Sunday, October 11, 2009
Seriously, I do. I miss getting on my bike and riding to school. Even though I'm maintaining my weight well, I feel a little more sluggish as the rain and cold weather has moved in. Maybe tomorrow will be just warm enough that I can ride to school. That would make my day. :-)
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The kettlebell teacher has been stressing the importance of making your workouts reflect real life. He points out that stuff like bicep curls don't really mimic any motion that we would actually use because it's too isolated. So strength workouts should be more complex moves that use real-world motion, and kettlebell is one technique to achieve that. If you can swing a kettlebell over your head, you can probably get a suitcase into the overhead compartment. Or if you can squat a heavy weight, you can lift a heavy box. Stuff like that.
The other thing he's been relatively adamant about is our footwear. He's been telling us since practically day 1 that our shoes are actually bad for our feet. In quite the timely matter, Mark's Daily Apple just posted an article about healthy feet vs. shoe-wearing feet.
Amazing stuff. The research is really old, obviously, but at the same time it's kind of scary that research that old is out there and yet, over half-a-century later, we're still doing all these bad habit. But at least now i know that constantly buying the super-cheap shoes from Target or Urban Outfitters that have absolutely no support or cushioning whatsoever was actually a good thing.
Our teacher also stressed the importance of working out and running barefoot, which the author of the aforementioned blog is also a big supporter of. Our teacher, however, said that in his opinion the best way we could learn to run barefoot was to run around the indoor track at the rec center without shoes -- just that we couldn't tell the staff he told us to do that! I chickened out on the track. Instead, yesterday I ran in socks on a treadmill on the second level, where there weren't any staff people.
What a strange sensation! My feet actually really liked it, at least until I started to get a little bit of rubbing on my big toes. But really, aside from that, it felt pretty awesome. The strangest thing? All the tiny muscles in my lower legs that are SORE today! Wow! I tried to stretch them and everything yesterday, but today, there are muscles that are sore that I never knew I had. Must be all that stabilizing.
I think I'm sold, although I definitely can't run today. Also, because of that article, I got a reference for some shoes called Terra Plana. They try to allow your feet to move and work like they're going barefoot without sacrificing style. The barefoot sneakers are way too cute, and so are the dress shoes. I am thinking about buying a pair of flats because my current set of ballet flats are about to bite the dust. I've worn them a ton, and they're just really starting to wear out at the heel. So maybe, instead of the super-squishy, supportive Dr. Scholl's I was about to buy, i'll get a pair of these instead. They're also definitely in style enough for a 26-year-old musician. If I were my mom, I might have to be choosier. But wow, they are awesome. I'm drooling over shoes.
But for heels, while a lot of these are super-cute, I might just suck it up and get the cool, cute, totally unhealthy pumps and peep-toes and just pop on my YogaToes afterward. I mean, the shoes have to look good, right? I mean, part of the reason we all work out and diet is because we want to look thin and toned and good both in and out of our clothes. For me, that means dressing classy but trendy, and that means pumps and peep-toes for dressy occassions. Now, if Terra Plana comes out with a black patent peep-toe (or better yet, a dark red one), well, then we're in business!
I am drooling over their boots...
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Can you tell I think about food... a lot? I am definitely a foodie.
I was a little disappointed on my shopping trip last week because, while there was a ton of good produce on sale, there wasn't much by the way of squashes. It should have been okay because hubby was going on a field trip the day before to some sort of pumpkin patch/amusement park thing, and he was going to buy some squashes. Well, turns out they couldn't go on that day because they need to give the school two week's notice, and that was one day within the time frame. So I guess they decided they were going to go on Friday instead, but Friday arrived and it turned out the teacher forgot to turn in the paperwork. Yeah, he's really got his stuff together...
So as of this morning, I only had two little pie pumpkins that I got from Kroger a couple weeks ago and turned into stuffed pumpkin (delicious, I might add). But then hubby left for a racquetball tournament this morning and, while I was still in bed, called to say that the Denton Farmer's Market was open and they had pumpkins. I wasn't going to go, since it was already about 9:30, but then I figured, hey, end of the sale is when they usually have their best deals, so why not.
So I headed out. There were only four or five vendors (though I knew it was small), but I got pretty much what I was looking for, and a few other things (some not paleo). I bought two small funky-looking white squashes that the vendor said were good baked, a butternut squash, a spaghetti squash, the motherload of apples, some peppers (not sure what kind, but they looked good and I'm thinking about the beef in my freezer), some Jersualem artichoke (I know, it's a tuber, it's not paleo, but there's only maybe two servings in the bag, so it won't kill me!), some fresh okra (not a southerner, so he told me it's particularly good sauteed, though I've most likely seen it fried), sun-dried tomatoes, and I caved at the one stand that had baked good and bought two zucchini muffins and a tiny (think Starbucks-sized) loaf of pumpkin bread. I ate the zucchini muffin on the way home. And I didn't feel an ounce of guilt. It was so good!
I did eat the stuffed pumpkin that was supposed to wait until dinner right when I got home, because even though today is supposed to be a fasting day, I was already hungry enough that I knew I would lose self-control if I didn't eat my larger meal early. So my Saturday brunch became a zucchini muffin and half of a stuffed pumpkin. Perfect for a cold, gray autumn Saturday. Almost feels like Ohio!
Update on kitties: The small kitten is officially ours. We renamed her, though. I had thought Trixie because it was cute, ridiculous, and maybe something the couple that took her could keep calling her. But there is no doubt now that she's ours, and so we decided to give her a name more reflecting of who we are. So now her name is Audra, which is a Lithuanian name that is derived from the word for "storm." At least that kind of describes her coloring. Brief backstory: When we got our first cat, Tikti, my Lithuanian grandmother had just passed away, so I wanted to give our cat a Lithuanian name. Tikti means "suit" and isn't ridiculously Lithuanian, and since ours is a tuxedo cat, we thought it was appropriate. Fast forward to about a week ago, we decided it was ridiculous for one cat to have a fun Lithuanian name and the other to have a silly American name, so she got renamed Audra. She also has a sparkly pink kitten collar with a bell and a name tag. It's just too cute. We took her to the vet to get fixed and get her shots, and already she's back to normal. She did find a chair that has become her litter box, but I guess if she had to pick one, out of all of them she picked the dish chair from Target and not, say, the couch from Crate and Barrel!
Our other cat, Tikti, needs to lose some weight, according to the vet. So, even though now we have two cats, we did not increase the amount of food we put out, and I think having a kitten around has increased Tikti's activity. He's still the same odd, people-loving cat, but now he just has an energetic new playmate. It's really cute. I think he's already lost a few ounces. But the vet made a comment about making sure he's lost the weight before he gets into his elder years, and I was like, elder years? Gosh, to me he's still practically the kitten we got, oh, a year or two ago. More like four years ago. He's almost 5, and I never really thought that meant getting old. I thought 5 was like being 20 or something. Oh well.
Anywho, that's that for this post. I want to talk about working out, but that's for today's next post!
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
I must be a complete dork, because I realized today how much I look forward to grocery shopping. I grocery shop on Wednesdays because the local farmers-market-grocery-store thing (think Whole Foods, but smaller and on a regional scale, since it's only in four states here in the quasi-Southwest) has this thing called double-ad Wednesdays. It's really cool -- Wednesday is the one day that the previous week's and the upcoming week's deals overlap. So every two weeks, I check out the two ads and make a grocery list based solely on what meats and produce are on sale. I had a huge trip today, over $150, but the amount of food I brought home is way more than I would have ever gotten at Kroger!
It's sad how geeked out I am. I bought some pecans and some raw sunflower seeds that I'm going to sprout, along with the pumpkin seeds that will come out of my pumpkin (do pie pumpkins have pumpkin seeds, or is that only the ones that are big enough to become jack-o-lanterns?) Sprout some walnuts and almonds, stick it in the processor for, oh, a second, to make "granola," then add in a freshly chopped apple, some raisins, and a splash of coconut milk, and you have breakfast. Lettuce was on sale, so I bought two heads of green leaf, one of red leaf, and one of romaine to make nice big a$$ salads, with the avocados, tomatoes, shrimp, and pastrami that were also on sale. Canned olives were not, but in my mind they were a necessity, so I picked up two cans and will use them sparingly. Just like my shrimp.
I bought two whole chickens that hubby and I will eat at Thanksgiving instead of a whole turkey. I had this idea that we would stuff each chicken with a different kind of stuffing -- sausage and apple, and fruit and nut. I bought a ton of dried cranberries and so much sausage (they make their own without nitrates and other typical sausage crap) that we will have sausage through the winter, I'm sure, and I'm looking forward to mixing it with some ground chicken, nuts, dried cranberries, and pumpkin innards and then stuffing the pumpkins and eating them! I mean, how autumnal can a meal get?
There was also ground sirloin on sale and some sharp cheddar, so one of my cheat meals is going to be a sirloin burger with a little bit of good cheddar and a side of grilled asparagus (yep, on sale, too). Mozzarella was on sale, so that with the sale eggplants will be another cheat meal, topped with canned tomatoes and meat (maybe chicken, maybe ground beef, maybe some sausage -- the potential is endless). Maybe I'll make half of it with mozzarella and half of it without so they don't all have to be cheat meals. Then pork spareribs, maybe with the rest of the asparagus?
Stocked up on chicken breast, boneless chicken thighs (after the bone-in disaster with hubby, a.k.a. he didn't eat even one), and chicken breast tenders. Got hubby some containers of organic yogurt and a block of provolone to go with the pastrami. I also bought him two trail mixes -- Santa Fe spicy flavored, and Hot! Hot! Hot! flavored. He requested spicy. It's not paleo, but it's not potato chips, either. Peppers were on sale, so I'm thinking there is something in store for the beef in the freezer involving green peppers, maybe Asian-inspired?
Of course I have eggs. They're just a staple. I'm sure I'm only sick of them in frittata form. But scrambled on a Saturday or Sunday morning, topped with some salsa or mixed up with some veggies, or both, and I'm sure they will be as divine as ever. And the celery on sale was some of the nicest looking celery I've ever seen. I'm not usually a celery fan, but I wanted to eat it. So today, after I ate my post-fasting dinner, I had a stalk with some cashew walnut butter. Yum!
The thing is, my post basically reads, "sale, sale, sale, sale, sale." It's not like the whole store is on sale. I pass on the full-price seafood, the full-price meats, every kind of organic boxed food (because those are actually really expensive, and not paleo, either), non-seasonal produce, and ethnic produce, was definitely left off the list. No carrots because they aren't on sale. No mushrooms because they're not on sale (yet... though I believe that will change soon). They were sold out of their sale assortment of gourds from last week's sale, so hopefully hubby can get some from the pumpkin patch field trip this week, or else we'll be eating just pumpkin for the next two weeks or so.
I hope this means that I'm also eating more seasonally. That's the goal -- with as wide a range of produce as I picked up, why bother getting anything that's not in season? I'm looking forward to how my meals are going to change as we get further into fall.
Who said paleo is boring?
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
In all my excitement about feeling amazing because I got back on track this week, I forgot to talk about how excited I am about kettlebells!
So first, thanks for the positive commentary. I agree with everyone that each body is different and that different diets will work for different people. I mean, even that is a primal philosophy, if you think about it! For instance, people who choose to eat zero-carb or carnivore like to use the Inuit as an example of people who exist almost solely on meat and fat and yet don't suffer any "diseases of civilization." But the diet of a hunter-gatherer society in the Amazon rainforest would be drastically different -- probably mostly fruits and vegetables, some bugs, lots of fish -- and they don't have disease either. So yeah, I totally believe that every body has its own needs. I once read an interesting (though fairly unsubstantiated) theory that we should eat based on the area of the world we're from. I have a strong Eastern European heritage, so theoretically I should eat lots of meat, root vegetables, and tons of mushrooms. Like I said, there wasn't exactly research on the topic, so while I don't think it could hurt, I don't see it as being any more beneficial than just eating good, whole food (preferrably in season when it's at its best nutritionally).
Anyway, my two cents. Basically, whole food is good.
Maybe last week I was unfocused, but this week I have rekindled the amazing love for kettlebells that I had at the beginning. We did a real, bona-fide ladder workout. We partnered up, and the sequence was a squat thrust, then pick up a pair (yes, a pair!) of kettlebells and do a clean and press, then bring the kettlebells into the clean hold and do a squat. So basically we did four moves as one powerful sequence -- one sequence was a rep. So my partner did one, then I did one. Then he did two, then I did two. Then he did three, I did three, he did four, I did four, he did five, I did five. Uh, doing five sequences of squat-thrust, clean, press, and squat is brutal! Then we took a water break and did the whole thing again with a new partner. While my partner and I were the last ones done, it was fun to hear the other women comment on how strong I apparently was, given that I was using the same weight kettlebell as all of them and was struggling the least with the press. I was using two 8kg bells (17.6lbs to be exact), and now that I did the conversion, I feel even more beastly awesome!
The instructor is a masters student here at UNT and apparently the only person at the rec center who knows anything about kettlebells, which is unfortunate. Right now, the center will only let him do beginning kettlebell classes, so he encouraged us to request an advanced class in the comment sheet. He showed us a few new moves at the end of class because we're apparently already pretty strong, physically. He also said that if enough of us signed up for the next class, he would spend one day doing mostly review for the few new people and then move faster so we could work on advanced moves. I think it's a great idea, but I need to save that $45. It was a wonderful treat, but I'll wait until next semester and take the class again then. One of the women in the class is a huge fan of kettlebells, so she is going to sign up for the class and let me use her kettlebell. It's already in my locker. But she is so awesome -- apparently she has plans to get her kettlebell certification and actually teach classes once she retires. I don't know if that's coming up soon or not. If she is actually close to retiring, she sure doesn't look it!
So yeah, still loving the kettlebells. It's our last week, and since I won't be doing the class, I'm so thankful that I can borrow someone's. I realized that, after four weeks, I'm actually not ready to go back to plain old squats and pushups and stuff. It's all the same exercises anyway, but for some reason doing them while getting to swing a heavy object around is just so much more fun!
I don't know if I've already said this, but I do think having an instructor teach the basics is CRUCIAL to not injuring yourself! There are plenty of free videos on the web, but without someone to correct your form, you could really do some serious damage. So while I recommend it, I only recommend starting until teacher supervision!
Alright, that covers all my excitement for the day -- at least diet and exercise-related (maybe the clarinet stuff will be in another post -- another day!)
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