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#WholeLent #Whole30 Day 10.

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M1: sweet potato casserole, the last spicy tuna cake, & Paleo "creamer" coffee.

M2: the last of the Persian soup, with all the remaining relish, all the pesto, a bunch of smoked chicken, & a fried egg chopped in besides. I don't know if it was a soup at that point or more of a sauce. But it was delicious.

I donated a double unit of platelets yesterday & broke Whole30 rules to eat snacks at the donation center. Then I came home & fell asleep before dinner could happen.

#WholeLent #Whole30 Day 9.

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M1: two spicy tuna cakes with fresh lemon juice (YUM), a bowl of leftover Persian soup with onion-raisin relish & parsley-pistachio pesto, collagen coffee.

M2: lunch salad (diced smoked chicken, mixed greens, carrots, yellow bell pepper, Tessamae's avocado ranch dressing), the last serving of the beef stew, apple, toasted butternut squash seeds (hmmm, they really do taste like popcorn!).

M3: Mama's spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash.

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#WholeLent #Whole30 Day 8.

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M1: sweet potato/spinach/bacon/egg casserole & Paleo "creamer" coffee.

M2: lunch salad (diced smoked chicken, mixed greens, carrots, yellow bell pepper, Tessamae's creamy ranch dressing), leftover Persian soup with onion-raisin relish, apple.

Snack1: giant handfuls of trail mix (dried cranberries, roasted almonds, raw walnuts, roasted pepitas, & raw pecans). Easy diagnosis: insufficient protein in M1 & M2 (~0.5 slice of bacon, ~1.5-2 eggs, 5 g of collagen protein, ~0.25 cup of chicken, ~2 cups of bone broth-based soup).

Snack2: Epic lamb bar.

M3: chicken breast with BBQ sauce. No veggies. I wasn't in the mood to cook & I was just trying to eat something before heading to the gym.

Dave & I went climbing & it was a good workout. 5.6, 5.7, 5.7 fail (& twisted my right hip somehow), 5.7 fail, 5.8 complete but not clean. Very satisfying! I notice that I try harder routes when I'm with Dave than when I'm with Brianna - not sure why. Also, I've changed my mental framing on climbing. I've been thinking of each pitch as a swimming lap - as long as you finish, it's good. Coasting in is fine. No! The proper way to think of it is each pitch is a weightlifting set & each move is a rep. So the goal for each route/set is to do as many reps as possible, with good form, until failure. Attempting harder routes makes "achieving failure" more likely --> better workout.

#WholeLent #Whole30 Day 7.

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An unexpected day at home due to snow & really low temperatures. I got my exercise in first thing, shoveling the sidewalks. It was cold enough that Hobbes & Shadeaux watched me from the sofa instead of begging to be out "helping". Lazy curs.

M1: I cooked breakfast for me & Shay - bacon, roasted potatoes with dill seasoning, & over-easy eggs. Coffee with collagen & coconut oil.

M2: Another weird combo. I mixed leftover mashed cauliflower into the beef stew, attempting to cut the acidity of the vinegar in the stew. It didn't work. That stew is awful, but I got through another serving of it. Honestly the rest might be going to the doggos.

I used my day off & my fresh batch of bone broth to make Mel Joulwan's Persian-Spiced Winter Vegetable Soup. I made the soup, the onion-raisin relish, & the parsley-pistachio pesto. OMG YUUUMMMMMM. It was absolutely delicious & perfect for the cold weather.

M3: Two bowls of soup, eaten while curled up on the sofa in front of the fireplace, watching Olympic figure skating. Winter paradise.

Mel's photo is better.

#WholeLent #Whole30 Day 6.

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M1: sweet potato casserole & collagen coffee. I got a batch of bone broth started using the skin & carcass from the smoked chicken.

M2: smoked chicken breast with homemade Whole30 barbecue sauce, which was DELICIOUS. The sauce is smoky, tangy, & just spicy enough. I'm proud of that one! I also had leftover roasted potatoes & asparagus - I forgot to throw in a dollop of mayo, so the leftover veggies were boring but palatable.

I went climbing with Bri & had a much better day: 5.5, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.6, 5.7 fail. I felt good & had fun! Today my hands & forearms are sore but not cramped. I can feel the calluses starting to form just below the middle joints of all my fingers.

M3: a weird one... I had the leftover omelette from Sunday's breakfast, but it was bland. So I dumped a bunch of the spaghetti sauce on it & added an Italian sausage. What a protein plate: eggs, breakfast sausage, ham, ground bison in the sauce, & the Italian sausage! I would not be surprised if there was 70-80 g of protein in that meal. It was light on veggies, but there was still spinach, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, & mushrooms in there.

#WholeLent #Whole30 Days 4-5.

OK, I probably should stop tagging this stuff "Whole 30", since I haven't had a single fully-compliant day yet.

Day 4 was a joke.

M1: sweet potato casserole & collagen coffee.

I went climbing with Bri & had a pretty pathetic workout - tried 5 routes, completed ONE. But hey - Day 4, no sugar, it's hard.

M2: Shay & Bruce & I went to see Black Panther at Alamo Drafthouse & I ordered a Greek salad, minus feta, plus grilled chicken. There were croutons in it that I didn't identify until I'd eaten some of them. Alas.

M3: Bruce cooked us an AMAZING meal. I told him what the Whole30 was & he said he'd follow it, but he didn't. And I decided that I'd rather enjoy a delicious meal cooked just for me by a friend from out of town than stick to a diet. We had raw asparagus, slices of cheese, wine, an AMAZING tri-tip steak marinated in coconut aminos, ginger, & garlic, mashed cauliflower, & Brussels sprouts cooked in the oven, in the cast-iron pot, with bacon. YUM. Then we ate cookies. So the cheese, wine, & cookies were completely non-compliant.

Day 5

M1: breakfast at Lancer's Diner - three-egg omelette with breakfast meats & veggies, with black coffee. Reasonably compliant, although I know the meats weren't Whole30 & I assume they used butter.

Snack: handful of dark chocolate covered blueberries.

M2: sauteed zucchini & Mama's spaghetti sauce with an Italian sausage.

M3: leftover tri-tip, steamed asparagus with Primal Kitchen mayo, & roasted potatoes.

Despite not sticking to the Whole30 guidelines very diligently, I still feel like this is a worthwhile undertaking. I'm eating WAY more veggies. I haven't been eating donuts. I hope that today (Day 6) will be my first actual Whole30 day.

#WholeLent #Whole30 Day 3.

M1: sweet potato casserole & collagen coffee.

M2: lunch salad (mixed greens, deli chicken, carrots, celery, bell pepper, & lots of Tessamae's avocado ranch dressing) & leftover beef & vegetable stew.

My first run at the re-done stew recipe is... a little eh. I put too much vinegar in it - probably 1 cup would've been plenty & I used 2 cups. So the overall profile is way too acidic. Also, putting the spinach in BEFORE pressure cooking was a mistake - it looks wilted & gross. I should've added it at the very end. I felt like this recipe needs 1.5-2 pounds of stew meat, but it could be that the beef just isn't as flavorful as the venison (likely). Minor detail: the green bell pepper didn't look as nice in the stew as the red bell pepper, & it wasn't as sweet. More carrots would be nice, too. And I think a few herbs (marjoram, a little oregano, maaaybe a little sage?). I might try replacing one of the potatoes with a turnip, too. And homemade barnyard bone broth would doubtlessly taste better than the quart of store-bought beef bone broth I used.

M3: sauteed zoodles topped with Mama's spaghetti sauce.
M3: We went out to Briar Common Brewery with Bri & Steve. I had flank steak, fries, & portabella mushrooms with chimichurri.

Notes on cheating: I have cheated on each of the first three days of this Whole 30 by eating chocolate-covered fruit. The first two days were chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine's Day (I ate 2 on V Day/Day 1 & one on Day 2). But on Day 3 I ate a big handful of chocolate-covered blueberries. I am going to try to go a whole day without cheating today, but I'm also not going to bust my own balls for one cheat a day.

I went climbing last night (Thursday, Day 2) with Bri. We did five pitches each - I did a 5.5, 5.7, 5.8 (fail), 5.6, & the crazy Anxiety Corner 5.6 that should not be a 5.6 (fail). I actually got over the first roof on the Anxiety Corner pitch, which I have never done before. THAT was a good feeling. I didn't complete the route, but when I got down, my hands were shaking & my arms were pumped all the way to my elbows, so -- good workout. I'm starting to develop climber's calluses on my fingers.

#WholeLent #Whole30 Here we go again.

All right, time for my... sixth? try at the Whole30. Yesterday was Day 1.

Day 1:

M1: sweet potato/spinach/bacon/egg/nutmeg casserole & coffee with vanilla-flavored collagen "creamer". Only a dedicated Paleo eater could call this stuff "creamer". It is not sweet, it does not have a creamy mouth-feel, & it leaves a gritty residue both in my mouth & my coffee mug. The only way it is palatable is to thoroughly blend it into strong coffee & drinking the resultant brew as quickly as possible, before it either settles out of solution or gets cold. Not a fan. I mean, I'm going to use up the jar I bought, but I won't buy it again.

Snack: I was so snacky yesterday! I ate an apple & a ton of trail mix (dried cranberries, roasted almonds, raw walnuts, roasted pepitas, & raw pecans).

M2: lunch salad (mixed greens, diced deli chicken, carrots, bell peppers, & Tessamae's ranch dressing), the last of my shepherd's pie, & a LaCroix.

Snack: nom nom nom nom another apple & a bunch of pistachios. Gonna need better snacks, or bigger meals. I am surprised at how hungry I was.

M3: I made a special Valentine's Day dinner for me & my wife. The main dish was chicken prosciutto involtini & the sides were cauliflower mash (made with coconut milk & ghee) & zoodles. I used my Mama's spaghetti sauce recipe in place of marinara sauce. It was DELICIOUS. For dessert, we had UTTERLY NON-COMPLIANT chocolate-covered strawberries. I'm not apologizing for this departure from Whole30-purity. I had two strawberries & probably less than a gram of dark chocolate. Having a good date with my wife for Valentine's Day >> Whole30 Puritanism.

Day 2 (today):

M1: same as yesterday -- sweet potato casserole & collagen coffee.

M2: same lunch salad as yesterday, apple, LaCroix.

M3: I'm going to heavily modify this recipe for vension stew - sub cow for deer, omit the flour coating, sub red wine vinegar for burgundy, fresh cremini mushrooms for dried porcini mushrooms, beef stock for veal stock, coconut aminos for Worcestershire sauce, add spinach, cook in Instant Pot.... Actually, I'm going to modify this recipe so much, I should really just re-write it. Maybe I will.

I am doing well on Wellbutrin.

A week ago yesterday, I had an appointment with a new nurse psychiatrist, Leslie Vannucci. We went through the intake rigmarole & she prescribed 75 mg/day of Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin (generic name: bupropion) works differently than other antidepressants I have tried. It is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), meaning it acts to conserve the amounts of norepinephrine & dopamine available to the body. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that regulates alertness, concentration, & motivation. Dopamine is often called the "reward chemical" of the brain. It is involved in the regulation of mood & feelings of pleasure.

My friends - a switch has been flipped. The first day I took this medication (a week ago today), I instantly (literally, within hours) felt SO MUCH BETTER. More productive. More focused. More attentive. More hopeful. Obsessive thoughts have diminished substantially! I am able to consider my day & what needs to get done, formulate a plan, & then carry it out! Like a normal person! I feel generally optimistic & hopeful. Ohhhh my God, it has been so long since I felt like this - is this how normal people feel all the time?? Holy crap!

And, with a little bit of research on my own genetic code (thanks 23andMe), this all makes a great deal of sense. According to my genetic test, I am +/+ for the Vitamin D Receptor (VDR) Taq gene & -/- for catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) V158M, COMT H62H, & COMT P199P. The VDR Taq gene encodes a receptor for Vitamin D3, which stimulates enzymes that create dopamine. The +/+ status means both copies of my gene for this protein are mutated, so... less enzymatic activity creating dopamine. The COMT genes code for proteins involved in breaking down neurotransmitters (including dopamine), & all my genes for these proteins are the normal, effective versions. So - my body kinda sucks at making dopamine, but is perfectly efficient at breaking down dopamine. Overall result: low levels of dopamine. Wellbutrin inhibits the reuptake of dopamine, helping to alleviate this shortage.

So that's all well & good. However, I've noticed a couple of side effects. First of all, I feel ever-so-slightly speedy. I'm alert - like, REALLY alert. I feel kinda hyper. I can't meditate for even three minutes. I'm having even more trouble sleeping than usual. And oddly, my sense of smell has sharpened to canine levels of sensitivity. While the smell thing is mostly just interesting, the hyper feeling & increased insomnia are slightly worrisome. My Cornell friends may remember episodes in college when I would become the Energy Creature - overly energetic, verging on manic. I haven't yet had an urge to go running in the middle of the night, or impulses to spend tons of money, but I'm going to have to keep an eye out for that sort of thing. Also, I'm definitely going to have to do something to get more sleep. I feel OK right now, but 4 hours/night is not sustainable in the long term.

Overall though, I feel SOOOOO much better. So much better. So better. Much good. Great happy.

Intrinsic motives v. extrinsic motives.

First, go read this article. Done? Good.

I want to consider things in my life based on this comparison. For example: workout routines. Do I really want to run on a treadmill for several hours a week? Do I intrinsically enjoy it? FUCK no. I have extrinsic motives, certainly - I want to lose weight, I want to be more fit - but I hate the activity itself.

On the other hand, I really, truly enjoy going to the climbing gym. I also have extrinsic motives - getting fit, losing weight, improving the conditioning of my joints - but I derive joy just from going climbing. It's fun. It's challenging. It's childlike. Therefore, climbing is a good workout routine.

How about hiking? There are definitely intrinsic motives for hiking - I like being outdoors, I like being alone (or just with Shadeaux), I like the accomplishment of choosing a route & then completing it, & I like the views. Extrinsic motives are there as well: I feel like you have to be outdoorsy to some extent in order to fit in, here in Colorado. I like having hiking stories to tell other people for that reason. And the normal fitness motives. Hiking is pretty clearly a good workout routine.

How about yoga? That's less clear-cut. I generally enjoy yoga, at least when the instructor doesn't get too hippy-dippy. But I'm definitely there mostly for the results. However, the results can include feeling better while doing the class. Intrinsic? Extrinsic? I'm not sure.

What other things can I assess this way? Here's a checklist:
  • My job
  • My marriage
  • My church
  • The Whole30


Other things I should check on? Now taking suggestions.

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