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More Eating Thoughts

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Strangely enough, I realized the other day that I haven’t eaten any meat in… weeks? I can’t remember the last time and honestly, I don’t miss it. I’ve been consciously passing it up lately just because I want to focus my efforts on eating as many plants as possible. By no means am I against eating meat, nor have I suddenly become a vegetarian, I’m just enjoying my plant experimentation. I feel like I’ve managed to get some variety in my lunches and dinners lately that I would have missed out on had I fallen back on the easy out – eating chicken or something.

I realized after posting my eating tips that I left out one of the biggest and best tips I have! To avoid eating junk relatively easily, DON’T BUY IT.

Duh right? What I’m referring to is buying junk for your house. It’s pretty easy to avoid buying that Snickers bar while out and about. It seems to be more difficult for people not to buy cookies and ice cream while they do their grocery shopping. And once you’ve made those bad purchases and the cookies are sitting there in your pantry, how in the world are you NOT going to eat them???

Brika and I do not buy any junk whatsoever for our house. When we “splurge” while grocery shopping we buy Triscuits. You’re probably wondering what I do to satisfy my sweet tooth after eating dinner. Here’s my secret: I eat raisins! Which I’ve come to learn is not the greatest idea in the world. Why? Well, I got my blood test results back from the doctor and my iron score was higher than average. I know that raisins aren’t the only food I’m eating that has iron, but it’s my most consistent source of iron that I can think of.

I can tell you that on many occasions I’ve wished that we had some junk food in the house, but after getting past my moment of weakness I’m always grateful that we don’t.

The bottom line is this: finding junk food is EASY. You’ll inevitably go out for dinner and drinks with friends where you’ll eat poorly. You’ll go to work only to find chocolate chip muffins in the break room. Our lives are filled with endless opportunities to eat poorly. Give yourself an out while you’re home. Do yourself a favor and make your house a refuge for good eating habits. In other words, leave your cheating for outside the house. You’ll be thankful you did.

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Written by jlongo12

February 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Posted in cycling, home life

Some Eating Tips That Work for Me

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I know, I know. Why am I beating the “get lean” and stay lean dead horse? Well, because I wanted to share some tips that have worked for me. You may have already read my health and wellness transformation post from a year ago, and if not, please go ahead and read that first. I’ve come along way, thanks to my nutritionist wife and cycling. Along the way, there have been things that have worked and things that have not. I’m going to share what I’m doing right now to stay healthy and lean while maintaining “good legs” for cycling (aka – not starving myself).

1. This goes without saying and is largely beaten to death, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway: eat whole foods for God’s sakes. Eat 3 or 4 pieces of fruit and several helpings of vegetables every single day. How do you do this? Rather, how do I do it? Simple. I bring fruit with me to work and snack on it throughout the day. An apple here and there. An orange. A banana right before I leave for the day. Whatever it takes. Have a piece of fruit whenever you start thinking about food between meals. Vegetables are a bit different for me. I generally eat my plants for dinner. Lately I’ve been making huge spinach and fresh greens salads. I’ve been throwing whatever greens I can find around the house in them, plus nuts, raisins, and some kind of cheese. For example, the other night I came home to find that we had some leftover asparagus in the fridge. Perfect! I threw a big pile of spinach in my bowl, added the asparagus and some leftover broccoli in there. Then dumped half an avocado, a handful of raisins, shredded almonds, feta cheese, and some peas. It was delicious. My rule of thumb with big hearty salads is – there are no rules. Throw whatever plants you can find in that bad boy and go to town. It’s allll good. Got some kale lying around? Throw it in. What about that sweet potato sitting over there? Hells yes. Throw that bad boy in. Nothing won’t work.

The bottom line is this: if it has a label, be wary. Read the label. If it has more than a few simple ingrediants, it’s probably not food. It’s more likely a food-like product (thanks Michael Pollan). Eat real, whole foods. Don’t accept the substitutes.

2. A tip that goes along with my first point is to experiment. Like I said in my previous nutrition blog post, there is a cornucopia of vegetables out there that are far from your typical peas and carrots. Even in your standard King Soopers fruit and vegetable aisle, you’ll find a half dozen vegetables that look strange and may have names that are difficult to pronounce. Try them out! What’s the worst that can happen? The wonderful thing is, when you do find something random you like, you now have one extra bullet in your chamber. The more foods in your repertoire, the less likely you’ll become bored and wander off into Hamburger Helper-ville.

3. Eat breakfast. I don’t give a shit what time you wake up and how quickly you have to get to work. Do yourself a favor and eat breakfast. I also don’t care about “kick-starting your metabolism” or any other faux-scientific reason to eat breakfast. The reason breakfast is important (at least to me) is that it’s another opportunity to put good, nutrient-rich food in your system. Look at it like an opportunity, not a good time to avoid calories. And when you get to work and start getting some craving, you won’t have the excuse, “well, I haven’t eaten anything yet…. so why not indulge in a couple donuts?” Don’t give yourself that out. Start the day off right and continue to build on it.

4. Drink water all day. I know you’ve probably heard this one before, but I stand by it. I drink water all day long. I have a big cup sitting on my desk that I’ll take swigs from while working. I fill it up a few times a day on average. I think water is great because I think hydration is great. Plus, it kills the boredom hunger strikes that are sometimes unavoidable at certain points throughout the day. Kill that tiny speck of hunger growing in your stomach with some water. It doesn’t stand a chance.

5. I don’t try to eat all day long, but I kinda do. I know it’s an old wives’ tale to eat 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day. Or maybe that’s just good science. I don’t know, but I do know that I inadvertently adhere to the eating throughout the day principle. Why? Because I’m constantly snacking on fruit all day. I’ll generally have a stock of apples and bananas at my desk at all times. Sometimes I’ll have a bag of nuts and raisins. Typically, every couple of hours I’ll grab something and put it down the hatch. Maybe this is good, maybe it’s bogus. But I do it and it seems to work pretty well.

6. This is one that I kinda just picked up and is geared towards endurance athletes. On the days you do a big ride, I’ve found that eating good carbs (sweet potatoes, rice, squash, whole grains) as your recovery meal is preferable to having them all in a “big dinner.” I used to just have a protein fruit smoothie after I got home from a 5 hour ride and then have a huge dinner. I think my mind is changed about that. Now when I get home from a big ride, I’ll have some good sources of carbs and protein IN REAL FOOD! Then later on I’ll have as much greens as I can for dinner. I’m not sure why this seems to be working, but it is.

Let me give you an example. After I got home from a hard 4 hour ride today, I had some pre-cooked rice and eggs all fried up in a delicious mixture. Pre-cooked meaning I cooked a few cups of rice last night. Now for dinner I’m going to have a big spinach salad with a bunch of green fixins. Again, this tip is the least tested, but it seems to be working well for me.

7. Just because I slightly disparaged protein fruit smoothies a second ago doesn’t mean they don’t have their place. Remember the eat breakfast tip? Well, a fruit smoothie is a great breakfast item. Get yourself a decent blender and start experimenting with different frozen fruits and protein mixes. Lately I’ve been using half of my whey protein mix and adding a scoop of Sunbutter. That combo is especially delicious for strawberry/banana smoothies. (Side note: Peanut butter is bullshit. Sunbutter is where it’s at).

8. Final tip: Give yourself one cheat day every week. Mine is on Fridays. And I don’t mean “cheat within reason.” I mean go ahead and go buckwild. See those donuts in the breakroom? Ravage them! I think Fridays are optimal for cheating because it’s a good set-up for a weekend of long rides. But pick whatever day of the week works best for you. The cheat day is also important because it gives you that ace up your sleeve to resist sweets throughout the week. No need to indulge on Wednesday if you’ve got Friday to look forward to.

That’s about all I can think of at the moment. Many of them you’ve heard a million times before, but unlike some of the other standard nutrition advice out there, I can vouch for these tips.

Written by jlongo12

January 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Posted in cycling, home life

With a Little Help From My Friends

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I am so grateful right now. I just signed up for my first race back from injury, the Dead Dog Classic up in Wyoming. After taking 6 weeks off to rest and rehab my knee, I will be back racing in the wind up north at the end of this month.

I need to give a big thank you to Dr. D at Alpine Wellness Chiropractic in Arvada, Lee Carmen at Pain Solutions in Denver, bike fit master George Mullen, Jon Heidemann at Peak to Peak Training, and my Primal First Bank teammates for advice and encouragement. I also want to thank my coach Michael Hanna for his support and encouragement. He whipped me into the best form of my life before I got hurt and I have no doubts he’ll have me firing on all cylinders come August and September.

And most of all, I need to give a special thank you for the caring and understanding my fiance gave me this whole time, even when I did not deserve it. She probably suffered more than myself through all this.

Please don’t hesitate to ask me about Alpine Wellness, Peak to Peak Training, and Pain Solutions Inc. for dealing with injuries. They are highly knowledgeable, professional, and fairly priced. I cannot recommend them enough!

Written by jlongo12

June 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Posted in cycling, home life

Comeback Post

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It’s been a long time hasn’t it? I’m going to try my best to give a little update on everything that’s happened in the last month, so expect this post to be more rambling and incoherent than usual.

In terms of music, I’ve been digging into my old CD cases and uncovering some lost gems. CDs (yes, CDs) that I rocked on the regular in high school have been getting fresh spins in my car. In other words, I’m partying like it’s 1999. So what have I been rocking? Here’s a small list: Blink 182’s Cheshire Cat, both Bigwig records, Good Riddance, Operation Ivy, Poison the Well’s Opposite of December (which does NOT hold up over time), Past Mistakes, Strung Out’s Twisted by Design, DeLaHoya, The Break, No Use for a Name’s Making Friends, Digger’s Powerbait, and some other punk rock classics that escape me at the moment.

As far as TV goes, Briks and I have been suffering through AMC’s The Killing each Sunday night. God what an awful show. The only reason we keep watching is the fact that we’ve invested so much time in the show already and it’s a murder mystery, which we’re suckers for no matter how poorly executed. In case you haven’t been watching, I’ll give you a quick run down of what the show’s all about. Think of all the cop cliche’s you have ever heard. Add to that cliche’s about Seattle’s weather (it’s constantly pouring down rain). And finish it off with a god awful storyline about a mayor’s race we could give a shit less about. Oh, and a local high school girl was killed and we still don’t know who did it.

Ok, books time. I just made an Amazon order because I broke my cell phone case the other day. I’m unaware of any other venue that sells HTC Android cases as cheap as Amazon does. $5 cell phone case? Yeah, I’ll take it. So in addition to a couple really cheap cases, I ordered a couple books I’ve had my eye on. I will be receiving Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by economist Tim Harford. Tim is known in economics circles as one of the few economists who can write really well. Another economist who knows a thing or two about writing is the great Walter Williams. Walter recently came out with two books. One was an autobiography that eventually I’ll read and the other is a economics book on race and discrimination. I ordered Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? There are few economists better than Walter Williams, and there are no economists better than Walter on issues of race.

What about libertarianism? Well, is there a better time in history to be a libertarian than right now? Obama has solidified George W. Bush’s third term with more undeclared, unconstitutional (and hardly covert) wars, more civil rights busting surveillance state controls, an official American citizen assassination list, and more executive branch secrecy. Don’t believe me? Just read the news. Or Glenn Greenwald. You’d have to be the most hardcore partisan loyalist to refuse to admit that the two parties are actually one party. And yes, there are many of you out there.

Let’s get to a little home life. I’ve had the smartest friend I’ve ever had and literally the first friend I ever had Mike visit me at the beginning and the end of his trip to Colorado. He flew in for a friend’s wedding held coincidentally at the Boettcher mansion on top of Lookout, and ended up hanging out and staying with us a couple of days. What a great surprise! There is no one on earth I can more nerdy with than Mike. I’ll miss that when he’s gone.

Economics? I guess I sort of covered that in my books section. But I’ll say this as well. Go read Mises.org and learn something.

And now to granddaddy of them all: cycling. I don’t want to get into all the gory details on this post but I will give the Cliff’s Notes version. After taking 6 full weeks off the bike to rest and rehab my knee, I started testing my knee out early this month with a few short, easy rides. After a couple of weeks of testing and increasing my volume, we decided to start getting me training again. So last week I met with my coach and outlined my comeback plan for the end of the season. I officially started training 2 weeks ago and will race again at the end of June up in Wyoming at the Dead Dog stage race. I obviously won’t be fit by then but it will be great to get back in the ol’ saddle and race a bit. By the time August rolls around, I should be fit again and ready to do well at the AFA state road race championship, Rist Canyon race, and finally the Steamboat Springs stage race. Definitely looking forward to those.

In other bike news, thanks to all my stretching, PT, and chiropractic care, I am tons more flexible now with miles of new range of motion. Therefore, I feel extremely comfortable and loose on my bike. So George and I decided to stretch me out a cm and drop me down 1.5 cm’s. It feels soooo good. But I’m still slow at the moment, which is frustrating. I feel like a million bucks, but I can’t push 200 watts without huffing and puffing.

I’d like to end with a public mid-year resolution to get back into regular blogging again. I’ve been so distracted with trying to get my cycling back in order that I’ve neglected this outlet. I had to put it on hold while I was mentally broken because of my knee. I’m back now though. And I’m ready to start training and writing regularly again. Wish me luck.

Written by jlongo12

May 29, 2011 at 7:49 am

New Routine

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Eat, stretch, work, stretch, sleep.

Repeat.

Written by jlongo12

March 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Posted in cycling, home life