Friday, September 21, 2012

Coconut Flour Sourdough Starter

So anyone following me anywhere- facebook, blogger, or twitter, knows that I'm a big fan of eating Paleo/Primal style.  I've discovered over time that this is how my body is meant to be fed, I feel healthiest and strongest when I eat this way.  At some point over the last year I also discovered kefir.  And kombucha.  These start off as sugar and water or milk and water or tea and sugar and water, and this would be a problem eating paleo, but with the addition of your grains, scoby, or mother, the offending sugar and milk are transformed.  The resulting drink is a healthy probiotic that I have had no difficulty with when it comes to weight gain or health problems.  I do make sure that my milk kefir is made from high fat milk, you can't get raw milk on Oahu as far as I know.  I would if I could.  I also go back and forth between coconut milk and cow milk kefir so I get a break from cow milk.  Anyway.  I've joined a bazillion fermentation groups on facebook and am totally addicted to the idea of fermenting things.  I just started a master tonic and am curious how that's going to come out.  I had started a rye sourdough starter, just because I wanted to see it grow, but my problem is- rye is a grain and not even a gluten-free grain at that.  I'm not a paleo nazi, I don't mind a cheat here and there, but I'm gonna have a sourdough starter, there's going to be a lot of baking happening as a result.  I was trying to explore the interwebs for a way to turn make my rye sourdough as paleo as possible and it just so happened that my sourdough got mold.  I was lazy when I started it and didn't sterilize the jar, so shame on me.  But it's one of those blessings in disguise.  I decided to research coconut flour sourdough starters and didn't find one for that, but did find a rice flour starter.  I was going to just start there and then add coconut flour over time, since I have some that's been sitting around here for a while.  Instead, I went into my kitchen and threw all caution to the wind.  I started with coconut flour, water and water kefir.  I shall track my research on this page.

9/21/12 Day 1:
I poured one cup of coconut flour and one cup of water into a jar.  Take note: this is a mistake.  Coconut flour absorbs the hell out of the water.  If I were to start over, which I'm not because I'm not throwing away all that coconut flour, I would start with 1/3 or 1/2 a cup of coconut flour and one cup of water.  I would then stir to find a soupy consistency.  And add water or coconut flour as needed.
I then added a few tablespoons of water kefir.  Somehow in the few moments I had turned away, my flour had absorbed a lot of water again and was now dry, so I threw all caution to the wind and poured in water kefir until it was soupy again.  There is possibly a lot of things wrong with this.  I guess we'll see won't we!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Water Kefir Brewing in the Cabinet
Well, holy hell, I haven't written a post in quite some time.  I've been busy, school started back up again, so work has gotten more exciting.  The most recent addition to my health repertoire is that I've been brewing my own probiotic cultures.  If you don't know much about probiotics, I'm not really the one to answer your questions.  Definitely go here or here for more information from trusted sources.  In very basic terms, probiotics are good gut bacteria.  We all have bacteria in our guts, we have to, or we would die, they do jobs like help break down our food and keep bad bacteria at bay.  It's what Activia is trying to sell you to "regulate your digestive system."  And it's what any yogurt with live active cultures contains.  I've made my own yogurt before and that's fun for a little while, but it didn't really entertain me enough to keep up with it.  Also, I cut dairy out of my diet in 2011, so I stopped totally.  I recently found milk kefir and water kefir and ordered some from Amazon.  
I ended up going nuts, making both water kefir and milk kefir and enjoy drinking both.  I have got to play around with the timing of the water kefir more, when you do it right it's like a delicious, bubbly soda, when you ferment too short, it's sugary, and if you ferment too long it gets a weird smell and taste.  I'm gonna keep at it, since I enjoy the flavor, even though Nathan thinks it smells like ass, and won't go near it.  Keysa and Bobby both tried some and neither one of them vomited or passed out.  The milk kefir is really delicious, especially when made with fattier milk, like whipping cream or half and half.  However, I have to stop kidding myself, that I am not sensitive to the milk.  If I had a source for raw milk I might try that, but I am going to just give away the grains.  Anybody in the area who wants them, they are up for grabs.  Probably will throw them up on Craig's List for anyone who wants them if you guys don't.
Water Kefir Grains
In my researching, I ran into how to make Kombucha and finally today I started a Kombucha SCOBY.  It turns out that Kombucha has S. Boulardii that is supposedly good for UTIs and such.  Plus, I've tasted store bought kombucha and it's so much tastier than my water kefir.  I have experimented for long enough to know that none of these products have made me gain any weight.  I have pretty much stayed around the same weight, which went back down when I went back to stricter primal eating and goes up when I eat grains and sugar.  No changes with any of these probiotic beverages, even though there have been days that I've drank two full 16 ounce bottles, plus a huge scoopful of milk kefir in frozen fruit.  Gaining weight was one of my initial concerns because you start all of these beverages with sugar or milk, things that I have cut out of my diet for the most part.
I will update with pictures of the Kombucha I've made.  It takes a lot longer to brew than water kefir (2 days vs 1-2 weeks), but once you get going with enough "mothers," you can have a pretty stable flow.  I was told yesterday that it does sound a bit gross that I am fermenting foods in my cabinets, but people do it all the time.  There are huge active groups on facebook that I subscribe to, and people ferment everything from pickles to saur kraut to beet kvass to sourdough bread to jalapenos to eggs.  It's pretty cool.  Feel free to ask any questions or comment on how weird I am!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why Knee Pain was Such a Blessing

Knee Brace like mine
I am a self-help book, life coach fanatic.  I listen to and read Martha Beck, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, and Mark Sisson (although he wouldn't call himself a life coach) to name just a few.  I've come to learn a very important lesson.  Listen to your body.  Today I was listening to Martha Beck's Follow Your North Star, and a lesson that jumped out at me (among many others) was that your body is the best tool you have to tell you whether or not you're on the right track.  You always have it with you and it gives you such detailed information if you listen to it.  And although feeling ill or in pain might not feel like a blessing, your body is trying to tell you something.  And if you listen, your life might change for the better.  I had an "Ah ha" moment when she discussing this.  For some reason recently my knee has been giving me slight twinges of pain.  It's okay because I know that my poor choices in diet, although they are getting better are bringing on some old pain from an injury a few years ago.  So when I was listening to the audio book, the knee twinge was happening and it brought me back to when I hurt it.  I ran two half-marathons in my life.  The first was with Myia, and since paddling was getting super competitive we decided to make running our major choice of exercise.  We did a great job of slowly building up to higher mileage and I think 10 miles was my longest before the half-marathon.  Those runs felt amazing, I always felt super energized afterwards and my body felt great.  I was also skinny and not having any knee pain at that point in my life.  My plantar fasciitis was also in remission at this point.  I ran the half-marathon, but I think I started off too fast, probably it was the excitement of the crowd of people and it being a race.  So I think I ran the first half and started to walk and then did a walk/jog to the end.  Not too bad.
The next year (or the year after?) Ananda and I did the half-marathon, same course in Kailua.  This time I had run a few times, but definitely didn't train like I had for the first one.  I hadn't felt like it.  I was still paddling, so I was exercising, getting in good cardio, just not running.  That year the half-marathon felt great! I obviously didn't win it or come anywhere near the top 25% of runners, but I ran the whole thing at a reasonable pace.  Of course at about mile 10 my knee started to hurt and I "ran through it" like us athletes are wont to do.  Needless to say, my knee never fully recovered.  A combination of not running enough and not stretching enough (try ever) really put stress on my knee.  I would start running again to get back into shape then every time my knee would hurt I would stop again.  I started to regain weight.  I went to a podiatrist who had no concept of sports injuries and told me I would never run again.  So I didn't for a good 6 months.  I rested, I swam and hiked some, I wore a knee brace and I searched the internet.  I finally figured out that I had a common injury among runners that we get when we overtrain with running.  Our muscles in the legs get super tight and if we don't stretch them out enough (or at all) it ultimately pulls at the tendon's hold on our knee.  Now I know about it, but it never totally goes away.
So why is this a blessing?  I would have told you to shut the hell up if you had told me it was a blessing in disguise or some such nonsense at the time.  I might have used some expletives and most likely would have flipped you the bird.  Today though I realized that it ultimately has changed how I exercise.  And how EFFICIENT at exercising I have become.  The first exercise I got into that didn't hurt my knee was kickboxing with Master Smith at Smith Taekwondo in Kaneohe.  That was freaking awesome!  Those workouts were some of the best in my life!  I tried to get all of my friends and my mom to try it out.  I was in super good shape, muscular but not bulky and so strong!  And I only went twice a week.  2 hours a week and I was super fit!  The only problem and ultimately why I changed sports is that I didn't actually want to get in the ring with people and fight.  I had absolutely no desire for it, I only wanted to workout for fun, but I felt like I was being steered in that direction.  Next I tried Taekwondo at the YMCA.  That was super fun, but it wasn't competitive enough.  I started to not look forward to going to the workouts and started to gain weight.  It wasn't as efficient.  I went to two 2 hour classes, but I didn't get as much out of it.  I got my orange belt and quit.  But I was on the right track.  Right now I'm doing Crossfit.  I'm not married to it, but it's hitting me on all levels of motivation, efficiency and fun!
If I hadn't hurt my knee I would have continued to depend on running as my main source of exercise.  It kept me skinny basically and gave me enough of a cardio workout, but it took so much time!  I felt like I had to run all the time to stay in shape.  And my knee wouldn't allow me to do that anymore.  My knee being hurt led me to figure out how to gain the most benefits from exercise without working out forever.  It also led me to Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint and his theories on how much you need to exercise.  I don't follow anyone on faith alone, I have experimented and have found that it's true.  Lift Heavy Things twice a week, Sprint once a week and as much as possible throughout the week, Move Slowly.  Also throw in Play whenever possible.  So much more fun and I spend way less time "working out" then I ever did.  I feel like I'm having a good time.  Even if I'm not looking forward to Crossfit cause I'm tired or cranky or it's early in the morning it's such a short workout that I can just tell myself to get it over with.  (Afterwords I'm always in a good mood and energetic, but it gets me going to look at how short the workout is.)
Conclusion:  My knee told me I was doing the wrong thing for my body.  I was overusing one form of movement.  I needed to find more efficient exercises.  It led me to less time working out and more time having fun.  (It now also tells me "no seriously, cut the grains out of your diet")

What is your body telling you?  Will you listen with patience and love instead of judgment?  Could be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Update with Being Primal

Earlier this month I decided that I wanted to try Mark Sisson's Primal BluePrint. Paleo is just a guideline for what food is good for you and what foods to avoid. I love it and feel totally healthy, but feel like I am ready to graduate to a full body version of the concept. I have always been a fan of Mark's website, I read all of his blog posts. So I'm completely bought in to the theory of Primal Blueprint. I think it is an amazing way to look at health, nutrition, exercise, sleep, basically everything that can keep a person healthy and happy. The thing that really draws me to the PB is that it really speaks to my lazy, fun side. The side that doesn't want to exercise like a maniac and restrict what food I am "allowed" to eat. The part of me that knows that counting calories is stupid and short-term. (I'm not saying it doesn't work or that that hasn't helped some people. But don't you just know there's a better way?) So if you go to his website and look at the Definitive Guide to the Primal Blueprint, you'll see the basics.
1. Eat lots of animals, insects and plants- this is my favorite way to look at nutrition. Eat Real Food.
2. Move around a lot at a slow pace- walk around, use the stairs, take a stroll, walk your dog, do this every day.
3. Lift Heavy Things- the Primal Blueprint version of lifting weights, or doing body weight exercises. Mark has a great simple guide to exercises you can do with little to no equipment with modifications for all fitness levels. Super simple.
4. Run really fast every once in a while- this one has blown my mind! I always thought that I had to do cardio 3-5 times a week! And truthfully, when I wasn't eating paleo or primal I did have to run 3-5 times a week to maintain a healthy weight. Now that my eating has vastly improved (not the quantity, but the quality) my need to seek out the nearest treadmill is gone. Some sprints (running or biking or stairs) will suffice once or twice a week.
5. Get lots of sleep- The research is out there folks. You have to find the right amount of sleep for you. Some people need a lot of sleep, some people need less. But if your health is out of wack and you're convinced that you only need 3-5 hours of sleep a night, you may want to re-evaluate. Our body does so much restoration and healing while we sleep. It is the time that all of the damage you did to it all day finally has a chance to start being internally repaired. If you don't give your body the time it needs, you will never fully heal.
6. Play- Favorite Rule Ever! And who would believe that we would need someone to tell us to go have fun! But it's true, we spend so much time scheduling in "exercise" that moving around becomes such a drag, such a chore. Thankfully I have friends who are interested in play! Our hikes are never a simple walk in the woods, there is always socializing, laughter, and great use of imagination. We've played all kinds of sports together, from tennis to swimming to paddling to (hopefully soon!) racquetball. Don't argue with this! You need fun in your life!
7. Get some sunlight every day- This one is a bit counter intuitive to "modern science" in quotations because I think modern scientists have been led way off track with their research. I usually use Dr. Mercola as a reference first, since he doesn't seem to be biased by big businesses, the media or pharm companies. Anyway, sunlight has a lot of valuable properties. I think everyone has heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder at this point and some of that has to do with the lack of available sunlight. Just in case you don't actually go read the articles or resources, no one is advocating for getting out there and getting a sun burn. If you've gotten that red, you've had too much sun. But some sun is good. That golden tan from being in the (real) sun for a little bit every day is actually good for you.
  8. Avoid Trauma- this one is pretty common sense, but important. Don't dive into shallow water. Be aware of your surroundings. Don't exercise beyond what your body can handle. (Know the difference between good sore and hurt.)
9. Avoid Poisonous Things- This is the one I have most trouble with. Everyone's body is different and what we tolerate to what level is different. I hope you take the time to really figure out how well your body is tolerating grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and vegetable oils. Mine doesn't handle grains well at all (except for rice, that seems to be fine). I break out with acne with legumes, sugar and vegetable oils. When I eat anything with grains or sugary I also balloon up with both excess weight and bloating. I get gassy to the point that my stomach is painful and I have to wear loose pants that don't make the pain worse. Even though I know this, it has been difficult for me to say no to this stuff. First, because I used to love it and finding food to replace the emotional connection I have for those foods is tough. (Eating chips after a hard day at work, or ice cream for "treat.") Second, people tend to want you to eat these foods. I found that once I began to eliminate them from my diet totally, people began to push them on me like drug dealers. I am lucky that my husband and my closest friends don't do this. My husband still keeps them around the house, but won't try to tempt me with those foods anymore. Other people are a different story. I am tempted to tell everyone that I am diabetic or have Celiac Disease, but fuck that. I should be able to tell you, no, I don't eat wheat or sugar or whatever, and you should say, okay. It's okay to ask me why. But what irks me is when I tell people this and then they make an attempt to sell the food to me somehow. "But, it's so good!" "But this whole wheat is good for you!" "Come on, just have a bite!" It would be funny to see how badly people want you to eat these foods, if I wasn't already having a hard time saying no. Yes, I do want that cream filled donut, but it will make me gassy and bloated and therefore I am choosing not to eat it. Hard to fend people off when that donut is being waved under your nose. Anyway, like I said, here's where I have the most difficulty.
10. Use your mind- Good advice. I try to do this daily as some form of reading of a book or blog or word game.

If anyone wants to join me in my health quest, write me an email or drop a comment below. I'm not an expert, but I am a super cheerleader.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Breakdown? Or Breakthrough?

Yummy looking Steak
I was wondering how long it would take, or if it would happen at all.  I began the most recent paleo challenge, run by Crossfit Oahu on April 1.  I didn't have any difficulty during the challenge.  I found myself not wanting grains or alcohol, which are usually the cravings that I have.  In fact, it's usually something crunchy that I miss.  Anyway, the whole 45 day challenge was no problem.  Keysa and I decided to keep it up, and start a newer challenge with three "cheats" allowed during a week.  I didn't have any for the first two weeks.  Then I did carefully select some yogurt and honey.  I totally enjoyed it.  That was fine.  I did start craving some things I haven't had in a while.  I made it through May I think, and then my thinking started to change and I could tell.  I had pizza on June 12, which is fine, except that I didn't enjoy the three slices I shoved down my throat.  I ate better the next couple of days, then that Friday I had alcohol and some of the brownies that are STILL in my fridge that I made for Nathan's co-workers a few weeks ago.  Again, not a problem normally, except that I didn't play on it.  I just mindlessly ate it and felt slightly guilty about it.  I could feel myself going more and more off track.  Finally, this past Tuesday, some of my co-workers had ordered some lunch plates and I had not prepared myself a good lunch.  I had stopped to get a salad, and put raisins on it.  I had bought an avocado to add to it, but it turned out not to be ripe enough.  I had some of their breaded, deep fried shrimp and some of the sushi.  On my way home, all I could think about was fried won tons.  I realized then that I had to do something about this.  So.  I deliberately went to get some of the food I had been craving.  I got some garlic rolls and man doo pi from Foodland, I grabbed a bottle of wine, and went home.  I told my husband that I was going to eat whatever I could think of that I had been avoiding so if he wanted to go out and get pizza or something, tonight was the night.  So we both ordered P'zolos from Pizza Hut and got their super, duper hot wings.  We got the breaded, boneless wings.  I drank my wine, and ate tons of food.  But this time I did it mindfully.  I enjoyed every bite.
Pizza Hut P'Zolo
Yesterday I gave away the rest of the rolls, because Nathan won't eat them and I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would.  I hung on to the mon doo, and ended up eating the rest of it yesterday and today.  So now my leftovers should be all gone.  Yesterday I started my day with a huge omelette.  I prepared an awesome salad for lunch.  I made a tasty paleo dinner, but added some of the won tons.  This morning I finished the won tons, but again, I made a huge omelette, and made a delicious looking lunch of chicken sausage and leftover steak and veggies from last night.  My plan is to feed myself lots of primal food, even if it seems like too much.  I will start planning ahead again.  I can already tell my thinking patterns are starting to shift again.  I feel more motivated today, and I had this awesome daydream about the retreat house I will own someday in the woods near a lake.  The last couple of days I was just tired, and didn't feel like doing anything.  Today my imagination is back.
Breakdown? Or Breakthrough?  My verdict is that it is a breakthrough.  This time around I have been keeping a simple record of what I've been eating and I was able to look back to see the patterns.  My co-workers might really appreciate the data collection.  Anyway, looking back I can see where my thinking started to change.  Partially, it had to do with Keysa being gone, apparently I do better with some accountability.  Keysa and I were talking about food a lot, and with her being gone, I wasn't as focused on nutrition.  It may just be that it wasn't a priority for me.  I noticed at the same time that some of my lazier habits tend to come back all at once.  I wasn't having as much fun preparing for and making dinner, I wasn't waking up as chipper as normal, and on days when I didn't have work, I was starting to sleep in pretty late and not shower all day.  No big deal, except that it is usually the sign of the beginning of a depressive episode for me.  We all have our signs if we pay attention.  So.  I am actually just realizing this as I type.  And I realize that I need to pull my shit together right now, cause I'd prefer not to get all moody and non-motivated.  Do we all get like this sometimes?  I don't know.  I just know what happens to me.  I can envision myself holing up in the house, not crafting, not reading, just laying around.  Awesome, right?  Not that I was falling into a depression, but that I'm able to catch it this time!
I encourage anyone who is trying to make a major life change, such as totally changing your eating habits to share it with the right friends to create some accountability.  For me, just knowing that some of my friends will read this, is what is going to get me back on track.  Even if not one of you makes it all the way through the end of this long ass blog post, there is the slight possibility that you have, and that you might wonder whether I am going to follow through on my commitment to changed behavior.  So, thankyou kind reader for keeping me healthy and sane.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Paleo Sweet Potato and Watercress Soup

Mine did not look like this.  It looked like purple porridge.  This one's much prettier. 
Just a quick post so I can share the recipe for the yummy soup I made last night.  Warning:  It comes out looking like purple porridge, but is soooo good.  I got the original recipe here.  Excellent recipe.  The directions are easy to follow.  To make it Paleo, all I did was leave out the white potato.  I bought two Okinawan sweet potatoes because that sounded super yummy to me, hence the color of the soup.  The Watercress was from my friend's aquaponic farm system, so I had a whole bunch of it.  The watercress had a strong, peppery flavor before adding it to the soup, so I didn't add very much.  I could have added much more, it ended up losing a lot of flavor in the few minutes it was in there.  Also, I added a store bought broth to it, per the suggestion of one of the commenters.  Because my vegetarian friend was joining us for this meal I used 4 cups of Organic Vegetable broth, it did have some canola oil, but, whatever.  I added two cups of water to make the six cups of liquid.  I also sprinkled on a dash of Cayenne Powder, which I think added a nice touch.  I was thinking that if I make myself another round today or tomorrow, I will probably use a chicken broth and add some of the meat I have.  The meat turned out a little tough when I made it the other day, so adding it to a slow cooking soup might be a better use.  I also was thinking that if I had remembered to bring my coconut milk to the party, I would have added a spoonful of the thicker, creamier stuff from the top of the can to the top of a bowl of soup before serving it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Treats in Moderation

Super Sweet!
Amazingly enough, I just had to go back and look to see how long it's been since the Paleo challenge ended.  Since May 15, I've been sticking to my Level 7 Paleo with the exception of being able to have 3 treats a week.  I was unsure of how this was going to go.  In my last post I mentioned that I didn't really feel like having any treats.  It's true.  The results I get from eating Paleo / primal style are insanely worthwhile.  I lost 20 pounds eating tons of good food.  I only workout twice a week most weeks.  Granted, Crossfit workouts are pretty intense, but talk about a sustainable lifestyle.  So do I really want to eat bread?  And then try to "run off all the excess calories?"  Do I really want to eat sugar?  The truth is, when I think for a second instead of just grabbing for something to eat, I really don't want or need it.  I had some dried pineapple the other day that I could have sworn had added sugar on it.  I triple checked the ingredients, it was from Whole Foods, who kindly make all of their ingredients very visible and public.  The truth was, I just have gotten used to the natural sweetness of fruit and the pineapple was very, very sweet on it's own.  (Brilliant aside, if there is ever a need for sweetening something like paleo bread or muffins or adding sweetness to a barbecue sauce, those dried pineapples are an amazing substitution, just chop into small pieces.)  I know there are people who will read this and shake their heads in sadness, because I am now "missing out" on some of the pleasures in life.  I used to be one of those people.  Amazingly, I have changed my palette to the point that some of the most simple fruits, meats, vegetables, and spices are those pleasures in life.  I get to eat amazing food all the time.  I don't have to save up my calories so that I can have a slice of cheesecake after dinner and then feel guilty about it or feel like I have to accomodate for it somehow.  I can just eat good food all day long.  Whole Foods moving in down the road has also given me a wide variety of dried fruit that doesn't have sugar added to it.  Pears, apples, pineapples, bananas, raisins, figs, dates, and my all time favorite Mexican Mango.  I could eat that all day long. (And even if I did, I wouldn't feel bad about it.)
I'm not saying that I don't have to put any effort into staying thin and in shape.  That is what the media and "the man" would tell you is your ultimate goal.  Buy this, then you don't put in any effort!  It's easy!  Not true.  It's just that I enjoy the effort now.  I have figured out some way to cut corners to make paleo simpler, with less steps to cook stuff.  I have ADHD and need things to be simple, few ingredients and with little planning involved.  I need to have several standby recipes and stuff that I can go to when I have forgotten to pull something out of the freezer.  It takes getting used to, but there are items that I always get when I'm at the grocery store.  That way, I always have a backup plan.  For example, pureed pumpkin and coconut milk.  Two items you can buy canned, that last forever.  You can combine them when you're in a jam, with whatever other ingredients you happen to have in your fridge, maybe add a little curry powder or paste and wham!  Delicious soup!  I also always have eggs.  No matter what, I can always make eggs.  And you can do so many things with them that I never get bored.  One of the other items I always have is a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  Now, I know strict paleo/organic folks will tell me that there is most likely sugar somewhere in there and it is probably not pasture raised.  I know this.  In my life right now, this works and I feel healthy.  I have started a recipe book that will share some of my easy shortcuts.  I hope it is something that will encourage people who are interested in trying out paleo/primal, but are concerned about costs and the ability to cook.  Anyone who knows me well knows that if there is a shortcut that will make my life easier, but will not noticeably decrease the ultimate goal, then I will find it.  And I've found a lot of paleo shortcuts.
Treating Myself
Actually the point of this post was going to be that last week I did treat myself.  I thought about it all day, what treat was I going to buy?  I planned and thought about it and then when I was at the grocery store I wandered around all the aisles looking for a "treat."  I ended up buying a bottle of wine and a fage 2% yogurt with the honey thing on the side.  And then I enjoyed the hell out of it.  I slowly ate the yogurt and honey and licked off every drop that was left in the container.  Then I had a glass of wine.  It was pretty darn good.  And my stomach hurt in the morning.  Go figure.  Anyway, since then, I had some wine with a good friend, which is always worth it, really.  My stomach, again, felt nasty in the morning, but that was okay.  At the store today I bought some heavy organic half and half.  I plan to make it last.  I love my coffee black, but there's something about that half and half that turns it into something delightful.  I just have to remember to only add a little bit so my stomach doesn't have problems during the work day.  To bring it back to the point I was making in the beginning is that it makes me really savor some things I was taking for granted.  I don't have to eat this way, I choose to eat this way.  I choose to evaluate what goes into my body, the same way I would never put anything other than gas in my car.  I don't do the super expensive gas, but I certainly wouldn't ever put diesel fuel or apple juice in my Civic.  Same with me.  My beef is not always grass-fed, but it's never made by McDonald's anymore.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Post-Challenge Health

It's been 12 days since the Crossfit Oahu Nutrition challenge ended.  I am feeling pretty darn good.  I think I wrote earlier that my new challenge is to allow for three treats a week, so I don't have to be so strict.  Funny thing is, I haven't really wanted anything.  It was nice to be able to have a taste of Nathan's cheese cake last weekend, but I didn't go overboard, wanting the whole thing.  On Thursday I had a square of super dark chocolate that I have been saving for myself for after the challenge.  I was concerned about being able to only have some, although, if I had eaten it all I wouldn't have beaten myself up about it.  But I didn't want more.  I am enjoying feeling healthy, and feeling thin and strong at the same time.  I am enjoying seeing the muscles that have always been in there.  But that's not why I haven't been snacking on junk.  I just don't want it.  We've got tons of stuff in our house.  Nathan has stores of chips and granola bars and pudding and cookies and juice and bread.  I just don't feel like it.  I stopped for a second there, while I was writing, to double check if this is still true.  I envisioned myself eating bread with butter.  Not interested.  I've got a roasted chicken that sounds way more appetizing.  I also hit up the Whole Foods dried fruit section the other day and got tons of good stuff.  I know that many websites say don't eat too much fruit.  I say, do what works for you.  It has lots of sugar in it, yes.  I usually eat fruit with nuts, and then I don't feel like eating for a while.  I eat a well rounded range of food.  
Today, I'm sewing workout gear.  I'm pretty excited about how easy it is.  Turns out once you have a pretty decent pattern for a tank top or shirt, you can whip out a whole bunch of stuff with the right material.  Jersey's great because you don't have to finish the edges, it won't fray.  The shirt I'm wearing in the picture is one of the tanks I just made.  It was the first version, so very unfinished edges.  But I don't care, I'm wearing it to sew.  The more recent ones are pretty great.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Social Food Offerings

This is a tricky one that I know we all struggle with.  You are doing amazing.  You've lost a few pounds, you've really stuck to eating healthy.  Then, maybe at work, or perhaps with friends there is a social gathering and food is involved.  There is no healthy option.  What do you do?

Today at both of my schools there was food offered.  In terms of local style Hawaiian offerings, it was all amazing looking and probably tasted fantastic.  However, most of it was grains or meat in a sugary sauce or breaded and deep fried.  I have nothing against other people eating these things.  They are pretty tasty.  I have decided that I don't want to eat these foods.  At one school, it was great.  After a few gatherings where I have explained to people what types of food I choose to eat, they get it.  They don't try to offer it to me anymore.  I feel respected that they don't think I'm weird or a jerk.  This is an amazing break through and has taken a lot of time.  At the other school where I haven't had the pleasure to be at as many food gatherings, I was offered a plate a bazillion times.  And I felt bad for not taking some.  Intellectually I know I shouldn't feel bad.  It was store bought food.  Everyone else who ate put in some money, and I didn't.  These people didn't cook the food.  And yet, I felt bad.  I felt a very strong urge to fill my plate with donuts and pasta and sugary stuff and to sit with it in front of me, just so people would feel like I was appreciative.  What is that about?  Why is it that I feel bad not eating the food that is there?  Why do we feel somehow slighted if we offer somebody food and they don't partake?  Why is it rude to refuse food, but not rude to try to guilt somebody into eating something we ALL KNOW is unhealthy for us.  Who among us does not know that sugar covered, deep fried pastries are not good for us?  Then why is it not rude to continue to try to talk somebody into eating it when they have politely declined it?  But it's sooo delicious!  How can you deny yourself!  I finally lied to everyone.  I already ate, and man, I am super full.  Yup, didn't realize there was going to be food here, so I ate a whole bunch of my own lunch that I packed myself.  Even then, knowing that I was super full and declined the food, there were still attempts to persuade me.  And I've been eating this way for so long that I actually didn't want the donut!  What if I was trying really hard and had just cut out sugar from my diet?  Holy sabotage, Bat Man!

I've found that the best way to combat this is to be prepared.  To always have food of some kind that you have packed for yourself.  If you can, bring it to the place where all other food is being eaten.  People are very uncomfortable when your hands are empty.  Oh, you poor thing, you'll starve to death while we enjoy these donuts!  But, if you have your own lunch or some kind of food in your hand, you are somehow given reprieve.  This relieves some of the pressure.  But you have to also be ready to just say no, and allow other people to deal with it how they want.  It is not your responsibility to explain your food choices to others.  What you eat, is actually, your business.  You are allowed to just say, no thankyou, and offer no further explanation.  I am getting better at this in life in general, although, obviously today I was guilted into lying instead.  But you are not mandated to explain yourself to anyone.  I hope that next time you are in a similar situation, and you will be, you will be able to politely decline and stick to it with no other explanation.  Sometimes it's nice when they want to hear about how you got to be as hot and svelte as you are.  Sometimes you just want to not eat a goddamn donut.  And that is okay.
Not healthy.  Just so you know.  Have one if you want.  Tell others to fuck off if you don't.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crossfit Oahu Nutrition Challenge

Left side: 2006, Top 3: April 2012- pre-challenge, Bottom 3: May 2012- post-challenge
So I realize I haven't blogged in a really long time.  Work got really stressful and I was just trying to enjoy all my other time.  Since I last blogged Anna left and that is really, really sad.  While she was here I did so much fun stuff.  I had more fun packed into a couple of months this year than I've had in years.  She convinced me to do a lot of stuff.  It reminded me that life is short and you only live once.  Just some of the stuff we did:  Hiked everywhere, searched for squatch, wore lots of knee socks, crossed lots of fit, did tons of pullups, started our own crossfittish supplemental workouts, ran with a slosh tube, lay on the beach, frolicked everywhere, parkoured, ran a Swamp Romp and a Warrior Dash, drank Guinness, dance, almost hiked the stairway to heaven, got my nose pierced and some of us got tattooed.  There was tons of laughs and late night talks.  I'm suprised we never fought.  And I know there's tons of stuff that I left off of this short list.  It was pretty amazing.  Around the time Anna was leaving I started the Crossfit Oahu Nutrition Challenge.  Normally I don't like to pay money for things, because I'm a cheap ass, but I knew this would be worth it.  I paid 75 bucks to be weighed in and have my body fat tested with a very cool ultrasoundish machine.  We got great advice and feedback from our challenge host, Courtney Johnson.  She also created an amazing spreadsheet that allows you to track points you get for eating at the level you chose, for sleeping enough and for working out.  I know I work with kids and star charts every day, but I'm still amazed at how motivated I was and still am by earning points.  It helped me make hard decisions several times.  I was like, I could eat that, but I'll lose 5 points!  It turns out I'm quite the points whore.  And it wasn't even a challenge where the person with the most points wins.  Each point is a chance to win the pot of money at the end. Either way, I was very motivated.
The other cool thing about the challenge is that it gave me a new way to look at food.  Instead of "that's not on the list of allowable foods" that you get with most diets, lifestyles, ways of eating, whatever.  Instead it was, here is your priority list.  On the bottom of the list is the junkiest, most bad for you foods and as the levels increased your eating got healthier and healthier.  I decided not to cut out sweet potatoes and squash, so I was at a level 7.  I could have tried to be more strict, but I wanted to spend the 45 days getting into eating habits that I could follow for life.  Every time I went shopping and considered a meal, I didn't "have" to eliminate anything.  I just chose how healthy I wanted to be at the time.
It was a very succesful challenge for me.  I wasn't eating all that great before the challenge, but my poor eating is still pretty healthy by the Standard American Diet's standards.  Throughout the challenge I lost 13 pounds, and 4 inches off of my waist.  Pretty awesome in 45 days.  Especially since eating paleo, I'm never super hungry.  I never get the high/low blood sugar spikes.  I don't feel like I have to limit how much I eat.  I love the food.  And it makes me feel really strong.  Just saying for all the people who think cutting out grains is hard, well, yeah, it's hard because eating grains is a habit.  It's what we're used to.  But if people didn't try to shove grains in my face all the time, I wouldn't miss them.  The hardest time I have is when well-meaning people make me feel like I don't appreciate them because I won't eat their damn cookies or bread.  I'm amazed how offended people are when I won't taste their food.  But that's another story.
So that's what I've been up to.  Living life, hard.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fitness When We Feel Like It

Isn't it funny how we will talk and talk and talk about how great our fitness is while we're doing good, but then when we're not doing so great, we sit silent.  If you're wondering why I have not blogged in so long it's because I haven't had much good to say.  I had surgery on my left ring finger on February 15 and was unable to use that hand for a good 2 weeks.  I'm not sure why I didn't blog about the Swamp Romp that 5 of the ladies and I ran on February 20.  It was freaking awesome.  Keysa and I made iron-on shirts for our team the Bacon-Wrapped Squatches.  I made bacon belts by painting on red pleather that I happened to have lying around.  I also made Anna a cape from a sheet bought at Salvation Army.  The course itself was 5 miles through the mud and swamps at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.  Tons of fun.  Got very dirty.  I simply wrapped my hand up in a plastic bag and used my elbows to leap over obstacles. 
After the swamp romp I did run a few times, and Keysa, Anna, and I, plus now Ananda have been doing our own modified version of a crossfit workout on Sunday mornings.  Mostly though, I've been eating too much junk and drinking lots of alcohol.  It has been fun, and I don't regret it, even though my belly is now straining against my pants again and the acne on my face has exploded in numbers. 
I am making a commitment from now until the Warrior Dash at least to eat better.  Not strict paleo, but primal again.  I can go back to crossfit on Thursday and maybe even Wednesday depending on how my finger feels.  It makes a huge difference when you've done a hard core workout.  When your muscles are all sore like mine are, from the workout we did yesterday, it is a constant reminder that you're trying to eat better.  My snacking today has been a minimal after my big egg and veggie breakfast.  Plus the only thing I brought to snack on was water and dried dates.  You can only handle so many of those, ya know?  I am going to finish off my Zia's leftovers from last night for lunch and then when I hit the supermarket later I am going to be very picky with my choices.  The chips leftover from the superbowl are finally almost gone and I don't plan on replacing them.  I may look into buying some kind of rice snacks.  I know for sure I can't handle wheat.  I am so addicted.  I can't have pretzels, I'll eat them all.  I can't have bread, it sets off this chain reaction in me to search for any kind of food with sugar in it.  It's kind of crazy.  I feel like I should find a Grains Anonymous group to get some support for my problem.  I seriously should start counting the days like a true addict.  My name is Mary and I am a Grain Addict.  It's been __ days since my last slice of bread. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

School Lunches

SAD Nutrition
I may have mentioned before how disappointed I am with the quality of the school lunches these days.  Mostly I was saying that there was not enough meat and vegetables, instead there is a lot of starches- large doughy rolls, hamburger buns, potato fries, taco shells, etc.  Okay, normally I eat paleo, so I don't bother with the school lunches.  Today I tried some of it.  The smiley face fries looked semi-palatable so I took a bite of one.  I spit it right back out.  It was horrible.  I'm not sure what exactly the problem was.  It didn't taste like potatoes or french fries, so I'm a little worried.  Then I had a bite of what is supposed to be a hamburger.  I think it was meant to be a teri-burger since there was some kind of flavoring.  Holy crap.  No wonder our children are underperforming.  It didn't taste natural.  It tasted so manufactured I guess is the word.  This is just further drive for me to continue to encourage parents to make lunches for their kids and someday, when I have the time, I'd like to work on changing what is served to our children in school.  I have been guilty of scoffing at Jamie Oliver who has been trying to help revamp school lunches in California.  Yes, he probably serves too much grains over meats and vegetables and fruits, but it can't be like what I took a bite of today.  A full diet of organic whole grains has to be a step up from what our government is supplementing our children with.  And kudos to him, I didn't realize exactly how bad our situation was.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Used these for my pull-ups
So I have been incredibly busy for a while and then last week I kind of shut down a bit.  Work has not given me much breathing room, so I've been going non-stop during the day.  It's been a lot of fun having Anna around, because I've been super active on the days that I'm not working and even sometimes on the days that I am.  Crossfit has been awesome.  I really like the coaches so far, each one has their own style and has different kinds of workouts.  They aren't kidding when they say "Our Warmup is Your Workout."  The warm-up for yesterday's workout was finding the max weight you could lift with a back squat.  I started off way too low, not knowing what I was capable of and ended up doing a ton of reps before I found what was really difficult.  Then we did pushups, pullups and squats to make sure we had the proper form before we even started our workout.  Which was a 25-20-15-10-5 for form instead of time.  So you do 25 pullups with whatever modification you need, in proper form.  If it's not good form it doesn't count.  Then 25 pushups, then 25 squats.  Then 20 pullups, pushups and squats.  Then 15 pullups, pushups and squats and so on and so forth.  I liked this workout, since it was a change from the usual beat the clock.  I wasn't racing anyone or competing with anyone.  I took as much time as I needed in between reps to make sure my next pullup was going to be a good one.  And if I performed badly I took a couple of seconds to recoup and redo.  It took around 20 minutes.  I like that you learn alot about what you are capable of and what you need to work on.  I find myself getting stronger very quickly.  As Keysa, Anna and I agreed yesterday, it also doesn't hurt to have such eye candy available during your workouts.  Co-ed workouts are great, just sayin'.
As for the paleo challenge, yesterday was technically my last day.  Over the weekend though, I had kind of a depression breakdown, I didn't want to do anything and I just had this strong craving for something and I couldn't figure out what it was.  On Sunday Nathan wanted Zippy's and I got dinner there.  Of course, it was not paleo in the least.  There is no paleo at Zippy's.  It was an interesting experiment.  I had some french fries, and that did not satisfy the craving.  I had some of a bear claw and that did not satisfy the craving.  I am glad that I did the experiment as a "cheat" during my challenge.  It turns out that all of those snacks that I would seek out to satisfy that craving, didn't satisfy at all.  So I stopped eating them.  Back to better eating on Monday.  I did this challenge in my own way without guilt, so like I said in earlier posts, it was not a perfect "whole30."  I didn't follow all of the rules, I just closely based my eating habits on it.
So in review for this challenge:
I was not a stickler about cheese.  I didn't actively put cheese on my food, but several times we went out to dinner and invariably there would be cheese on the salad.  I would flick some off, but eat the rest.  Dairy has not been a huge issue for me, so I didn't go totally crazy about keeping it off my food.  I did not, however, drink milk or have yogurt or kefir.  I think I'm going to add back kefir at times now that I'm done with the challenge.
I kept bread out totally.  This is the main one that I want to keep doing.  With every other food in the world I seem to be able to regulate.  Bread is my kryptonite.  As for the rest of grains, I'll leave out rice for the most part, noodles totally.  Other grains like quinoa, granola, oatmeal- in moderation as a special treat.  Definitely not a daily addition.
Soy I'm done with.  I was never a fan of it in the first place, so there's no reason for me to reintroduce.  I will not be an asshole if someone offers me something to eat if it is soy based, but I'm definitely going to steer clear if I'm not making anyone uncomfortable.
Sugar- I'm going to do my best to stick to high percentage cacao as a replacement for sugary desserts.  Bananas, other fruit and coconut milk are great replacements as well.  There are going to be times that I will be offered sugary treats.  I am going to turn them down as a general rule.  There may be times like this weekend where I may need some chocolate.  Again, I'm going to do my best to use the better options and steer clear of things like snickers or peanut butter cups.
Alcohol.  This was hard for me during the challenge, which tells me something about my relationship with alcohol.  It's something for me to think about for sure.  A glass of wine with dinner or after is no big deal, but I need to get clear about what the strong cravings were about.  I need to get better at coping with boredom or loneliness/sadness with something other than food/drink.  I was surprised that there were times that I almost panicked.  I wrote about the day I gave in and had tequila with coconut water.  It was obvious once I had some that it was not the cure-all I had been looking for.  I never did figure out why I wanted some so badly.  Then last night I had wine- a few glasses with Anna and Keysa.  On the drive to take Keysa home I actually felt naseous.  Obviously had too much.  So I'm gonna keep an eye on this one.  I will continue to report because this is my freaking blog and I can do what I want.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

So back on track

My Muscles are Gonna Be Huge
Thank God for the paleo challenge I'm doing again.  And thank God Keysa is doing it with me.  I was just reading through my blog posts from 2011.  I was doing fantastic at the beginning of the year, and stayed on track until about July.  Then I started to really veer off of the healthy eating.  I wonder if it is because Tae Kwon Do was not challenging enough.  Either way I gained weight, and then started eating horribly, starting with the HalloWine at the YMCA.  Then straight through December and the end of 2011.  It's pretty awesome how quickly it happens.  2012 has again been a great start.  Crossfit has been fun, although some of the Group Elements classes have been extraordinarily boring.  I think I've mentioned that before.  It's cool though, because now we know what the hell they're talking about when they set forth the workout and I don't feel like a complete idiot.  The other day we did Cindy, I did 13 rounds.  I had a lot of modifications, but I'm okay with it.  I know that TKD allowed me to get really weak.  It's no excuse, I'm just not the type to keep up with workouts on my own.  If we didn't do pushups or cardio during a class, I certainly wasn't going to do it on my own.  So my Cindy was pretty weak, but I have something to work towards now.  At some point I'd like to be able to do a straight dead hang pullup.  Maybe even a few in a row!  I want to be strong like I used to be.  It would be a lot of fun to be able to pull myself up the pullup cage or up the rings ropes or up the regular old ropes and just fucking climb all around.  That's right, like a freaking monkey.  That's my goal for the next few months.  Sweet abs would be great while I'm at it, but being able to climb like a monkey is a-number-one priority.
Not Like This One

Like This Monkey

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holy Crap

Crossfit Day 2 Group Elements kicked my ass a little.  The class went super long, but again, I'm sure it was good for me, we did a lot of practice on technique, mostly deadlift.  Afterwards we did a quick medicine ball clean/burpee workout, and my legs were so freaking sore I modified the shit out of them.  I was walking my ass out for the pushup and mostly just thinking about jumping for the clap at the top.  Kind of looking up at the ceiling, swinging my arms out, shouting mentally at them to come together where they were supposed to.  Good workout.
When we got home I used the lacrosse ball on Anna's back to stretch her out and she did the same to me.  I can't tell if it was a good idea or not, it was one of those things that is supposed to be good for you, but makes you want to scream in pain.  All in all it was a good day.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kaena Point

Nathan hiked with me today. It was a long hike but worth it for the monk seals. No doggies allowed on this one. Now he's passed out in the car. Bobby drove us along with his brother Brian.  Nathan flashed his knife around and had a great time.

Nathan was in charge of this hike, with his knife.
Adorable Monk Seals!
The monk seals are super lazy.  The one on the left was sleeping with it's head in the water.  I took a picture of it picking its nose out of the water to breath for a second. 

30 Day Challenge for Realz

Popping Poppers
Photo Shoot
I had an awesome Christmas this year, Anna and I skyped with multiple family members and got some crazy awesome gifts.  Then did a lot of relaxing over the winter break.  Saturday was New Years Eve, in case you didn't know, and that was so much fun!  We hiked 2 of the 3 peaks of Olomana, did some photography shoots and tarot card readings on the peak.  Had Teddy's Bigger Burgers for our meal after and then headed home to get all dressed up to hang out.  We headed to Joanna's where Keysa is house sitting and did lots of drinking and more photography.  Nathan set off some poppers and entertained the 5 ladies hanging out.  The doggies stayed outside and barked at fireworks going off in the distance.  They were just the right amount of drugged so they didn't go totally crazy.  I felt kind of bad, but it's better than how scared they get otherwise.  Nathan and I dropped off Anna and Ananda downtown, then picked them back up 3 hours later.  All in all it was a great end to the year.
Yesterday I woke up pretty tired and cranky and Nathan and I were snippy at each other.  Then I took a nap and felt better. But we also started our paleo whole30 challenge yesterday for real.  It's not too different for me.  Luckily I have practice not having toast when Nathan has toast and can avoid the chocolate in the fridge.  Anna does not have such practice under her belt.  I feel pretty good, although I am still pretty bloated from my December shenanigans.
Lovely Ladies
So far so good in 2012!  The plan for today is to hike Kaena Point!  Will put up some pics if we go!