much to report today, got my grain servings in in the form of 4 whole wheat tortillas and a cupcake. Yep, a cupcake. With frosting and everything. Weigh in tomorrow morning, 1 week in. Who wants to make a wager? Will I have gained weight? I have been eating an awful lot of grains after all. 9 whole ounces a day.

B: green smoothie
S: 2 cashew larabars
L: 2 praegers' california burgers in 2 whole wheat tortillas
D: same as lunch, plus an apple
S: green smoothie

Cal: 2402
Carb: 289
Protein: 116
Fat: 106

1.7 mile run
3 max hold handstand
deadlift: 3 x 15 @ 115, 5 @ 165, 5 @ 185, 10 @ 115
a bunch of clean and jerks and overhead squats, didn't keep track
1.3 miles on stairclimber

Wasn't really feeling it today. Not one of my best workouts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/15 Log

Back to troublemaking in the blogoshpere. Today was day 6 of my MyPlate experiment. I haven't been blogging every day, but I have been tracking. I am sticking pretty close to my 2600 calorie allotment, maybe a hair over one day, a hair under another. Except for one day, I've met my requirements for all food groups every day. Today I went whole hog and ate a HUGE plate of white pasta. I'm estimating it was 6-8 1 oz grain servings. See what I do, in the name of scientific discovery?

B: green smoothie (kale, cuke, honeydew, blueberries, avocado, protein, unsweetened soy milk)
S: apple and cashew larabar
L: pasta w/ chopped raw veggies and a bit of tuna salad
S: 2 rice cakes with peanut butter
D: green smoothie (see breakfast), this was also my post workout recovery meal

Cals: 2263 (will eat a bit more before bed)
Carb: 300g
Protein: 114g
Fat: 80g

10 minutes on stairclimber
3 sets max rep deadhang pullups
bench press: worked up to 3 rep max (105), then 3 x 10 @ 70#
squats: 3 x 10 @ 85, 3 x 8 @ 105
assisted dips: 15 w/ assist @ 120, 10 @ 100, 8 @ 80, 5 @ 60, 3 bodyweight

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

After the Voting: Reflections on the Fittest Friends Contest

The voting is over, the judges have weighed in, and public announcements have been made. I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to Regina Gunn on winning the Women's Health Fittest Friends contest. You are beautiful, truly fit, and a wonderful role model. I am honored to have competed with (yes, WITH, not against) you, and I hope this is only the first of many, many amazing opportunities for you! I also want to thank Women's Health and Men's Health for running this contest. It was a great opportunity for many aspiring models and performers to get their faces in front of the public, and though I am neither of those things, I met many extraordinary and inspirational women as a result of my participation. Anowa Adjah you are beautiful and strong and such a brilliant and supportive leader. Sarah Laursen, you have overcome so much and are a gentle yet amazingly strong spirit and I know you will go far. Amber Hayes, I am in awe of your power and strength, truly inspired. Lee Lance, although I never connected with you personally, I voted for you over and over, because, well, you're the badass I aspire to be!

I would like to use this platform to speak to the many of you that have contacted me privately to express your frustration, disappointment and even anger about the judges final ruling. I hear you. I acknowledge your feelings. What I want you to know is that I do not consider myself a loser. Don't forget that I encouraged you to vote for other exceptional women, Regina Gunn included! I wanted to see someone extraordinary win this, and that is exactly what happened! I went into this contest with low expectations. I doubted I would get many votes at all! Lets face it, I'm hardly fitness model material, and the main 'prize' of this competition was a chance to model in Women's Health magazine. My muscles are too big, my boobs are WAY too small (and I have no intention of changing them), my hair is too short, my face is too wrinkled. And like many of you, I have stretch marks and veins from pregnancy, and saggy skin from losing so much weight, and as one of the other finalists so eagerly and publicly tweeted, the picture I entered made me look like a man. The judges were looking for a model, and I'm not it! I'm ok with that. I was humbled by the response my entry got. I didn't expect it, and I am so honored. In the end, I AM a winner, because I didn't go into this for the 'prize', I went in to it to get my message out. And friends, you helped me do that! You voted day after day, you posted my profile on your walls and shared my message with your friends, and they shared it with their friends. I have had so many people contact me privately to thank me for inspiring them to make lifestyle changes, and THAT is the only prize that means anything to me. That is the very best prize in the world, to know that because my story was shared, someone out there is taking control of their health. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me do that. I know that many of you were hoping that your votes would send a message to 'the media' that we want to see more diversity in body size, shape and age on the pages of magazines, and like you, I do hope that message was heard.

As for 'my message': I said it during the contest and I will continue to say it until I die. Fitness is not about being sexy to find or please a mate, it is not about looks or money and success or youth or professional athleticism or competing to have the biggest biceps or heaviest deadlift or fastest 5k time. Fitness is about YOU, taking control of your OWN health, improving the quality of your OWN life, finding joy in moving and pride in accomplishing things you never thought you could do because you'd been told, by someone in your life or by societal pressures, that you were too old, or too fat, or too clumsy, or too slow or too weak. It is about valuing yourself enough to dedicate time every day to your own health and well being. It is about setting examples for our children, so they will grow up valuing and respecting us, and THEMSELVES, enough to take pride in their bodies and their accomplishments and their health. Women, it is about feeding and nourishing your bodies with plenty of healthy food, it is about rejecting society's mandate that you must be small and weak in order to be desirable. It is about rejoicing in our bodies' STRENGTH and power, supporting and building each other up, valuing and appreciating our bodies, and those of other women, for what they can DO, not how they look.

Please join me in this 'movement'. Stop dieting. Stop trying to look good for someone else. Start nourishing yourselves with food and movement and love and friendships. If you posted my profile on your wall during the contest, please post this blog post on your wall now so that my gratitude can also reach your friends who took the time to vote for me.

I love you all, and am so grateful for your support, we are all winners.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/13 Log

MyPlate FAIL today, I only managed to fit in 4 grain servings. That really does seem to be the hardest part for me. I was so busy I fell back on my regular eating habits. Who would have ever thought the day would come that I would have to struggle to fit enough bread into my diet?

B: green smoothie
L: dr. praegers' california burgers (2) wrapped in whole wheat tortillas.
S: cashew cookie larabar
D: salad w/ shredded beets, olives, beel peppers, crumbled tofu, sesame dressing
S: green smoothie

I can pack a lot of calories into my smoothies, btw, in case anyone looks at my daily menus and is mystified as to how I manage to get my calorie count so high.

Cals: 2743
Carb: 324
Protein: 158
Fat: 117
Sat Fat: 14
Fiber: 83

20 minutes of high intensity core work (just fast paced, no rest)
Squat/pullups superset (10 squats @ 115/max rep pullups)
30 minutes of clean and jerks. Worked up to a one rep max (115, a bit off my pr), then 40 @ 70#

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/12 Log

Day three of MyPlate. I'm having a hard time getting in all my grain servings. Not because of the amount, I don't think 9 ounces is all that much. It's because I don't like grain products any more. They taste bland to me. Boring. Not worth the calories. But I soldier on. Today I ended up eating rice cakes with avocado to meet my requirements. I would have preferred to just eat the avocado plain, to be honest, the rice cakes did nothing to enhance the experience. I am finding myself craving green smoothies madly, which also happened when I was eating paleo.

I did manage to fulfill all my recommended intakes. I went way over on fruits and veg, as I suspect will continue to be the case. I can meet my requirements for less than 2000 calories, which leave 600+ calories of my allotment to fill as I wish, and fruits and vegetables are my wish.

B:Green smoothie (spinach, blueberry, cucumber, avocado, raw protein, unsweetened soy milk)
S: cashew cookie larabar
L: 4 ounces worth of savory quinoa pancakes with salsa, green smoothie made from pear, cucumber and spinach
S: almonds and rice cakes with avocado
D: zucchini pancakes w/ avocado
S: another blueberry/spinach/avocado smoothie

Calories: 2568
Carb: 328g
Protein: 140g
Fat: 97g
Sat Fat: 14g
Fiber: 79g

10 minutes on stair climber
3 sets of max rep dead hang pullups
Deadlift: 20 @ 45, 15 @ 135, 10 @ 155, 10 @ 165, 5 x 2 @ 185
Press: 3 x 15 @ 45
Power clean: 3 x 5 @ 65, 3 x 5 @ 75, 3 x 5 @ 85, 3 x 5 @ 95
1 mile jog

My Beef (hardy har har) With The Primal/Paleo Crowd

I think Primal/Paleo is a really healthy way to eat, and far, FAR better than the Standard American Diet. I don't think my diet is superior to the Primal/Paleo diet, and I fully respect anyone who wishes to improve their health by adopting a Primal/Paleo way of eating. I think most people will see a dramatic improvement in their health by going Primal/Paleo. In fact, almost everything I eat (save the legumes) would be right at home in a Primal/Paleo kitchen, and I am quite certain that I wouldn't go hungry at a Primal/Paleo dinner party.

I read a lot of Primal/Paleo blogs and here are some of the things I've read recently:

-a plant based diet will result in high triglycerides

(mine were 33 last time they were checked)

-a plant based diet will result in low HDL

(mine was 68 at last check)

-a plant based diet will lead to accumulation of body fat

(mine is 12.5%. I hate to be all arrogant about that, but that's lower than any paleo woman I know personally. In fact, it's lower than most paleo MEN I know personally))

-a plant based diet will prevent gains in lean body mass

(I've got about 140 pounds of lean body mass, that's as much as a fit MAN my height and weight)

-a plant based diet will limit strength gains

(this MAY be true? but I'm pretty damn strong. Sure, I could be stronger. But I'm pretty damn strong for a 40 year old soccer mom with a arthritis, a day job, and a social life)

-phytates in legumes cause mineral deficiencies

(my mineral levels are so pretty you'd cry)

-lectins in legumes cause leaky gut and poor digestion

(well, first of all I'm not convinced leaky gut exists, but more importantly, my digestion and elimination are, by the standards I see in paleo blogs, perfect)

-vegans are emaciated


-vegans claim mucus in stool are worms


Basically, NONE of the things I hear the Primal/Paleo crowd claim are the dangers of a plant based diet hold true for me, and I've been eating this way for 3 years. In fact, the longer I eat this way, the further away from their vegan stereotype I get. I get stronger and leaner, my triglycerides get lower and my HDL higher. When I mention this, I invariably get an answer along the lines of "well, you're obviously a genetic anomaly". If I were a genetic anomaly, why would my body have responded to the Standard American Diet and sedentary lifestyle the way everyone else's body does: obesity and metabolic syndrome? There's nothing extraordinary or anomalous about me. I'm quite average, I assure you.

So what I'm left with is: why do they feel the need to make shit up about plant based diets to get people to believe in their philosophy? Their philosophy is sound, why undermine their own credibility with, well, made up shit? All those things I listed above are true of crappy diets, not plant based diets.

Primal/Paleo people: more power to you. I respect your dietary choices. I don't go around making shit up about your diet. I believe you are healthy, and your diet is health promoting.

Stop making shit up about mine, and maybe you'll find out we can accomplish more together. Promoting a healthier lifestyle is our common goal, no? Maybe?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MyPlate N of 1, Day 1

In case you missed my post about why I'm conducting this experiment, here it is. This post is to document my beginning stats.

Date: September 10, 2011
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 157.5 pounds
Body Fat: 13.1%
BMI: 22.6
Blood Pressure: 134/77

Notes: my blood pressure reading is from yesterday afternoon at my chiropractic appointment. Not sure why it's reading so high, I'm normally pretty spot on ~120/80. Thought I'd include it anyway. In regard to my body fat: I test it using an Omron hand held bioelectric impedence device. I know these are not accurate. :) I had my BF hydrostatically tested in June 2011 with a result of 12.5%. That same day, this device read my BF% as 13.3%, so I think it's actually decently accurate. However, I'm not assuming that it's reading is 100% accurate. I am using it simply to gauge fat gain or loss over the course of this experiment.


Day 1 MyPlate breakfast smoothie. 1 pear and 1/2 avocado (1.5 cups fruit, 1 fat/oil serving), spinach and cucumber (1.5 cups veg), 1 cup unsweetened soymilk (1 cup dairy), 1 scoop Raw Protein (1 oz protein food). 370 calories, 37 grams carb, 28 grams protein, 16.5 grams fat, 14 grams fiber.

AM Snack:
1 2 oz. slice homemade whole wheat toast (2 grain servings), 1 TBSP home made peanut butter (1 protein serving, 1 fat serving). 193 calories, 22 grams carbs, 8 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 2 grams fiber.

2 2oz. slices homemade whole wheat bread (4 grain servings), 3 oz sliced tofu (3 oz protein), 1 medium tomato sliced (1/2 cup veg), basil leaves, 2 tsp olive oil (2 fat/oil servings), 1/2 a banana (1/2 cup fruit). 429 calories, 60 grams carbs, 20 grams protein, 13 grams fat, 5.6 grams fiber.

Afternoon Snack:

Smoothie: 1 cup spinach and 1/2 cup cucumber (1.5 cups veg), 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 peach (1 cup fruit), 1/2 avocado (1 fat and 1/2 fruit), 1 cup unsweetened soymilk (1 cup dairy), 1 scoop Raw Protein (1 oz protein). 356 calories, 32 grams carb, 29 grams protein, 17 grams fat, 13 grams fiber.

2 2oz corn/whole wheat tortillas (4 grain servings), 1/4 cup black beans (.5 protein), 1 oz shrimp (1 protein), radishes and green peppers (.5 veg), salsa (.25 veg), 1/4 avocado (.25 fruit, 1 fat), 1 apple (1 fruit). 482 calories, 78 grams carb, 23 grams protein, 10 grams fat, 14 grams fiber.


Calories: 1900 (this is very low, I will eat more before bed)
Carbs: 232
Protein: 114
Fat: 68 (also low)
Fiber: 49

Fruits: 5 cups (2 cups recommended)
Veg: 5 cups (3.5 cups rec)
Protein: 7.5 1 ounce servings (6.5 oz rec)
Dairy: 3 cups (3 cups rec)
Grains: 10 1 oz servings (9 oz rec)
Fat: 7 tsp (8 tsp rec)

And my workout today:
10 minutes on stairclimber
OHS 10@ 50, 10 @ 60, 10 @ 70, 8 @ 80
Deadhang pullups: 3 sets max reps
Squats: 5 @ 115, 5 @ 120, 5 @ 125, 5 @ 130, 5 @ 135, 10 @ 115
Handstands: 3 max hold
Hang snatch: 10 @ 45, 2 x 5 @ 55, 2 x 5 @ 60, 2 x 5 @ 65, 1 @ 70, 1 @ 70, 1 (failed) @ 75, 10 @ 45

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Next N of 1 Trial

UPDATE 9/14: five days in and this morning my weight was 157. My BF was 13.2%. Not gaining weight yet *looks at watch*...wonder when those carbs are going to start their evil dirty work?

I enjoy experimenting on myself, especially in regard to diet. It was through experimentation that I learned that I do well on a plant based diet, and that low carb diets make me feel and look like utter crap. I spent 4 weeks recently on a strict paleo diet and was thoroughly unimpressed with the results. I've decided what my next case study will be.

I'm going to follow the USDA MyPlate guidelines for four weeks.

Why, you ask? Well, the USDA guidelines get a lot of flack from the blogoshpere. Diet gurus of all philosophies decry them as little more than a shill for the grain and dairy industries. The USDA's industry-friendly guidelines, they say, are responsible for our nation's obesity and subsequent chronic disease epidemic. Heck, even I have been heard to say that they are a little grain heavy. What will happen to me, you may wonder? Will I develop leaky gut syndrome from all the lectins in the grains I will consume? Disabling mineral deficiencies from the phytates? Will I gain weight uncontrollably as the carbs run amok inside my body, triggering insulin resistance and fat storage even in the absence of excess energy? It stands to reason, after all, that if I consume the diet that led to our obesity epidemic, I will become obese. Oh, the dangers are myriad, and terrifying! But throw myself upon the sword of MyPlate I shall, all in the name of scientific discovery.

Here are the basic guidelines MyPlate gave me based on my age, height, weight and activity level:

2600 calories, pretty decent. Not a starvation level diet, thank goodness. They even provide detailed guidelines for vegans:

2 cups of fruit, 3.5 cups of vegetables, 9 ounces of grain (wait, 9 ounces? That's not very much. I thought the grain industry was trying to force feed us massive quantities of grain?), 6.5 ounces of protein (yep, that's about right), 3 cups of 'dairy' (or soy/almond/hemp replacements in my case). This doesn't sound too terrible. Maybe a little less vegetables and protein than I am used to, but not fatal.

Care to make a wager on the outcome?

I'm starting on Saturday. I will post my beginning stats (weight, BF%, resting heart rate) then, and update periodically as the experiment progresses.

Monday, September 5, 2011

9/5 Log

Wow, it's been a while since I logged. Sorry about that! I fell off a bosu ball last weekend and did a number on my tailbone so I took a week off of workouts. That, and being super busy with the first week of school and work and everything else just kind of sucked up all my time. Gonna get back on it though! My tailbone is still very sore so I'm keeping my weights low until I heal up some more.

Warmup: 5 rounds: 10 x 50# thrusters/max rep pullups
full snatch 5 x 5 @ 55#
bent over row 5 x 5 @ 100#
10 minutes working on free standing handstand
squat: 2 x 10 @ 95, 2 x 8 @ 105, 2 x 8 @ 115, 2 x 5 @ 120
Pullups, toes to bar, wall handstands, planks in between sets

B: green smoothie (berries, kale, spinach, cucumber, raw protein, avocado, almond milk)
S: watermelon
L: green smoothie (same as breakfast)
D: salad: greens, chopped veggies, olives, crumbled veg. italian sausage, goddess dressing
Dessert/snacks: peaches, apples, almond milk w/a scoop of raw protein

Cal: 2605 (I'm cutting, 2600 is weight loss level for me)
Carb: 312
Protein: 175
fat: 87 (little low today)

Monday, August 29, 2011

A recipe, for a change!

I haven't posted a recipe for a long time. I've been asked for this one several times though, so here ya go! it sounds a little gross (so I hear), but it's surprisingly tasty, think latkes with a little sweetness (from the beets) and a little bite (from the turnips). I am NOT a fan of turnips, but I had a whole bunch from my CSA box a couple months back and came up with this recipe to use them. Much to my surprise, not only did I like them, but my kids and my picky meat and potatoes husband liked them!

Turnip and Beet Pancakes

2 turnips, grated
3-4 beets, various varieties (I like golden and chioggia, but plain red beets are lovely too), grated
onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, fresh herbs or whatever seasonings you like.
4-6 eggs (depending on how much grated veggies you end up with)

Drain grated veg in cheesecloth if possible for a couple hours. Not totally necessary but it does make the cooking a little less messy. Mix veggies, egg and seasonings together in a large bowl, then press about 1/2 cup of mixture into a oiled skillet. Cook until it begins to brown on the bottom, then flip and cook other side. Serve with whatever toppings strike your fancy. I really like them with avocado, my husband likes to spread them with hummus, and my daughter loves them with ketchup.

PS! Sorry about my crappy pictures. Photography is not my strong suit.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8/23 Log

I can't believe the final winners for the Fittest Friends contest haven't been announced yet! They said the 22nd, we're heading into the 24th now. I'm sort of a nervous wreck, lol.

I ate a dinner roll made with WHITE FLOUR (omg!) and a brownie this evening before my workout. Wow, all that sugar really revved me up! I had a great workout. Don't try this at home though, kids! Stick with real food. Wait, screw that. If you're moving around enough (and eating well most of the time), eat whatever the hell makes you happy.

30 minutes on the spin bike including about 15 minutes of climbing and 5 minutes of sprint intervals.
5 rounds: 8 burpees (slolom jumping over barbell)/8 x 135# deadlift
several rounds of max rep kipping pullups/max hold handstand (didn't keep track)
20 minutes working on snatch form with 55# barbell

B: green smoothie
L: curried tofu, cashew and black currant salad
S: green smoothie, salmon jerkey (see, I'm not totally vegan, but it's too much of a mouthful to always be saying 'I eat a plant based whole foods diet and I can kick your ass')
D: aforementioned dinner roll, spinach and beet salad, brownie

No idea about calories, I'm guessing in the 3000 range.

8/22 log

I have a post about carbs and grains and kool-aid brewing, so stay tuned.

Warmup: 1 mile run
Front Squats (cleaning barbell to start): 20@45, 12@65, 10@85, 6@95, 5@105, 3@110 (could have squatted more, but I was limited by how much I could clean with my injured back)
Overhead squats: 3 x 10 @ 65
5 x max rep kipping pullups, max hold handstands
Cleans: 15@65, 15@75, 10@80, 8@85, 8@95, 5@100
15 minutes of hill sprints

B: green smoothie (blueberry, spinach, cucumber, avocado, raw protein, almond milk)
S: cherries
L: salad (greens, cuke, bell peppers, radishes, olives, avocado, tofu, dijon vinaigrette)
S: clif bar on the road
D: almond milk, apricots, 2 veggie burgers
S: several large handfuls of trail mix (with chocolate!)

Calories: ~3000, didn't track today but kept a loose count in my head

Monday, August 22, 2011

How Can I Eat So Much and Stay So Lean?

Since I started posting what I eat each day, the feedback I get most often is surprise that I'm able to eat so much and stay so lean.

I have a secret for you (ladies, this is directed at you especially, because guys, by and large, already get it): I am lean BECAUSE I eat so much.

First, lets define lean. It's not thin. Lets get that out of the way. Lean and thin are not synonyms. Lean means not fat, and there's a big difference between 'not fat' and 'thin'. Fat and lean refer to body composition (body fat percentage), and thin refers to body size and shape.

I'm not interested in being thin or delicate or graceful or slender. My goal from the get-go has been to be lean and strong. There are two ways to get lean: lose fat by losing weight, or build muscle. I chose building muscle. Why? Well, for one I like to eat, and losing fat by losing weight requires an energy deficit best achieved by reducing food intake. And for two, I think strong women are beautiful.

Guess what? You need lots and lots of food to build muscle. Your body can't increase lean (or fat) mass in an energy deficit. It needs raw materials, and those raw materials are calories and micronutrients. If you're using all the calories you eat just to fuel your daily activity, there won't be any left to build muscle. So you gotta eat MORE than you need to fuel your activity, and you gotta be ok with gaining a little weight. Don't worry, once you gain a few pounds of muscle, you can always eat less and move more for a few weeks and drop some body fat weight. The end result will be a leaner you (more muscle, less fat). Worried about gaining fat? If you're lifting heavy things you will gain muscle (and ok, maybe a little fat, but you can lose that later!). I spend most of the time eating at a surplus (and slowly gaining weight) and every six weeks or so I spend a couple weeks eating at a (small!) deficit and get back to my 'happy weight' a little leaner each time. I don't have a 'system', and it happens pretty organically, most of the time without my even realizing it. I suppose if I really wanted to get all 'rocket science' about it I'd see faster results, but you know what? I have a job and kids and a house to manage and a freaking LIFE, so I'm not going there.

That's the jist of it. It's a little more complicated, but unless you're training for a bodybuilding competition, you really don't need to know any more than that. If you WANT to know more, message me and I'll send you some links.

And ladies. Please, eat.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Thoughts on the Pacifica Pit Bull Fatality

I used to be Somebody in the pit bull community, and had I not had kids, I probably still would be. That said, I'm not using this post as a spring board back into that world. No, too much drama and politics there, Lord knows I have enough drama and politics here in the eating and moving community. But most people who know me know I have pit bulls (three of 'em at last count), and for many of those people I'm the ONLY person they know who has pit bulls, and not being plugged into the pit bull world, the only perspective those people are likely to get is the one the mainstream media decides will sell the most ad space. So I'm going to take a minute to share my thoughts, humble though they may be, on the horrifying incident that took place in Pacifica, CA last week.

There is still much we don't know about what happened that day. So I won't speculate as to what caused this dog to attack and kill his owner. What I keep coming back to as I mull this over in my head is the other dog that was there, in the house, in the ROOM, when the attack took place. She is a pit bull too. I'm hearing a lot of panic from the general community (understandable) and a lot of finger pointing at the breed. All pit bulls are time bombs that will eventually snap and attack their owners, they say. It's a behavior that is ingrained in the breed's psyche, they say. They were created to maul, maim, crush and dismember, they say. They are all killers, they say.

So why did the other dog not join the attack? Instead she hid in terror. If aggression is ingrained in the breed's psyche, why didn't pack instinct trigger an aggressive response in the other dog?

My opinion: because dogs are individuals. Every single dog should be judged on it's own behavior and it's own temperament, period.

And that's all I'm going to say for now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

8/19 Log

I'm so glad I'm not afraid of carbs. What a sad life it would be without summer (and spring and fall and winter) fruit.

15 minutes on spin bike
Superset 1: 5 rounds: 5 x 5 front squat @ 95#/10 box jumps
Superset 2: 5 rounds: 10 overhead squat @ 65/max hold plank
Leg sled: 20 @ 140, 20 @ 160, 20 @ 180, 15 @ 200, 15 @ 220, 12 @ 240, 10 @ 260, 8 @ 280, 20 @ 160
Cleans: 30 @ 30#, 20 @ 40#, 5 x 15 @ 50 (it was 120# cleans that I was doing when I pulled a muscle in my back, so I'm doing super light weight until it heals. It's hard to wait.)

B: green smoothie
S: canteloupe
L: sprouted tofu, heirloom tomato and basil salad, almonds
S: apricots
D: 3 sushi rolls, cherries

Calories: 2742
Carbs: 323
Protein: 146
Fat: 119

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hi Hater, You See Me

I have a new troll on twitter, a vegan troll this time. Using the same tired old insults though. I must be doing something right.

Here's today's log!

No workout, unless you count the 90 minutes I spent sloooooowly ice skating with my 5 year old. Really more of an isometric workout than cardio.

B: green smoothie (peach, avo, cuke, spinach, kale, raw protein, almond milk)
S: watermelon
L: tofu, heirloom tomato and basil salad, almonds
D: kidney beans stewed with fresh corn, sundried tomatoes, green bell peppers and onions, topped with avocado and kalamata olives

Calories: 2424
Carb: 279
Protein: 131
Fat: 111

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8/17 Log 160# Squat

In the grand scheme of things, a 160 pound squat isn't all that exciting. I know plenty of women who can squat more than that. But I've got a few things going against me in the squat department. I'm 38 for one, and until 2.5 years ago had never lifted a weight. I was also obese, and completely sedentary. And I have arthritis in both my knees, and a damaged meniscus in one, which had led to reduced range of motion and stiffness that I've had to work with pretty carefully. And, I'm tall, with a long torso and long legs, both of which increase the distance my muscles and joints have to carry the weight through. So, with all that, increasing weight on my squat has been a long, slow, arduous task. About 3 months ago I worked up to 155, but in the interim I've not been able to get anywhere near that and have been bouncing around 135-140 for weeks and weeks and weeks. It's been really frustrating. All of a sudden though, my squat is getting stronger again. What's changed? I went back to a plant based diet 2 weeks ago after several months of experimenting with paleo. I don't know WHY, but a pattern is emerging that I'm not willing to ignore. When I eat plants, I get stronger and leaner. When I add animal foods back into my diet, my strength gains stop and my body fat starts to creep up. This has happened a few times over the last few years as I've fiddled with my diet. Several people have suggested it's blood type related (I'm AB+), but I'm not sure I buy into that theory. I'm not morally opposed to eating animal foods, and like fish very much, but there it is. Today I PR'ed my squat after 2 weeks without any animal foods. If my strength is increasing and my body fat is decreasing, isn't that an indication that my body is being properly nourished? Those two indicators seem to be what crossfitters focus on to measure their health and fitness (perhaps in addition to blood lipid ratios, which in my case are inarguably stellar).

Anyway. Here's today's log.

20 minutes jumping rope
lots of pullups
Squat: 20 @ 45, 15@ 95, 10 @ 115, 5 @ 125, 5 @ 130, 4 @ 135, 3 @ 140, 3 @ 145, 2 @ 150, 1 @ 155, 1 @ 160, 3 x 10 @ 95
Bench: 5x5 @ 95 (I'm nursing a strained myscle in my back so have been going easy on the upper body stuff)
Deadlift: 20 @ 45, 15 @ 135, 3 x 10 @ 155

B: green smoothie (peach, spinach, cuke, avocado, raw protein, almond milk)
S: 2 apples
L: green smoothie (same as B but blueberry instead of peach)
S1: kale, cuke, bell pepper, olive, avocado salad w/ goddess dressing
S2: 6 fresh prunes, raw walnuts
S3: sprouted mung bean dosa with 1 veggie burger
D: tofu, heirloom tomato, fresh basil salad w/ evoo and salt and pepper, grapes for desert

Calories: 3077
Carb: 303
Protein: 198
Fat: 144

And because I know you're wondering: 87 grams of fiber (don't worry, my system is used to it)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8/16 Log

I woke up as lean and fit as ever this morning, in spite of consuming 400 grams of carbs yesterday (mostly fructose, the horror!). To hear some people talk you'd think I should have been in a diabetic coma. But I digress.

Today's workout was short and sweet, done while my kids played on the playground:

2 rounds of:
~1/2 mile run (five laps around the playground, didn't measure precisely)
25 burpees
50 jumping pullups
75 squats

B: green smoothie (peach, spinach, kale, cucumber, avocado, raw protein, almond milk)
Snacks: 1 oz almonds, 1 oz walnuts, 4 apricots
L: 2 veggie burgers wrapped in tortillas with heirloom tomato and spicy mustard
S: 2 apples
D: salad (field greens, kale, red onion, celery, cucumber, olives, cubed tofu, avocado) and a sprouted mung bean dosa (flatbread made from sprouted mung beans and water), watermelon for desert

Calories: 2807
Carbs: 272
Protein: 177
Fat: 134

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Few 'After' Photos

There really is no after. This is a journey with no destination, and I'll update periodically.

Today is August 15th, 2011. I weigh ~155 and my body fat is ~ 13%. These photos pretty accurately show my current appearance and level of fitness. The race photos are a little over a year old, otherwise these are all very recent photos, over the last few months. The photo at the top of the page wasn't staged, it was taken by a friend with her daughter's digital camera, I was fully hydrated and had eaten liberally that day and the previous days (ie, no dehydration or fancy nutrient cycling to artificially enhance muscle definition), and I am NOT photoshopped at all. As you can see, 3 years on a plant based, high carb diet has really turned me into a pale, weak, sunken-eyed, listless blob of body fat and diabetes (all words and phrases I've seen bandied about the interwebs to describe vegans).

8/15 Log

Definitely feeling my week of debauchery today (I never said it was healthy, just that it didn't make me obese and diabetic!). Workout sucked. Oh well, I will be better soon!

10 minutes on stair climber
Squats: 15 @ 45, 10 @ 95, 8 @ 105, 8 @115, 7 @ 120, 2 x 5 @ 125, 3 x 10 @ 85
Superset: 5 rounds: 15 wallballs/5 pullups

B: green smoothie (blueberries, spinach, avocado, raw protein, almond milk)
S: apricots and fresh prunes
L: green smoothie (peach, spinach, cucumber, avocado, raw protein, almond milk)
S: watermelon
D: beet and turnip pancakes (made with a little egg), avocado, 2 glasses almond milk, green olives

Calories: 2846
Carbs: 398
Protein: 154
Fat: 101

UPDATE at 9:45 pm: I just ate 2 peaches, 3 plums and 2 squares of dark chocolate. Oh noes! I can feel my cells resisting insulin as we speak! The evil fructose! I'm sure I will wake up obese in the morning! Quick, someone hand me a slab of bacon or I will surely keel over and die!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Family Camp Report

We're back from a week at Family Camp. We had a fantastic time, no TV, no blogging, no facebook, no work emails. And also, a chance to experiment with our diet a bit. We decided to just eat what the chow hall served. Which ultimately meant a week long extravaganza of carbs, sugar, more carbs and some white bread to top it all off. A typical day for me (there was always a veg option, thank goodness):

B: oats and fruit
L: 'salad': lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumber and pickled wax beans with 'Italian' dressing, and usually some sort of grain and lentil based soup or stew (heavy on grain, light on lentils)
S: apples
D: another grain based dish - lots of pasta, rice, etc. Tofu made a showing in small amounts, and sometimes peas or lentils or beans, but grain was always the star. Salad, and dessert (hey, might as well go for it, right?): pudding, cookies, pie, etc.

A typical day for my kids:
B: cinnamon roll AND pancakes with 'syrup' (not even real maple syrup, maple FLAVORED syrup!), hot chocolate
L: skippy peanut butter and grape jelly on white bread, cookie, lemonade to drink
D: macaroni and cheese and dessert, lemonade

I doubt we ate anything organic the whole week.

The result of this carb-tastic escapade? We all lost weight. Because we were MOVING MORE. Walking everywhere, swimming every day, hiking to and from meals, no screen time. I will say it again: NO. SCREEN. TIME.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating this diet in any way, and I'm SO glad to be home and back to real food. But I'm sure as hell shaking my head in disbelief EVEN MORE at how many people continue to buy into the 'carbs cause obesity' mythology that is so popular right now. Sorry, low carb isn't a magic bullet. It is NOT the answer to our obesity epidemic. LC is a band aid. (And no, I'm not going to post links to studies, because it's been done, ad nauseum, ad infinitum, by thousands of bloggers from both ends of the diet philosophy spectrum, and I know you've read em all. I'm not a science writer (*waves at Gary Taubes*) I'm a middle aged soccer mom who's putting her money where her mouth is. You wanna debate me? Put YOUR body fat test results and a picture of your middle-aged, post baby, non-photoshopped body in a bikini on the front page of your blog.)

Getting off our collective fat asses is the answer.
(I'm talking to YOU, blogosphere and desk jockies!)

Monday, August 8, 2011

8/8 log

Sorry I missed yesterday. It was a rest day, and my diet looked pretty much like every other day this week. Green smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch, beans and corn (gasp!) for dinner. Fruit and nuts for snacks.

It's day 6 back to to plant based eating. So far I've had several amazing workouts where I've been able to (finally!) add weight to lifts that have been stagnant for months, and my lower abs are visible again. It's been so long since I saw them I'd forgotten they'd gone missing. I drank the paleo kool aid, and it did about as much good for me as, well, kool aid.

Warmup: 1 mile run
Strength: back squats: 10 @ 45#, 8 @ 95#, 8 @ 105#, 8 @ 115#, 6 @ 125#, 3 @ 135
Workout: 5 rounds: 8 front squats @ 75#/max rep dead hang pullups
Cooldown: 3 rounds 10 pushups/max rep kipping pullups

B and L: green smoothie (blueberries, spinach, cucumber, avocado, raw protein, almond milk)
Snacks: 2 cashew cookie larabars, 2 apple
D: kale, mixed green salad w/ cucumber, tofu, goddess dressing
S: dried peaches and raw almonds

total calories: 3090
Carbs: 349g
Protein: 151g
Fat: 152g

Did I mention my body fat is 12.5%?

I feel the need to keep reiterating that. Because according to some vocal gurus online, my 300-400 grams of carbs a day, mostly in the form of fructose, should have killed me by now. Or at least left me a quivering blob of diabetic body fat.


Oh. And my triglycerides are 33.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I love tofu

That's why I eat it all the time. In case you were wondering. I've read all the anti-soy propaganda (and unlike most, I've read the pro-soy propaganda too) and I still eat it. So there. So far I haven't grown a third boob (or a first and second, really), or developed endocrine disorders, or become obese or weak or cancer ridden. Quite the opposite in fact. Tofu fills me up, makes me feel energetic and strong, and most importantly, I really, really like it. I never get tired of it. I can only take so many salmon steaks, and a beef steak is nauseating.

Now, for those who are 'concerned' (ie, judging), I generally avoid processed soy ( TVP, soy protein powder, etc), and I only eat organic soy beans grown in the US, and for the most part I buy sprouted tofu (which addresses most of the anti-nutrient issues) unless it's not available (but usually it is. I live in the Bay Area. We're very enlightened here.). The ingredients on the label: soybeans, water, nigari. The process: grind up the beans, mix with water and nigari, allow to coagulate, press. I can do that in my kitchen. I HAVE done that in my kitchen. Tofu is real food. I shall eat it.

8/6 Log

My workout was kind of a disorganized mess today. It wasn't supposed to be, I had something all planned out, but I chose the wrong gym. I went to the one with only one squat rack. Normally this isn't a problem, as I'm one of the few members there who actually uses the squat rack, but today someone was already using it when I got there. And he used it for the entire hour and fifteen minutes I was there! So I made something up on the fly.

Warmup: 10 minutes on the stair climber
OHS: 15 @ 45#, 10 @ 65#, 8 @ 85#, 6 @ 95#, 5 @ 105#, 2 x 5 @ 95
Leg Sled (I haven't used a weight machine for 2 years, it was WEIRD, but I have to admit it did feel the burn in places I don't feel it doing squats. A good thing? Time will tell): 15 @ 160, 12 @ 180, 12 @ 200, 12 @ 220, 10 @ 240, 20 @ 180, 20 @ 180
Tricep dips: 3 x 5
Deadhang pullups: 3 x 5
Lunges with 45 plate overhead: 3 x 20

B & L: green smoothies, added cucumber today, yum!
S1: watermelon
S2: larabar
S3: nectarine and strawberries
D: 'caprese' salad: tofu, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper (and a few of my kids veggie meatballs. not real food. but tasty!)

Total calories: 3056
Carbs: 339
Protein: 222
Fat: 125

Friday, August 5, 2011

8/5 Log

I had a great workout today. I went in to it sore from yesterday, thinking it would be a low key workout, but surprised myself. I was able to add weight to my 1RM for the first time in over a month. I've been feeling discouraged lately at the slowness of my progress, and even my regression on a couple lifts (cough*deadlift*cough). Now, far be it from me to see causation where there may only be correlation, but don't think I didn't notice that my best workout in a month came after 72 hours with no animal protein.

Now, on to the workout.

Warmup: 1 mile run
Strength: power clean: 10@ 45#, 8 @ 75#, 8 @ 85#, 6 @ 95#, 4 @ 105#, 3 @ 115#, 1 @ 120, 1 @ 120 (I think I had five more pounds in me, which would have been a PR by 10 pounds, but the gym was getting crowded and I lost my nerve, lol), 5 x 5 @ 95#
Work: 5 rounds: 20 kettlebell swings (16 kg)/15/12/9/6/3 box jumps
Cooldown: 20 kb swings

B and L: green smoothies*
S1: larabar
S2: clif builders bar (THIS IS JUNK FOOD, KIDS)
D: leftover chard/tofu scramble and roasted eggplant and zucchini from last night, nectarine

carbs 303, protein 163, fat 96

*If anyone is interested, here's my standard smoothie recipe:
1 cup frozen blueberries
3-4 oz frozen greens, I like spinach the best for flavor, but use other greens as well
1/2 large or 1 whole small avocado
2 scoops Garden of Life Raw Protein*
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
a pinch of stevia

*I'm not big on supplements in general, but I really like the GOL Raw Protein. It's organic, less processed than most protein powders, made from a variety of sprouted seeds (no soy or wheat), and tastes decent. Plus it's loaded with probiotics.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

8/4 Log


Warmup: 10 minutes on stair climber
Strength: Deadlifts: 10 @ 135#, 8 @ 185#, 6 @ 195#, 4 @ 205#, 3 @215#, 1 @ 225#, 1 @ 230#, 8 @ 175#, 8 @ 175#
Work: 21, 15, 9: front squat/press @ 45#
Cooldown: 3 x 10 front squat @45#

B: green smoothie
S: apple, 1/2 cashew cookie larabar
L: salad greens, avocado, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, cubed tofu, dijon dressing
S: apple, 1/2 larabar
S larabar, nectarine
D: roasted eggplant and zucchini, chard w/ tofu scramble
S: 2 nectarines

~ 2800 calories, 140g protein, 325g carb, 135g fat

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8/3 Log REST DAY

I forced myself to take a rest day today, it's been a week! I got a lot done around the house instead.

Vegan day. I've been feeing a little weighed down (and have gained a few pounds) so decided to lay off the animal protein for a few days. Vegan days always makes me feel lighter/faster/stronger. Yes, my paleo friends think I'm completely nuts, but there ya go.

Breakfast AND Lunch: green smoothies
Snacks were fruit all day: apples, nectarines, watermelon
Dinner: leafy greens with cucumber, walnuts and cubed tofu, dijon vinaigrette

I still managed to pack away 3000 calories!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Aug 2 Log

Today was day 7 without a rest day so I think everything suffered. I know I didn't even get close to my 1RM on my squat and my work set was pathetically slow (and I'm slow to begin with!).

Warmup: 5 minutes on the stair climber
Strength set: back squats: 10 @45#, 8 @ 95#, 7 @ 105#, 5 @ 115#, 5 @ 125#, 2 @ 135#, 1 @ 140#, 8 @ 100#, 8 @ 100#
Work set: 5 rounds of 10 sumo deadlift high pulls w/ 20kg kettlebell/5 toes to bar
Skill: 15 minutes working on full snatch @ 55#

B: green smoothie (same as usual)
S1: cashew larabar, apple
S2: 2 cashew larabars
L: watermelon, walnuts and salmon jerky
D: fresh salmon, green salad w/ cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes
S: mango popsicle

Aug. 1 Log

Today was a low key 4.25 mile run with my dog and then a short 1 mile hike with my daughter. I'm logging the next day so don't remember everything I ate but dinner stood out. I cooked fresh sardines for the first time, stinky! I think I will stick to canned from now on. It's 24 hours later and I have all the windows open and my house still smells like a fishing boat.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

7/31 Log

Got a good night's sleep last night so decided not to take my planned rest day.

warmup set: 3 rounds max hold handstand/max rep pullups
strength set: thrusters: 10 @ 45#, 8 @ 65#, 5 @ 75#, 3 @ 85#, 3 @ 90#, 2 @ 95#, 1 @ 100#, 8 @ 65#, 8 @ 65#
work set: 5 rounds: 8 155 pound deadlifts/10 24" boxjumps (no rest)
cooldown set: 5 rounds: renegade rows w/ feet elevated 30# dumbells/20 mountain climbers
Then I spent a little time working on my snatch form with an empty oly bar

B: spinach, blueberry, avocado smoothie w/ plant based protein powder
L: black bean enchiladas w/avocado
S1: plum and salmon jerky
S2: larabar
D: stir fried tofu and cabbage, and steamed purple carrots, half a mango popsicle for dessert
S: watermelon and almonds

Saturday, July 30, 2011

7/30 Log

Today's workout was moving my inlaws to a new facility. My husband and I spent about an hour loading, carrying and unloading furniture. Then real quick before dinner I did a set of 8 hill sprints, right around the block from my house.

B: green smoothie, same as usual
S: larabar
L: kapamakki roll and spicy tuna roll
S: nuts and plums
D: black beans stewed with corn and summer squash, toped with avocado and tomato.
S: more plums, they are SOOO good right now

Friday 7/29 log

The third day in a row of workouts is always hard to slog through and not very productive. I guess as you get older it's more and more important to make time for recovery. So today was short and sweet:

1.25 mile run along the Emeryville Waterfront
Then over to Berkeley Ironworks for:
Back squats 5x5 @ 125
OHS 3x8 @ 75
5 sets of max reps pullups

B: breakfast smoothie (spinach, blueberry, avocado and plant based protein powder)
L: leftover green bean, summer squash and tofu stirfry from last night, plus 2 tilapia filets
S: larabar, peach
D: the 'everything' at Souly Vegan in Jack London Square: Black Eyed Peas, yams, lentils, mustard greens, BBQ tofu, cornbread, potato salad, vegan mac and cheese. I didn't eat everything. I stuck to the veggies and legumes, let my husband chow down on the bread, pasta and potato salad.
After dinner: 3 vodka cranberries
Late night snack: 3 plums and a handful of mixed nuts

In case you haven't noticed, I eat. A LOT!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Workout and Diet log?

People ask me so often about my workouts and diet. I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in following them here? I can give a sample. Here's today:

I lifted heavy yesterday so did some conditioning supersets today.
Set 1: 5 rounds of 10 x overhead squat @80#/10 burpees
Set 2: 5 rounds of 10 renegade rows with feet elevated, 30# dumbells/10 jump squats
Set 3: 5 rounds max rep overhead press @65#/10 back squat @ 65#

And my diet:

Breakfast: green smoothie: blueberries, spinach, avocado, hemp protein powder
Snack: peach and cashew cookie larabar
Lunch: giant green salad w/ artichoke hearts, olives, balsamic vinaigrette and a little tuna salad
Snack: trail mix
Dinner: summer squash, green bean and tofu stir fry
Snack: more trail mix and an apple

If people are interested I'm happy to keep posting my logs, just let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Little Update

And a hello to my new followers and other visitors who've found their way here from twitter and Fittest Friends! I'm so honored by all support I'm getting, and even the hate (just means people are paying attention!). I've been so busy lately and haven't had much time to update my blog. A few things of note: I'm continueing to focus more on strength training than cardio, my ironman ambitions are on hold for now until my kids are older and I have more time to invest in the long hours of training necessary. I posted a recent photo there at the top of my page. As you can see, my body composition continues to improve. I am the same weight I've been for the last two years, but I continue to drop body fat and gain lean mass. I did a hydrostatic body fat test last week and the results: 12.5% body fat. I'm pretty happy with that! I'm at a pretty high weight for my height (I weigh 155 at 5'9), which means I've got a crap ton of lean mass, and it's almost completely made from plants, lol. As for the invisible changes, they continue as well. At last check my total cholesterol was 119, my LDL was 52, my HDL was 68, and my triglycerides were 33. All my blood levels were optimal except my Vitamin D, which was low normal, but it was the tail end of a very long, very gloomy winter. I've increased the depth of my squat from barely parallel to almost to my ankles! Next time you hear someone say people with arthritis shouldn't run or squat, send 'em my way and they can try to tell me how I'm screwing myself up. Plant based nutrition, FTW! My deadlift is 240, squat 160, C & J 120, bench something like 120.

Once again, thanks for all the support, you guys are great!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Seitan and Spring Vegetable Stew

This one was a winner on all fronts: me, the health and calorie conscious cook, my husband the 'meat' and potatoes vegetarian, and my daughter, the junk food lover. Rarely does something I make please everyone, so I knew I needed to share this one. It was inspired by last week's veggie box which was heavy on spring veggies: carrots, leeks, green garlic, black radish (very cool new veg for us, but could easily be replaced by turnips, parsnips or even plain old potatoes in the recipe) and fennel. I had made a big batch of seitan the day before, and this stew was the perfect use for it. Seitan is ridiculously expensive to buy premade, but fairly simple and economical to make yourself at home. Chicken would be a fine stand in.

Seitan and Spring Vegetable Stew

olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, fronds trimmed and halved lengthwise
4-6 leeks, cut into 1-2 inch rounds
4-6 stalks green garlic, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1-2 pounds carrots, cut into 1 inch rounds
1-2 black radishes cut into bite size pieces
seitan in whatever amount you want, cut into bite size pieces (I think I used about 12 ounces)
6-8 cups vegetable stock (I use better than bullion and am always happy with the flavor, but of course homemade is ALWAYS superior)
1/4 cup chickpea flour (all purpose flour would be fine, but I prefer the nutty flavor and macronutrient profile of chickpea flour for savory dishes)

Chop veggies and wash (I chop first then wash, seems to make it easier to wash everything together). Heat a bit of olive oil in a soup pot, and add veggies when it's hot. Saute over med-high heat until veggies start to soften. Add the seitan and continue cooking until everything starts to brown nicely. Add the stock. This is what it should look like at this point:
Bring to a simmer and let cook until everything is cooked through. Move the stew to a large bowl, straining off the liquid into a separate container. Now put the soup pot back on the stove over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and the chickpea flour. Whisk until the flour starts to brown and form a thick paste with the oil, then whisk in the reserved cooking liquid. Continue whisking until the lumps dissolve and the sauce thickens into a rich gravy. Return stew to pan and stir. It's ready to eat! Just like that! We served it over quinoa with freshly ground sea salt and pepper and it was delicious.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What can't Amber do with Kale?

Today I made homemade larabars with the addition of fresh greens. I shall call them amberbars.


1 pound roasted peanuts
1/2 pound pitted dates
4 oz fresh greens

Pulse each ingredient seperately in a food processor until crumbly. Mix together and form into squares, balls or bars. Eat.