Thursday, November 14, 2013

Collective Consciousness

I've had a bit of a struggle keeping my promise to myself to write in this blog everyday for a month.  Clearly, I just haven't done it.  Lesson learned, time and time again...I am one who takes on more than she can do.  Sometimes a post takes me more than a day to write.  Sometimes my words won't come. Sometimes there's a bridge run in Key Largo and I just gotta go.  (That means that Hubs and I just got back from a seriously fun time that involved goofing off and running.)

Being ashamed of myself for a promise not kept, I was wondering where to start again when Hubs sent me this post by James Clear: Announcing the Become a Writer Challenge.  Now James is a guy who seems infinitely wise to me...he is always seeking to become better; at his health, at his writing and at his photography.  And it was just perfect that he made this challenge for November, right after I had challenged myself to start writing. (What a coincidence.)  In reading his challenge, I realized what I should have done is what many of his devotees did realize; daily blogging is a lot,  They committed to write only on Fridays or maybe a couple times per week. So everyone is smarter than I am.  No problem.  I am totally cool with that. I will write when I can since the purpose is to share experiences, not to fret  that what I say won't be good enough.

I scrolled back in the Blog of James Clear and found another post: Do Painful Things First. Now oddly enough, a few days before, Hubs had made up a workout of all the stuff we hate to do; you know the painful stuff.   Well, these kinds of coincidences often send me into fits of Google searches.  And I ponder life, the universe and everything for quite a long time.  I wonder about these threads that seem to weave us all together. And then I run across a bunch of stuff by Carl Jung which almost explodes my brain.

So then I get out the Pottery Barn catalog and take a little trip through Decor Land.  It's so lovely there and I am really just that shallow sometimes.  

Now I am a bit fearful of going back through James Clear's blog.  He could just have the number to my little corner of universal coincidence. That means thinking and reading about hard things which I am really, actually pretty cool with doing.  It's just that I freak out a little bit when I think big. Or run into a quote like this one by Carl Jung...

In my case, Pilgrim's Progress consisted of my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.

Yep.  Life, the universe and everything.  And the analysis of Dr. Jung.

I will be back on track with my Paleo blogging; just had to think a bit and regroup.  James also inspired me to get my own domain name through Word I did.  Hopefully, I will have this Blogger blog redirect to my site very soon!

I am excited to take this writing challenge.  I hope to collect some ideas (and readers) along the way.

Take good care, k. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why I Crossfit*

                                                                 Hubs and me courtesy Crossfit Pushbox
This post is dedicated to Coach Matt Cannavino and Coach Eddie MacDougall at Seminole Crossfit along with heartfelt thanks to all of the members there.

 Workouts that are like play are pretty darned addictive.

That's kinda the same thing for number four on the list of twenty-five Paleo-ish things that I wrote a couple weeks ago.  Upon further thought, I have a tendency to embellish a little.

The first time I walked into Seminole Crossfit, I was pretty nervous and pretty sure Coach Matt would tell me that Crossfit was not a thing I should do.  Now I knew Hubs would shine at it, but my back pain was at an all time high.  We had  just started eating strictly Paleo a few days before, so the anti-inflammatory magic had not yet taken effect.  

But thank goodness, I was wrong.  Coach took us through a private workout and explained a few things to me.  I had treated my back too gently and had helped to make it weak.  The scoliosis, herniated/torn discs, cyst on my sacrum and bone dams seemed like a good excuse to me to avoid certain movements like squats.  But not to Coach.

"Miss Kim.  Get your ass back and drop as low as you can go.  No, lower than that.  Lower."

I've heard that quite a few times over the last thirteen months.  Our workouts are hard.  Srsly hard. 

I've been sure that deadlifts would certainly cause me to perish, but our other trainer, Coach Eddie, always says, 'You got this all day long."  He once made me follow his eyes as he knelt down beside me during a deadlift session and wouldn't take no for my answer.  I pulled a boat load of weight off the ground.  And now I can lift even more.

Who wouldn't keep going when someone is that confident in you?

I have a hard time understanding some of the lifts.  I don't like to jump and I sure don't like to be upside in a handstand-up-against-the wall position.  I haven't mastered a strict pull up yet, but I am close.  (ARRGHHH!)  In spite of all that, I love Crossfit because of what I can do and what I will do.  (Just maybe not handstand.)  ('Cos I don't like to be literally upside down.)  

I was working on cleans one night during open gym while some of the tougher guys were yucking it up to see how much they could press overhead.  They laughed and screamed and failed and threw their barbells down like school children playing those games where they're the only ones who know the rules.  A few times they came and helped me with some tips...I am terrible at cleans, but the encouragement was (and always is) there.  Something came to me that night...most of us stopped playing at some point in our lives and our fitness suffered for it.

So I Crossfit because I can.  I can move and play and lift heavy stuff.  The workouts are so varied and so flexible that at every level, I've been able to kick my own hiney.  When I don't think I can do one more rep, I take a deep breath and keep going.  Some folks compete against each other in our box, but I am good to just compete against myself and that is fine with everyone.  It is truly the only place I have ever worked out where the loudest cheers are for the last one to finish.  It always makes me weep with joy when that happens.

And I am hardly ever the last to finish these days so I always cheer loudly because I remember.

With everything that is hard or new or different, there are detractors or 'haters.  Crossfit gets a fair amount of this.  I am pretty sure that there are some Crossfit boxes out there that don't have the same energy, and caring as ours.  Hubs and I have visited a few other boxes when we've been traveling and have had great experiences.   Greg Glassman, the founder of Crossfit, seems to like a free enterprise system, where the best of his affiliates will rise to the top.  That is the spirit of free enterprise.  I don't see anything wrong with it myself and if you don't feel safe or think the instruction is good at a particular box, I really don't think that's the norm.  We have to take that responsibility. I know I could get hurt.  (I am a biggo klutz, so it could sure happen.)  It hasn't yet because I am careful and I listen well.  (Bruises don't really count.)  My responsibility, right?  

I would much rather get a little bump up than look back on my life and know that I wasted the opportunity to be fit, healthy, and strong.  I can do this; it is a blessing.

Whenever I feel like I might whine, I think about the guy in this photo on the left, and then I know:

Some day, I'm gonna do that pull up.

Take good care, k. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sleepy Time

I am just gonna have to zoom down to Number Twenty-One on my list of Twenty-Five Paleo-ish Things:

Getting the right amount of the right kind of sleep is crucial to being healthy.  This is an on-going struggle at our house.

Sleep is right near the top of every Paleo expert's hit parade of finding your way to optimal health.  Just check out this article.  Trust me, it is only one of many.  I do keep getting the bejeebers scared right out of me when I read some of this stuff.  I srsly think I need all of my bejeebers, but in the interest of optimal health, I read this stuff a lot.  Well, not as much as Hubs, but he shares everything he reads.  (Side note, my new Kindle Paperwhite should arrive today, so I can conveniently read up a storm on one lightweight device, but more on that later.)

Oh yes, indeedy.  I believe I was whining a bit on Friday about how yucky allergy season has been treating both Hubs and me.  In spite of that, I have been sleeping like a baby.  Just not last night.

I couldn't fall asleep for anything.  Could have been the time change.  Could have been because we'd worked out six days in row and yesterday's Garage WOD showed just what a klutz I can be since I can't dump to the barbell off to bail out of a back squat.  (Come to think of it, Klutz was my name on Friday when I hit my head trying to squat with my feet together.  Talented, eh?) So I was a little achy.  And still sort of sniffing because seasonal allergies just love me.  Or maybe sleep wouldn't come because I started drinking wine at a local art festivus and continued with our my very own bottle at home.

I did get to sleep, finally, only to awaken a few times with a slight headache.  It could have been an allergy headache but I am guessing it was the wine.  It progressed from slight to pretty bad.  I hate to take stuff, but the headache had to go.  I got up and noted the time...four-fifteen in the morning....and popped two Excedrin.  Worked like a charm, so I was back to sleep in no time when the fancy new clock/light thing that Hubs got last week popped on at six o'clock, flooding the room with blue light.

I might have to kill that fancy new clock/thing.

I got up, half groggy, but happy to be headache/other ache free, leaving Hubs to bask in the blue glow for a few minutes.  I made our bullet proof coffee which took care of the groggies, so the day is going amazingly well so far.  It just leaves me to ponder why it is that sleep can be so hard to come by.  Even when there isn't a bottle of wine involved. 

Yeah, I know alcohol is not good.  It isn't on anybody's 'do list' of Paleo things.  I know it wrecks your sleep, so we usually limit ourselves to one glass per day while cooking dinner.  (Sometimes a NorCal Margarita or four get(s) made at the towncasa because we I think the weekend should be party-time.)  This is honestly the only cheat we have, but I know it isn't good.

Now on days we are well behaved, a good night's sleep can still be tough.  I wish I knew why.  We've actually done quite a bit to remedy the sleep situation around here (including getting the clock/light thing to bathe us in early morning blue light).  Here's some other stuff:

  • We have dimmers on all of our lights and stage them down between dark and bedtime.
  • We sleep in a very cool room.
  • We have this thing call f.lux on our laptops so that the screen light is more warm.
  • We mostly stick to a ten o'clock in the evening bedtime and wake up time of six o'cock in the morning.
  • We drink chamomile tea and have a small piece of dark chocolate (85% cacao) a few minutes before bedtime because having rituals helps your body know when to start staging down too.  And we really like tea and chocolate.
  • We mostly limit alcohol throughout the week.  Srsly.
  • We've eliminated all of the stray light we can and sleep in a room that is as dark as we can get it.  (The CappiDog generally stays in her bed in the corner, but she has been stumbled over a couple times since we both get up and wonder around in the pitch dark sometimes.)
  • We have a two cup of coffee limit per early morning.  But they are doozies in the caffeine department.

We've experimented with taking melatonin, but it is a hormone.  'Nuff messing that much with Mother Nature around here.  Besides, I have strange dreams when I take the stuff.  (I can conjure up strange enough dreams on my own, thank you.)  We've also tried some of the fizzy magnesium drinks.  For the sake of my easy-to-upset tummy, I will forgo those and stick to a chocolate bedtime snack.

I wish I had an answer to the sleep thing.  I sleep better than I used to and so does Hubs, but it would be nice to be among those who just fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.  Luckily, neither of us drag around all day when we haven't slept well.  It just is that whole optimal health thing...we want it.

Do you have some good ideas on how you get better sleep?  I would sure love to hear them!

Take good care, k. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

For Fred

Oh wow!.  I am so excited.  I have two nice comments on a couple of my blog posts/.  Yay!

Fred, from the UK, mentioned that he eats his grassfed beef concoctions all week and he hopes to liven them up.  There is never any need for Paleo to be boring, My Friend!  And I love to have leftover stuff.  Don't you find that the flavors get better and better?

Check out the chuck roast in the picture, I think it weight about 4 pounds with the was so good and so easy.  I put 3 strips of bacon in the bottom of my slow cooker, salt/pepper on the roast, plopped it on top of the bacon and put on the lid.  It cooked on low for 8 hours.  All by itself with no intervention from me.  Srsly.  (This is hard because I like to pester stuff while it's cooking.)

I had a little vegetable roasting session the day before that made lots, so I could just serve different vegetables with the roast over the several days it took us to eat it.  Here's a PDF for roasting vegetables that I did for the folks at Paleohacks

Hope this helps a bit.  And please leave comments and ideas if you like.  It's so much fun see them and maybe we can help each other!

Take good care, k.

PS  OMG...I actually figured out how to embed a PDF and it works.  Woo-hoo!

Something Different for Breakfast

Mornin'!  I didn't get around to posting anything words just wouldn't come.  Allergy season has invaded for both Hubs and me, so there has been much sneezing and such around the towncasa.  Yesterday was particularly an un-fun day for me.  We didn't even get to the gym...but we did do the same WOD in the little Crossfit box we created in our garage.
                                                How cool is this?  We've been adding to it since April  have almost everything we need  for working out when we can't make it to our real box, Seminole Crossfit.  (And nope, we will never be able to park a car in there...what with the 
kayak, weights, bikes and power tools.)  


Well, that's my excuse for not writing yesterday.  Feeling much better today, I actually made something totally different for our breakfast this morning.  Normally we have bacon and eggs; sometimes we have eggs and bacon (grin).  There's actually a lot of versatility in that formula because we most always add leftover veggies and or meat from the night before or at least some salsa and avocado to the eggs.   I love that neither Hubs nor I have any sensitivities to eggs although I know, from reading somewhere in  Robb Wolf's stuff, that you can develop them over time.  With that in mind,  I think that I need to come up with some other breakfast ideas...just in case.

I ran across a recipe one day last week for this nutty kind of cereal thing and emailed the ingredients to my phone.  Of course, I thought I would remember the directions and omitted that part.  Guess what?  I couldn't remember exactly what to do and couldn't find the entire recipe again when I looked online.  So I had to wing it.  Hubs is not the least bit surprised and has made me swear to learn to use something called Evernote this week.  H-m-m-m.  It promises to make one more organized and efficient.  Well, we'll see about that.

I have no idea if this is the right way to prepare the cereal, but it turned out really well.  I added some butter, vanilla and salt to the original list of ingredients.  Oh, and we didn't have any ground ginger, so I left that out.  And it called for dashes of the spices...Nah.  I used whole teaspoons, except for the nutmeg.  (And yeah, there are two eggs in there...but ya gotta start somewhere and knowing me, I will prolly experiment with leaving them out later.)

Paleo Breakfast Cereal

6 tablespoons almonds
6 tablespoons pecans
6 tablespoon flax seeds
6 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
nutmeg...4 grinds on my grinder which is maybe half a teaspoon

Buzz this up in a food processor for a minute or so.  Don't go too long or it will get creamy.  Leave it for a bit.

Then to a sauce pan add:

2 eggs, beaten
1/4-1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk
4 tablespoons of almond or cashew butter
2 tablespoons butter from grassfed cows

Stir together over low-ish heat until the butter has melted and there's a little simmer action going on in the pot.  Then add the nut mixture and blend it all together.  It will be thick, so add some more coconut milk and butter, if you like.

Spoon this up into bowls and top with sliced strawberries and a few blueberries.  I poured some more coconut milk over the top.  It was just sweet enough without adding anything else.  It was also more than we could eat, so I saved the rest for maybe something like a little crust in the bottom of a ramekin thing.  I'll have to let you know what becomes of the leftovers.

Oh, and we had the cereal with a side of bacon.  There must always be bacon.

Take good care, k.