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

Singing update #1

We haven’t posted much about singing thus far, but here is a quick note about some singing things that are coming up, or are important.

For the things that are coming up, this Sunday afternoon, 4:30pm at Christ Church Grosse Pointe, we are performing Handel’s Messiah. Full orchestra, chorus and soloists under the direction of Scott Hanoian. If you’ve never seen a performance of Messiah you really should. Plus, I will be the tenor soloist, singing alongside Soprano Kara Alfano, Mezzo-soprano Lisa Agazzi and Baritone Ed Pember.

Also, if you check the music schedule, you will see that we have a lot of services coming up for the Christmas season, including Christmas Lessons and Carols on December 18 and 3 services on Christmas Eve.

No pressure, just wanted to let you all know, in case you might be interested or not have enough on your schedule this December.

On a much more important note (no pun intended), Rachel sang an audition for the Oakland University Concerto Competition and was named a finalist!!!!!!!

All of those exclamation points don’t begin to express the actual level of awesomeness that is involved. The finals are in January, so, more news to come.

Also, on January 13th and 15th, Rachel will be performing the role of Dorabella in a fully staged, with orchestra, production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte at Oakland University. Almost 6 weeks notice means you have plenty of time to add this to your planner. Additionally, the opera will be performed in English, so you can’t use the “well, I never understand what is going on in those opera things” excuse. Call (248) 370-3013 for tickets. Be there. Real Live Performance. Better than the movies, or your TV. 

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

Weekend Observations

So, here are a couple of observations from the weekend. Admittedly, I wasn’t completely Primal, but I did have an awareness of what was going on. I knew that Friday would probably be the least compliant day of the weekend, but that Saturday and Sunday had a chance to be pretty good if I made the right choices.

Since I ate plenty of food and calories on Thursday, including a late night meal, I decided to fast for part of the day on Friday. As well, Rachel and I had plans to go out for dinner. We turned our dinner into a slightly more progressive affair by having a late lunch/afternoon snack of soup and salad. Basically, this served as appetizers and was accompanied by a beverage each.

Dinner was at Union Woodshop in Clarkston. Had it been our preference, Union Woodshop does offer a gluten-free menu, however, since this was our first visit, we wanted to try a couple of  the less Primal offerings (read; Mac & Cheese and Fried Pickles). Also, I had heard about the butterscotch pudding and really wanted to give it a try. The BBQ was really good and the butterscotch pudding was as good a dessert as I’ve had. In fact, it was so good that it had me looking for recipes so I can try it at home. I also had a very small slice of homemade, gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake (pie). Yes, it had some sugar, but I was willing to make a birthday exception and enjoy 2 desserts in one night. In the previous 2 weeks I hadn’t had any wheat/gluten products and I think the Mac and Cheese might have done a number on me, because I woke up with quite the headache on Saturday morning. Actually, it was bordering on a migraine. I decided to keep the calories both low and low-carb on Saturday, and the headache subsided shortly after lunchtime. Sunday was actually a pretty standard day. No breakfast, a 3 egg omelet with gyro meat, onion, green pepper and feta for lunch and a dinner that consisted of a wedge salad with blue cheese and bacon, scallops with a vegetable medley (I skipped the whipped potatoes), a glass of red wine and a double espresso. There were five of us and we shared 2 desserts that were wheat-free. Just enough for a couple of bites each but not enough to make me feel horrible.

The end result of the weekend feedings left me in a place where I know I didn’t make any progress over the weekend, but I didn’t fall off the wagon. And today (Monday) I’m pushing the proverbial reset button by fasting. I plan to follow up the fast with a sausage, pepper and onion scramble or omelet after work, which should set me up nicely for the rest of the week.

So, there it is. More to come later this week.

-Nick

Post thoughts to comments.