Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dinners and Crossfit update, plus Colin's deer story

So yesterday, I forgot to bring my shoes to Crossfit. But it was ok, because we did barefoot running form practice!
Someday, these feet will carry me for miles in all their bare pink glory.

And we also had storytime! You guys remember Colin, right? The caveman-ninja with the pretty blue eyes? Yes? Well, for our warm-up, he had us all gather around him, then began to speak. This is, approximately, what he said. With a couple bits of color added by moi. Natch.

"So this morning I was doing my normal barefoot run through the woods, carrying a couple of fallen trees and hopping effortlessly from boulder to boulder, when suddenly I bounded into a clearing where a mother deer and her fawn were grazing. They were both startled, and turned towards me, all like 'Whaaaaaa?? Human!'(here he mimed the startlement of the deer, if they were bipedal)

"And so I just stopped, and sank slowly to the ground so I was on all fours (continuing the movement), all like 'Nooo, I'm not a human, I'm just a really weird-looking animal!'

"And the deer were all like 'Either that's just a really weird-looking animal or the strangest human ever. Whatevs, yo. This forage is pretty tasty.'

"So we all just stayed there for a while, chillaxing amidst the primalness. And then I started - very slowly! - to crawl towards them.

(here he did what I've heard described as a bear crawl, but the slowest and smoothest version ever, barely making any noise, except for talking, of course)

"And the deer flicked their ears and tails and looked up, but they didn't run, so I just kept crawling (as he did again) until I was about this far (indicating about 6 feet) from the fawn and about that far (15-ish feet) from the mother. (here we are all grinning like idiots at the imagining of the awesomeness overload that is being super-close to a fawn. a FAWN, you guys!!) And we all just sat there for a while until they left. Then I sounded my barbaric yawp and swung off through the trees, Tarzan-style.

"So, guys, for your warm-up, you're going to crawl just like that."

Dudes et al, this was insanely hard. The way I normally do bear crawls is basically a barely-controlled fall, sticking out my hands just in time to save myself from a nasty faceplant, then repeating the process. But here we're balancing on alternate hand and foot in a near-plank pose most of the time (or should be), so there's some intense core work going on here. It was incredible! Try it out!

The WOD was as follows:
  • 50 American KB swings (25-lb, although I kinda kicked myself for not doing a 30-lb at least)
  • 150 jumpropes
  • 10 overhead squats with a PVC pipe
  • 20 lateral hops (jumping sideways back-and-forth over this PVC contraption about 8 inches tall)
  • 50 overhead squats
  • 150 jumpropes
  • 10 KB swings
  • 20 lateral hops
The idea was to fatigue us and still have us be able to control our bodies well enough not to kill ourselves on the hops. I still have to do little mini-hops in-between the big, over-the-bar ones just to catch my balance, but I'm working on that.

We finished much earlier than he'd thought (I was at about 11 minutes, not pushing myself to the limit to avoid cramps), so we spent the rest of the time out back practicing running. I'll do a post solely on that at some point because it's pretty damn cool, and deserves its own space.

Here are a couple of dinners I've had these past few days. I've been focusing on my body - when it gets hungry, when it's merely thirsty, etc - and have found that just snacking on fruit or veg and nuts (almonds are the food of the gods) during the day keeps me feeling the most alert and leads to the best workouts. However, it also means I make enormous dinners to make sure I'm getting enough for the day, which is why these are all rather large and/or fat-heavy. And yes, all of it gets eaten with great gusto :D

Last Friday: a big ol' salad, with an egg, olives, part of an avocado and plenty of EVOO-heavy homemade dressing; stir-fried shrimp in more EVOO; and these are only some of the rasberries I had.

Last night: leftover salmon, green beans and mashed cauliflower; salad with caramelised onions, avocado, apples and homemade dressing; three eggs fried in butter; a delicious farmer's market peach.

I think lately I'm enjoying my meals more than I ever have. I'm sure it's at least partly the demi-fasting I do during the day that makes all the flavors just burst on my tongue (as well as the fact that I use a TON of fat in my cooking now just to ensure that I'm getting enough calories for the day. mmm...fat...), but everything is just so incredibly delicious! I'm also starting to get my energy and mental facilities back after the intial training-my-body-off-grains period.



Thursday, August 19, 2010

A good day :)

Why was* it good, you ask?

BECAUSE I CAN CHEW AGAIN!!!!!!! (thank you clove oil)

In celebration, I went to the farmer's market and brought back these lovelies:Peaches, basil, 4 different kinds of tomato and the cutest little melon you ever did see!

And then I went to...
  • 10-15ish minutes of snatch practice with PVC pipes. Please oh PLEASE let us do it with real bars next time!
  • WOD: 20 pushups, 10 squats; 18 pushups, 10 squats; continued like that all the way down to 2 pushups with no squats afterwards. Yes, that's 110 pushups. And I did them all real-style, off my knees. Even when the end of a set was marked by collapse.
  • Tabata wall-balls, because Colin was feeling fiendish. 20 seconds on, 10 off for 4 minutes, doing as many as possible in the given times. Someone had apparently stolen all the 10-lb balls so I had to use a 12. Directly after a ridiculous amount of pushups, that's fairly difficult. You'd never guess.
These are the gorgeous ladies I have the privilege of working out with every week!From the left: Summer, Cat (the newbies!), Beth, Sam and Melinda (the vets!). Love these girls! Yay muscles!And this is Colin, our newest sadistic torturer**. His blog is here. The pic is probably blurry because he's a ninja. Or because my photographing-other-people-skills normally consist of yelling "hey look there's a camera pointing at you do something interesting!" Or because the entire day consisted of arm exercises. Yeah, way to keep things balanced, COLIN. Geez.

And then came dinner!
  • 2 of the farmer's market tomatoes, chunked up and drowned in balsamic vinegar, sea salt, torn-up basil and EVOO. Caprese salad minus cheese, basically.
  • salmon steak, cooked slowly in a pan in a little EVOO until it was practically falling apart. my mouth is watering again just typing this.
  • a big ol' grape cluster
  • some tuna from a can, because I was just that famished
  • and also a mug of milk
Watched a bit of a movie, talked to T (who made me smile a lot!) did the dishes and went to bed. I think we can qualify this day as a success.



*this was actually how I spent Wednesday and I'm only posting it now.
**Total jk. He's actually pretty awesome.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Hi, guys.

I can't chew.

It's only today that I can actually open my mouth wide enough to fit in chewable things, anyways.


So when I was peckish and grumpy and craving my fruit and almonds, what did I do?

And it was amazing.

The end.


PS: I know I let down all that was dear and holy to me, but I've decided to postpone the Crossfit update until tonight, when I will take pictures of the other 2Sexy Xfitter ladies and our delectable new trainer. Now, everyone knows that big brown eyes are my VERY favorite, but blue ones are pretty enough to share as well. I'm doing this for you all, I swear.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Screw noodles (et al.)

Aesthetically pleasing? Sure. Making me hungry? Not so much.

So Sunday night was (as it was, is and evermore shall be) Family Chinese & Movie Night. And after not having had a single item with flour or sugar in it (except for the aforementioned baked sweet things from Babysis) for a good week, I figured it was time for a break. After all, the last time I went on a serious (then Zone-based) health kick, I kept this tradition as my one vice all week, and still did pretty well. So having one wheat-and-soy-based meal out of the entire week, while avoiding it all the rest, isn't too bad, right?

The answer to that question is: blearrrrgh.

Holy shit. I felt so ridiculously bogged down - like the sick, too-full feeling you get after a bigger-than-it-should-have-been meal, but it didn't go away. I couldn't even eat my usual second helping - my taste for the flavors hasn't changed, but I just felt like I literally could not stomach any more.


It's been slowly dawning on me for the past several days (what? i've been working!) that...that's how I always feel after FC&M Night. It was only with the week-long cleanse that eating only ridiculous amounts of veggies and salmon and fruit and nuts (and NO wheat or soy or caffeine or sugar or what have you) will give you that I could even realise it. Which means that, compared to the way I'm feeling now, I would have felt just as sick and heavy and bogged down on any given day of my life.


This is something to ponder.

For now, though, I have to go get dental surgery. I swear by all that is dear and holy that I will provide a Crossfit update later today! This round has been pretty awesome, and we're already halfway done with it and haven't said anything! I am a bad bad athlete-blogger, I know. But that will be remedied. I promise.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Be healthy, y'all (completed, finally!)

Lately I've been fairly preoccupied with what it means to be truly, sustainably healthy, which apparently resulted in this song being stuck on repeat on my internal iPod for some days. For the year that I was vegan, this song was one of my credos, and although I no longer subscribe to the entire list of dos and don'ts, I still love both the message and the fact that it's being presented in a medium that's usually reserved (in America, at least) for rather more trite topics (although that is changing!).

At the behest of a couple of the trainers at Crossfit, I've been researching and experimenting with the paleo class of diets. They're based on the idea that many of our modern ills - heart disease, diabetes, obesity, some cancers; and those are only the biggest ones! - spring directly from our modern diet, by which they mean pretty much all foods introduced after the dawn of agriculture. That includes, for a start, all dairy, all cereal grains, all added sugar, all legumes (peanuts, beans, lentils) and all members of the Nightshade family of vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant). Here's an image I've seen tossed around the forum boards a lot, for a visual:Now, I will never give up dairy. That's pretty set in stone. I've pontificated before about how incredible yoghurt is for health (that's free-range, organic, plain, whole milk yoghurt, preferably family-farmed and local, not that sugary crap they sell under the name far too often) and I'm sticking to that position. Neither will I cut out an entire family of vegetables simply because the form they existed in when Ug and Grok were trekking around looking for dinner was a poisonous one. However, in the interests of science and health, I did submit myself to a week's experiment of this diet.

It exists in three "Stages," meant to ease you into the neanderthal lifestyle. The basic gist of Stage One, for the link-shy, is that you drink loads of water and eat ("graze lightly") only fruit and nuts during the day, and then "feast" on whatever you'd like for dinner, with the assumption that you will realise how good healthy foods make you feel and how much modern processed foods do the opposite. It's supposed to simulate the caveman's day of walking around nibbling on berries and looking for something that looks good to eat and easy to kill, then doing both of those things.

Let me stress right upfront that this is NOT a starvation type of diet, despite the relatively light eating during the day. I make sure that I'm getting about 1/2 to 3/5 of my daily calories during the day through almonds (LOVE those suckers) and fruit, then top it off with the evening meal. Anorexia is also a modern ill, and I've seen enough of it to ensure that I will always be overly cautious about developing any habits even close to resembling it.

The site instructs the would-be caveperson to "have Pizza, Burgers, Chips [for the evening feast], whatever your heart desires. You will come to learn how much you really enjoy these foods... not much at all." I've already pretty much figured that out, so I took it a couple steps further, sticking with my normal slab of fish and gallon of leafy green things for dinner (just upping the portions a bit), and cutting out all added sugar (except for a couple cookies and a brownie when Babysis was baking...damn her!), all wheat (ditto) and all caffeine, except for one cup of tea. That's right. No coffee. Nary a drop since Sunday morning last week. Instead, I've tried out the morning routine prescribed on the site: "First thing upon waking - slam down a big cup of water. You will get a 'brain rush' and your body will come to life rather quickly." Zomguh, you guys. This actually worked. I was pretty astounded.

I also feel pretty good, considering what I've heard about how it can take some time to adjust to paleo-style diets, given that we (as modern people) are used to consuming and burning carbs for body fuel, in a relatively quick transformation of food into energy, whereas the caveman stored up and burned fat, the original exercise fuel. The Crossfit trainers all mentioned a good week or more of "paleo flu," where your body is relearning to rely on fat stores for energy (thus burning them), resulting in slight headaches and body soreness, much like a mild flu. I've been able to avoid that for the most part, though.

One thing I was quite worried about was the effect on my workouts - I've always been super conscious about planning meals around them, figuring out what to consume and exactly how long to wait and on and on. A quote from one of the forums ran something like "Cavemen didn't hunt on a full stomach, so why would you?" This whole caveman-this-caveman-that deal can get a bit tiresome, but it is a good point - our bodies should be able to rely on previously stored fuel for energy, not just the quick-burning carbs we had two hours ago. And it wasn't too bad - I didn't feel lightheaded, and neither did I get that bogged-down feeling I sometimes did when I ate too close to a workout. The much-raved-about endless stores of energy haven't quite kicked in yet, but I'll give it time.

So I think this is pretty cool, and doesn't seem to be too harmful yet. I'm planning on sticking to it for a while longer, paying close attention to what it does to me - my body, my mood, my energy levels, my ability to exercise and whatnot. I like what it's doing so far. We'll see how it continues to measure up.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Breathe deep

So for the past 5 days now, I've been the miserable host of an utterly fiendish bronchial infection. Any onlookers would probably never guess I was sick. I'm not running a temperature, not coughing at all, just sniffing a little and acting horribly bitchy. What makes this bug so absolutely maddening is the fact that, for 5 days now, I have barely been able to take a breath that's felt "full."

Let me stress that I'm not showing any symptoms of being low on oxygen - no blue lips or nails, no decrease or lapses in mental function, no inability to exercise - nothing at all like that. There's just the near-constant, terrifying sensation that I am very slowly suffocating, that my lungs are not opening up as much as they should, no matter how I struggle to take in air. There are times when I tilt my head back, mouth opened wide, just panting and gasping, fighting to fill my lungs but rarely succeeding, and never before a good chunk of time has passed. Thank god for strong pecs and vocal training, or I'd likely be denied even those few satisfying breaths that come all too far apart.

As far as I can figure, I've got some sort of congestion in my mid-to-upper chest that is slowly working its way upwards, on top of the aforementioned sensation, which I'm guessing is at least partly psychosomatic. I've been dealing with it fairly well at home, with teas, tinctures and lots of steam, but here at work I think I'm mildly allergic or sensitive to something in the air, which is making worse. A LOT worse. It's a good thing this is a slow day, or else customers would be subjected to the sight of me acting all possessed - back arched, mouth gaping, arms flailing, crazy wheezing noises et al - on a pretty regular basis.

But at any rate, I've got the next three days off from work, and I'm going to take full advantage of this. My personal herb stores are sadly quite low in the area of respiratory issues (more focused towards general tonics, pain relievers, sleep aids and herbs for "female complaints"). I got out all my herbalism texts last night, though, and studied up a storm to figure out what should work, and made a shopping list: mullein, coltsfoot, elecampane, echinacea, whole milk and eucalyptus essential oil (which I CANNOT believe I didn't have already!). Add to that valerian, chamomile, kava-kava and lavender oil for Maggie, who's having trouble sleeping, and my grocery budget for this month is pretty much gone. :/ Honestly, though, at this point I don't even care - I'll eat crackers and apples all month if it'll mean I can breathe easy again.

Update on the first week-and-a-bit of Crossfit later today. Yes, I can still exercise without difficulty. I'm not THAT insane.