Monthly Archives: September 2012

PCRM Vegan Kickstart Review

So.

I intended to use this PCRM Kickstart as a kick in the pants to erase some not so salubioius habits and replace them with better ones. Well, life interfered. It became busier than I thought, and in ways that surprised me. I had planned that I would try all these new wonderful recipes and blog about them. I wanted to support and inspire others that were new to this lifestyle. So I kept my head above water,and with one trangersession, I managed to stay on task. But I wanted to blog about more, especially the practical bits. Well, maybe next time.

Boo me!

I wanted to do more, write more, and share more about hoe this is a wonderful lifestyle that is not so difficult to maintain.

FAIL.

If it is so easy that I can’t even write 250 words about it, then truly, how easy is it?

For me, it’s not so bad, because stir fried veggies and rice or chili are always great options. But for anyone else looking for more practical advice about food addictions, sorry I wasn’t so much help.

Moving forward (the only thing we can do) we can resolve to do better. Everything gets easier with practice, so we should not panic if we blow it along the way. Try to find a way around whatever block it was. There is a way, we can find it.

Keep on keepin’ on,

Vegpedlr

MAF Test Musings: Racing, Losing, and Regaining Fitness

Good news from the track: My fitness is once again headed in the right direction. Apparently, spending 4-8 hrs on your bike going as anaerobic as possible wears a body down. Who would have thought it? I saw my MAF test pace decline about 30 sec per mile through July, and the graph of my HRV remained relatively flat. I was overreaching, and for once, I was smart about it. As school started I took my midseason break.

And it worked!

I have seen my highest HRV scores ever, and the average is up 10 points for the last month. That has never happened before. And my MAF test pace is back to roughly what it was at the start of summer, before all the marathon mtb races. What does that mean?

1. My aerobic fitness had regressed due to the heavy anaerobic demands of racing. HRV and MAF pace measure that quantitatively, but I could also qualitatively feel the fatigue build, and for the first time recognize it early enough to do something about it.

2. My autonomic nervous system is in a good state of balance and is not overstressed.

3. My aerobic system is recovered, and can once again move forward.

Speaking of marathons…

It’s marathon season, and I’ve scheduled a half marathon in October to continue to build toward a December full marathon. Now I just concentrate on long runs, and let the bike fade a bit into the background. For now, all training runs stay at MAF pace. No need to stress my anaerobic system for a marathon, it won’t be needed as much as the biggest aerobic engine I can find between now and then. Besides I had plenty of anaerobic hell in Tahoe this summer.

In other news:

The PCRM Kickstart is going well, but with so many yummy recipes to try, and only one of me to actually eat them, I’m  a little overwhelmed. Oh well, nothing like a little eating challenge to inspire and use up the great fall produce.

PCRM Vegan Kickstart Week 2: Keep the Momentum!

I was very pleased Lani Muelrath, a plant based educator and coach, took a forum post of mine and turned it into a blog post on her own website. It was a wonderful reminder that we all make mistakes, and that no single mistake is really the end of the world. Well, I suppose a few world leaders could make a mistake with the red button and actually end the world, but for the rest of us we can bounce back. My post’s aim was to show mistakes can be corrected and encourage those who are new to this sort of lifestyle to never give up.

IF YOU FALL DOWN, STAND UP!

That’s it. That’s the secret. Keep moving forward. Don’t wallow in any negativity about what went wrong, just do what’s right, right now. I’m inspired by a few things whenever I’m faced with a challenge like this. (which happened last weekend with a restaurant FAIL)

  • The number one factor determining whether a smoker quits or not? Whether they tried before.

Taken another a way, it means they failed. BUT, they have the desire, so they come back to it., again and again, until they make it stick. It’s the desire that matters.

  • Every action you do strengthens the HABIT of that action.

So you blew it? So what! The very next moment get back to the habit you’re trying to ingrain. Wear the groove in deep for what you want. If you fail at a meal, make sure the next one is 100% on plan. You’ll bounce back.

  • An object in motion…

Tends to stay in motion until acted on by another force. So you got bounced off track? Bounce back! Counter-intuitively, the more you do this, the easier it gets. The mistakes make us stronger and smarter.

IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE:

DON’T DWELL ON IT

MOVE FORWARD

DETERMINE YOUR NEXT BEST ACTION AND EXECUTE.

RUMINATE LATER

Rumination is useful, and analysis can help you understand where the traps are to avoid in the future.

But first you must …

KEEP THE MOMENTUM!

Best of luck to all the Kickstarters and anyone else trying to rewrite their own story.

Guest Post: How to Survive a Potluck and Stay Plant Strong

So how do you stick with the Kickstart when dealing with a crowd? Here is how my sister handled the problem. Make a large amount of something fresh, seasonal, flavorful, and fun, and don’t tell anyone! Here my sister used great summer produce, good but not overpowering seasonings, and grilling to bring out flavor. Brilliant! I’ve had her grilled sugar snaps and they are a revelation. With something this good, make sure you do as she did it ensure success: keep your stash separate!

Hi Bro- It’s veggie sis here. So week one of kick start is done and I had a slip too – it was pizza with the parents. Oh well, at least I have this week – which has started off awesome! For a church potluck yesterday I made our new favorite summer pasta with every fresh summer veggies we can think of mixed with squiggle noodles, balsamic vinegar, capers, and roasted red bell pepper. The veggies included grilled yellow squash in bite sized pieces, grilled green zukes in bite sized pieces, grilled red onion, and mixed these with fresh sweet corn cut from the cob and steamed green beans, A little cracked pepper, a little garlic power, roasted red pepper and fresh basil torn into small pieces and mixed in. ALL FLAVOR – even the people who didn’t know they were eating vegan enjoyed the fresh natural flavors.

Recipe for a potluck to scale back for your own use:

(makes about six servings) (yeah right! for vegpedlr, that’s 2-3!)

Ingredients:
Pasta boiled and cooled (squiggles or bow ties)
Two crook neck yellow squash cut into bite sized pieces
Two Green Zukes cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 pound of green beans

Or: sugar snap peas

Two red onions in 1/8’s wedges

Directions:

If using green beans, steam until tender and bathe in ice water to stop cooking and set color.

I put one teaspoon of olive oil on the whole gaggle of veggies and hand toss to coat them

Heat the grill and put down release foil so they won’t stick and when its preheated dump the veggies on. Grill until there is a char on everything. Remove from the grill and mix with the cooked pasta- green beans – allow to cool

When cooled, add two tablespoons of capers (or less to taste)
Dice one jar of roasted red bell peppers and mix in
Kernels cut from two ears of fresh white corn
Diced baby heirloom cherry tomatoes
Drench it all in 20 year balsamic vinegar for a wonderful rich sweet flavor
Zest a lemon and mix the zest in, then squeeze the juice on it
Tear up 1/2 cup of basil and sprinkle all over then mix in.

This dish can be served hot or cold as a main course or a side and NO ONE WILL EVER GUESS ITS VEGAN, LOW FAT, AND VIRTUALLY OIL FREE.

The pot luck crowd devoured it like animals so luckily I kept a dish at home for me!

PCRM Vegan Kickstart Week One DIY:

A bean.

A green.

A grain.

I love simplicity, even if I don’t show it. I love alliteration and rhyming because it makes things easier to remember. So I tried the formula:

A Bean.

Garbanzos. I cooked a huge pot and had some left over ready to use.

A Green.

Cabbage. I had a cole slaw blend that I decided to repurpose.

A Grain.

Rice. It feeds most humans and I love it.

Looks like a curry! So I fashioned a curry based on Simple Bombay Aloo.

I added carrot, the cabbage mixture, and some green beams and eggplant I had laying around. For curry powder I used the last of my Sri Lankan curry powder, which is hotter and different from your average curry powder. Served on top of rice, it made a great dinner and lunch the following day.

Week One of the PCRM Vegan Kickstart

What a blast!

As I shared on the forum, I thought I had “been there, done that” with regards to a 21 day vegan challenge. That’s true, I’ve done it, but what I didn’t realize is how much more fun you can have when it is a team effort. Big ups to the whole PCRM team for organizing this. Bigger ups to everyone who takes the challenge, tries hard, and posts in the forum with their successes and failures. Together, we can make this stick! So for everyone who stuck it out through week one even if you fell down (I did) congratulations!

Here are the salient points from Week One:

The recipes are awesome!

I modified them a bit based on ingredients I had on hand, but the base was brilliant.

I LOVE the daily message with a celebrity.

Some of them I had never heard of, so it was great to learn about others on the same path.

The forum is great!

Already I’ve connected to an Australian blogger and  someone from the “mother country.” Brilliant!

Recipes:

The Moroccan Stew

Good, but I modified it and messed it up a bit on the way. Taste was spot on.

Chili

I’m an experienced chili cook, but I have not made it in awhile, extra yum!

Other recipes that looked good but I missed were the zucchini sandwiches, curried lentil tomato soup and white bean hummus. Since I live alone, some of these recipes last a few days, but I will try as many as possible.

So, to all you Kickstarters, congratulations on finishing week one!

I wish you all the best of luck in the next week.

When to Take a Midseason Break

I haven’t trained more than a couple of days in the last three weeks. I didn’t quit completely, I just scaled back. I exercised, but not every day. I didn’t go for as long, and I kept everything strictly aerobic, below my Maximum Aerobic Function. I knew it was time for a break, and showing that wisdom can indeed come with age, I actually took that break. How did I know that it was time?

Quantitative Factors:

Race Performance:

If race times flatten or worsen, it’s a good bet you’re overcooked. I raced the Squaw Mountain Run in basically the same time as last year. I went for one last 8 hour mountain bike race, and only lasted four hours. I was crashing, cramping and suffering in the heat. (although I did solve the mystery of the Tahoe Trail 100 meltdown, wear the hydration pack!) I really wanted to race XTERRA Tahoe at Incline Village, so I cancelled other race plans.

MAF Test:

Maffetone believes the objective data from a MAF test is the best, so if you plateau or regress it’s time to carefully evaluate what’s going on. I regressed in both formal and informal MAF tests. Time to back off.

Heart Rate Variability:

HRV should increase as fitness increases. Coinciding with my decline in MAF tests, my HRV never seemed to increase much past where it had been. There would be a big dip after a race from the anaerobic stress, but as I recovered, my HRV would only return to where it had been before, no higher. Kind of like treading water.

Qualitative Factors:

Mood:

I didn’t want to race that last MTB race, but I had already signed up and paid, so I went anyway. Usually I delay registering until the last moment, just to be sure. But I thought it would sell out, so I put it on the calendar when it seemed like a good idea. Our attitude and enthusiasm is a great gauge of our fitness. If we feel flat or over cooked, most likely we are. Pushing on will just make things worse. So I pulled the plug on another race and rested instead, knowing the start of school would increase other kinds of stress dramatically. I ran a little, biked a little, and took days off. I wanted to be ready for Tahoe.

How to Know When to Jump Back In:

Qualitative:

When you feel like it! When Tahoe came around, my motivation was mostly back. My extra rest brought back my enthusiasm, and I had a fun race, even though it was harder than I expected. With some extra recovery days after the race, I feel excited to train again for my next big goal, a marathon in December. That goal motivated me to take my break now, rather than burn out too late. My nutrition, which had also suffered as I gave into temptations, is now back on track as well.

Quantitative:

My HRV has hit all time highs, both for a single day and average. My informal MAF test today showed several minutes of improvement. I now have motivation and a positive attitude toward my new goal. I’m cutting way back on racing and doing a run focus from now until the marathon. I feel confident that this time I won’t burn out early, instead I’ll make it all the way to my December vacation with increasing fitness.

Do you take breaks during your season? How do you when to stop and when to start back up?

PCRM Vegan Kickstart September 2012

The racing season is mostly over, school is back in session, and I need to find a new writing and blogging groove. No more grueling mountain bike races, maybe one more short sprint triathlon, but my real focus will be training for a December marathon. In contrast to triathlon and mountain biking, running is much simpler. Less time consuming too. I just have to keep pushing my one long run each week and maintain the rest of the days.

So what to write about?

I think it’s high time to leave Maffetone, heart rate, lactate threshold, and heart rate variability on the sidelines and get back in the kitchen. After all, this is the best time of year for fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market. Thanks to my sister, I found out about PCRM’s 21 Day Vegan Kickstart, and signed on to help support her and a friend, along with anyone else on the forums making the effort. I could use a little inspiration, and this challenge looks like a good one. My midseason break from training has been refreshing, but I need a new focus. The Kickstart lays out a meal plan complete with shopping lists. I won’t follow all the meals, but I will follow the rules. My breakfasts are uniform: oats and fruit, and lunch is nearly always left overs from dinners. But I will try  as many of their dinners as I can for a little variety.

So my first Kickstart meal was Moroccan Bean Stew with Sweet Potatoes.

It came out more like a soup, a LOT of liquid. I winged it on the spices, but the flavor was good. Needed more heat, and some sriracha fixed that up. I added some red bell pepper, zucchini, and green beans because I had some laying around. And its funny that the garbanzo and black beans the recipe called for I already cooked up in the slow cooker before I signed up. Brilliant. I didn’t have the couscous, so I used a wild rice blend, which was OK. Too much liquid and a little over cooking of the veggies made the final dish a little mushy. I’ll keep the leftovers separate when packing my lunch. The next recipe is a black bean chili, to which I’ll add some extra veggies as well.

In addition to the how to, they’ve got an impressive list of celebrities adding their inspiration. Today’s message from NBA star John Salley was interesting, since I don’t follow basketball. Hopefully this community effort will lift me out of the Back to School doldrums.

What does everybody else do when motivation sags?