Day 8 and Other Miscellaney

It’s Day 8 of the challenge, and I’m happy to say I’m down 2 pounds.  Who knows if it’s the diet or if it’s hormones.  Hormones are such a wild card.  Either way, I’m taking it!

It’s been a positive experience so far.  Using PaleoTrack has helped me become more aware of eating for nutrition instead of soley based on taste/convenience.  I’ve realized that unless I eat A LOT of greens (especially kale), it’s really hard to meet the RDA for minerals.  And unless I eat salmon regularly, my omega 6 to omega 3 ratios are waaay out of wack.  And, holy cow!  I can’t believe how many carbs are in grapes!!

Why the random grape comment, you ask?  Let me tell you.  We ran the Bix 7 (a local, hilly, 7-mile road race with about 18,000 participants) on Saturday.  This is the 3rd year we’ve done this quintessential Quad Cities event.  In the past 2 years, we’ve celebrated our efforts with beers at Great River Brewery and then pizza at Harris.  No such celebration this year!! Instead, after the race, I made my way through the throngs of people scarfing down the free Little Debbies, Twinkies, Cheetos, granola bars, and Michelob Ultra to the one tent waaaaay in the back that was handing out grapes.  I met up with the Timmy Tee there, who finished about 15 minutes before me, and had a couple of handfuls of grapes – about 1.5 cups, I think.  Guess how many carbs that is.  Guess!  You’ll never guess – it’s 41!!  When you are trying to stay below 100 for a whole day, that is troublesome!!  Oh, well, at least I did a 7 mile, SUPER HOT, super hilly, super crowded road race to compensate for the stupid sugary grapes.

After the race, we collected our phones from the car and then went back into the fray.  Since beer and pizza is off limits until August 9th, I filled my craving for something special by going to Red Band Coffee and getting a huge decaf (no heavy cream this time:().  While there we ran into a couple of friends and proceeded to chat for the next 90 minutes while Tim and our friend had a couple of beers at Great River.  In retrospect, perhaps standing for 90 minutes after running 7 miles was not a wise choice.

Oh man, I was soooo sore after that stupid run!  It took me 2 minutes longer this year than last year.  What is eerie is that Tim dropped 2 minutes from his time.  At the triathlon, I gained 8 minutes, and he lost 8 minutes.  Yin and yang, mange, yin and yang.  Anyway, all day long our knees were killing us – super achey.  I finally remembered to use the foam roller on my IT bands, and BAM, I was back in business.  They need to have stack and stacks of foam rollers at the end of these races.

Today to limber up our limbs we took what was supposed to be an easy bike ride.  However, we encountered a wiley wind that made our trip home quite the workout.  Even though it was more exercise than I wanted or needed, I’m really glad we went out. The weather today is super odd – it feels like a fall day by the ocean instead of an Iowan mid-summer Sunday.  I love it.  We have all the windows open and occasionally gusts are lifting up every sheet of paper in the house while also cooling down our hot kitchen.

Yes, it’s July, and I’ve been baking!  I have been craving a paleo treat since I’m not really supposed to have one.  🙂  Plus, I found this recipe on the CivilizedCaveman site:  Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins with Pumpkin Frosting.  Also, we are doing a wellness challenge at work, and I wanted to bring in a healthy-ish treat to encourage my team.  Well, I messed up the recipe from the get-go. I put the coconut milk in the fridge overnight as instructed, but instead of just scooping out the solidified milk, I mixed up the whole can and used some of that for the frosting.  There is no way that concoction is ever going to be frosting consistency.  But I tried a little bit of it out of curiosity.  OMG.  It tastes just like eggnog.  It’s deeeeelicious!!  Tim agrees and says it would probably be bonkers good with some rum.  Now I just need to figure out how to keep it good until I can have rum again…

And the muffins?  Well, I do believe I have underbaked them.  Tim and I just split one (watching those carbs, you know), and it is waaaay too mushy.  I’ll need to put them back in the oven and firm them up a bit.  Right now the oven is occupied with a chicken that promises (by the delightful smells wafting out of the oven) to be ultra tasty, so we’ll have to wait a bit.  Hopefully they will turn out OK.  Trying new recipes can be so frustrating!!  But how else can you find new, good stuff to make?

Oh, speaking of screwing stuff up – you remember the water kefir grains that I thought I killed?  They are alive and well!!  I took the advice of the super helpful staff at Cultures for Health and put them in spring water mixed with sucanat sugar.  The first batch was very lackluster, but they are slowing regaining their vigor.  I have two batches of the second ferment going right now.  It’s turning out fizzy and not sweet at all.  We love the flavor.  So much cheaper than buying kombucha!!  It’s helping to ease my transition into alcohol -ree evenings.  It is so boring to come home and just drink water all night!!  Drinking a cup of fizzy water kefir is an event!  Weeeeoooo!

And that’s my update for the week.  Some successes.  Some failures. Yin and yang, mange, yin and yang.

 

Day 5 of 21 Day Challenge Reboot

As I mentioned, two of my coworkers and I are doing the 21 Day Challenge together.  My friend want to lose some weight and get healthier, and I want to reboot myself.  My 80/20 has been slip, slip, slipping, and I’ve added about 3 lbs as a result.  I want to get back to my fighting weight so my clothes fit better.

So far the challenge is going pretty well!  My friends have lost 8 lbs and 5 lbs, respectively. I’ve lost ZERO pounds.  I’m super happy for my friends – they say they have been sleeping better, and they enjoy not being miserable and bloated after every meal.  I think that feeling so much better after just a few days of eating differently has really opened their eyes.  They are full of questions and good meal ideas and helpful websites!

One of the sites they found is Paleotrack.  It’s kind of like MyFitnessPal, but it’s tailored more for the paleo client.  For example, it doesn’t encourage you to eat more carbs and less fat. It also doesn’t tell me I will weigh 2 more pounds in a week if I continue to eat this way. 😛  The site also provides the vitamin/mineral/macro nutrient ratios for your foods. It’s very helpful information.  My friends especially like the way the site rates how closely your eating habits fall within the primal/paleo spectrum.  If you do well, you get “Strict Primal!” written in green on your journal page.  It also tells you if you are sugar free/grain free/legume free.  The colors are incentivizing.  And yes, I do believe that’s a word.  We all want to be GREEN!

The site is so cool that I emailed the site creator, who quickly responded with a thanks for using his site and some encouragement for our primal quest.  We also briefly discussed how quickly the 80/20 rule can get you into trouble.  Hearing that from another primal enthusiast has really made me consider how I will eat, once this challenge is over.  I think I’ll need to restrict my “cheats” to just one evening a week; otherwise, I just start to fall of the cliff.

I still feel a little off the cliff, actually, even though I’ve been eating pretty clean since Sunday.  I’ve avoided grains and cheese overall, but it’s been an odd week in that I’ve done some work traveling, and we’ve had company, two things that mean I’ve eaten out every day this week for at least one meal.  While I try to get quality food (salads, burger w/ no bun, etc.), you never know what chemicals are put into/onto the food, or what fillers are added.  I’m wondering if that’s why I haven’t lost any poundage yet.  Or, as Tim says, since I have such a small percentage to use, and I already ate PRETTY well, the weight won’t come off that fast for me.

I’ll keep at it for a few more weeks, until the challenge is over.  I’ll see how I feel, not just how much weight I lose, and move forward with a game plan at that point.

That’s my update so far.  Wish us all luck!  I’m doing the Bix 7 (a local 7 mile hilly run) on Saturday, and I don’t get any beer afterwards.  WAAAAAAHHHHH!  Oh, and after this run, I’m going to focus more on walking/weights/sprints and see if not doing long runs at a high heart rates helps get me back in my old shape.

Good luck with your ventures this week!

Catch Up Weekend and Primal Challenge Reboot

The Timimimy Tee had to work all this weekend driving bus for the John Deere Classic.  That meant that I had the opportunity to catch up on some long outstanding chores.  Basically we haven’t been home for a full weekend since before the triathlon, so things were starting to pile up.  So what did I do, you ask?  Well, here, let me tell you: I went to the Farmer’s Market, Aldis, HyVee, took several long walks, vacuumed and dusted the whole upstairs, vacuumed most of the basement and moved Lucent’s litter box so that we don’t constantly have to walk over litter particles to get to the washer and dryer and workout area, attempted to rehab my water kefir grains by putting them in a sucanat/spring water solution, sprouted and roasted almonds, cut up all the veggies from the Farmer’s Market, weeded our front garden bed, did 3 weeks of meal planning for the primal challenge (more to come on that below), returned a long overdue email, finished a humongous crocheted blanket for a friend, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand…RELAXED.  On Sunday afternoon I sat outside and read for probably 3 hours. I got a little bit of a sunburn, but it was so beautiful out there that I couldn’t bring myself to go inside.

OK.  Now for some details.  First of all, I’m kind of excited about Aldis!  I stopped on a whim, hoping they would have spring water for the kefir and for the sauerkraut Tim is going to make.  They only had individually wrapped bottled water (which seems odd for a discount store!), but I found some other great deals.  Avocados were only 79 cents (1/2 the HyVee price), Rainier cherries were only 2.99.  They had nitrate-free bacon for 3.89 and mineral water for 1.49.  I’m so jazzed!!

And on the kefir grains.  So, yeah, I though for sure I had killed them. I got a couple of good, fizzy batches out of them, and then they just stopped working.  They didn’t smell like kefir (didn’t smell like anything, in point of fact).  I emailed Cultures for Health, and they sent me back some great tips.  They recommended using sucanat (unrefined cane sugar that still has minerals left in it) and all spring water.  Previously I was usually Domino sugar and just boiling our Brita-filtered water to remove the chlorine.  Evidently the rest of the chemicals in tap water are harmful to the grains as well.  I had also ran out of mineral drops, so I had stopped using those too.  The person who emailed me said you CAN resurrect the grains, so I’m giving it the old college try.

And, finally, the Primal Challenge.  A couple of workmates and I are going to embark on the 21 Day Total Body Transformation on July 20th.  My friends want to lose some weight, and I want to lose about 3 pounds and do a reset to get closer to 90/10 instead of 70/30 .  I spent an hour Saturday culling through my recipes.  I put together 3 weeks of meal plans (containing mostly just general ideas for breakfast and lunch, and then 4 distinct recipes w/ sides for supper), along with copies of the associated recipes.  I also pulled out additional recipes for them to use, if they don’t like my suggestions.  I reordered the 21 Day Total Body Transformation.  I lent it to my brother probably 2 years ago and haven’t seen it since.  I’m so glad I bought it again. It’s a very concise, helpful guide to the primal lifestyle and contains reminders that I really needed to read again.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how this turns out!!

That’s the weekend, now its back to work and back to training for the Bix 7, which is NEXT WEEKEND.  ACCK!!

 

Minneapolis Mosey

Teeeem and I spent last Thursday to Saturday in Minneapolis.  We put the bikes on the rack and took off at 6AM on Thursday morning.  After dealing with some funky directions around the 35/94 interchange, we made it to within site of our hotel only to be stymied in our arrival by multiple light rail trains.  The streetlight gods wanted us to spend our entire vacation waiting for a green arrow onto SE Washington Ave.  We foiled their plans, however, and eventually made it to the hotel.  We unloaded, pulled up some bike maps on Google Maps, and headed out for a late lunch at the The Lowbrow.  This should have been a fairly straightforward ride, but we did not account for the difficulties in following directions such as “Turn left.  Turn left” at unspecified streets/pathways.  We spent about 15 hungry, frustrated minutes doing circles around the bridge we knew we needed to go over before we found the little secret bike on ramp.

Once over the bridge we were more or less able to find our way to the restaurant.  Beer never tasted so good.  🙂  We had a super excellent lunch at The Lowbrow and then hopped on the bikes again and headed to Lake Calhoun.  We biked around a couple of the lakes, stopping at The Tin Fish for a walleye taco and some water.  We strolled around the Uptown area, buying a pair of socks for me (sockless feet in Sperrys on a humid Mineapolis day is not a good idea).  We ducked into a Surf shop and found a bike map, which helped us immensely for the rest of the weekend.

Minneapolis is both a GREAT place to bike and a super FRUSTRATING place to bike.  There are a ton of bike lanes everywhere, and several cross-town bike-only trails.  However, Tim and I kept running into construction.  A few times I was concerned that we were going to inadvertently bike onto the interstate!  We also had difficulties finding the entry points to some of the bike trails.  We biked to a Twins game on Saturday, using city streets.  After looking at the map, we noticed that there is a bike trail that goes right to the stadium; however, when we tried to find it after the game, it was impossible!  We asked some fellow cyclists, a transit worker, and a transit cop, and all they could say was, “Well, it’s around here somewhere!”  We finally headed out, only to see the trail bracketed by a chain link fence to our right.  We kept taking right turns, attempting to get on the trail, only to encounter the fence.  After traveling 6 blocks or so, we finally found an entry point, thanks to a helpful cyclist.  Very frustrating!

But despite the challenges of biking in a unfamiliar city, we had a great time.  The game was super fun, the weather was beautiful, and Tim and I enjoyed spending time together.

Usually we travel to Minneapolis via Cedar Falls/Mason City.  However, this time we took 52 home and stopped in Decorah, IA.  We had a pint at Toppling Goliath brewery, some delicious BBQ, and then enjoyed the beautiful drive home through the bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi.

In summary, if you want to take a little weekend trip to Minneapolis, take your bikes (EVERYONE bikes there), find a bike map ASAP, visit the lakes, eat the The Lowbrow and go home through Decorah.  Oh and see the outdoor sculpture gardens at The Walker Art Museum.  We didn’t make it there this trip, but that garden is a must see!