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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!


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 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 Sixty Nine

Friday, November 15, 2013


Weight: 136.2
Body Fat: 11.4%
Water: 63.1%
Resting Heart Rate: 41

Holding my own?  Not really.  I’ve allowed myself too many sub-optimal diet choices lately.  That’s clinical enough to keep it impersonal.

So it’s another Friday night. 10th week of the challenge. I did not expect to crash on Wednesday so I missed a few easy miles but I still feel like I made progress on the fitness front – my body is starting to adapt to running and I continue to get slightly stronger.  I was developing some decent balance on the inversions but haven’t done any since the crash since I still have some tightness in the shoulders and neck.

Two weeks of training time left before my first scheduled half marathon.  I’m still confident I can be ready and this weekend will provide further proof one way or the other.

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • Oatmeal with Molasses, Flax Seeds, Walnuts, Blueberries and Agave
    • Green Smoothie: Spinach, Kale, Strawberries, Blackberries
  • Lunch:
    • Mujadara Wrap
    • 1/2 bell pepper, apple, carrots
  • Dinner:
    • Heirloom Carrots and Hummus
    • 2 Double Barrel Ales
    • Onion and Artichoke Calzone
    • Green Salad with Hemp Oil and Balsamic Dressing
    • Big glass of Cabernet
    • Couple of Chips Ahoy – Yikes!


The Calzone was awesome, but cheesy and I’ve been giving in to sweets all week.  I’m looking at it as diet periodization.  It’s my wife’s birthday this weekend and I’ll get back in line on Monday?  It’s all part of the journey, part of the challenge.




Day Sixty Eight

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I was commuting on the race bike today since I crashed the single speed yesterday.  Took an easy ride up La Tuna Canyon at lunch to make sure all the body parts still worked.  They do, mostly.  Managed a 5 mile run when I got home. I set a record slow pace primarily due to nursing a groin pull resulting from involuntarily clipping out of my pedals yesterday, but tonight I am walking like any other human, so I feel I am starting to adapt.

I’m looking forward to something longer this weekend.

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • The Real Deal Oatmeal: with molasses, walnuts, blueberries and agave
    • Green Smoothie: Spinach, Kale, Strawberries and Raspberries
  • Lunch:
    • Mujadara Wrap, 1/2 Bell Pepper, Apple, Banana
    • Brownie and Cookie PIg Out
  • Dinner:
    • Appetizer: heirloom carrots and hummus
    • Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
    • Moroccan Egg Plant
    • Green Salad with Tahini Dressing
    • Glass of Cabernet


I lost it today and ate a bunch of sugar that was lying around the office after somebody else’s business lunch.  Damn you, Corner Bakery!

Sometimes my will seems iron clad.  Other days are like today.  Probably means I’m not eating enough of the good stuff, particularly since I’ve added the running?

When I brought out the Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts tonight, my daughter said, “Oh, my favorite”.  My wife had a salad – so that’s cool. She is doing her best to cope.

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Day Sixty Seven

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It’s been a tough few days.

5 minutes into my lunch ride today I had an unwelcome encounter with an SUV that turned left directly in front of me.

The front end of the single speed is pretty well toast.  The wheel is trashed.  The fork does not look straight to me, the steering tube bearings are destroyed and the bar is bent.

I have a contusion on my forehead and a prize-fighter scrape under my eye from using my head to knock the side mirror off the car.  My right shoulder is scraped up as is my left elbow and I pulled something in my left leg; getting yanked out of the pedals, no doubt.  I do have some soreness and stiffness in my shoulders and neck.

Other than that, it was a great ride.  GPS data says I was only going 18.5 mph at impact.  We were only about a quarter mile into the ride.  Kevin was with me and I was looking forward to a nice cruise around Hansen Dam.  Thanks Kevin for hanging with me, driving me back to the plant and getting me home tonight.  Next time we’ll try it on bikes.

Hope I’m still good for a run tomorrow night.


Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • Oatmeal with Molasses, Flax Seeds, Walnuts, Blueberries and Agave
  • Lunch:
    • Mujadara Wrap
    • 1/2 bell pepper, apple, banana
  • Dinner:
    • Morracan Eggplant with Brown Basmati Rice
    • Green Salad with Tahini Dressing
    • A couple of big glasses of Cabernet (medicinal purposes)


I think my wife is reaching her limit with my vegan cooking. The eggplant was fantastic tonight.  She ate cereal.  Hey, that’s vegan – just highly processed industrial vegan, but it could be worse.  I’m going to have to work harder to find a compromise.  And I can do that – for one thing, I can be hardcore at breakfast and lunch and loosen up a bit at dinner, but I’m not going to eat meat and I don’t want to eat dairy.

Some of what I’ve made she’s really liked.  I can figure this out.

Tough day.



Day Sixty Two

Friday, November 8, 2013

End of the week stats:

Weight 135.4
Body Fat 11.3%
Water 63%
Resting Heart Rate 39

Not too much comment on that.  Lots of changes the last few weeks. And a long week of work and life outside of Eating and Riding and Running.  Super easy recovery day today. That’s all I have for now.

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • The Real Deal Oatmeal: with molasses, walnuts, blueberries and agave
    • Green Smoothie: Spinach, Kale, Strawberries and Raspberries
  • Lunch:
    • Brown Rice and Black Bean Burrito
    • 1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, Apple, Banana
  • Dinner:
    • Appetizer: Chips & Salsa & Guacamole
    • Bruschetta and Crudite with Hummus / Baba Ganoush / Tomatoes and Basil
    • Green Salad with Tahini Dressing
    • Double Barrel Ale (2)

Nice, simple feast of dips and stuff to dip tonight.

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Day Forty Seven

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I walked like a regular person today.  That’s progress.  Still a little sore, still some swelling, some fluid retention, so I’m not looking forward to recording stats for the week tomorrow morning.

Another busy day at the office, but I did squeeze in a Hanson Dam Loop on the single speed at lunch.  Got home later than usual and decided to forgo the evening workout tonight.  I’ve been overdoing it just a little, as I’m prone to do.  I have some overused abdominals that need a break right now.

Here’s what I ate today:

  • Breakfast
    • Oatmeal with molasses & agave nectar, blueberries, pecans, flaxseed and hemp hearts
  • Dinner:
    • Appetizer: Crudites and Ranch Dressing.
    • Butternut Squash Ravioli and  Mushroom Ravioli with Alfredo Sauce
    • Garlic Bread
    • Green salad with Balsamic and Oil dressing
    • Glass of Cabernet
    • Dark Chocolate

There was an open house at the plant this afternoon with a huge appetizer and sandwich spread…after much schmoozing and tour giving, I did indulge in some ranch dressing dipped veggies.

The squash for dinner was pre-fab, but tasty. Bertoli as I recall.  Definitely not a vegan day.


Vegetarian Rueben Sandwich

Vegetarian Rueben Sandwich


  • 6 slices good rye bread
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup sour kraut, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup thousand island dressing
  • 6 thin slices swiss cheese


  1. Spread some of the dressing on 3 slices of bread
  2. Layer with tomatoes and avocados
  3. Divide sour kraut among sandwiches
  4. Top with remaining dressing and cheese
  5. Spread half the butter on the remaining slices of bread and place on sandwiches, butter side up
  6. Head a saute pan or griddle over medium high heat
  7. Invert sandwiches onto pan
  8. Spread remaining butter on bottoms of sandwiches
  9. Cook for a few minutes, until bread is golden brown and cheese is melting
  10. Use a spatula to flip sandwiches and cook on the other side until golden
  11. Cool sandwiches for a few minutes on a wire rack before cutting in half diagonally and serving

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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