2016, Day Four


Woke up pretty sore today. But I need to get some quality rides in to get myself ready for RAGBRAI, so I had my egg whites & seitan, but today with a banana instead of spinach and headed out on the Big Sky loop, an old favorite that I have not been on for a long time.  It’s not very long at 55 miles from the house and there’s not that much climbing at just over 3,200 feet, but it’s a challenging ride and I’ve put in some good work over the past two days, so I was really suffering by the last climb of the day, back up Santa Susana. That’s OK. I need it.

When I got back, I made a soy curl burrito and a big salad, along with about 4 ounces of Protein shake, all that was left in the container – new one arrived from Amazon this afternoon.

Dinner tonight was a grilled portobello burger, onion rings and an ear of corn on the cob. Beer and a glass of chardonnay because, hey, it’s Sunday.

Feeling pretty used up tonight, but in a good way.

Tomorrow is strength day at the crossfit box. How will I be feeling for that?

2016 Day 3

Weekends are tricky.

For lots of reasons, but they just are. I didn’t want too much to eat this morning before getting in a short bike ride, so I had a banana and 4 wheat thins with peanut butter. I know wheat thins are not an ideal food, but it’s what we had in the cupboard. Got in the bike ride, just 25 miles, some hill repeats on the Sepulveda Pass

Remember, I’m doing all these rides on my single speed Bianchi Pista track bike, because that’s the bike I plan on riding on RAGBRAI in a few weeks.

When I got home, I was starving, but we had Yoga in an hour, so I had another banana and 4 more wheat thins, this time with an ounce of sliced seitan.

Substitute instructor for yoga today made for a more intense class, which was fine with me. Did some head stands which was a first for me at the yoga studio! Tonight I feel like I’ve had a workout recently.  It feels good.

5 o’clock snack was cheese and a pear.

Dinner was chips & guacamole, soy curl & cheese quesadillas and pico de gallo.

Drank a couple of Anchor Steam beers. Hey, it’s Saturday.


2016 Day 2

First official weigh-in day of “The New Deal”. At age 54, 5′ 9″ tall, I’m 156.8 lbs and 18% body fat. That’s too much fat. By like, double. So that’s the number I’ll be watching over the course of the next few months and it will be interesting to see what happens to the overall weight with a renewed commitment to The Zone and the Crossfit box.

Had my new standard breakfast and lunch today (see Day 1) and my first trip back to the box in two full weeks. Man it feels good. WOD was 3 rounds of rowing, kettle bell swings, goblin squats and assisted pull ups, after the standard core warmup and some handstand work.

I forgot to bring my Primal Strips vegan jerky snack today, so I was really starving by the time I got home. I’ve been following my Crossfit workouts with a plant-protein shake, so I had one of those and then a little later an ounce of cheese with 4 wheat thins – hey, it’s Friday.

Dinner was vegetable lasagna with a big salad and a glass of cabernet.

A couple of good bike rides planned for the weekend. I’m training to ride RAGBRAI this year, but I’m going to do it on my one speed Bianchi track bike so I’m doing all my riding on that bike to prepare. I just signed up for a flat century next weekend, just to be sure I can go a hundred miles on that bike. Shouldn’t be a problem, but I need to know!


2016 Day 1

June 2, 2016

The week in Iowa definitely took it’s toll. Official weight in tomorrow morning will show the score. Nobody’s fault but mine, by the way, I just tend to overindulge when traveling and go even more overboard in Iowa.

So it feels good to be home and getting back to the normal routine. Today besides commuting I managed to get in a lunch ride and it felt good to be eating my own food again.  I’ve been working on perfecting a vegetarian zone diet.  There is plenty of information out there about The Zone, and I’m sure I’ll be talking about it more, but if you are not familiar, it’s a simple system based on getting enough lean protein by weight, making that 30% of your diet and complimenting it with 40% good, low glycemic carbohydrates and a little (30%) fat.  The objective is to eat this exact ratio of macro nutrients at every meal and snack. I’ve got a pretty good routine down for breakfast, lunch and snacks. I’m a little looser with dinner since I’m not just cooking for myself.

Over the past couple of years of vegetarian living, I’ve noticed that there are many happy, chubby vegetarians out there. And that’s OK, but it’s not what I’m looking for. Part of the problem is that most vegetarian protein sources come with lots of carbs. or too much fat. or both. Because I’m interested in athletic performance, in seeing what I can do with my body, I’ve needed better sources of lean, low carbohydrate protein and that has lead me to embrace gluten and soy, in particular home made seitan and commercial soy curls from Butler foods. A lot more about that later, for now my typical day, one of which I just had:

  • Breakfast:
    • 3 egg whites, scrambled with 4 ounces diced seitan
    • 3 big handfuls spinach, sauteed with 1 small garlic clove and 1/4 cup black beans
    • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • Lunch:
    • Seitan and black bean burrito
    • 1 apple
  • Snack:
    • Primal strips seitan jerkey (Mesquite Lime this week)
  • Dinner:
    • Wild mushroom ravioli with garlic, onion and tomato Ragu
    • Big Salad (with some seitan strips added to boost the protein content)
    • Glass of Cabernet

Here’s the Seitan recipe. I make it every week. It’s delicious and satisfying. Many recipes to come and much more about my other favorite new protein source – Soy Curls.

Stay with me.


Basic Seitan


  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 7 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed


  1. Pour 6 cups vegetable broth into a large pot, add the garlic and place over high heat while preparing the dough.
  2. mix the gluten and nutritional yeast in a large bowl, make a well in the center and add the tomato past, broth and soy sauce. Mix with a spoon until the mixture comes together, then knead by hand for a couple of minutes until it's well homogenized and elastic.
  3. roll into a log about five inches long and slice into three pieces. Let rest while the broth comes to a boil.
  4. As soon as the broth is boiling, drop in the seitan pieces, turn down the head and partially cover the pot. You want to maintain a low simmer while the seitan cooks for 45 minutes, turning at least a couple of times.
  5. Turn off the heat, let the seitan cool and store in the broth, in the fridge for up to a week.
  6. Use in tacos, burritos, omlettes, sandwiches, you name it.
  7. I usually have to slice some off, cut into pieces and eat on a slices of baguette or cracker with a little mustard before it gets to the fridge.

Day Zero point one

June 1st, 2016.
Day zero

Most people tell me to fuck off when I mention that I need to loose this belly. After all, right now I’m 5’9” and 155 pounds. I’ve been going to the Crossfit box 3 times a week since January and I’m about 16% body fat. Most people I know tell me that’s remarkably fit and they hand me a donut. But I need to lose this belly. It pisses me off. The

Any of us who is pursuing fitness at some level is in a different place on the path. I’ve been much leaner in the past, but not as strong, not as well rounded. I like the way things are going right now – I think I’m on a great training program and I think I have a really solid nutritional base, but I’m just a little too loose with sugar and alcohol and late night snacks…

I want to prove to myself that at age 54 I can be physically in better shape than ever. I want to honor the body I’ve been given. One tool I’ve not employed for the past couple of years is the disciplinary tool of the daily journal / blog.

So here I am again folks.

Day zero.

Day zero because I’m on an airplane on my way back from the Midwest where I just buried my father, abandoned my diet and did virtually no training for the past 9 days. I feel overstuffed, bloated, disgusting and disgusted.

Tomorrow morning at breakfast I turn to page one of my new book.

I’ve explored a lot since I was here last that I want to share, so join me.


Vegetarian for The Long Haul?

For the past few weeks, I’ve really felt that the 90 days, the end of the challenge, was insignificant, that when it was over I would naturally want to continue on the same path, pushing my  personal limits where diet was concerned.

Now that it’s over though, I’m not so sure.  I feel like I need a break.  Like I went too far, too fast.

I’m vegetarian and I’m comfortable with that.  That was the original challenge anyway so nice job.

I do question how bad could it really be to eat a little meat now and then.  A couple of days ago I had an incredibly intense craving for a cheeseburger.  I’ve dreamed of roasting a chicken.  I do miss eggs.

However, it’s been nice not having meat in the house – not worrying about cross-contamination makes working in the kitchen a lot simpler.  The trash smells better.  I’m enjoying discovering new foods.  I’ve learned that I like a lot of vegetables, a lot more than I expected.  Or maybe allowed before because meat was always the priority.


I’m still eating cheese, but I’m “Vegan before six”.  Just because I can and because the foods that I’m enjoying for breakfast and lunch are vegan.

Any of us can benefit from giving plants a much higher priority in our diets.  You don’t have to take it to an extreme to significantly improve your well-being.  I have a tendency to take things the the extreme sometimes though.  Sometimes you have to go there to reset.  To shake off the facade of your current reality.

Without a doubt, trying to adopt a ‘vegan slow-carb’ diet was one step beyond.  I can see that it could be incredibly effective, but it was too much too soon right now.  And followed immediately by Thanksgiving and a business trip to Texas. I’ve been on a bit of a reactionary binge ever since.  Not with meat, but sugar – my true weakness.  At least for now, I need to keep enough fruit and grain in the program to keep me from going overboard for sugar.

I also have to find the right training schedule.  I’m not sure how to keep sharp on the bike while improving at running and still managing to be a good husband, father and an effective manager.

I’m thinking of trying some lunch runs. I’m already running instead of riding one day on the weekend.  Running to and from work one day a week is an option.

Balance is an important concept for 2014.  Healthy, vegetarian, but not obsessed.  Boston 2016 remains the big personal goal on the horizon, so I have to stay focused enough, put in enough miles to make that happen.  And I still want to do it on mostly plants.

Ethically, Environmentally, Economically it just makes sense. Meat is not necessary, there are so many tasty and appealing vegetarian options and the health benefits are worth the effort.

One of the ideas behind doing a 90 day challenge was that 90 days can make a habit.  I do have to say that buying meat at the supermarket seems like an absurd idea right now.  Why would I do such a thing?


Day Ninety One…

Saturday, December 7, 2013

So I lost a week in Houston.  A road trip for work and so much end of the year work to be done that I did not get the last few days of posts done.   A shame in a way, just for continuities sake and also because of the challenges presented to maintaining a vegetarian diet with traveling on business to Houston, Texas.

I did it though and it’s never really as hard as you might think. Vegan on the road, at commercial establishments would be a little more diffi..cult, but vegetarian is just not that hard. The trickiest meal I had was lunch at Papas BBQ.  I had a massive baked potato and some barbequed beans.  delicious, actually.

I had an unbelievable vegetable stuffed pablano chili at Don Ramon’s Fine Mexican Restaurant.  The veggie wrap at the hotel was good, there were tons of vegetables at the local, well above average Chinese buffet and lots of Mexican options means lots of guacamole and beans, so it’s not that hard, but there is definitely an abundance of meat on offer in every direction.

I didn’t get a lot of exercise this week – just a few squats and some pushups in the hotel room.  Maybe that was OK, considering I’m still not completely over the recent crash and I just completed my 1st half marathon last Sunday.  I drank way too much beer in Texas and ate a considerable amount of M&Ms from the company candy jar.  Still weighed in at 138 Friday morning so the damage could have been way worse.

It was freaking cold and raining when I got up today so I took the morning off, but I did get in a 6 mile run this afternoon.  Averaged an 8:49 pace and still have a little pain in the butt.  Everything else is feeling OK.  I’m a little surprised by how much I’m enjoying the running so far, but I’m digging it and it’s a lot easier for most people to relate to.  I’m anxious to do more.  It’s also cool that it’s more transportable because it looks like I will have a few more trips to Houston coming up between now and the LA Marathon.

By the way, here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • The Real Deal Oatmeal
  • Lunch:
    • Curried Lentils, Sauteed Kale and Spinach

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Day Eight Five

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ran the half marathon today at Woodley Park in 2:06:05.  Not so bad for my very first foot race ever after only a few weeks of training and the fact that I am still nursing a tweaked knee and a sprained butt from the bike crash.

I was still a little nervous last night about how things would work out, but once I got to the park this morning and did a couple of warm up runs in the parking lot, I knew I had it.  The knee didn’t really bother me too much today, maybe that’s starting to heal finally and the butt sprain was only a problem on the few little downhills on the course.

The course was 2 circuits of a 6.55 mile loop.  A barefoot runner passed me early the first time around and I kept him in sight almost to the turnaround then he got a little too far ahead.  My wife said he finished maybe two minutes before me.

I’m feeling really good about coming so close to my 2 hour goal while running injured.  I’d like to find another convenient half to run before the Marathon in March.

I was moving around pretty well most of the day today, too, but I expect to be a little stiff in the morning.

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • Real Deal Oatmeal
    • Banana
  • Post Run:
    • Green Smoothie, banana, small granola bar
  • Lunch:
    • Beans & Greens, Potato Pancakes
    • More birthday cake
  • Dinner:
    • 2x Anchor Steam Beer
    • Feta Cheese with crackers
    • Portabello Mushroom Burger
    • Sweet Potato Fries
    • Glass of Cabernet

I really relaxed for the holiday weekend…it shows on the scale and in the mirror.  The week coming up with also be challenging.





Day Eighty Four

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hopped on the San Fernando Valley Bike Club ride as it rolled through my neighborhood today and went on a stately cruise out to Sierra Madre.  It was good to get a chance to ride with Serious Cycling teammate Oleg Shalygin who is also recovering from his own crash just a day or two after mine. The pace was pretty much what I was looking for.

Tonight my knee is feeling pretty good, but my ass still hurts so we’ll see what the morning brings.

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • The Real Deal Oatmeal
    • Banana
  • Lunch:
    • Giant Green Salad with veggies, salsa, guacamole and garbanzos
  • Dinner:
    • Brueschetta with tomatoes and basil
    • Bell Peppers and Hummus
    • Feta Cheese
    • Green Salad with Tahini Dressing
    • Birthday Cake!
    • Glass of Cabernet


So much sugar.  I have such a weakness – if it’s in the house, I will eat it.  I can be really good for awhile, but eventually I’m going to lose it.  Not my worst day of eating, but I didn’t burn anywhere near enough calories on today’s ride to pay for the the cheese and the cake.  Maybe the over indulgences will pay off tomorrow with endless stores of strength and energy?

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