Current Progress

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mount Tamalpais

I had made a mistake and assumed I was leaving for Peru on Saturday :) Instead, it is 1am on Monday morning. This leaves room for a full weekend of awesomeness in the bay area.

We headed to Mt Tam to try out this hike I had heard so much about for the past few years as the best hike in the bay area! And sure enough, it was pretty awesome. We followed the route suggested by bahiker to go up from Stinson beach on the Matt Davis Trail and down on the Steep Ravine Trail.

I had never seen this kind of climate on a hike in the bay area yet - there was low hanging fog/clouds which were drifting past us.

It felt dampy and rainforesty - so beautiful assortment of trees and plants.

It wasn't hot or too cold either.

Randomly on the hike we saw a kid dressed up as a knight. And a lady with a crown. Which added to the enchanted forest feel to the hike. It's too bad that the cloud never went away to reveal the golden gate bridge and stinson beach view but...yeah I definitely enjoyed this hike.

I'm heading off to Peru tonight and then an epic hiking/camping roadtrip up along the west coast. I'm sure there will be many pictures and stories to share.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Old vs New

Ewwwwwww. Who is that girl?!?!

June 2006

June 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Well, I'm back from Yosemite and the sunset hike trip to Half Dome didn't go exactly according to plan but what I did experience was priceless.

- Full rainbow and a cool shower along the falls.

- Full sky covered with stars and shooting stars and UFOs.

Instead of arriving to start the hike at 12 to get up to Half Dome by 8pm, we were late and did not anticipate the hour wait in front of the gate or the hour drive through the park. We arrived at the trail head at 4pm!!

So sunset was in 4 hours. Team 1 aka Mules named Marvin and Mike hustled and did indeed get to the top of half dome in 4 hours in time for the sunset. Julian also made it to the base by then and not far behind was Tim.

They got to see the Sunset :)

Team 2 was led (more like held behind) by me at a pace of a 20min/mile with plenty of breaks :) Dustin and Chris were super patient and feasted on food while waiting for me.

We made it half way in the meadow before the sun set and it quickly became pitch black.

That damn sign that says 2 miles to Half Dome gives you really false hope.

We struggled onwards to the saddle, which is the start of the last mile. It was pitch black and my legs and muscles were done...and there wouldn't be anything to see on the top of half we met up with the group lying there looking at stars. That was at 10pm. (so it took 6 hours to get there...and I'm sure 8 hours if we made it to the very top)

What a beautiful sky. I've never seen that many stars in my life. We saw a shooting star that slowly projected through the sky, it was unreal. We saw satellites, planes, UFOs, planets I'm sure. It was indescribable and priceless.

The descent down in the dark was treacherous. I couldn't walk in a straight line and would constantly stop myself from tripping. We sang to scare bears away and were all scared when seeing glowing eyes of deers. The Nevada falls in the dark was a little scary as well. I felt pretty safe with our group of 7 as we only made a few wrong turns. About 2.5 miles to the bottom, I hit my knee on a rock and that was the end of my knees. As I hopped and wobbled down the rest of the way, the others had to wait. (nothing to worry about, it was just a bruise and recovered a few days later!) We got to the bottom around 4am.

The drive to the hotel was also really taxing since it was about 2 hours away. Finally after check in into the hotel at 6am and a nice hot shower, everyone was passed out by 7am.

I probably wouldn't do a hike in the dark or recommend such a long one. I've heard that you could see the same stars at Glacier Point, where you can DRIVE there. I guess since I didn't actually DO all of half dome, I'll have to repeat this again in the a sunrise or a day hike.

Baked Salmon with Fava Beans

On Friday I wanted to clear my fridge of farm vegetables so thats what we did! We bought some fresh salmon and lemon.

I marinated the salmon with olive oil, pepper, salt, pine nuts, pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme and lemon slices. Baked it at 350 for 25 min. It came out super tender and juicy.

I had some help with the veggies - Dustin peeled the Fava beans and we boiled them for about a minute before taking them out to again de-skin. I followed Alice Water's recipe to add half olive oil, half water and garlic and rosemary. We threw in the fava beans, some chard, and a zucchini and green onion and let the water evaporate.

In the background I also cooked up some of my 8 grain of rice. Everything really went well together. Panda timed his arrival just in time for the feast! Top it off with a Cabernet from Kunde and the was a perfect dinner.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mushroom Burger

Not wanting to spend yet another meal eating out, I willed myself to go to safeway today and buy food.

I bought some
- Morningstar Portabello Mushroom Veggie Burger patties
- Fresh Sour Dough Wheat Bread
- Mushroom Brie Cheese
- Tomatoes

Came home and put it all together with my farm lettuce in the span of 10 min and seriously, it is the tastiest burger I've ever had. No sauce, no oil, nothing. Try it out :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mission Peak Sunset Hike

Alright armed with new pants, fleece, shoes, socks, headlamps along with my trusty northface waterpack and mangos we went on our final test hike before Half Dome tonight. We started around 8:15pm in time to see the sunset. Since Mario is equivalent to 2 mules, trying to keep up a decent pace with him was tough. It's probably the fastest I hiked up Mission Peak but his absolute slowest time :)

I think I never realized my fear of cows until Mission Peak. In the dark, these big black lumps with bright eyes glaring at you as you walk past them is freaking scary. Now that I don't eat these animals, maybe they'll be nicer? We also saw large spiders and toads on the trail.

We got down past 11. Yay, I think I'm ready for half long as I keep it at my own pace. Now...PLEASE DONT RAIN OR THUNDERSTORM.

Monday, May 18, 2009


What a way to wrap up my bay area experience with a sunday morning stroll along Hayes and Fell into the Golden Gate Bridge....observing the creativity, livelihood, and debauchery of thousands of SF Bay area peoples.

This event is way better than Halowe'en since the weather was perfect and any costume (absolutely anything) goes. Lifeguards, inmates, aliens, fighters, cast of 300, Jesus, creepy old nudists, pilots, carebears, smurfs, vampires, borat, cast of Wicked, walking beer bottles, anything you can think of - was there.

The pictures I uploaded might be offensive to some but it gives a good idea of what the party was like.

The experience of watching other friends' destruction from sake and beers definitely shows me that I don't miss alcohol at all :)

Big Basin Hike

We headed down to Big Basin on Saturday to tackle a hike along the Sky to Sea Trail to see three water falls. There are beautiful Redwood/Sequoia trees all over which provided plenty of shade. Because of my lack of navigation skills, we went the complete opposite direction. When we realized this it was already an hour into it and we decided to keep going to the Ocean Summit View. When we got there...well frankly there was no Ocean view :) Probably behind giant trees.

It's alright though, the hike was still beautiful and relaxing. But it proved that my new hiking boots suck and I must return it and break in whatever I pick up next.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Comfort food

I have to admit, the last week or month has been a slump in the healthy cooking at home or even packing lunch or waking up early. Lemme try to get myself out of it.

Hue Food for lunch - Banh Bot Loc, Banh Beo, Com Hen
Chinese for dinner - Bok choy and other veggies, Fish, Chicken

Burrito in Alviso for lunch - ok fine I had beef tongue + beans + rice :|
Pluto's in Palo Alto - gigantic salad and garlic fries
Red Mango - small frozen yogurt with mango and blackberries

Pasta Pomodoro calamari spaghetti with salad and bread
Quickly frozen yogurt and Fried stuff

These were definitely 2000 calories/day with 50% fat - but oh so good.
I don't even wanna update that scale on the top of the page, as I'm back at 139-140.

Ricky/Lobster you might be ahead now...but just you wait.
Time to get back into the healthy swing of things!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Point Reyes to Strawberry Falls

My friends just got back from an epic snowboarding winter in Colorado so I was excited to come up to Sausalito to spend the weekend catching up!! They planned out an awesome hike in Point Reyes to Alamere Falls - I didn't realize until half way in the hike that the special treat was THREE waterfalls - the last one falling right down into the pacific ocean. We started at 1pm and took our time exploring Bass Lake, Pelican Lake and finally through a maze of wild flowers we relaxed on the waterfalls which we renamed to be Strawberry Falls (which it be forever known to be the place where we ate TwoSmallFarms fresh Strawberries).

I'm kicking myself for not bringing a camera but it was such a perfect day, perfect variety of trees, lakes, water, falls, wild flowers and just good company. On the way back we wandered into this swamp which we've renamed as Turkey Jerky Swamp as that was the food of choice when we stumbled upon it.

I LOVED every part of this hike and highly recommend it if you're lucky enough to find a sunny not so breezy day in Point Reyes. The variety of things to see was great, there was not much of an incline and the views were just incredible.

The day ended with a delicious meal of oysters, salmon, scallops and sea bass. The night ended with me sleeping in a "shack" with a floor to ceiling full view of the bay and Angel Island (and a full moon - which seemed orange and not the same as the moon I had seen the day before)

Sunday morning started off with a sunrise view of the bay and home-made:
- Egg white omelette with cream cheese and smoked salmon.
- Multigrain chocolate and nut pancakes
- ACME Olive Bread
- Fage Yogurt with Strawberries.

Yummmy. Life is so simple on weekends.

Full Moon at Mission Peak

We had an eventful Friday night when we finally made it to Mission Peak at 9pm. 2 hours behind schedule of course. So I've done this hike a couple times but never started in pitch black. At least I had a headlamp this time and more people to intimidate the cows. Geesh, the cows are very aggressive and loud at night. Not to mention how scary they look as big fat blobs all lined up to attack you in the moonlight.

Anyway, first we weren't impressed that we couldn't find this full moon. Then about an hour into the hike, the moon appeared. It rose so fast, I'd never seen anything like it. Suddenly we didn't even need flash lights or head lamps (except to watch out for cows and rattlesnakes). It was a surreal experience seeing the cows and everyone in the moonlight. We didn't quite make it up to the top though as we found some friends heading down 3/4 of the way up.

I really recommend Mission Peak as a full moon hike. I think it was less painful because we couldn't see the steep incline that we were walking on. I slept like a baby...only to wake up and hike again. :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vegetarianism destroyed Kirstie Alley

Haha I love this link.
It's funny that the BUTTER or CHINESE FOOD TAKEOUT or the ENCHILADAS or BREAD was overlooked in her downfall.


WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?? ok don't laugh. This was from the Pacific Mall days in highschool :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eating Fish

I've hit a bit of a slump in the work out arena. I'm severely lacking on the strength training, muscle building exercising lately during the week. Mostly I've been doing cardio activities during the weekends - training more for endurance and distance on my bike and hikes. Some weeks went by without a single day at the gym during the week. Unfortunately I think some of my weight loss has been due to losing muscle through the lack of exercise and the intense aerobic workouts and the lack of protein! After a month of skipping boot camp and showing up in time for a fitness test, I felt way weaker than ever.

So the rule of thumb for building muscle and repairing them is 1g / lb of body mass. That's 140g of protein a day! Edamame (soy beans) has 16g/cup which is huge compared to other vegetables. That's 10 cups of edamame a day. Holy crap, I love it, but not that much. That translates to 46% of my daily calorie intake to protein. Hmmm, am I ready to make this switch. Likely not but I realized how little protein I actually take in.

I'm all about building a new body that does all the work for me. Now that I know that my beta cells are not damaged or broken in breaking down glucose. Also, I can judge body effects of High Glycemic index foods vs low. And I am more aware of what 1200-1500 calories a day is and what is not. The next thing to target is to build and maintain muscle so I can burn off unwanted fat even faster.

So I've come to the conclusion that either I start having Protein shakes or start eating...meat. (Some readers will argue that I never really gave up meat. :) Well let's start with fish only. I finally found a useful chart that a lot of people have talked about. It shows which fish to avoid because of Mercury and PCBs. Have a look, its quite useful. Salmon seems to be safe - good thing - I love Salmon!

Any thoughts on protein, getting enough protein in a Vegetarian diet, and muscle building?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Goal #5: Stop being Pre-Diabetic.

What a great great day in the life of 2. I had a blood test a few weeks ago and got my results today.

GUESS WHAT!!!! I am NOT Pre-Diabetic anymore!!!!

Yup that's right, my fasting blood sugar is in the normal range! It means my body is working to break down glucose again! My cholesterol is back to normal. My liver is back to normal. My kidney is back to normal. My good cholesterol is still a little low so I need to keep at the exercising.

There's no longer a need for an endocrinologist. There's no finger pricking in my future.

Its definitely a life changing experience to realize how badly I treated my body. I don't know how many people are as lucky as I to turn their lives around like this.

Essentially all I did was:
- enjoy fresh vegetables and ingredients to make yummy dishes for myself and my friends.
- enjoy water and observe the side effects of sugary alcoholic drinks and wake up the next morning to a productive weekend instead of a hang over.
- explore the bay area bike and hiking trails with my camera.
- pack enough fruits and snacks and food so not have to cave into fast (disgusting) food.
- focus on how disgusting the layer of fat surrounding meat looked.
- try to get as much as endorphines as I could through sports and workout and bootcamp which is like getting high
- realized that most people also enjoy being healthy, active and eating good food.

It probably seems like common sense to some people but definitely to me it was all new and now it all makes sense.

Thanks for the support through all of it!!!

(Hamster dance is repeating in my head all day long)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Goal #4 - Complete the 25 Mile Tour De Cure

5 months ago I discovered that I had Pre-Diabetes and decided to sign up for the 25 mile bike ride in Napa Valley to fight Diabetes. At the time, I had never even biked 10 miles before but decided to work towards this event. May seemed like a long time away.

I learned a lot about my bike in the process by watching YouTube videos of how to fix the brakes and the derailleur. I learned what a difference a new seat and road-like tires can do. I also found some awesome bike trails around the bay area in the past few months - Embarcadero to the Golden Gate bridge, Stevens Creek Trail, Los Gatos Creek Trail.

Then as luck would have it, last week, my bike got stolen from the SF Farmers Market. It was unexpected and unfortunate. Not wanting to miss out on my goal, I thought about buying a new bike. Luckily Gene and Mandy let me borrow their bike. Which actually turned out to be a good thing, since it was a lot lighter and had nicer road tires on them. I didn't have time to try it out all week and of course as a natural procrastinator, I only tried it on Saturday night at the hotel (the night before my event). Sure enough, the tires were flat and I had trouble pumping it. Once the tires were fixed, the brakes were touching the tires. Fixed that. Then the chain was bumping up against the gears. Fixed that too. (Thanks Mike/Winnie!)

This morning - we woke up at 7:30am in the hotel to the sound of pouring rain. Nope, I don't have a poncho. Do I have any clothes or gloves or hat that's waterproof? Nope. Did it stop me? Nope.

Yup, it was raining and me running through a steep puddle helped keep my socks and shoes nice and wet throughout the ride. But wow, everytime I looked up - Napa scenery was beautiful. The rolling hills, the quaint roads, I really wanted to pinch myself to make sure I was alive. I passed by all my old favourites (Cakebread, Silveroaks) and realize how beautiful things are without that usual layer of fogginess after a few rounds of wine tasting.

The entire ride was nice and flat and the rain eventually stopped an hour into the race. I even stopped for about 20 min at the mid point rest stop drinking my new favourite water (OWater) and munching on goodies. I tried to keep on pace with those that passed me but mostly it was a relaxing ride. The 21-22 miles was the toughest for me. I got in at 2 hours and 30 min. I think if I didn't enjoy the scenery or the rest stop as much, I could have easily gone under 2 hours.

Oh and I even raised over $500 thanks to your generous donations!! THANK YOU!!

Next year...50 or 100 miles? :)

This probably sounds like a cliche, but I have realized that whenever you have your heart set on something, you can remove any obstacle in your way. The hardest part for me is making the decision or setting the goal. Then after that, stop complaining, turn the negatives into positives and try your best. Things have a way of working out.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Ah, Berkeley and good food come hand in hand. It's no exception especially when you get to eat good food and meet up with some close friends and see how far we've all come. It's funny how things work out - we all came from the same university, lived a few minutes away from each other in Tee Dot, together we've traveled the world, ate and drank all throughout the world, done well doing whatever we do and still trying to continuously self improve and take over the world. And yes, somehow through various random unfolding of events, we're all in the bay area at the same time and having the time of our lives.

I splurged on dinner tonight and got the tasting menu.
  • Beets with goat cheese
  • Artichoke hearts, citrus, red onion, mint
  • Grilled sardine, guindilla vinaigrette, olive toast
  • Tagliolini with goat cheese pesto
  • Baked poblano chile with summer squash, mushroom, chèvre

To be frank, my pesto tastes waaay better. :) I thought the hearts was bland but the orange and onion saved the day. The olive toast was delicious but the sardine was too fishy. The chile with cheesy sauce was too cheesy.

The pork chops that they're famous for - looked really good. And so did the duck! So I'd probably recommend this restaurant to the meat eaters out there. For vegetarians who want to spend $50 - I can think of way better places to go.

Food aside, its so great to spend quality time with such good friends. I'm excited to see how the next chapter plays out for all of us!!!

Which city do you think we'll sit down and have dinner in 2 years from now?

Cooking by the book

This is not an appropriate video and will offend you....I'd put an R rating on it.

but boy does it make me laugh - random video - thanks Irieeee.