Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's Awesome time!

Since I've been feeling somewhat better(since my doctors got my meds straight and I've been eating better), I've had more energy for working out.  I may look like a couch potato, but I knows my workouts, and most of the workouts that are recommended are either too easy or too hard for someone like me.  For example, I've got pretty strong muscles in some groups, compared to other people; some isolation exercises are easy as pie for me. But I've been deconditioned for so long that for me, I'm extremely weak- most importantly, my core and the muscles that tie it all together are weak, so that compound and bodyweight exercises are tough.

Anyway, I invented a program for myself called Awesome!  I start out every day with some Awesome Walking.  Then, I alternate days between Awesome Workouts and Awesome Yoga.  I finish up with some more Awesome Walking later in the day.  I'm wondering about working in Awesome Dancing, although maybe I should give it a while.  To be fair, I will be taking every fourth week off from the workouts, so maybe some dancing would fit in there.  Rest time is very important here; I can't afford to stress out my body excessively or hurt myself.  So just three days a week and every fourth week is a rest week.

This is the system I came up with for doing the workouts and alternating them without getting too confused.  I made up a list of essential exercises that work the whole body, starting with basic exercises likes pushups, pullups, squats and plank and including lots of core and hip strengtheners, since I have back and hip pain regularly.  So I'll do these essential exercises each time, always looking to reach a goal; once that's reached, I'll move the goalposts.

There are also lots of other fun exercises that work all sorts of muscles, and I made them into a deck of cards. Every time I'll pick a new exercise from the deck and incorporate it into the routine.  All these exercises, essential and otherwise, require little or no equipment and are mainly bodyweight, compound exercises that hit a number of areas.

For the yoga portion, I also created my own yoga practices in lieu of trying to keep up with someone else's ideas.  The yoga is focused on gentle, restorative stretching and strengthening without the strong focus on putting on muscle that the workouts have.  I do have the goal of getting back to where I used to be in yoga: comfortable swinging into down dog from a forward bend, intimately familiar with my feet.  But, concurrently I have the goal of accepting myself where I am.  Lots of gentle backbends and twists.

Anyway, that's where I am with working out these days!  I'm looking forward to hiking and swimming more in the warm weather.  I'm on a medication that has caused an unnatural weight gain, and I don't know if I can or need to lose the weight per se, but building muscle and being more active will certainly make me feel better!

What about you?  Where are you with moving these days?

“Paleofantasy”: Stone Age delusions

“Paleofantasy”: Stone Age delusions - Salon.com:

'via Blog this'

This article makes a compelling case for the science- or more precisely, the hypotheses- behind Paleolithic diets and lifestyles being off-base, since evolution is ever working on us and we are always adapting to our conditions.  I haven't ever considered Paleolithic ideas to be the be-all and end-all, and I knew the science was pretty bad.  I really love the way the evolutionary biologist here analyzes it.

Still, the one thing I will stick up for is that the Primal Blueprint got me really thinking about what and how I eat- and also how I sleep, move and play. Now I'm eating probably five or ten times as much fresh fruits and vegetables now, and doing almost all my cooking from scratch.  I focus more on fueling my body, resting it significantly, and moving it in meaningful ways.  The Paleo folks reminded me to reconnect my brain to my body and my body to my environment, and that's key to well-being.

It's important to separate the wheat from the chaff, and in the arena of health, there is a lot of chaff going around.  But almost all diets come back to some basic fundamentals:  protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed foods.  It's easy to get confused when every faction, from the zero-carb group to the raw vegans, is waving "scientific results" that show happier, healthier humans!  But not everyone is built the same, and for most people the healthiest diet is a variety of fresh, homecooked or raw foods, covering all the bases of the food groups.

For me, I avoid grains because I'm avoiding sugar, and I've found I can't manage the one without the other.  And that works for me.  It's possible that at a later date I'll add in whole grains like quinoa and wheatberries, but for now, ditching grains entirely has been the best way of avoiding processed foods and added sugars for me.  Sugar really makes me feel sick- mentally and physically.  I find it's the number one culprit of my irritable bowel syndrome.  So, heave ho!

What do you think?  What has worked for you in trying to eat a healthier diet, and what constitutes healthy for you anyway?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hulk out with green quiche!

So I'm back on the Paleoesque diet these days, with some forays into raw veganism- green smoothies make taking the leafy greens much less time consuming!

I made this absolutely delicious spinach and broccoli quiche the other night with a quirky side effect of being green.  Here's the recipe, and why it's green:

11 eggs
2 cups milk, divided
salt and pepper
2 bunches spinach
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup grated or shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Beat the eggs and 1 cup milk together.
Blend the spinach, broccoli, and remaining cup of milk together until chunky.
Beat the spinach mixture into the eggs.
Pour into a greased casserole dish and mix half the cheese in, topping with the other half.
Bake for 40-50 minutes.

You may find you need more milk, I eyeballed it.  The blending is what makes it green- it's not enough to make it smoothie-like, but it does disperse the veggies evenly throughout the egg mixture.  I don't care for meeting whole broccoli florets in my quiches, much as I love them elsewhere, and I didn't want to take the extra time to chop everything fine- but I love the way this turned out.  A+++, would eat again!  It's a great dish for kids, very tasty and nonthreatening but full of nourishment.