Day 9: Meal Prep Sunday

I used to be totally overwhelmed with grocery shopping & meal prep. I used to go to Whole Foods and buy a bunch of random fruit, veggies and meat and then cook sporadically throughout the week. This caused a few huge problems.

First, I was spending a ridiculous amount of time cooking. Every night it took at least 2-3 hours to sort through my fridge, remember what I had bought, figure out what I was going to cook, Google a recipe, then prep all the produce and cook the meat. I’m not an experienced chef and I’d have to watch YouTube videos and read articles about how to properly blanch veggies or peel garlic cloves. I felt like I’d leave work, get home, and spend the rest of the evening toiling away in my kitchen. Like Cinderella. (Ok, that’s an exaggeration.)

Second, if I found a recipe I liked, I usually didn’t have all of the ingredients required- which is why shopping before creating a meal plan or a weekly menu is dumb. So I’d cook the recipe minus some of the important ingredients in the recipe (also dumb), or I’d schlep back to Whole Foods to buy more stuff (even dumber).

Third, this process left an immense amount of waste. Sometimes I’d come home and just want to take a nap or walk my dog or read a book – and I started loathing the kitchen. So instead of cooking, we’d end up at a local restaurant..all of that beautiful expensive food sitting in fridge, rotting. Also, I’d always overestimate how much food to buy – this is an inherited behavior passed down from my mom, I blame her – so at the end of the week I’d always have an extra bunch of kale, or bag of mint leaves, or container of raspberries going bad. I’m no millionaire, and I consider wasting anything I purchase at Whole Foods a cardinal sin.

So, after trial and error – I’ve found an awesome method for planning out my weekly meals and efficient, money-smart grocery shopping. Please note: this is not “labor free” and does require a little time and effort. I believe that what I feed my body is crucial and therefore shouldn’t be a mindless process. Also – most of the things I cook require about 10 whole-food ingredients. I don’t buy things that come in boxes or anything processed (unless my boyfriend is with me – he insists on crackers & ice cream sandwiches). However, over time, this process has become easier and faster as I’ve grown more skilled and comfortable in the kitchen. I am able to whip up random meals with extras in the fridge without having to refer to a recipe. Most of the time I stick with these tried and true steps:

1. I have a couple go-to websites for recipes. I’ve found a couple that I love & have them bookmarked in Google. Here’s one that I’m obsessed with right now: http://paleomg.com/. She also has ‘guest posts’ with other awesome chef’s sharing their recipes – that’s how I’ve branched out and discovered a few other awesome blogs. Here are some of my go-to’s:

http://www.muscleandfitness.com/nutrition/healthy-recipes

http://www.health-bent.com/

http://sleeploveeat.com/

http://nomnompaleo.com/

2. On Saturday or Sunday I browse through recipes and pick out however many I need for the upcoming week. I bookmark each recipe online so I can easily pull it up later. My personal goal is to cook ALL breakfast & lunch meals at home, and cook at least 5 dinners at home. However, my breakfasts are usually protein shakes and my lunches are almost always leftovers from dinner the night before or something stupid easy like grilled chicken breast with a side salad. So really, my focus is on finding recipes for dinner.

3. After picking out my recipes (and bookmarking them online), I make two lists: one is a “Menu” that gets posted on my fridge. This keeps me on track as I cook throughout the week. The other is a list of all the ingredients needed for my weekly menu. This becomes the “rough draft” of my grocery list.

4. I take my “ingredient list” and go to my fridge and/or pantry to see if I already have some of the items. If I have an item, I cross it off my list. If I see something that can easily be substituted, I also cross it off my list. Also, at this point I consolidate my list: for instance, if I have two items listed twice from two separate recipes (i.e., each recipe calls for 1/4 red onion) I consolidate them on the list as “1 red onion”.

5. Then I sit down and re-write the messy rough draft of my grocery list by organizing all the remaining items into mini-groups: Meat, Dairy, Veggies, Fruit and “Other”. This helps me as I navigate the grocery store so I don’t have to retread any sections I’ve already gone through. Lately, I’ve been shopping only at Trader Joe’s – but if not, I circle the items that need to be purchased from Whole Foods. Now you should have your “final” Grocery Shopping list.

Side note: I use pen and paper. I like it this way. Mainly because I think people standing in the middle of an aisle looking at their phone look like assholes (they are). Another reason is because the two times I’ve tried using “Grocery shopping” apps on my iPhone ended in disaster. Once, my phone died just as I grabbed my cart and walked into Whole Foods. The second time I couldn’t get any cell service in the grocery store and I got stranded without my list. 

6. I come home and put away all of my food. Then I take a better look at my Menu and re-organize the order of my meals according to whatever else is going on in my life that week. For example: I know that I like Sunday evenings to be low-key. So I always cook whatever is easiest and the least messy on Sunday evenings. Also, I know that I’ll be home early on Mondays and Wednesdays and I have nothing planned on those evenings. However, I’m busy after 7 pm on Tuesdays and sometimes I don’t get home from work until 10 pm on Thursdays. So I leave my more intricate recipes for the nights I have the most time. I also set aside time on those evenings to prep food for the following evening.

Side note: I used to cut and wash all of my veggies at once in the beginning of the week. I don’t do that anymore. I’ve found that it can cause certain things to get soggy or wilted pretty quickly. And since I pretty much just steam or lightly roast most of my veggies, they don’t take that much time to cook during the week. 

Next up: How to pack foods to-go & snack smart! 

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Day 7: Quickie but goodie

make time pic

This is all I got today, folks. I got to work a little later than I had planned and I was slammed all day long. Before I knew it, it was 4 pm. I had about 2 hours and 45 minutes to hit the gym, take a shower, eat dinner and drive out to the valley to make my meeting at 6:45 pm. It would have been easy to skip the work out-push it to tomorrow. Instead, I ran over to the gym and lifted for an hour. I killed it, too! I was focused and had tunnel vision and cut my rest periods in between sets a little shorter than normal. I ran into the showers & rinsed off. Got in my car and jumped on the freeway and proceeded to scarf down the turkey meatloaf and raw asparagus I had prepped the night before. I made it out to the valley…just in time to get a text telling me my meeting had been cancelled. Ha! Still felt like a champ. Did I enjoy taking a 30-second shower where I didn’t even wash my face or re-do my makeup? Hell no. Was it comfortable eating cold turkey meatloaf in my car while sitting in traffic? Double hell no. But sometimes, that’s what making the time looks like. Am I glad that’s what I did instead of making an excuse to skip the gym? Absolutely.

I’m also totally feeling the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared!! Here’s the reality: had I not prepped my food the night before, I would have had to skip the gym to make time to stop and buy dinner on the way to my meeting. Most likely, that food would not have been as healthy as my awesome lean turkey meatloaf. Cheat meal + skipping the gym = no bueno.

I’m finding it’s all about making tiny changes and sacrifices. I’ve realized that in all other areas of my life, if I want it bad enough, I make it happen. I’m the kind of girl who gets what she wants. Why not apply that dedication to my fitness and stop making excuses?

food in car

 

Day 6: Tired & Sore

I wasn’t feelin’ it today.  I don’t think there’s a single part of my body that ain’t sore. My shoulders, my triceps, my forearms, my back…my booty! Ugh! I was walking funny around the office today and could barely get out of my chair. I’ve really kicked butt this week and I was thinking this would be a perfect day to rest and recover and not hit the gym. Instead….I found myself at the Santa Monica Stairs. Now that’s dedication, cuz these stairs are beyond tough.

sm stairs

That’s 107 steps ascending up a total of 109 feet. They’re a killer but it’s such a great alternative to the gym. Since I find cardio boring and horrible, this place really makes it bearable. You’re blocks from the ocean, there’s a nice breeze and you have a beautiful view of the Palisades at the top. There are actually two sets of stairs – one is concrete, the other is wooden. I like running the wooden stairs since there’s a little give to them and it’s easier on my joints.

I haven’t run the stairs in a long time but was still able to do 10 reps in 32 minutes.  I count going all the up and all the way back down as ONE set. I do a combination of skipping steps, jogging up one step at a time, or walking. Sometimes I feel like crawling. However you do them, you’ll be a sweaty hot miserable mess in no time. Here are some suggestions if you wanna run the stairs (or any stairs close to you):

1) Bring plenty of water. No joke. It gets hot and you need to stay hydrated. Bonus Tip: I park at the top on Adelaide Drive but I leave my water at the bottom – that way if I get to the top and don’t feel like finishing all my sets I’m forced to go back down & up once more to get my water bottle.

2) Bring a hat and/or sunglasses.

3) Please don’t spray a shit ton of perfume on right before you arrive. All the Palisades and Santa Monica milfs like to layer it on and then prance around. It can smell, quite frankly, like a whorehouse sometimes. I’d much rather be smelling the ocean – which is literally down the street. Stop it ladies, please.

4) If you’re not comfortable wearing tiny booty shorts – don’t do it. They ride up and everyone behind you has quite a clear view of you digging out your wedgies as you self-consciously climb the steps.

5) Do stretch before & after. Or start with a slow one-step-at-a-time warm up set.

6) Bring a carb and/or protein heavy snack for right after – this workout really takes it outta you and I don’t like driving home feeling light-headed and dizzy.

7) Grrrr. Sorry my blog is so ghetto still. I give up trying to get the image of this map to show up. Here’s a link if you wanna hit those stairs: http://mapq.st/1sAeRCf

Day 5: It’s only Day 5

Today was Legs Day. Yeah, that’s in caps. Legs Day is always the hardest and it happens twice a week. I learned a few good lessons while kicking my own ass at the gym today.

I started off strong. Despite feeling a little disconnected and self-conscious since I was trying out a brand new gym for the first time, I was determined to crush it! But I have to admit, I hated feeling like a newbie while I wandered around getting a lay of the land. Also, this gym is much larger and busier than my normal little boutique gym that is next door to my office. More people equals more opportunity for me to compare myself to other people – which never turns out well.

I usually start Legs Day with a strong dynamic warm-up to really get my legs ready. My first lift is always on the squat rack doing Barbell Squats. Admittedly, my form still sucks – but I’ve gotten so much better! I know that if I keep doing it eventually I will master it. I have a hard time keeping my chest lifted and sitting back; my body still wants to bend in half. I was doing OK – I felt a little weak today as I pushed through my warm-up sets 95 lbs. I increased to 110 lbs and on my fourth set I nearly folded over and had a mini-panic attack about whether or not I was going to be able to get up out of the full squat I was in. I made it – although it wasn’t pretty. The weight had shifted squarely onto my shoulders and I lifted it all up with my back. No bueno.

Lesson #1: I realized I lost it in my fourth set because I had no mental focus on what I was lifting. My mind had wandered – and I was obsessing over my car and the new Bachelor’s program I’m starting in January. Lifting is as much about mental focus and true concentration as it is brute strength. Maybe more mental than physical, even. Don’t quote me. That’s just my experience. I’m hoping to increase my focus by spending more time out of the gym doing some meditation. I have a small practice where I sit in silence every morning for about 7 minutes – and that is a struggle for me! Sometimes I find that the entire 7 minutes is me sitting there thinking, or thinking about trying hard not to think. Sometimes I fall asleep.

I moved onto the Leg Press. My legs were on fire already but I pushed through 2 sets of 15 reps at 90 lbs. I stood up to stretch out and that’s when I saw Her. She was doing barbell squats with amazing form! Stiff, strong back – she literally looked like she was just sitting down on a very small chair and standing back up effortlessly. Obviously she also had an incredible physique – perfect butt, tiny waist, her arms toned and strong. I sat back down and literally almost cried. I fought tears back as my mind attacked me: “There’s no way you’ll ever get there. You’re never gonna look like that. You can’t reach this goal. What are you thinking? This is so stupid. You are so stupid. Quit now! Even if you are able to ignore or suppress these thoughts right now, they’ll creep up again and reality will set in and you will quit long before the competition in February. You can’t finish this goal. Why are you lying to yourself? Besides, she’s special – she’s doing something that you don’t know about.  All the girls in February are going to look like her and you’re going to be a fucking joke.” 

WTF?! Ouch. The mental beat down I gave myself was worse than the flash of jealousy I felt upon seeing that chick.  It was crushing. The craziest thing was that it came out of nowhere. I don’t think I’ve ever had that thought in the gym before! Besides, most of the people I follow on Instagram look just like her – even better! – and I loving seeing those pictures because they totally motivate me. Why was I falling apart in the gym?

Good news: I didn’t quit. I went harder. I chose to move on and decided to analyze my little mental-breakdown later. I did two more sets on the Leg Press with 140 lbs and wobbled downstairs and did some walking lunges with with a 40 lb barbell and hip abductions. I usually go till failure on the Hip Abductor. I push my back against the pad and lift my butt a few inches above the seat – I don’t sit down on it directly. I took deep breaths and gave it my all. It was a 1.5 hr workout and my legs felt like jello by the time I hobbled outta there.

Lesson #2: There was a time in my life where I was literally killing myself with drugs and alcohol. I would go to 12 step meetings and see people living beautiful amazing lives – completely sober. I used to think to myself then, “I could never do that. That will never happen.”  Through a chain of events, I ended up in my fourth rehab (yes, #4) on July 7, 2006. One day I was high, and the next I wasn’t. Twenty four hours turned into forty-eight and then seventy two hours. Hour by hour, day by day, month by month I built a new life – one baby step at a time. I transformed. Eight years later, I am one of those happy shiny people with an awesome life I never thought possible. And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary – my mind can still be my own worst enemy. It’s not often, but sometimes it happens.

Here’s the what I think my mini-mind-fuck boils down to: I still compare my insides to other people’s outsides. In this case, I saw Her and thought “If I only I could look like her I would be happy. If only I had started earlier and I would be happy right now.”  Sam Harris, an awesome awesome dude you should check out, talks about this in his new book Waking Up. He describes how people actually “avoid happiness by struggling to achieve happiness”. WHOA. That hit home. I set these goals and tell myself once I achieve x (fill in the blank) only then will I be happy. Ignoring, in the meantime, all the awesome shit that’s happening around me. When I’m in that head space, I can kinda behave like the “non-contributing zero” that Louis CK talks about in this awesome clip. 

I can’t see my abs yet. My butt is not perfect. And sometimes I nearly fall over on the squat rack. But that is OK! I have to approach this goal one day at a time. The only thing that counts is what I’m doing today to reach that goal. As the video that started this whole damn thing (posted in my first blog) points out: “Greatness is a series of small things done well, over and over and over again.” So, here I stand, ready to take a million tiny steps towards that stage in February.

 

Day 4: Today I lifted 6,652 lbs!

That’s right! Today I focused on my shoulders. I discovered a couple specific trouble spots after reviewing my “now” pictures I took a few evenings ago. Aside from the never-ending glute saga, I’ve got to start rounding out and building up my shoulders a bit and narrowing and tapering at the waist. I already have a pretty small waist and I think that will improve drastically just with clean eating alone (although I do train abs a couple times a week). However, I have a hard time working out my shoulders specifically because my traps always seem to get engaged and they build faster. I do NOT want big gross traps. Yikes.

Here was my workout:

  1. Barbell Incline Bench Press: Did 4 sets of 12 reps. First two reps were only with the 45 lb bar; I went up to 50 lbs for the last 2 reps
  2. 45-Degree Overhead Barbell Thrust: Did 3 sets of 15 reps (each arm). I started at 45 lbs, 2nd rep I did 47.5 lbs and the last rep was at 50 lbs (I did 30 mountain climbers in between each set)
  3. Seated Dumbbell Press: 3 sets, 12 reps @ 17.5 lbs. (did 20 reps of incline crunches in between each set)
  4. One-Arm Lateral Raise: 2 sets, 15 reps @ 8 lbs. Last set was 15 reps @ 10 lbs.
  5. Face Pull: 1 warm-up set of 15 reps @ 30 lbs & 2 sets of 15 reps @ 40 lbs

Day 3: Why in the hell am I doing this?

e45f2d0ceaf40df53f551d39e9bc4ecb

Why the hell am I doing this? Um, short answer: I’m not sure.

I want something challenging – I want to compete – I want to win something. I told my parents yesterday at our disastrous pizza lunch that I entered this bodybuilding competition in February and the looks on their faces told me that this what they thought I was shooting for:

female-bodybuilder

So, I immediately shared some pictures with them to illustrate this is more along the lines of what I’m shooting for:

latona

They were both weirded out and told me not to get too skinny. Sigh.

This afternoon I was driving home from work with my friend and she was sharing with me how the resident chef in our office was going to be bringing in her homemade Honey Apple Challah. I remember how delicious that was last year. I decided to ask Samara not to bring any to my office ‘cuz I’m on a strict mission to eat super clean. I told her about the competition in February. She was totally supportive and cool about it. Completely different reaction than my parents.

Funny thing happened. I still found myself defending my decision to her…telling her all the reasons I wanted to do it. I listed them out: I want some type of goal to work towards to keep me motivated in the gym, I want to have a competitive edge in my life, I haven’t played soccer in years but I still have that need to compete, and very specific goals are proven to keep you on you track, etc. She already understood – she was already on my side. But I still feel defensive about this.

Why? I thought about that this afternoon. I think it’s because I hate the idea of traditional pageantry and when I personally hear the words “bikini competitor” I immediately think about the viral videos of the vapid Miss America contestants. I like the idea of bodybuilding competitions for a few reasons: both men and women compete – both sexes are fair game, up there on stage strutting their stuff for the world to see. They’re showing off years of hard work and dedication and athleticism.

When I spend the whole weekend binge watching an entire season of Rectify or Scandal or The Killing I never feel the need to justify myself to anyone. So I’m going to stop defending this decision. I’m doing this because I want to, dammit.

Day 2: Awwww crap

About 3 days worth of lunches & snackies!
About 3 days worth of lunches & snackies!

So, yeah, I’m writing this on Monday 9/22 because I forgot to do my daily post yesterday. Crap – Day 2 was a disaster! Perhaps that’s why I subconsciously forgot to check in. Let’s review, shall we? On Sunday mornings, my boyfriend and I always attend a meeting with friends at 8 am. It’s kind of like a non-denominational church gathering that we go to each Sunday, no matter what. I like to sleep in till 7:22 am, stumble out of bed, put on some non-wrinkled clothes and shuffle into the car half-asleep. I definitely don’t have time for coffee or breakfast. Yesterday I came home, worked on fiddling around with WordPress settings, painted my nails, picked up the clothes scattered about my bedroom. Before you know it, 11 am rolled around and I still had nothing in my tummy aside from a small black coffee with a little creamer. My parents called and asked if I wanted to do lunch in Pasadena and meet up for a while. Getting my folks outta their house and meeting up with them for lunch can be…tricky, to say the least – so I jumped at the opportunity and headed out to Pasadena with my boo.

Now, I did realize I should eat a little something – just enough to keep my appetite at bay -so I wouldn’t show up to the restaurant starving. I grabbed some almonds and had a couple bites of an apple. Nonetheless, I showed up starving. We didn’t have a restaurant picked out, and we just started walking down the street looking for a breakfast joint. Nothing. Three pizzerias and an Italian place all in a row- and nothing else. Really?! So there I was, in an Italian restaurant at noon with next-to-nothing in my stomach, and a menu full of delicious pizzas. I asked to order a small salad and add grilled chicken. The waitress informed me they don’t serve chicken – only salami & sausage. Options became more and more limited.

So yeah, I ate a greasy, cheesy white-sauce pizza with chunks of sausage on top and it was fucking delish. I did also have a small side salad with arugula, fresh beets and olive oil. But pizza?! That shit is NOT in the plan. It is so far OFF the grid that I ate every bite with shame. But I was starving! They didn’t serve chicken! I was going to die (or so I thought)!

Ok – I ain’t gonna be one of those chicks that freaks out at every failure or obsess over every bite. I’m just not. Eating one pizza 4 months away from my competition is not going to kill me.However, I have to learn from this experience and make some necessary adjustments so I don’t mind myself in this scenario over and over again:

1) Have breakfast every single morning. Weekends are easy – I should always have time to scramble some eggs, make a veggie & egg omelette, or a protein shake. That mean’s I’ll be waking up early on Sundays to eat before my meeting!

2) If I’m going to eat out with friends or family – know the restaurant ahead of time. Eat a small healthy meal at home ahead of time, and plan on ordering a small salad or something similarly healthy at the restaurant. Check the menu ahead of time and pick something out that doesn’t take me off track. Most important: don’t go to restaurants when I’m starving, because I will eat everything I see.

3) Severely restrict eating out. I know what you might be thinking — Whaaa?!? That’s ridiculous. I know. I love eating – especially trying out new restaurants with my boo and my friends. But a couple things are at play here. Number one: I’m currently also on a strict budget while getting some financial ducks in a row so I can save up for school that starts in January. I cannot afford to eat out all the time. Two: controlling/restricting myself at a restaurant is difficult, the temptation too great. Why make myself miserable? Three: It’s only 5 months! Maybe I can loosen up a little after the show – but right now, this is not a big price to pay. It’s a slight adjustment that needs to be made to keep me on track. I can still hang with my peeps – go to a movie, go hiking, grab coffee, etc. Our festivities don’t have to revolve around eating!

Yesterday was not a total loss. I did a great meal prep for the next two days at work:

  • 1 cup of 2% Fage greek yogurt with a handful of fresh blackberries & 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
  • 1 container with a handful of carrots & 2 servings of raw almonds
  • 1.5 lbs of plain grilled chicken
  • 2 small yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 salads: arugula, spring mix, handful of cherry tomatoes (dressing on the side: I always use Tessamae’s!! It rocks. It’s literally just olive oil & various seasonings – no cream/milk/dairy/sugar/bad stuff)
  • 2 bananas

Day 1: The video that started it all

Yesterday at work, while I was in a trance gazing admiringly at pictures of Amanda Latona, I started seriously contemplating the idea of entering my first novice bikini competition. I’ve known deep down inside that this is something I’ve wanted to try, but honestly – I really didn’t think I could swing it. I can be plagued by the fear of losing or looking bad. It has been pointed out to me that if I think I’m not going to win, I refuse to play. Also, I keep telling myself that I’m just not strong enough to make the sacrifices that are needed to not look like a damn fool up on stage in a tiny bikini. So, what does one do once they make the decision to compete in a bodybuilding competition? Nap!!!

I left work, drove home, and was intent on jumping into bed and taking a looong nap. As I was laying there, I checked Facebook and got a notification that my good friend Rodney had posted some damn video and tagged me. Despite the fact that it wasn’t a video about cute animals doing something adorable, I watched it anyway.

Goddamit Rodney. I don’t know what happened but by the end of this video I was nearly in tears, Amex in hand, entering the NPC Gold Coast Muscle Classic.

So yeah. Today is Day 1. I have 149 days left to train and prepare for this contest. I’m going chronicle this journey day by day and see what happens.

I’m going to post what I eat, and how I train. Nothing too formal. Maybe things will change. Stay tuned.

DAY 1 Breakfast: 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, with some peanut butter on them (I know, it sounds weird, I’ve been putting PB on my eggs since I was little) and one slice of turkey bacon.

Afternoon snack: handful of almonds, sliced apples, some carrots and hummus.

I didn’t want to work out. I really didn’t. But how could I skip a work out on Day 1 of this journey? I couldn’t. I knew that would be wrong. So, I forced myself to do some cardio. I hate cardio with every molecule in my body and it shows in my tummy. I downloaded an app called “Interval Timer” on my iPhone and went at it. I took my dog Julius with me but he’s a goddamn wimp out in the heat so I immediately brought him back home and hit the pavement on my own. I did 10 intervals, 60 seconds of sprinting, then 60 seconds of fast walking. Here are some of the thoughts I contemplated prior to my workout:

1) I hate running in the heat – I should wait till the sun goes down – I’ll be able to run longer and harder if it’s cooler.

2) Running makes my legs sore and I want to train glutes on Monday.

3) I haven’t eaten enough today so I should go eat, then wait 45 minutes and then run.

4) I should read another article on Bodybuilding.com about HIIT cardio and then go run.

Those are all excellent reasons. You see, I’m well versed in the art of self-bullshitting. I can lie to myself all day long. Here’s what happened: I imagined myself being a soft-bellied amateur on stage with a bunch of trained hotties and before you know it, I was laced up and drinking some crack juice (aka, pre-workout supplement).

The funniest thing happens after I run: I feel fucking awesome. I feel like a bad-ass. I came home so pumped up and high on endorphins I went outside, laid down on a blanket on the grass and did some ab work. I did every ab exercise I knew in quick succession, took a quick 45 second rest, and did one more round.  Julius licked sweat off the back of my legs as I planked and even though that is disgusting, I didn’t stop. Ewwwww.

I have to make my own perfect opportunities. I can’t wait for the sun to go down, I can’t wait for the temperature to drop, I can’t wait until I understand the ins and outs of perfect HIIT training techniques — I have to get the fuck out there and run my ass off. I have to train whenever I can, however I can, under whatever circumstances I am faced with.

“When the messenger of misery visits me…what’s going to keep me in the game?” That part of the video hit me hard. I think this is more than just a silly bikini competition to me.This will be a daily reminder that I’ve been going too easy on myself. Things have just been too damn comfortable. I need to break out and make some changes and this is the first one. I am going to do something that right now I am absolutely uncomfortable committing to. I need to embrace the idea that I can be my own biggest enemy and overcome that shitty little voice in my head telling me I can’t – when in my gut I know it’s possible.

Dirty Hippy Cakes

I was going to call this “Banana Paleo-ish Protein Pancakes” and show off some fancy alliteration skills but really, these cakes are for some dirty hippies. New-age hippies who eat pasture-raised eggs. This recipe was born out of desperation: I watched every damn episode of The Killing, I had some spare time & a bunch of almost-too-ripe bananas, so I decided to whip up a batch of paleo-ish pancakes. And by “whip up a batch” I mean “trying to cook something edible.” I do not bake and I hate following rules — recipes with exact measurements are my enemy. I’m not Emeril, and if you can improve upon this recipe, lemme know! Also, I use the term “paleo-ish” because while most (not all) of the ingredients I used are technically “paleo qualified”, I think the essence of eating a “strict” paleo diet is focusing on eating WHOLE, natural, unprocessed foods: vegetables (raw or lightly cooked), meat (pasture-raised, organic, hormone-free), etc. When you take a bunch of “paleo” ingredients and blanch them and refine them and bake them all together, you’re in essence producing a processed food item that can’t be found in nature. With all that aside…fuck it! I don’t do strict paleo and if I want some damn pancakes – this is the best way to do ’em without using processed all-purpose flour shit and tons of cane sugar. I stopped asking myself, “Is this paleo?” and focused on eating whole natural foods at least 80-90% of the time. Couple special notes: you don’t need the protein powder. That’s an extra I threw in. You don’t need sugar. Just say no. I know you want to sprinkle it in (or pour in a cup) but the over-ripe bananas are super sweet and you’re an asshole if you add sugar when you don’t need to. I mean, why use this recipe? Just go get some REAL pancakes at IHOP (or the Griddle if you’re an annoying hipster). I mean, go all the way. If you add sugar, then just bathe in a vat of chocolate syrup and whip cream while you’re at it. Also, 99% of the ingredients I used below are organic and the eggs are pasture-raised and cage-free from Vital Farms. Did you just throw up a little bit in your mouth? I thought so… So here it goes…

BANANA PROTEIN PANCAKES 

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (I use the vanilla BioTrust Low Carb Protein Blend – all natural, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, hormone-free blend of whey & casein)
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons of almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 bananas (best if super ripe- brown peeling)
  • 2 tablespoons of hemp milk (sub with coconut or almond milk if you wish)
  • Liberal dash of cinnamon
  • 1.5 tablespoons of alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • Ghee (to grease your pan – but you can use coconut oil, too. Don’t you dare use some nasty ass Pam no-stick spray)
  • Top with: whatever the hell you want. I tried them with maple syrup, you could use agave, add some berries. If you love peanut butter (or other nut butters) go for it.

Get two mixing bowls: one for dry ingredients, one for wet ingredients. In the first bowl, combine all the DRY ingredients. Grab the second bowl, and mash the bananas. They will turn slightly brownish and liquid-y and try to get most of the major lumps out. Then add all the other wet ingredients. Lightly beat the eggs and mix thoroughly. Then slowly pour the wet ingredients into the “dry bowl” while mixing the ingredients together with a rubber spatula. Mix everything slowly, get the batter nice and thick. Don’t beat it with a whisk or anything, you need it thick and sticky so it stays together when you pour it on greased pan. I greased my pan over the stove top using ghee. I got the pan pretty hot before spooning out the pancakes. I used roughly 2.5 tablespoons per pancake – but don’t sweat it. I personally like small pancakes because they are easier to flip in the pan.