Tag Archives: Eating

I cook a lot.  We usually eat at home at least six night as week, and my wife and I both take a lunch to work nearly every day.  At least ninety percent of the time it’s me doing the cooking.  I like it.  It’s gratifying to create your own fuel and the positive reactions of others when you’ve done a good job are priceless.

While I cook a lot I’m not great with recipes.  I’ve been accused of being anti-measurement before.  Definitely guilty.  If it’s something I’ve really never made before I might follow the recipe the first time.  Even then I usually adjust spices and amounts of ingredients on the fly, completely deaf to any words of protest, much to my wife’s chagrin.

I still like cookbooks though.  They’re great for inspiration and most of the time I’ll spend a lot of time looking at the pictures.  Most of the time though I’ll cook one or two recipes out of them, and then they sit on the shelf.  Looking good, but little more than eye candy and the occasional reference.  That was before Well Fed came in the mail.

Well Fed is primarily a book of recipes that strictly follow the paleo diet with a strong focus on broadening peoples’ global recipe repertoire.  Melissa intentionally visits a breadth of regions with her food, crisscrossing the globe as she sees fit to put out delicious, easily made, recipes that are also really healthy.

Since we purchased the book in January I’ve made more recipes out of this single book than any of our other cookbooks.  (Even more than Joy of Cooking or the Ad Hoc at Home book, which I seriously love.)  Each recipe has been great and worth following, but more than the individual (fantastic) recipes Melissa guides her reader to restructure their cooking to be more efficient.

The Weekly Cookup concept is so logical and simple that I felt like an idiot for not having already thought of it, particularly my background cooking in professional kitchens.  The short version is one day a week cook and prep a whole bunch of food, and then leisurely enjoy the fruits of your labor all week by easily reheating and re-blending your tasty ingredients into full meals.

The whole concept is tied to running your home kitchen like a restaurant kitchen.  If you prep your ingredients the actual cooking is faster.  Need a quick weeknight meal?  Take your pre-chopped cabbage, onions, and zucchini, throw them in a pan with some spices and a pre-cooked protein and enjoy awesome dinner in about fifteen minutes.

Even if you’re not going to eat paleo full time this book is worth it.  The pages on setting up your kitchen and the weekly cookup are worth the cover price alone.

Normally I’d be completely satisfied just getting a couple good recipes from a book, but unlike most of the cookbooks we have (Relegated to a reference at best.) I’ve been using the book so much I thought it best rebuild the book as a binder with plastic pages to increase its durability and protect it from my abusive cooking style.

We took a few days off.  A few days off from eating healthy, a few days off from teaching, and a few days off from training.  It was good.  My wife and I both needed the time to unwind, sleep until we woke up naturally, and catch up on being relaxed human beings.

Our favorite, repeatable, vacation spot is the Napa Valley.  We’ve been there a few times and all you really need is a long weekend to make it worthwhile.  Fantastic wine, great people, and some of the best food in the world.  Top that off with mid-seventies and sun (in February) and it was a fantastic way to spend my birthday weekend.

The exercise side of things pretty much consisted of a couple walks and a good amount of lacrosse ball mobility work.  One day we made a small attempt at a bodyweight workout, but it didn’t really amount to much.  Our goal was relaxation and that was very successful.  All in all we had some great new wine, some great old wine, and ate at some brilliant new restaurants thanks to Dave Cruz of Ad Hoc.  Richard Reddington is my new culinary hero for his tasting menu at Redd while Oenotri and the Fatted Calf are locked in a fight to the death for the trophy of best cured meat.

The break was good.  It was great to actually read a whole book, (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Review coming soon.) and I can’t say enough positive things about being out in the sun in shorts and a t-shirt in February.  I was ready to come home though.  We were feeling the side-affects of some non-paleo options (bread and wine) and my energy level was clearly indicating the need for a return to the gym.

Sunday morning:  gym and groceries. 

I opted for a “Deck of Cards” workout.  Easy to plan, doesn’t require a whole lot of thought during the workout.  I figured that with the couple days off I could up the intensity from my last “Deck of Cards” by swapping push-ups for burpees, and changing the jokers to be a few muscle ups.  I didn’t count on drawing nothing but hearts and spades for the first fifteen cards or so.  That meant by the time I started drawing diamonds it was pretty much all pull-ups all the time.  When I hit the jokers (within five cards of each other) my arms were simply too shot for the muscle ups.   Definitely harder than my last one, and longer as well.  I always seem to forget that pull-ups get a heck of a lot harder when your core is fatigued from sit-ups.

Grocery store was piles of protein and veggies for a Sunday cookup.  Getting the week on track food-wise makes everything that much easier.  All the planning and thinking of eating gets sorted in a single day, and I feel good dedicating some time to just cooking.  Continued thanks to Melissa Joulwan for changing how I think about cooking at home.

Here’s to a good week of teaching nineteenth century economic theory, eating healthy food, and lifting heavy things.

WOD:  (Harder than expected.)
Diamonds:  Pull-ups
Hearts: Burpees
Spades: Full ROM Sit-ups
Clubs: Goblet Squats (24kg)
Jokers: 5 muscle ups (fail)

Cookup:  (Tastier than expected.)
2# grilled chicken (garlic, salt, pepper)
2# browned ground beef (onion, garlic, salt, pepper)
3# Czech Meatballs (subbed the pork for beef)
Mashed Cauliflower
Faux ratatouille (stewed tomato, zucchini,  eggplant, onions, and garlic)
Piles of prepped veggies.  (Cucumber, carrots, celery, bell peppers, cabbage, salad greens)

 The Torn ACLs:  Can’t Say No To Friday

There were four different sugar and grain based “snacks” in the social studies office today: oatmeal cookies, cinnamon rolls, store-bought brownies, and homemade brownies.  I get it.  It’s finals time and people are stressed.  Lost of people like to help mitigate their stress with sweets, and honestly it doesn’t bother me.  It’s their body, their business, their loss.  I can understand that.

When it gets to me is when they turn their weakness on me.  The teasing: “these brownies are soooo goood!”  The faux admiration “look at Gabe with his healthy veggies.”  The jealousy.  The sideways comment about how my carrots and cucumber represent some sort of “moral high ground”.  “There’s nothing moral about it,” I think as I relish the sweetness and crunch of a Nash’s carrot.  Simply put:  I want to get through the day feeling good.  Grains and simple carbs make me feel like garbage.  Veggies don’t.

With sugar I get a sugar high.  I get a sugar crash.  I get gassy.  None of that is particularly appealing for a job where I spend most of my day walking around helping students and thinking quickly.  Not to mention how a sugar crash and feeling gassy is a perfect demotivator for heading to the gym after work to sweat and lift heavy things.

Why the insecurity?  Why do my colleagues have to take their issues and foist them on me?  I’m happy to discuss healthy eating, and why I make the food choices I di with them, but I want to do it from a place of reasoned discourse.  Starting the conversation with jabs about how green vegetables are in some way morally superior to grains is ludicrous.  I try extremely hard to be non-judgmental and not proselytize primal/paelo eating onto unwilling coworkers so it’s particularly frustration when it’s called out like school-yard mockery.

I didn’t have a brownie.  I didn’t have a cookie.  I didn’t have a cinnamon roll.  I didn’t get into a heated discussion about the evils of trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup, or how you don’t have to be allergic to gluten to avoid it.  I am not strong.  My coworkers are not weak.  I ate my veggies because that’s the lunch I’d packed for myself and it was satisfying.  I moved on to my paelo-approved, and incredibly delicious shepard’s pie (thanks Well Fed) and went out to teach full of energy and satisfaction.  Positive reinforcement for positive choices.


Time for more push-ups.

Enter the Unapproachables