Saturday, October 31, 2009

Butterthumbs, Gravy Ways And Nickers (Video of the Day)

Month-End Review, October

10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts (Upper Body), 2 x's

10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp (Fat Burning Blast), 1 x

Adaptive Motion Trainer, 1 x

Army Crawls with Weights, 3 x's

Bicycling, 5 x's

Elliptical Trainer, 1 x

Mowing Lawn, 1 x

StairMaster, 6 x's

Stationary Bike, 1 x

Swimming, 9 x's

Treadmill (with bouts of jogging), 15 x's

Yard Work, 2 x's
Lesson Of The Month: If you haven't done upper body work in awhile, don't go swimming as planned the next day.

High Note Of The Month: I swam 29 laps today; I'm getting closer and closer to a mile.

After reading this poll in the October issue of Fitness magazine, I thought about my gym behavior.

I'm solid with wiping down the machines even though I've read that the solution that is used doesn't really sanitize the machines.

I had to think about the hogging machine question. I belong to a gym that is like the Wal-mart of gyms. The one I go to after work is large, has plenty of cardio equipment and there is not a time limit on how long you can occupy a machine. I tend to spend an hour or, at least, 30 minutes if I'm splitting my time on machines. So, I'll say no to the machine hogging.

I've had the urge to sing plenty of times when I'm really feeling my workout or trying to make it over a difficult hump. I restrain myself 95% of the time but I have sung quietly. At least, I hope it was quietly.

I try to be courteous of other people because I know that it annoys me when someone breaks out in an ultra-loud conversation on their cell phone at the gym -- especially after having listened to cell phone conversations at work and in public for the bulk of the day. It's almost as annoying as a gum popper on the next machine.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

For Pizza, For Cheesecake

Nice article, What the Last Meal Taught Him, in the New York Times about reconciliation and loving kindness. Thomas Keller is a chef whose father left the family when he was five years old. I don't know how many people would be able to connect with a parent after such an act. One needs to look no further than another article in the NYT, When Parents Are Too Toxic to Tolerate, to know that some peace accords are never agreed upon.

Kim Severson's article on the Kellers got me to thinking about food memories. For goodness' sake, I used to bake tea cake cookies for my teachers.

No doubt, my reflection was enhanced by a never ending quest to get organized. I found a folder full of directions since I seldom throw away things that I feel can be reused.

I found directions to so many restaurants, including:

Bristol Bar & Grill, 1108 Olive Street Rd.

House of India, 8501 Delmar Blvd.

Frank and Helen's Pizzeria, 8111 Olive Blvd.
I also found a brochure for the annual Labor Day Greek Festival that I trekked to with friends specifically for the purpose of getting baklava, spanakopita and kourabiedes.

And one of my most memorable meals happened four years ago at the periphery of Weldon Springs Clark Trail. A group of about eight of us went hiking with the intent of doing the 5.3 mile trail but we ended up going so much further. We were unanimously famished upon emerging from the woods which made us collapse on the parking lot and pounce on a collective bounty of sandwiches, Skittles and chips. I remember how sparse conversation was but we ate well. Plus, there was a sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

I also detected this gem in my folder.

These are directions from Newark to Brooklyn where delicious pizza (from some defunct stand) and cheesecake from Junior's Cheesecake could be had. I was determined to get the goods even if I had to navigate the NYC subway system. I had no problem finding my way because my friend, Martene, had written perfect directions plus a 1-800 number to call her -- just in case I got lost.

I hope that everyone has access to good friends and good food -- frequently and at the same time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If You Give A Kid Some Barbells (Video Of The Day)

Not quite sure what to say about this 5-year-old kiddo who has more upper body strength then I do and can, apparently, lift more weights than I can. I do hope that he turns out to be an awesome gymnast.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

If I Lived In Belgium, Germany Or Switzerland

I was recently informed that a traveler would be arriving from Switzerland. And the question, Do you want some chocolate?, literally stopped me in my tracks.

The first thing that popped into my mind was this confection of honey and milk chocolate goodness.

I decided not to indulge in the Cailler but I asked for some Sport Vit bars. I don't think that there will be many Swiss travelers headed my way in the near future and, lately, I've been feeling like I'm truly depriving myself. The feeling really creeps up when the scale is not moving.

If kcal is really equivalent to calories, five cubes is 160 calories which is an amount that won't send me over the top as far as my daily intake of calories is concerned. Plus, Sport Vit is supposed to be infused with all kind of vitamins.

I wonder what would happen if I lived in Belgium, Germany or Switzerland. I would probably be like a new worker in a candy factory; I would eat and eat at first and then chill out.

Sunday Morning Is All About Fitness, The Diet Industry, Obesity

Sunday Morning on CBS dedicated its entire show to discuss health matters.

They talked with Duke Fitness Center where it costs around $8,000 dollars for a one month stay. Also featured were Mo'Nique and Valerie Bertinelli among others.

Here is a list of some of the segments:

A Parisian Food Fight

Big Questions

Physique Helps Mo'Nique Strike It Big

Food For Thought

The Axis of Food Evil: Fat, Sugar and Salt

The Skinny on Sumo

Here's a video from a feature that focused on Colorado, the thinnest state in the US.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dear Swim Outlet

Dear Swim Outlet,

I do not want to crush the competition. In fact, I'm not capable of competition-crushing in the pool. I just want to get better at the front crawl. I didn't do too badly today as I continued to experiment with breathing in different patterns and I'm getting closer to swimming a mile. My arms were like jelly but I managed to do 28 laps today.

Also, Swim Outlet, I'm not even competitive. Although, one of my friends recently said that I like to compete. She took her statement back after some discussion but still said I like to compete with myself. I think that I like to challenge myself.

Your crush the competition suits, while not needed, are cute.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comic Strip Relief

I have so many bakery memories from small chewy brownies that I used to get at the now defunct Dickman's bakery to the huge frou-frou brownies at Pandora's. I now realize why that bakery was called Pandora's; they unleashed all the butter and blended it into the brownie mix. And there's no better eye candy than at The St. Louis Bread Company. Mmmmmm. This comic strip is supposed to be cute but it's making me long for a case with goodies behind it...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fat and Skinny

Check out these disgraceful insurance companies. One denied coverage to a family because their four-month-old was too fat. The other company refused to cover a tiny two-year-old. As Dr. Synderman said, the pre-existing condition was birth.

Tree After Tree

I felt the need to try a different trail today, went to Trailnet's website to look for a flat trail of decent length and saw that the agency was sponsoring a Hike It, Bike It or Cave It event at Cliff Cave Park.

I see the merit of exercising close to home. By the time I fought traffic, I was tired before I even got on my bike.

It was worth the trip though. The fall foliage and cliffs were beautiful. I had my camera on the wrong setting so some of the pictures came out funny. I saw so many deer. In fact, I saw a whole tribe with white tails. This picture came out fuzzy. Don't know why.

Another funny thing. As I was looking at tree after tree, Haiti popped into my mind. Haitians end up cutting trees to make charcoal and because so many trees are downed, the soil erodes and when the floods come, it's bad news for the Haitians.

It was peaceful but I had a few things on my mind.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Encounter With A.C. LaRocco

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride and it felt so good to be jacketless.

Before I hit the trail, I ate a Soyjoy bar and an apple. If there had been more food around, I probably would have kept going.

Here are some highlights from Grant's Trail:

I didn't make anything for dinner this weekend so I went to the store after bicycling. I had planned to get a rotisserie chicken for the main portion of the program but the store didn't have any and I didn't feel like going to another store. I'm becoming a bit neurotic about food so I wandered and wandered around the grocery store. I finally settled on an A.C. LaRocco Tomato and Feta Pizza and five lettuce salad mix.

I was amused that A.C. LaRocco also suggests wines as well.

For my tomato and feta, LaRocco recommends Crisp Light Red: Italian Valpolicella, Dry Rose or Light Syrah.

Cheese & Garlic: Full Body: Italian Barbera, Cabernet, Merlot, Chianti

Garden Vegetarian: Light Crisp Dry: Pino Grigio, NW Sauvignon Blanc

Greek Sesame: Dry Pungent White: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Rich Fruity: California Zinfandel
The fresh tomatoes, sun ripened dried tomatoes, mozzarella and feta cheeses, garlic and basil hit the right spot. I also warmed up some Pictsweet three peppers because, yeah, I am sometimes too lazy to cut peppers and add seasoning. I also wanted more filler food.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Groove Of Sorts

In order to avoid becoming a cliché, I did 26 laps instead of the usual 20. I had actually planned on doing 22 but got into a groove of sorts. It took me about one hour and a half to finish. I am so slow. If there were a turtle in Chinese astrology, I would be it.

I concentrated on my front crawl breathing and on doing the sidestroke on my left side. The sidestroke is one of my favorite strokes and I feel confident about the moves on my right side but it's amazing how awkward and uncoordinated I feel on the left. While I'm not aspiring to sidestroke elegance, I would like to feel less clumsy.

The two in the videos below look so precise as did yellow cap doing the front crawl in the pool today. I am the opposite of precise but it is well.

Phillip Toriello explains the sidestroke like my swimming teacher did. I like the explanation of picking an apple off the tree. Instead of putting the apple in a pocket on your hip, my teacher said to put it in a basket around your stomach area. At any rate, it's an example that I can visualize.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bitters and Sweets

Got a thank you at work yesterday. In fact, the whole staff was thanked. And, of course, it's nice to be acknowledged.

But how am I supposed to embrace bitters when everyone keeps giving or offering me sweets?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Old Jones, #3: Hand-Crafted Deliciousness

Merb's Candies is so wrong for this billboard. These confections of apple, caramel and pecans used to be the apple of my eye and they really need no press since they speak for themselves. Even at the height of my self-indulgent days, I couldn't eat a whole apple at once. I did know, though, how long I would have access to the apples. Around Thanksgiving, bionic apples start to disappear.

I also had a jones for the dark chocolate hash at Merb's. It was sooooooo good. I even liked the store which is a small little confectionery.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Counterpoint of Carrots

I had Senegalese Peanut Stew for dinner and it was incredibly good. The cayenne pepper was sitting in the back of my throat, present but not overwhelming. Then, I would run into ginger which also had a little power to it but it was tamed by the sweet in the potato. The carrots provided a nice counterpoint to the sweet potato. Mmmmm, mmmm. I did miss the cornbread though.

I remember my grandmother would add butter and syrup to her cornbread and my mother would tell her that there was already butter in the cornbread and to add more was pure decadence. I guess that everyone needs to be decadent every once in awhile.

Senegalese Peanut Stew

2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
4 cups vegetable broth (preferably no-salt)
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter

Heat a large saucepan over a medium flame. Pour in the oil, wait a second or two, then add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden, about 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the ginger, cloves, salt and cayenne. Cook for 10 seconds, then add the broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sweet potato is tender and the soup is quite thick. Stir often to prevent scorching. Cool for 5 minutes off the heat before serving.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cheese or Milk?

Over the years, people have suggested soaking in warm water and Epsom salt to ease muscle soreness. I never questioned the method but didn't really know why Epsom salt was a balm until I was reading the September Shape.

Your skin absorbs the magnesium in the salts, which reduces muscle swelling.
Of course, I have no need for Epsom salt with this being my tenth consecutive day of exercise. I didn't even know if I would have anything in the tank today but I hit the StairMaster for 40 minutes then I got on the treadmill for 25 minutes with four minutes of jogging.

Another item of interest that I saw in Shape was a got milk? ad featuring Dara Torres. I've seen the ad several times and the cheesy vibe that I get won't go away. I dig Dara Torres. I like her comeback story and love that she was out there doing her thing with people half her age but when I look at other got milk? ads, I wonder what the photographer had in mind. It's something about the way Torres is positioned that doesn't make for an authentic or captivating pose. Yeah, her taut stomach and subtle six pack is awesome but...

P.S. Massage can also offer relief according to Fast Relief For Post-Workout Aches in the Shape Ask Our Trainer column. I'm definitely going to take that suggestion to heart.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nine Whole Days

I've been exercising for nine consecutive days and I was sore as all get out this morning but I made my way to the bicycle trail. I, of course, see the wisdom of taking a day off but I'm on a mission right now.

I also know that the body is capable of amazing feats; otherwise, no one would be able to finish an Ironman Triathlon. Check out the guy, The Guinness World Record Holder for Fitness, at 0:38 to see what he did to obtain such a title.

In the meantime, here are some scenes from today's bicycle ride. There must have been some event going on because I saw, at least, 100 cyclists today on The St. Louis Riverfront Trail and most of the cyclists were whizzing past me on ultra-thin tires.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cheap Food At All Costs

I was at the gym on Friday and couldn't look away from Extreme Pig Outs on the Travel channel. There was one burrito that looked like pig slop and weighed seven pounds and not much better was The Fat Darrell concoction.

I was thinking about Extreme Pig Outs while reading Bryan Walsh's article, America's Food Crisis and How to Fix It, in the August 31st edition of Time.

Walsh attributes cheap food to America's obesity epidemic. I like this pictorial explanation of what a dollar can buy.

I also like what Walsh had to say about over-consumption.

What we really need to do is something Americans have never done well, and that's quit thinking big. We already eat four times as much meat and dairy as the rest of the world, and there's not a nutritionist on the planet who would argue that 24-oz. steaks and mounts of buttery mashed potatoes are what any person needs to stay alive.
In the same Time, there's a very cool snippet about a new project that's occurring in Sweden. Very cool.

And, in the words of Brian Williams, here's a story about an ex-Marine stepping up in the fight against obesity. I swear, most personal trainers et al. seem to employ old-fashioned and basic exercises without too many gadgets.

Friday, October 9, 2009

'Drea Vs Agent Plateau

I've been taking Fridays off for awhile now but I went to do a quick 30 minute stint today. I want to get over the hump and I feel the need to shake up the ol' routine.

I did more running jogging today and my calves were tight as all get out but it's all good.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pulling Off The Splish Meow

Got an e-mail from who's having a Halloween clearance sale and I was intrigued by some of the teaser swimsuits in the ad and I clicked.

I could completely go for one of these swimsuits. I don't think that I could or would want to pull of the splish meow.

Of course, there are truly scary things like the Borat swimming suit
and the Speedo that I purchased from Ebay at a very reasonable price which was new without tags. No tags, hunh?

Tweets Of The Day

I put the kibosh on running out of concern for knees but I tried a little running this p.m. in one minute intervals & it was exhilarating.
31 minutes ago from web

Aha moment: when I get abt 30 minutes deep into exercise, it's hard for me to stop. And when the sweat starts rolling? I'm close to nirvana.
about 1 hour ago from web
I'm going to incorporate running at intervals into my routine. I won't lie; I will take on running to burst through this current mountain of a plateau. I'll do anything as long as I don't have to give up the carbs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Valuable Reminder

You cannot bully your body into losing weight.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend Review

I went to get a massage on Saturday, my first one outside of a five minute bench massage that I got from Whole Foods by an advanced Rolf practitioner.

I thought that I deserved a massage after two years and five months of a rather hardcore regimen. Even as I thought that I had earned a massage, I did feel like an hour long massage was just that -- long and I even wondered why people would get a two hour massage. Boy, I was mistaken. That hour was the quickest one of my life and I was so sleepy afterwards.

Later in the day, I went swimming and managed to get in 20 laps. On Sunday, I bicycled on The St. Louis Riverfront Trail. I always think that there are no more pictures to be taken on the trail. Yet, I still take my camera and the trail did not disappoint. I saw wild bouquets and turkeys. The Arch beckoned as usual.

On another note, I saw this article, Woman's Shattered Life Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection, and I'm done with ground beef.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Comic Strip Relief

If you do choose the sandwich as Hobbes did, don't go for the head fake as discussed in a recent Nightline episode about the Smart Choices Program that gives a thumbs up to the likes of Froot Loops.