It’s Award Day! WordPress Family Award


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This is a fantastic new award, and I’m very impressed by the premise! I couldn’t be more pleased with the idea behind the WordPress Family Award, since I feel much the same feelings about the WordPress community as the creator of this award felt when he created it. Of course, my excitement with the award also carries with it another level of excitement that I was honored with it!

For the following 10 names, if you accept you’re planning on accepting your nomination: click here and follow the directions.

I was nominated by Adventures Of A Cavemom. I enjoy these blogger awards for a variety of reasons. It’s great to let the bloggers know that we enjoy their content. There are a variety of ways to do that: the “Like” button on the WordPress reader, as well as on the blog posts works well. Commenting works even better; particularly for smaller blogs. But the best reason is that it really tells the blogger that their content is valuable to someone. And in so doing, that blogger’s nominations gives me a chance to check out which blogs that blogger is most interested in. So any time I see an award on any of the Blogs that I frequent, I always go check out every one of the people that blogger has nominated, and the nominating blog. There are always exciting and interesting new blogs in the list, and I love finding those!
So, everyone reading this: go check out Adventures Of A Cavemom and each of the other blogs on this list, and make sure you add a few of them to your daily repertoire!

The following are the 10 blogs, in alphabetical order, which I nominate for the WordPress Family Award. A few of these are bigger blogs, and not eligible for some of the other blogger awards any longer. Further, since they’ve grown larger, they may not be willing/able to spare some content time to accepting an award. And that’s OK.

My 10 Nominations:

  1. 365 Days Of Bacon
  2. A Lot On Your Plate
  3. Hari’s Got Tales
  4. Health Without Sacrifice
  5. Jen Nova Food Blog
  6. Kate Stull
  7. Lara’s Mess
  8. Miles For Thought
  9. Morning Story And Dilbert
  10. Oh Snap Let’s Eat!

How Do You Fuel The Fire?


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I was asked a really interesting question the other day while working out with a friend. See, in our workout-chatting, he asked me about my workouts for the past several days, and marveled at my claim to have had 3 workouts within 24 hours, and still able to put together a good, strong workout! He asked me: “How do you fuel your workouts? What do you eat before and after your workouts to prepare for that kind of an output?” So, today’s post is going to answer that question.

I’ll get to my macronutrient breakdown in a minute. First, let me tell you why that question is important. I had had a rough 3 days! They were great – but they were rough! Here’s the breakdown: On Sunday, just for the heck of it, I ran 14 miles. It wasn’t planned. I just headed out for a run, and each time I came to a fork in the road, I chose the one which would lengthen my run. I got home after my unplanned long-run and mapped out the distance I had run, learning to my delight that it had been just a bit over 14 miles! So Monday I took it easy, letting my body recover. I had every intention of running on Tuesday morning, but I stayed up late on Monday night and slept late on Tuesday, missing my run.

Soshable.com Starting Line photo

Photo courtesy of Soshable.com

Tuesday night I came home with that familiar “itch” to go for a run, so I did! I pumped out a 6-mile run with a really hard sprint workout in the middle, and came back beaming with excitement from my workout! I felt great, and that leg-“itch” was completely taken care of! So on Wednesday morning when I woke up, I figured I would do a quick “recovery run” to keep my legs nice and loose, and to get back in the morning run pattern. I felt good! A little bit of soreness, which was expected, but otherwise comfortable. Then, Wednesday night I got a text from a friend asking me if I wanted to join him on a workout. “Uh oh,” I thought to myself, doing a thorough mental systems-check to see if it was even feasible. “Sure!” I texted back, after mentally confirming that I would be fine.

Where is all this headed? Well, let me tell you: None of those three workouts was planned. So, since this blog is all about food, let me catch you up a bit on how I feed myself; fueling my capacity to output 3 workouts in 24 hours, and still be in good shape.

How do I fuel the fire?

StewedShankSteakMy daily macronutrient intake is almost identical, regardless of the season, my fitness goals, or what social situations are going on. An average of once a month, I fast for a day or so. Similarly, about twice per month I have a high-carb day, ingesting perhaps 200 or more grams of carbs. These are usually fruit, dried fruit, or some other Paleo appropriate form of carbohydrate. Other than that, I eat approximately 70-80 grams of carbs per day, every day. Here’s the big deal: I did not eat any differently on Tuesday, or Wednesday, than I do almost every other day. I can give you a meal-by-meal breakdown, if you like. I meticulous about my eating, and don’t mind sharing it. But my guess is that you all don’t really want to know exactly what I eat. You want to know what I do to make the workouts work, right?

Managing my macronutrient intake.

Here’s the big question: If I know that I’ll eat a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats throughout the day, will choosing when I eat those make any difference in my output potential? Well, research suggests that the answer to that question is “Yes.” According to the current research available, carbs are processed and absorbed faster immediately following a workout. Similarly, current research supports eating protein immediately following a workout.

Now don’t go grabbing a Power Bar just yet! The body, as I have come to understand, responds best to what I like to call a “Whole Meal” – that is, if you’re going to have protein, eat a steak. If you’re going to have some carbs, eat an apple. And if you want to consume both protein and carbohydrates, have a meal. A real meal. Eat a steak and a salad. Or, like I’ve done in the past, follow one of these “Post Workout Meals” that I use:

As you can see, I go for the whole-meal plan. It doesn’t have to be a big meal, mind you. But if I’m going to eat, I’m going to give my body the full spectrum of what it needs: the obvious macronutrients consisting of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, and I will also make sure, by using whole-food meals, that I am giving it a battery of the vitamins and minerals that it needs too!

How did this help me do 3 hard workouts in 24 hours?

Well, the first of the workouts was right before dinner, so I cooked a “Post Workout Meal” while I was working out, and ate when I returned. It was delicious, nutritious, and precisely what my body needed at that time! The following day, I worked out right before breakfast, so, again, I had a meal waiting for me! In both cases, recovery was maximized by having the full spectrum of nutrients, vitamins and minerals all completely available as the body needed them! And that made the difference between having to say “No”, or actually getting to say “Yes!” when my friend called me for my third workout in 24 hours! Would I do anything differently? Absolutely not.

Book Keeping


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This post will be short, and there will still be a regular post coming out later this morning, so don’t worry! I just have a couple of book keeping items that I want to share with you all, and I am pretty excited about them! Bear with me through all of them – there are 4, and they’re pretty big news for a small-time blogger like me!

1. My latest Guest Post is up in el3mentsofwellness.com – you should all go check it out! If you’re wondering what my stance is on Stretching before/after a workout, this article spells it out, and hopefully will motivate you to consider (or perhaps reconsider) your entire workout strategy with a carefully critical perspective. Maybe you change some things, maybe you don’t – but it’s always good to be informed and thoughtful!

2. I’ve just been invited to do another Guest Post at 365daysofbacon.wordpress.com, and I am REALLY excited about it! I love being invited to do Guest Posts – it’s an indication that people actually like what I have to say, and perhaps more importantly, how I say it! If you want to get a feel for what kinds of posts go up over at 365daysofbacon, you should all definitely head over there and check it out! I don’t know when my post is going to be put up, but I’ll be cooking up the recipe for it tonight and I am really looking forward to it seeing it posted up! Obviously, I’ll let you all know as soon as it gets posted!

3. Carl Mason-Liebenberg, over at el3mentsofwellness.com has invited me to participate, as a contributor, in his “Sultry Summer Sculpting” Complete Body Transformation 90-day program. I will be submitted to his audience as a contributor, and as a chef, throughout his 90-day program. If you’ve been following my blog thus far, this may be a great chance to jump in on a 90-day program, knowing that one of the contributors is your very own Urban Paleo Chef! If any of you are interested, feel free to let me know in the comments section, or head on over to el3mentsofwellness.com and let Carl know that I sent you. He’ll hook you up with a good deal – and trust me, it’s worth it!

4. I’ve just been invited to submit several recipes to a Paleo Compilation Cook Book (called “Fat Burning Kitchen”) over at fatburningman.com! This is very exciting for me – even better than Guest Posts, though only slightly. It will be a huge opportunity, and hopefully a great step in the direction of recognition, for me to be published! I know that Noah Matthews said it first, so I’ll give credit where credit is due. Perhaps this will be the first step toward a published cookbook of my own? Who’s to say?!?

Ok, that’s all of it. I know, it’s quite a list, right?!? Well, exciting things are happening, and apparently I get to play my own very small part of it! Thanks for giving me an audience, you guys have kept me motivated!

Don’t Just Stand There, Run!


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Photo Courtesy Of healthyliving.azcentral.com

Don’t Just Stand There, Run!

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Photo Courtesy of herosandwich.net

I must look really funny in the mornings. Well, funny in the context of what everyone else is doing. I go for my morning runs, come back to my apartment, make breakfast and lunch for myself and my wife, shower, get dressed, and leave for work.

FNF-Dagwood2

Photo Courtesy of herosandwich.net

But rather than heading out to wait for the bus, most mornings I head back out to jog the 1-mile to the ferry. The path that I take to jog to the ferry is almost universally used for dog-walking.

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Photo Courtesy of herosandwich.net

Once the weather warms up, and later in the days, there will be some pleasure walking as well. And there is the occasional runner or biker. And then there’s me.

I get dressed up for work too: I wear a suit every day. So any of the dog-walkers who watch me run by on my way (unlike Dagwood, I am not typically late) toward the ferry will be looking at, like Dagwood, a guy wearing a suit, running to work. If that’s an amusing picture to you, maybe you should try it too.

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Photo Courtest Of nosegue.blogspot.com

See, I’ve always been the kind of guy who does things that other people look at and think “That guy’s crazy!” And you know what, maybe I am. But did anyone ever notice that Dagwood is really fit? Yeah, I know he’s a cartoon. But most of the people I know who run regularly are really fit!

Today’s post is to pass along some inspiration. Take heart in knowing that most mornings, there’s a funny looking guy in a suit and vibram fivefingers running his 1 mile to the ferry. So tomorrow, instead of wearing your work shoes to work, pack them in your bag, wear some sneakers, and run for part of your commute. You’ll enjoy it, I promise!

Have We Lost Our “Grit”?


Leeks_Grit

I actually had a different post in mind for today when I finished it up last night. But I was consumed by the question posed in this post’s title: “Have we lost our grit?” I will have to get around to telling you all about my ski weekend tomorrow. Today I will explore the question of the day with you. Here’s what I was doing, to give you a bit of context: I was mostly settled in to my morning routine today, cutting up vegetables, heating up mushrooms, washing my Leeks, as an the question popped in to my mind. “Have we lost our grit?”

I did go on to finish making breakfast, and the leeks were delicious. But this also completely derailed any other productive thoughts from my mind, including finishing my post about my ski weekend, until I had written down my thoughts on the grit and dirt I was washing out of my Leeks this morning.

Have we lost our grit?

This question can be interpreted in several different ways – and I intend it to be interpreted in all of those ways! Here’s where I was coming from: Is it possible that the experience of eating a meal has been diminished by the lack of preparation we have to make in order to eat? Here is how my parents eat a meal in the summer time: They head out to the garden and harvest some lettuce, some onions, perhaps a heel of garlic, some cucumbers, a zucchini, a pepper, perhaps a hot pepper. They grab the hose on the way in and give the basketful of vegetation they just harvested a thorough soaking, removing most of the bigger pieces of dirt from their meal. They come inside, chop, heat, and otherwise prepare the meal, including some local farm-raised meat (most likely a beef or pork cut), and sit down after about 30 minutes of harvesting and 15 minutes of chopping, for a nice home-made meal. And when they call their food “home-made” they have an earned right to the term.

I put a similar amount of preparation in to my food, but it’s very different in content. I go to the store (I’m urban, after all) and agonize over the variety of salad greens available: “Is there wild arugula here today?” I ask myself, looking at the 1000’s of meals worth of various salad greens. If no wild arugula, I’ll look for organic spring mix, or some similar sort of salad green – the more color, the better. It probably takes me as long to locate the salad greens I choose as it did my parents to harvest theirs – so I get some meal appreciation, since I did work for it. But is it possible that the content of my work is also important? And how does this bear on people who simply grab the first bag on the lettuce shelf? Can they enjoy their meal as much as I do? Can I enjoy my meal as much as my parents do?

I don’t know the answer to those questions – but I know that they’re important questions. I know that there is a “Slow Food” movement out there gaining steam to help people to remember that “Saying Grace” before our meal used to have a real meaning. It’s trying to re-teach us that food isn’t a chore, and that because it is perhaps the most important single thing we do in our lives, it should be savored, appreciated, and considered at great length. We should have food that is, as Lavi Strauss put it “Good to think.” And it should contribute to, not detract from, our Grit.

Is the extra work enough?

I do extra work, and shop at more than one (often more than 2) grocery stores in an attempt to find food which still has the grit on it, just so that I have to wash it off. I go far out of my way to buy Leeks, the progenitor of today’s question, which are not trimmed, and have not been washed. I buy arugula which is wild harvested, as are the blueberries and raspberries I have in my freezer. I buy grass-fed beef, pastured chickens (not even “Free Range”), and pastured pork. At the end of the week, I likely spend as much time in grocery shopping, after considering all the labels I read, all the research on this brand and that which I do, as my parents spend tending their garden and harvesting their produce. And I enjoy my food, truly, more than most people I know. I work hard to get the best ingredients I can find. I carefully select which ingredients are added to each dish, making sure that their flavors and textures are well matched to the final experience I am in pursuit of. And it works! Not only do I enjoy my food, but so does everyone else who eats it! But that doesn’t answer the question: is it enough? Is my parents’ experience of food still better than my own? And is their experience meaningfully better?

What does this have to do with our “Grit”?

I notice that more and more people are not reading the labels on their packaged foods. Including the foods that my parents eat in the winter. This is a strange observation for me, since I spend most of my conscious time deep in my own world of highly perceptive food considerations… But the few times I actually pick my head up and look around, I hear people talking about going on a “Low Fat Diet”. I think to myself “Do people still believe that crap?” And then I see another article, published in the NY Times or some other reputable periodical, stating “conclusively” in the title that red meat will kill you. When I read the article, though, I find buried somewhere in the text that there is no actually established causative link, and that the correlations are vanishingly small when adjusted for more important risk factors. But that doesn’t make a good news story, does it?

And the news is only the beginning. How many medications are there for asthma? I have close friends with 2 and 3 year old kids who have asthma! This is not natural! So, scientists and doctors are blaming it on the pollutants in the air. Here is my problem with that: if pollution is the cause, then why aren’t the White Tailed Deer populations being decimated by their inability to run? Why aren’t the pigeons falling out of the air? I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. Let’s be honest with ourselves here: if the cause is ambient, then all natural beings are subject to it. This is a very simple logical deduction. And since White Tailed Deer are heavily overpopulated, and Pigeon populations don’t seem to be threatened in the least, we know that it’s not an ambient issue. Air quality is not the cause of asthma – it may be a trigger, but it is not the cause. And what is every bit as fundamental to our health as our air quality and water quality? FOOD!

Here’s what you need to do: eat real food. Nothing else will do. If you’re buying something in a package, it should have only the ingredients you think you’re getting, and nothing else. If there’s other stuff in it, don’t buy it. Eat unprocessed salad greens, wash the dirt off yourself, eat colored vegetables, and eat grass-fed beef. It’s just not that difficult. And if you do, you can look forward to the same kind of health that the White Tailed Deer seem to have, despite that they drink the water we pollute, and breathe the same air that we pollute, and sleep in the acid rain that we caused. What’s the difference between them and us? They eat real food! They eat the food they are meant to eat! And we eat stuff we don’t even have a language for. Why don’t we have a language for it? Because it’s not real food!!!

Yes, it seems we have lost our Grit…

I think that the people who read those articles, and mindlessly believe the title have proven the title of this post! They have lost their Grit. And for a lack of any other reasonable hypothesis, I am blaming it on the lack of dirt in their food. I have concluded (for argument’s sake) that when people stopped gardening, and started buying pre-washed romaine hearts, they lost their Grit. Literally, and figuratively.

And so, it’s possible that my parents enjoy their summer meals slightly better than I enjoy mine. They made the meal themselves, truly. But I think that the hard work that I put in to my meal is part of what makes it so delicious. Today I am asking you to go buy some Grit!

If you have comments, please send them in!! I know that this topic should generate quite a bit of thought – share your thoughts with us on the comments board! And thank you for reading and (hopefully) enjoying my rant today – it was on my mind, and now it’s out there for all to read.

Start Your Week Off Right!


Start your week off right!

Soshable.com Starting Line photo

Photo courtesy of Soshable.com

I just got back from a workout. It was a great run – I jumped up on park benches, and danced across stone walls. I did pushups and situps in totally random places, and stopped to do squats against a tree. I was playing, and I played for more than 5 miles! It was the kind of glorious run that reminds me that, even in my adult body, wearing my adult uniform to go to work, I still have plenty of child left inside of me, and I can definitely still be exhilarated by a run. I certainly was!

But that’s not all! I came home to an Herb Crusted Chicken; which my oven was kind enough to follow my directions and bake for me while I was out playing. And now I’m writing about it. I’m sharing with all of you how it is that I start my week off right. And I know that my momentum will carry me through this week, and maybe next. And it didn’t take much; just the choice to start my week off right!

So, how do you start your week off right? What do you need to do today to make sure that the rest of this week is just exactly what you had in mind? Is it a little extra cooking today, so that some meals are quicker and easier, and you’ll be less likely to eat some junk? Is it some planning, some mental preparation, to make sure that you bring your workout clothes with you to work?

Whatever it is, share it here with me in the comments – I want to hear your stories; I want to hear what you’re going to be doing to make sure that this week is just right for you!