Thursday, November 17, 2011

Peppers and Eggs

My Italian grandmother knew more about diet and nutrition than most mainstream dietitians and fitness gurus today. Contrary to popular stereotypes, she did not eat pasta every day. Instead, she built her meals around meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and dairy (esp lots of yummy cheeses), buying them fresh and daily at the market. One dish she loved to make when she got a nice batch of peppers was "peppers and eggs". She'd fry the fresh peppers in Extra Virgin Oil Olive, imported always from Italia, and then mix in the scrambled eggs, yokes and all. Salt and pepper to taste. It you prefer, grate some fresh Romano cheese on top right before eating. 

That's it - simple, nutritious, and what can be more Primal than fresh veggies and eggs?

Usually, when my grandmother got a fresh batch of peppers, she wouldn't wait until the morning - she'd cook up the peppers and eggs for dinner. I can still remember the aromas and the taste when coming home from classes....and her proud smile as I cleaned my plate and went back for more. I've carried on the tradition, making it a regular breakfast choice. Living in Texas, we have a long growing season for peppers and I'm still harvesting them in my backyard garden in Mid-November. Here are some pics. Hope you like it. Buon Apetito!  :-p


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cold Weather Combos

66-70F:  2 layers; 1 sleeveless and 1 short sleeve
61-65F:  2 layers; 1 short sleeve and 1 long sleeve
56-60F:  2 layers; 1 Coldgear long sleeve and 1 short sleeve, open gloves
51-55F:  2 Layers; 1 Coldgear long sleeve, 1 long sleeve, open gloves
46-50F: 3 Layers and balaclava; add leggings and full gloves
41-45F: 2 Cold Gear Layers and Jacket, full gloves, balaclava, leggings
35-40F: 3 Cold Gear and Heavy Jacket, Heavy gloves, balaclava, leggings
32-35F: 3 Cold Gear, Heavy Jacket, Heavy Gloves, Full Mask
Below 32: Add Helmet Cover and extra leggings
Below 20: Telecommute!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Bike Trail Images

These photos are from the second half of my commute to work, in Richardson, TX. Like Plano, they are doing an outstanding job providing bike routes for their citizens. Soon, when the two cities are connected, it will be the most amazing commute - one of the best on earth, IMO.


When I first started riding into work back in 2006, it was just me and no bike rack. Now, I've got a great place to park and lots of company!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide!

Technically, you could say I biked home from work today. But, it felt more like swimming. A large storm system had been edging its way toward the DFW Metroplex all day. I kept a watchful eye on it. So, in the afternoon there came a critical decision point - leave immediately and try to beat the storm home, or stay put and wait it out. Thinking I was good enough to determine its intended path and, given some margin of error, I could still beat it home, I chose the former. Bad choice. I got drenched. But worse than the thorough soaking was the shear terror from the lightening and thunder!

It took 45 minutes to get home, and as you can see from the weather radar, it didn't look too bad when I first headed out. Just a light drizzle. Kind of refreshing, really...

 But, things changed fast and got real colorful just after 15 minutes into the ride...

So,the moral of this post is:  you can try to outrun a thunderstorm, but you can't. And, when it catches you - it will catch you - there's no place to hide. Be careful out there!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Milk Madness

Just this past week, the FDA announced it has been conducting a yearlong sting operation to expose and end the sale of contraband in Washington, DC. The outlawed commodity and the criminals? Raw Milk sold by Amish Farmers from Pennsylvania!

Luckily, I can get Raw Milk locally at Lavon Farms, the last operating Dairy Farm in Collin County, Texas. There, the Moore Family offers a whole line of fresh, unpasteurized dairy products. BTW, the milk is also non-homogenized, so you can see all the delicious cream floating on the top third of the bottle. Yummy!
So, why drink Raw Milk? IT TASTES GREAT! Better than anything you can get at the store, I guarantee it. But, it is also better for you, because it contains all of the good bacteria (like yogurt, but more) that gets killed off by high temperature pasteurization in store bought milk. People who are lactose intolerant or suffer from allergies swear by it.

From a Primal Perspective, it is chemical free and unprocessed. Raw milk also has less sugar, especially if it is from Jersey Cows. And, the long-chain fat molecules in non-homogenized milk are not broken down like store brands, making it easier to digest and burn for energy. For those who want an effective, truly all-natural recovery drink to replenish glycogen and leptin levels after a high intensity work-out, Raw Milk is an outstanding option.

For a more comprehensive explanation of the benefits you can visit

Yes, there's a downside, but not if the dairy farmer uses safe, clean, sanitary methods and tests all milk prior to placing on shelves. Lavon Farms does ALL of the above. My take on all this is that humans have been consuming Raw Milk from goats and cows for 9,000 years. Entire cultures, just one step away from a hunter-gatherer Paleolithic existence, have thrived on dairy for countless generations. I'm not going to deprive myself of all that goodness.

If you like to "buy local", what better way than buying fresh milk directly from your local farmer right at the farm? I took it to the next level this weekend by going to and from the farm on my bike and transporting the milk in my pannier (ice packs not included). It is 7.2 miles each way, and fortunately for me, all but 1 mile of the trek is trails! It was a beautiful adventure. Here are some pics...

Fresh, wholesome Raw Milk - packed, "refrigerated", and ready to head home!  :-P

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bike Trail Images

We've been having beautiful Springtime weather this week, so I thought I'd share some images from the commute. These pics were all taken along Chisholm Trail in Plano, TX.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No Whole Milk?

The other night, we were at a gathering of several families hosted at a friend's house. The focal point of the evening was food. I managed to avoid the carb-laden choices - breads, pastas, sugars - and found lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, egg, tuna, and smoked salmon to feast on. Then, I decided to have a cup of coffee to distract myself from the many and varied high fructose sweets for dessert.

After pouring the coffee, I noticed that the only creamer was one of those trendy flavored creamers - it smelled like "French Vanilla" or something similar. Not a fan of flavored creamers and definitely hoping to avoid all of those carbs and processed chemicals, I innocently asked the hostess, who was flanked by a couple of her lady friends, if she had any heavy cream or half and half. "No", she informed me and then added with a tinge of pride, "we only have fat-free milk". Unable to resist the opportunity, I asked, "You don't drink whole milk"?

"WHOLE MILK!?", she screeched in horror, her friends looking equally mortified and appalled. "We NEVER drink whole milk in this house!", her friends nodding is reassured approval.

"Well whole milk is better for you than fat-free, it has less sugar. Plus, it tastes a lot better." Well, it was as if a blasphemer had spoken in favor of witchcraft in 17th Century Plymouth, MA. An observer not able to hear what I said would likely assume I had used the F-word or some other inappropriate, politically incorrect form of speech. They were visibly shocked. Horrified. And, speechless. Not knowing how to respond, they simply walked out of the kitchen, leaving me there with my mug full of lonely, black coffee and an ornery grin on my face.

You see? This is what we're up against! Parents won't let their children nourish their bodies with healthy, wholesome, satisfying whole milk, and yet they'll lace their coffee with "French Vanilla" flavored poison! During a meal over-run with complex carbs and refined sugars, you can't even find good old fashioned whole milk because the mantra of the past 20 years has been "fat is bad". And yet as the mantra gets louder and longer, waistlines and body fat percentages get bigger and bulgier.

Consider this - just one tbsp of Coffee Mate's "French Vanilla" flavored creamer contains 5 grams of carbohydrates and ZERO grams of protein. That's 80 GRAMS OF SUGAR IN ONE CUP vs. 12 grams of carbohydrates (1 less than fat free) and 8 grams of protein in one delicious cup of whole milk. If you understand that it is NOT the fat that makes us fat, but the carbs, you understand the comedy, and the tragedy, of this scene.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WOW: Work Out of the Week

Bike 12 miles OUTDOORS...ready...go!

First Combo
Full Body: 25 Jumping Jacks with 7.5lb DBs
Upper: Bench Press, 1st Set, Upper: 21 Reps, base weight
Full Body: 25 Jumping Jacks with 7.5lb DBs
Upper: Bench Press, 2nd Set, 14 Reps, increased weight
Full Body: 25 Jumping Jacks with 7.5lb DBs 
Lift: Bench Press, 3rd Set, 7 Reps, further increased weight

Second Combo
Core: 15 Leg Raises on Bench
Full Body: 15 Kettle Bell Raises, Front Up/Downs, 45lbs
Core: 15 Leg Raises on Bench
Full Body: 15 Kettle Bell Raises, Front Up/Downs, 45lbs
Core: 15 Leg Raises on Bench
Full Body: 15 Kettle Bell Raises, Front Up/Downs, 45lbs
Core: 10 Ab Wheel Reps

Third Combo
Core: 15 Ab Wheel Reps
Full/Upper: 30 Left/Right Punching Combos, Heavy Bag
Core: 10 Ab Wheel Reps
Full/Upper: 30 Left/Right Punching Combos, Heavy Bag
Core: 10 Ab Wheel Reps
Full/Upper: 30 Left/Right Punching Combos, Heavy Bag

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WOW (Work Out of the Week)

This work-out is called a Continuous Combination.

Continuous, because you do not rest between any of the sets. In a classic weight/strength training session, you would normally rest between sets. Not here. This will improve your endurance while also improving your cardio-respiratory health.

Combination, because it is designed to work the entire body, not necessarily with each individual exercise, but by combining sets that target different parts of the body, it is a full body workout. In order to get maximum performance from each set, and avoid rest periods, the sets are interspersed between Upper, Core, and Lower Body. This gives each major area time to replenish lactic debt while another major area is working. In addition, the combination is further enhanced by integrating Cardio, Weight Lifting, and Pilates into one full body work-out.

12 Mile Bike Ride OUTSIDE.
50 Jumping Jacks with 7.5lb DBs

While doing the below Combos, the objective is to have continuous motion. In other words, no resting between any sets or combos.

First Combo
Upper: Bench Press, 1st Set, 21 Reps, base weight
Core: 15 Leg Raises on Bench
Lift: Bench Press, 2nd Set, 14 Reps, increased weight
Core: 15 Leg Raises on Bench
Lift: Bench Press, 3rd Set, 7 Reps, further increased weight
Core: 15 Leg Raises on Bench

Second Combo
Upper: 21 Preacher Curls with 20lb DBs
Core: 10 Ab Wheel Reps
Upper: 14 Preacher Curls with 25lb DBs
Core: 10 Ab Wheel Reps
Upper: 7 Preacher Curls with 30lb DBs
Core: 10 Ab Wheel Reps

Third Combo
Upper: Seated Rows, 21 Reps, 175lbs
Legs: Leg Press, 21 Reps, 220lbs
Upper: Seated Rows, 14 Reps, 190lbs
Legs: Leg Press, 14 Reps, 235lbs
Upper: Seated Rows, 7 Reps, 205lbs
Legs: Leg Press, 7 Reps, 250lbs

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WOD (Work-out of the Day)

30 Jumping Jacks with 10 lb Dumb Bells
30 Wood Chops with 10 Kilo Medicine Ball
30 Sit-ups with 10K Medicine Ball
30 Push-ups
30 Punches (per side) on Heavy Bag
30 Leg Raises from bench
30 Rows (Pulling 190 lbs)
15 Leg Curls with Pilates Ball
30 Curls/Arnold Presses with 25/30 lb DBs
15 Wheel Rolls
30 Dips from Bench
300 Total

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baked Chicken Tenders and Veggies

This is a great Primal Meal that is delicious, nutritious, and easy to make. And, it is a great way to reward and replenish your body after a good ride or workout.

Buy a bunch of Chicken "tenders" when they are on sale. After washing, combine in glass or earthen baking ware with:

2-3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
4 oz Dry White Wine (substitute Red Wine Vinegar for variety)
2 Handfuls of Baby Carrots
2 Chopped Celery Stalks (big chunks)
2 Minced Cloves of Garlic
Sea Salt to taste
2 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours - first hour covered, the second hour uncovered. Add extra wine if it looks dry.

When nearly done, saute whatever fresh vegetables you have available in fresh garlic and EVOO and serve together.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Deaf By Choice?

         Do you hear me? Do you care?
         My lips are moving and the sound's coming out
         The words are audible but I have my doubts
         That you realize what has been said
         You look at me as if you're in a daze
         It's like the feeling at the end of the page
         when you realize you don't know what you just read
         What are words for when no one listens anymore?
         What are words for when no one listens?
         What are words for when no one listens it's no use talkin' at all? 

         (Words by Missing Persons)  

Today, I want to vent about people who are deaf by choice. If you ride your bike on a shared trail - by bikers, joggers, pedestrians, and dog walkers - you can relate to these 80's lyrics. But, to update the song, the people are not listening because they really can't hear. They can't hear because, from my daily observation, over 90% of those hiking/jogging/dog-walking are deaf, deaf by choice, deaf to their surroundings. The mp3 sounds are blasting so loud their in ears, they simply cannot hear me shouting "passing left" and jump and shake in fearful astonishment as I whiz by on my bike.

Proper cycling etiquette requires that while passing, you do it on the left AND you warn those you are passing with a loud, audible warning, like "Bike Left".  This is very important, if you want to avoid a mishap. It is also common courtesy to let them know you are coming so you don't startle an unsuspecting person, nearly giving them a heart attack when you are right upon them.

But, how can I warn you if you are not listening? If you cannot hear me? In fact, it is not just me you can't hear, you can't hear anything around you! Not hearing your surroundings can be hazardous to your physical health.

But, it can be harmful to your mental health as well.

So, here is my primal point...

Fitness isn't just about diet and exercise and the body. It is about the mind and its health as well. Silence and meditation can nurture peace of mind. And while "silence is golden", it doesn't have to be the result of impaired hearing.

When did so many of us lose the ability to appreciate the sounds of nature? How can a person go for a walk on a trail along a stream and not want to enjoy the trickle of the water, the singing of the birds, the wisp of the wind through the trees? This is the Primal Theater of our ancestors and so many choose to block it out. Our ears and our minds evolved to be at home with it and with it we can find so much relaxation and peace.

My Primal Commute is often the highlight of my day. Not only am I working my body out in the open air, I am also in a sort of meditative music, no news, no talk radio. Free of that noise, I can think, solve problems, remember, forget.


Post log - I had an mp3 player once - I dropped it as I was crossing a major road and it was smashed by a passing truck. What a blessing!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Easy, Tasty Primal Meal

There are many Primal (Paleo/Evolutionary) Recipes in the Blogosphere. However, some can get a bit complicated. But, they don't have to be. Remember, our Paleolithic ancestors didn't have a state-of-the-art, designer kitchen. But, they had fire. So, my favorite form of Primal eating is grilled meat, fish, and/or veggies cooked on natural lump wood charcoal (NOT briquettes or gas).

Here's a great meal I had Friday night after a long, cold and windy, trek home from work on my cyclo-cross bike. It is a lightly seasoned T-Bone steak cooked over hot coals and a mix of fresh, delicious vegetables sauteed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Now, I did push the Primal envelope a bit by also including as my fruit, a nice glass of fermented Sangiovese berries from Tuscany!  ;-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Self-Generated Brrrrrrrrrrr Factor

It was 20 degrees F when I left for work on my bike this morning. But that number doesn't tell the whole story. Taking into account the self-generated wind a biker creates by moving through the air, the chill factor made it feel like 3 degrees F. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Here is a great chart you can use to determine your daily Chill Factor:

To be exact, you need to add/subtract the headwind/tailwind during your trip to get the actual chill factor. For example, if it is 20 degrees, you are averaging 15mph, and you have a 10mph headwind  (as I did today), then the wind to use is actually 25mph. If you have a 10mph tailwind, then use 5mph in the calculation.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Primal Fitness, Primal Commuter

Are you ready for the news? I've lost over 100 pounds! That's right. You read correctly. But, I've never been 100 pounds over-weight. So, then, how could I have lost over 100 pounds? It's simple - I lost it during a period of 15 years. Or, as my wife puts it, "With all the weight you've gained and lost over the years, you've lost a whole person!" She's right. And, it got me thinking...

I'm sick and tired of dieting! I'm tired of losing weight...only to gain it back in the winter, or the following year, or in two years. But, always, it comes back. And, each time it comes back, and the older I get, the harder and the longer it takes to lose it again....and again.....and again.

I'm like Sysphus, slowly, painfully pushing that boulder up the mountain, only to lose it at the summit, losing it and all my progress, letting it roll back down to the valley, where I must resume pushing it back up the mountain, covering ground I've conquered countless times before.

STOP! That's it. I'm finished dieting. It's over. From this point on, I'm doing what many experts agree is the only way to lose weight and keep it off - stop dieting. That's because putting yourself in the mindset that "I'm on a diet" implies that someday, hopefully soon, I'll be OFF the diet. Eating one way today, but differently next week or next month. Ah, but there's the rub. Once you stop dieting, the eternal recurrence of the weight gain/loss cycle resets and rages on.

The solution is to change your mind and your lifestyle, permanently. Establish new eating habits and fitness routines that you will use for the rest of your life, not the rest of this month.

What's that? Easier said than done? Agreed. But you can stack the deck in your favor with knowledge and with an all encompassing framework and approach to health and wellness that makes it easier, almost second nature, to apply. The unifying viewpoint that pulls it all together is Primal Fitness.

Primal Fitness is a philosophy based on Anthropology, Biology, Genetics, History, Kinesiology, and Anatomy that at its very core states that our bodies, genetically speaking, are identical to our pre-historic, pre-agricultural ancestors. Biologically speaking, we are all cavemen! So, we need to work and feed our bodies like cavemen. Therefore, the more consistently we consume macro-nutrients (Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates) with the pre-agricultural period and the more we exercise our bodies in ways a Paleolithic man would have, the healthier and happier we'll be - in body and mind. We'll feel better, look leaner, think more clearly, sleep deeper, and be, overall, healthier.

One of the keys to Primal Fitness is to use your own body - your muscle structure and energy stores - to transport yourself from one location to another. Our biological ancestors did not have planes, trains, or automobiles to travel. Instead, they used their legs. And, so, I too use my legs to do my version of hunting and gathering (going to work): I commute on my bicycle. This keeps my body in motion, my mind alert, my senses out in the elements, my heart and lungs in great shape. Like my ancient, genetically identical ancestors, I am working my body on a daily basis in order to gain my sustenance.

 More to come in future posts.