Thursday, May 28, 2009

I finished the book!

..and I liked it!

The book I'm talking about is Brendan Brazier's book on Vegan Nutrition for Athletes.

He does a really good and thorough breakdown of all the different foods he's included, including why he's included them, how to properly prepare, store, and get more nutrition through different preparations.

I have to admit I'm taken by the concepts.

He presents a 12 week meal plan with the different recipes all structured for maximum nutrition. I have to admit that I usually don't follow meal plans. I prep cook everything I can on Sunday and graze through it for the rest of the week. That's one of the reasons I'm a big fan of raw foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and smoothies. I'm running around so much that it does become a problem for me to get into the kitchen and cook.

I will definitely be using a lot of the recipes that have a long shelf life (like the energy bars) starting this weekend. I'll let you know how the recipes work out.

Here are some highlights!

-Hemp Protein: Supposedly one of the easiest forms of proteins for us vegans to digest. Very good for our bodies and not nearly as acidic (read: acidic equals leaching calcium from your bones!) as meat. I'm going to go buy some this weekend.

-Flax Seed Preparation: They're kinda useless if you eat Flax Seeds whole but if you grind them in a coffee grinder you get all the good stuff!

-Amaranth: I'd already been turned onto Quinoa by a friend of mine because of it's high protein content but I've become a little bored with it. Now I have to try amaranth! He's also given a few different ways to prepare it as well. Unfortunately Whole Foods has been out of Amaranth for a while now. Hopefully soon they'll have it back in stock.

-Sprouting/Soaking Seeds and Grains and Nuts: He tells you what to soak, what to sprout, and the benefits if doing such a thing. Apparently sprouting/soaking starts a digestive/breakdown process in the nut/grain/seed that makes it much easier for your system to digest and absorb the available nutrients.

-Superfoods: Acai (which I have a love hate relationship with since I can't seem to find it in a rain forest friendly form), Chlorella, Maca, and others. He refers to them as next level foods and they all have very unique, very awesome nutritional benefits to be looked into.

Some of the things that I wasn't digging too much about this book.

-He states that you can toast wild rice or Amaranth in a popcorn air popper to create a fluffy toasted grain. I was dubious about this since the slots in my popcorn popper are a little big. There's no way I'd try it with Amaranth but I had a go with the Wild Rice.

I had 2 problems. The popcorn popper overcooked (burned) some of the grains while not popping the others.


Even though I 'thought' the wild rice wouldn't be able to fit into the slots a few grains still found a way and now I'm afraid I'm going to set the whole thing ablaze if I try to use it again.

So, no go on the air popping of odd grains!

-He continues to talk about toxins.

Okay. Here's my beef with the whole 'toxin' issue

I think that the term 'toxin' has gone from being a term used by lazy nutritionists and scientists when referring to dietary undesirable byproducts and unsuitable/unhealthy ingested material to a term used as a catch all marketing ploy by 'natural' and 'whole foods' companies and trend mongers to scare people into buying their products.

This whole 'Master Cleanse' thing has got on my last nerve. Here's how your body works. You have these WONDERFUL ORGANS that work their little cells ragged pulling all sorts of nasty byproducts and odd minerals and substances out of your system in a process which you'll recognize as CLEANSING!!

If you eat a bunch of crap all the time your poor little organs are gonna start getting worn out AND if you are eating CRAP (I mean junk food!) then you are robbing your organs of the fuel they need to regenerate so that they can keep up the good work!

So let's say you've put yourself into this unhealthy little dilemma. You've been eating McDonald's a few times a week for a while now, drinking soda instead of water, and sitting on your butt at your shitty little job.

You're probably going to find yourself tired, run down, and chubby. If not completely fat.

Here's what's happening.

You've eaten crap and though your body has packed on 'mass' and you are obviously overfed you are actually nutritionally deficient. You aren't getting the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and proper hydration that your body needs to work like the finely tuned machine it was born to be.

So your fat little co-workers start talking about losing weight by doing the Master Cleanse. Ooooohhh.. It's just a gallon of water, some cayenne pepper, a little lemon juice, and some grade A Maple syrup. And all those nasty toxins will flush out of your system and you'll lose all this weight and blah blah blah..

Okay. Back to reality. So what happens when you stop doing the cleanse? Hmm? You can't do it forever. You know what happens? You'll go back to eating all the same stuff you did before and that weight will snap right back.

AND... Those toxins.. The theory behind this bullshit is that your organs need a break from digesting all the nasty stuff to get the backlog or garbage out of your system.

NO!! What your organs need is some healthy fucking fuel and for you to stop stuffing crap down your fat little neck with your greasy little fingers! That's what they need!!

And all of that is packed up with the nice little bow we like to call 'toxins'.

Companies market fiber with it. (Um.. it's not 'toxins' it's poo! And if you don't poo regularly your life will be hell, you'll get bloated and gassy, and you'll get dehydrated because the organ that is responsible for pulling water out of your digestive system (the colon) is now stuffed with super solid crap.).

People blame autism on toxins, people blame allergies on toxins, rashes, bad moods and headaches, lethargy, obesity!

COME ON!! Stop calling it TOXINS and start calling it what it is! Your allergies are probably coming from pollution and diminished air quality! So put down your jug of master cleanse, get out of your SUV and WALK for fuck's sake!

Lethargy? OBESITY!? Stop eating garbage, get off your ass and exercise! NO! You will probably never look like Angelina Jolie but you WILL feel healthier and you WILL weight less.

Bad moods? Ever thought about changing jobs? Hmm? Maybe it's your life? No one is perfect, Everyone looks at their life at some point and wonders what fuck they're doing?!? That's Natural. If you wan't to change it and make an improvement it takes work! Not a cleanse! You need to get your endorphins up. Remember that time you laughed so hard that your sides hurt and you were sore for the rest of the day but you couldn't stop smiling about it? That's what endorphins feel like! You can do that every day!

So THAT is my beef with Toxins. Mostly I hate that it's a catch all phrase. I'm detail oriented. If someone says 'you need to eat this or you'll build up ____' , I don't want to hear the word 'toxins'. I want to hear exactly what I'm going to build up. Uric acid? Oh NO! Sodium! CRAP! But if you have to say 'toxins' because you don't actually know WHAT that 'thing' is then don't waste my time.

There is no Boogie Man, and there is no such thing as a 'toxin'. Give me science or give me silence.

-He gives us an idea of 'what-to-eat-when' when you're trying to plan your nutritional intakes around a workout. I LOVED this.. BUT! When you look at the Meal Plan he's devised for his 12 week period he has neglected to factor in options for workout times and the foods required there abouts.

The diet plan is based off of Day to Day nutrition, not around an Athlete who trains for an hour or 5 a day. I guess it's up to the reader to augment that but it sure would have been a nice little perk to have side notes of substitution meals and snacks to fit in there. :)

Just so you know, here's what the nutrition around your workout should look like according to him (and I agree!)

For High Intensity Workouts (lasting about an hour or less):

Start off with a pre-exercise snack of simple carbs (fruit or dates work nicely. Adding a little Mate is nice but you'll be even more wrecked after the workout if you do.)

During the workout its good to have a sports drink or something with electrolytes.

After the workout have a little bit more simple carbs (fruit) with a touch of low fat protein.

For Medium Intensity Workouts (lasting up to 3 hours):

Add a little bit of protein to your simple carb pre workout snack. (think a touch of hemp!)

Sports drinks with electrolytes and simple carbs (DATES AND FRUITS) can be consumed mid exercise during little breaks. (Though I can't imagine trying to eat anything in the middle of 3hours of Thai. I'm assuming he means on the bike or running or something that doesn't bring my HR up to 170bpm.)

After the workout have a little bit more simple carbs (fruit) with a touch of low fat protein. Save the big protein and whole food meal for a little while later.

Low Intensity Workout (endurance activity of 3+ hours)

Before the day start up with Complex Carbs, fats, and proteins.

During there should be sports drinks, energy bars with protein, and energy gels with protein.

After, simple carbs and a touch of protein. And a big old nap!

So.. To have THAT worked into the plan would have been nice, but I guess I could not be lazy and do it for myself! LOL!

Anyway, it's a great book! I'll end up using about 1/3rd to a half of the recipes in the book

Today's Workout:

I had a surprise 2 hours of Thai Training Today! Two of my usual students came in an hour early because of their work schedules.

All my rounds were 3 min rounds with 60 sec rest.

6 rounds Jump rope, 2 rounds shadow box with 10lbs weights, 2 rounds with 8lbs weights, and 2 rounds free style for speed and form.

10 rounds of Thai all together. Today was Heavy Bag work.

6 ab circuits all together. (Legs lifts, Back Ext, Saxon Sides, Incline Sit ups)

2 mile run @ 5.5 with .5 mile warm up and .25 mile cool down. I felt a little tight and crampy today after all the extra jump roping but I made it through just fine. I'm feeling a lot better about it now that I've started to heal up. :)

I did nothing yesterday but Jiu Jitsu because I was tired and lazy. Sorry. It was just one of those days. After Jeff ran me around town I had no energy.

Tomorrow is heavy sparring. I think Matt G. is going to try and knock my head off so I need to get some serious sleep tonight and have my game on tomorrow.

Serving with a black eye sucks!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Look at this hoodie.. LOOK AT IT!!

Oh yes.. I got a cool new hoodie today. Thank you Jeff and Kerrie! And all I did to get it was nap on their couch and watch their TV all day. WOOT!!

Today was a tired training day for me. I think I might have overdone it a little bit with the circuit training and the running yesterday. (maybe... maybe not.) Though I COULD chalk it up to getting really poor sleep last night. I've been napping in the afternoons and then sleeping about 4 to 5 hours at night lately and though I'm getting 8 hours total I'm feeling fatigued.

Tonight's plan is no nap and in bed by 9pm. Since I don't have to be back to the gym until 9am tomorrow I HOPE that will have a better result. This morning I was so tired I ended up sleeping for an hour and a half on the couch as soon as I opened the gym AND I drank a cup of coffee.

Both of these things make me a little disappointed in myself. (sigh)

The GOOD news is that I held pads today for Sierra and Deanna (FUN!) AND I ran my two miles today with only a little cramping and joint pain. The first .25 mile warm up was making me nervous because my legs felt so fried. I thought for SURE I was going to have a painful go of things.

After the gym this morning I rode around with Jeff in an effort to find a new road bike for my coworker, (we'll call her Belle). Belle is very little and is looking for a road bike in a 44cm to a 46cm. We narrowed it down to the following 5 bikes...(Drum Roll Plz)

The Trek WSD 1.2

The Bianchi C2C Via Nirone 7 Alu

The Lapierre R Lite 300
The Cannondale Synapse Feminine 7

And the Specialized Dolce Triple.

If it were ME I'd pry go with the Bianchi or the Lapierre. The Lapierre maybe a bit more since it's actually AT the bike shop and it's pretty well pimped out with much nicer components than the Bianchi.

..But that's just me. Last I talked to her she was digging the Bianchi but I think that may have been because I have one and since she's seen it almost weekly I think she may be used to the appearance of the bike. She DID warm to the blue colour on a couple of other bikes we looked at so the Cannondale may come out the winner.

They're all great bikes and they're all under a grand so no matter what she gets I'm sure she'll be happy. Right now her bike is VERY heavy and it's about 2cm to 4cm too big for her.

Well, enough bike talk and BACK TO ME! (cuz it's all about me in the end.. right? Hey! Where're you goin'!?!)

I don't think I ate enough this morning or yesterday because today I was STARVING!!!

Half way through my run this morning all I could think about was food.. ANY FOOD! Jeff and I rode to the Whole Foods before bike shopping and I ate a Vega bar, an apple, and 16oz of water and felt much better until I got on my bike again. Once I got going I was FAMISHED!

We shopped for a bit then stopped at his house where I ate ANOTHER Vega bar. Then we rode to my house where I was famished AGAIN! I downed a banana and we rode up the Aves (think incline!) to check out the last bike shop and once again I was STARVING!

I got home, drank a two scoop Vega shake and ate a whole bag of Sugar Snap Peas.

I feel a little better now but MAN I was hungry. On top of it my legs felt like rubber on the ride to my house. I was almost certain I was going to have to walk the hill to Wild Rose. I'm honestly surprised I made it. I got a last little push of energy on the last three blocks of hill before we got to the shop.

Thank God.

So today's workout was an easy one:

Thai Training: 3min rounds and 60sec rests all the way through. 3 rounds shadow box with weights, 3 rounds jump rope, 6 rounds holding pads and technique work. Mostly Jab drills today with the light Jab sparring.

Then a 2 mile run at 5.5mph which Felt GREAT! Heart rate was nice and low in comparison to yesterday and while my legs ached the run felt much easier.

Then Bike riding here and there doing errands and bike shopping with Jeff. All told I think I did maybe 9 miles biking today. Not too much but it felt like a lot after running and Thai.

Tomorrow is a running rest day and I'll just be doing some light Thai and Jiu Jitsu with some lifting in between.

Oh, and I'm slowly warming to the Brendan Brazier book so far even though he DOES talk about toxins, which I think is an overrated concept.

We'll see. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

3 miles and a new book!

Today has been awesome. I was able to run a slow three miles with very little discomfort AND I got a new book today!

I'm all about Vegan Nutrition for Athletes and this is the first book I've seen that seems to address the concept head on.

I found out about the author, Brendan Brazier, through his Vega Supplement at Food I was looking into protein powder alternatives to Soy protein. I already ate a ton of soy and felt the need to vary my diet.

At first I thought the Vega Supplement was kinda gimicky and all hype, plus it was SUPER expensive but when I started to read the reviews on it they all came back looking pretty positive. (Though there was some definite griping about the price! LOL!)

So, on an impulse I bought a big old tub of Vega and decided to give it a go. At first the taste was offsetting (seaweed plus chocolate equals weird!) but after a few days of using it I noticed that I wasn't getting the post workout crash nap time that I was used to.


But it was expensive and I didn't feel like dropping another $80 + Shipping for another tub so once it was out it was out.

Then a few months ago I started having blood sugar problems. I was tired all the time, I started putting on weight again no matter HOW hard I worked out, I felt emotionally drained. I thought I had overtrained but when I did my waking heart rate test there was no real change.

So I struggled and put on 20 lbs. Then got sick with a nasty little norwalk virus and ended up in the doctor's office run down and sick as a dog. Well, the virus was easy. Drink fluids. LOL! BUT, after he heard all my symptoms leading up to the event he had my blood tested. I came up Prediabetic. Well CRAP!

So the answer was to modify my diet. I'm a bread, potato, energy bar, cookie and cupcake junky and it was hard to let those things go but I definitely felt better once I did. Then I started REALLY looking at the carb and sugar amounts and glycemic loads of all the things I was eating. The Clif Bars were SCARY! Then I found out that all the coffee I was drinking was also probably messing with my blood sugar.

I kinda got bummed out. I went to Whole Foods and found that they were selling Vega and though it's still priced like it's gold I flipped over the back and started reading the nutritional facts (something I'm ashamed to say I didn't pay too much attention to the first time around).

The Vega is gluten and soy free along with having a really high fiber and protein count. Looked good! So I bought some.

I have to admit. It gave me even more energy. That's when I started to read through all of Mr Brazier's stuff on line and I found a few books.

They could be gimicky and such but at least it will be an interesting read and he's got some interesting recipes for vegan energy gels and bars which would save me a lot of money AND wouldn't kill my blood sugar.

So, I'm reading one now, I have another one coming, and I'll let you know how it works. He makes a lot of 'claims' in his book that I find a little out there but if I feel better trying some of the stuff then I plan on sharing the wealth.

Sometime next week I'll hunt down a 5k goal run and will be posting a counter for it along with a full training schedule.

Today's Run: Half Mile Warm Up, 3 Mile Run and 5.5 mph 5 minute cool down. Slight twitches in left calf and right foot at the joint of the big toe. Tomorrow I'm going to mod my running arch supports to give me more/higher arch support and am going to extend the arch support out toward the front of my foot.

Today's workout: 3min rounds, 60 sec rest. 3 rounds Jump Rope, 3 Rounds Shadow Box; two rounds with 10lbs weights and 1 round no weight form and speed.

Interval Training: 1 minute intervals as follows: Weighted punch up/out/down, pushup to mountain climber to jumping squat, heavy bag footwork, left tepes, right tepes, elbows, knees, left kick, right kick, jabs, right crosses, sledge hammer. Twice through.

Then Abs and neck workout.

Total time: 2.5 hours.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rained out and illin'..

I'm pretty sure I have some swine flu nastiness going on right now. I'm also positive I caught it from my coworker who shall be known as GTG from this point on..

It all started yesterday.

I woke up and jogged my old woman jog, worked my 8 hour serving shift (for those of you who don't serve, 8 hours serving is inhumane!) , then got home and took a nap. I had a little bit of a headache and thought that a nap would do the trick.

When I woke up two hours later I thought I'd been hit by a bus. Throat swollen, nose congested, muscle aches, headache like no tomorrow. I figured I was dehydrated so I slammed some water, ate a banana and some roasted almonds, then went back to sleep.

I woke up at 9pm still not feeling right, though much better.

I cleaned the bike chain of FILTH, did my laundry, let the ferrets spaz out, then went back to sleep.

Today was all she wrote. Same as yesterday but magnified by 10. Bleh. The clean bike chain was nice, though!

sooo... clean...

Needless to say that I 86'd my master plan of going jogging this morning as well. The legs felt GREAT, but the rest of the body did NOT want to play ball.

So I had a little ride to Whole Foods to buy some stuff for my plague of death and tomorrow I'll start my official training.

Finish a Triathlon. That's the ultimate goal...

I have no idea WHERE the silly idea came from, but it's there so I might as well address it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been eaten alive lately with Shin Splints. I can't jump rope, I can't move in the ring, and most importantly, I haven't been able to run.

Since I am completely unable to sit on my rump and let them heal they've become the out-of-hand variety of shin splints that have become swollen with pitting edema along with a pair of strained Achilles tendons and pulled Soleus muscles.

Now that I'm on the mend I've started to realize how much I really enjoyed running and how much I have come to love cycling.

As a child I was impossible to get out of the water until my family moved away from the public pool. I was so dark as a kid that I was often asked if I was Native American. I would do 9 hours of pool time a day unless I was 'collected' and drug home kicking, screaming, and smelling heavily of chlorine.

Swimming reminds me of the happy time in my childhood, I guess. I'm probably the only person I know that gets a happy, nostalgic, fuzzy feeling at the smell of chlorine bleach.

I've always wanted to get back to


More specifically, an Olympic Triathlon is the goal. Someday I would love to do an Half Iron Man. I REALLY doubt that I have it in m to do a Full Iron Man.

For right now, though, I need to set realistic goals. I'm starting with a 5K Marathon by August.

Before I started my road to Shin Splints I could knock out 10 miles on a Wednesday and feel great on Thursday so I think this is a totally reachable goal.

As it stands I've got all new arch supports in my shoes, all new stretches, tibia exercises, a new modified running style that's easier on my body, new shoes, and a massage therapist that does a wonderful job getting deep inside and working my legs, back, and everything else.

In a few weeks there will be a trip to a sports specific Podiatrist and, hopefully, that should get me ready to train.

The training schedule I've started this morning is as follows:

Week 1:

Mon 3mile run/walk

Tues 2mile run/walk

Wed Rest

Thurs 2mile run/walk

Friday Rest

Sat 3mile run/walk

Sunday Rest

This is a rough plan, or course. I went jogging this morning and it was a pretty pathetic sight. I went into the Avenues (A rather hilly, yet beautiful, quiet, and shaded area of Salt Lake) and attempted to do a 3 mile slow jog.

I ran into a few problems.

First and foremost: OUCH! My friggin' LEGS!! Even after a warm up walk and a stretch I still felt sore as hell! When I try again I have a few warm up exercises to try before I start off. Hopefully that will help.

Second: Going up hill was painful on the good old calves. I had to be very careful about striking mid foot softly and rolling my way through it.

Third: No level ground! I started on the sidewalk with a little bit of grass running when available. The grass felt great until I started to hit uneven portions which sent shards of cramping, straining pain up my legs. No good.

THEN I tried to keep on the sidewalk which worked fine until I got into the Aves Proper and had to navigate the huge dip that each sidewalk does when crossing a street. I had to slow to a slow walk and step gingerly. Once again. so good and REALLY demoralizing.

So I tried the road. Felt good for about 10 minutes until the curve of the road for water run off started to wear on the inside of my calves. No go.

Third: Downhill was too hard for me to run softly. I had to slow down WAY too much for my liking, my heart rate dropped to 120 bpm and I was moving way too fast with legs too tired to feel comfortable navigating the cracked and uneven sidewalks.

I got in about 3 miles of a walk/run that turned about to be 50% walk.

It was demoralizing. But I have a plan for tomorrow.

Tomorrow I head to Liberty park on my bike and I run the wood chip track. Two laps. (I hope) I still haven't figured out what to do with my bike shoes and cleats but I'll wing it when I get there.

On to failure!