Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Peck Peck Peck

I know, all you 3 of my readers, one-third of which will be married to me in six months, are thinking: what's with the lack of blog?

Or, not. I'll tell you anyway though. The freaking holidays are what's with the lack of blog. I've never actually seen that movie The Birds but my understanding is that at the end she is pecked to death by birds. This is a good metaphor for the way my life feels right now. I am being slowly pecked to death by various aspects of life. Work? Suddenly busy. Home? Suddenly dirty and needing cleaning and vacuuming. Holidays? Suddenly needing insane attention in the form of cooking for others, tree decorating, traditions needing tradition-ing and various other fun but time consuming items. To top it off my 3rd grade Sunday school class is not only in the Christmas pageant but they are the pageant. As in, no other teacher has a student in this pageant. Since I am the only adult in the community who seems able to put the fear of God in even the worst behaved in the class, I have to attend all their rehearsals. They're cute and some of them are good kids but some of them need straight jackets.

Right, I know, stop complaining. Traditions that you like need attention? Can you not enjoy yourself? Apparently not. Really. I come from a long line of women who stress about parties (for stupid reasons I wont even list), cooking (see: hot jail) and general life needs. The older I get the less capable of having fun I become.

This issue has a lot of implications. Obviously stress is not good for you. That Friends episode with the alterna-world where Pheobe is an attorney and has a heart attack from all the stress clearly taught me that if I get stressed I will not only have a heart attack but probably also take up chain smoking and yelling. Beyond the general effects of stress is that nutrition and health go out the window.

I have two solutions to the problem.

1) I am making a conscious effort not to react to things that don't matter. I am also committing myself to my inside voice. I'm rather enjoying being asked to speak up lately. When a coworker and I disagreed on if this stuff on the wall of the office hallway was spackle or primer the old me would have put my foot down and explained why, duh, it is clearly primer (it has since become clear that it is spackle) but the new me does not care. Cause really? Don't care. Not worth it.

I am apparently so overly relaxed that my father asked if I was okay this weekend. When I told him my new habit he warned me not to seem too relaxed or people might think I'm stoned. It's good to know I live in a world where the choices are spackle/primer-caring-screamer or stoned.

Let me be clear, this is not to say I'm becoming a door mat. Being from a strong combination of rowdy Greeks and equally-though-differently rowdy Southern women, I don't have it in me to become a push over. I'm just choosing my battles extra carefully.

2) I am making a conscious effort to only eat when hungry. This even applies to parties where there is a spread of amazing cheese or cheesy food or food that can have cheese on top with a side of dairy. These are the situations that always get me. I am at a party and have intelligently arrived hungry but not starved. I am planning to have some casual snacks without over doing it. Then there is the dairy bonanza and I convince myself the treats are a one time thing and totally worth it.

I have never, ever, not once, nope, not a single time walked away glad I over indulged. Snacks will exist again in life, these particular snacks might look good but they aren't going to change my life even though that random friend of that friend thinks that particular cheese is so tasty and amazing. They are never life changing. Maybe tasty, but never life changing.

It's two weeks until real resolution time and I've decided these are not those types of resolutions. Those are the kind that are broken before Valentine's Day. These two are the kind that bring down two numbers in particular: blood pressure and waist to hip ratio. Ask me on Valentine's Day if I've forgotten my inside voice.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Of Convincing and Assuring

Still not sure you care about farmer's market fare?

What? Onions not convincing?

Those are apples, speckel pears, purple kale and in the back, shallots. Raw foods not doing it?

How about grilled Morrocan marinated lamb over wild rice with broccoli slaw? Nom nom nom.

P.S. Speckel pears are like candy from the ground. They also make good juice to go with bourbon. Just sayin'.

Okay, this picture I just like.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not That I Don't Love Mother Earth But . . .

Clearly NPR is following my blog. Or maybe CAFOs are a hot topic, you know, whatever. Regardless, NPR is running what seems like a series on CAFOs dairy farms. Yesterday's story was on New Mexico's dairy farm issues and today's was on an Ohio farmer's efforts to improve the situation.

The part that stuck most with me from the first story was the people who 'knew dairy farms' and said the situation had to change. A lot of the issues surrounding the lack of change in the dairy world is that the farmer's either don't want to change because it costs too much or they actually can't afford it or big Ag cares more about the bottom line (ahem, supported by the federal government, ahem). But in this story, people who grew up in dairy farms, in dairy farm towns and actually understand the way the system works are actively interested in change.

The Ohio farmer's story was interesting to me because he talks about the flavor but not as much about the effects on the cows and what they produce. I've said it before and I'll say it over and over: eating whole foods that are sustainably grown are worth it for the cost and flavor. I'm not saying you should eat organics because they're better for you. I'm not saying you should eat whole foods because your liver likes it or whatever crazy story you read about in the free magazines at Whole Foods' check out line.

Not convinced? A case study from my own life:

I'm half of a two person household. We've used various methods to bring food into our kitchen from straight grocery shopping to produce delivery to almost exclusive farmer's market foods. We used to go to the grocery store two or three times per week (we live in a city and our building is right next to a grocery store) and spent between $150 to $250 per week depending on the time of year. Last weekend we went to the farmer's market and purchased an entire week's worth of fruit, vegetables and meats for $100. Now, we do still go to the grocery store to purchase (whole, organic) milk and things like toilet paper or garlic if we run out but the price of these is pretty nominal. In fact, adding it up we spent about $30 this week at the grocery store on additional items and, um, a portion of that was beer. (When are they going to start selling beer at the farmer's market?!) We also eat out a lot less often. It's hard to be interested in a bar's selection of nacho toppings when you have homemade pizza in your fridge.

This week by shopping at the market we have been able to make beef and barley stew, broccoli crunch, cabbage salad and homemade pizza along with less-recipe required items like roasted lamb sausage, eggs, a chicken to roast and some greens to saute. All of these things, for two people, in one week, for a lot less.

Screw the environment buy whole and sustainable for your wallet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stupid People Behavior

I've seen a lot of really stupid gym behavior in my time as a gym member and as a gym employee. I only spend 4 hours working and probably only 4 more on my own time at the gym per week but boy am I well aware that people stupid.

One case on Sunday, which fiance told me I was overreacting to, was a girl who was not only working out in really stupid ways but also wearing a horribly offensive t-shirt. Her t-shirt espoused hate for both gay people and women who have their period. Perhaps I didn't need to get as rowdy about this as I did but she was also squatting with the worst form I have ever seen from a woman who looked fit. She also did sit-ups on a stability ball that involved violently throwing her upper body up. I had to resist telling her she wasn't using her abs and instead just hurting her spine.

She is not alone. There are a lot of stupid things you can do at the gym. I particularly like numbers 4 and 6. The explanations for these two are the root of my gym annoyance. Unnatural movements at the gym do nothing for you. Number 1 isn't bad either. I mean, at what point in life do you need to move in that way? Except for taking your lazy legs off the coffee table the answer is never. The abductor and adductor machine look fun but unless you're a working girl, I really doubt this is necessary for your life. Squatting and deadlifting are good because they imitate things you actually do.

I'm going to stop ranting now before steam starts coming out of my ears.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Looking for Weekend Fun?

I have an idea for you! Instead of going to the gym and using weights, pick up a person.

You may have noticed a friend of mine commenting previously about deadlifting her. At her wedding a while ago I almost tried to squat her but was wearing a dress so didn't get very far.

Well, not shockingly, I did not come up with this idea all on my own. Turkish getups are an insanely hard work out. You could use a kettlebell or a regular weight orrrrrr a person.

Just a weekend fun idea from me to you!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Follow Up to Randomness and Other New Randomness

After I wrote about my hate for Eat This, Not That and how its sodium suggestions are going to kill you slowly I found an article that totally backs me up. Thanks, media.

After I wrote about how preventable disease is a major culprit in the health care crisis I found an article about how increasing cases of diabetes are going to continue to cost us more and more. Thanks for backing me again, media.


Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes. Its no secret that its tough to fall off the wagon in the public eye. The guy from the Subway commercials is apparently no exception. I can say with some certainty that what Carnie Wilson, Kristie Alley, Dustin Diamond and Jared from Subway have in common is not just that they're washed up stars but that they all have discussed at one time or another that they were or even still are eating a lot of processed food. Kristie Alley still talks about how she wants to start a line of frozen food as part of a diet company she is going to manage. She claims to have cracked the code of weight loss.

Well, let me tell you, here is the secret. I can tell you the code (which Kristie Alley hasn't cracked). The code is there is no code. If anyone has cracked the code its Mark Pollan. It reminds me of another Oprah code crack. The emperor has no clothes, people.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Have ESPN Or Something (And Other Random Items)

I am quite prescient, my friends. The blogosphere* is clearly following my lead by discussing orthorexia. Just thought I'd toot my horn there.


Living in Washington, D.C. I often encounter those who like to argue about the pros and cons of things like defense spending, climate change and of course, the ever popular, health care overhaul. There are a million little pieces of this to discuss. While I'd prefer not to get bogged down in all of them I am interested in the way actual health affects health care. Its no secret that Americans are really quite unhealthy as a generalization. Basically we get fat, poison our hearts and lungs and then we cost everyone else lots of money. But its okay, because almost everyone else does it too.

Imagine my surprise this morning when the news was chock full of stories about how 75% of health care costs in America are due to diseases that could be potentially avoided if Americans weren't obese. That's right, according to the journal Health Affairs, we could potentially be spending close to 75% less as a society if we took care of ourselves. Its true that we'd likely still have some heart disease, diabetes and cancer. You have to admit that we'd likely be able to eliminate a large portion of that spending if we stopped stuffing our faces and got off our butts more. I could argue about the tenants of S 3962 until I was blue in the face but its hard to argue with the fact that a large majority of our problems stem from our personal choices and not with our PPO or HMO choices.


Going back to yesterday's post where I ranted about Eat This, Not That. I realized I didn't suggest a solution to the problem of not knowing what to eat in fast food situations/on travel/insert problem here. Well, I have a really easy solution: be a pain in the ass. Find a place that is capable of grilling food dry and be annoying about the contents of your sides and sauces. I embarrass people when eating out somewhat regularly but on the flip side, I'm usually one of the healthier people at the table. I order fish grilled dry or chicken and sides of plain vegetables.

You're thinking: that sounds gross and boring. Did you really think the food at fast food establishment x was going to be awesome? Did you go there for the fine dining experience or because you need to eat something while traveling for work? If you went to that strip mall restaurant to have your favorite meal that's one thing. If that's the case, order the fat with extra fat and a dollop of lard on top. If you are going for utilitarian reasons, stop expecting the restaurant to change your life. Instead, get some quality calories and get out.

*Blogger's** spell checker doesn't recognize the word blogosphere!
**It doesn't recognize it's own name in the possessive either. Talk about not being meta***.
***It recognized meta as a word.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eat Food, Not Junk

Perhaps you have deduced that I love a good food indulgence. What with the inhabitants of my apartment's new obsession with Indulgences aren't just greasy or caloric food in my world. They have to be awesome greasy or caloric food. McDonald's rarely makes the cut. I find it surprising that food critics in an increasingly foodie city like to indulge in items from Chipotle or Krispy Kreme. Mall food? Really? I love a good donut, cheeseburger or foods that come a la mode but Dunkin? Wendy's? Dairy Queen? What a waste of perfectly good indulgence calories. (I am not saying I don't go to Dunkin on occasion, or even Dairy Queen or Chipotle.)

There is a whole movement out there about what indulgences to indulge in. I'm totally against the "Eat This, Not That" concept. First, it teaches nutritionally confused (fat) Americans to choose donuts over bagels instead of understanding the concept that you can eat what you want as long as you think of your calories in terms of the entire day or the entire week along with the nutrition content of the meals. Choosing a bagel for breakfast isn't going to kill you. What matters is if you follow that with a cheeseburger for lunch and so on.

Men's Health came out with a list of the 20 worst restaurant foods in America. Lets go to the tape.

Suppose you follow their replacement suggestions in the lower left hand boxes and for the sake of the argument you've eaten out every meal. Maybe you're on vacation or traveling for work, bear with me.

According to the ETNT ("Eat This, Not That") people your choices for breakfast are Cheesecake Factory or IHOP. On the bad choices list are a Colorado Omelet or french toast with bacon Your 'smart' choices are Cheesecake Factory's create your own omelet where you will choose spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms or IHOP's Garden Scramble For Me. To give them the benefit of the doubt we'll pick the last one since it has fewer calories.

So you've gone to IHOP and eaten the garden scramble and you've probably had something like coffee to drink. Lets say you put two creamers in there (we'll assume you're not putting in sugar, again, benefit of the doubt). Lets also ignore the fact that the online menu for IHOP suggests that the calorie and nutrition of the list is wrong, but whatever. We'll also ignore the fact that if you're human you probably ordered some bacon or sausage and the scramble is made with egg substitute which means you're short changing yourself on the protein which is what you really need out of eggs anyway.

At the end of this meal with the scramble and the creamer (you're annoyed that you didn't get to eat bacon and) you've consumed 430 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, 1,220 milligrams of sodium and 53 grams of carbohydrates in the food and 30 calories, 2 grams of unsaturated fat and 2 grams of saturated fat in the creamer.

Lets move onto lunch since I'm hoping you're full and didn't need a snack (although with such a crappy amount of protein I'd bet you're starving within an hour or two). Lets assume you skip appetizers entirely (number 18 on the ETNT Men's Health list). There are a number of items they suggest avoiding and lets just say you pick the least caloric one of the entire good choices lunch items list. Lets say you don't want to return to IHOP (it would be way embarrassing to see the same waitress) and that you're not going with the stupid idea that you could eat only a steak with no sides (ahem, good choices in numbers seven and thirteen). In fact, just to throw the ETNT people a bone here, lets pick the only lunch choice that seems like an entire meal. This is number fourteen's Pico Shrimp Tacos with Black Beans and Grilled Veggies from On the Border. Vegetables! Fiber! Omegas! Yes! In this meal, assuming you've consumed the entire thing with only water and no dessert you'll have eaten 490 calories, 5 grams of unsaturated fat, 1 gram of saturated fat and 1,650 milligrams of sodium. Congrats! You've already gone over the daily recommended value of sodium.

Assuming you're capable of holding out until dinner (never in my life have I lived a day without a snack between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner and I often consume a snack at both times, so kudos to you if you have this kind of insane will power) lets move onto your last and final meal of the day. In this scenario you'll be getting no beers with dinner. Sorry, its only to prove my point (which I am really, actually getting to). But, congrats! You'll be eating dessert! Lets again say that you're not eating the stupidest of suggestions like only steak or a sandwich with nothing else. You're left with a salad. No, seriously. You now must go to Cheesecake Factory and order the Chinese Chicken Salad. Also, you're only allowed to eat half. Which, is probably okay since the portions at that restaurant are gigantic (although you're probably hungry what with the lack of protein). At the end of this meal you've eaten 503 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat (no idea how many unsaturated since the restaurant wont tell you), 430 milligrams of sodium and 55 grams of carbohydrates.

Now, for the kicker. Oh, dessert, how you kill us, literally. And yet, we love you. Lets ignore number one on the ETNT Men's Health list entirely. Since they suggest eating cheesecake as a good choice alternative to a giant brownie sundae. You could easily walk your salty self over to Coldstone and purchase the good choice alternative of number 2. A small Strawberry Banana smoothie (because when you walk into Coldstone that's totally what you want to walk out the door with). Hurrah, at dinner you had three fruits. If you can call it that. You ate strawberries and bananas in your smoothie and a mandarin orange garnish in your salad. Congrats to you Men's Health follower. You had dessert for 220 calories, 1.5 grams of unsaturated fat and 34 grams of sugar (we'll count these as carbohydrates).

In total you've eaten 1,673 calories, 8.5 grams of both saturated and unsaturated fat, 142 grams of carbohydrates and 3,300 milligrams of sodium. There are a number of age groups in both genders even in the sedentary lifestyle department where the calorie content is actually okay (if you've read this blog in the past you know that this is 273 calores too many for me, an average sided 20-something female). Although, remember you ate an egg scramble with no sides, half a salad for dinner and ordered a fruit smoothie for dessert. Your fat grams could be worse for just about every group. Even your carbohydrates are probably okay for most. Your sodium content was completely through the roof and the nutritional value of most of these things was pretty low. At least there were a few vegetables in the fajitas (I refuse to count the salad as a vegetable). Although since you packed in so few vitamins you'll feel like crap. You will also enjoy artery hardening and a slew of other complications from overeating sodium (if you do it often enough).

For the record, I don't think Eat This, Not That is saying they'll solve all your dietary problems. Although it is really frustrating that I discovered ETNT's nutrition facts were lower than the actual restaurant's for just about every item. Dumbing down nutritional information allows Americans to dumb themselves down.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Incredible Shrinking Ladies

So I have returned to heavy/serious lifting. I never talked about stopping here but somehow during fiance's rugby season I stopped going to the gym with the good weight lifting equipment because he stopped going. Put away your righteous indignation, feminists. It isn't because I stayed home while he did other things. I still taught all my classes and went to the gym on my own but I just didn't go with the person who usually encourages me to do the heavy lifting and so I got lazy about it.

I also have a new program. It is most awesome and I'd love to explain it to you except I don't understand it. Fiance did some reading and came up with the plan. I'm sure he'd explain it to me if I asked but I haven't. Also it has to do with percentages or something and equations are hard for this liberal arts person. I can budget myself into a corner but I can't seem to divide. I still remember finding it really hard to do long division in the fourth grade. When nasty Mrs. Powell told me she couldn't help me if I didn't get the concept yet. Not only did she not help me but I pretty much gave up on math then and there. In yo' face lady. I hear she is pretty overweight these days. I probably can't help her though if she doesn't get the concept of healthy eating yet. (Ahem, that was a lot of bitterness I had forgotten about, moving on.)

What I do know about the heavy lifting is that it is pretty awesome. Aside from making my back look awesome in my wedding dress it also makes me feel stronger. On top of which, science tells us its great for your bones. I come from a long line of osteopenia-ites and shrinking ladies. Now, bear with me but for those of us who like our calories we know that the taller you are the more you can consume. As you age you have to eat fewer calories because your metabolism slows down. I'm thinking that if I keep up the heavy lifting and avoid the shrinking then maybe I don't have to give up as many calories as I age. So here are my thoughts: lift heavy weights (for example: I deadlifted 115 pounds 9 times on Sunday. Go me.), stay the same height, have strong bones and still eat my favorites.

Speaking of eating: nom nom nom. These were eaten in my house last night, made by fiance. He deserves all the noms.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Um, Ew.

Just after I posted I came across a list of the top 10 most disturbing junk foods. Its no wonder I'm all about the CAFOs free meat and whole foods. Just about every food I find gross is on this list. My food hates include but are not limited to: anything jiggly (jello), fake cheese (velveeta), marshmallows (peeps - I kind of think this comes from girl scouts and one too many s'mores).

Enjoy the gross!

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

I'm a big ol' liar. I said I would blog the hell out of Thanksgiving, and while I actually wanted to, I also totally wasn't interested once the time came. Did you know a lack of internet access and television can be totally awesome? Perhaps my newest health plan will be: step 1. become hermit, step 2. the end.

Okay, maybe not. So here are things I learned/revelations I had from the holidays:

1. Vegetable side dishes are so worth it and awesome. Fiance and I made apple squash puree and roasted parsnips. They were fantastic and helped me fill my plate with things that wouldn't make me feel gross later like say the gravy that sister-in-law and I made which pretty much coagulated right after we took it off the stove. Although, thats better than the gravy we made last year which seperated when we took it off the stove. There were other things made by other people, fear not.

2. There can be good leftover recipes. Fiance made a post Thanksgiving salad. (I did not partake because I went to a great restaurant with local ingredients with a friend and her husband. It was most tasty. Warning: when they say spiced nuts, they are not kidding.)

3. Airports, like ball games, will make you hungry. Well, they make me hungry. I was sure to eat a good breakfast, even at 6 am, before departing on Wednesday morning. Two hours later in the terminal, with two hours of waiting to go, I was starving. The muffin and banana were not worth it. The burrito for lunch later that day was so worth it.

4. Running in the cold with high winds will make you feel like death. Don't bother trying even if its the only exercise you'll get the entire time you're traveling for the holidays. Three times around the track (two of them walking) are not worth the ear pain that results. It felt distinctly like the ear infections I had as a kid. Since I am quite sure I never want to experience that again, I stopped. Thank God, cause ouch.

5. Going to the gym when you return home is so worth it even if you're tired and even if it means leaving a very adorable man napping on your couch. Its particularly wonderful if he has made a tasty dinner when you return. Note: we added diced cheddar to this and it was awesome. For lunch today I put it on a bed of arugula which was also awesome. And another awesome: toasted walnuts, nomnom nom.

6. When it comes to following one's own advice I am the chief of the suck in this department. Anything is exercise? Uh huh. You can do it anywhere? Whatever. Bring a jump rope? Yea, right. In my defense, there wasn't much time. I had to do things like shop and drink beer. No, I have not weighed myself since returning, thankyouvermuch.

7. Going straight to the farmer's market on your way home from the airport is totally worth it. Having food you enjoy in your home when you get back, instead of having to go out one more time or order something full of sodium made our return home, is so much more enjoyable. It also made it easier for us to do things like finish the laundry and go to the gym.

In other news, a new camera was purchased in our house. I love early Christmas presents. The pictures around here about to get pretty awesome. Fiance requested that I post his beef stir fry from last week and title it 'Ready to Wok?'.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Step, Ouch, Step, Ouch, Step, Ouch

This was the soundtrack of my weekend. I started lifting heavy again and did a pyramid of sprints on Saturday. My lats, obliques and hamstrings would like to remove themselves from their torturer (read: me [and also a little bit fiance]). Fiance 'designed' my lifting program. He did some reading and came up with a fancy plan that has something to do with science. Basically one day a week I deadlift and bench press and another I'll squat and overhead press.

I lifted on Friday and then again on Sunday. On Saturday we went to a nearby high school track and ran a sprint pyramid that went like this:

30 second sprint
30 second recovery walk or jog
1 minute sprint
1 minute recovery walk or jog
1:30 minute sprint
1:30 minute recovery walk or jog
and back down to 30 seconds

Then we did 'starts'. Starts are where you lie on the ground and explode into a run. You can start one of four ways: on your back facing away from your direction, on your front facing away from your direction, on your back facing towards your direction and on your front facing towards your direction. We realized after we were done that we should have used starts as a warm up.

On the one hand, after all this activity, I felt pretty awesome. I wont speak for him but fiance said he did too. On the other hand, I felt like I wanted to remove my muscles. I like being sore to a point. Sometimes it goes beyond that point and lying still hurts. I'm hoping its just because I started lifting again.

In food news, we also vowed to eat at home until we leave for Thanksgiving on Wednesday morning. I'm pretty sure that eating quality calories had a lot to do with the awesome. I even accidentally missed hitting my minimum calorie mark yesterday. Usually Sundays are what my father calls a caloric disaster. This particular Sunday was pretty great. I even made meatballs. What I have to say about meatballs is this: nom nomnom.

I adapted my meatball recipe from a Cooking Light recipe for meatloaf that I can't seem to find online. Suffice it to say the key is what would seem like a ridiculous amount of parmesan and parsley for only 2 pounds of beef - like a quarter cup of each. Yes, nom nomnom.

Speaking of food I'm going to try to blog the hell out of Thanksgiving. So keep it here folks because I plan to help you commiserate about holiday food and working as hard as possible to button your favorite jeans.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Told You My Answers Were Stupid

My co-worker made it onto the Good Morning America Show! This was the interview I mentioned a few days ago on our way to get an after noon snack. Shes the pretty one who says, "That's disgusting."

Also, the lady in the piece is right, the 36 strips of bacon look pretty good.

My Confessionals Are Sadly Unlike The Real World on MTV

I have a confession. This is one that you probably knew already and when I put it out on the interwebs you'll think it's the dumbest one ever.

I like cooking.

I know, so lame. The reason this is a confession is because of the way I feel about cooking. My issue with liking cooking is that I'm a working woman. Not the kind on the street corner but the kind that has an actual career and a direction with an advanced degree to back it up. You may not know it from all the grammar and spelling mistakes I've made here but I is smahrt.

So my issue with liking cooking can be enumerated in the following ways:

1. I hate standing in the kitchen. It makes my knees hurt and makes me tired. I also really despise the kitchen I have right now and so it really feels more like a hot jail when I try to cook in there.

2. I hate being all alone in there. The kitchen we have is so closed off from the rest of the apartment. If I ever make enough off this here career I will be Madame Open Floor Plan, thankyouverymuch.

3. I hate that being in the hot jail all by myself implies something about my gender. This is where my feelings make heads spin and pea soup come out. I just think that it's still a sociologically expected that because I was born a chick I'm supposed to know how to cook stuff and feed people. (For me this is probably more to do with my ethnicity since Greek people get hives from hungry guests.)

I realize that this is all mostly to do with myself and far less to do with cooking (or health and fitness which I claim to write about here) but I suppose I'm just having a hard time with being a post modernist today. I realize that the theory is that I can be in the kitchen because I choose to be and not because I'm stuck there but consargn it ladies some choices are hot and lonely!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mmmmm, Fatty Death.

A coworker and I were innocently walking out of our office building yesterday in search of our afternoon snack when a woman with a camera man and a boom operator approached us. She asked if we'd be willing to answer a few questions and we hesitantly said yes (I hadn't brushed my hair or put on lipstick in hours, this is TV people). She then asked both of us, one at a time how many grams of fat we thought were in movie theater popcorn. My coworker's answer was so perfect, "Since its delicious I bet its a lot." My answer was something stupid about how I hate popcorn and blech yuck, I'm way intelligent, ya'll.

Delicious = fatty death is a really good point, however. My post yesterday is a good example of this. Nachos and lasagna for lunch were awesome. The feeling after was awful. Loads of young-ish people tell me (either with words or funny looks) that they don't really concern themselves with their eating habits. To each his own. I have to say I personally love the feeling that goes with eating well and working out. I'm not saying I'm an asceticist or anything and I certainly go out to eat, cook well and enjoy full fat cheese but I prefer to reduce the feeling of death on toast. There are also plenty of other benefits (no thanks, cancer, you stay over there).

The larger, more important point is that you can eat deliciousness without the fatty death part. The obvious answer is portion control. Yea it might be fun to eat the entire cake but I actually like being able to have one slice per day and enjoy it over time. It takes a load of patience and the habit is not for everyone, I'll admit. The other answer is cooking more healthfully. I'm not saying you should invest in that idiotic cooking spray crap, the price of which is so jacked up its like Tickle Me Elmo at Christmas. I also don't purchase low fat cheese, cause, um, yuck. Have you ever seen that crap melt? It looks like you put Tupperware on your burger. I'm not advocating that you buy lower forms of what you like to eat. I'm just saying - steaming and roasting rather than frying.

Now the final issue here is fitness. Fitness is great. A million things are fitness. Walk for goodness sake, I dunno, pick a habit. The thing is, fitness is a very small part of all this. Apparently you can't just eat all you want and work it off. The culprit for the love handles that you're hating on? Diet. The reason your pants are tight after a weekend of fun? Diet. Why your couch squeals when you sit down? Diet.

Bring it on gratins, cheeseburgers and cookies! I will eat you and not frighten my couch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Blame Healthy Habits for This One

I have a confession to make: I didn't eat dinner last night.

I have another confession to make: I ate my weight in carbs and cheese for lunch yesterday.

These confessions go together nicely. The results of these choices have been less than appreciated. Lets go to the video:

Monday's breakfast: Came in two parts, one before fiance got up and I was starving and one after when I made eggs for both of us.

Monday's lunch: Came in a GIANT PILE OF CHIPS AND CHEESE AND PASTA AND JUNK yummy nomonomnom. Also, came at about 2 pm, hence a strategically larger-than-normal breakfast.

Monday afternoon: CRASH! NAP! ZZZZ!

Monday evening: Teach a cycle class while half awake and still very full.

Monday dinner: Apple, yogurt, ohgodnomoreblehhhh.

Tuesday breakfast: Normal - toast, bacon, a usual 300ish calories.

Tuesday lunch: Occurred at 11 am because, I think, I was so starving after the ohgodnomoreblehhhh thing.

Tuesday dinner: Just occurred at 4 pm in the form of curry from a tasty Asian restaurant near my office.

Now, I would have waited to have dinner at home if I weren't planning to go straight to the gym from work in about an hour. Clearly, the gym is at fault here.

Stay tuned to find out if I ever get back on a normal eating schedule. For the love of God, someone help.

Friday, November 13, 2009

If the Cereal Jumped Off a Bridge Would You Do It Too?!?

One of the things I find incredibly hard about nutrition and health is label reading. First, there are a million 'rules' out there about what you should pay attention to: no more than 25% of calories from fat; fat calories don't matter as long as the protein grams are high; nothing with HFCS or hydrogenated oils; only things with a certain percentage of Vitamins A, C or E. For God's sake can someone come up with the hard and fast rule?

Except, I don't want anyone to come up with a hard and fast rule. What? I like to read my cake label and eat it too.

My primary goal (read: NOT A RULE) is to eat things that don't even have labels. You could go into the canned fruit aisle and concern yourself with sugar added, no sugar added, pears in syrup, peaches in water, the list goes on until you have a head ache. Or you could go buy a pear. This is the better choice because eating a food without a label implies that it is a whole food. Your body is better able to break down whole foods, whole foods have more nutrients blah blah blah.

We all eat food with labels though so lets be honest and break it down. What in the hell are we supposed to do when presented with these long ass labels? Well first, decide what you care about. My body hates me when I eat preservatives. Yellow 5, HFCS, MSG, they all equal head pain and drama for me. I avoid them as best I can but I prefer not to go nuts about it. Occasionally I might eat a potato chip or 20 and I realize its not going to kill me.

Second, decide if you trust it. If you're watching for calories, be aware that the corporation that is selling you the product is legally required to disclose the nutritional information and put it on the label. There has been some evidence recently that labels aren't as truthful as you'd like to believe. This is particularly concerning for diabetics or those allergic to things like peanuts or items found in trace amounts. For example, I'm trying to reduce my soy intake. I just found out my multivitamin has soy in it. I'll live, I'm not thrilled about it but at least I'm aware.

Finally, be aware of the claims on the front of the box. Just because the Toasted Oat Cereal tells you its a good source of calcium doesn't mean you should believe them. In fact, screw the front of the box. The front is designed to get you to pick up the box. It is not designed to tell you the contents. Turn the box over, look at the list of ingredients and the calorie and fat content, if you care. The front of the box is why our foods have well known commercial mascots. Don't let a colorful rabbit or a flying stinging bug tell you what to feed yourself or your family. Instead, let the numbers tell you what to eat.

Or, ignore the whole damn thing and eat what you please. Buy something with a colorful bunny and if you like it eat it again. Figure out your own personal rules and do what makes you happy. I'm just going to be over here in this corner grumbling about big Ag.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

All Your Behavior Are Belong to Us

At the gym/in fitness/in nutrition there are inevitables. These are things you just can not avoid. The universe doesn't care if you don't want or need them and here are a list of my favorites.

- No matter how many squats you do, how often or if you practice them your ass and/or hips will always hurt the next day. You could do 50 per day for a month and your butt will still scream when you get up out of bed in the morning. Squats are the most effective way to make yourself limp around your office, same goes for planks on your elbows.

- You will decide to give up soy/dairy/insert food here. Within 24 hours you will be presented with what must be the tastiest food you have ever seen made entirely of the thing you gave up.

- No matter how much you avoid group exercise or how much you wear your ear phones the entire time you're at the gym you will have a gym buddy/creepy stalker. You will see this person regularly, there will be no logic to the fact that they seem to be there every time you are and they will give you funny looks. Some day, down the road you will discover they probably think the same thing of you.

- You will get dressed in the morning and discover that all your pants are too tight. There will be no explanation for this. You will freak out and be preoccupied about it all day. You wont change your eating habits (much) and the next day it will all be normal again. You will ignore this and forget about it and be pleased to do so. This same type of scenario will occur when you have a chest cramp at the gym. You will spend 5 minutes sure that you are having one of those healthy people heart attacks. At minute 6 you will start to think about what to have for dinner.

- You will embarrass yourself. You will fall off your treadmill/step/bike/the ground and try your best to save face by standing up as quickly as possible. The effort you make to 'catch' yourself will only injure you further.

- When you finally return to the gym after a 3 month hiatus after falling on your ass, someone will mention that they haven't seen you in ages and you will be even more embarrassed.

- You will accidentally eat an extra 800 calories the morning of the same day you plan to go out and have a huge dinner. This accident generally comes in the form of an office muffin. You will innocently look up the calories online at your desk. You will still go out dinner. But you will also feel like the biggest tub of lard the next day.

And not care.

- Someone you know and thought was totally sane will decide to pick up a crazy habit to lose weight/build muscle/be less of a lard ass. You will ignore this because, duh, they are crazy. Their crazy will pay off and you will hate them.

- If you do lose weight and feel healthy someone will mention that they think you are anorexic/don't eat enough/must have a stomach worm. You will ignore them and only feel better about yourself. You will then google stomach worms.

- Your mother/grandmother/cousin/great aunt twice removed will reminisce about your childhood and mention how you were such a skinny little kid back then. You will spend the following holiday sure she trying to pork you up.

- You will become addicted to a 'normal' food like applesauce, toast, hummus. You will realize that this box a day of wheat thins/100 calorie pack/raisin obsession is probably what is making your pants tighter. You will continue consuming this 'normal' item until you actually must by all new pants. You wont buy new pants.

I'm sure I'm missing some, help me out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Welcome to My Sandbox

I have seen some truly amazing behavior in the gym. I guess that since I spend a fair amount of time there it isn't all that surprising that I might experience humanity's worst. I've seen members berate employees for almost no reason. I've seen attendees in classes yell at instructors for schedule changes they knew full well weren't the choice of the instructor. I've seen the usual not cleaning up after yourself.

That last one is the most common. I spend about five minutes after every class that I teach reorganizing because a grown adult can't seem to roll their bike closer to the wall or put their mat in the pile. I find it incredibly frustrating. First, working at the gym is my hobby which means I love it. It does not mean that I am your personal maid. The problem is not only limited to gym members either. The cycle room that I teach in twice a week is often used for boxing training. The trainers have a few standing punching bags along with some that are hanging from the ceiling. Without fail, at least once a week and sometimes twice, they will leave these monstrous standing punching bags in the middle of the room. These suckers are a pain to move. They are filled with water in order to withstand the punching. In order to move them you have to roll them at an angle. It isn't as if I can ignore them either. There is one that looks like a person and I once left it a few feet further from the wall than normal. I nearly squealed when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. This is the kind of behavior that makes me want to put up the kind of signs you see in Dilbert. "Your mother doesn't work here and I'm not your maid."

The cleaning up after yourself issue is annoying but far worse is people who behave as if the class they are attending is all about them. Why do some people refuse to understand that the world doesn't revolve around them? Who raised these idiots? I bet their related to the people who turn left after the light turns red. Last night at the gym I experienced a perfect example of horrible gym behavior. I was teaching a cycle class and a gentleman came late. Not five or ten minutes but half an hour late. This man came in half way through my class. That alone doesn't bother me. (Aside from the fact that he clearly didn't warm up which makes him an idiot unless he had done it outside my field of vision.) The worst behavior came ten minutes before class ended when he leaps from his bike and walked up to me while I was teaching. I'm in the middle of cuing and he asks if he can move the fans around. Of course I say no. I have at least ten regulars who attend both of my classes every week and they are very particular about where the fans are. I offer to put one particular fan right on him. I get to a stopping point in what I'm saying to the greater class, hop off my bike and go to move the fan. As soon as I get back to my bike he leaves. Now I was probably short with him and he might have been offended or maybe my solution wasn't enough. But if he'd come on time and done this it would be no big deal. Just don't walk into a room late, not knowing the situation from the start and cause drama. This follows the same theory that you don't walk into a room speaking loudly in case someone inside is having a conversation.

Manners are required in the gym, in the locker room, at work and hopefully at home. I suppose it would be improper of me to post a sign in my class that says, "Google the sandbox rule."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Got Whole Milk? Why, Yes!

A while back I mentioned that I drink whole milk. I know almost everyone drinks skim. For about 26.5 years of my life I did too. I love milk. Love it like I love organized closets that I don't personally have to organize. And that would be . . . a lot. One thing I don't like is blindly listening to the collective consciousness (I was born almost an entire month late, I like to buck trends) and just drink skim because some doctor on TV said so.

The reason nutritionists and your pediatrician suggest skim milk for everyone after age two is that skim lacks fat. Americans, if you didn't notice, are big fat blobs. Cutting things like fat and carbohydrates are a great false promise. Basically, cut down on something and you're bound to cut your calories and thus be a less fat American. Which means you'll take up less space but still mock Asian tourists.

In fact, you'll see organizations like the National Dairy Council saying that school lunch should contain low-fat dairy to fight obesity and disease in children. Their argument is basically that you have to feed the kids something so it should contain some nutrients and since our kids are big and fat make it low-fat. Notice that what they are not saying is that low-fat dairy makes you healthier. The American Heart Association tells you that you need two to three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products per day, and while they fail to explain why, its likely because of the recommended intake of things like calcium.

It's no secret that for the most part dairy is good for you. (Although some argue that we weren't meant to drink milk past breast milk and we're fighting evolution but if you're not lactose intolerant, whatever.) Milk contains fat soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E although these are stripped when skim milk is created and put back in through fortification. It also contains calcium and provides you with protein. So milk = good.

Now, as for your choice of milk. Skim milk is whole milk put in a centrifuge. Skim milk, no matter what you're picky cousin says, is not whole milk with water. Whole milk is not all fat either, its just the whole form of milk. The basic contents of the two types are the same except that whole contains more calories. Well there are a few differences in that skim is far more processed (and I've been clear on my feelings on that, ahem, anti). In a study done on rats both the skim milk and whole milk groups showed the least weight gain in comparison to the group drinking water. So, again milk = good but regardless of the type of dairy they both promote a health weight.

The number one complaint physicians have about whole dairy is cholesterol. First, the cholesterol you consume, which is called dietary cholesterol (duh) and the kind you have in your actual blood don't always affect each other. Sometimes they do. If you're consuming an obscene amount of the stuff then your bad blood cholesterol (the kind your body produces) is going to be higher. Oh, and you'll also be overweight and perhaps have diabetes and show signs of heart disease. These things are all signs that a person is obese. So the theory that consuming cholesterol and producing too much cholesterol in the body is not such a simple theory. In reality, a person eats too much, they get fat (Americans mentioned above) and they experience all sorts of health problems from obesity to diabetes and, of course, high cholesterol. So basically if you're watching your calorie intake you should drink as much god damn whole milk as you please. If you're fat like I was, cut the calories.

I really haven't explained why I drink whole milk as much as I've explained how I defend the choice. The reason I drink it is basically I need the calories. When I work out and burn a crap load of calories I try to replace them with protein. I'm also usually starving and thus whole milk saves the day. As long as I keep my calories within a normal range it is no problem. Also, in truth, its not as if I have a glass of milk everyday. I also don't think you can defend drinking just any milk either.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stuff I Read and Feel Like Sharing

Oh, vitamin D, how our bodies love you. So I took an online certification test through one of my gym certifying organizations on vitamin D. Basically what I paid $25 to learn is that D isn't actually a vitamin its a hormone mimicking compound. Basically it turns on 200 genes in the body. Which sounds scary until you read the research about how taking it has almost never, ever shown negative effects. Also, you have to work your ass off to overdose on it. The average pill sold at your local drug store contains anywhere from 400 to 2200 IUs of the stuff. Studies in toxicity showed that people who took 1.6 million IUs per day for 6 months just barely reached toxic levels and there are few examples of death from vitamin D overdose. So basically, that's a damn lot of vitamin D. I'm no Doctor but I'm prescribing myself some serious D. The Mayo Clinic thinks you should get between 800 and 1,000 IUs per day.

I don't know this Canadian but I sure think shes smart (I want her job). Although she calls herself a Doctor she isn't an MD. Love me some intervals, don't know what ORAC is but I seem to follow it by accident minus the lentils. I'm not sure I can really trust someone who says their biggest weakness is organic popcorn though.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nope, Not Gonna Do It, Wouldn't Be Prudent

Running has never been my thing. I can be on a bike for ages. I can roller blade (not that I've done that in ages) for miles. I can run intervals for fifteen minutes on a treadmill where I sprint for a minute and walk for a minute. But marathons scare the hell out of me. They are the kind of thing I would need a million dollar reward to run. Mostly because I think I would sooner die. I would definitely die if I had to do it up stairs the entire way.

There are those who think that's okay because long distance running is bad for the human body. They could be right. I'm certainly not jumping on the marathon bandwagon. But apparently new studies disagree. Apparently distance running played a big part in our evolution. A bajillion years ago we chased our prey by exhausting it. Clearly I would have starved back then. Or eaten the questionable berries.

Even our feet have all sorts of implications. The tribe mentioned in the article even runs tens of miles on thin soled shoes. Please google five finger shoes and then be sufficiently freaked out. I can't even handle it when people walk around the city barefoot while holding their clearly painful shoes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Object in Mirror Are Intended to Remind you to STOP

Holidays = calories.

Its a fact, maybe not for everyone but it is for me. When I was trying to lose weight it was overwhelming and sometimes upsetting because it made enjoying holidays harder. Now that I have a pretty decent system and am comfortable with myself I'm less bothered by the fact.

Birthdays (not a holiday I know, same deal, whatever), Christmas, Thanksgiving and even Halloween can be challenging. There are so many reasons that I hate Halloween. First, it overshadowed my birthday as a kid. Stupid Halloween stole all my glory. Why can't my school birthday cupcakes be pastel colored? Why are they orange and black? All the other girls get pink and purple birthday treats! Life was clearly unfair to this suburban youth. Excuse me while I tear up and then roll my eyes at myself.

I do hate Halloween though. I hate plastic decorations. Halloween is, by definition, a tacky holiday. At least Christmas decorations can be classy. I also get annoyed with the emphasis on chocolate. I like chocolate occasionally but can't eat much of it. Clearly my life is still unfair. Now its your turn to roll your eyes.

My general system for not making holidays a bear and instead making them enjoyable is a simple promise to myself: I refuse to feel stuffed. Its never worth it. I used to rock the food coma. In college I was a queen of overeating (okay before college too). When something is tasty its hard to remember, although I try, that this food is good but not worth that horrible stomach pain that comes from over indulging. Even if the food is good or even expensive, not worth it. Take it home!

I have a friend that I regularly share expensive meals with. Its a thing we do - we love to save up and have a blow out meal. Just a few months ago we went out, ordered cocktails and had a few snacks and then proceeded to order dinner. Moments before our dinner arrived we realized we already felt stuffed and wanted to fall asleep (that one might have been the cocktails). So we had the waiter pack up all the food. He looked at us like we were clearly crazy. And we might be. But we had one hell of a lunch the next day.

So: stuffed = not worth it. Perhaps I need to tattoo it backwards on my forehead.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pain? Awesome? Dunno!

Every Monday and Wednesday I teach a cycle class. This year my birthday was on a Monday and I found someone to sub for me so I could enjoy a nice meal with my groom. This turned into taking a week off from exercise. It wasn't entirely intentional but a break from the gym and/or exercise can certainly be worth it. For the same reason I believe in interval training I think giving your body a chance to chill can make your future work outs better.

Holy crap did I prove this.

Last night I thought I was going to die. I've been teaching cycle for two years and I have never worked so hard. Also, while I feel fine now, I may have allowed myself to be attacked by a few more germs than usual. My immune system and my endurance level clearly plummeted.

Also, the weirdest part of this is that on Tuesday I thought I had gained 2 pounds from all my overeating (not really you'd have to work incredibly hard to gain 2 pounds in a week, as in consume an extra 7000 calories in that week or 12 pieces of cheesecake, okay that sounds easy - one for breakfast and one for lunch!) and then this morning I had lost those 2 and another .5. Um, whoa.

So either resting from exercise is an invitation for feeling like death OR its a great way to suddenly lose a small amount of weight? I can't decide if I think this is a good thing or a bad thing in the long run.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Slow and Steady Loses (Weight)

I think the most common thing I hear from people about fitness and nutrition is about changing habits. Oprah once told me that it takes a person 13 tries before they change a habit. And, I mean, Oprah is always right. Except that it took me about 6 years to really change my habits and get my nutrition in line and have actual fitness habits.

My thoughts on how one changes habits? Verrryyyy slowwwwly. I don't know about you but when I take on too much I get overwhelmed and no good can come of that. Busy is one thing, overwhelmed is a whole other beast. When I've tried to start four different new habits all at the same time they never stick.

Want to start going to the farmer's market, cooking more and eating less processed food? Sounds awesome but I wouldn't do them all at the same time. Its easy to get anxious about the end result and thus try to do all the new things at once but if you do, in all likelihood, you'll end up doing none of them.

First I started going to Weight Watchers. Well, second and third. I went to there three time before it stuck. Once I liked my weight and had my caloric consumption under control I started changing what I was eating. I started to cook meals that fit actual food groups. Then the food groups changed. Now I make my own bread. I have gone from normal 20-something to total food freak in just a few years. Try to resist the urge to give me a gold star.

There are all kinds of habits I'd still like to change. For instance, I could have probably done without the 2 pounds gained over my birthday weekend (I got a whole weekend!). In other realms of life: I'd like to remember to clean the car more but its just so far away and who carries cleaner and paper towels with them into the parking garage? I'd like to teach myself to be more productive in the morning - I'm really good at getting a day's worth of work done from 3 to 5 pm everyday - and I think this habit will slowly kill me. The list goes on.

Tortoises win the race!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Old Standby

So its my birthday. I find birthdays, like store bought waffles, kind of disappointing. Not that I don't love my birthday and all the gifts and fun. Also, I'm not sure what I think I'm expecting. Its not like I want someone to have a parade in my honor.

The thing that makes birthdays hard though is that I love a good celebratory dinner. I have become somewhat skilled in having entire celebratory weeks without busting the button on my favorite pants. So I guess they aren't that hard. They're just . . . more . . . challenging than a normal day?

What I'm basically saying here is that its Monday and I haven't effectively journaled a single day since Friday. I've written down a meal or two complete with calories. I've even managed to write something on each of those days even if its without calories. I don't even want to know how many extra calories I ate this weekend (and really, who can know how many calories are in a bacon wrapped filet). And, um, I plan to continue to enjoy myself this evening. So instead I've been refusing to eat when I'm not hungry. I stop when I'm full (sort of, sometimes there is bacon left!).

So, I haven't been journaling but I haven't been stuffing myself. Its the old standby of dieters.

Hey, at least I can still button my pants!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Things I Will Not Be Wasting Money On Anymore

The first is jarred apple sauce. I made apple sauce last night and holy crap I never knew it could be so tasty. I find the jarred kind sort of gross. It tastes mealy and weird. Turns out I love apple sauce, just not the kind you buy in the snack aisle.

Also, it was freakishly easy. When I was done I actually stood alone in my kitchen and said, out loud, to no one, "that's it?". Here is what I did:

1. Core 4 apples. (When I chop apples I chop them down the center twice. Basically that means cut the apple in half and cut each half in half. Cut the center out by leaning the apple quarter on its side and cutting on the bias. Sounds complicated but its so incredibly easy. Apparently this is how restaurants do it.)

2. Place apple pieces, half a cup of water, a squirt or two of honey (it was probably a tablespoon), a dash or four of cinnamon and cloves (if you love them more if you don't, less).

3. Boil until the apples are soft. I think it was less than ten minutes.

4. Put in a food processor or mill until the apples are as chunky or smooth as you want.

I let it cool for a few minutes and it was so tasty at a slightly warm temperature. I also put it in my oatmeal this morning and, people, oh my Lord, you really do not need bananas in that there oatmeal. If anyone can swoon over food it would be me and apple sauce oatmeal = swoon.


The other thing I wont waste money on anymore is spray cleaner like 409 or Clorox. Does anyone remember back in the day when people used white vinegar to clean the kitchen? I don't but gracious I wish I did.

I purchased a spray bottle and filled the bottle a little more than half way with vinegar. Then I added water to fill it to the top. Reasons and uses:

1. This is so gross (everyone secretly loves TMI) but I went to the doctor recently and told them I had a rash on my finger under my engagement ring. I've been wearing the ring since March but only last week it started to bug me. Essentially, my setting has a lot of little crevices in it and with all the (anti-swine flu) hand washing and winter weather moisturizing I had started a little fungus farm in there. EW! What does this have to do with vinegar? Well, I soaked my ring in white vinegar for about an hour, washed it with just water and dried it. I let my finger heal overnight and huzzah no more grossness.

2. Vinegar actually removes smells as it dries. Spray the homemade cleaner on your counter tops and it will actually create a natural air neutralizer. This is also awesome for cleaning your kitchen trash can and also stinky children and other family members.

3. Not that I would know from experience but apparently if you toss vinegar into a washer of cloth diapers it helps. I would assume this extends to other smelly and gross clothing. Hmm . . . perhaps I need to learn to speak on this from experience. Ahem, rugby playing fiance, ahem.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

There Could Be An Old Lady With a Ruler!

Oh, form, how you slay us all.

Fiance will tell you that I regularly comment on poor running form. For at least a year he's been trying to get me to get certified as a track and field coach legit style. Its hard for me, when I see women hunched over (your boobs are not supported for the love of God) or men running with their arms swinging from straight to bent (you are going to pop one of those elbows). But running form can mean the difference between an efficient workout and one that tears ligaments.

Friends who regularly attend my spinning class openly call me the posture Nazi. They are not kidding. I probably cue posture more than I scream the word sprint. Head up, long back, arms straight but not locked out...the list goes on.

I know, I know, lay off every one's case, they're doing their best. Its true, they probably are. The reason I'm vocal about this isn't because I like to correct people (although I occasionally enjoy correcting people in those idiotic Lance Armstrong outfits at indoor cycling classes). The reason I'm vocal is because I have two bad knees, one worse than the other, a cervical spine that is a total disaster and popping ankles. I even have one toe that is so busted that it pops when I just simply bend it. And yes, I still work out like a fiend. You can too! Because its all in the form. Better form means a more efficient workout means more calories burned means more muscles fatigued (in the safest way) leading to more bacon and cake eating . . . or something.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


That's a song right?

I was thinking today about all the things I have 'given up'. I put this in quotes because, while I used to live on a banana a day, sometimes two, I don't miss them. I used to love them! I thought they helped me keep away muscle pain. Turns out, no, they were just letting me eat fruit that came from thousands of miles away with an extra helping of chemicals on the peel.

Of course I've also added lots of things. I have Omegas in my fridge. They are in pill form although I try to eat them in fish a fair amount (I really suck at this, if you are in a restaurant with me please yell at me to order the fish). Yay for my brain and my eyes. Fiance also takes the omegas and, in fact, is the one who remembers to purchase them. I kind of think he takes too many and AHA thinks that's bad. Also, I journal like a fiend.

I'm also getting my heart rate up regularly. In fact, perhaps it will keep me from getting that there flu everyone is upset about. Although, apparently my body is still trying to tell me things about myself that I don't know. (I so doubt this. I mean, how can you be so, um, inquisitive [read: obsessive] about yourself and not know.)

So why is this important? Why am I telling you? Well here's why: its freaking weird that I can think bananas are the be all and end all of my life and now I barely notice their absence. I mean WEIRD. I even looked up what other foods give you potassium and it turns out there are lots. Oh, the other reason, I ate oatmeal this morning and I used to believe that you could not eat oatmeal without bananas. Apparently, you can. Who knew? Probably you did. I did not.

You may now commence rolling your eyes at me.

You probably already did.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salty Sweet Combo Wins Everytime

Shared office food is the devil. Someone brought in some rather tasty but completely unremarkable white chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles.

I have had 3 today.



I mean besides that they were tasty.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nobody Is Another Word for Me

Dear Karl Lagerfeld,

I think you are kind of neat. Supposedly you're 76 years old and yet are very active. You even lost almost 100 pounds a while back. You still run your own label and Fendi. Good for you!

You've also had some fights with people like Anna Wintour. She didn't like the fact that you put strippers on the runway. I'm not going to pick sides in that war of crazy-gloved-man versus crazy-skinny-faced-lady but you know, whatev.

I do have a bone to pick with you. To each his own I guess. I mean, I've seen those episodes of Project Runway where all the designers are confused when they design something for people who are a size 12. I get it - the proportions are complicated.

Karl, let me just tell you, you of the strange glove obsession, you don't have to look at them. I? I would love to see some people on a runway looking more like me. If you don't want to design for my size 8 self, its cool, J.Crew does a fine ol' job.

Das your loss,

The Lady With the Weight Loss

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Socioeconomics Vs. Nutrition

There were comments (read: one) yesterday about nutrition/calorie count and socioeconomics. It reminded me of a story I heard on NPR back in May. And then today there was a blog post on ThatsFit about corner stores and childhood obesity.

You may be thinking, 'Why does this blog girl think she knows anything about this?' Well turns out I have myself a handy masters degree in social policy. The facts are that people who struggle to make ends meet or even people who work extra jobs or even those who have stressful lives regardless of what society deems to be 'enough' in their bank account (I'm trying to avoid going into a rant about how the federal poverty level might as well be designed by monkeys) have a hard time with nutrition. When you brain and time are occupied by other things its hard to think clearly about the fastest route to drive home let alone how many calories you should eat in a day.

So the problem is that its hard to educate people about nutrition. Further, its hard to absorb the facts about nutrition when life can take up so much time. Don't even get me started on my theory about how what America really needs to solve its problems is affordable subsidized child care so that working mothers can be more effective at being mothers in addition to citizens and people in their own right. ANYWAY.

So if that's the problem what's the solution? Well the solution is not to stop advertising the calorie counts of items. It could be a manner of other things in addition. Rewarding people through health insurance costs when they are at a healthy weight? Maybe. Add required nutrition science to the slew of other sciences we teach our children? Maybe.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts. Comment away!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Call BS

No way. Absolutely no freaking way.

Actually, sort of, yes, but also no.

See, I totally buy that the calorie count on the wall isn't going to make me stop wanting the burger but like the girl says at the end of the Post piece, it makes me realize I don't always need those fries and can totally live without them.

Nutrition isn't about one meal or one part of a meal or one day or even a week. Its about the overall choices you make. For example, this weekend my choices were, um, questionable. Today, I'm working harder, um, minus the chai I just purchased.

I mean, I'm not perfect, sheesh.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In NOTNews: I Love Food.

Oh, hi! (Almost said hai but am not meta enough.) Man, I have been so busy. I was just buried under so much...

Oh, whatever. I was busy having fun. Now that my liver has recovered I'm back to tell you:

Alton Brown is way hot! Apparently he lost 50 pounds and um, yea. I'm going to stop now because fiance told me to stop sweating him. But the reason I bring this up is I love Good Eats (and the motorcycle shows too) for how much he values well made food with fresh ingredients. My DVR was kind enough to allow me to watch one of the new episodes in his 10th season: breakfast. Drool.

In other food news:

I made this pork roast a few weeks ago. The basics are: dry rub with ginger, salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Roast at 400 degrees until a digital thermometer says the meat is 100 internally. Then cover the whole monster in apple butter. Roast again until the meat reaches 155 degrees. Let it rest, chop and consume. Nom, nom, nom is what I have to say about that.
(I got this recipe from not Alton although it reminds me that he does have a tenderloin recipe that I found intriguing so hmmmm.)

I didn't have a roasting pan with high sides so I kind of made one:

That would be a cookie sheet with foil turned into a bowl shape. It was perfectly functional.
Tonight I tried to make pork paprikash. It was eh. I also made some pork chops recently that had a walnut crust. They were good but I've discovered I like my pork saucy. Like me? Heh heh...sorry.
Why the pork? There's an awesome butcher at one of my farmer's markets with some tasty fresh pig products.
My last item in food news is my new favorite snack. Take some cheddar, an apple, 5 or 6 walnuts and maybe some dried fruit. Now, pay attention, this is complicated. First you need a bowl or a plate. Then you need to cut the cheddar and the apple into bite sized pieces. Then, and this is where it gets challening, put it on the bowl and go sit on the couch. Best damn snack ever. In fact, could be a good small meal. We've taken to a large block of irish white cheddar of late.
And that's the days NOTnews. Good night and whatever...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hide from that Weird Girl at the Gym and Still Workout!

Alright, fine. Proven wrong. He knows how to use the microwave. I'm sorry.

Phew, that was hard.

Moving right along.

Home gym fun!

If you're saying to yourself, "that looks like an erg in the middle of a living room", you would be correct. It is one jump rope, one erg (which folds in two and hides in a corner of our dining room), one yoga mat, two five pound weights and one eight kilogram kettlebell.

What I did with this six foot square space:

2500 meter row
100 goblet squats with 8 kilos
100 sit ups with 10 pounds
50 push-ups
500 jump rope

I did this in 41 minutes and 30 seconds. Last time I tried it it took about 42 minutes.

This was perfect for my attention span. By that I mean, when I got bored of one thing I could do something else. I didn't do it in order. I did jot it down quickly while I was working so I wouldn't lose track. If I rowed for 500 meters I'd jot that down before doing 10 sit ups and jot that down before doing 10 push-ups. Its also easily modified if you don't have an erg or weights. You can skip the weights all together or hold something in your house that's heavy like a child or your pride, maybe add some extra jump ropes, a few burpees or some jumping jacks.

The best part of home gym? Not having to wonder if you're wearing gym appropriate clothing!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

For the Record

I have been reprimanded. Fiance (who's identity I am still required to protect) can apparently use the microwave. When I asked what would happen if I asked him to cook something for twelve minutes and 52 seconds he responded: "I would ask you why you want me to blow something up in the microwave".

Perhaps we'll have a test tonight. Mwahahahha.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


They totally deserve capitalization what with their tastiness and awesome. Also, they are not the devil. When you think of carbs you probably think of pasta and dinner rolls. But congrats! Carbs are actually a macronutrient along with protein and fat and you need all three to live.

Because life is not fair, pasta and dinner rolls are not the carbs that have most of the micronutrients like vitamins. As part of my daily food journal I have two specific categories that allow for carbohydrates. These are the fruit/vegetable category and the whole grain category. If its not those two or a protein it falls in the extras column. Personally, I shoot for two servings of whole grain a day and never limit my fruits or vegetables. I know, its kind of shocking to think of fruits and vegetables as carbohydrates (and also kind of sad for people who think they should always feed their body's cravings so they eat pasta when they could probably eat an orange).

Some people freak their shit out when you talk about grains. There are whole lifestyles organized around avoiding them. And actually there is some science to suggest you should be careful about too much grains in your diet. For me, I'm pretty careful about the carbs and grains I put in my body. I even make my own whole wheat bread. It tastes world's better than the grocery store stuff, my fiance will attest to that. (Although he has a silly fear of the blog world and while he reads this he wont comment to tell you how awesome I am and how great my bread is. He also can't really work our wireless internet or the microwave if something needs cooking for more than the auto-one-minute button. He is good at plenty of other things, don't worry.) We go through about a loaf a week. Yea that's a lot of bread, probably a piece or two a day for each of us (within the 2 per day serving) but considering how much junk we could be eating by buying it, its totally worth making. There are good choices to be made! But really, they're just freakin tasty!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

These People Make My Brain Hurt

So part of my masters program included statistical analysis. I also happen to be the daughter of a woman who is a scientist and uses statistics in her job (read: life's work). This means I get irrationally upset over people who don't understand cause and effect. I also go crazy over gross generalizations when they affect a person's actual life.

For instance, claiming things like 'In holistic circles it is widely believed that the vast majority of the population suffers from hidden food allergies.'. Really people? REALLY?! I'm all about holistic medicine. I have a friend who has some potentially life threatening medical issues. She goes to an immunologist and a chiropractor. Nine times out of ten the immunologist throws up his hands and suggests she buy stock in Advil and rest more. Then she'll go to the chiropractor and he fixes her right up. This is to say, I am all about alternative medicines. HOWEVER! Could we please throw around these gross generalizations about allergies less often? I mean, don't get me wrong, I actually have two fatal allergies myself and a terrible intolerance for preservatives but for God sake could we not just throw all this around as if people aren't going to read this man's book and proclaim themselves allergic to everything except the grass in their yard. I'm sure he has some science to back it up and I bet Dr. Hyman has a stellar resume but lets not go around telling people they're SECRETLY ALLERGIC TO WHEAT.

I'm not saying he is wrong or even that I disagree. I'm just saying, whoa there with the assumptions.

Now for a topic that makes people more crazy. My personal views aside (in full disclosure any child of mine will be fully and completely immunized including for HPV) I would like to be clear about some things Mr. US News. Pap smears do not, under any circumstances protect a woman from cervical cancer. Being the grandchild of a man who personally knew Dr. Papanicolau, educating myself both in school and personally on the issue (you know because I'm a chick) and since I've had a dozen or so pap smears in my life (some of which were 'abnormal') I can tell you that there is a major difference between prevent and protect. Getting a pap smear will help you discover these abnormal cells and if you're like me they could be a blip and no big thing. If you have an abnormal pap they'll monitor it and if it doesn't clear up there is a whole protocol for action. HOWEVER! Simply going to the Gyno and getting a pap does not inherently protect you from cancer.

But, blog lady, you say, is there that much of a difference?


By not getting a pap smear you are not increasing the chance you will get cervical cancer you are only increasing the chance you wont find the earliest signs of cancer.

Think of it this way: say you're a twelve year old girl and you're told by your teacher (who read the US News article) that getting a pap smear protects you from getting cancer. Now, I could have very low expectations for twelve year old girls (I know some, so, doubtful) but you'd probably think: "Yippee, I can go smoke with my older cousins! I can have all that fun sex the kids on the TV box talk about so long as I go get one of those fancy smear things! Woohoo!" By this I mean: stop confusing our poor, unassuming young ladies.

Also for God sake, teach them the difference between prevent and protect.