Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cycling - I'm luvin' every minute of it!

Well, it was an interesting day and I learned a few things. I already knew that mountain bikes with knobby tires on the road is a lousy and tough ride. The wind was sometimes in my favor today and sometimes not. The loop I did turned out to be 26 miles and it took me 2 hrs. to complete - that's not so great. It means I averaged only 13 mph and I was pushing myself pretty hard. I was in the tallest gear on the bike and unless I was sprinting, I really couldn't average a higher speed on that bike. Had I been on a real road bike, I would have covered about 40 miles in the same time @ 20 mph.

I also learned the importance of cycling shorts and a racing saddle. Yesterday's ride was very hilly and I was standing up a lot. Today it was a relatively flat smooth ride and I was sitting probably 95% of the time. Ladies cover your eyes if you choose.... I had some circulation issues and had a tingling and a slight numbness feeling in my package from time to time throughout my ride. I tried to keep moving around to get some circulation but it was tough. A real racing cycle seat has a cutout down the middle exactly for the purpose of circulation. The may look small and uncomfortable but they're really not and they are a must have if you are going to do any serious cycling. The spandex cycling shorts, that look kinda strange on men, also have padding which is another huge help not to mention they, as well as the shirts, are far more aerodynamic than the track pants and t-shirt I was wearing. I'm not going to chance anything and am going to set myself up right. I'm really enjoying this new sport of mine and I have to protect myself by chance I decide to have kids some day. I also want to be comfortable so I can enjoy what I'm doing.

Still reading up on road bikes and they get quite expensive. The more I read, the better bike I want... or at least one with a high-end frame and components for the performance and them lasting a long while. To be at the entry level of an excellent quality road bike - you're looking at the $2000 - $2500 range. They go way up from there if you want all titanium and carbon parts etc... you can build a $10,000 bike easily. But for my purposes, the $2k range is fine. Plus I have to buy the gear... shoes, outfit, road helmet, some spare parts etc... I'm looking at a $3,000 investment! I've got to put some serious thought in to this - that's a lot of scratch for a bicycle but I am falling hard for this sport!

The rest of my day was mellow. I came home and had lunch of a big ass spinach salad with some leftover chicken from my kebabs then went down to the beach (by car!) and sunk in the sand, under the sun, for a couple of hours. It was great!

Right now, I've got a fresh batch of Son of Grok's organic & primal BBQ sauce on the stove and I'm BBQ'n some pork ribs for dinner as soon as it's done which should be in about 45 mins.

Someone come over... I have a ton of ribs to cook - and I spent the entire day by myself, I could use some company and good conversation!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Primal Italian Wedding Soup

Growing up this soup was a tradition in my family. Although it wasn't primal since it was usually served with orzo pasta and included the high sugar and carb veggies of parsnips and carrots.

I made this the other day, primal style, and it was outstanding!

For those that do not know, Italian wedding soup is an Italian-American soup consisting of green vegetables and meat in a chicken broth. My family traditionally used escarole and mini meatballs.

According to Wikipedia, the term "wedding soup" is a mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata ("married soup"), which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together.

Making it primal was a simple task using homemade chicken broth from an organic chicken, grass fed ground beef & organic cage free egg for the mini meatballs (they are the size of marbles and a tedious task to make but well worth it), organic spices (black pepper, parsley, garlic powder, sea salt), 3 eggs, escarole, celery and onion.

Here's the deal with the escarole... 1) You will never find organic escarole in any store ever. 2) You must boil it separately in a pot of water then strain it before adding it to the soup to avoid it's bitter taste. Cooked escarole should have a sweet buttery taste when you add it to the soup.

This is another reason I want a greenhouse at my place because you can order organic escarole seeds online - yet another veg to add to my list for the greenhouse.

Here's how you make it:

Put the cleaned chicken in 3 quarts of water, bring it a boil and cook for one hour and 15 mins. The chicken will practically fall apart when you take it out.

In a separate pot, saute your cut up celery and onion in olive oil. I used one large stalk of celery and a half of a medium sized onion for this amount of soup and it was perfect.

For the mini meatballs... 1 lb. of meat mixed with 1 egg, sea salt, black pepper, and garlic to taste. No need to add crushed pork rinds to the mix (to replace bread or bread crumbs) as you would normally do for a regular sized meatball. After you have it all mixed up, roll them (marble sized) in the palms of your hands then pan fry them in a little butter.

Once you have everything cooked up you add all your ingredients to the broth (except the escarole) and bring it to a boil then back down to a simmer for another 20 minutes. At the very end you lightly scramble 3 eggs and drop it in the soup while stirring it. Once the eggs have cooked (about one minute) you then add the escarole, stir and taste to make sure your seasonings are one the money.

Let it cool a bit and enjoy!

It is an excellent (and ridiculously healthy) soup which tastes even better the next day after all the flavors come together.

Oh... and the left over chicken breast is great to use for chicken salad and the wings, legs and thighs I spice then heat under the broiler to crisp the skin for yet another meal.

Buon appetito!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I know I've been slacking

Hey Folks!

Sorry for the long delay in my blog here. I want to welcome my new follower, Mimi.

Not much to say today - kinda feeling on the lazy side on this lazy Sunday but I wanted to update with my latest pic taken last night.

I have had some changes in my routine though. I'm looking to deflate a bit and have cut my protein intake in half and swapped lifting weights for body weight exercises only. I'm going to continue on with this for a while - I'm on a mission to lean out as much as possible. Over the past week, since I started, I have dropped 4 lbs. and it is visually noticeable so I decided to update with a pic.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back on track after a week off from being sick

I think I mentioned previously that I had what I thought began as my typical - this time of year allergies - which turned into a nasty head cold, then traveled down to my chest. This had me down and out for over a week. Eating only scrambled eggs and chicken broth more the majority of it because once it reached my chest that was about all I was able to get down.

This broke before the weekend but I still allowed myself another couple of days rest to be sure I wasn't pushing myself and I was actually over this bug.

All was well and I was back in the gym yesterday. I did workout A of my 5X5 at the same weights that I left off with and I felt great... well rested and strong. By no means did my strength suffer and I easily could have gone +5 on all my lifts but I'm in no hurry... This was more of a test for me being out for so long. Aside from being sick, my body clearly needed the break from lifting.

I'm just going to walk today and on Wed., when I do workout B, I'll go +5 and get my mojo workin' again.

Feels great to be be back!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rendered my first batch of beef tallow today.

It was so easy even a caveman could do it!

My butcher has a ton of beef suet (raw beef fat) in stock and I wanted to give it a shot so I bought a couple of lbs. for my first time. It was only .39 cents per lb.

I googled some info and found the easiest way to make it was the dry oven method - 2hrs. @ 250 degrees.

I took these two large slabs of frozen fat, sharpened up my butcher knife and cut it up into 1" pieces. I put a drop of water in a large oven proof pot, put the fat in there, and in the oven it went for two hours.

When it was finished, I let it cool for a bit then double filtered it through a mesh strainer lined with a triple layer of cheese cloth.

It came out perfect! Nice and clear, no odor at all (made sure to remove any traces of muscle or blood first) and the 2.25lbs. yielded exactly one pint of pure beef tallow.

Great stuff for cooking with - it's smoke point is super high @ 425 degrees and I plan on cooking some nice stir fry, all my pan seared steaks and a nice batch of seasoned chicken wings in it this week.

Ah... pure animal fat - the healthiest of them all and a fraction of the cost of buying any quality oil.

A lot of people seem to like to cook their eggs in tallow which I'll give a shot at tomorrow morning for breakfast but I might find that I like my ghee better for eggs - ya can't deny that natural butter taste with farm fresh organic eggs!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The mission continues...

I took advantage of my down time to reevaluate my diet and fitness goals and have come up with a far more feasible daily routine. I've decided that instead of drawing up this picture in my mind of what the finish line looks like, I'm just going to live like I'm already there. I have high expectations of myself because I believe in myself. I am not a cocky person at all - I simply know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

I admit that one of my faults is that I can get ahead of myself at times... I set unrealistic goals which wind up backfiring on me. This is what happened with both my food and my workouts over the past couple of weeks. I was trying to eat too much and was trying to overextend my workouts to a level that A) I'm not conditioned for and B) learned that no one is conditioned for.

I took the advice given to me and have a reduced protein intake for the upcoming week. I have also readjusted and leveled out my workout schedule. Don't get me wrong, I do not fool around in the gym - I lift as heavy as I can without chancing an injury and I always strive to add more weight - but his new plan takes a lot of pressure off my back.

This is a lifestyle that I have chosen because I have fun with it and because it enables me to increase my health and brings my fitness level to my maximum potential which is not something I have always taken advantage of throughout my life. To maintain this, I have come to the conclusion that I need to "Act as if". Meaning I'm going to live like I'm already where I want to be and just continue doing my thing like it's second nature. Otherwise, I find myself caught in the perfectionist mold of never being satisfied. This is a bad habit that I'm working to overcome. OK, that's enough of a public therapy session for me. I've had a strange and very disappointing day today and am in an even stranger mood tonight.

Tomorrow my mission shall continue - without the stresses - and I'll be back in the gym and eating clean, as always. It's time for me to put the fun back into what I've got going on here. Because quite frankly... if I don't, it sucks.

I'll update my workout and my foods tomorrow and promise to be in a better mood :)

Minor Rant

Since last Thursday I have had what I thought began as my typical - this time of year spring allergies - but it wound up escalating into more of a semi nasty head cold that has had me fairly useless for the past 4 days. In fact, I didn't even make it to the gym on Friday which is the first time I missed a workout in over a year. I also had to decline an invitation to go out on both Friday and Saturday nights because I was trying to nurse myself to Sunday where I had bigger and better plans which wound up falling apart anyway. Such as life - and my bitchin' is now complete. Sometimes ya just gotta get things off your chest and there's no place better to do this than on my own blog.