Category Archives: Eating

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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 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.


Day Forty Nine

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2nd time this season on “The World Famous Simi Ride”. Faster than two weeks ago, for sure.  No worries on the 1st half, but I did a lot of chasing on the 2nd half of Mulholland and that’s a painful place to be.  I always get a better workout than I realize on that ride.  Nothing else for today except a walk to the supermarket.

I did get some work done on the bike this afternoon – new tires, new chain, new cassette, fresh grease on the crank.  Should be a good ride tomorrow.  The new cassette is 11-25, replacing the 12-26 I’ve been running.  I have a compact crank so the 11 will help even the playing field a little on the long easy donwhills, like Sepulveda and Santa Susana and I don’t think I’m going to miss the 26 at this point especially if I keep working on the Armando style out of the saddle climbing.

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • Oatmeal with molasses & agave nectar, blueberries, pecans, flaxseed and hemp hearts
    • Banana
  • Lunch:
    • Post Ride: Green smoothie with Spinach, Kale, melon and hemp protein powder
    • Cilantro Lime Quinoa with Pinto Beans and Corn Tortillas

The post ride lunch of Quinoa and beans was incredibly satisfying and the Eggplant tonight was freakin’ amazing. If you would have asked me a couple of months ago, I would have told you I don’t even like eggplant, but I have a couple of killer recipes now.  This one is from The Gourmet Vegan aka The Vegan Household which is at first a visual feast and also a fairly large collection of vegan masterpieces.  Most of the recipes are somewhat complex and it’s a UK site, so you have to some conversions of grams to ounces or tablespoons and Celsius to Fahrenheit, but if you are looking for something a little extra – for the weekend, for a special occasion or just because you are in the mood to put in a little extra effort for a big payoff, I think any recipe on the site will impress.


Vegan Walnut Taco Filling

Walnut Taco Filling

I read a bunch of different recipes for this and adapted them to this version. It works surprisingly well as a base for tacos topped with salsa, guacamole and cashew crema. This would also be good on nachos or maybe in enchiladas?


  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined and pieces are evenly sized, being careful not to over process. You don't want to make a paste, you want small pieces, like ground beef.
  2. Use as is to keep it 100% raw or heat through in a small saucepan and serve warm.

Day Thirty Eight – Simple Steps to Cleaner Eating

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Still nursing the foot.  It’s only Tuesday John, relax.  Rode the short commutes on the single speed and the foot doesn’t really bother me on the bike.  Cycling is easy, but I also want to know I can run.  I was fairly quick when I was young…

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • Oatmeal with molasses & agave nectar, blueberries, walnuts, flaxseed and hemp hearts
    • Green Smoothie – Spinach, Kale, melon, strawberry, blackberries
  • Lunch:
    • Quinoa & Black Beans, 1/2 yellow bell pepper, banana, apple, pecans & raisins
  • Dinner:
    • Appetizer: Heirloom carrots, broccoli & hummus
    • Tomato, pesto & avocado on toasted ciabatta bread
    • Yukon Gold baked fries
    • Green Salad with hemp oil balsamic vinaigrette
    • Glass of Cabernet
    • Dark Chocolate

Hey, it was a vegan day again – that feels good.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this dilemma that it’s sometimes hard to tell if vegetarians & vegans as a whole are generally healthier simply because of diet or because they are just generally more health conscious which has lead them to adopt a plant based approach to nutrition along with a tendency to be more physically active and to avoid highly processed and high calorie, low nutrient foods?

I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter.  The two go hand in hand, for the most part.  Yes, you can be an unhealthy vegetarian – Oreos technically qualify as vegan.  Is anyone arguing that Oreos are a health food?  Some things are obvious, some things are common sense, but so often it’s the case that you don’t see the common sense until you are hit over the head with it.

The vast majority of Americans, in particular, are in dire need of a nutritional overhaul. Many, many people who think they are eating “pretty healthy” are still consuming vast quantities of refined sugar and flour.  The link between animal products and coronary disease was proven decades ago, but we love to hear that maybe it’s not quite true.  Maybe Atkins was right?

The point is that most everyone could stand to clean up their diet and it doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to follow one strict diet dogma to do you lots of good.  You do however, need to pay attention to a few basic precepts.

If you do two simple things, you can dramatically improve the quality of your diet:

  1. Eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, in as close to their whole, natural state as possible.

  2. Avoid packaged, processed, canned, prepared and fast foods.

I didn’t say easy, just simple.

If you really want to go for a clean diet, there are 5 steps I recommend following.  It’s a rare individual who can go all the way from Standard American Diet to nothing but healthy, whole foods in one step.  You have to work your way into it.  And it’s work, but it’s some of the most rewarding work I’ve done.

Each of these steps starts with the verb ‘Eliminate’ which may carry a negative connotation, but the best way to approach this is to think not of doing without, but of crowding out.  Adding lots of nutrient dense, whole foods to take the place of the highly processed, high calorie and low nutrient density foods and food like edible products that are not helping us function at our best.  To help with this idea there are examples in the right hand column of things to add as you reduce and remove the things in the left hand column.  These are just a few examples and as you work your way through these steps, you discover all kinds of new and wonderful things to eat that you never gave a second thought before.  You find what works for you and what you like and you quickly find yourself thinking “Wow, I can’t believe I used to eat that!”

5 Simple Steps to Cleaner Eating:

Eliminate Refined Sugar
Add Fruit, sweeter vegetables like bell peppers, use natural sweeteners like agave nectar, when necessary
Eliminate Refined Flour
Add high quality starches like sweet potatoes, whole grains and sprouted grains
Eliminate Alcohol
Drink lots of water. Replace beer and hard liquor with a glass of good red wine*
Eliminate Meat
Add alternative proteins – legumes, quinoa, flaxseed, hemp, hummus.  Also more dark leafy greens like Kale and even sea vegetables like Nori, Kelp, Kombu and Dulse.
Eliminate Dairy
Add more nuts – almond milk, cashew cream, nut butters and nut pates

*When you are thirsty, drink water.  Water is for hydration. Beer and wine are foods.  Soda is one of the ultimate examples of empty calories.

You don’t have to be perfect about this to reap enormous benefits. You don’t have to go 100% with all of these ideas if you are not ready or just don’t want to, but if you do these things you will be eating a very clean and very healthy diet that study after study has shown will reduce your risk for many serious diseases including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, will leave you leaner than you thought was possible, give you more energy and mental clarity than ever and expose you to a world of flavors and textures that you’ve never imagined.

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Day Thirty Five – Simi Ride and Vegan Enchiladas

Saturday, October 12, 2013

First time out this season on The World Famous Simi Ride today. If you are not familiar with the ride, it’s a fantastic winter training ride here in southern California that attracts a big peloton of local racers and the occasional world tour pro like Ted King who scratched the Simi Ride off his bucket list last season.  The ride officially starts in October, though riders begin gathering at the start and following the route in September.  Each month through the end of January, the ride gets longer, hillier, bigger and faster.  It’s still October, so it’s the short route and the pace is pretty mellow. That worked for me today. I’m definitely feeling some fatigue from the running and the new workouts, but definitely feeling the benefits, too. I didn’t have to leave everything out there on the road today, so I should be in good shape for the Renegades in the morning and the foot is feeling good, so I’m hoping to get in a little longer run in the afternoon.

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • Oatmeal with molasses & agave nectar, blueberries, walnuts, flaxseed and hemp hearts
    • Banana
  • Lunch:
    • Quinoa & Black Beans
    • Green Smoothie – Spinach, Kale, melons, raspberries
  • Dinner:
    • Appetizer: Carrots, bell pepper & hummus
    • Anchor Steam Beer (2)
    • Chips & Salsa
    • Mushroom and Squash Vegan Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce and Cashew Crema
    • Black Beans
    • Green Salad with hemp oil balsamic vinaigrette
    • Glass of Cabernet
    • Dark Chocolate


Seems that I was the only one who truly enjoyed the enchiladas tonight.  I thought they were fantastic.  The hardest part of this challenge for me over the long haul is going to be figuring out how to keep the three of us happy –

  • Me, a ready to be full time hard core whole food vegan
  • Jake, who is pretty open to a lot of things.  She doesn’t like mushrooms, she’s not too crazy about greens, but she’s trying and she does like kale chips and spinach on a sandwich
  • Annette, who does not like beans and is pretty particular about everything else.

I guess it really was easier to get everyone to agree on a piece of chicken and if you didn’t like the side, you didn’t eat the side, it was just a side.  That’s the problem and that’s what I want to overcome, so it’s not easy, but it’s part of the challenge and I will figure it out.

I’m probably going to fast for them, too because it’s my nature. If we’re going to do this, let’s just do it!  I’m already wanting to get past dairy and Annette wants to pick out some cheeses.  confusing and disappointing for her because just a few weeks ago I was right there with her – a love of cheese is something we shared.  Even then, of course, I knew it wasn’t really ‘good’ for me, but what the hell, a few ounces of really fantastic moldy old animal milk on the weekend, how bad can it be?  Now, it’s why eat it if it’s not necessary and it’s not good for me and it’s not good for the cows?

I’ve enjoyed every meal I have made for the last 35 days.  Is it because I want to like it? Have my tastes really changed that quickly? Is it really just that good?  I think I’m just open to it because I want to explore new tastes and find out what I really like.  The quinoa and black beans was pretty much improvised, conceived on the ride today out of what I knew I had on hand, what would be good for recovery and what could I cook while I showered.  It was delicious, unbelievable.  Over the top with a few pickled jalapeno slices or some Srirachi if you’re into that – I tried both today.

Monday night I will be at a business dinner and I won’t be cooking.  Jake says she’s going to make steaks wrapped in a bacon weave.  Either that or tomato soup.


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Barley Pilaf

Barley Pilaft

This was even better than I expected. Improvise with whatever veggies you have on hand


  • 1 cup uncooked barley
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  1. Head water and barley to boiling in medium saucepan
  2. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes
  3. Fluff with fork and set aside to cool for a few minutes
  4. Toss remaining ingredients with barley in a large bowl
  5. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. Serve warm