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Sunday, January 31, 2010

What started it all?

So what started me down this path? Dec. 1, 2009 I started an exercise program that has changed my life. Literally changed my life. I am addicted to this workout and would shout it from the rooftop if I could, but I really don't want to fall off the roof! I feel so good, so strong and if I miss a workout, I feel bad. The workout is called Chalean Extreme.  In a nutshell it's doing slow paced weight lifting to fatigue within 10-12 reps (you use weights that make you fail by the 10th - 12th rep) and then waiting 10 seconds and doing 3 more very slow reps. That's 3-4 days a week and then the other days are intense cardio, either intervals for 2 minutes following by muscle endurance for 2 minutes (in 45 minutes) or fat burning anaerobic cardio. And so far 15 inches gone, I feel so good, have so much energy and just feel like my body needs clean, fresh foods.

I have been doing GREAT with this workout and after about a month in, my eating habits changed. I felt the need to eat better and to figure out what I should cut out of my diet to keep my body healthy and give it the fuel for the workouts. I watched a presentation by an endocrinologist at UCSF who talked about sugar, sucrose, fructose, etc. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM ]. It kind of freaked me out that sucrose, fructose, etc. get processed by the liver in a way that is different than glucose the processing of sucrose/fructose leads to increased levels of LDL and cholesterol. And in turn, adds fat to your body. I decided to cut out sugar and processed foods (white sugar, white flour, etc.). That talk focused a lot on regular soda, which wasn't an issue for me since I gave up soda years ago and probably haven't had sugary soda for over 25 years. But it was freaky to see the size change in soda since Coke first came out from 6 oz to now supersize 64 ounce drinks. And people wonder why they are obese? Helloooo!!!

I was never a bad eater, but knew I could be better. So now I really read labels. That turn-around of cutting out the bad "white" food items wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It took me only a couple of days. The other thing that changed was I stopped buying low-fat and non-fat items. For me it was just mainly yogurt, the non-fat and low-fat yogurts have so much more sugar to compensate for the fat removal.

Years ago after seeing the moving "supersize me" I swore off fast food. I really didn't eat much fast food anyway and always avoided McD's, but it was a gross expose on the fast food industry. So I stuck to the "fresher, better for you fast foods" when I just had to have a quick way to eat. Essentially Chipotle and Baja Fresh. Chipotle has a great philosophy, their pork is 100% natural free raised and most of their chicken is too. 

Then I watched Food, Inc. Ugh, gross, get me out of meat! I haven't really eaten red meat for many years, with maybe an occasional hamburger 2-3 times a year. So I stuck mostly to chicken, turkey, wild caught fish and on rare occasion pork (I love carnitas!). After watching that movie I saw that Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Diet" and Alicia Silverstone, actress/vegan, were going to be on Oprah. I rarely watch Oprah but decided to DVR it. I had read a magazine article last year about Alicia Silverstone in "Natural Health" in which she talked about being vegan and her new book, "The Kind Diet". I'm not a star seeker (okay, except for Chris Isaak who stops me dead in my tracks), so it wasn't that she was in "Clueless" that made me think she was an expert on this whole thing. I mean, c'mon, my friend Veronica is vegan and has been for years and years. I always thought it would be so hard to do. I could understand being vegetarian, but vegan? No milk? What am I supposed to put in my coffee?! How would I eat out since I travel so much, what choices would I be able to make. That will be challenged next week when I have to travel!

So Saturday morning I cleaned out the pantry, fridge/freezer. I didn't have too much stuff to get rid of and will donate the non-perishable items to the local Food Bank. So I made my shopping list and went shopping. I found a lot of stuff I needed at the local Nugget, but had to go to Whole Foods for some of the more "unique" stuff. Whole Foods is about 25 minutes away so I knew I had to get the "staples" so I wouldn't have to make that trek every week. 

Last night I made aduki beans with butternut squash and had lightly steamed leeks/cabbage with a light flax oil/vinegar sprinkle. I love veggies, but have always been bad about making different varieties, so I decided to venture out into the land of collard greens, kale, leeks, daikon, bok choy, etc. 

This morning, I have my cup of coffee here with some vanilla "So Delicious Coconut milk" in it. It's not bad at all. I'm not a big fan of soy milk, I love edamame, and tofu is so so, but soy milk just tastes weird to me. So I bought a couple different types of "milk" and will figure out which I like best. I got Hemp milk (great source of Omega 3/6 and no THC!), almond milk, soy/rice blend. It'll take some time to see which works best for me and fills my "milk" desires. Breakfast will be easy since I've been doing grains (oats, quinoa) for awhile now. Lunch, hmmmm....burritos sounds good! 

I have a feeling that due to my frequent work travel that I'll be vegan at home and have to stick to more of a vegetarian lifestyle on the road. But I'll try my best. I know that's not perfect, but sometimes it'll be tough to eat out as a Vegan so I may make a few compromises, but will try to avoid animal products to keep on track.