Ocracoke, NC — The good, the bad, the ugly

Tim and I have been on vacation since last Saturday.  We drove from Davenport to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We’ve been on Ocracoke Island since Monday.

A few comments about Ocracoke.  The beach is super beautiful.  Super beautiful.  Up until this point, I thought Nantucket was the prettiest beach, but I’ve changed my mind.  Ocracoke is the best.  And part of what makes it the best is the people here.  The people in Nantucket are too rich.  This is a more blue-collar kind of place – lots of families and retired folk.

What’s also nice is that Ocracoke is tiny.  You can bike the whole village in about 30 minutes.  No restaurant is more than a 15-30 minute walk away.  The town is clean and pretty pristine.  Biking/walking/golf-carting is encouraged.  It’s an easy place to stay active.

If you are looking for lots of night life and crazy parties, I don’t think Ocracoke would be your place, but for people like Tim and me, it’s perfect.  We’re early risers (especially here, where one whole side of our hotel suite is windows, so our room is bright with sunshine at 5;30AM), and early sleepers.  Ocracoke suits us.

Hmm… what else do we like…  Dogs are allowed on the beach here, which is awesome (sorry Lucent!).  There are funny surfer dudes working at this great local coffee shop.  Yesterday one said to a customer, “I’m slighly bipolar, but in the good way.”

What don’t we like?  Well, two main things.  1.  It’s SUPER hard to find a place that serves whiskey.  According to our server at a local restuarant, serving hard liquor just recently became legal in the county.  Beer and wine are the order of the day.  We finally found a place last night that serves whiskey.  My single whiskey and soda cost EIGHT DOLLARS.  No good.

Number 2 – the mosquitoes on this island are a thing of legend.  Actually, I think they are a problem all along the Outer Banks, due to the marshes that line the ocean.  We tried to do a marsh hike on Pea Island on the way down here, but the mosquitoes were literally trying to eat Tim alive.  For some reason, they really love him.  I’ve been hit maybe 2 or 3 times, but Tim has been bitten dozens of times.  We have to spray him head-to-toe with bug spray any time we leave the house.  They are insane.  We ran yesterday along Highway 12, and they were tailing him as he ran.  Crazy.  They are so intense that I don’t know if we would vacation here again.  We planned on doing some hikes while we are here, but changed our tune after the Pea Island experience.

All-in-all, it’s been a fantastic trip – lots of beach time, lots of biking, lots of walking, lots of relaxing.  Tomorrow we head out to visit my cousin on the mainland, and then it’s back to Iowa for us.  At least we have a trip in July to look forward to; otherwise, I would be mucho depressed.

I am looking forward to getting home for one big reason, though.  I’ve been eating totally non-paleo this trip – lots of tasty fried food and carbs.  My shorts are getting tight, and my energy is waning.  I can’t wait to start eating my avocado and eggs and veggies and grass-fed meat again. I need to CLEANSE.

In a nutshell, Ocracoke = good times

Two PRs in One Weekend

The Timmy Tee and I ran the Race for the Cure yesterday.  We’ve both been exercising more than normal, so we were hoping to have good times.  My time from last year was going to be easy to beat, since I mistook where the finish line was and stopped running about 50 feet too early.  However, I was still hoping to beat previous years’ times (around 33 minutes).

We both did pretty well!  My time was 29:06, a personal best.  Tim’s time was 26:01, a personal best for him as well.  You can check our progress here, if you’re interested.  We’re solidly beating our 2009 selves, which supposedly were younger and faster, so that’s awesome!

It was a HOT race too, especially on the eastward loop.  So much sun.  So much heat.  Bah!     But we did it.  And to top it all off, after breakfast at Village Inn and a little putzing around the house, we went out for a 20 mile bike ride.  And, yes, it was still HOT.  It was a good ride, though.  I was utterly exhausted afterwards.  Today I am wicked sore in my hamstrings.  But, it’s a good sore – a sore that reeks of success.  Reeks.

Today was supposed to be a rest day.  Tim has been training really steadfastly for the West Lake Triathlon next weekend, and we figured he needed to take a break to give his body time to recoup.  Well, we ended up doing some of our floor exercises – planks, push-ups, leg and arm exercises, etc.  I also attempted and succeeded in doing a real pull-up!!  I’ve just been doing the flexed arm hang for the past month, but I figured I would try one today and see what happened.  Admittedly, I stood on the bottom run of the later (about 6 inches off the ground), so I had a little boost.  But I did it!  I was able to lift my chin up and over the bar.  I was so happy!! I didn’t think I would ever be able to do that!  I couldn’t complete a second one, but I’m sure that will come in time.  It’s just so nice to see some progress.  Time to start selling tickets to the gunshow!

Tasty, Easy Sunday Supper

Sundays have a way of getting away from you.  We woke up today at 5:50 AM and now, all-of-the-sudden, it’s 6:46 PM.  Where did the day go?  We got some cleaning done, lawn mowed, checkbook updated, lunch at Bent River, and poof!  It’s gone!

But we’ve been eating out quite a bit lately, so I really wanted to make supper at home tonight, so I picked a quick and easy recipe I’ve made before – Asian Pork Meatballs with Dipping Sauce.  They are super easy to make and very delicious.  The recipe calls for mayo, and I know the Hellmans has all sorts of badness in it for you.  But it is oh, so tasty!  Plus, the recipe called for 1/3 a cup, which is all I had left.  So now I have no mayo in the house, which is a good thing.  Next time a recipe calls for it, I’ll make to make it from scratch from avocado oil, which I hear is ultra tasty.  I’ll have to search for a good recipe.

Anyway, I digress.  To accompany the meatballs, I baked some sweet potatoes in our roaster oven.  I made an extra one for breakfast tomorrow.  I’m getting to be so resourceful and foresightful!

The combo of the meatballs, sweet potatoes (and a little sliced avocado) was delicious.  I’m looking forward to sauteeing up the leftovers tomorrow for breakfast with some fresh herbs from my mini herb garden, along with some broccoli, cabbage, and red pepper.  I’m eating out for lunch and supper, so I have to be sure to get a good breakfast in.  I love meals that produce awesome, tasty, healthly leftovers.  Thanks, Health-Bent!

A Primal Primer

I’ve had a couple of friends who are interested in this whole primal/paleo thing.  So I thought I would write a quick post about how to get started, based on my 5 months of experience.  Here are my favorite books, sites, and primal/paleo products.

Good books

  • The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation – This is the first book I read, and it was a great, simple introduction to the primal lifestyle.  The author, Mark Sisson, doesn’t just talk about how to change your diet.  He talks about how to re-approach your life – get outside more, disconnect from technology, play, focus on the present, etc.  He also lays out a 21-day plan to help you get on the primal path.  I keep promising to send this book to my brothers, but I just can’t let it go.
  • The Paleo Solution:  The Original Human Diet – I just finished this book by Robb Wolf last week.  It’s a more technical, in-depth book on paleo.  If you want to understand the science behind why the paleo diet works, this is the book to read.  Robb also provides meal plans for 30 days and a pretty detailed weight lifting section.  It’s also a pretty funny read.

Blogs:

  • www.marksdailyapple.com – Mark Sisson’s blog – chock full of health information and good recipes.
  • www.robbwolf.com – Robb Wolf’s blog – also chock full of great information and resources.

Recipe Blogs:

Ingredients

Here is a list of the stuff I always like to have in the fridge or freezer:

  • Grass-fed ground hamburger (from our Farmer’s Market.  If you don’t have a local producer, you can buy it online from US Wellness Meats)
  • Frozen wild-caught salmon (from Target)
  • Canned tuna or sardines
  • Fresh veggies – spinach, kale, avocado, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, peppers
  • Frozen fruit – excellent defrosted with some coconut milk drizzled over them
  • Pastured eggs
  • Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
  • Nuts – Macademia nuts supposedly have the best omega 3 profile, but I find them a little rich.  I eat a lot of pistachios, almonds and walnuts.
  • Gerolsteiner Mineral water – good source of magnesium.
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil – I LOVE this stuff.  I put it in my coffee and cook with it all the time, and it’s the bees knees.
  • Dark chocolate – I love the Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Chips.  They don’t have a great cocoa content, but they are perfect for snacking.
  • Carlson Super D Omega 3 Cod Liver Oil
  • Magnesium Lactate

Keep all this stuff on hand, and you’ll have everything you need to make a tasty primal meal.

So, that’s an introduction in a nutshell!  Hopefully you found it somewhat helpful.