Sunday, December 28, 2008

More info on Tracy's Saturday Swing Classes @ Girya Palo Alto

Here are 3 videos of the class I taught at our "Team Rif" workshop in Healdsburg, CA in Sept. the first one is the start of class, I'm using the 12kg & the 16kg. The secind video demonstrates a progressive number of reps as we are buliding up to midway through. The last video shows a swing and snatch ladder in the last 10 minutes of a workout that lasted over 45 minutes...notice a few of the sudents missing....they had enough after the first half hour, lol!

The difference between the Master and Beginning classes, besides a 15 minute longer workout is that the Master class will be "longer work to rest ratio" of swinging, and may include snatches. The Master class is scalable, but it is my actual workout, so you'll be my "training partner"! The Beginning swing class will almost always be an "equal work to equal rest ratio", it is also scalable to your abilities.

Learn to Swing class is for new students that have never swung a Russian kettlebell, or if you feel you need more practice and/or instruction before attending the beginner class. I recommend 4 weeks of learning the swing and it will be instructed as follows,

week 1, 2 hand swing and variations of the 2 hand swing
week 2, 1 hand swings
week 3, transfers
week 4, roundabouts, and practice, practice, practice!

I am offering 4 classes for the price of three, but they all have to be in the same month period of time, for the simple reason that I believe in consistency. I'm most interested in people getting results, and to do that you have to train regulary.....I haven't missed a workout in almost 3 years, and I expect the same from anyone interested in training with me! Come 5-10 minutes early to stretch and warm up on your own, or park a few blocks away and use walking as a warm up, but be ready to start swinging, on time!

Girya is a small studio and can only accomodate 5-8 students, so I encourage you to reserve your space via email or phone,, (408)421-8293.

I hope these classes can work into your schedule because, I promise, you'll truly be inspired to take your training to a whole new level!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Kettlebell Swing Classes at Girya in Palo Alto

More information coming soon at our website :

Saturdays starting January 3, 2009
11:15 -12 noon Master Swing Class
12- 12:30 pm Learn to Swing Class
12:30- 1 pm Beginning Swing Class

All classes are $25 drop in fee or get
4 classes for $75 ( used within one month)
All classes taught by Tracy Reifkind, RKC
Private lessons also available.

See ya there!

Christmas....just another day, or is it Christmas everyday?

The actual day of December 25th, Christmas day, hasn't been anything but just another day around my house for years. We are not a religious family, and with our boys grown, neither one of them asked for anything special, and if Christmas falls an a training day, then it's no different than any other day, really. Is that bad....or sad....or what? I've never felt bad or sad about it, because I have everything I want. I mean if I really thought about it, my life is like Christmas everyday!

If it's true that Christmas is about giving, what does that mean? Don't we all "give" everyday? What is a gift? We all give our friends and family, even strangers, gifts everyday, even if it's just a smile or kind word. I know when even the smallest of things go wrong we are quickly reminded the greatest of gifts are the simple things we take for granted. Life is a gift, our bodies are gifts, and we chose how to use them, and choice is the biggest gift. We chose how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. I'm not going to deny that we may feel something special about someone taking the time to wrap up a pretty package, hiding a surprise meant just for you (or visa versa, you taking the time and effort), and isn't that what's really special, someone taking their precious time to do something for someone else?

So, December 25th is gone, how will that change what you give, or take for granted the next 364 days? Is everyday just "another day"? Or will you, can you, give and feel that Christmas spirit everyday?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Best, Easiest, Fastest, Smokey, Spicy Multi-Bean Soup with Ham...and other recipe ideas.....oh, and more reasons to buy and use a pressure cooker!

Whoops, you don't have a pressure cooker, or know how to use the one you have? Well, you better learn quick.....or take the word "fastest" out of the recipe title, lol! I am forever indebted to Fawn Friday for introducing me to the pressure cooker, but also reminding me of the convenience and versitility of the flavor punch you can get from canned chipotle chilis!

The Best, Fastest, Smokey, Spicy Multi-Bean Soup with Ham

onion & celery, diced (jalapeno is always optional in my house, lol)
garlic (of course)
1-2 canned chipotle chilis
1 can diced tomatoes (sm or lg, depending on how many beans and grains you use)
1/4 c. tomato paste (or more)

multi bean soup mixture, soaked overnight, or quick soak method (or your own mix of at least 4-8 different beans, lentils, split pea and barley (never use more than 1/4-1/2 c. barley!)
1 lg smoked ham shank, or 3-4 sm smoked ham hocks

In your pressure cooker, saute onion and celery in oil, about 5 min., adding garlic during the last minute. Stir in chipotle chili, canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste (deglaze the bottom of the pot with the liquid in the canned tomatoes), add bean mixture and smoked ham shank with enough water to cover. Lock lid in place, bring to high pressure, cook 20 minutes, let pressure come down naturally. Fish out the ham shank and shred meat before returning to pot. (whoops....also, fish out the chipotles...their job is done, and you don't want to bite into one of those bad boys!)

You can make this same exact soup in a large soup pot, bring all ingredients to a boil, turn heat down to simmer, cover slightly and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

The difference between a ham shank and a ham hock......a shank is the portion cut from higher on the leg and has more meat, the hock is mostly bone and cartilage (gristle) with very little meat.

Personally, I made a smokey stock with the shank on it's own, removed and shredded the meat, and then strained it before making the stock into soup with the addition of a turkey thigh while it was cooking, adding the ham meat back in at the end. The first time I threw this together I was "pantry diving" and found this "17 Bean and Barley" mixture from Trader Joe's....I usually don't buy these types of mixtures because they cost about $1.69-$1.99 per lb, and single beans are $.99 a pound, so I mix my own from leftover dry bulk beans I buy. the other thing I don't like about these premixed packages is that you cannot seperate the grains and legumes from the beans for a proper soak (lentils and peas don't need to soak, although I do like my barley both ways, pre-soaked or not), but what the hell, use what you have or what's convenient for you.

Wild Rice

Last week I purposely roasted a turkey to make soup! And one of the flavors that goes well with turkey is wild rice. I like a mixture of wild rice, red rice and brown rice, not only for a milder flavor, but I like the way it looks too! I make the mixture in the PC and use it in salads as well, sometimes adding dried cranberries.

Leftover Salad

Here's a salad I made for lunch with some of the leftover roasted turkey breast.

dried cranberries
mayo/yogurt dressing

I could of added a splash of cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar, but I wasn't in the mood.

Here's a book I highly reccommend, not only for the recipes, although there are many good ones, but for the information on how to use a pressure cooker. The author, Lorna Sass, is this country leading authority on pressure cooking. It may be too lae for Xmas, but make it Christmas in your kitchen everyday of the year by getting in the habit of making homemade meals fast and easy...treat yourself, it's less than the cost of a large pizza, lol! (And, Leslie....she has a vegetarian pressure cooker cookbook too!)
And buy your pressure cooker (s) from the Veggie Queen, Jill Nussinow's website!

Vegetarian White Bean Chili

Don't think for one minute that I'm not cooking much these days! OK, it's not a much as I used to, but there is rarely a day that goes by that I don't use my pressure cooker (at least once!). Knowing how to use a pressure cooker has opened up a whole new world of food because there is hardly anything I can't make in it in a short period of time. Knowing how to use a pressure cooker, fast and effeciently takes practice, but it's the perfect kitchen tool if you want to make good, homemade foods quickly and many times with limited amount of ingredients in your fridge or pantry, and the best recipes are the ones with simple and few ingredients!

Vegetarian White Bean Chili

Dice onion, celery (optional), jalapenos, or any green chili pepper mix
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
1-2 tbl. cumin
1-2 tbl. oregano
1-2 small cans green salsa (secret ingredient)
1-2 cups white beans soaked overnight, or quick soaked (see note*)
water or veg stock (water, if you are adding meat with a bone)
bone-in chicken thighs or turkey, skin removed, for a non-vegetarian version

Saute onion, celery peppers in oil, add garlic at the last minute along with spices. Add salsa, beans and water (or stock) to cover. (Add chicken or turkey if using at this point also). Cover, lock lid, bring to high pressure, cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, taste for S&P.

I wanted to keep this chili white, so no red ingredients could added, and that meant no chili powder for heat (although you could probably use 1/2 t. cayenne), so searching through my pantry I found this can of salsa verde I bought at the Mexican Market near my home, but you can also find it in the ethnic food section of most markets, the ingredient list is, tomatillos, serrano chilis (hot!),salt and cilantro, all appropriate for this application, so I just dumped it in.....perfect! Now I stock these little cans of green salsa for just this reason!

And as I mentioned in earlier blog posts if you are using bone-in meats, then you don't need to use stock, or broth, it will automatically be made as it's pressure cooking. But if you are cooking vegetarian, all recipes would benefit from using veg stock....which is a snap to make in the PC!

*Quick soaking beans

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add dry beans, turn off the heat and cover tightly for at least 1 hour, strain from soaking liquid and continue. This method can be used in lieu of an overnight soak.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why can't I simply go to the grocery store?

I recently have been going through a period of not being able to go to the grocery store without being "triggered" by the overabundance of, what I would consider, junky foods. I mean, I like junky foods as much as anybody else, or should I say, I like the idea of junky foods.....candy, chips, crackers/cookies, etc....I don't really like them more than I like my own homemade foods, or I would chose them more often than I do, I guess what I think I like about junk foods is the "instant gratification". I love instant gratification, but as I mature, I know that the instant "feel good high" that I get from these foods does not last for long, most times it's over within minutes, and the long lasting effects can leave me, at the very least, regretful (but more aware), and at the most, demotivated, disgusted and devastated. Wow, three D's.....demotivated, disgusted, and devastated....that's big.

But let me touch on the point of "maturing" real quick.... We all know how our adult behaviors are rooted in our childhood experiences, and it's becoming clear to me, or more clear to me that I am, in fact, a big girl, and I have to see things in the logical, rather than emotional. OK, back to the grocery store thing.....

The good thing about not feeling as if I can handle the deluge of junk foods at the the grocery store is that I have become much more aware of what I really need, in terms of which foods I need to stock in my pantry and fridge, and it's not much. I can probably live the next few weeks if not a month without going to the grocery store, and my pantry only consists of, about, three shelves! (fresh veggies would be the acception, of course, but I could live, and eat them minimally if I had to) I have too much food, and I've been saying that for quite a while now. We have too much food. Our bodies don't need that much food. We have too much choice. Our bodies don't need all of this choice. We have too much food and we have too much choice being thrown at us....thrown at us! And instead of falling victim, I'm getting mad!

If you are a person that thinks you are even a few pounds overweight, you are no different than anyone with 100 pounds (or more) of extra bodyweight. How do you think you got that way? You got that way by eating more calories than your body pound or 100 pounds is simply a matter of calories in, calories out. If you are one of the very few people that has been able to keep a healthy, consistent, bodyweight, then you are lucky, or you work like hell to keep it that way! (The "luck" part is mostly genetic, and/or your "issues" are something other than eating, and you don't use food to deal with them)

Working like hell is what we have to do to stay away from and navigate through this sabotage of the food industry in this country. As I often say...if you don't think, for one minute, that the food industry in this country is mostly concerned with making a profit, over making you a healthier person, then you are wrong! The food industry is in the business of making money, and to do that, it has to sell more, and more, and more food to you.....more food than our bodies need. And the more addictive ingredients they put in their foods.....sugars, corn syrup, fake fats, salt, etc.....and the cheaper and more convenient they make these foods, the more you want, and the more you buy....even if you don't need it (and you don't need it!).

But my some of my resentment comes from feeling as if life is unfair....and that is what is rooted in my emotional childhood experience. Why can't I have what other people have? What I really mean is......why couldn't I have everything my sisters had, why did they get more? (In their defense, they didn't really.....but that's what I thought as a child) It's not fair that eveyone else gets all this "stuff" and I don't.....why can't I eat all the crap that other people eat? Why can't I just buy and eat all this crap, unconscious, or in denial of what it does to my body and my health? Oh yes, I did that, lol, and what did it get me? A bodyweight of 250lbs.... And 200+ lbs is not that uncommon these days.

When I start throwing the pity party of, "It's so unfair, I should be able to eat whatever I want, like other people", Mark is quick to remind me to look around at "other people". This country is getting fatter and fatter kidding, no joke, everyday. And even grocery stores like Whole Foods have isles and isles of quick, high calorie foods tempting us to forget what our bodies really need, and counting on us to feed our emotional hungers instead.

So when am I going to be able to simply go to the grocery store without being "triggered" to want to buy, and eat everything in sight? I don't know, and I can't worry about that, but until that time comes, I'll shop when I'm not hungry, and shop only when I truly need to.....we all do the best we can....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Favorite Granola Recipe

Now, I'm not going to pretend that I am not tempted to eat entire packages of my favorite types of cookies, but if I could never eat another cookie, the next best thing would be granola. Granola....sounds so healthy doesn't it? Well don't be fooled, it can be higher in calories than you think with the addition of high calorie dense ingredients like nuts, seeds and dried fruits, so I am careful to try my best to practice portion control.

You can find my favorite granola recipe on my current favorite food blog This is why I love, love, love this recipe..... Most granola, and especially granola bar recipes have a tons of sugar, usually brown sugar, and never introduce a "savory" flavor element, and if you haven't heard lately, the trend in sweet treats is "savory" (for instance, salt on chocolate.....I always add a pinch of salt to things like yogurt and even ice cream, because I love the sweet/salty stuff!) This recipe for "Seeded Granola" has coriander and fennel, both savory spices, and it also uses barley malt as part of the sweetening mixture which also imparts a more savory flavor, (barley malt is about 1/2 as sweet as sugar).

I decided to make a few adjustments in the recipe and scoop it out as "granola cookies". This makes it a little easier to control my portions as well as making it more portable for a quick snack on the road or inbetween yoga classes, when I don't have the option of a hot bowl of oatmeal. First, I doubled the spices because I love the spiciness, and then for the cookies I added a handful of raisins (chopped), an extra egg and doubled the barley malt.....that's just what I did, you can do whatever you with it! I used a small scoop to form "cookies" and after the final toast in the oven I let them cool, and then dipped the bottoms in melted bittersweet chocolate.

PS Like I mentioned, be careful with your portions, granola can be high in calories. For instance, I roughly calculated the calories in this granola recipe to over 3200 calories, per batch!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Restriction and Self Worth

A quick thought on Christine comments on my last blog post, "Calorie Police"....

It occured to me that there was a time that weighing all of my food and counting all of my calories was fun, informative and quite frankly, as I described it in a former blogpost, being "joyful". It was joyful because it was empowering, I felt in control...finally. Same with daily weigh-ins. But then it turned into self torture, why? So many people see calorie restriction..."dieting" exactly that "restriction", and how can that be fun? Restriction is restriction, isn't it?

I think it depends on whether or not we are getting what we want. Restricting how much money we spend to save for something we want can be challenging and fun, and make us proud to have made the sacrifice when we get what we want at the end. It was the same for me when I kept track of my food in a way that rewarded me in the end....when I was no longer rewarded, fast enough, it became policing.....maybe it comes down to expectations....instant gratification.

I don't think knowing what and how much you're eating is a bad thing, and I'll tell you what....I'd rather be conscious of what I'm doing than not. But when you let it control you, instead of you controling it then it's time to re-evaluate why you're doing it. My daily calorie consumption and my daily weigh-ins used to simply be data before it became a measure of my worth.

We are emotional creatures and how we become so caught up in our own judgements and fears of not being good enough or not "looking" good enough can seem, at times, to be a trap impossible to escape. The trap is when you use restriction as a form of punishment, and become tied to that number on the scale to determine your self worth. I don't have the answer.....just some thoughts.....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Calorie Police

I never want to be "a downer", and I promise, soon, some food pictures, recipes and fun! But until then let me finish a few thoughts.....

I started my own personal blog to record, in great detail, my food journal, not just my calories, but my true feelings about what and how I was eating, the time of day I was eating, and what was going on in my life between meals. I had to accept the fact that I was going to have to get "real" about the amount of food I was eating if I ever really wanted to lose this 10 lbs. I had been saying I wanted to lose.

My original intention was to, just plain, get scientific about my exact daily calorie count, but what ended up happening was I became "the calorie police". During one particular blogpost in which I was beating myself up about weighing .2 lbs more than the day before (yep, .2 lbs, not 2.0 lbs!), I became mortified with what I had turned into. This is what I wrote....

"good lord, if i was a stranger reading this blog i would think this chick is way too consumed with self torture. for gods sake, how lucky am i to go to yoga? how lucky am i to have found kettlebells, only having to swing the damn things a few times a week for 1 hour?

stay positive....ok."

2 days later I wrote....

"what was learned this past 2 days? enough with the torture of micro-managing every stinkin' morsel i eat. i have to eat, i can't starve. starving was fun when it was easy, but it's not easy anymore, it sucks. so starving is over, and now i have to find the true food needs of my body. "

I haven't keep an exact calorie count since. I also stopped weighing myself daily. I will weigh myself again, but I know pretty much what I weigh based how my clothes fit.

I know that not all calories are created equal! But when it comes to bodyweight, not nutrition, then it's hard to argue with the bottom line of calories in, calories out, and for that reason I will always be a believer in calorie counting, and I will continue to promote it until something proves to me that there's a better way. But like daily weigh-ins, exact daily calorie counts can start to bring you down. Recognize when it becomes "a negative" and find a better or different way.

I know when I'm eating too much, I don't need an exact calorie count to prove it, lol!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Breaking it down...but not too far down, lol!

Well, I said I had "stuff" bursting..... All of these subjects deserve a seperate blog post, but anyone that knows me know that I'm a "long story teller"....too many details, lol! So here I can break down the first 3rd, only writing about one paragraph to each title and lead you down my thought processes a little farther...until I get the time and energy to elaborate more.....

How much food do we really need? Not much! If you weigh more than you want to, or should I say, if you are of an unhealthy bodyweight.....because many of us are of a healthy bodyweight, but say we want to weigh less (for whatever psychological reasons)....then mostly, plain and simple, too many calories in, not enough calories out. Eat less, exercise more or do both.

Come to terms with what it takes to maintain the bodyweight you say you want to be. It may or may not be your body's natural setpoint......

The biology of food obsession. I used to feel bad about my constant thoughts about food, until it hit me...... I believe it is in our genetics, to a certain degree, to have constant thoughts about what we are going to eat and what our next meal is going to be. Why?

Well, if you think about what life was like before these modern times of abundance and convenience, we had to grow, kill and prepare all of our own foods, and the foods of our families. That's pretty time consuming, lol. From the time we wake up, to the time we went to bed our only jobs were to survive, and a large part of surviving meant making sure we had food.

What? You mean we didn't always have grocery stores? lol

Living like an athlete. I am an athlete. I think of myself that way, and so should anyone and everyone that knows the importance of scheduling, and following through, with a physical activity (s) that is progressively challenging in a way that makes the body, mind and spirit healthier and stronger. Humans are have to move it or lose it.

Never stepping on the scale, ever again, for the rest of my extreme. Do I always have to see things so black and white? I'm just To weigh, or not to weigh? I guess it all comes down to this.... how does seeing a particular number, or not seeing a particular number make you feel? Personally, when I expect a "bad" number, I'm not surprised and I take it like a grown up and use the number simply as "data". But if I'm expecting a "good" number, and I don't see one, then I give up, eat like crazy, and then expect a bad number....which I get, it's no surprise, lol....then I start again. It's very demotivating to me to work so hard training and dieting and not get rewarded. I've been very short sided in my thinking that way.

Bottom line, do I feel good? (about my body) Do my clothes fit? Am I able to preform, athletically, the way I need to? Am I eating in a healthy way? Not just healthy foods, but healthy eating habits......

Too much food. Again....more about too much food? Well, when I wrote this I was thinking about my fridge and freezer. I simply can't eat the amount of food I can cook and prepare and maintian the bodyweight I say I want to be. I don't like buying food to let it go bad and throw it out, I'd rather not buy and prepare so much. But it's so easy for me, and I love to do it, I had to come to terms with the fact that I have to stop, or at least slow the heck down!

That's one reason why you haven't seen many food posts, because I am not cooking as much as I was....I still have 2 qts. of applesauce in my freezer, along with squash and tomato soup from summer. I have yet to roast a winter squash, and it freakin' December! Please, can I finish summer and catch the bounty of winter before spring? Good Lord!

Cute underwear. I never throw out my old underwear when I buy new ones....why not? Well, I guess they still have a few more "miles" left in them, lol! But the problem is that I always grab the old pairs when I workout....which is everyday, sometimes twice a day, because I don't want to wear my "good" ones to get sweaty in.

Well, guess what? I own a washing machine, that's what doing laundry is all about lol! I can wear my cute ones to workout in, in fact I deserve to wear cute underwear not matter what I'm doing, Why buy, and own, cute underwear and then chose to wear the old crappy ones? I'm throwing out all of my old underwear.

Overtraining out of fear. I don't think it's good to do anything out of fear. Easier said than done. This thought is in relation to trying to out-exercise fat. If you have healthy eating habits, and again, what you eat is as important as how you eat, then, in a perfect world, you would never have to try and "out-snatch" a donut.

The straight and narrow. 4:30pm yoga sucks. It sucks especially since I wake up around 4am, so by the time 4:30pm rolls around I've been up over 12 hours. But, because of Mark's work schedule it's the only time that works for him, so I have to manage my food to accomodate this late 90 minute workout.

I can't starve myself and be strong for class, but I can't overeat and survive 90 minutes of intense endurance training in a room heated to a humid 104's keeping me on the staright and narrow.....big time!

No sympathy / having compassion. Good freakin' Lord, this one is tough! It's tough because I'm such a hard-ass. I am so sick of hearing fat people say this...."I've tried every diet known to man, and it's never worked"....bull shit. You know what? If you have an eating disorder, then call it what it is. Say instead...."I'm a compulsive overeater and I haven't made up my mind to stop, because, for now, I like overeating more than not overeating.", Or this...."I'm addicted to food and eating, and although I may be able to find the discipline and willpower to control this addiction long enough to lose a few pounds here and there, I haven't found a way to deal with my addiction."

Every diet works, but can you live on it? Can you find a satisfying way of eating that supports health for the rest of your life? I think you can....I did. So I'll have compassion for "the struggle", "the fight", "the doubt", but none of us are victims, overweightness is not something that has been "done to us", we do it to ourselves....take responsibility.....and for that reason I have little sympathy.

Prioritizing. I can only speak for my lifes' schedule....I know people are busy, but if you are too busy to find the time to do what you need to do to move toward health, then you should be too busy to find so much food to eat!

Life's too short to not eat oatmeal. I love oatmeal, I could eat it for every meal. I love it with milk, 1/2 & 1/2, cream, yogurt and even vanilla ice cream. I love it with sugar, honey, or maple syrup, and/or raisins and dried fruits. I try and eat it as my "carb only " meal, usually a few hours before yoga class, because I try and eat alot of veggies, and veggies are about the only thing I don't like with my oatmeal.....maybe a sweet potato (aka garnet yam), but that doesn't really count as a veg in my book. But Mark said to me the other day, "You know, you can eat oatmeal more than once a day!".......Oh yea, I can! LOL

Look next for my recipe for chocolate oatmeal.........

I'll be back with more "blog post thoughts" the mean time feel free to comment! In fact, I encourage your comments.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost....I have stuff I want to say, stuff I want to write about bursting out much that I can't even start to organize it in any kind of way. Some of it is, what I think, valuable insight, some of it is simple rants, maybe of no value to anyone, only it may make me feel better, lol. Hmmnn....feel better.....I didn't realize I needed to feel better.....hmmnn.

How much food do we really need?
The biology of food obsession
Living like an athlete
Never stepping on the scale ever again...for the rest of my extreme
Too much food
Cute underwear
Overtraining out of fear
The straight and narrow
No symapthy / having compassion
Life's too short to not eat oatmeal
Calorie police
Why can't I simply go to the grocery store?
Liking what I see
Is one good, strong yoga class better than 2 weak yoga classes?
Beating myself up, self infilcted judgements
Body dysmorphia
Too opinionated
The "fat bandwagon" , "Ruby", and other TV shows
Complicated many ingredients, and bullshit food snobbery
My life is a blog
The great giveaway....clearing the physical and mental messes in our lives
What we think we deserve, or don't deserve
Excuses, laziness, ingnorance, if we can, we must
Focusing on what we don't want
Sweating the small stuff....what is the small stuff?
Who really cares about what the hell I have to say?
Am I special?
Did I do something special?
Why does it matter?

blah, blah,blah

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wake up Call.....and Turkey.....done!

Mark and I have been training Max Vo2 at our Studio in Palo Alto, Girya, at 5:00 am! Well, 5:15 am to be exact, and that means we have to leave before 5:00. It's one thing to be awake and drinking coffee, it's another to be blasting out over 60 sets of fast snatches every 15 freakin' seconds, lol! I had temporarily stopped any kind of "snatch V02" training, and three weeks ago was the first one I had done in weeks and weeks.....and let me tell you, it just about killed me to do 50 sets! I've got more to say about that, but for now I only have time to say that it's amazing how quickly the conditioning built from that kind of training comes back....thank goodness!

After our workout I leave Girya around 6:30am and drive to 7:15 am Bikram yoga class, and then later in the afternoon, go back for the 4:30 pm class with Mark. Last week I managed 4 double classes, making 11 bikram classes in a weeks time, the 2 weeks before 10 classes each. Two classes per day is not the ideal, but for now I have the luxury of experimenting with my practice.....and more about that when I have the time.

I would be very sad if I missed a daily class however, but cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family is much more important, so I decided to roast my turkey on Wednesday to make sure I could get everything done, including going to yoga today. It's a good thing Thanksgiving dinner is easy around here, the days of overdoing the menu are long gone. I keep it simple....

Sourdough stuffing
Mashed potaotes, gravy
Yams (this year Im roasting yams, shitakes, and brussels)
Cranberry, apple slaw
Pumkin pie

What else do you need? No dinner rolls, there's plenty of bread in the stuffing. No would be nice, but really, how much meat does a person need? I decided to roast the yams with shitake mushrooms and brussel sprouts (a winning combination from Chef Fawn Friday!), they'll be yummy with the gravy, no need for sickeningly sweet yams with brown sugar and marshmallows (I've never made them with marshmallows). It'll take a few minutes to make the slaw, super simple with only shredded cabbage, diced apple, dried cranberry and a yogurt/mayo dressing (a little cider vinegar and lemon), maybe some celery if I have enough left from the stuffing....I purposely did not go to the farmers market this past weekend.

I'll pick up a can of cranberry sauce, the "jellied"'s what my family likes! Mark bought a pumpkin pie at WF's, and I bought a can of "spray" whipped cream for the first time, lol! I mean so what! I learned my lesson years ago about doing the "Martha Stewart" Thanksgiving making all of my own pies, 2 pumkin, an apple, and a chocolate cream, all with my own pastry, in addition to appetizers, and numerous side dishes, blah, blah,'s so not worth the stress. I don't need to try and impress anyone! No one cares really anyway!

So here it is, Thankgiving morning, and I've got some prep to do before 8:00 am yoga, easy stuff. I'll swing for about 30 minutes when I get home and then cook until 1-2:00 when I expect my 2 boys and their girlfriends. Mark and I celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary tomorrow (the 28th), so we'll open up a bottle of champagne today and celebrate that with our family too!

I hope everyone has a "stress-less" Thanksgiving....I plan to! Life is so good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Picture "Not-Ready"

Pictures take time. I would love to include pictures with every blogpost, and for many months I did my best to "entertain" you all, but.....I just don't have the time to do it to my satisfaction. I wish I was a better photographer, but that's not a talent of mine....I do the best I can with what I have.

I haven't worn makeup, or done a "proper" job with my hairstyle in months, probably, because I've been going to yoga class twice a day and I sweat like crazy (I almost said, "I sweat like a pig", lol....I gotta stay away from those phrases), so, no use getting "all pretty"....I mean, I'm already cute (lol), but not "picture ready"!

My workout schedule is crazy these days. I'm taking advantage of the luxury I have of chosing to live like an's really great having people approach me at my yoga studio and ask me what I do for exercise (besides yoga), it must be obvious I do something special by the way I look because it's not yoga that makes me look like the way I's KB's.....shhhhh! (Both Mark and I are approached regulary) I actually had some one say to me, "Well you don't get arms like that doing yoga!" How great is that!

Anyway, I'm training at a whole new level these days, my diet is at a whole new level and my attutide about food and eating is transforming into something amazing..... This past year has been filled with frustrations, but never doubt.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Replies to Comments about "Wasting My Breath" (finally done, lol!)

Fafa said...
Great points. No truer words ever spoken. Whether or not you believe it.... you are an inspiration to many.
November 17, 2008 7:16 AM


I do believe I have been an inspiration to many, but the bottom line is that I can't believe in anyone more than they believe in themselves.

I know the possiblities, I live them everyday, and I never stop believing because now I know better. And once you know, you can't unknow. Even if I got fat again, I still know what works....but more importantly I know what doesn't work....and what doesn't work is the definition of "insanity", which is.....

"Doing the same things and expecting different results"

You have to change if you want have to.

Jo said...
I read your story on your website in May '08, and haven't looked back since. Still swinging the bell and preparing my own food (I know its only been 6 months). You are not wasting your breath and know that you have made a difference in my life. Thanks, Tracy!
November 17, 2008 8:06 AM


You are a shining example of putting inspiration into action! And now you have many followers yourself! I know that you haven't reached your goal weight quite yet, and I suspect I know'll figure out! PS quit running and keep swinging, lol!

saremca said...
Last time I commented and you told me that if I exercise at all I was wasting my time if I wasn't swinging a kettlebell? I heard you. I've been a regular exerciser for 15 years and I'm still not satisfied with my shape. My weight is okay, but I want more definition, more tone, more muscle. I started swinging kettlebells and I am in love. I cannot believe I've been avoiding kettlebells because I thought they'd be too boring. I was so wrong.Thank you for the motivation.
November 17, 2008 8:06 AM

saremeca (beth),

You got me on a good day! On my good days I just say it like it is....and I've been having some good days lately, LOL! Someone once told me that if you're bored, then YOU'RE boring! Don't be a bore, take responsibility for your exciting life, and the luxury you have of being able to swing that bell!

La Saun R. Taylor said...
You're not wasting your breath!!!You got me swinging myself to death with that 12k bell. Your blog has been very helpful and encouraging to me. Plenty of people are swinging because of you, you just haven't met them all. I have lost more weight since we spoke on Friday, Yippeee!!! Thank you again.La Saun Taylor, RKC
November 17, 2008 10:44 AM

La Saun,

Amazing what can happen when you eat a little less than you "think" you're eating, huh? Food, what you eat and how much you eat will be the first thing that changes the size of your body.

I will be back to finish these replies, but once again....I'm off to yoga.....

I'm back.......

kettlebell g-ma said...
Tracy, Your point has gotten across to me. Since I started swinging a little over a year ago my body has transformed. I've always for the most part exercised but it was not until I read your blog and ordered a bell that I became aware of the changes in my body. I'm 46 and wished I would have found the bell 20 years ago. You are not wasting your breath. I don't depend on anyone to motivate me. Like you sometimes it's cold but, I do it because I like to feel good and I don't like the the alternative. So, yeah I hear you! I have many a friend who have ask for help and always quit. Not one left. I get tired of the same old I wish I could loose weight. I wish I looked more toned. I, blah, blah, blah! To heck with them. Good post and good food and always good info. I'm listening!!!kettlebell g-ma
November 17, 2008 11:04 AM

KB g-ma,

I often say I might never have gotten so fat and out of shape if I had known about KB's 10 years earlier! So I hear you on that! It was my brilliant husband that discovered and promoted this amazing, life and body transforming method of training to me!

sheryl said...
"Your post made me think about people and motivational speakers.…People need motivation – or rather like to hear it. They go and see the speaker; they get all pumped up feeling like they can conquer the world, leave feeling euphoric for a day or so then fall back into their old comfortable patterns. " "They just aren’t ready I guess. (Although I have taken it personally) You talk about people asking you the secret and I think that there IS and isn’t a secret… The logical side of course is easy but I imagine the emotional side battles that logical side quite often and I think in the case of most people it wins….


Motivational speakers get paid to talk, so what do they really care if anyone actually applies it? On one hand I'm not bitching about not getting paid to share what I know because I haven't asked to get paid, so who's fault is that? But my time, knowledge and experience is more valuable than I've been giving it credit for and it's time for a change.

The "secret" is communicating in a way, translating the methods and techniques that I've discovered, in way that is understandable, applicable and motivating.....these are not just "theories", I believe the most important thing I offer as a trainer, coach, role model is that I haven't forgotten where I came from and I know the roadblocks and the potholes along the way. I was, and still am my own "experiment" (those are Mark's words). I did it and I'm living it.

I certainly could have lived the rest of my whole life without sharing any of my discoveries, and my frustration is, why did I? And what am I supposed to do now?

Jennifer said...
"Okay, maybe you don't feel like you make a dent in the world you can see, but please, you know you touch more people than you can shake a stick at. We appreciate what you do, and we do listen and take to heart. Thank you--for what it's worth. And honestly, I like that you really don't give a damn." "but the world wants a magic pill (nevermind the side effects)"
November 17, 2008 5:53 PM


Your compliment is worth alot, a little credit and acknowledgement go a long way, so thank you. But if I really didn't give a damn I would've shut this blog down the same day I did the other, and that day seems imminent at this point. Not only does the world want a "magic pill", but they want you to take it for them too!

leslie said...
"You may never know how many seeds you've planted. It's taken me a solid year to buy and use a pressure cooker. I don't know why it took so long. But without your encouragement, both on the blog and in person at the cooking class and the fabulous kettlebell seminar, it may never have happened.

My hope is that you will continue with this blog, as your passion comes through loud and clear here, and so many benefit from your writing. I know how much time it takes to consistently blog, and with all the pictures and recipes you include? Well, that takes time and energy and creativity, which you have in abundance. But if at any point this blog becomes inconsistent with what you see as your primary purpose, then it's time to move forward to something new. (But I really hope this blog remains consistent with your purpose, because I really do love what you write!)
November 17, 2008 8:53 PM


My promotion of using a pressure cooker is one of the main reasons why I kept "Food and Thought" going....I didn't want to leave anyone "out in the cold". As you know from meeting me in person, I'm passionate about preaching the importance of learning to feed ourselves. And I'm not talking about just putting food in our mouths, I'm talking about respecting our physical bodies as nature intended us to eat. There is nothing more important than feeding ourselves.....we can't live without food. Food is not the we eat (or don't eat) and how we feel about eating! And that's where the "Thought" comes in.

I'm not sure what my "primary purpose" is, and that is where I'm at right now, I'm wanting to move forward, but I don't have a clear direction. It turned into feeling like I was lost without a compass, thinking and feeling like I was moving forward, but going in circles.

I want to thank you for always consistently commenting on my blog posts, and your blog continues to be on my "favorites!"

Beth said...
"Wasted breath, never. Even a whisper is not wasted if someone heard it, deep inside. Thank you for your honesty in sharing your trials and successes.You are making a difference."
November 17, 2008 9:17 PM


I truly don't believe I've wasted anything.....I know, personally, that I've made a difference, in many ways, to many people. "Wasting my Breath" was a starting point to write about the frustration of not being appreciated....I guess.....

Jen said...
Tracy, I'm with everyone else.. YOU ROCK. Everything that you give is so much and you probably don't see all of the fruits of the gifts that you give to everyone.. You have given to me so generously and I am forever grateful to you as is my very happy (and well fed) husband... this week alone I made carnitas, chili and corn chowder in my PC! YUM! Because of your inspiration from your home visit which we truly enjoyed.Please don't feel that your KB and Yoga instruction was a waste either. My RKC dreams are alive and well thanks to you. Just a bit of a shoulder injury sidetracking me...will be resolved soon!Sending you big hugs and hope to see you soon. You do inspire by doing your Tracy thing!xoxo Jen
November 17, 2008 11:45 PM


When you so graciously invited me to stay with you in Santa Barbara I talked with you about what it was I could do with what I've made happen in my life....I still don't know the answer. I wish I could personally spend a few days with alot of people and give hands on teaching and coaching, but that just isn't possible. Bottom line is I can't do it for anyone.

And since I'm laying things on the line lately, I really wish you could see, and identify that althlete inside of you (she's still there)...not the guitar player, lol! Jen....we only have so much time, you, better than most know that....who are you? Who do you want to be? You have so many other moving bodyparts, besides your shoulder. Keep breathing, keep moving, your body will catch you, I promise.....

Diana said...
I first picked up a kb in June of 2007. I knew the minute I slipped my hand through it's handle, I would become good friends with this crazy looking object. I haven't put it down since. BONUS: Where I live, I get to play with mine in the snow! I can relate to your frozen toes-big time! Gym?? Who the hell needs a gym, when you've got grass to be cut and a kb? Perfect combo for a great workout! LOL!Enjoy the great day!
November 18, 2008 4:43 AM


As you well know, you can't "out-snatch a donut!" (I think Sr RKC Dave Whitely first said that) You also know that the important thing is to keep showing for you workouts, so when that "donut" bites us in the ass, we can bite back!

Renee Yorkievitz, RKC said...
Tracy, Tracy, Tracy,
"Oh how I can feel your pain & frustration first hand. For 3 years, 2 of my best friends have bitched about needing to lose weight. Both are "gym rats" & both have had personal trainers (yes a couple EACH) for almost 2 years. Unfortunately look almost identical to how they did 2 years ago. They continue to bitch about their bodies." "Ditto for me that you were (are still) my inspiration to begin kb's. I was on the DD forum researching kb's initially. There was a post that struck me "This woman swings KB for 1000 reps...Wow!" I checked out your video and thought..."Holy crap, I need to learn this! The rest is history!You are a wealth of knowledge & know how. But people have to be at the point where they want it, are open to it & it is the right time for them. They need to realize the right time is now!Love ya girl! :)KEEP POSTING!"
November 18, 2008 6:25 PM


The bottom line is it's hard work. And I do believe people want it, but they don't want to do what it takes to get it. As Mark has always said, you can't buy it, you can't fake it, you can't cheat it, you have to earn it, that's the great thing about it! And coming from where I've been, so overweight and unhealthy, I'm one waved a magic wand. (PS thanks for the love, lol!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Swing Combination of the Day....Loss of Motivation and Intuitive Eating

Talk about losing motivation..... One thing I know is, I am not motivated when I my diet is right on, and the next day it's not reflected on the scale. I admit, I can be a slave to the stinkin' number on the scale, and when it's not a number I like, for instance this morning's weight, then I get discouraged and I want to give up....almost.

I don't count my calories anymore, instead I'm relying on, what I call, "intuitive eating". I know when I'm eating too much and intuitive eating is about taking responsibility for the amount of food I eat, it doesn't matter what I eat, just how much. Lucky for me I've established the habits of always having good healthy, homemade choices for meals, so most of the time I'd rather eat good foods, than junk....not that I don't have junk every once in a while, but for the most part I think I eat beyond healthy.

Here's what I ate yesterday (this is the first time I'm counting BTW)

coffee/cream 100 cal
small roasted yam 100 cal.
small beet applesauce 50 cal.
small hot 10 grain cereal w/apple 80 cal.
small squash soup w/barley & 2oz shredded pork 250 cal.
smaller portion of the above soup 150 cal.
oatmeal w/1/2c whole milk 230 cal.
large sweet and sour cabbage soup w/pork (5-6oz) 400 cal.

total 1460

Good much I I hate to face the truth, I just don't lose weight on more than 1200 calories a day, bummer. I could've had a smaller portion of my dinner soup, but look at the types of food I candy, no cookies, low fat, good amount of protein, plenty of whole grains and veggies.....OH, and this was in addition to two 90 minute Bikram yoga classes, that I sweat my ass off in (well, I guess I didn't sweat my ass off, lol). Some days I'm just not willing to starve myself.

So what do I do? After swinging with my 6:30am KB client I get to yoga class practice totally "crashed and burned" big time.....I was due, because I've been doing double classes all week....the teacher sucked....the room wasn't hot enough, I barely broke a sweat and I didn't even need all the water I brought with me....and then.....this stinkin' studio has a big bowl of almonds AND a big bowl of York's peppermint, of course.....and with my loss of motivation, a stupid class, I lost it.

I never, well rarely, take that stupid candy, but today, four peppermint candies later, I'm kicking myself. I'm not kicking myself because I ate 4 stupid pieces of candy, I'm kicking myself for eating compulsively....I don't even like peppermint patties!

So I get back home, swing with my 9:30am KB client and afterwards seriously consider putting my own KB workout off until tomorrow. But no.....skipping workouts and whining about 4 pieces of candy is for weenies....

Here's the workout I did, inspired by the one I did with my client:

4 1/2 minute swing combination w/12kg

10 transfers, 10 2 hand swing repeat (40 reps)
15 transfers, 15 2 hand swings, repeat (60 reps)
20 transfers, 20 2 hand swings (80 reps)

1 minute rest x 6 rotations

Total 32 minutes, 1080 swings

If you can't swing the 12kg for 4 1/2 minutes use the 8kg, or appropriate weight. If you can't swing for 4 1/2 minutes at all, then break down the combination into 3 parts taking rest inbetween each set of increased reps. A beginner can break it down even more by taking a rest period inbetween the repeat of each set....example...

10 transfers, 10 2 hand, rest, repeat, rest,
15 transfers, 15 2 hand, rest, repeat, rest,
20 transfers, 20 2 hand, rest, repeat, rest

As Pavel might say....Enjoy!

Complusion and Consciousness

Here's a comment left by saremca form a previous blogpost.....I'm slowly making my way through comments! I think it makes a good point about making conscious decisions, and once again, as Mark often says, "It's simple, but it ain't easy!"

"I like that you make it so simple. You lay it on the line like, "Hey, it's your choice. Make it."

I'm working on being more conscious of my choices, and really considering the options and probable outcomes. I rush through life way too often and then wonder what happened."

my reply......

It's one thing to be conscious but then be compulsive.

We rush because we try and fit too many things in our schedules, trying to "do it all" Let's say we don't take the time to make our lunch because we've got so many other things we make a bigger priority, then buy something to eat that isn't in the best interest of our health, then feeling like...whoa, what just happened? We knew what was going to happen when we left the house, lol! No excuse.

But compulsive behavior is comes from a different place. You can be going along, with the best of plans and intentions, even having a pre made meal, and for whatever reason, this drive comes over you and it's much more difficult to simply "make the the right choice"'re not unconscious of making a "bad" choice, you're very conscious of it....the compulsion is driven by a number of pyschological reasons.

I'm not making excuses for complusive behavior. I believe it's a habit, like any other habit, you can work to's just different, because you can be fully conscious of what your doing, just not feeling like you can control it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"I Eat Pretty Healthy", and other delusions....

I wanted to address teresa's last comment via a short blog's part of her comment to my last post....

"Aren't we all just the products of the decisions we've made? I mean, unless someone's truly ignorant, don't most people have a basic understanding of healthy & unhealthy behavior"

Teresa.....I think most people really think they live pretty healthy! Seriously. Most people would tell you that what they eat is "pretty healthy", as if eating a chicken sandwich from anywhere because it's made from "breast meat" is a healthy choice, and somehow that cancels outs the other crap they eat. Most people equate healthy food with chicken breast! FYI, the chicken in chicken nuggets and any chicken sandwich is highly processed no better than a hot dog. "Deli" lunchmeat is the same highly processed highy salted crap. An although the roasted chickens you can buy at Costco and most grocery stores are not "processed meat" they are highly brined in salt and some sugars in most wonder they taste so good, lol!

Also, people think that because they are always "on the go" that somehow that counts as exercise! When I was fat I moved non-stop! In fact I used to say to Mark, "You would think I could lose a little weight with as much as I do around here!" Constantly on the go my feet would ache, because of all the extra weight I was carrying around. But it doesn't compute to actual exercise....sorry!

Lots of stuff I still need to reply to, but for now, off to yoga.......(BTW, Max Vo2 with Mark yesterday morning @5am was killer! More about that....)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Choosing Time

Mark and I wake up around 3:30am every morning, and while we sit down and have coffee together and talk, we share some of the most amazing insights of our experiences about our training. I want to expand more about this, but I have to get off to the studio in Palo Alto this morning to train Max Vo2 @ 5:20am with Mark this morning (how lucky am I?).

The quick point I want to make before I leave however is he said something the other morning when we were talking about the excuse people make about not having "time" to do the things they know they should do, and the frustration I was having about "wasting my breath"....he said, that's like saying......

"I have cancer, but I don't have time for chemo"

This epidemic of obesity and all it brings.....we have the answers!!!!!! Choose to make your time.

I don't have time to blog.....I chose my training......see ya later (truly, I do want to respond to comments....)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bursting with Luck......

I want to reply to everyone that left a comment to me on my last blogpost about wasting my breath..... First off, I only had a short time to start "venting" and that's what the result was. "Wasting my breath" was a simple description of how I've been feeling lately, but it's so much more than that.

I've got so much insight and relevant information bursting out of me because of my experiences of living it. "Living it" I'm "living it". I've created the luxury of my lifestyle. What comes first the chicken or the egg? Am I lucky to not have to work for a living? Am I lucky that at this time in my life my kids are grown and I have all this time to myself? Am I lucky to have time and talent to make all of my own food if I want, and the desire to spend the whole day in the kitchen? Yes, I am lucky, but my luck is in the creation of one gave it to me, I took it! I took control of my life.

Even when I worked full time, and I had to make "regular food" for my family, I managed to make the food I needed and lose 120lbs. When I worked full time I got up early to walk, without fail everyday....without fail. I created the habits of a healthy life, just as I had created the habits of an unhealthy life....taking responsibility to do what you say you want.

So, I've got all this "stuff" bursting out of me, why should I take my time to write about it, when it seems to just float off into Never-never Land? I greatly, greatly appreciate all who take the time to post comments, because then at least I feel my efforts are thank you.

What I have to share, what I want to give, what I want people to hear, is about more than a recipe. What is a recipe anyway? A recipe is not about exact's about inspiration! I don't care if you use "a cup of this, a cup of that".....create it yourself! Create yourself! It's here for you, it's here for everyone.

I'm not done.....I'm off to my first yoga class this morning and then I'll be back this afternoon to respond individually to comments, I've run out of time....

How lucky am I? I'm as lucky as I feel, and I feel pretty damn lucky!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wasting My Breath

I haven't written a blogpost for a week.....I always hated reading those words on someone's blog, I could never see the point of having a blog, especially a blog that you expected anyone to read regularly, and not post at least 3-4 times a week, lol....anyway.....that brings me to another quick I expect anyone to read anything I have to say? I go back and forth about that. On one hand I could give a crap, on the other, my ego wants to be...oh, I don't know...popular? Good Lord, how insecurities hang on....I mean I'm freakin' forty-five years old, why do I care?

Well, I'm caring less, and less, and less....that's why I haven't bothered to waste my breath....

I was having a conversation with a client last week, and I told her that if I were to count, on my hands, how many of my friends I've taught how to swing a KB in the past 2 1/2 years, and how many have kept swinging, I would only need one finger! And who knows how long that one friend will keep it up! I mean, I'm a living freakin' example of the kind of transformation very few people ever accomplish, ever, and all of my friends witnessed it first hand, in front of thier very freakin' eyes, and has it made a difference?

I mean, one of my friends told me the other day that she had gone to the gym.....gone to the gym? To do what? Lift weights, walk the treadmill? I mean, she has a really good friend (ME) that not only owns dozens of kettlebells, but has shown her how to use them, and what does she do? She goes to the freakin' gym. And of course when I question her about why she doesn't just swing a KB, she says to me, "Well I didn't want to bother you"....yay!.....she didn't want to waste any more of my time, because she know she's not going to do what it takes....well, I guess I should thank her then, for not making me waste anymore of my breath on her.

I am so sick of "pumping up" friends and clients to the miracle of training kettlebells that I hope no one ever swings them! I mean, get fat, get sick, bitch and moan about the not having any muscle tone. Bitch and moan about how you can't lose weight. Bitch and moan about how you don't have time. Bitch and moan about how you're a victim....blah, blah blah.....

God freakin' Lord! I've been training in my cold garage, by myself, frozen toes in the winter time, swinging that God damn bell, on my own, no one "pumping me up", no one holding my freakin' hand, because why? Because I have to do something! What's my choice? Do nothing? I did that! And what did it get me? 250lbs of bodyweight and a downward spiral of shoving more and more food in my face looking for the instant gratification that you think food gives you. Trying to make myself feel better, instead I was creating the exact opposite. But you know what? I never bitched about it! Never! I never whined about not being able to lose weight, I took responsibility for not being ready to lose weight.

I've whined more in these past few years about not being "perfect" than I ever did when I was fat. I've whined about not being 128.8lbs, exactly....but....never stopped trying to "figure it out". I never stopped making my own food, I never stopped going to yoga class, I never stopped swinging a KB, never.

I know what it's like to be compulsively driven to find some sort of comfort in eating. There's rarely a day that goes by that I don't feel a compulsion to overeat. There's rarely a day that goes by that I don't feel like skipping my workout (s). But what's the alternative?

get fat
get sick
feel like shit
be a victim
waste more of my life

I did that already, it didn't work out so well! I will never feel the humiliation that I put myself through by being that fat.

I may not be able, as I age, to keep this level of fitness, but if all I have to do is swing that stinkin' bell for 15 minutes, 3 times a week, to be in better shape than most women my age then so be it.

I will always be able to feed myself good foods, and I will always chose my own homemade fresh foods. What's the alternative? If you can''t feed yourself, then you can never bitch about your health or your weight. How can you rely on anyone else to care about your health more that you do? Well, that's what you do when you rely on someone else to provide readymade foods for you.

Enough already, I'm off to my first yoga class of the day......

Monday, November 10, 2008

Red Beet Applesauce

I said I was going to try it and I did! I added 4 small red beets, peeled and diced, to my pressure cooker full of apples, and instead of using water, I used juice and a little cinnamon. I love to roast baby beets with orange and cinnamon, so I thought it could work in this case. I would've used orange juice, but we only had TJ's Orange Mango. (You know what's in it? The first ingredient in TJ's Orange Mango is apple juice!)

I loved the result. Bright red and a little chunky, very sweet and nutritious in a different kind of way. Probably lower in calories too, since beets have fewer calories than apples.

Red Beet Applesauce

3-4 lbs of fuji, gala, or another sweet variety of apple, quartered
3-4 small beets. peeled and diced (or shredded)
1/2 c. juice
cinnamon stick (optional)

If using the pressure cooker cut the apples in big chunks because they will cook faster than the beets which need to be in a very small dice (1/4 in.) or shredded, no need to peel the apples as everything will go through the food mill. Add juice and cinnamon if using, bring pressure to high, cook 10 min, let pressure release naturally. When cool enough to handle run through the food mill.

If you are not using a pressure cooker you can use a large pot, bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and cook 45-55 minutes (I'm guessing!)

I also made polenta in my PC for the first time, using Jill Nussinow's (the Veggie Queen) recipe as a guideline. It was freakin awesome! Polenta in minutes without stirring, good Lord.
I had some roasted red bell, jalapeno and poblano chilis in my freezer, so I diced them small and stirred them into the cooked polenta. I spread the hot polenta onto a small jelly roll pan and let it cool. I then cut the polenta into triangles and broiled them with chedder cheese.
You know what? I don't like commercial chedder cheese anymore! I hadn't had any for years, and it's pretty gross actually.

Try It, You'll Like it! Pressure Cooking 102

OK, this is not pressure cooking 101 because at this point you already have your pressure cooker, and you already have read the instruction manual and/or watched a DVD about how to use your pressure cooker. This blogpost isn't about how the pressure cooker works, it's about how to make pressure cooking part of your weekly cooking life. This is what you do, and I promise, if you actually do as I suggest, then it can, and will, change your cooking life.....

First, make a commitment to use your pressure cooker at least once a week for 1 month. I know with all we've heard about old fashioned pressure cookers and it can be scary....truly I know, I was scared too! But, get over it! I think you'll find that after your first experience you'll be anxious to do it again, once you see that it's not that bad! Pick a day of the week, make a commitment, and without fail make it happen. I don't want to hear, "Oh, I tried that pressure cooking thing one time....I didn't like it!"

Second, pick one or two recipes, and stick with only those. I suggest a "one pot" meal like chili, a hearty soup, or a pot roast, and then something like a polenta, rice dish, or multi grain breakfast meal that will take up to 20-30 minutes, and one recipe that takes less than 10 minutes. By repeating the same recipes (not more than two, please) you start to memorize the order of things, and very quickly make adjustments depending on the ingredients you have on hand....therefore creating you own recipes!

Practice and consistency. The best recipe is no recipe! These are the keys to effortless cooking!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Find Your Own Way to Health, and Your Body Will Find You

I wanted to write a quick blogpost inspired by one of Leslie's comments, here's what she wrote after diving into the pressure cooker world......

" I'm going to be directing people to your blog as my posts about pressure cooking have sparked interest, and your blog is what inspired me to try PCing!"

I don't want this blog to turn into the black hole my original blog turned into! I kept this blog because it's a creative outlet for me to share my passion. My passion is to give the overweight hope and encouragement to create the bodies they thought they could only dream about, by living as an example. I do hope to write a book (s), and/or produce DVD's with more details about how anyone and everyone can do what I did, as far as how I transformed my life, my health, and my body, and that's what I'll spend the majority of my free time on. This blog will reflect how I do those things in my daily life, and I'm happy to share, but I'm not trying to sell anything, or anyone. I'm thrilled for any referrals, but I'm not promoting this blog as a way to gain readership. I trust that if I have something of value then those who can appreciate it will find it.

Good health reflects a healthy bodyweight, it has to.

As I found my own way, my body followed. I knew I had to change what I was eating, and common sense told me that vegetables where the place to start. Eating fresh, natural, live foods will change your health, therefore changing the size of your body. Everyone has to find a way of eating that can be maintainable, and preferrable for the rest of their lives. You can do that by reeducating your taste palate and getting rid of processed foods. A great help is to reestablishing your daily habits to include home food preparation.

Good health reflects a strong body, it has to.

OK, I got the food in order, now I have to exercise. But why? Because being skinny is not enough to reflect good health, you have to be strong to survive, especially as we age. Strong body, strong heart, strong lungs, etc.. We are all here in physical bodies, and we were meant to move them, to use them! Muscle tone is muscle activation. How much tone is directly related to how much you are willing to work for it....tone, definition and strength are the same one can give it to you, you can't buy it, you have to work for it, you have to earn Mark always says, "that's the beauty in it, that's my favorite part!"

Good health reflects good thoughts, it has to.

We all have crapola in our heads that seems to make us do things we say we don't want to do. What would life be like if we did only those things we say we want? No one else in in charge of our lives, no one else can tell us how to think. We deserve to have the bodies we want, we deserve to eat good foods to support the body we want, we are smart enough to make the right choices to support having the bodies we want. By moving in the direction of good health we will find our way, but we have to think, and move in the right direction.

I found my own way, it's no secret how I did it or how I do it....everyday.

Cooking and preparing, most all, of my own homemade foods.
Russian kettlebell training, Bikram yoga, walking.
Reminding myself to stay a positive force by appreciating this incredibly good life I have.

You can use my way as an example to what is possible. Find your own way to health.....and then, guess what.....your body will find you.

(This may be the forward to my book!, lol)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Giving Up Some Sort of "Celebrity"

Well, by now anyone reading this has figured out that, although I won't be writing anymore blogposts for my original blog (Living My Physical Potential), I am continuing on through this blog, Food and Thought. If you would have told me that I would be giving up the other blog for this one, I would've never guessed...I should give up both, LOL! (I also have a personal non-public blog and I'll be starting another non-public blog just for my workout routines) But after writing one of my last blogposts on LMPP, titled "Relatability" I realized that not everyone "gets me", not that I care that much, but as far as training my style of KB's there's plenty of information on LMPP (it's a gold mine, in my opinion), and it will stay archived, it won't be deleted, but I'm much more interested in my continual transformation of moving toward health, and that involves so much more than swinging a KB.

So, this blog will be going through a transformation in the next few weeks, but I'm still asking myself the question of what my purpose is. Why do I care? Why do I care if anyone starts to eat better foods? Why do I care if anyone swings a kettlebell? Why do I care if anyone starts change how they feel about food and themslves? Well, I don't know the answer to those questions, but what I do know is, for whatever crazy reason, I care.

After I announced my last blog post on LMPP, all of a sudden I felt as if any kind of KB celebrity I had was gone. No more meeting people at Certs and hearing, "Hey I know you, I read your blog all the time, you're famous!", and comments like that. Hmmnn....bummer, lol! But life goes on. LMPP received hundreds of visits a day, while this one receives, on a busy day, way less than 100! So I thank those of you that do have an interest in feeding your body good foods, and looking to better understand what makes us hang on to the thought processes that creating the eating habits, and disconnection with our bodies, that can get us into such an unhealthy state, so we can all move toward health.

This is what I believe, and what I want this blog to be about.

Health means feeding your body good food. Health means moving your body so it stays strong. Health means thinking in a positive way about yourself. Good health reflects a healthy has to.

Preparing your own foods.

Chosing a physical activity, and training it like an athlete.

Establishing habits of thought that move you in a positive direction.

Hope, belief, knowing.

Living by example.

I'm off to yoga.........

Weirdness and Goodness

OK, here's how weird I am. After 9:15 yoga class, on my way home to do my KB workout with Mark, I decided to get my freakin' Snicker's. OK, I was hoping, of course, to find some 1/2 price candy, so I stopped at a Walgreen's.....nope, 1/2 price candy all gone.....I just couldn't bring myself to pay full price for candy I knew was on sale all over the county for 1/2. Of course, Halloween was almost a week ago and the 1/2 price candy that sells first is the good stuff anyway.

So I left Walgreen's to walk next door to the Nob Hill, again hoping to find 1/2 price candy, nope, all gone. So, there I was, should I drive to another store? I mean there's a drug store and grocery store on practically every corner....but that wouldn't be cost effective to drive all over town to save $2 bucks, LOL!

That's how weird I am.

So I just bought a stinkin' full price candy bar....not a whole pkg of fun sizes....and ate it. I was very sad when it was gone wishing I had more, but I didn't. I wasn't tripping out about it, in fact I told myself that if I wanted more I could have more....after my workout. Guess what? After my workout I didn't want more.

That's the good part.

By having what I wanted, in a resonable amount, removing myself from more, and then giving myself the option of more later, I didn't feel the need. Not to say it will be that way every time, but Snicker's craving gone....and that's what counts.

"What you resist, persists"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Last night, coming home from yoga I was telling Mark how I was jonesin' for a Snicker's.....still! He knows that for about a week, I've been thinking about Snicker's. Halloween was the big "trigger" for that, and then to top it off 1/2 price candy after the holiday (another trigger) is really driving me nuts. Mark and I went yoga Friday night to avoid all of the trick or treat hoopla. I haven't given out candy for 3 years now, and I used to give out full size candy bars...the neighborhood kids loved me, lol!

I know I can go and get a Snicker's candy bar anywhere, anytime, but for some reason the fun size snicker's is what I can't stop thinking about. I don't know about you, but that size will fit in my perfectly in my mouth and I can just feel the crunch of the big chunks of peanuts between my back molars, and the rush of pure sugar enter my that weird? I don't think so, it's just honest.

This is what keeps me from eating them.

I am less and less interested in eating blatent crap. I try to pick and choose how I "spend" my calories, and I feel like I'm wasting that choice on something so unhealthy. Many times I would rather eat a healthier version of sweets, at least a higher quality of sugar.

I know, at this point, I'm not interested in eating "just one". Notice how I said "not interested", instead of "I can't". I can do anything I want, and when I want to eat a Snicker's what I really mean is I want to eat the whole freakin' bag of fun size Snicker's until I'm physically unable to eat any more! And then what? I'll feel like shit. Not worth it. At least it's not worth it until it is.

Just some thoughts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pot Roast w/ Lentils, and Grass Fed Beef

What makes pot roast different than beef stew? Well, if you ask me the ingredients are basically the same, but the flavor of pot roast comes from red wine, and tomato.

beef, 2-3 lb. chuck roast or any other braising cut recommended by your butcher
onion, 1 lg
carrot, 2-3 diced
celery, 2-3 diced
garlic, of course
tomatoes, 6-8 fresh, peeled and diced, or 1 can
tomato paste, 2tbl.
red wine, 1-1/2 c.
water or stock, 4-6 c.
S & P

optional seasoning, dried or fresh


I don't care for potatoes, so I decided to try lentils. I used three different kinds, because I had them, but if I was using only one kind I would use the brown or green. Red lentils tend to break down, losing their shape, and the look of our food, like the flavor is part of the eating experience, IMO. Lentils don't take long to cook in the PC, so I cooked the roast for 20 min. released he pressure, added the lentils, brought the pressure back up for an additon 10 min., turned off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally.

Traditional pot roast can take 2-3 1/2 hours in the oven, but in the PC you can have it all done in about an hours time, prep and all.

Pot Roast w/ Lentils

Brown all sides of beef in oil, and remove.

Add diced onion, carrot, celery, saute until onions are translucent, 5-10 min. add garlic in the last minute.

Add any seasoning and deglaze the pot with red wine.

Add tomatoes (juice and all), and tomato paste.

Add beef, and enough water or stock to cover veggies and about half way up the roast (4-6 c.), and 1 tsp salt.

Cover and lock PC, bring pressure to high, cook for 20 min. Quick release pressure (follow PC intructions), add 2 cups of dried lentils, cover, bring pressure back to high. cook additional 10 min., turn off heat and let the pressure come down naturally.

I liked this recipe so much I'll be making it again today!


Common grades of beef available at markets these days are basically.....

Hormone and antibiotic injected corn fed beef.

Hormone and antibiotic injected, organic corn fed beef.

No hormone or antibiotic injected, organic corn fed beef.

No hormone or antibiotic injected, grass fed beef (I'm assuming organic grass feed)

The first ime I made this recipe, last week, I chose to buy a "grass fed" beef chuck roast @ $7.99lb., that ended up costing me almost $20 for a roast just over 2lbs. The meat was disappointedly lacking in flavor, I can only assume it was because it's leaner, and I was also disappointed that the option of a roast with a bone wasn't available. Why did I chose grass fed?

I believe we should buy the best quality of foods we can afford. At this time in my life, I can afford the highest grade of meat, and taking into consideration how little meat I eat, it's still cost effective. BUT, I don't understand why I can't get "bone-in" cuts of grass fed beef. All of the cuts available at Whole Foods come to the store already boned out. I haven't yet found the answer why. So for the sake of flavor, and the option of bone-in cuts of meat, I have to decide whether or not the fact that a "corn fed" cow is something can feel good about, afterall I've lived 45 years on corn fed beef! Hormone and antibiotic free meat is the most important quality to me right now.

One thing I know I'm fine about is eating meat, and I won't get into a debate on why, there's no need. And I'm not going to try and educate anyone on all of the differences btween corn fed and grass fed, because I, myself, am still learning. So if anyone is interested in becoming more aware if the differences that are important to them, then there is plenty of information regarding this subject, online or in books. I'll continue to learn as I go......and make my choices accordingly.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Apples, my new tomato!

Well, as crazy as I was for tomatoes this past late summer, now it's apple season, and with my pressure cooker....pressure cookers...I can have fresh, warm, homemade, nothing but apples, applesauce, in a matter of minutes, yum yum!

. I used as much as my 8qt. PC would hold, probably 6lbs. A combination makes it more
interesting, I used Fuji, Gala and quince. You can peel them before you cook them, and by doing it that way you can simply mash them for a chunkier applesauce, but if you don't peel them you have to use a food mill to seperate the skins, but then you won't have the choice of a chunkier version. I did it both ways, and I found the applesauce made with the skins more flavorful, but that is just my opinion. You save time by not peeling the apples, but you make up for it by using the food mill...and washing it!

Water. I'm not sure if you even need any liquid, but I added only 1/2 c. I had never made applesauce in the pressure cooker before and it seemed weird, and scary to not add some kind of liquid. I did look online for PC appelsauce recipes and to my surprise many of them suggested....are you ready for this? Apple juice! What's the point of making your own applesauce? If you buy apple juice to make applesauce, you might as well buy applesauce, lol.

Optional stuff...

cinnamon stick
lemon or orange peel
other fresh fruits like pears and cranberries (in season), out of season fruit is still available like peaches, plums, pineapple, etc.
dried fruits, raisins, cranberries, prunes, apricots, etc.

Many of the recipes I came across also suggested adding sugar. Again, pointless to me, but if your apples aren't sweet enough, sugar, white, raw/natural, or brown is always an option. As well as any other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

I'm dying to try making applesauce with a couple of diced red beets.....I think it'll work! It will make a gorgeous red sauce and as long as I use more apples than beets the flavor should still balance out ok.