Achy Joints Update

I have a quick weekend update on the status of the inflammation. I haven’t had any official tests done, so this is purely observational. However, after 12 days, all signs of the “talking” knees and shoulders is completely gone. In fact, it was basically gone within the first 3 days of clean Paleo eating.

A few other observations:

1. My energy throughout the day is very consistent. I don’t feel like I have to have coffee to make it to the second hour of the day, and there is definitely no mid-afternoon crash. (do I sound like an ad for 5-hour-energy?)
2. I don’t really have any cravings for sugar or other things that are sweet.
3. Black coffee isn’t really that bad, and the guy that invented the Aeropress is pretty smart.
4. I really enjoy cooking.
5. A pressure cooker might be a better kitchen investment than a slow cooker.
6. There are plenty of carbohydrate options in the absense of bread, pasta, rice, beans, grains, oatmeal, etc. Plenty of vegetables with a little bit of fruit works quite well.
7. My clothes fit better. Belts are a good measuring tool. So is a work uniform that you wear everyday.
8. Rachel noticed that her teeth are whiter and cleaner without any change in her daily tooth hygeine regimen.

For anyone who is unsure that you can eat well on a Paleo/Primal plan, let me share some of our meals from last weekend.
Friday dinner: Homemade meatballs with cauliflower rice. Between the 2 of us, we ate the whole head of cauliflower. 4 or 5 homemade meatballs (no breadcrumbs needed) with homemade marinara sauce.
Saturday dinner: Baked whole chicken with brussel sprouts, bacon and onions. Strawberries with reduced balsamic vinegar for dessert. (By the way, the dinner took less than an hour to cook, from start to table.)
Sunday dinner: Blackened chicken ceasar salad with bacon. One heart of romaine each, homemade dressing, bacon. Found the recipe for the blackening spice online, and the chicken breasts took 25 minutes to cook in the oven.

Lunches mostly consisted of leftovers from earlier in the week, or a salad. Breakfast is usually eggs or leftovers or nothing.

Anyways, just wanted to share some thoughts from the past 2 weeks. I’ll have a couple of recipes and other stuff later this week.

Thoughts? Comments?

-Nick

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Achy Joints

So, last week I was just minding my own business, going about my life, you know; work, coffee shop, grocery store, general errands. Just the usual day to day stuff. Then, on Wednesday, my right knee started acting up. I couldn’t make sense of why it was bothering me. I didn’t knock it against anything, I didn’t remember tweaking it or anything unusual. I just had a low level pain in it. Nothing that would prevent me from getting around, or cause me to miss work, but enough to make me aware of my knee. And in general, I don’t like to be aware of my knees. I prefer they do their job and stay “quiet”. Around the same time, I noticed my right shoulder acting up a little bit. And in general, I don’t like to be aware of my shoulders either.
The thing that bothered me the most, in all of this, is that I hadn’t done anything obvious to cause the discomfort. And this is the key, it wasn’t obvious. However, in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas I haven’t paid particularly great attention to my food choices. I’ve fallen back into eating the convenient stuff, without enough planning ahead. I’m convinced that this eating of convenience has led to the inconvenience of my knee and shoulder “talking” to me.
I just finished reading The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf, (review coming) and I’ve decided to take on a strict Paleo approach early in 2012. January 4th is my planned start date. 30 days (at least) of strict Paleo lifestyle. No wheat, grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol or sweeteners. Probably not a lot of eating out either. Most of you will think I’m crazy. Some of you might even say so to my face. But, I have a goal and a plan. The goal is to reduce systemic inflammation. I could just continue on my way and pop some pills whenever the problems arises, but I’ve never been one for the “band-aid on a bullet wound” approach to things. Much better to find the root cause of the problem and treat that. I have some ideas as to the results, but I will be interested to see how it actually turns out. As well, you may wonder why I’m not starting today, or on January 1st, or something along those lines. My reason is both simple and selfish. I want to watch college football on January 2nd and January 3rd without worrying about sabotaging myself. I do plan in cleaning up some things this week, like the elimination of wheat, and not eating out. As well, I will do some advance planning for the following weeks and months. I also plan on posting here throughout the 30 days. If you feel motivated, or are looking for a change, or have achy joints, or jeans that don’t fit, (and I have all of these things…) you are welcome to join me. I’m fairly confident that this will be a better New Year’s Resolution than the decision that most make each year; to go to the gym and run every morning before work. It’s a choice that is doomed from the start. If “chronic cardio” worked, we wouldn’t all be making the same resolution every year, only to give it up before Valentine’s Day, and then proceeding to blame bad genes or “just getting older.”

Thoughts? Comments?

-Nick

A lull in programming

Sorry for the week (or so) long absence from the web-o-sphere. Lots of singing and visiting and traveling and holidays and the like. I’m sure you all understand completely. Here, on the day after Christmas, 2011, I (we) will be re-doubling our efforts in many areas. Later this week, I will have a book review that might save your life. If that is too hyperbolic, it at least has the possibility to dramatically improve whatever ails you in 30 days. I know, it sounds like a ridiculous infomercial.
As well, I will try to post a Primal friendly recipe this week. That is second on the list after the book review, but I’ll do my best.
In any case, here’s hoping you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season, and that you continue to enjoy the last week of the year.

Thoughts? Comments?
-Nick

A post within a post…

So, this post is not about eating or food. I know, I owe you one, or two. I will tell you that I do have a couple of things coming regarding food. Homemade things that we always buy but really are better when made at home, if only for the reason that you know all of the ingredients involved and can spare yourself the extra preservatives and chemicals.

This is more of a wedding-ish post.

When Rachel and I got engaged in July, besides the usual questions of if we had picked a date yet and where the wedding was and all of that stuff, some of you were genuinely concerned about what we were doing for our wedding photography. I tried to assure you that we had someone in mind. Someone really, really good.

Well, the Friday after Thanksgiving, while most of you were either standing in a line to get a headstart on your Christmas shopping, were back in bed because you were already shopped out, or were watching football and eating leftovers, Rachel and I had a photo shoot with our fantastic wedding photographer, Arielle Doneson.

Right now we’re on the first page of her blog, but that will surely change within a week, as she posts more of her fantastic work. So here is the direct link to our shoot.

If you’re interested in checking it out, head over to Arielle’s blog, snoop around, leave a comment or two. Photographers love comments.

As for food. I’ll try and get something out to you before Friday. It is two of the busiest weeks of the church season, between Messiah, Lessons and Carols and Christmas Eve, but I’ll try my best. Also, a book review coming, hopefully next week.

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season so far. Try and stay sane and limit that sugar intake whenever possible. New Years Resolutions that involve going to the gym 8 days a week are only needed if you pack on the pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Instead, make a December resolution to truly eat in moderation at those holiday parties.

And go check our Arielle’s website. And leave a comment. Please. 🙂

Thoughts? Comments?

-Nick

Thank you.

To whoever is out there reading and clicking and following along.

Thank you.

We really started this to be accountable to ourselves. Then we decided to share it with whoever might be interested.

Our first post was on November 6, 2011. 375 words out into the world.

The first post we shared and encouraged others to check out was the Cork Wine Pub Mini-Review. 100 words on the nose.

Our most viewed post so far was the full review of Cork Wine Pub. 706 words.

In between, there have been 7 other posts that you’ve hopefully been able to check out. If not, feel free to snoop around. There will definitely be more to come, because as it turns out, I (Nick) really like to write these things, and you, whoever you are like to click through. From November 18 through the end of the month we had over 200 page views. I don’t don’t know if that’s really a lot, but it seems like it’s something pretty good for 13 days.

So, please keep reading and clicking and following along and maybe even leaving some comments.

And again. Thank you.

Thoughts? Comments?

-Nick & Rachel

PS – I haven’t forgotten about the homemade stock post. It will be up later today. 🙂

5 ways to NOT gain 5 pounds in 4 days

So, with Thanksgiving just a couple days away, here are a few ideas to consider so that you don’t come out on the other side of the weekend too much worse for the wear.

1. Be aware of how much you are eating for dinner and dessert. I’m not suggesting that you don’t enjoy everything that you want to on Thanksgiving, just have some awareness of what and how much is making it onto your plate, and into your mouth.

2. Skip a meal, or two. Remember, skipping breakfast won’t kill you. Skipping lunch as well might not be a horrible idea. Break your fast at dinner time. If you don’t want to limit yourself on Thursday, plan a fast for Friday.

3. Go for a walk. Go for a short walk sometime during the day. Anything is better than nothing, but shortly after dinner will probably reap the most benefit. Not miles on end. Just 20 minutes or so is good.

4. Limit your overeating to dinnertime only. Often times, we (myself included) use Thanksgiving as an excuse to overeat all day, or possibly all weekend. For me, it’s usually chocolate chip cookies. I have one almost every time I walk past the plate of chocolate chip cookies. I usually lose count after the first 3 or 4. If you really can’t bring yourself to “cut back”, at least try and limit it to Thursday night’s dinner and/or dessert only.

5. Just stick to the meat and veggies. This is probably the most unlikely and difficult of the choices, but if you can do it, you’ll definitely have a successful Thanksgiving from a dietary standpoint. Enjoy your turkey and whichever veggies are a part of your Thanksgiving dinner. Skip the 3 types of sweet potato (usually with a fair amount of brown sugar added) and the mashed potatoes, and the pie(s), cookies and other desserts. Enjoy a glass of wine with dinner (if that’s your thing), and bring along a bit of dark chocolate to enjoy while everyone else is gorging during the Harbaugh Bowl.

This will be an interesting experiment for me this year. My plan going into it is to stick with options one, two and three. I plan to fast until dinner, or until a pre-dinner cocktail and snack. I plan to make conscious choices about what and how much food finds it’s way to my plate. I plan to go for a walk after dinner. I’ll report back next week to let you know how it went, maybe even with some pictures. 🙂

Thoughts? Comments?

-Nick

The last day of the year

I figured, since this is the last day of my 31st year, I would post a couple of things regarding my own daily eating and moving.

A friend of mine wants to go out tonight after work. I’m pretty sure we’re going, so, I’m planning ahead. This is a place that we go semi-regularly, and I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to eat. So, based on my knowledge of portions, as well as what I want, I plugged the numbers into fitday.com. If you go out to eat, there’s probably more calories than if you eat at home. Also, this morning, when I woke up, I was hungry. This isn’t usually the case, but since I felt actual hunger, I ate something. A pear and some cashews. Quite a few cashews, in fact. I also had some coffee with a little bit of half & half.

Around 2:30 I headed out to the gym. Squat day. I haven’t been to the gym yet this week, since I was feeling a little bit sore from my sprint session on Saturday, but I didn’t want the whole week to get away from me without lifting. So, I left home at 2:30 for the gym and got back home around 3:30. One hour, including travel. Not too bad. If you think you don’t have time, you probably don’t have a plan when you head out the door. A plan is just as important for moving as it is for eating. Tomorrow morning I’m heading back to the gym and I probably won’t stay more than 45 minutes. I’m sure the people at the gym think I’m crazy and wasting my time and money. I’m OK with them thinking that.

My calorie count for today is higher than normal, but according to the info that I’ve plugged into fitday for the month, I’m still around 1700-1800 calories per day, on average. And that’s the way you should approach this. You don’t have to be perfect every day. If you try to be, you’ll probably make yourself crazy. But, if listen to your body and do a little bit of planning, you’ll probably average out quite well and make some progress. This weekend will prove to be a test for me from a food perspective, as I have plans to go out to dinner tomorrow night with Rachel, and also on Sunday with Rachel and my family. So, a little bit of planning, and not over-doing it during the rest of the weekend is in order.

If you’re interest in my macronutrient breakdown for the day, I’ve included it below. If I feel like it, I might have a beer tonight, but as of now, I don’t feel like having a beer tonight. I’d much rather lift heavy things with ease in the morning. The breakdown looks like something that will have you making a call to your cardiologist, according to Conventional Wisdom. I’m willing to bet that’s not the case.

Post thoughts to comments.

-Nick