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dusting off the ol’ blog and 21 days of pleasure

I fell asleep at the wheel, figuratively, and I have developed a cushion around my middle.

[I just deleted several sentences in which I was pointlessly explaining my sins.]  I turn 50 in a couple weeks, and I want life-long health at a cellular level. And thinner thighs.  

I would like to model my nutritional beliefs by displaying a lean physique, rather than a middle-aged middle. So I’m starting a 21 day sugar detox tomorrow. And what better way than sharing my travails and successes here.  I picked Diane’s book 21dsd after my favorite mother-in-law introduced me to her beautiful writing and delicious recipes in Practical Paleo, a book I wish I had written. It’s smart and thorough. A shout out to Ann for giving me a copy of PP. 

Next year, which is really just weeks away, I’m  venturing out on my own, after nearly 30 years of institutional shelter.  I am following my passion, which is helping people feel good about themselves and the stories they tell about their lives.  This blog is part of that effort.  

I will spare you the gory details of weight, body fat, measuring tape, ad nauseum. Instead, meal plans and recipes. Because everyone has a body to feed and meal plans and recipes make success easier. And that’s what I’m about. Sharing.

So here’s my little phoenix bursting out of the fire, a photo that showed up when I challenged the Benevolent Universe to send me a gift of purple feathers. And voila! This is it! 




Spicy Coco-Choco Smoothie

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1 can coconut cream, stored in the fridge overnight
an equal amount of almond milk.
1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
dash of vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Mix the coconut and almond milks in a blender until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again.

exercise can be habit-forming

I’ve started and stopped exercising so many times in the past that sometimes I wonder how I managed to change into the person I am now. I struggled and felt guilty. I paid lots and lots of gym dues and never went. But I got tired of being tired. And worked through the pain and resistance of beginning again. Now I do something – actually lots of things – every day. So the Whole Life Challenge awards one point for Workout and one point for Mobilization. The Workout is at least 10 minutes of “active recovery” [intentional movement]. I got that covered. I usually ride my bike to work. Lately, I’ve been riding extra, in order to accompany my son to school I also walk my dog every night. And lift, swim, run, row, … you get the picture. My challenge will be to start a new habit of daily Mobilization. More on that in a moment.

If you aren’t actively moving yet, and you need some strategies, here are mine for Getting It Done – whatever you choose “It” to be:

Find a workout buddy: I go for a run or a bike ride with friends – we set up the details in advance (where, when, how long), and this makes sure I show up (because the other person is going to show up) (this helps a lot when the weather isn’t great and I don’t “Feel” like it).

Do something fun: I pick activities I really enjoy and look forward to – for example, at my gym, I usually train with a trainer who I like, so it’s a fun-hard workout, and I “reward” myself with 10 minutes in the sauna afterwards. I also like being outdoors, so I do a lot outside in nature. I also like climbing, but I live in a flat country. So I go to indoor sport climbing.

Take a class: having a specific time/place/activity picked out on your calendar where you are with others might help you get there. I registered my family for a month of climbing lessons on Monday nights. Without the class, I doubt we’d muster the energy to go to the wall at 8 PM. Knowing the instructor will be waiting for us makes us hustle to be on time.

Make an appointment: I schedule my gym visits at the same time each week (most of the time) and that cuts way down on “skips.” If it’s tuesday @ 11, it must be time to go to the gym – the decision has already been made. this makes it easier, since I don’t have to use up willpower.

Set a Goal: I use upcoming events that I enjoy to keep me motivated over the long term.

Be safe: I rest enough before going back to the gym for more – and try to train in zones that add to my fitness rather than break me down. When I was trying to get in the habit of exercising, I would do way too much on the first day, feel awful the next day, and not go back for several months.

Remember the reason why: I remind myself I always feel better afterwards, and that my health is as important (if not more important) than whatever thing I have to stop in order to keep my appointment with myself to exercise. When I am really resisting it, I tell myself, okay, you can stop after 10 minutes. This is particularly useful when I don’t feel good and think “I need a rest day” – usually, I just need to get moving and I feel better. I don’t think I have ever actually quit after starting. the hardest part sometimes is getting my shoes on.

Always be prepared: I have my gym bag packed and ready to go. There are no excuses when I am rushing out of the house in the morning. I also have a swim bag and a climbing bag – nothing fancy. They just keep my stuff organized so I don’t waste precious time looking for what I need to get out the door.

So, now about this new habit I have to form. Mobilization – daily stretching. I am going to have to answer the “W” questions to succeed at this. The W questions – what, when, where. There are some reminder apps I have used when I want to remember to do something new. You might try Habit Forge or Rootein. I also like Astrid – a to-do App that can schedule repeating tasks. I found though that if I set too many reminders, I ignore them all.

What’s your plan? The body you have today reflects the choices you made yesterday. It’s up to you.

Whole Life Challenge

On 15 September, the Whole Life Challenge starts. I joined up to give myself a leg-up. Left to my own devices, I succumb to my habitual way of eating. I’d really like to see whether cutting dairy and grain from my diet catapults me into Nirvana.

So this challenge features rules, points, and cheerleaders. I figure public shaming might help me. I mean, after all, I have this blog. I was writing a lot and regularly, and then got busy. And now it — meaning the blog — needs redecorating.

So here’s the thing. I’ll write about the challenge here. If you’re trying to make some changes in what you feed yourself, you’re welcome to join me. Misery loves company. Strength in numbers. Or something like that.

And check back. I am writing this on the iPad, which isn’t going to let me save a draft so I can find the links I want to add before I send it out on wings.

29 jan

My how time flies. I get it in my mind to write something inspiring every day, and then my busy life takes over. Paleo January has been terrific. I feel great. But I might have mentioned that I want to get down to racing weight before training begins.

Looking at “Free Range” Paleo (e.g., eating to my appetite), I maintained my weight quite well. However, the goal is to lean out. So I calculated my BMR and base activity level and came up with a paltry 1700 calories as maintenance level. Less than I like to eat.

For the last week, I’ve been targeting between 1400 & 1600 calories, and I have mostly met hit the target. I’ve trained as usual, with enough energy. The result has been agreeable drop on the scale. Press on.

I’ve also been using “Well Fed” to make hot plates for lunch every day. Shop Saturday and prep Sunday. This week I made up portions to fit my plan. My son likes these lunches so much he asked for some on his long school days. With pleasure!

Did you have any new year’s resolutions? Can you remember them? It’s never to late to jump in and get started on them again.

2 January. The last piece of cake.

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So far I am doing well with the planning-ahead. It’s only been one day and I had the day off. I am laughing at myself.

I went for a nice run today and went food-shopping. I made a list of what is available in the fridge to grab on the way to work. I made tomorrow night’s dinner (unless the hoards eat it for lunch, in which case there are standing orders to plan dinner again). I partially cooked some veggies and made a garlic mushroom tomato thing for a side dish. I boiled enough eggs for an ice age.

I had a last piece of the yule log with coffee & milk, but remained wheat free.

roast beef, cauliflower, chard. tasty & satisfying even without Yorkshire pudding and gravy.

Along with decluttering my body, I’m also “blessing” my home. Sorted a couple pair of in-line skates that have been outgrown and tossed four old bike helmets that were caked with dog hair and dust. Don’t ask. I won’t tell. And bagged outgrown kids clothes. I wonder if I stop feeding them so well if their clothes would fit longer. Nah. They’d probably start sneaking food.

Junk-free Jan aka Lean, Clean & Green: 1

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I started the day with black espresso. I didn’t die from not having a latte. Then I fiddled with the coconut pancake recipe and improved it. (added egg whites and used some baking powder). I’ll write it up later, in case you want it.

Yesterday I wrote out some transformational goals for this month. Afterwards, I thought about what it will take to achieve them and whether I was willing to make it happen. Actually the question was would I work hard for them. I thought I need to change this mind-set. This isn’t work so much as play. Encouraging excellent health is not hard work. It’s just a by-product of a series of good choices. I’m shifting to a happy mind-set, not a "struggle" mind-set. The road to heaven is heaven, says Teresa of Avila.

If you are collecting Paleo/Primal recipes or clipping ones I’ve written, let me suggest using Living Cookbook. The 2011 upgrade transforms the cookbook into a meal planner, complete with pantry and freezer inventories, nutritional information, integrated shopping lists, and so on. One thing that particularly impressed me about the shopping list is the recipe notation, which lets you know why the ingredient appears on the list. I am delighted. I particularly like the web clipper. Now I wish it had a phone app with which I could synchronise my own recipes.

Meat and Leafy Vegetables, supplement with small amounts of fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, and root vegetables.

Don’t Eat:
Grains – Vegetable or Seed Oils – Sugar – Dairy – Legumes

Need support?

Junk Free January


Robb Wolf

Lunch: a stir-fry mixture of leftovers (meat off two drums, carrots, celery and cauliflower bits, fresh spinach, and some grilled eggplant). Basically I cleaned out all the small containers in the fridge. I wilted the spinach in the water that clung to the leaves after I washed it, and threw in the rest of the gang. Then I added a heaping T of curry powder, 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 coconut milk. The mixture needed a little something, so I threw in an egg.

Snack: chopped apple with 4 chopped walnuts and cinnamon, mixed.

Dinner: Osso Buco. Pictured here on its way into the oven, for two hours of braising. (I dragged all my cast iron to Europe, including two beloved Dutch ovens. I haven’t seen any Dutch people using such ovens and I had to check with the kitchen police whether it was a violation to use my favorite camping cookery in the oven.)

I eliminated the flour dredge and substituted a Japanese root vegetable thickener. Not wanting to ruin this New Year's Dinner, I did however use copious amounts of grass-fed butter.

Holiday shopping

I took some snapshots when I was out shopping today.

This Dulce De Leche has 64 grams of carbohydrates (all sugar) per 100 grams. Saying it’s low fat overlooks how our bodies will react to such a sugary treat. Pass.

And who’s going to eat out of this nearly-empty candy bowl at the video game shop. Really.

I ventured out to the health food store and found some coconut flour, sunflower butter, and almond butter. I also found some gluten-dairy-wheat free sauces I’m going to try. Hopefully "new recipe" means improved!

I also found a giant tub of cocoa nut oil. Here’s a picture of the cashier wrapping my Christmas gifts for me. (a nice thing about Holland).

Last, I was intrigued by the idea of "white gazpacho" soup – almond milk and garlic. Served hot or cold. Serving suggestions include a side of melon with prosciutto. Yum!

Wishing you peace and joy.

game on!

Mid-June will be just the right time for an Olympic distance triathlon. So I’ve pre-registered for a race in Brugge that some club-mates will be doing. That’s a refreshing 935 m swim, a 45km bike ride and a 10k run. Basically, go hard & fast.

Pile on the positive pressure! Time to get back in the pool.

I checked out QM’s list making link (shared in yesterday’s comment). They have an app for my phone [bonus] and I just might give it a try to help me with meal planning and shopping. They also have a method of sharing recipes. I looked at COZI yesterday, but they don’t have an App for phones in Europe yet. Boo. And I already use Google Calendar as my second brain. So I don’t really want to start up a second system. I want a meal planning suite that will let me park my meal plans in a calendar and then help me make a shopping list. I have tried meal plans from Training Peaks. I adore Paleo Chef and triathlete Nell Stephenson, but the UI for Training Peaks is awful (inconsistent ingredient selections and inadequate portion information makes for poor lists).

I’m still thinking about my cookbook plans, and it occurred to me I could use Living Cookbook. Just at the same time, they sent me information about recipe blogs and how their software can be used to do just what I am thinking about. But first, write up some ideas and test them.

Living Cookbook Recipe Management Software

Today I was reflecting on how to cope with a difficulty. I remembered that I’ve gone through difficult times in my life in the past, and they’ve always brought me gifts. Sometimes it takes a while to recognise the gifts, but they’re always there.


Reading all the books we want, dreaming dreams, making lists. All fine. But change happens when we decide and take action and follow through. It’s time to start living what we have learned, and not just in our spare time. These lessons need to be woven into the fabric of our lives.

By 1 jan, I will have a blueprint for success. Menus, recipes, grocery lists. And a calendar for when to shop and when to cook.

No more seat of the pants. Five more kilos, and I’m there. I can get off this treadmill.