Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nephew Pressing

I've got a little helper with my exercises while on vacation here in Portland   Good thing too, because I've had cheesecake and custard for desserts so far.  Mmmmm custard. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rwanda 'Rising from Ashes'

I had the privilege of watching only the second full screening of the documentary Rising from Ashes last night.  It centers on the development of the Rwandan cycling team, but it's about so much more than just cycling.  As you know, my friend is a member of the board for the team and they have some ties here to Aspen.  As a matter of fact, their coach Jock Boyer, who is obviously a feature in the film, got married here yesterday.  Anyway, it's truly one of the best documentaries I've ever seen.  It reminds me that life is bigger than Paleo.

Rising From Ashes from T.C. Johnstone on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Quarter Buffalo

I picked up my quarter buffalo at the farmers market this morning.  As you can see from the inventory and pics it's quite the mix.  There are around 70 individual packages total. Unfortunately there was no kidney, actually, they dropped the ball on my offal request and just gave me some of what they had on hand (as you can see from the clear retail packaging on those).  She said they had been feeding that stuff to their dogs.  People just don't seem to realize that some of us treasure organ meats, hence my request.  They offered to have some for me next week, but I'm going on vacation to Portland so I had to pass.  Just a quibble really, because I did get heart, liver, soup bones, and one big honking tongue.  I started purchasing meat in bulk like this a couple of years ago and truly believe it's the way to go.  Now I have a supply of wonderfully nutritious and delicious meat for the entire winter.  Love it!

Ground   33
Just right
NY Steaks   2
Cubed round steak   4
Rump roast   1
Round roast    1
Tenderloin    1
Short ribs     4
Hanging tender   1
Chuck arm roast    2
Stew meat   4
Back ribs  1
Sirloin steak   4
Ribeye steak   2
Brisket    1 
Chuck Roast   2
English Roast   1
Flank  1 (tiny one)
Skirt    1 (also tiny)

Soup Bones 3

I had to look up English Roast.  It's a cut taken from the shoulder traditionally roasted for Sunday dinner in England.  Maybe I'll save that for Easter and get all fancy and stuff.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Altra Instinct shoe review

The Altra Instinct is sold as a running shoe.  I use it as a work shoe and will sprint in it this winter.  So if you want to know how it fares for cardio running, please go check the reviews on their website.

Zero drop
Okay, first a quick intro.  I've been searching for a good work shoe for a couple of years now.  One with the following criteria:

  • Flat (zero drop from heel to base)
  • Mondo room in the toe box 
  • Minimal to no arch

Of course my Vibrams fit this profile, but I can't use them at work.  I walk in them, and sprint in them in the summer, but unfortunately they ain't working shoes (at least not for my work).  Prior to getting Vibrams I'd just been working in old running shoes with the inserts ripped out.  My feet were cramped in those, and would be tired at the end of the day.  After experiencing how much better it is to have my feet in a more natural position, I went a looking for some shoes.  And looking, and looking.  I must've tried on a gazillion pairs of shoes the past couple of years.  Running shoes, soccer shoes, wrestling shoes (these were usually the closest) and of course the new wave of minamalist shoes out there.  Turns out a lot of companies are jumping on this bandwagon and trying to go minimal.  I say trying because they always screw something up.  Usually the arch and the toe box.  It's not too hard for them to go zero drop, but they just can't break out of the mold of regular shoes with the high arch and cramped toe box.

Last year, just doing my thing of trying on more shoes, I found the New Balance Minimus (MR10) running shoe.  It was the closest thing yet, so I grabbed a pair in a size 12.  That's more length than I need, but it gave me extra room in the toe box.  So the arch was really flat and the toe box nice and wide, but there was a 4mm drop from heel to toe.  Not horrible, but still there nonetheless.  

I knew that New Balance was coming out with a zero drop version of the Minimus in the spring and I was super excited.  In June, when I was in Portland, I went searching for them, eventually tried on a pair, and boy was I disappointed.  Should've been a no brainer right?  Not so much.  They totally pumped up the arch and narrowed the toe box.  Dang.  I got the scoop from an extremely knowledgeable salesman at the New Balance store who went into detail about how they managed to screw around with a fine shoe idea.  Great.  So now what.   

Now enter the Altra shoe company.  I can't remember where I first found out about them (they're maybe a year old now) but as soon as I heard their concept I headed on over to their website.  And then I did something I almost never do ... I ordered shoes without having tried them on first.  Now why would I go and do a thing like that?  Because from the 'about' section on their site I just knew they got it.  At least, they got what I wanted - zero drop, no arch (they call it foot shape) and a mondo toe box.  Sweet.  And I wasn't disappointed!

Fatty toe box
These shoes are what I've been looking for.  They are cushioned shoes, make no mistake about that, but that is fine by me for the way I use them (standing on hard surfaces for 40hrs a week).  They might be a bit much for running in if you're already used to very minimalist shoes, but they're probably perfect transition shoes for those wanting to go from regular running 'boots' to Vibrams or such. 

I was surprised at how much more comfortable it is having zero drop compared to even the 4mm that I had.  Really, this is the only major difference between this pair and my MR10's.  When you think about it, why do shoes even have 'drop' at all?  Why?  Just why?  To make us taller?  No really, I don't get why regular shoes have drop.  Drop makes it so you're standing on a friggin slope!  Makes no sense.  I do know this however, I'm never going back.  Zero drop from now on baby.

So this shoe totally fit the bill for me.  Nice and wide up front, no 'support' system anywhere,  and zero drop - all of which put my feet in a nice natural position.  They're very comfortable to be working in all day.  My only small complaint about the shoe is the height of the heel collars.  They're just too high.  I'm going to cut them down a bit.  I think with the whole foot being in a much more natural position, the need for tall heel collars goes away.

Overall, a thumbs up.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guest Post

Me and Mom
Today I'm happy to share with you my first guest post - by none other than my mother!  I can't express to you how important it is to me having her on board with this lifestyle.  For her health of course, but also to have a family member to talk this stuff over with (she is my sounding board for a lot of ideas that end up here).

I read a lot in the paleoshpere about how people try to get loved ones started on this path, and how frustrating it can become.  My Mom didn't buy into this stuff right away, but I kept planting the seeds and eventually she read some Paleo books that tipped the scales for her.  It's extremely reassuring to know that she now has the interest and patience to pursue healthier lifestyle choices.  However, I also know the flip side of the coin as my brother and his wife (a standard RD) have no interest in this stuff.  Actually, they flat out just think we're nuts.  They 'tolerate' us eating differently than them when we go to visit.

Alright, enough of that, here is the guest post.  It's a bit short, which I think speaks more to my Mom's dearth of writing in the past years, because normally she is quite a bit more talkative than myself (although I am becoming better!).


                                                              I know better, BUT.......

Since Aaron encouraged me to join this "Paleo Lifestyle" I have learned a lot about my body and not all of it good!  I know that I'm an emotional eater and addicted to sweets.  What I didn't know is that I obviously have some kind of grain sensitivity.  Giving up grain was not extremely difficult for me but occasionally I'll "fall off the wagon" even though I know what the consequences will be.  A night of lousy sleep with digestive issues.  Because sleep does not come easily for me (thanks to a career of working the night shift) you would think that would be enough of an incentive for me to "be good".  Sometimes it might be social pressure -"can't you go off your diet once in a while" (why don't people understand that this is not a diet??), or maybe it's just that the pastry looks so darn good, but whatever - I suffer.  Needless to say, I'm then mad at myself.  SO, thank you son for encouraging and helping me with this wonderful lifestyle where I feel ever so much better.  BUT, can I please have some of your determination and willpower.....

Mama Aspen Paleo