Sunday, June 24, 2012
A friend at work and his wife had their first baby four weeks ago. It occurred to me that they can't get away and hang out because Mom is basically slave to the baby's hunger, and Dad knows that since she has to deal with the "feeding end," he has to deal with the "party end." He's not going to just leave her to deal with the baby on her own, so I asked if they minded if hubby and I came over and made dinner for them one night.
Obviously, they weren't going to say no! So we tried to make something healthy and tasty. I referenced my Primal Blueprint Cookbook for a bacon-broccoli salad. The dressing called for 1 cup of mayo and, yeah, when I was done making the dressing, I think I coated the salad in 1/4 cup of the dressing. At least now I have leftover dressing! We had baked chicken with a guava glaze that I got from Emeril, and paired with sweet potato fries and the broccoli salad, we had a pretty good meal!
I also made a crab dip with a little mayo, tomato paste, lemon, horseradish, and just a touch of hot sauce to serve with carrots, celery, and cucumber while we watched the Pirates game. Finally, for dessert, we had a flourless dark chocolate cake by Aaron McCargo (Big Daddy's House) that, after making it so many times, has slowly morphed into our own creation. We still use butter sometimes, but we subbed out half the sugar for coconut flakes to keep some kind of dry ingredient in it, and then whatever sweetness it still needed we did with natural cane sugar and some stevia. It has a hazelnut ganache on top that we made with coconut milk instead of heavy cream, and as it turns out the coconut milk sets better anyway and turns out a better product. Then we topped that bad boy with tons of blueberries and strawberries. They were happy to keep the other half.
We had a good time even though their little girl cried the WHOLE TIME. I hope that means that shortly after we left, she passed out and the parents got a good night's sleep. The funny thing was that the crying baby didn't really bother me -- sometimes, she got so fired up about whatever was bothering her that we actually laughed at how funny her cry was. I suppose that keeps you sane.
I never told them that their meal was grain- and dairy-free. Honestly, unless you're on that diet yourself, who cares? I'm not trying to preach my dietary habits on them; I was just trying to make a good, nourishing meal for two parents who can't get away for two seconds. We should do it again soon.
I woke up this morning naturally at 7:05am, spent an hour drinking coffee and reading my Kindle (I'm working my way through "The Primal Blueprint" -- for as long as I've followed the dietary advice, I never read the book), and then headed out to the beach to do a workout from Mark's Daily Apple. I was feeling motivated, and I seriously needed that for this workout!
It sounded so easy: sprint 50m, Grok crawl back 25m (basically crawl like a baby but on your hands and feet instead of hands and knees), walk lunge 25m back, and squat down, pick up a weight of some kind, and stand up and throw it back the 50m you came. Repeat that cycle 8 times.
I made the weight by taking sandbags from a weighted vest and sticking them in my bookbag, and I marked off 25m with dumbells that I spaced out with a tape measure. Then I did my workout. By cycle 4 I was cursing myself for doing the workout! Those stupid crawls are HARD! And squatting down to throw a bookbag? I found out that with any real weight in that thing, I can't throw it very far. I can't even remember how many squats I had to do each cycle, but it was more than 10.
My phone wasn't working or the screen was too dark or something, so I couldn't time myself. Boo.
The other thing I cursed was not putting my swimsuit in my backpack so I could change and jump in the water while I was still sweaty and sandy and nasty. Oh, and I cursed that it's a mile walk to the beach, and I was carrying probably 30 lbs. on my back, and then after the workout I had to walk the mile back, grab my husband, change into a swimsuit, walk another mile there so I could go into the water, and then walk another mile back when we were done, oh and we played some Scatch at the edge of the water, too (that beach toy that's like playing catch but with a Velcro baseball and Velcro mitts). We got home, I showered, ate some lunch, cleaned some dishes, sat down to read... and passed out.
I never realized how much "The Primal Blueprint" was an all-around life-makeover instead of a diet. I read "The Paleo Diet" and figured I had it covered. I didn't realize this book covered a lot more. The author makes a comment that speaks to my own problem: if you find that you have a lot of energy from working out less and eating healthfully, don't work out more, make your workouts harder.
Okay, make my sprints harder, make bodyweight training more intense with more reps, less rest, stuff like that, I get it. But then he also relayed a personal story from his days after he retired from professional running. He became a personal trainer and did his workouts with his clients, and they're not professional athletes. So he would run with them, but his heart rate would barely break 100; he would bike with them and swear that if they went any slower they would tip over; he never had time for a workout, so he did sprints in his 20 minutes between clients; and lo and behold, when he started doing triathlons for funsies, he ended up placing fourth in the Ironman. Okay, maybe he has some genetic freak-ism going on there, too, but his point is make the long cardio slow and easy and make the sprints really hard.
My husband and I have been running in the mornings, and he's always bummed about how he's so slow -- basically, I can keep pace with him easily, which means both I've gotten better and he's gotten slower. I said, maybe, since we're working our way up to a lot of running, albeit slowly, we shouldn't worry about speed on every single run every day, only on sprinting days. He seemed okay with that. That also gives me permission to keep my bike rides to work more leisurely, which I've been doing intentionally even though I kept thinking I was being lazy. Nope, I just have to make sure that when I do have a tough workout, I push myself.
I have nothing to really gain or lose from this experiment because I've decided to accept the five pounds I've gained (I think they're still there...) as a necessary part of increased athletic performance. If, by eating less meat because I'm only buying from local farmers and working out more sporadically so I can put all-out effort into the big ones, I end up losing it, great! If I don't lose it but get faster and stronger, well, great too! I get crabby when I get hungry, and I don't like being crabby! So here we go.
Oh, and a shout-out for my eat-less-meat-atarianism. On Friday, hubby announced that we only had one egg left; unfortunately, the farm I bought them only runs their stand on Thursdays from 3-6. So I went to try out another farm just down the street since that farm sold poultry, and they had these things called pullet eggs. I asked the teenage girl who was cheerfully helping me figure out which freezers carried what meats what on earth was a pullet egg (as in, why was it $2 a dozen as opposed to $4.50 a dozen -- $0.50 more expensive than my other farmer), and she said that when young hens first start laying eggs, they lay little eggs. They don't get bigger until they're more mature. Hmmm... well, smaller eggs, but cheaper than the commissary anyway... I'll take it! So now we have plenty of eggs. I'll just have to do my research and see if pullet eggs are available for the whole season or if by the end of the summer, the hens will be laying big, expensive eggs. We will see...