Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Soggy Half Marathon

So Sunday I ran the US Half Marathon through the nicest parts of San Francisco and inadvertently participated in a wet t-shirt flash mob. After weeks of sunny days, mother nature decided to rain exactly during my half marathon. It was 13.1 miles of pouring rain. The course itself was great because it was a longer version of the Presidio 10 I did this spring. There's always a rush you get out of running across the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, if I had windshield wipers on my glasses I would have gotten that rush, otherwise I could only see about ten feet in front of me. The rain was a pain in the ass in other ways as well. It added another five pounds of weight on me both in the form of wet clothes and wet shoes. The clothes got bad in mile 10 when my shorts began to slide off me and I had to periodically pull them up. And whenever I would step into a puddle, my shoes would get waterlogged. Oh, and at mile 4, my iPod gave out so I just running with no tunes.

On the plus side, I didn't have have problems with overheating or getting thirsty. And surprisingly, I has plenty of kick for the end. I am surprised I didn't just cramp up with being wet and cold but I didn't.

Being a wet, sodden mess, I was happy to just finish the race. In the end, I did just fine. I finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 59 seconds for a pace of 9:56/mile. That placed me firmly in the middle of the pack - 1292 out of 2976 runners and 316 out of 499 male runners between the ages of 30-39.

Three days later, I'm feeling pain free and am looking forward to running a 10K with my family on Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Enough with the rice and beans

So Feministe puts this very interesting post linking to a New York Times slideshow about what $1 will buy you. It's interesting and sad to see that you can buy a crappy meal with processed food or you can buy...ten organic blueberries. Should be eye opening for folks to see how your money goes and how badly supported non-conventional farming is because they need to charge that much.

BUT THEN....the comments. Oh the comments. The first comment brings out the tired tired tired point that rice and beans are cheap and nutritious. I just have to say. SHUT UP ABOUT THE RICE AND BEANS. Fine they got you through that two week stretch between paycheck entitlement asshole but please, once you got paid, I'm sure you went out for sushi or the Whole Foods salad bar. Because seriously, noone's gonna live on rice and beans for the rest of their lives. And condemning poor people to a life of rice and beans is a pretty asshole move.

There were time where I did live on a food stamp budget and I ate really well. But few people were in my position. I lived in a group house where we shared food. We shared chores so the same person shopping for groceries was not the person cleaning toilets. We had a list that the grocery person check the fridge and pantry to see what we were missing. Most of the folks had a car we could use to get the groceries. AND the prices at the Chevy Chase Safeway was like 30% cheaper than the SE Safeway.

For people of privilege to give these rice and beans prescription to low-income folks is just insulting. Folks may be poor but they deserve more than rice and beans. Oh and by the way, as a diabetic, rice and beans suck because they are high on carbs. So suck it clueless people.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sugar free along zabaglione

My biggest fear about being diabetic (apart from losing a limb or going blind) was having to eat sugar substitutes. As someone who believes in healthy eating and not eating chemicals, that kind of bugged me to the core. It took about a week to get over that because I like sweets and I like my eyesight and my limbs. So Splenda it is!

I wouldn't recommend sugar substitutes for everything. Basically because a lot of desserts have so much flour in them that they end up being crazy high in carbs even with a sugar substitute. So that leaves things that don't require much flour. I've had massive success with pavlovas and now I've made a pretty kicking zabaglione.

For those of you know familiar with them, a zabaglione is the base for a tiramisu - egg yolks beaten with sugar until they are pale yellow and the consistency of cake batter. I think the traditional zabaglione is made with marsala wine but you can change up the liquor. The zabaglione is then given more structure with mascarpone and lightened with whipped cream. Splenda is a great substitute and the tang of the mascarpone really covers up the icky aftertaste. I will say though, with egg yolks and whipped cream, this is not diet food.

Sugar Free Almond Zabaglione

3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of almond liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup of baking Splenda (this is lightened to be a 1 to 1 substitute for sugar)

8 oz mascarpone (or cream cheese if you are in a pinch) at room temp
1 cup of heavy cream, whipped

With the paddle attachment on your stand mixer (or use your regular handheld), mix the first four ingredients until it's a pale yellow and looks like cake batter. Add the cheese and mix until perfectly blended. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the cheese mixture to lighten and then fold in the rest. Serve with flaked almonds on top.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A great blog entry on Fat Hatred

This is so my story:

"She was convinced, absolutely convinced, I was in terrible health because of my weight. EVERYTHING was brought back to my weight. She blamed my hay fever on my weight. When she told me — not asked me, told me — that I was short of breath while climbing stairs and I responded that I was a runner, so no, she told me running was bad for me at my weight."

Just read it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Fat Acceptance Needs to Happen Now

A friend of mine recently got diagnoses with pre-diabetes. Looking at her numbers, they are actually better numbers what a lot of diabetes counselors would want their clients to achieve. She admitted she went to her doctor to talk about weight loss earlier so the doctor was on high alert for signs of "weight related" complications. As someone living with diabetes, I responded that it's always better to get into shape BUT her numbers were actually decent. Not great and not something to blow off but decent.

The big part of the conversation was about unpacking the fat hatred and fear she was experiencing. My friend is a big woman. She doesn't exercise regularly. And i don't know what she eats on a regular basis. My response was - it's always good to make healthy changes in your lifestyle no matter what you weigh. Your health will improve if you exercise more, eat more fruits and veggies and less starches and fats. But NONE of that guarantees you will lose weight.

Right now, I am about 12 pounds heavier than I was at my lowest weight. My blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels are what you see in athletes. And guess what, I am an athlete. My BMI stays in the obese range and I'm an athlete. I run 18 miles a week. I am preparing for my first half marathon after running a 12k and a 10 mile at an 8:30 minute/mile pace. And I'm fat. And that's not just my story. "STEVEN N. Blair, one of the nation's leading experts on the health benefits of exercise, is short and fat. Those are his words. The president and chief executive officer of the Cooper Institute, a nonprofit organization in Dallas dedicated to research on the relationship between living habits and health, Dr. Blair, 65, is 5-feet-5 and weighs 195 pounds. He's also a dedicated runner who habitually takes off for an hourlong jog. 'I'm a short, fat guy who runs every day,' Dr. Blair said in a recent phone interview. 'I've run tens of thousands of miles over the past 40 years, and in that time I've gained 30 pounds.'"

I asked my friend, "how would you feel if you could run 10 miles easily and regularly ran 18 miles a week and you were exactly the same weight?" Her response was - "pretty pissed."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More inspiration - Keeping it up

So I'm reading this tomatonation advice entry about someone who is beating herself up over having a letdown after a marathon and not exercising for a while after that. Suffice to say that she is being too hard on herself and giving yourself rest is the best thing you can do. I take a week off after a race and the next week I only do low-impact like the elliptical.

But key to this is making sure your goals are YOUR goals. One commenter recommended this guy as someone to keep folks inspired. I read the website and I am impressed. I am proud to be a penguin, knowing that I will be firmly in the middle of any pack I run. BUT I do better with each race and, on occasion, in costume. He makes a great point thusly, "We—the few, the proud, the plodding—very often train as much or more than faster runners. At a blistering twelve (or even ten) minute pace, a fifteen mile week represents a major time commitment."

As I've said before on the blog. It's about the doing. Our bodies are temperamental things. They retain weight. They react badly to medication. They get injured. Sometimes we can't control the body but we can control the mind. We can decide to do something. And we can decide to keep doing it. As I stay on this journey and get off course, the times I slack off means I get to start again. And in true penguin style I think this way, "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

In the words of Gloria Gaynor - "It takes a lifetime to become the best that you can be. There's no return and no deposit, so you have to like what's in your closet."

Monday, June 21, 2010


So today I went for my yearly opthamologist appointment to check on the health of my eyes. For those of you longtime readers, you may remember that the way I found out about my diabetes was an eye doctor found the beginnings of blood vessel damage in my eyes which led to the diagnosis. A year and a half later and a whole lot of better numbers I go back to the eye doctor and he says..."Are you sure you're diabetic?"


Unlike a lot of chronic disease, I actually REVERSED the effects on my eyes and there's NO TRACE of damage to my eyes.

Well that makes the running, the food long, the carb counting and the classes worth it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tip of the Week - Work events

Ok. Here's a quickie. Never go into a work event hungry. So if you've got that fundraiser at 7:00 pm. Go to your stash of fruit and nuts and have some. Because going to a buffet of appetizers hungry is as bad news as going to the supermarket hungry.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bay to Breakers 2010 - Kicking Ass

So Bay to Breakers. This year I couldn't get it together to do a costume. It would have been great if I did because it was COLD. Andi Never get cold. But being in a wet t-shirt for hours means you are a little more vulnerable to the elements. The funniest thing that happened was seeing a dead ringer for Sarah Palin - bouffant hair, lipstick, glasses - asking for her picture and her asking me why. She wasn't in costume.

I thought I did fine. Probably better than last year but not by much. I was way back from the start line because my shuttle bus was late so the time one the clock was 1 hour 12 minutes (a little under a 10-minute mile pace) but I know it took me four or five minutes to get to the starting line. Hayes street hill kicked my ass but the rest of the course was flat. My first three miles ended up averaging 10-minute mile pace (because I was walking the first half mile because of the crowds. I really cranked it up the last half. My mile five and six were something like an 8 minute mile. I slowed to about a 9 minute mile pace in mile 7.

And the verdict? I finished in 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 40 seconds. That's an 8 minute, 56 second/mile pace. Sub 9!!!!! I would have never guessed but then again. Last year, with significantly less training I did 9 minute, 11 second pace. ROCK ON! It's seems to be a theme this year that I can't really gauge my speed and races seem to be a tougher slog. It feels like I am running slower but clearly I am not.

The funny thing is that the world is running faster because I finished 2875 out of 24303 runners and 726 our of 3201 people in my age group. That's worse than last year but it's all about the finish.

It's such a badly organized race. I will do next year for the 100th Anniversary and that's it. The logistics blow. I did a park and ride shuttle from Emeryville to SF that would drop you off at the start and take you back at the finish. Sadly, it was a mile walk to get to the damn pick up from the finish line AND it didn't leave until noon. Which meant I was sitting there in a wet t-shirt for two and a half

The hidden costs of Bay to Breakers is insane:

Parking for Park and ride - $10
Shuttle - $22
Replacement t-shirt to not get hypothermia - $15
A runners' fanny pack (because there's no bag check in) - $20

The best costume by far were two guys dressed as homophobe and hypocrite George Rekkers and his "travel companion."

And Jersey Shore references were thick on the ground at Bay to Breakers. Case in point:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wish me luck!

Bay to Breakers is tomorrow. I am gonna kick Hayes Hill's ass!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tip of the Week - Pizza

When I was first diagnosed, I thought pizza was out. But pizza has come back to my life. The key is portion control. And as a diabetic, starch is never the center of my meal. I will have a SIDE of rice pilaf or a SIDE of mac 'n cheese (often in a tiny cast iron skillet) but no, there will not be a plate of pasta in front of me. I still eat things like polenta and grits but I make sure my plate is divided into quarters - one quarter protein, one quarter starch, two quarters veggies. No deprivation at all.

Here's the tip: Don't order delivery pizza. Go to a restaurant with friends. The more expensive the better. There's an awesome place that serves wood oven pizzas. I split one as an appetizer with three other people and I get one slice, two slices max. Pizza is never the center of my meal. And believe me, pizza with proscuitto, shaved Parmesan and asparagus -HEAVEN!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Light and Fresh

I've been on the hunt lately for some new recipes, and so every once in a while I do a Google search on some of my favorite ingredients. When I put in "zucchini" recently, I got this great recipe for Feta Chicken with Zucchini.

Yum! Chicken, lemon, feta, zucchini, parsley... can't go wrong with that! The recipe is very easy, and the result is very light and tasty. It would also be perfect as a fish dish, with tilapia or another light variety.

My only caution with the recipe is to be careful with the cooking time. I had some organic chicken breasts that were HUGE, so I ended up cooking it about 10 minutes more than what is stated. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Segment - Tip of the Week

You know, living the lifestyle, you can take a lot of the changes for granted. That's the point isn't it? What used to be a huge effort is now a natural part of your routine. So to capture some of the ongoing things that are becoming almost subconscious, I am instituting the Tip of the Week. We're all learning something, so if you have something you've incorporated into your routine, feel free to share in the comments.

Here's my tip of the week - Restaurant Eating

When you've eaten your portion of food, put a napkin on top of your plate. I am finding my meal is DONE. Like I would totally be embarrassed if I had to unearth my food from a napkin. It also indicates to a server you are done so that the food is outta there.

What are things you all do to keep on track in restaurants?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Now we're cooking - Mustard Roasted fish

Oh Ina Garten, while I hate your new show, your recipes continue to rock. This weekend I had a hankering for fish but my fish knowledge is somewhat limited. I was leafing through the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics Cookbook and came across her Mustard Roasted Fish recipe and realized how easy it is to adapt to a low-salt/low-fat diet. The recipe requires no salt and you can easily replace the creme fraiche with low-fat sour cream. Easy.

Here's my version

1 8 oz white fish filet (like red snapper, mahi mahi, tilapia)
1/2 cup of lowfat sour cream
1 teaspoon drained capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard
pinch of pepper

Law the fish filet in a glass baking dish. Mix everything in a bowl. Spread on top of the fish so that hte fish is completely covered in the sour cream mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the fish and thickness. For a relatively thin, light fish like tilapia, it will be 10, for something thicker and "meatier" like mahi mahi, it will be 15.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pretty Colors

I tried two, count 'em, two new recipes today, and they both turned out pretty well! These are both from the Weight Watchers in 20 Minutes cookbook. But, don't let the title fool you... even though it may be 20 minutes of cooking time, each of these took about an hour to make including all the prep. (Note, I'm not going to share the recipes here, but you can see the basic idea and probably find them online elsewhere.)

First up, a dish called "New Orleans-Style Chicken." This involved okra, corn, tomatoes, and cajun/creole seasoning. A nice combo that ultimately ended up with a little sweet taste to it.

You know how they say healthy dishes are the most colorful dishes? Pretty.

Here I've added some fat-free half & half and letting the chicken finish...

The recipe calls for 4 servings, but I made it into 3. I doubled the amount of corn and okra for added veggie goodness, and I put about 3/4 cup white rice into each dish. I had this as a very tasty lunch today, and will have it twice again this week. Overall, I give it 3 1/2 stars.

Tonight, I decided to make the "Easy Pepper Steak." Considering I've never really liked the taste of peppers, I really have come to appreciate them as a light way to add a lot of flavor. They do get better when they're cooked. Here's the starting point -- well, after a good 20 minutes of veggie prep:

The sauce is a combo of low-fat, low-sodium beef broth, low sodium soy sauce, and corn starch.

And here are my 4 servings - one for dinner, 3 for this week, also served over about 1 cup each of white rice. I know, I should use brown and I do most of the time, but I really wanted white rice today. This is really tasty - I give it 4 stars. Yay to cooking with veggies!

Monday, April 19, 2010

10 miles ran beeyotches!!!!

Goal met! Yesterday I seriously kicked my own ass and ran the Presidio 10, but this year it was the Presidio 10 MILE as opposed to 10K. And I ran it in one hour, 31 minutes and 57 seconds. To give a little perspective on how far I've come, I ran the Presidio 10K in 58 minutes and 27 seconds - a 9 minute 25 second/mile pace. This year, running a little less than four miles further, my pace increased to a speedy (hah!) 9 minute 11 second pace. Now that progress! Some other numbers for you dear readers: I placed 334 out of 714 runners and 212 out of 315 men - pretty much in the middle of the pack.

The true fun of the race is the utter beauty of running right against the rocky cliffs of Northern California. There's something about running right across the Golden Gate bridge and seeing the headlands of Marin County and the seeing the tip of San Francisco that takes your breath away. That's a good thing, because this race KICKED MY ASS. It didn't help that a few days earlier when I was doing a training run my calf cramped it at still felt tight. And the course itself kicked my ass with a 1/2 mile stretch where I was running uphill at a 45 degree angle.

This was not an easy race for me as I just felt like I had to push for most stretches, except for when I was going downhill. Like my last 10k, I totally felt as if I was just shuffling along and not really getting my stride but I am pretty impressed with my pace. Unlike other races, I was totally spent at the end, although I still managed to sprint the last 200 meters. Knowing I don't train outdoors, I knew my race pace would be much slower than what I do on the treadmill. But this was actually very close to my 9 minute mile treadmill pace.

While everyone has different motivations, I find mine to be racing. I always keep up my running knowing that my ass will be kicked on the race course if I don't keep up with my training. The other motivation is blogging about it because it is satisfying to shout to the world I RAN 10 MILES BEEYOTCHES!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Watch to Mock - Ruby

You remember when I wrote about Ruby - The Style Network show about a woman's weight loss journey. I used to watch it to see her struggles to lose weight and her life as a person of size. I knew there were fake elements - like Ruby deliberately torturing herself by going to candy stores - but there were real elements like her trying to stay on track on the indignity of not having a big enough chair to fit you.

Sadly, now I just watch the show to mock because damn if Ruby isn't nuttier than a Payday bar and the show isn't faker than Miley Cyrus' mom.

First, Ruby has bought into her own hype and thinks she is an Oprah-style role model. Ruby, Oprah was a broadcast journalist and Oscar nominated actress before anyone let her have her own tv show. STARR JONES was a prosecutor with actual knowledge of the law before she got on tv. You got on tv because you lost weight. Losing weight is a big deal and I'm sure it gives you strength and insight but PLEASE, put it in perspective. You act is if the mere fact you're on tv gives you more insight than any other person who has lost weight. It didn't. It just made you luckier.

But it hasn't made you smarter. To quote Tai from Clueless "I'm not going to take advice from a virgin who can't drive." The girls in your Girl's Fat Night have a zillion times more experience with sex and relationships than you. They seem to be able to use actual real word to discuss their health (Christmas doctor = gynecologist). They dress better than you (I know low blow but it's true). And they seems to be actively invested in their own recovery (doing the damn 12-step assignments). You can learn WITH them but don't think you have anything to teach them.

Also, everything is reality show setup. I don't believe that you and Denny have mad chemistry no matter how much your friend Georgia says you do. It's also hard to believe that were ever in a romantic relationship with Denny for eight years when he was completely harassing Jeff and his girlfriend about not having sex after three months. I don't believe all of these trips to the restaurants because you should know by now that going out requires that you develop skills to cope with not being able to eat anything on the menu. I also don't believe that Jeff is straight but that's neither here nor there.

Finally, I am so over your quest to recover your missing memories because: a) it was something so horrifying we don't need to see it on national tv; or b) it was as fake as the rest of the scenarios.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform - One important point

As all of my facebook pals know, I have been extreme skeptical of the health care reform bill. But someone with diabetes points out how important the rule that noone with pre-existing conditions can be denied coverage OR be charged up the wazoo. Here's what this person has to say.

Bittersweet Victory

So this weekend, I did a set of blood tests. You see, my blood sugar readings have been on the high end (120 - 130) and I've been worried that they have been going up. AND I've just been gaining some weight. Nothing huge, but I'm about 10 pounds over my lowest weight last year. So I've been emailing my doctor to get me back on the metformin and he said I should get a batch of blood tests done to see if it's necessary.

And the blood tests showed - I'm perfectly fine.

My overall cholesterol went down a few points. And everything in the cholesterol panel was well below normal in the "kicking ass" range.

AAAANNND - The blood glucose are fine. They are slight higher than before (103 as opposed to 100 and 5.2 as opposed to 5.1) Both in the doing very well range.

So in the end, everything is fine and what I really need to do is get my glucose meter recalibrated.

Monday, March 15, 2010

This is where our priorities lie

I know First Ladies try and avoid controversy like the plague, but it's a bit disingenuous for Michelle Obama to advocate for healthier living when the federal government subsidies are so whack.

Check it out.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Carrots & Couscous, Oh My!

I've been thinking a lot about my Dad lately, especially because tomorrow is his birthday. He was a really good cook, and was really happy that I was finally learning how and shared a lot of advice, recipes, and enthusiasm with me. So, this weekend I decided to pull one of the cookbooks he gave me off the shelf and give something new a try. I've been thumbing through this book of North African cooking for months, and it all looks amazing. Tonight, I made a variation of the Moroccan Carrot Salad. By adding couscous, it's become a really substantial side dish that I'll be eating all week.

The recipe starts with 1 lb of grated carrots... that was fun. Since trusty cat Cleo has an inexplicable addiction to carrots, she was very happy to get a few little pieces tossed her way.

That's a lotta carrots! You then mix the carrot with raisins, slivered or shaved almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon. The recipe also called for rosewater, but even with Scotte's good advice I was thwarted at the grocery store - my Giant doesn't carry it. It seems fine without.

I made 1 1/2 cups of plain couscous to mix in with the finished salad. I always underestimate how much couscous really cooks up, and I ended up with a huge amount, so this will last me quite a while.

Here's the finished product, dished out in a lunch portion with a grilled pork chop. I'll look forward to that tomorrow!

This carrot salad is really tasty, sweet with rich flavors. I added in extra honey when I mixed in the couscous, which I think was a good move. This would make a great vegetarian dish and a good contribution to a pot luck sometime. I will definitely make it again. Thanks, Dad.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Speaking of Fat Jocks

Yours truly ran 11 miles on Sunday in preparation for my 10-mile race in April. I'm still recovering from the run but still, I'm taking names and kicking ass.

This is what an athlete looks like

So this guy won an Olympic Gold medal on Friday in bobsledding. He won a medal that the U.S. hadn't won in 62 years and for those of us who like our men on the solid side, he's total eye candy.

His victory really shows how much we need to change our cultural lexicon when it comes to the image of health because it's a guarantee that his BMI would put him in the "overweight" category. Think about it, there are tons of football linemen, shot putters and wrestlers who are built like trucks. They trainer for horus every day and are in peak physical condition, but if most of us close our eyes, someone who looks like this:

isn't what we would picture. Both these people are Olympic Gold Medalists. Both train like mofos and are in peak physical condition. Both are healthy. And both would be labels as overweight. What is wrong with this picture? And it's not the two hotties in the pictures.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Others have said it better...

So Michelle Obama has unveiled an anti-obesity campaign. Salon's Broadsheet capture pretty much everything I would say about it.

I would add to it that the entire framing of "anti-obesity" already gets this program off to a bad start. Because fighting "obesity" is part and parcel with shaming "obese people." Our size is a body trait. Potentially changeable but a body trait nonetheless. Waging a campaign against the way many, if not a majority of Americans, look is pretty problematic.

That's why when Stef and I started this blog, it would be about the stuff we do not the way we look. This is not a blog about our shame on the way we look. The way I look may or may not be the result of what I do but what's important is the what I do part. Is it no less of a victory that I've been more conscious about what I put into my body and taken more control of my body in terms of exercise if I didn't lose a single pound?

Rather than waging a campaign against something, how about waging a campaign FOR something. Because once you get over that awful anti-obesity frame, the campaign makes sense. It's about not being sedentary and eating a variety of foods that are home cooked. It's about increasing access to healthy foods. All good things that could be packaged as healthy and active living as opposed to anti-obesity.

P.S. Where the campaign does go far enough is the access. While it would suck for monsanto, what about increasing subsidies for organic produce and small farmers? It wouldn't cost a damn thing if you took away 10% of what you give to industrial agriculture.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thank Goodness for Diabetes

So I was in Minneapolis this week for work and I was sitting at a coffeehouse with my co-worker. I notice the man sitting next to me was really out of it and sweating profusely. In Minnesota. In the dead of winter. Then I noticed something - his blood glucose meter. Everything clicked and I realized the man was severely hypoglycemic.

I asked him if he needed something to eat and he said he was fine. Then everyone around him was asking him if he needed help and he insisted he was fine. My co-worker and i talked about what to do because we could both tell he was not doing well at all. My co-worker then wen to the coffeehouse staff and asked if they could check in on the man. While he was talking to the staff, two women sitting near the counter overheard and came with the management to ask the man for help. As it turned, out the women were nurses and insisted on helping out man.

While they were getting the man to drink orange juice, they asked me to check the man's blood glucose since I knew how to use the glucose meter. His reading was a scary ass 36. That is literally Shelby in a coma territory. Thank god the nurses knew how to be insistent.

In the end, the paramedics were called and they came and monitored the man's blood sugar as he drank more juice and ate a few brownies. After an hour, the man alert and able to take care of himself. When the EMT checked his blood sugar is was 140 so he was fine.

I have never been so grateful to be diabetic and be able to spot hypoglycemia. It's a blessing to have gone through extensive training on living with diabetes (however problematic) and get the support I did to understand the disease.

Thank goodness for my disease and hte knowledge it gave me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Building up to 9 miles

To the commenter who asked about how whether I was on a program to build up to running nine miles – yes and no. About a month ago, I told my sister’s boyfriend that I would be stepping up and running the Presidio 10 as a 10 mile race as opposed to a 10K. He emailed me a running schedule and training program for the weeks leading up to it and I’ve been doing that program for the last three weeks.

But here’s what led up to that. Before I say anything else, I need to point out I have a long history with exercise. I’ve always ran and was on the track team in high school. In fact, I was an aerobics instructor in college. As an aside, my classes always had waiting lists because both women and men thought I was great to learn from. For the women, they liked not having to compare their bodies to the person teaching them and for the men, they wanted to see a dude aerobics. This is all to say exercise and I have been old friends. I’ve run 5k’s and 10k’s my whole life.

Once I graduated from college, not having a sport to compete in or a class to teach meant that I would go on this binge-purge cycle of exercise. Running a lot for a month but then slacking off for a week which led to slacking off for a month. With the diabetes diagnosis, I had a huge incentive to exercise regularly – eating what I wanted. As I’ve said before, exercise lower your blood glucose level so exercising after eating means that you have a little more leeway about what you eat. Also, when I was losing weight, my nutritionist told me not to be concern about the fat in my diet since it was being burned off during exercise. Exercise = eating bacon. A win win proposition.

Here’s the progression:
A year and a half ago after the diagnosis, I ran four times a week on the treadmill for three miles per session. I was doing a 10 minute/mile pace.

After about three months, I increased my speed to about a 9:30 minute/mile pace and made one of the runs a four mile run at a 10 minute/mile pace.

The following month, I increased one of my slow runs to 5 miles.

When I ran my first 5 mile race in January 2009 and did great, I increased my short runs to 4 miles and increase my pace to 9:15 minute/mile.

Upon committing to do Bay to Breakers (12k or 7.4 miles), I upped my long run to 6 miles for a month and then to 7.5.

After Bay to Breakers, 9 months after the diagnosis, I reduced the number of runs to three per week but with increased intensity – a 9 minute/mile pace.

During the summer, with no race in the near future, I increased my short runs to 5 miles at the same pace and omitted the long run (just made it another 5 miles)

When I made my commitment to run Bay to Breakers AND do Presidio 10 as a 10 miler, I reintroduced the long run of 7 miles but would only do that twice a month.

And that leads us to this point where I am doing a set training program leading up to 10 miles.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Milestone acheived!

Sunday, I ran 9 miles - the furthest I ever ran in my life. It kicked my ass and I learned that I do need to start slow because the last two miles I was running at a 10 minute mile pace. My own impatience got to me and I really just wanted the run to be over. Lesson learned and I look forward to running the full 10 miles. The challenge is to do it slowly.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dear God, Whole Foods

Seems like Whole Foods is getting on the fat shaming bandwagon. Check it. Y'all know how much i think BMI is a load of crap as a health measure, but this is some seriously effed up thinking. If you do buy the idea that we should encourage more people to eat healthier, should you offer the discounts to the people with HIGHER BMIs so that they take advantage of the all of those fruits and vegetables?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And interesting post on Pandagon

So I just read this post on Pandagon, a feminist, political website. It brings up two really good points.

1. BMI sucks and as an indicator of health. I have a cousin who is 6 feet and thin as a rail. I can run circles around him and my BMI is a zillion times more than his. My sister's boyfriend's BMI is a zillion times bigger than his - my sister's boyfriend IS A TRIATHELETE.

2. All of this fear on women "bulking up" is based on misogynist ideas that women should be frail and weak. My question for you readers of the female persuasion is - do you do weight training? Why or why not. I personally do the absolute minimum of weight training mainly because I find it boring and I cannot stare at the tv while I'm doing it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Don't Cry for Me Stef...

I get to eat plenty of sweets. Ever since I've gotten over my fear of Splenda and learned about almond flour, the sweet are pretty plentiful in my household. Given the fact I am replacing flour for ground almonds, the fat content will be high, but that's why I run 18 miles a week.

But here's my list of sweet stuff:

Fruit cobblers
Peanut butter cookies
Dark chocolate
sugar free ice cream
almond flour pancakes
Hot chocolate with almond milk and splenda (and a shot of sugar free hazelnut syrup)

All of them are less than 15 grams of carbs and taste pretty awesome. In fact, the sugar free pancakes are 1 gram of carbs per pancake. I can only eat five before I'm full.

Here's a recipe for the pancakes

* 1 cup almond flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 2 eggs
* 1/4 cup water (for puffier pancakes, you can use sparkling water)
* 1 tablespoons oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon sweetener
* 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Mix ingredients together and cook as you would other pancakes. I like to use a nonstick pan with a little oil. The only real difference is that they won't "bubble" on top the same way as regular pancakes. Flip them when the underside is brown. Serve with sugar free maple syrup.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Cooking with Veggies

I'm still experimenting with new ways to use veggies, and/or using new veggies in my usual ways.

I tried this great recipe for a creamy celery soup. I'm loving pureed soups lately, and this one is really yummy. It's the surprisingly great combo of celery and thyme, and I even used dried thyme. The potatoes give the soup the creamy consistency, so it tastes much richer than it is since it has no actual cream in it. Yum! Great frozen and reheated, too.

And here's just a variation on the usual, but I thought it looked pretty with all that green in the pan. It's chicken stir fry with baby bok choy, which I served over brown rice.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Salt and Public Policy

The research and debates continue....

Health / Fitness & Nutrition
Big Benefits Are Seen From Eating Less Salt
Published: January 21, 2010
Scientists writing in The New England Journal of Medicine conclude that lowering the amount of salt people eat by even a small amount could reduce cases of heart disease, stroke and heart attacks.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sweet Heaven

Sorry co-blogger, this one's gonna be all about the sweetness....

I can always tell when I'm about 2-3 weeks into healthy eating, cuz that's when I start to crave things like cookies, cake, ice cream, etc. I don't normally have a huge sweet tooth, but if you put it in front of me I'll eat it. And when I'm focusing more on veggies, fruit, lean proteins, and fiber - well, my brain starts thinking "Dooooooooonnnnnnuuuuuuuuttttttttttttttt."

Anyway, I decided tonight to try and curb my craving with something I could whip up from the pantry. And although the result is not *totally* guilt-free, I have to say this is one of the awesomest things I've ever made.

Breakfast, it's what's for dinner. In the form of CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA PANCAKES.

Oh, dear Lord. I want to lick the plate. Reduced fat "Heart Smart" Bisquick. Non-fat organic milk. Egg beaters. Sugar Free Maple Syrup. Low-fat butter. One banana. About 20 semi-sweet chocolate chips. Two pancakes. One giant smile on my face.

Cravings begone!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The conundrum

I am totally grateful for this blog because it does keep me focused on what I need to focus on. Case in point, since I've gone off the medication to control my blood sugar I've gained about 8 pounds and gone up a pants size. I talked with my doctor about it and he said that a beneficial side effect of the metformin is that it facilitates weight loss.

I've been at the same weight for two months so it's not like I'm blowing up. And on every other measure I am rocking.

- My cholesterol, A1C, and urine scores are actually better than when I was at my lowest weight

- I've increased my running from two 3-mile runs and a 5-mile run to to two 5-mile runs and a 7.5 mile run.

- My speed in the races improved dramatically.

So everything is going well BUT I was damn tempted to ask for some drugs to get the weight off. It's a conundrum. I need to celebrate that my body does well enough on its own (as along as I do the things I need to). The flip side is that I am pretty damn tempted to get back on drugs I don't need just to lose a few pounds.

Now where was that forest again?

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's Working

It is nice to be reminded that you DO know how to do this, and all it takes is just DOING IT.

I've been paying more attention to my diet as my New Year's resolution, cutting out all the pre-holiday treats (goodbye cookie dough) and keeping my food journal regularly. I'm making the most of my produce delivery and making lots of veggie-rich meals and fruit-based snacks. I'm trying to drink more water -- though I always need to do better on that. I'm not starving myself - I've even eaten out many times - but I'm trying to eat better things.

And, it's working. In 18 days, I've lost 7.8 pounds. Hooray!!! I know how to do this.

Now, at some point, I'm going to have to confront my nemesis.... exercise. Grumble.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cheap and Easy in the Kitchen

I just got back from a great cooking demonstration class. (Thank you, Groupon!)

Personal chef Zan Dial of Nova Personal Chef taught us how to cook 3 of the recipes from his upcoming book Cheap and Easy in the Kitchen. His whole idea is to share tips on cooking meals for a family of 4 for a week for under $100. He gave us all 7 recipes from the book, so I've got lots of stuff to try. (I'm not going to reproduce the recipes here, out of respect for his upcoming book. I will post in the future if I make my own variations on them.)

In the demo, he made - and we sampled:

- Shrimp Creole - This was delicious and had great heat to it. I loved it with the shrimp, and he said it can be made with chicken, scallops, or white fish too. I asked about reheating, and he recommended that it would be better to make it with chicken for a meal to eat all week, since microwaving shrimp is NOT a good thing. I will definitely make this.

- Baked Ziti - A good simple recipe, with a great basic tomato sauce that I loved. It's got the usual, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, onion, and garlic plus a little sugar to cut the acidity. His recipe can be made with or without meat, and it also would be a great meal to make once and eat leftovers for a few days.

- Braised Beef with Root Vegetables - OMG this was delicious. What a great reminder of how awesome beef is when braised in red wine. :-) This is similar to my beef stew recipe, just slow cooked either in a crock pot or on a stove top. I need to start adding wine to my stew, cuz it just makes it out of this world.

In addition, we got recipes for:
- Penne with Vodka Tomato Sauce
- Pasta Primavera with Chicken
- Grilled Flank Steak and Red Peppers
- Beef or Chicken Kabobs with Cucumber Salad

I will most likely be buying the book when it comes out, cuz these recipes are all pretty easy for a beginning cook. Zan also has a weekly email list where he shares new recipes - you could probably email him (at the address in the comments) to be added yourself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Caitlin Flanagan = Asshole

So Caitlin Flanagan wrote an article in the Atlantic criticizing Alice Waters Edible Schoolyard. While I have plenty of criticisms of the Alice Waters/Michael Pollan crowd, I can only point my finger at Ms. Flanagan and yell - douchebag! First of all, Caitlin Flanagan is the same "journalist" who decided to excoriate feminists with nannies in the selfsame pages of the Atlantic in 2003. This lady who is pretty damn surrounded with rich privileged white folks gets to sit on her high horse and feel sorry for those brown people who take care of rich folks kids.

This time around she feels sorry for those brown people's kids who are forced to pick organic vegetables as part of the school curriculum. Rich white lady worries about those poor brown folks whose education are getting shortchanged because they have to learn about vegetables. "Will this help them pass Algebra?" she asks.

Here's the thing. The HUGE criticism about No Child Left Behind is that it focuses too much on test scores. Those "fluffy" subjects like art and sports and anything that isn't covered on a scan tron teach skills that are really necessary in the working world - cooperation, problem solving etc. None of which will be measured on a scan tron. Same with raising organic vegetables. You learn a whole lot of biology gardening. As a quilter, I've had to use the Pythagorean theorem more in a month of designing a quilt than in a semester's worth of geometry.

On top of that, there is tons and tons of research that shows that eating well balanced meals and BREAKFAST boosts brain capacity and helps with test scores. Watch Supersize Me to see a real life example. These types of programs have a huge impact on classroom performance even if there isn't a direct correlation to test scores.

For all of her concerns about these poor brown children, she really does seem to advocate for shortchanging their education. So shut it Flanagan.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Since we're comfort cooking...

Friday night I really wanted a comfort meal. I already had a cauliflower mash on hand and J defrosted some turkey cutlets to sear but I needed another vegetable. With a bag of frozen spinach, I decided to make creamed spinach but low carb and low fat. It was SOOOOOO good. I mean warm and delicious and gooey. Perfect for a cold night. The key with creamy stuff is to use sharp cheeses instead of mild cheeses. That lowers the fat content but keeps the flavor. Also this recipe has no cream or even flour for a roux.

Here's my recipe.

1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of EVOO
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 12 oz package of frozen spinach
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lowfat or nonfat sour cream
salt to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the evoo with the nutmeg and pepper (it's good to add the spices early to bring out their flavor) for about five minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the frozen spinach and cook until the spinach is unfrozen. Obviously, you can defrost earlier but it's just as easy to just dump it in and then break it up as it cooks in the pan. When all of the spinach is unfrozen, ass the cheese and sour cream. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. Add salt and more pepper to taste.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Health-ifying Restaurant Food

I know a lot of people are against the idea of a "mommy state" politically, but I am all in favor of this kind of government reform. I know just how hard it is to battle obesity and lifestyle diseases. I'll take all the help anyone wants to offer. Here's a NYT article about a new NYC voluntary plan to make restaurant food hold the salt:

New York Seeks National Effort to Curtail Salt Use
Published: January 11, 2010
The broad new health initiative sets a goal of reducing the salt in packaged and restaurant food by 25 percent over the next five years.

Comfort Cooking

Oh, the weather outside is frightful... but spending the weekends in the kitchen has been a good way for me to stay warm! I've made a couple of low-fat comfort food recipes the last 2 weekends that have been great as dinners and lunches all week.

Tonight I made a good old chicken pot pie. YUM. This low-fat recipe was pretty easy. (Laura, this one is perfect for you!) I used a bigger pan and doubled the veggies, so I did 1.5x the topping mixture, too. The cooking time was off, I ended up going another 20 min in 5 minute intervals just to get this good golden crust. It's mighty tasty!

If you're a fan of those frozen, sodium/fat/preservative-laden pot pies you can get at the store, trust me. This is WAY better.

Last week, I made this cheesy rice and broccoli casserole. Again,it was a very simple recipe, though it required a few pots to cook the rice, steam the broccoli, etc. I prefer one-pot dishes, but that's okay.

I think I ended up using too much rice, cuz I did 2 cups UNcooked... it probably meant 2 cups cooked. This did dry out a little bit, so I should've used more of the soup or chicken broth. But it still tasted good for lunch 5 days later, so that's a winner too!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Who Needs Takeout?

Seriously, who needs it? With just a little bit of work in the kitchen, that I've really grown to enjoy, I can make my own Asian-style dinners that are way tastier and much healthier than anything I can get from the Chinese delivery place. You can control what goes into the dish (ie less sodium and fat) and tweak it to your particular tastes. It's so much better!

For example, I make a pretty darn good beef stir fry at this point. I buy top round steaks and trim them myself into small strips. Then, in a frying pan... some olive oil, some thin-sliced green onions (scallions), some low sodium soy sauce... sautee the beef strips, add in some ginger (I use dried from the spice rack), and then add in a veggie. I love sugar snap peas, just from the frozen food section. In about 10 minutes, it's all done and it's delicious. I don't even serve a carb with it.

Tonight, I wanted to use some of the Annie Chun's stuff I bought at the cooking show with Onyah a few months back. So I did a similar routine -- this time with regular diced onion and olive oil, trimmed pork strips, broccoli, and the Annie Chun's Korean Barbecue sauce. Then I served it over one of their rice express dishes of microwaveable sticky rice (no fat, no sodium). It's delicious! Tangy, flavorful, and none of that oily aftertaste that always makes me regret ordering from a delivery place.

Now.... I will still get Indian takeout, cuz I'm not quite up to cooking chicken tikka masala or vindaloo at home yet. But I might as well throw away all those Chinese food delivery menus. :-)

Skills Gained in 2009

In Keep with the Itsalifestyle theme, rather than talking numbers for my 2009 recap, I'll give you a list of the skills I've gained. Because weight can be gained or lost but knowledge is forever.


1. How to count carbs and track my eating
2. How to eat regularly (especially good because you don't want to make entries if your food log twelve times a day)
3. Portion sizes
4. How to cook with almond flour and splenda
5. How to accept Splenda as a part of my life.
6. How to roast beets (Beets, goat cheese and walnuts with a dash of Balsamic - eating good!
7. How to order something at fast food places without a zillion grams of carbs
8. Avoiding smoothies

1. How not to overdo it - don't do cardio two days in a row
2. The importance of strength training including all of that abs work
3. How to run a race and make sure I have energy at the end (now I am working on the middle)
4. Having a net game in tennis
5. How to exercise while traveling
6. Lower back stretches

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cooking for One

I love this article from NPR...

Cooking for One: A Privilege, Not a Chore

And the recipes look divine. I'm going to have to try that tomato-zucchini bake sometime.

It's a New Year

As Shakira says, "hips don't lie" and mine are saying it's time to cut out the cookies and the chips. Yeesh.

As a New Year's tradition, I stepped on the scale this morning to see where my resolutions will start. It was not a happy moment. As expected, I am now at my NEW highest weight ever. Yikes. I knew it was happening, and I really have given myself a sort of psychological pass over the last 6 months to not be too hard on myself while I've been adjusting to the "new normal" in my family and emotional life.

But, a psychological pass doesn't equal a biological pass. And I haven't been feeling good - I know I've gained weight and fallen even more out of shape.

So as long planned, I got myself through the holidays (I even did work out one day at the Holiday Inn when we visited my home town) and I'm now recommitting to the whole healthy lifestyle effort. I'll say it again, what my co-blogger and I strongly believe, it's NOT a diet. It's a way of life. That way of life includes going back to journaling my food and exercise (well, it includes actual exercise too), it includes more consistent cooking, and paying more attention to myself and my choices. I want to get back to following my nutritionist's advice for a low sodium, low fat diet, and I know that this works. I just have to do it.

So, that's my New Year's resolution - to get back to that good place of healthy cooking, eating, and moving that I found last year. Thanks for coming along for the ride.