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Fear and Loathing in China Camp

Where to start, today I rode 28.5-miles as a training ride leader on one of the AIDS/Life Cycle Cat 2 rides. The route wasn’t particularly difficult. In fact I did part of the same route yesterday.

As I was getting ready for the ride I was once again plagued with self-doubt. I haven’t been riding or exercising the way I should to get ready for ALC 11 and it shows. My legs feel like lead, I’m slow, everything hurts; particularly my back and I just feel like I don’t have it in me.

Yesterday’s ride was 35-miles and by the end of it my back was hurting and I could barely sit upright. Of course I rolled and stretched, took ibuprofen but self-doubt had already set in.

So getting ready for today’s ride I came up with every excuse in the book not to ride, my stomach was upset, everyone was going to be faster than me, my girl bits hurt, my asthma, what if I get lost, blah, blah, blah.

I arrived at the meet spot, Larkspur Ferry Terminal, and there were 11 other riders there and sure enough they were fast riders, I could tell. They looked fast. I sighed and started prepping my bike. Julie, the facilitator for today’s ride, asked how I was. I said well, back isn’t hurting, and then she asked if I wanted to sweep the whole ride.

My mind went blank and I heard myself say “sure”. I don’t mind sweeping, I really don’t, but when everyone is faster than you it makes for a long lonely day.

The ride started flat so I had no problems keeping up, but gradually the group started pulling away, but not so far that I couldn’t see them and eventually I would catch up.

As we entered China Camp, I was starting to get a serious case of self-doubt, fear and loathing but a couple things happened. First, a couple times, my friends, Brian, Joel and Michael who were also on the ride would be pulled over hanging out which gave me the opportunity to catch up. Second, as the group got further ahead, I approached this older gentleman who was just standing on the side of the road looking off into the distance. I started looking around. I almost forgot how awesome China Camp is. The sky was blue, it was a bit chilly, but thankfully it wasn’t as windy as it was on Saturday. As I past the older man he looked at me with a smile and we both said good morning to each other.

My ride changed after that. I decided to stop worrying and just enjoy myself and that is exactly what I did. We rode out to Red Rock Deli for a break, and then we headed back to San Rafael where we stopped at Sol Food for a well-deserved lunch.

This weekend I rode 63.5 miles self-doubt and all.


We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers and healthy eating advocates to host aHealthy Every Week Challenge, a month-long initiative to develop healthy eating habits. The plan an is to develop a manageable healthy habit each week that will carry through the new year. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter</span> with the hashtag #gethealthy.</em>

As today dawns I realize it is the last day of week three in Healthy Eat’s Healthy Every Week Challenge. This past week the mission was to cook more often at home. I laid out a game plan, and by game plan I mean planned dinner menus for the entire week. I figured by focusing on dinner I would have enough leftovers for lunches and breakfast is easy, oatmeal.</p>

I really should keep better notes but this is how the week rolled out to my recollection…..</p>Sunday dawned and I slept in. Seriously waking up with no alarm going off is a luxury in my household. Breakfast consisted of some yummy deliciousness know as coffee which was soon followed by the most amazing breakfast scrambled known to man.</p>I started off by sautéing shallots and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Mushrooms and fresh spinach, courtesy of my CSA, were added next which was then quickly followed by a chopped up tomato. I let the spinach wilt just a bit before adding two egg whites and two whole eggs. To finish it off I sprinkled just a tad bit of cheddar cheese and served this yumminess up with a whole wheat tortilla.</p>Lunch and dinner were pretty basic too and consisted of a turkey sammie served up on an Orowheat sandwich thin while dinner was roasted chicken with quinoa and steamed broccoli.</p>The rest of the week went like this……..</p>

·         Monday  - Started the day with steal cut oatmeal, lunch was left over roast chicken with quinoa and steamed broccoli. Dinner was the most amazing meatloaf ever. We had BBQ meatloaf. The recipe, courtesy of the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, was made with ground turkey, turkey bacon, old fashion oats, egg whites and a variety of spices. Oh and the most important ingredient low carb BBQ sauce. Super yummy and oh so delicious. We also served mashed cauliflower. Can I just say our mashed cauliflower tasted almost like mashed potatoes.

·         Tuesday – A bowl of cereal, Ancient Grains, started my day. A turkey sammie for lunch followed. With some left over ground turkey from Monday’s dinner I made meatball marinara sandwiches. The recipe was also from the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook. This is an awesome cook book and quickly becoming one of my favorites. Those meatball sandwiches were great.

·         Wednesday – Sticking to my guns I made steal cut oatmeal for breakfast and had a leftover meatball marinara sandwich for lunch. Dinner was simple. We had leftover BBQ meatloaf and cauliflower mash.

·         Thursday – I wasn’t very hungry this morning so I had some whole wheat toast, but my second breakfast was quick cook oats with an apple. Lunch was a small salad. Dinner was also simple, we had breakfast again but this time we had scrambled eggs (one egg white and one whole egg), turkey bacon and toast.

·         Friday – I think I might have been coming down with something because I woke up late and had a hard time getting ready for work. I ended up skipping breakfast and lunch was no better. Erin and I dubbed this day National Going Out for Lunch Day so I went out for Chinese. Dinner was nothing special. I was still tired and not feeling well so I went for a grill cheese sammie.

·         Saturday – Erin took me out for breakfast, followed by a Kick-off party for AIDS/Life Cycle 11 so food was catered. Dinner was burgers at In and Out.

Sooooooooooo, the week started out great and quickly dissolved into utter chaos. Even with my meals planned and groceries purchased, I was unable to stop the fickle finger of fate from stepping in and derailing my perfect participation in this challenge.</p>It’s okay, I’ll go on. I was successful at planning out my meals. I just need to work harder on implementing that plan.</p>This next week the challenge is to eat more fruits and vegetables. I think I can do this. Hope you join me to see if I make it.</p>

We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers and healthy eating advocates to host aHealthy Every Week Challenge, a month-long initiative to develop healthy eating habits. The plan an is to develop a manageable healthy habit each week that will carry through the new year. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #gethealthy.

This past Saturday I completed my second week of HealthyEats’ January Healthy Every Week Challenge. This challenge is slightly different from the previous one I completed in that every week for the month of January I have a new weekly challenge.

The first week, which I successfully completed, was to eat breakfast every day. The second week, which I just completed, was to eat more whole grains.

Soooooo eat more whole grains…Sounds simple, but learning to come up with new ways to enjoy whole grains, some of which I never heard of, was pretty challenging.

I do my very best to eat whole grains daily. For bread I eat Orowheat’s whole grain bread, sometimes their bread thins which only has 70 calories per round. I eat steal cut oatmeal almost daily. Quinoa, cous-cous and whole wheat pasta are staples in my pantry. And more recently I found a granola cereal that contains Amaranth, spelt, kamut, khorasan wheat and quinoa. I haven’t heard of half of these ingredients, but boy is that cereal (Ancient Grains) yummy.

I pretty much stuck to eating these grains the same way I’ve done in the past. The only difference is one day I fixed some quinoa like I would oatmeal. I heated it up, added some almond milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, organic raisins and a bit of brown sugar. Boy, was it yummy. Oh, and when I used quinoa I used it instead of brown rice in a veggie/chicken stir-fry. Again, yummy.

By the time Saturday rolled around I was whole grained out. NOT! Whole grains rock and finding new ways to enjoy them was fun, AND since I ate whole grains every day, I’m considering this past week’s challenge successful.

Now week three’s challenge is to cook more at home. Sounds easy, but I know how easily this can be derailed as life gets busy. However, my girlfriend and I have already formed a game plan, sat down and laid out our meal plan for the week.

Will I succeed and cook more at home? Tune in next week to find out.

#HealthyEat's January Challenge - Week 1

This past Saturday completed the first week of Healthy Eats’ new challenge. This new challenge is broken down into a different challenge every week. This first week our goal was to eat breakfast every day.

I know eating breakfast doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, but in this day and age where everyone is hurrying through their lives eating breakfast every day can be challenging.

I am proud to report that I successfully completed week one. My breakfast choices broke down like this:

·         Sunday, January 1st – Scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, whole wheat toast and coffee.

·         Monday, January 2nd – Steak and spinach omelet and coffee.

·         Tuesday, January 3rd – Steel cut oatmeal with nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar. And coffee

·         Wednesday, January 4th – Steel cut oatmeal with organic raisins, whole wheat bread thin and coffee.

·         Thursday, January 5th – Quick cook oats with an apple and coffee.

·         Friday, January 6th – Scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, whole wheat toast and coffee.

·         Saturday, January 7th – Quick cook oats, brown sugar and coffee.

Can you tell I love oatmeal?

There was a time when eating breakfast regularly was very hard for me, but steel cut oatmeal changed my mind.

All in all I would say week one was very successful. I will continue eating breakfast every day as I move on to next week’s challenge.

Now next week’s challenge is to incorporate more whole grains into our diet. I feel I eat a good amount of whole grains so part of my challenge will be to eat different types of grains.

@healthyeats #Brownbag Challenge - Day 19

Brown Bag Challenge

We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you're eating onFacebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

Aaaaaah Day 19 of this brown bag challenge and I can’t believe I’ve lasted this long. It really is funny how the mind works. For years I’ve only been marginally successful in bring lunch to work, usually a few days at most. But, once the word challenge was added you couldn’t pay me to go out for lunch.
What has been most amazing for me is how happy I’ve been. I really look forward to my lunch and I do try to stretch my lunch hour out. I’ve been reading that it’s important to step away from your work day and truly enjoy your food.
I may sit at my desk while I eat, but I don’t do any work, generally conversing with friends, or reading food network articles, other brown bag challenger’s blogs, etc. all while analyzing the different flavors of my food, the smell, the look. Eat Free, another site, I’ve been reading stresses the importance of activating all your senses to thoroughly enjoy your food.
It’s been good in getting me to slow down and enjoy my meals and realize that my smaller portions are filling. Previously, rushing through my lunches left me still feeling hungry even if I ate more servings than I should.
So, now…..today’s lunch was simply a rehash of my lunch yesterday. That is to say I had leftover home made turkey meat loaf sandwich on a whole wheat sandwich thin with just a hint of light mayo and green leaf lettuce. Nothing fancy but man was it an awesome sammie.
The rest of my brown bag included a variety of items. I never know what I want for morning and afternoon snacks so I tend to pack a few things to choose from. So in addition to my yummy meatloaf sandwich I packed carrots and white bean hummus, an apple and peanut butter, whole wheat cherrios, a banana, a pear and a white peach. Oh and yogurt.
I guess I need lots of options.
This morning I took out salmon for dinner. I’m thinking about broiling it with Gaba rice and a side salad. Tomorrow’s lunch is already starting to sound awesome.
Hope you’re enjoying your lunch as much as I am.

Brown Bag Challenge

We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you're eating onFacebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

Yesterday I did not bring a brown-bag to lunch, BUT I did not cheat. How is this possible you might ask? Well I was home sick so there was no need to bring lunch to work.
And since I was sick I had chicken noodle soup. Okay, actually my reason for staying home was back related but I felt like soup. The soup was none other than Top Raman which health wise probably isn’t the best, but it’s what I had.
Today’s lunch was a vast improvement over yesterdays. Today I had home made turkey meatloaf and was it yummy.
I sort of followed Ina Garten’s recipe which calls for 5lbs of ground turkey breast. Seriously, 5lbs? There are only two of us. 5lbs would have fed an army. Oh well. I only had about a lb of ground turkey. So that’s what I went with. Of course this meant I had to adjust the other ingredients. No problem. Adjustments made.
Ina’s turkey meatloaf recipe http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/turkey-meatloaf-recipe/index.html
I think the meatloaf came out pretty well. I think most of my adjustments were dead on but I think I might have used too many bread crumbs and I probably could have used a bit more salt and thyme leaves.
When I served the meatloaf for dinner last night I made garlic mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. But for lunch I went with a meatloaf sammie.
Now I love me a turkey sammie but meatloaf is probably my next favorite sammie. I didn’t want to take away from the flavor of the meatloaf so I put a light coating of light mayo to my whole wheat sandwich thin, added two pieces of turkey meatloaf and topped it all with green leaf lettuce.
I just realized my turkey meatloaf sammie was still a turkey sammie. See, see how much I love turkey.
Anyway, my brown bag lunch was perfect. I enjoyed every moment of it, So much in fact that I forgot to take a picture. Well, if I have it again tomorrow I’ll include a picture for sure.

In addition to the yummieness that was my meatlof sandwich my brown bag lunch also included a fruit salad (white peaches, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries), white bean hummus and carrot sticks for snacking.
I can’t believe I’m still going strong. Hmmmmm, what shall I bring tomorrow. Ooooh a burrito sounds good.

Brown Bag Challenge

We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you're eating onFacebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

Today marks the end of the third week of Healthy Eat’s brown bag challenge and I’m still going strong. I will admit, these last few days were a little rough as my pantry is running low. Also, because of a few late nights at work I came home tired and unmotivated to cook. So leftovers for my brown-bag were also running low.
Yesterday’s lunch was a rehash of my previous day’s leftover, roasted chicken with veggie ragu. I loved it so much I didn’t mind eating it again. I had my usual watermelon to go with it and snacks ran along the same line…yogurt, fruit and shakeology.
Today’s lunch, though pieced together, turned out to be pretty yummy. Using the last of my whole wheat sandwich thins, I made a turkey sandwich.  Since I’m out of carrots to dip in my white bean hummus, I used the hummus as a spread instead of dejion mustard or low-fat mayo. Thanks to fellow brown bag challengers I learned that little trick. I topped my sammie off with some fresh green leaf lettuce that was thankfully delivered this morning from my CSA. Farm Fresh To You rocks!
One down note, I totally forgot to pack a tomato to add some color to my sandwich, but on an up note I did score a free apple from a generous coworker. Guess they had too many so he/she brought them in for the office. I was happy about that since I’m out of water melon and needed something with my sammie. The apple was perfect and hit the spot.
Rounding out today's brown bag I packed yogurt, blueberries, shakeology and some whole wheat cherrios.
Man, I never thought I’d make it this far and I must admit I’m pretty proud of myself. I wonder if I’ll keep this up once the challenge is over. I hope so.

@healthyeats #BrownBag Challenge - Day 14

Brown Bag Challenge

We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you're eating onFacebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

Today’s lunch is a ragu of sorts, a collection of veggies and leftovers sautéed with a bit of this and a bit of that in the hopes of making something edible that I could brag over. It was an adventure in uncertainty that started last night in the form of a question….”What should I make for dinner?”
I thought I had this planning thing down but when things changed over the weekend, my dinner plans for the week went out the window. The problem, I had no backup plan. No worries; I’m up for the challenge.
I had leftover roasted chicken, a bunch of yellow squash, zucchini, onions, tomatoes and potatoes that I needed to use. They were on the endangered species list pinned to my fridge.
I decided to cook everything together and see what I got.
I started by sautéing onions in a large pan. I then cut up and added yellow potatoes. I let the potatoes cook for about 10 minutes on high heat to brown and then I covered the pan for about 10 more minutes. In hindsight I probably wouldn’t cook the potatoes as long because they got a little mushy.  
After cooking the potatoes I added the squash and zucchini and let it sauté a bit more then I cut up tomatoes (early girl and a few heirlooms). I was hoping the tomatoes would add more liquid to the mix but they were not cooking down fast enough so I added some white wine. To that, I added cumin, a little salt and pepper.
I wanted my veggies to be a bit firm. I don’t like mushy veggies so once I felt I had the right firmness I added a bit of roasted chicken. The whole process took about 20-minutes. Not bad considering I didn’t have a plan this time.
I liked the look of the dish, but I felt my flavors were a little flat. Maybe next time I’ll sauté the roasted chicken breast with the onion and add some garlic. I’m also thinking of replacing the potatoes with gaba rice.
Oh well, I give myself an E+ for extra effort. It looked good and it filled me up.
What do you think?
So lunch today was of course leftovers of my roasted chicken and veggie ragu (I just decided to call it that) with watermelon (quite possibly my favorite fruit). I also packed a whole wheat bagel thin for my morning snack/breakfast (since I ran out the door without eating breakfast), yogurt and blueberries and raspberries.
So good.  Hope your lunch was too.

@healthyeats #BrownBag Challenge – Day 13

Brown Bag Challenge

We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you're eating onFacebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

POTATO LEEK SOUP! OMG, I’m sooooo excited for my lunch today. I just had to get it out. Yesterday evening we prepared potato leek soup and now I have leftovers for lunch.
Last night was probably one of the hottest nights we’ve had this summer but we had planned to make this soup so make it we did. Prepping was quick and easy. The leeks and onions were from our own garden. So washing the soil off was probably the most time consuming part of the entire process.
Once the onions, leeks and potatoes were cut up it went pretty quick and the recipe was super easy too, basically leeks, onions, potatoes, veggie stock (in our case chicken stock because that’s what we had) salt, pepper and a bit of butter to finish it off.
While the soup was gently simmering, we decided to workout with a little Zumba action but after 45-minutes of that I was hungry and ready to dig-in.
The aroma wafting through the house was amazing and the flavor was….well let’s just say I was blinded by its awesomeness.
So today, I have left over potato leek awesomeness with a side of roasted chicken (for protein). I usually don’t eat until 1pm, but writing this blog is making me hungry and I might have to eat early. Also included in my lunch today are watermelon, yogurt, fresh blueberries, and white bean hummus with a whole wheat sandwich thin cut up for dipping and my ever present chocolate shakeology mix.
This challenge has had a lot of happy side-affects for me besides eating better and saving money. One, I have lost a little bit of weight. Two, I enjoy planning out my meals and spending awesome quality time with my girlfriend while we are cooking. Three, I’m learning a lot about healthy eating and collecting great recipes from fellow brown-bag challengers.
Thanks Healthy Eats for helping me get closer to living a healthy life style.
Spoiler Alert: Tomorrow’s lunch is going to involve roasted chicken. Can hardly wait to share.

@healthyeats #brownbag Challenge - Day 12

Brown Bag Challenge

We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you're eating onFacebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

It’s day 12 of Healthy Eat’s brown-bag challenge and I’m still going strong. For the past 12 work days I have successfully brought in my own home-made lunch to work and even included snacks to keep my tummy satisfied for the day.
On my own I’ve attempted to bring lunch in on a regular basis and have been able to bring my lunch in a couple times a week, but usually by the end I give up either because I’m tired of eating the same thing or just too lazy to put something together.
I guess once the word “challenge” was attached I found the motivation because I have been planning, preparing and successfully bringing in my lunch since the month of September started.
I’ve found planning has been key in achieving success in this challenge. This means I can’t wake up and just toss something into a brown bag and call it a day. I just don’t have enough time in the morning to make a healthy meal, pack, shampoo and shine.
Really, it’s been a win-win sitch for me because now I’m planning out my dinners so that I have leftovers for lunch. Grocery shopping is a lot easier too. I’m not just buying things with no plan in mind, which I’ve found, in the past, has caused me to waste a lot of food and money.
This weeks lunches, for example, I’ve had planned since last Friday. The entire menu was going to be prepared this weekend and then I’d have leftovers to make awesome lunches for most of the week.
Alas, the weekend dawned and I found myself engaged in other activities on Saturday, and Sunday was so hot the thought of cooking anything was just down right unappealing. Sunday's dinner was a bowl of cereal.
What had I planned on making? Well you’re just going to have to wait  because I’m making it tonight so I’ll be able to share with you tomorrow in the form of my brown-bag lunch.
Today though, today, I have a turkey sandwich. Oh sure I had turkey last Thursday but this turkey sandwich is completely different than Thursday’s.
Today’s magnificent roasted turkey breast sammie was built on a whole wheat sandwich thin with spicy dejion mustard, green leaf lettuce, Colby cheese and an heirloom tomato. (Last week, roasted turkey breast on whole wheat sandwich thin with spicy dejion, green leaf lettuce, goat cheese and Early Girl tomato)
See, completely different.
For snacks I have fresh watermelon, yogurt and fresh blueberries.
I can tell you now that I can hardly wait for tomorrow’s lunch and I already know what it is.

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