Monthly Archives: January 2012

Help From The Freezer

Coming back home from the holidays is always a challenge. Trying to reintegrate myself into the regular routine is always hard. Knowing this, I planned ahead and had some dinner food already cooked and frozen so I would have less to do. Good thing I did this, because I came back with pneumonia, and cooking was a real chore. My freezer food saved me! What I stocked in my freezer was two huge containers of two different split pea soup. I was worried about they might freeze, but they were fine. Here’s how they work out, nicely color coded:

Green Split Pea Soup

 1 pound green split peas

8 C water

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2-3 potatoes, cubed

1 head broccoli, chopped into florets

2 bay leaves

2 T parsley flakes

1 T prepared mustard

1 t basil

1 t paprika


Put split peas and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. While peas simmer, chop veggies. Add veggies and seasonings and simmer for 30 minutes more. Check to see that everything is done to your liking, cooking longer if needed.

Yellow Curried Split Pea Soup

Follow above recipe with these substitutions:

Yellow split peas for green

Cauliflower for broccoli

2 T curry powder for the other seasonings.

To serve, you can top rice with it, or have bread or naan alongside. Or wrap in a tortilla.

There you go, two easy, inexpensive soups/stews complete with cancer fighting crucifers. Can’t beat that with a bat.


Weekly Plan: 1/30

Looks like a good week for getting done and making some progress on goals. I have my shorter schedule Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Cooking and training should be easier. I learned my lesson about off plan nutrition last week. Being away from temptations so long made me really feel their deleterious effects. I would rather eat well and feel great. Plus, my lungs might still need a little help from some discipline. As my energy has really recovered, I can feel the desire to train. While I am frustrated with how slow I go compared to last summer, I am amazed at how quickly I have improved in just two weeks. I also console myself with the fact that a year ago I was not using the Maffetone method and was in a similar under trained state. Who knows what I would have been like last year at MAF intensity? It’s also nice that it’s payday this week.

The Plan


Bike commute

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Collard greens


Run 45′ A bit tricky because of a night event.


Bike Commute

Stir Fry Bok Choy, Broccoli and rice


45′ Run

Leftover chili or Moroccan Root Veggie Stew


Bike Commute

Leftovers, or something new and different?

Week’s Goals

Meditate every day. This week I will roll out the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) from the workbook and see what happens.

Yoga practice twice.

Write 500 words of fiction each day.

Swim once or twice. I am a triathlete after all, I should add in that pesky third sport sooner rather than later.

That’s enough for now.

Weekly Wrap 1/23

With the pneumonia gone, I can now train as I like. I may be moving slowly, but I am about a light year better than two weeks ago, when I made my first tentative attempts to exercise by walking in the park. I can “run”, and I can bike and stay below my Maximum Aerobic Function level minus five BPM. Since I am returning to training after a long layoff and a long illness, I took the 180 formula and subtracted five beats from my MAF for my trials and tribulations. I will keep it through base training, which will last through March, until the first XTERRA race of the season, at Granite Beach. As long as MAF tests improve, I will go back to my usual range in April. The good thing about a drought is nice weather, so this week I will resume bike commuting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

This Week’s Hits and Misses:


Four great workouts. Each day I went better than the previous workout. I got two days on the bike on the indoor trainer, and my first outdoor ride in over two months. I may only be able to ironman shuffle, but at least I can jog easy and control my heart rate, staying aerobic.

Good food and nutrition, mostly. I ate root vegetable dal on rice, which worked great. I ate a great stir fry.

More caught up on paperwork than usual.

Read good books.


Restaurant food. A late meeting caught me without dinner and tempted by the Italian place around the corner. Oily, salty pasta sauce and red wine made for the first off plan eating in a long time. Boo. I didn’t sleep well as a result.

More off plan eating and spending. A trip to Whole Foods left me with more temptations that I have been so good at avoiding.

Still haven’t added yoga or meditation to the routine. How long have I been trying?

Bought a nice bunch of collards to cook for a base to add rice and dal, but didn’t use it. I blame two night events, but I still could have done better.

Turning Misses into Hits

I have a night event this week as well, so I will make sure I plan ahead to have my own dinner. Only one night event should make things easier.

Use my shorter days this week to keep the nutrition and workouts on track.

Paula Deen, Diabetes, Drugs, and Groupthink

I don’t want to be that football player who, long after the hard work of tackling the ball carrier has been done by his teammates, comes flying into the frame to land on top of the dog pile after the whistle.

But that is what I am going to do.

So Paula Deen announced that she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years ago but has waited until now to make it public. In the interim, her popular TV show has featured the same high fat, high sugar, decidedly unhealthy fare as always. What’s different? Now she has a financial deal to represent an expensive, dangerous drug.

People are in an uproar over her unhealthy cooking while diabetic. They say she should have set a better example. They’re still upset that she doesn’t acknowledge the primary role lifestyle plays in the disease. They are also upset that the one dietary change she has mentioned has been cutting back on sweet tea.

I agree with the criticism, but I don’t want to bash on Deen individually. I am disturbed by the pharmaceutical connection, but it could have been anyone. What bothers me is the way the way that all of us, not just Paula Deen keep looking to the drug companies to save us when we should be looking to lifestyle changes for chronic disease. A little research will uncover some doctors who have amazing results reversing diabetes using diet. But unfortunately this information is not widely known. It’s not really Paula Deen’s fault that she doesn’t know this, since it appears radical and almost quackery. But we owe it to ourselves to check into all the possibilities before settling on powerful and dangerous drugs. Doctors need to acknowledge the power of lifestyle and counsel their patients on its use. It’s up to the individual what they choose to do. But we all deserve to know our options.

Here is one of those little discussed, yet powerful options, a vegan diet. It’s a long video, but check out Dr. Barnard’s success using a low-fat vegan diet against the standard recommendations of the American Diabetes Association.

How powerful would it be if Paula Deen could follow this plan, and change her show into a show that taught people how to make delicious dishes that could reverse disease? She wants hope to be her legacy, if she taught healthy cooking, it certainly would be.

Benefits of Pneumonia

Pneumonia benefits? WTF?

Well, it turned out to be true.

#1 Pulp

Lots of time to read mysteries and watch spy movies. Fortunately, I wasn’t completely out of commission, wheezing in bed like the doctor expected I would be. I just couldn’t do anything active mentally or physically. I call the reading and watching “research” for future writing projects. Really.

#2 Weight Loss

Most people dread the holidays for all of the temptations around to eat and cause weight gain. No problem for me. My appetite disappeared. One day I ate absolutely nothing. I was worried that the sleeping 12-14 hours a day would cause me to gain weight, but my appetite countered. While others stepped on the scale after New Year’s and moaned, I cheered, Look! I’m closer to racing weight! Now if I could just find some lungs…

#3 Food Tastes

The really unbelievable and totally unexpected benefit of my long illness is that I lost almost all cravings for unhealthy food. With so little appetite, everything looked the same to me, no appeal. So I made sure I was following the rules of the McDougall Program as closely as possible and eat nutrient dense veggies. The only cheats I had were ginger ale and fruit juice, which I rarely drink. But all the rich foods and things that I have to consciously avoid had no attraction. But the really amazing part is that while my appetite has returned, the temptation to cheat has not! I still just want to eat basic vegan food. Which leads to…

#4 More Weight Loss

I am still losing weight, as the McDougall Program should do. Now that I can exercise a little at very low intensity, it’ll keep going. I was called “gaunt” at the work the other day. Yay! I’m not stopping though. I’ll keep going until called “emaciated”. Then I’ll look like a real endurance racer. And be faster.

While I certainly don’t endorse flu and pneumonia as the way to get to racing weight, sometimes benefits can appear in the strangest places. Keep your eyes open…


Pneumonia: NOT Recommended

November began my second year of participating in National Novel Writing Month, so all writing time had to be focused on getting those 50,000 words written before the end of the month. Which I did, at the proverbial eleventh hour under the light of the proverbial midnight oil. No blogging. Little cooking of note. Even less training. But it was the off-season, and considering the bad news my October M.A.F. test gave me, I figured some time off would be a good thing. In December I eased back just with fast walks for an hour or so until vacation started. And within a few days it all went off the rails.

This is the year of NO SNOW. Tahoe in December looked like it was October. There was no snow except manmade snow at the ski areas covering just a few runs. So skiing was out of the picture, but I figured I could do some easy runs or hikes, right? Wrong. Within a day of arrival I got the flu. And for two weeks it would not go away. The fever went away, the other symptoms improved about half way, but then it was the same day after day. I missed Christmas not wanting to pass on what I had. I missed everything. I missed work when I was supposed to go back. Finally, two weeks had passed with symptoms persisting. so I got to see a doctor, who after hearing my sob story and listening to my lungs with the stethoscope said simply, “It’s pneumonia.” Well, that explained a few things: my resting heart rate 30-40 beats above normal, out of breath going up stairs, and that incessant hard cough that left my ribs feeling like Chuck Norris round house kicked them. Ouch.

So, in the end, I was sick and basically in bed for nearly a month. Now that I’m supposed to start base training for this year’s triathlon season, I have lost all of my fitness, and apparently my lungs too. Talk about starting over! Nowadays I get to shuffle around the park with the truly old guys. Maybe I can get them to show me some of their Tai Chi moves. But it wasn’t all bad. While I couldn’t write or do active things, I did get a vacation of sorts. I watched a lot of MI-5, and read a lot of the pulp mysteries that English majors are not ordinarily allowed to read.

BUT, what was really interesting is that I actually got some true benefit from all this!

Stay tuned: While pneumonia is NOT recommended, there were some positives…