Category Archives: Food

I still don’t like chicken, but…

I’m pretty simple when it comes to meat: give me beef.

I do like pork from time to time, fish on occasion (especially sushi). I can deal with game meats, turkey, and so on. But if there’s anything I just don’t like, it’s chicken.

Of course, every “weight-loss” or other types of “healthy” or “low-fat” diet out there involves… chicken.

My dislike is pretty straightforward: chicken meat has no flavor, and it’s dry. Of course, this all comes from the lack of fat (which is, in part, the point in consuming it). So to give it any sort of flavor, you always have to dress it up, but often dressing it up runs counter to the low-fat protocol. Dark meat is passable, but again that doesn’t really jive with the diet protocol. So chicken breasts it is, but ugh. I know, first world problem.

However, I’ve found a way to make it manageable. Thankfully it’s pretty simple.

The grocery store sells bags of chicken breasts. It’s 5 lbs. of de-boned breasts, and they are fully frozen and “ice glazed”. It also seems they brine them, which helps plump them up and meet that 5 lbs. without having to actually be 5 lbs of meat. Sneaky, but whatchagonnado? But in a way, it’s a positive.

All you have to do is throw them — still frozen — on the grill. The grill is at about 350º-375º, and I throw on some oak wood chips. There’s your flavor, from that wonderful smoke. 30 minutes, turn them, 30 more minutes, and done. The brining actually helps because the breast meat is moist with a touch of salt throughout the meat. And the way they cook, they get a good “crust” (not a true crust, but the exterior does “harden” a bit) which helps to seal in all the juices so a lot of the brine is retained within the meat.

And yes, this works out great.

I get about 5 lbs of meat, which lasts me a few days. It’s dead simple to cook. It fits the diet protocol. And best of all, it has flavor. :-)

Have to find ways to keep the taste buds happy.

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Getting back on the losing train

The goal for 2014 was to be less fat. Check that, it still is to be less fat.

I’ve tried to go down this road numerous times, with varying degrees of success — but really, it’s all failure because I haven’t STAYED there. In fact, right now I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been: 265# (more or less). I don’t know my precise bodyfat measure, but if you Google around for body fat estimation pictures, I’m at least 30% body fat. Let’s do some math. That means I’m 185# at 0% body fat, which is unrealistic but it’s math good to know because assuming I maintain that lean body mass, then a 15% bodyfat would be about 215 pounds. 15% body fat is a good goal for me to start with and folks… that’s a 50# difference.

Put it this way. You go to the gym, and those big plates? The 45# plates? Lug one of those around for a while… I’m wanting to lose a little more than that. I have a little more than that just sitting on my body, weighing me down, stressing my body, my joints, and everything. And that, to me, just sucks. I also get stupid and think about how if I do decide to compete in powerlifting, that’s dropping down 2 weight classes (vs. being in the 275# class when I’m not a guy lugging around 275# worth of muscle). So yeah, I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of being fat. I’m tired of all the downsides it brings. I don’t want a flat stomach because “abz” aren’t a priority, but I do want the ability to carry things on the front of my belt, like AIWB. I want my clothing to not fit me because of muscle, not fat. Yeah, there’s vanity. But there’s also a desire to accept that my 40-something body is only getting older, going to fall apart more, and I have to change a lot of habits to help me manage this “over the hill” thing so I can still kick ass when I’m 70 years old, like Sonny:

The diet has always been my struggle. I eat to manage stress, to find comfort, escape, joy, whatever. All the things I’ve tried, I can manage somewhat, but there’s always some piece of the puzzle I’m missing. I’ve come to accept I cannot do this alone, and that having a coach, someone to direct me, to kick my ass when I need it, to be there to answer questions — well, I stress the value and importance of this in every other aspect of life, so why should it be any different here? It may not work, but at this point, it’s well worth trying.

As I’ve mentioned in some prior posts, I’m trying out the guys at Renaissance Periodization. At this point I’m doing a 6-month plan with them. I’ll talk more about this as I go along, because it’s going to be a journey. But so far, it seems like a lot of stuff I already knew, just well-structured and in a manner that I think should be more consumable with less information overload. We’ll see how it goes.

The other thing is how my lifting will go.

Since the primary goal is fat loss, I know that strength and muscle mass will be lost as well. I want to minimize this, so it seems the best recommended path for me to take is one that builds muscle mass. While a strict bodybuilder approach isn’t what I want right now, because strength is still more important to me, that philosophy is certainly there. So, I’m going to give Paul Carter’s Basebuilding a go. Philosophically it seems the right thing to do. I don’t know how well it will work on the restricted diet, but then I’m willing to adjust and adapt as I go along. I believe I read somewhere that Paul said BBing works out well in a diet phase since you can just adjust your weights (downward) and keep going. I just have to remind myself that the key isn’t to focus on the numeric value of the weight as much as it is ensuring I work to preserve strength and muscle mass. It’s the work I do, not the weight I lift.

The other thing? I have to do cardio. 3x a week I’m in the gym lifting. On my non-lifting days, I have to walk for an hour. That’s part of RP’s plan. Ugh…. not my favorite thing to do. But, I will say for a while there I kinda dealt with it because I listened to podcasts while I was walking and I kinda miss listening to them. So this will be useful. I may try just simple reading too as my reading list is backing up.

RP wants a semi-weekly weigh-in, so the plan is to weigh myself on Sunday and Wednesday. I will also take periodic pictures, probably just on Sunday. I debate posting the pictures. Part of me doesn’t want to because I’m sure you don’t want to see me half-naked, nor do I feel like sharing my half-naked self with the world. But I think about it — that’s in part because I do not like how I look. But 50# from now? Yeah, I’m sure I’ll like it more and be kinda happy to run around with my shirt off. So I dunno… part of me thinks that the public shaming and accountability it would create for myself would be good for me. Plus, look at a guy like John Stone and his pictures. If that’s not some level of inspiration…

So… here we go…. voyaging down this road again.

Looking for something different to drink?

Wife sent me a link to this article about “5 Colonial-Era Drinks You Should Know“.

The 5 are:

  • Flip
  • Stone Fence
  • Syllabub
  • Rattle-Skull
  • Sangaree

Flip sounds most interesting:

To make a basic colonial-style flip, fill a pitcher with two beaten eggs, two ounces of rum and a tablespoon of superfine sugar (or molasses) and beat to combine. In a saucepan, heat eight to 10 ounces of brown ale over a low flame until it begins to steam. Slowly pour the warm beer into the rum-egg mixture, then pour the drink back and forth between vessels until blended. Decant into a pint glass, shave some nutmeg over the top, and serve—it’s sort of like drinking liquified earth, but it has its charms.

On the surface, it sounds a little scary to try. But yet, it’s somehow compelling.

Stone Fence is pretty straightforward, and I’m sure I’d dig it. It’s basically a shot of dark rum then you fill the rest of the class with hard cider. I like both of those things, so I bet this could be good. Of course, the real fun is finding the right cider to pair with the right rum. This requires some serious investigation and research. ;-)

Syllabub seems like too much trouble to make:

A syllabub is a sibling to posset, but uses wine or cider as its base and gains visual drama from the cloudlike egg whites that are spooned on top. Want to try it? In a measuring cup, combine five ounces of inexpensive floral white wine (these days, try Torrontes) with two or three ounces of cream, a spoonful of sugar, and the juice of half a lemon. (In lieu of sugar, a nontraditional tablespoon of maple syrup can add sweetness). Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, beat two egg whites with a dash of sugar until somewhere between frothy and peaked. Decant wine mixture into a favorite glass, spoon over thickened egg whites, and shave over some nutmeg. The flavors are akin to lemon ricotta cheese.

Despite all the trouble, doesn’t seem tasty enough to go through the effort. Of course, if someone made it for me and shoved it under my nose, I’d take a taste.


On its surface, this blend of dark beer, rum, lime juice, and nutmeg doesn’t seem to differ much from the other rum-based drinks of the day. Yet it packed a wallop from its proportions: three to four ounces of hard liquor (usually an equal split between rum and brandy) are dropped into a pint of strong porter, tarted up with the juice of half a lime and then showered with shaved nutmeg. This bad-ass drink is a dangerously smooth and stultifying concoction.

That sounds like it will live up to its name.

Sangaree perks my interest too:

Instead of Rioja or some other Spanish red, this wine-based punch drew on fortified wine such as Madeira or port. Combined with lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg, it was served singly in its own glass, rather than from a communal bowl. Using fortified wine lends the drink a slightly more brooding quality than sangria.

I love a good port. Alas, the recipe lacks proportions so…. will have to research more before trying this one.

Because you know… life isn’t always about guns, lifting weights, and heavy metal music. Sometimes you gotta relax. :-)



I’m burned out. Taking a couple days off work for a long weekend to help me recoup a bit.

Working on my backlog of things to do, and one is some online shopping.

Ordered some 7-round magazines for my M&P Shield from Botach Tactical. I’m fine with the smaller mags, since that’s the whole point of such a gun.

Ordered various Fox Labs OC sprays from CopsPlus. Wife needs to replace hers, and I’ve been wanting to have a can for my gym walks — had a couple potential 4-legged interactions during my gym walks where OC would have been welcome. Never used Fox Labs’ stuff before, but Tom Givens commented they’re the best, so let’s give it a try.

Ordered a lot of fish oil (Meg-3) and some caffeine capsules from

Wife wanted 30# of einkorn flour from JovialFoods. If you haven’t tried einkorn flour, and you’re not in a dietary mode that would prohibit it (e.g. celiac’s, paleo, etc.) give it a try. Wife reports the switch to it has helped her feel better (vs. “traditional” wheat flours you buy at the store), and I’ll vouch that it tastes really awesome. I’m still waiting for her to make that beer bread with the Moose Drool Brown Ale. The beer bread with that ale was awesome, and I imagine it will be even more awesome with the einkorn.

Wife is also out hitting the H.E.B. grocery store, and the Sprouts. I finally got to visit Sprouts a couple weeks ago; neat store, I like.

Just a little peek into life… and I’m sure the NSA is minding all my credit card transactions and wondering something. :-)

2013-07-05 training log

Carbs! Sweet… sweet… glorious carbs!

Wendler 5/3/1 program, cycle 21, week 1

  • Work Set – Bench Press (working max: 210#)
    • 2x5x45 (warmup)
    • 1x5x85
    • 1x5x105
    • 1x3x130
    • 1x3x150 (work)
    • 1x3x170
    • 1x5x190
  • Assistance – DB Incline Press
    • 5 x 10/10/10/10/9 x 50
  • Assistance – DB Rows
    • 3 x 10/10/20 x 50
  • Assistance – JM Press
    • 3 x 15/12/10 x 95
  • Assistance – Face Pulls
    • 3 x 20 x 45

After 10 days of essentially no carbs, last night I got to finally have some. More on diet stuff below. It made a difference, as you’d expect.

I slept like a rock. Solid 8 hours of sleep. Woke up and just didn’t feel it. I felt… zoned… out of it. I couldn’t kick my brain into gear. Not sure why. But I just trudged along and figured lifting would make it all better. Physically I felt alright. The noticable part for me was not feeling like I was out of gas half-way through things. I distinctly remember my body saying “stop, out of gas, on the reserve tank, so preserve energy and stop”. But no such feeling today. I pushed and felt alright. I do not feel as strong as before all of this diet change, but that’s to be expected.

All in all tho, the session went fine. Nothing glorious either way.

As for diet….

I’m going to essentially follow Carb Back-Loading. So I finished my 10 day start up. Before I started, I was about 240#. I say “about” because the bathroom scale is old and crappy, but good enough. It’s hard to sometimes read where the needle is pointing on the dial, and I honestly don’t recall taking an official “before I start” measurement. So I’m going based upon the last known weigh-in, and even then I know I rounded a bit. It might have been 241 or 242, maybe even 239. But 240 is good enough. And weighing myself this morning (always weigh first thing in the morning, no food), I reckon 233? 234? So I’m rounding it to a simple 5#. I’m sure most, if not all, of this is loss from glycogen exhaustion, the water that goes with it, etc.. Might have lost a hair of fat, but I’m chalking it up to just dietary manipulation at this point. I don’t really count true loss until I’m down about 10# because then you know you actually lost something, not just water weight. I mean, I can flux 5# in the course of a day from just eating, food, and taking a good dump. But from weighing myself during the past 10 days, it’s solid weight loss, just I expect most isn’t fat loss.

So re-reading the CBL book and browsing the forums again, I think the plan will start something like this.

I’m targetting 200# for weight. Is that actually what I’ll weigh? Well, I don’t know because it’s not so much about weight as it is about composition. But I need numbers to go on, so 200# seems good. Why? Well, if I’m 240#, I estimate my body fat is probably 25% based upon some tape measures and looking at some of those visual charts I’ve found online. So, that’s about 60# of fat (gah!), so that’s 180# of lean body mass, and so if 10% body fat is about good, that’s 200#, right? So, a fair target, if nothing else.

With that in mind….

Every day, strive for 200g of protein. No compromise here. Oh sure, maybe some days it’ll be 190 and others 210, but essentially 200. I have to be mindful of just inhaling lots of protein because 250g, well, that’s 50g more, that’s 200 calories more, and given my goal right now, that 200 cals will add up. Basically, I’m going for 1g of protein per pound of target bodyweight.

Fat will be at least 100g a day, maybe up to 200g depending, but then probably only that much on non-carb days. So this is essentially about 0.5 to 1.0g per pound of target bodyweight.

Carbs will be cycled. I will only ingest carbs the night before going to the gym. One possible exception is Friday night, if I know I’ll have a long and hard day at KR Training on Saturday. Using the 5# of initial loss as a guide, I look up in the CBL book chart, then use the formula I read on the CBL forum which says to take that number, multiply by 1.5, then divide by the number of backloads you get in a week (3 in my case). Comes out to about 225g per backload session. And 5# is low. But I’ll explain this in a sec. But basically, it comes out to about 1g of carb per pound of target bodyweight.

Frankly, that sort of simple math I like. If I have to make this a science experiment every day, I’m going to go nuts. Part of why I’m doing CBL is because I think it’ll be something I can manage on a daily basis. Be it this, Mountain Dog Diet, Renegade Diet… lots of the shit is the same. Heck, the latest video from Brandon Lilly and Paul Carter was talking about this very stuff. So point becomes… yeah, I think this is a route that might work for me.

My numbers are low. Do the math. 200g protein is 800 cals. 100g fat is 900 cals. So that’s like 1700 cals a day on my no-carb days. Shit, that’s low. If I throw in the 200g carbs, that’ll be 2500 on those days, which is a bit more normal. And really, if I was training to get bigger, I’d probably have that 2500 every day, maybe 3000. And while I’ve always minded things like protein, I haven’t minded carbs and fats as much. Heck, last night when trying to figure out my carbs to get 200g, I realized that’s a LOT of carbs, at least from the sources I was trying to get it from. But then I also realized how quickly carbs can get out of hand.

Case in point. Wife found this awesome recipe for a “chocolate mousse” thing that was just cocoa powder, maple syrup, a little vanilla, and then avocado as the base. Oh, this is totally awesome stuff. Thing is, I looked at the syrup bottle (real maple syrup, not that corn syrup artificial flavor shit). The serving size was 1/4 cup and you got like 53g of sugar. 1/4 cup isn’t much, and I’d reason most people put at least that much tho probably more on their pancakes and waffles. Now you’re also eating pancakes and waffles on top of that, which is just carbs out the wazoo…. and you wonder where and why we get fat.

But then when I was trying to eat carbs this morning with my breakfast, post-workout, a peach, a banana, and some greek yougurt… and that was enough. And somehow a lot more satisfying not just to my stomach, but also my palette. But yet, that’s all I needed post-workout. Yet trying to cram another 150g or more? Shit… that’s almost work! Maybe I should just drink maple syrup. :-)

Nevertheless, I know these numbers are low. I want to see what they do for me. Again, I expect to lose some muscle and strength, and I begrudgingly accept that, so long as I do drop the fat. I’m hoping these levels will get me there, and I will adjust if and how I need to.

I figure if I can stay the course until the end of the month, that should be a good time to fall back and assess if this is working for me or not. If so, Labor Day will probably be the next big milestone checkin to see how it’s going. If I can drop 1-2# week, gee… 15# or so dropped by Labor Day? That would be awesome and be a noticeable difference.


Dehydrator – Any Advice?

Finally got ourselves a dehydrator!

It’s an Excalibur 9-tray with timer. Enough people recommended this brand as tops, so it’s what we went with. Also figured we might as well get all the trays… what would it hurt?

When we started getting our weekly CSA veggie boxes, we’d get things we just could not use in time. One of the biggest culprits was herbs, basil especially. Of course, the fresh herbs were awesome, but we just couldn’t use them in time and they wouldn’t keep well enough so we’d be throwing them out. Of course, they are prime for drying and keeping. In fact, there’s a lot about the weekly boxes that make sense to get now and somehow preserve for later. Doesn’t have to be 5 years of storage, but perhaps just the ability to have some summer vegetables in the winter and vice versa. Between the vacuum sealer and the big chest freezer, now the dehydrator, we can keep things pretty well.

But where to start?

And what advice can you — oh experience dehydrator user — bestow upon us n00bz?

As of this writing, we have tried two things: drying basil, and beef jerky. :-)

We got our CSA box and it had a HUGE bunch of basil in it. Wife washed it, snipped off the leaves, and into the dehydrator it went. Alas, it also happened to be a very wet and humid day, so it took quite a while. The timer already paid for itself, because we just cranked things up and let it run overnight. Woke up to… basil chips. :-)  It’s possible we over-dried them because they didn’t have a very strong basil smell (even after crushing a leaf and comparing to some store-bought basil). Of course, it could just be that particular basil, but… it was what it was. We’ll see how it pans out after Wife uses this dried basil the first time.

Of course, I couldn’t resist trying out some jerky. When we ordered the dehydrator, we got a special deal from the company and it included a bag of their jerky seasoning. So I figured to try it their way. Took a sirloin out of the freezer, mostly defrosted it (easier to slice when slightly frozen), sliced it somewhat thin, then sprinkled their powder on it. I was skeptical, and rightly so. It tasted like dried beef with some seasoning on it. I used to make jerky long ago when we had a gas oven and I could get the temperature low enough. I liked wet marinades, and no question that’s the way to go. But it wasn’t a total loss. I did slice some against the grain and some with, and with slices that thin I think with the grain is more to my preference. Also had some variations in the thickness of the slices and thinner is going to work better; not “wafer-thin” but thin. It’ll be fun to experiment with jerky making. Especially nice that it only takes a few hours to dry.

Open to hearing anything you’re willing to share!

Hipsters – the new face of hunting

 “A few people roll up in monster trucks, but others ride over on their bikes,” [hunting instructor Dylan Eyers] laughed. “That seems to be a new thing.”

Anti-gun and anti-hunting groups are going to have to find a new group to stereotype and demonize, because the growing trend isn’t to the redneck bubbas but rather to the young hipsters that understand:

“Hunting makes sense as part of a DIY foodie lifestyle. There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes from being able to grow or prepare your own food, and you end up with something that tastes great and I know it’s a lot better for me.”

Full story.

Look at the trends as of late. To think global but act local. To be a locavore. Organic and sustainable farming. Ethical farming. Reactionary to industrial ranching, “pink slime”, ingredient labels you can’t read, and so on.

Folks, that’s what hunting is. (or is supposed to be… yes I’m sure, we all know of some exception).

You don’t get more “free-range organic” than a deer that’s been tromping around the woods all its life, eating acorns and leaves.

There’s a trend of returning to our roots. Yeah, globalism isn’t working out, so while young folk appreciate being connected globally, they’re living more locally and trying to embrace what once was. I mean, it wasn’t too long ago people tended to grow their own food, hunt their own food, make their own clothes — life wasn’t solely obtained at Wal-Mart. So a return to hunting is just a logical next step for folks.

It also speaks to current hunters and gun folk: these people are your future. Please look past their skinny jeans, tattoos, piercings, and other appearances to see they are trying to embrace and learn about something you hold dear. Be loving and open, accepting, understanding, patient, and happily recruit these people into the fold by teaching and sharing your passion. You know… bring us together.