Current Progress

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Paleo Diet

I've been intrigued and reading more and more about a Paleolithic diet in the last few weeks. A friend of mine mentioned it since she does cross fit and everyone there is all about eating Paleo. At its fundamental - eat natural foods rather than processed foods should be common sense but it is not and it is pretty hard to do living in an urban city. So she is doing a month challenge of a paleo diet and I decided to tag along.

These youtube videos are so amusing and hilarious and a good introduction to a Paleo lifestyle:

Friday, September 24, 2010

My first slow cooking experience

It has been one week since I purchased my first slow cooker ($30, President's Choice) and what a joy that week has been. In the week prior to my spontaneous purchase, my friend had bought one for her boyfriend and proceeded to spend $100+ on all sorts of meats at Costco and a cook book! I've always shied away from leaving my stove on low for hours on end so I stay away from making soups and braising meats. The closest I've come to slow cooking is Vietnamese-style claypot cooking, but since I only have a small 1-serving-sized claypot, the choices are limited in what I could make.

I really hate buying broths (especially Vegetable broth) or soups at supermarkets because of how inexpensive making it really is and how packaged stuff almost always contains enough salt for your day or weekly intake.

Anyway, after hearing the good things that were coming out of my friend's kitchen, I decided thatthis was the next step in my culinary journey, I took the leap and bought my first slow cooker!

Along with the slow cooker, I ran around Superstore purchasing a large ham butt (with bone), split peas, celery, carrots, onions, parsley, garlic, butternut squash, and a load of fresh and dry herbs/spices. Boy was I excited to see what this magical device could do.

Before I went to sleep, I soaked the split peas and went to sleep. The next morning, I eagerly wake up, look up slow cooked split pea and ham soup recipes and started chopping! Onion, carrots, celery, garlic. I had to split up the ham because it wouldn't all fit in my slow cooker. Chop chop chop (thinking about how awesome my knife was and thankful to Ming for the great gift)...I added the bay leaf and spices I got from various recipes and a few cups of water. And that was all ! I closed the lid, turned the slowcooker to high for 5 hours.

About 3 hours in, I could smell a lovely scent in my house and I did something that all the websites told me not to do, open the slow cooker! Since it works on moisture/steam, I probably did mess up the cooking process but I couldn't help it! Yup, the split peas were still hard...and the ham was not done...but a sip of the broth was delicious! So I took a few spoonfuls of the broth and ate it like a soup with rice. It was so flavourful and delicious! I closed the lid again and set it for another 4 hours.

My house was smelling unbearably delicious as I tried to work thru the afternoon. FINALLY dinner time was around the corner and I was going to share my soup with a friend (who was also slow cooking some pulled pork that night). So I opened up the lid and after enjoying the rush of yummy ham/split pea soup smells, I tasted some, scooped out enough for 2 and off I went. That night we had a nectarine/spinach salad with the split pea and ham soup then some delicious bbq pulled pork then digested while bouldering at the climbing gym.

When I got home that night, I split up the rest of my split pea and ham soup into 5 zip lock bags. Each were a good one portion size, and laid them flat in the freezer to freeze. I had plenty of ham left over too. This doesn't take up too much room in the freezer and makes for a quick instant hearty snack (without the sodium and fake tastes of instant-soup)

Ever since that lovely day last week, I have made butternut squash soup, borscht, and today cream of cauliflower soup! Each offers a hearty and healthy cure to the rainy Vancouver weather. I hope to write up some of these recipes as I am still experimenting and perfecting them as I go :) So many possibilities that will come out of my kitchen this winter: kalua pork, whole chicken, chiles, beef stews, pho are all on my to-do list.

Oh and the good news to all of this, at least this month is that I'm trying to follow a Paleo diet of eating organically grown vegetables, fruits and free range/grass-fed meats. And the slow cooking does wonders for all the options you can eat on this diet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Triathlon Training

Alright, so I've just signed up to do the Vancouver Triathlon on Labour day long weekend here in Stanley Park.

Activities this week:
Sunday: 20km bike ride thru Stanley park. 45min.
Monday: 1km swim in Kits pool.
Tuesday: 5km run thru Stanley Park.
Beach Volleyball.
Wednesday: 1km swim.
Thursday: Brick workout: 20km bike ride, 5km run.
Friday: REST.
Saturday: 5km run.

The motivation is baaack :)

Oh, and Hello World.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Media on the Food Revolution

I'm rather impressed with the mission the media has been undertaking recently - which is to expose how we are stuffing ourselves silly with "Food" and how we should be aware and concerned about what the food in our grocery stores are actually made from and how were they made.

I watched Food Inc on the weekend and it made me wonder how we're going to solve these problems. How do we bring back the family farms and allow new seeds to be planted that a company doesn't have patents for? How do we get people to eat basic foods and not processed, fake, fast food?

Then today I watched Jamie Oliver's TED talk. It was sad to see kids thinking that a potatoe was a tomatoe. I'm so inspired by him and his revolution to educate American kids about food. It sucks to know so many people that are being diagnosed with Diabetes today and more and more kids.

The first step is awareness. I'm so glad the word is spreading about this massive problem of what we eat now and where it comes from.

I personally am the product of this trap but mostly my own fault and not having the understanding I have now. As immigrants to Canada, we were a poor family. You're taught never to waste food, to eat everything, and that free was good. I had no complaints about the food at home, my mom, uncles, grandparents would take turns cooking and it was all good. When they started working and could afford a bit more than the basics, they would get bags of chips or ice cream for us. Then, on good behavior or good marks - I'd be rewarded a Coke or McDonald's Happy Meal. We never ate out ever. And I would be jealous...jealous of friends and their stories of eating out. Jealous of watching friends eat McDonalds or Harvey's when I had no money. Jealous of not having money to go to the corner store and buy all the sweets.

Even in the school cafeteria, other students got lunch money every day to line up for fries and gravy or pizza or hot dogs. I couldn't. Then in highschool, I started working. Along with work came free pizza days, money to afford KFC Toonie Tuesdays, splurging for fries in the cafeteria and eating McDonalds at Fairview Mall. I opted for fat, sugar, salty fast food because it tasted good and we never had it at home.

Then I moved on to University - with the freedom to eat whatever was served in the cafeterias there. Then...Co-op terms afforded me the liberty to eat out...everyday. I was eating things I'd never eaten before, loved trying new foods, loved traveling and eating. I knew nothing about cooking, health, exercise except whatever my friends were doing. I loved microwavable frozen foods and instant noodles. I loved how cheap and quick it was. Then as more money came in and free business lunches and dinners...I ate more calories at classier places and loved it too.

Well I loved it until my body practically shut down and told me to stop or die. I was on a path to disaster and given one last chance. That's when I started reading about food, where it came from, what's in it, how to make it, how to eat it. When I enrolled with Yap in the Community Supported Agriculture and started getting vegetables, I had no idea what many of them were. I'd never seen Beets or Kale before. The closest thing to me handling a Squash was carving Pumpkin.

I realized that it was fun to see how vegetables and fruits are grown, and it was fun to talk to farmers and the people at the farmers markets for advice on how to cook and what to cook. I realized how fun it was to go to Farmers Markets and how food just tastes a lot better when you buy fresh ingredients and cook it the same day.

I also realized that when you start cooking - basic things, different ethnic cuisines (Vietnamese, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian) you have a new appreciation for the ingredients, processes, seasonings. So when you do eat out or other people cook, you appreciate it so much more. You finally have an appreciation of WHY French Laundry costs so much. You finally realize that you want to pay and eat for QUALITY not QUANTITY and that McDonalds is NOT the bait and reward at the end of the day and actually is not food.

My disaster was years in the making and my lack of awareness of what was the right thing to eat or do was scary. I'm very impressed that when I finally tuned in on what the right way to eat is, that there are movies, books and famous chefs educating me.

I'd like to help. If I could help divert someone from following the same path to disaster as me, that would make me happy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 Journey

Alright, I spent the last four months essentially undoing all the steps I took last year to get healthy. Yes I know - I feel so guilty.

You can make mistakes once but once you see history exactly repeating itself its just no good. And I'm very disappointed in myself.

Now that the olympics are over and I'm over the heartbreak AND my startup has taken off, there's really no more excuses of mine on why I was doing every unhealthy thing in the book.

  • I'm now training for a mini Triathlon in August.

  • No smoking, no alcohol, nothing of any kind except water

  • No meats of any kind except fish

  • Eating out is reserved to once a week

  • Following a triathlon training plan and joining Running Room's free run

Oh and I'm going to have a weight loss competition with Lobster. We did this last March and I kicked his butt. I know I can do the same again.

Sorry to not update this blog and now telling you that I'm not in good shape right now. ThuFat is baack.