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.