May 30, 2016

I'm A Half Fanatic

By completing 3 half marathons in 49 days, I am officially a "Half Fanatic" (the requirement is 3 within 90 days).


You can see my "Glutton Free Diet" reviews of each of the three races by following the links below:

(5/28/16) Goat Mountain Gallop: Conquering The Grimm Reaper

(5/1/16) Volcano Valley: Be Careful What You Wish For

(4/9/16) Oregon Spring Half Marathon: Race Review

My swag from all three races.

April 15, 2016

Race Review: Goat Mountain Gallop (Conquering the Grimm Reaper)

New Blog Post at The Glutton Free Diet --> Conquering the Grimm Reaper (a review of the Goat Mountain Gallop half marathon)


September 14, 2015

Race Review: 2015 Pints to Pasta 10K

The following is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet: Race Review

I ran my first ever official 10K race yesterday, and I really thought this distance was a lot of fun. It wasn't quite the endurance challenge of a half marathon, but challenging in its own right.

The Pints to Pasta event was part of the Hood to Coast race series, and included either a half marathon or 10K. The half is actually Pasta to Pints to Pasta, but the 10K fits the title; starting on the gradual downhill of N. Greeley Ave in Portland and passing by Widmer Brewing (Pints) and crossing the Willamette River via the Broadway Bridge, then following Naito Parkway along the waterfront, and transitioning up a brutal hill to Barbur Blvd. / Corbett Ave. before heading sharply back downhill to SW Macadam Ave. and the finish line at The Old Spaghetti Factory (Pasta).

When Tony, a friend and running motivator, asked if I wanted to run Pints to Pasta with him, I was hesitant at first because I assumed he meant the half marathon, and I was already signed up for a half the following weekend (this coming Saturday). When he clarified that he meant the 10K race, I jumped at the chance. I was a little nervous because I had only done small races, and wasn't sure I wanted to join a few thousand other runners on a Sunday morning -- but I'm glad I did it. It was a pretty big step for this routine-oriented stick-in-the-mud.

Since this was my first 10K race, I can't say whether or not it was a PR (personal record), but considering the one grueling hill on the course, I am very happy with what I was able to accomplish -- it definitely ranked in the top 5 times I've done for that distance (depending on how accurate my phone's app was for tracking those training runs). I am perfectly happy finishing at 389th place out of 1649 participants (41/88 for my age group).

It was truly a perfect morning for a run -- cool but not cold, mostly clear, with the sun just starting to peak above the horizon as we started down Greeley. The scenery of the river and downtown was gorgeous, and the bridge crossing over the Willamette was fun; and we got to listen to a good cover band play modern classics as we recovered in the shade along the southwest waterfront.

This was my first time getting beer/wine after a run, but since it was included, I decided to give it a try. I went with a Hefe Shandy (half Hefeweisen beer, half lemonade) and a glass of Pinot Grigio. The idea of eating pasta and drinking beer/wine at 9:00 in the morning, after finishing a good run, seems so strange; but it actually worked. The penne pasta with mizithra cheese was the bomb!

While we had a great experience, it was not a perfect event. The choice of route through old town (just for a few blocks) was incredibly stinky, and probably should be reconsidered for next year. The L-O-N-G hill up Barbur to Corbett was grueling, and could have been worth it if we could have "turned and burned" once we reached the top; but the hills back to Macadam were so steep that we actually had to hold back to keep from wiping out or tearing things up. An approach from Waterfront Park / SW Moody Ave. would really improve things, if that is even logistically feasible (or maybe down the east side to Tillicum Crossing next year?).

This is the elevation plot from my RunKeeper app. (click to enlarge)

The other disappointing part for many was some poor planning by event organizers with regard to parking and shuttle buses. Tony and I made it to the shuttles pretty early, and were on one of the first buses to the start line for the 10K. At about 6:45, they announced that the start would be delayed from 7:30 to 7:45 because of parking issues. It ends up that the 15 minute delay was not anywhere near enough time to get all of the 10K runners to the start line, and in fact many racers did not get started until 60-80 minutes after the "gun". Apparently race organizers thought 5 buses would be enough to shuttle 1650 people across Portland in a one-hour time-frame -- so it was not just a matter of "not enough parking".

Hopefully they will improve a few things for next year, as I really thought it was a lot of fun!

May 26, 2015

Are You Fed Up?

This is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet

You really should be fed up with the obesity epidemic that is gripping North America. You really should be fed up with the way our elected government officials, both liberal and conservative, are bowing down to the big food companies and hiding the true dangers of excess sugar intake.

There is big money in processed foods, especially the fast food and soda pop industries, and the documentary Fed Up exposes the big, sugar coated, cover up. I highly recommend watching it, but be prepared to be challenged and outrage by what you see.

I'm not ready to give up sugar in all of its forms, but soda pop is definitely one I do not miss -- I gave it up over a year ago, and will not ever go back on that wagon. I am willing to make the bold statement that sugary drinks, including fruit juice, are the largest contributors to the obesity epidemic in North America. Yes, even 100% fruit juice is a contributing factor.

Of course we should not confuse whole fruit with fruit juice -- whole fruit is actually a form of sugar we should be trying to eat more of, since our bodies can handle the sugar and fiber together. It's when we remove the fiber, and process the sugars that our bodies can't handle the onslaught of sweetness -- it doesn't matter if it's High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), granulated sugar, raw sugar, or fruit juice.

The one point from this documentary that really resonated with me is the fact that big food has prevented the FDA from requiring food labels to list sugar content in the form of a percentage. All foods list the total grams of sugar per serving, but you will not find what percent of the recommended daily allowance that makes up. If most of us were to actually pay attention to those numbers, I think we would probably put a lot of the foods back on the shelves and not in our carts.

Most organizations that are genuinely interested in health recommend that a maximum of 10% of your daily caloric intake come from sugar. That means that for an adult male with a recommendation of a 2000 calorie diet, the maximum intake from sugar per day should be 200 calories, or 50 grams. To find the percentage, just look at the food label and muliply the grams of sugar by 2, and that is the percentage.

For example, the imitation maple syrup (that I'm ashamed to admit lives in our pantry) has 44 grams of sugar in a 1/4 cup serving; which means one serving contains 88% of your recommended daily allotment of sugar. A 12-oz. can of Pepsi has 41 grams of sugar, or 82% of your RDA. So a small amount of syrup at breakfast and one can of pop at lunch puts you at 170% of your daily allowance. Incidentally the real maple syrup has 50 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup serving, but at least it's not HFCS, right?

Throw in everything else in a typical American diet that has sugar added to it, and it's not hard to see how easily our diets end up containing 300-400% of the sugar we should be ingesting. It made me go through my pantry with a Sharpie and convert all the sugar content into percentage, just so I have a better idea of how much I'm eating.

Now, I'm not ready to give up the 3 teaspoons of raw sugar I have in my coffee every morning, but I am willing to look at how much I take in throughout the day, and continue cutting back if needed. There are 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon, so that puts me at 12% of my allotted intake right at the start of the day, but if I can keep the rest of the day under control, I'm fine with that.

ARE YOU FED UP? Watch the documentary, and make changes in your own life.

May 23, 2015

Product Review: Nathan QuickShot Plus Insulated Flask

The following is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet:

Staying hydrated is a vitally important task for anyone engaging in prolonged physical exercise. With most organized road races, there are hydration stations set up periodically throughout the course, so it's easy get your water or sports drink fix. But with longer training runs, or shorter runs on hot days, staying hydrated means carrying water with you, or planting water bottles along your route.

Hiding water bottles ahead of time is not an option with the route I typically run, so I decided to give the Nathan QuickShot Plus Insulated Flask (pictured above) a try, since I like the idea of being able to strap it to my hand instead of physically holding the bottle. One nice feature about this strap is the hole at the top which allows your thumb to fit through -- it really makes it easy to strap to your hand and forget about (almost). 

The reflective, insulated bottle holds 8-oz. of water, and the small zippered pouch is large enough for about two energy packs, Kleenex, and a few pieces of ID -- there's even a tighter fitting netting pocket that holds credit cards, etc. There is velcro at the bottom of the strap that allows for adjustment, so it will fit different sized hands. 

I do find that I need to move the bottle from my right hand to my left hand after about 5-miles to change things up, but after about a minute I usually switch it back -- and repeat every few miles after that. Some people may never be able to get used to it, so before you purchase one, you may want to try carrying a similarly sized item in your hand during a run and see if you resist the urge to throw it into the weeds.

After a month of extensive use, including two 13.1 mile runs, I can find no faults with the product itself -- it does everything as advertised. It doesn't leak, the zipper pouch is easy to access on the move, and it's easy to get the right fit on your hand. The only real question is whether or not 8-oz. of water is enough for your individual needs.

On my initial 13.1 mile run using this product, temperatures were quite cool, with a pretty good downpour of rain midway through; so the capacity was more than adequate. It was also up to task for the 8.5 mile run I did in warmer weather a week before the Volcano Half -- and in both of those cases I downed a single Honey Stinger packet midway through the run. 

On the day of the actual Volcano Half, temps started to climb into the upper-60's with full sunshine, by halfway through the race; and I definitely had to rely on the hydration stations on the course -- I would have needed to rely on them even more if I had decided to take two of the Honey Stinger packets during the race, as each packet needs to be ingested with a few decent gulps of water. 

I would recommend an alternative source of hydration if doing longer training runs during warm weather conditions, or for any hydration-supported road races longer than 13.1 miles. Other than those exceptions, I am very happy with my QuickShot Plus, and would highly recommend it.

May 13, 2015

2015 Volcano Half Marathon... I did it!

To read about my experience running my very first official half marathon, follow this link: The Glutton Free Diet: 2015 Volcano Half Marathon

It was tough, but I finished it!

April 6, 2015

The Glutton Free Diet: 1-Year Check-In, No Longer Pre-Diabetic

This is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet

Today I had my 1-year check-in with my doctor, who happens to be a runner himself (and he's running a marathon the same weekend I'm running my half). He was thrilled with my progress, and I have to admit it felt good weighing in 36-lbs. lighter than just 12 months ago.

It's obvious that what I have been doing has made a physical difference, and I know that I feel tons better with the weight gone, but the real test was going to be how my lab results came in this time. My doc didn't order any cholesterol numbers today, as those were under control a year ago.

The main concern was with the A1C numbers, as they are an indicator of average blood glucose levels over the last two or three months. As I discussed in a previous post, obesity can stress your bodies cells to the point that they won't allow insulin to efficiently transport glucose into them, and you end up with excess glucose in your blood.

Here is a breakdown of where my A1C levels have been the last two years, including today's visit. Note that anything 5.6% or below is considered normal, and anything between 5.7% and 6.4% is considered pre-diabetic.

2013: 5.7%
2014: 5.8%
2015: 5.6%

I am no longer considered pre-diabetic!

This is the news I wanted to hear, and one of the main reasons I have been working so hard. Now my goal is to maintain what I started, and see if I can gain a little ground in the blood glucose level department. If I can help it, I WILL NOT let this disease catch me!

To everyone who put up with all of my fitness posts over the last year, and those who encouraged, supported, and joined me in this battle for improved health:
Thank you!

For those who are just now stumbling across my blog, I hope you have found something to inspire or motivate you in your own battle to 'Thrive'. My doctor told me today that since I seem to have figured out the keys to good health, I need to share that with others, and encourage them to start their own journey to healthful living. So I hope to continue to post updates periodically -- especially with my first half marathon race quickly approaching.

Live well. Be well. Thrive.

April 5, 2015

The Glutton Free Diet: All Day Long

The following is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet

As I look back on the last four years (off and on) of trying to improve my health, I can remember the things that have inspired and motivated me. Sometimes it's a song lyric or beat, sometimes it's a saying, and sometimes it's an event.

I can remember having a head cold and thinking I couldn't go out and run, and then watching Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks play through an NBA Finals basketball game with similar symptoms; and I can remember getting off the couch after the game and going for a run. Nowitzki's incredible performance inspired me to get out and move.

I also found inspiration in the very first song that came up on my running playlist in 2011 when I first started running: "40" by U2. It's a song that has moved me since I first heard it back in the eighties, and it's a song about looking to a Power greater than yourself to pull you up from a pit of despair, and the lyrics are pretty much straight from Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the Lord
And He inclined to me and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction
Out of the miry clay
And He set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm
He put a new song in my mouth
A song of praise to our God
Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord

Sometimes it's just a piece of a song that motivates me as I run, like "Every day, every hour; turn that pain into power" from the song "Superheroes" by The Script. Sometimes it's a combination of beat and lyrics, like "Marchin On" by OneRepublic -- there's no way I'm going to even think about giving up and walking when that song comes on Pandora.

During the short time that I have been doing half marathon training, a new phrase has been running through my mind, "All Day Long". This is a phrase that the Sensei at my son's karate dojo uses to inspire the participants during belt tests, and now it has become my slogan. All I have to do is find that right pace, breathe, and keep putting one foot in front of the other; and I feel like I could go all day long.

So, what motivates and inspires you? What helps you make it through when things get tough?

December 6, 2014

Post-Thanksgiving Update

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, without a doubt. It isn't as commercialized as a lot of the other holidays, and it isn't about getting something (if you don't count Black Friday), but giving something instead -- that would be giving thanks for what you already have. It's about reconnecting with friends and family, and getting together to share in the delicious bounty that this earth provides. This year, my in-laws were in town, which meant two meals with turkey and all the trimmings -- and both my wife and mother-in-law come from a line of talented cooks!

So, how does one handle two Thanksgiving feasts while trying live Glutton Free? Run, Forrest, Run!

The kids' school was hosting a very casual "Turkey Trot" 5K (3.1 mi.) run/walk the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so our family decided to participate. I was able to make better time than what I normally run for a 5 mi. trek, thanks to one of the teachers setting a good pace just ahead of me. The pace was fast enough that I was actually sore the next day, and I've been running twice a week for 7 months now.

We had our first feast Wednesday evening, and was it ever a good one -- I was able to limit myself to a reasonable dinner portion, but I especially enjoyed the two pieces of chocolate cream pie that I had. So, that just meant I was out the door at around 9:00 Thanksgiving morning for a 5.2 mile run at record pace (9:24 per mile) before we headed out to feast number two. Once again, I was able to limit myself to just one delicious plate, then there was pie. Key Lime Pie. Yeah, I had two pieces of that one, too.

Saturday morning was my next opportunity to run, and I was able to keep a pace very close to my Thursday run. It felt good to be able to run my usual route at a faster pace than before.

The Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, I decided it was time to face the music and see what the damage was, so I stepped on the scale. I had weighed in just over 181-lbs. two weeks prior, and was fully prepared to see a few pounds added back. But all that running must have worked, because I was down slightly!

I was only able to run one time in the week since then, and I added a steep hill to my run for the first time (I had always walked it before). When I weighed in this morning, the scale showed 178-lbs.! Not since sometime in 1992 have I weighed that little. Okay, I guess it's time to figure out how to figure out this "maintenance" thing, because this is about as far as I really want to go. 

I ran my numbers through the caloric intake calculator once again this morning, since my weight is considerably lower than when I first started, and realized that I had never changed my exercise level to "intense" instead of "light", since I had been running instead of walking. The recommended caloric intake level the calculator spit out was a full 350 calories per day higher than the goal I was shooting for. Or I can just keep doing what I'm doing and not worry about all the Christmas goodies that are starting to show up around the office... :-)

I'll make it a New Year's resolution to eat more calories... maybe.

October 10, 2014

Before & After Photos

This is a repost from: The Glutton Free Diet

I never intended this weight loss blog to be an "oh look at me" kind of thing, but as my cousin, Ms. Tammy, pointed out in an email conversation, it might be helpful for those who stumble across my blog to see 'before' and 'after' photos. So here you are -- now you can see the difference between me at over 240 lbs., and me at just under 185 lbs. 

May these photos inspire someone to embark on their own journey of healthful living.

January 2011

October 2014

Most people say that they can really see the weight loss difference in my face, so I posted the close-up photos first. I believe that January 2011 was when I was at my absolute heaviest. I may not be quite as heavy in the following 'before' shot, but it's not too far off...

June 2009

October 2014

Now let's keep this journey going!

October 1, 2014

Glutton Free Diet: Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes

This is a repost from: The Glutton Free Diet

Before being told that I was pre-diabetic, I never gave a second thought to what the risk factors might be. In my mind, I was still fairly young and fit, and worrying about diabetes was the furthest thing from my mind. That diagnosis meant taking a crash course in learning what exactly type 2 diabetes was, and how I could prevent it...

I was involved with an online discussion today about what some of the causes of type 2 are, and was reminded how many misconceptions are out there. One person was asserting that the only thing that mattered in prevention of type 2 was eliminating virtually all sugars, starches, and carbohydrates from your diet. According to them, even whole grains were the enemy, and would contribute to blood glucose level spikes. Therefore, they suggested that everyone eat a highly restrictive low-carb diet, even to the point of eliminating complex carbohydrates -- something that goes a little too far, in my opinion .

I couldn't be too judgmental about that viewpoint, though; as it wasn't long ago that believed the same thing -- I thought that all I had to do was cut out carbs and everything would be OK. Well, it turns out that there's more to it than just that.

First, let's look at what type 2 diabetes is: Facts About Type 2

With type 2, either your body doesn't produce enough insulin on its own, or your body's cells ignore the insulin. When you eat starches and sugars, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is a basic fuel for the cells of your body. Insulin moves the glucose from the blood into the cells. If you aren't producing enough insulin on your own, or your body's cells are stressed to the point that they resist the insulin altogether, then you end up with excess glucose levels in your blood.

As noted in the link, having too much glucose in the blood can starve your cells for energy, and over time high glucose levels may harm your eyes, heart, kidneys, and nerves.

So, what exactly causes type 2 diabetes? Well, there are a number of risk factors involved, so it's difficult to say that any one thing causes it. The main risk factors include family history of type 2 diabetes, ethnicity (blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, or Asian Americans), body weight (obesity), low activity level, and age (40-45 and older).

Notice that carbohydrate intake is not part of that list. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't watch the amount of sugar you ingest, because obesity is still a major risk factor, and there are a lot of calories in simple sugars -- and if you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.

It's obvious that there is a lot of misinformation out there about type 2, so the American Diabetes Association was nice enough to put together a fact sheet listing many myths about diabetes: Diabetes Myths

If you are concerned that you may be at risk for type 2 diabetes, the ADA also has a Risk Test that you can take. I took the test based on my current weight and activity level, and it put me at "low risk". But when I went back an entered my formerly obese weight and lower activity level into the test, it told me I was "high risk".

If you have more than one of the risk factors, and the risk test places you in the "high risk" range, it isn't too late to reverse the trend. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise. Burn more calories than you take in. Type 2 Diabetes doesn't have to be something that "happens to you" -- you can choose to make sure that you beat it before it beats you.

September 30, 2014

Glutton Free Diet: Dessert

This is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet

There's nothing that says eating a healthy diet has to be bland and boring. In fact, based on my own experience, an eating plan that doesn't allow any sort of fun is not going to be effective in the long run because it will soon grow tiresome.

It was not long ago that I [mistakenly] thought that I despised dark chocolate, but maybe that was because I just hadn't tried any good stuff. But after being told that I was "pre-diabetic", I knew I had to make a change, and Google searches indicated the lower sugar content in dark chocolate (when compared to milk chocolate) made it a reasonable dessert option for me.

Finally, I finally gave in and bought a Ghirardelli variety pack that included small squares of both 60% and 72% cacao, as well as truffle filled and salted caramel squares. Immediately I noticed complex flavors with both of the dark chocolate varieties, something I never got with milk chocolate.

What I was even more excited about was the calorie count. At 50 to 60 calories per square, I could eat two squares for dessert and get some intense chocolate flavor, all at a fraction of the calories present in a bowl of ice cream or a stack of chocolate chip cookies. On days when I didn't have many calories left, I could just eat one square.

I found during the summer months that fresh fruit made a great accompaniment to the dark chocolate -- strawberries, peaches, mangoes, etc; they were all good. Or, if I have been really good, a dark chocolate square set atop a small piece of brownie and microwaved for a few seconds is absolutely divine.

I had originally considered calling this blog "The Dark Chocolate Diet" before settling on "Glutton Free", because I felt that keeping some kind of dessert in my eating plan was so important to my successful results. This doesn't have to be all carrots and celery. You can, and should, have a little fun with it.

August 6, 2014

Glutton Free Diet: Caloric Intake

This is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet

On the most basic level, any weight loss or healthy living plan will only be effective if it enables you to burn more calories than you take in each day. You can choose any successful diet plan out there -- it doesn't matter what gimmick is used accomplish the weight loss, the reason for the weight loss is directly correlated to caloric intake.

How many calories each person needs each day is going to vary depending on a variety of factors including age, weight, height, activity level, etc. Luckily there are many online calculators out there that can estimate the amount of calories you need each day to accomplish your goal -- whether that goal is losing weight, or simply maintaining your current weight.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) Calculator: BMR Calc

The BMR calculator will give you an estimate of the amount of energy your body would expend if you basically just laid in bed all day. The online caloric intake calculators will use this BMR figure, along with your standard activity level, to determine approximately how many calories you need to consume to accomplish your goal. The following calculator will provide three different intake options: one for maintenance, one for fat loss, and one for 'extreme' fat loss.

Daily Caloric Intake Calculator

I have used both the standard "fat loss" and "extreme fat loss" figures in the past to determine my daily caloric "budget", and have found both to be effective. I currently use the standard calculation because I am in this for the long haul, and found the extreme option to be overly restrictive, and it was too tempting to binge after several days of limiting myself to 1500-1600 calories (especially when accompanied by regular exercise).

For maximum effectiveness, I suggest using a smartphone or iPod app that will track your calories for you -- some of them even have extensive food databases. I have had good luck with the free version of DailyBurn Tracker, and found the barcode scanner to be useful for many pre-packaged items that I consumed. A quick Google search for "Calorie Counter App" will tell you that there are many other options out there, too.

The idea of tracking every calorie you ingest may seem like a real bother, but it really helps you grasp the amount of calories in the different foods you eat, and eventually you may not even need to use the tracker. My daily eating schedule is routine enough that I no longer need to track with an app -- I know that I will have approx. 1000 calories available for dinner and dessert, so I will try to make appropriate choices when I fill up my plate. But if I hadn't spent time tracking every calorie, I wouldn't know that a piece of whole grain bread is going to have ~110 calories, or that a typical piece of pepperoni pizza is going to have ~300-350 calories.

No, this calorie counting thing isn't very glamorous or exciting, but it is effective, and it is part of the Glutton Free way.

August 4, 2014

Glutton Free Diet: Snack Time

Here is the link to my latest entry on The Glutton Free Diet: Afternoon Snack

June 9, 2014

Glutton Free Diet: What's For Lunch?

Continuing the theme of what my "glutton free" diet consists of, I present to you: The Glutton Free Lunch.

That's it... a single 200-300 calorie pre-packaged meal, Sriracha hot sauce, and water. For several years now, Lean Cuisine's have been a part of my lunch -- I find them to be both healthy and flavorful. They provide a good mix of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates. If you don't want to do store-bought meals, you could always portion out your own left-overs in a similar fashion -- but be sure you know approximately how many calories you are eating. By the time I finish my lunch, I am typically at 500-550 calories for the day.

That holds me over until around 3:00 when I have a small, high-protein snack. If I get hungry in between, I just drink more water... that usually helps get rid of the growlish feeling in my stomach. It's easy to get psyched out and say, "I have to eat more than that for lunch", but that's where willpower comes in -- if you allow that voice to win, you will never be successful at trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Now, as have I stated in other posts, there is no cookie-cutter approach to the glutton free way, so there is some flexibility on when you eat the majority of your calories. If it's easier for you to control your dinner calories than your lunch calories, then by all means, eat a bigger lunch. But if your friend calls and wants to go out for dinner, just keep that big lunch in mind when making choices at the restaurant. Or if you come home and find that your spouse has made your favorite spaghetti recipe, you will need to have some self control (even more than if you had eaten a smaller lunch).

Stay tuned for the next episode: Afternoon Snack

Link to original post: The Glutton Free Diet: Lunch

June 7, 2014

Glutton Free Breakfast

Since the Glutton Free way is really about eating a balanced, managed-calorie diet, what each meal consists of is really up to the individual -- as long as it fits within the overall goal. Some will need a larger breakfast and smaller meals later in the day, while others won't need much at the start of the day. I am one of those that doesn't need much to start the day...

This is what my typical breakfast consists of:

One 16 oz. cup of French-press coffee, with raw sugar and half-and-half, and a 120 calorie breakfast bar (full of complex carbs, protein, and fiber). On a typical day, that is all I need. On days when I know I will be running an hour or two later, I need extra protein, and will skip the granola bar and go with a sausage & egg biscuit and some fruit -- or scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and fruit. Gone are the days when I can chow down on a stack of pancakes or waffles topped with maple syrup -- too many calories, and too many simple carbs.

On weekdays, I eat my breakfast before 6:30, so by 10:30-11:00 I am ready to eat lunch -- then a snack at 3:00 PM, and that leaves me with 1100 to 1200 calories available for dinner. But I won't get into those meals with this post... they will have to wait until next week.

Link to original post: The Glutton Free Diet: Breakfast

May 27, 2014

The Glutton Free Diet

I have created a new blog to post about my struggles and triumphs with my battle for better health habits: The Glutton Free Diet

May 26, 2009

Breathe Deep

I wish I could.

I've had bronchitis before, but I don't remember it being this miserable. I think the worst part is not being able to take a deep breath without inducing a coughing fit. I will be so glad when this is over with -- I think once I can actually breathe again, it's time to start running or doing something more active to get my lungs back in better shape. I hate bronchitis!

October 18, 2008

A Sort of Homecoming...

Steph came home today, and we are most excited. It was a tough week for all of us, but we survived. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! :-)

She was able to go back on her thyroid medication today (yay!), and will be able to eat a normal diet starting Monday (if her scan is clear). She is still low on energy, but she has her appetite back, so that is good. It will be another week or so before she can kiss the kids or hold them more than 15 minutes a day, so we aren't totally back to normal yet. But at least we're together again!

October 10, 2008

ThyCA Update

Steph's radiation treatment is officially scheduled for Monday afternoon. After the radiation, she will stay in the recently vacated house of a close family friend (who recently moved in to a brand new house on the same property).

Once again, our friends have come through and things are in place for a smooth week ahead. But please be thinking of us -- this weekend as Steph copes with feeling run down (due to low thyroid hormone levels), and next week as she is isolated from almost all human contact. As many have noted, the isolation may actually be a nice retreat for her... but I hope she at least misses us a little bit. :-)

September 3, 2008

Back to School... and Back to Work

Today was Noah's first official day of kindergarten, and yesterday was Steph's first day back to work since the surgery...

Noah, standing by the front doors of the school.

It was really just an orientation day for the kids, and information day for the parents -- lasting a whole hour. Noah seems to still be very excited about school, so hopefully his first full week will go well. I also hope that he is able make good use of his energy, imagination, and zeal for life; and that nobody will try to squelch his enthusiasm.

And yes, that's correct, Steph is back to work already. She took the doctor's "about one week" literally, and went back to work on Tuesday, just one week after surgery. I thought she should have gone with one week after getting out of the hospital, but as I stated before, she's a very strong and determined woman, and I couldn't convince her. She said that it was rough to make it through those two days, and that if she had to do it over, she would probably take the extra week off. Oh well...

Tomorrow is her one-week follow-up with the ENT surgeon, so hopefully we will soon have information about her pathology report, and regarding her upcoming radiation treatment.

August 29, 2008

Steph's Home, and I Have CPAP

Steph is home (yay!), and I'm having a love-hate relationship with my CPAP machine.

I brought Steph home Thursday afternoon, after waiting two-and-a-half hours for the hospital personnel to get the paperwork completed so we could check out. As Kris pointed out in the last post's comments section, Steph looks none the worse for wear, other than the pieces of tape covering her incision. I said this after each of our children were born [via C-section], and I'll say it again, she's one tough and determined girl -- her recovery has been nothing short of impressive.

Steph was exhausted when she got home, as she didn't get much sleep Wednesday night (her roommate's ailments kept her awake). I think she's happy to have her old bed back, because she went to bed at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon, and slept pretty much non-stop until this morning... it's very nice to know that she is home.

On the Sleep Apnea front... I was diagnosed with a mild case, but the results could have been swayed by the fact that I had so much trouble actually getting to sleep during the test. There were enough events where I stopped breathing (the longest was 41 seconds) that they felt I should at least try a CPAP machine -- so they gave me a loaner for a week.

I'm currently having a love-hate relationship with the CPAP (after two nights of use). I love the feeling of extra airflow going to my lungs; I love the deepness of the sleep I am getting; and I love actually waking up feeling rested -- I've never experienced this before. I do still wake up a few times during the night to adjust things, but I go right back to sleep, and then wake up at 5:00 or 5:30 and am ready to get out of bed.

The hate part comes from the mask, and occasionally from the extra airflow that comes during my apnea events. If I don't get the mask adjusted just right, it can put a lot of pressure on different parts of my face. Likewise, if I don't lay my head on the pillow just right, things can also get quite uncomfortable -- or a leak can be created because the mask isn't seated right, which blows air into my eyes. I have ripped the mask off both mornings because it was bugging me, but after getting up and visiting the water closet, I found that I wanted the mask back on when I got back in bed -- because the extra airflow when I breathe just feels so nice.

The jury is still out on the whether or not I will keep the CPAP, but I've got another five days to try it out. Steph said she didn't hear anything from it last night, so that is a major plus -- but she's pretty sure I'm going to scare the kids if they see me with the mask on. If I wake up feeling the way I have the last two days, I will definitely be keeping it -- I think I could actually kick my coffee habit with this thing!

So there you are... consider yourself updated! :-)

August 26, 2008

Tuesday Night Surgery Report

The surgery went very well. The nodule was indeed cancerous, but the surgeon was able to remove everything he needed to, while leaving a very small incision. Steph was still pretty well out of it at 5:30 PM, but just an hour later, was sitting up in bed and talking (quietly). When I left at 8:30, she was actually getting hungry and hoping they would bring her some jello...

I got home in time to rock both kids before tucking them into their beds. :-)

Tomorrow morning I will go up and get fitted for my CPAP machine, and then I will go over and spend the day with Steph. The plan is for her to be released Thursday around noon. Good night all!

July 3, 2008

Thyroid Update...

Steph had her appointment with the ENT surgeon today. He confirmed that the pathologists are very good at interpreting cells from biopsies, and since her report came back as suspicious, there is a very, very high likelihood that it is indeed cancerous. So they will proceed on that assumption, and remove her thyroid.

The surgeon's first comment upon examination of the 'nodule' was, "It's not very big"; which is most definitely good news. He said that she didn't need to cancel her August vacation plans, and recommended having the surgery in the next two months or so. The end of August was all booked up, and they hadn't started booking September yet, so we won't have an official surgery date for a few weeks yet.

Please keep us in your prayers in the next few months leading up to this, as there is still some anxiety despite everything we've learned about this. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers during the last week... it really means a lot to us.

July 1, 2008

Scary Diagnosis

For those who don't know, my dear wife Stephanie was diagnosed with papillary cancer of the thyroid last week. We are now over the inital shock, and feeling much more at ease after hearing from many sources that this is a very treatable form of cancer. Our spirits have also been buoyed by all of the well-wishes and offers of support... thank you! And for those who offered the support, be prepared; because we might just take you up on it. :-)

Here's an excellent link (originally posted at GRS) that explains a lot about this particular form of cancer: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association.

September 20, 2006

What do you get when...

Q: What do you get when you put 25-30 kids in a school classroom?

A: A cold.

It happens every September. School starts and germs get passed around. One more argument for home schooling, I guess...

May 17, 2006

0g Trans Fat

Right, so trans fats are the latest bad thing for you, and are now listed on the 'nutritional information' of food products sold in the U.S. Trans fatty acid comes from partially hydrogenated oils -- basically oil that has been turned into Crisco by the addition of hydrogen. Partially hydrogenated oils greatly increase the shelf life of food products, but they have a longer shelf life inside your body, too... not a good thing.

So you can avoid trans fat by looking for foods that list '0g Trans Fat' on the package, right? Don't be so sure... according to FDA regulations, anything less than .5 grams per serving can be labeled as 0 grams per serving, or trans fat free. If a product has very small serving sizes listed, you could very well get 1 to 2 grams of trans fat with a realistic portion -- not a good thing.

For the past few years, my morning ritual has been several cups of French pressed coffee, mixed with generous portions of French Vanilla creamer. I switched to Nestle's 'Coffee Mate' brand when they started putting '0g trans fat' on the label, only to find 'partially hydrogenated soybean oil' listed as the third ingredient (behind water and sugar).

So, in an effort to cut back on my sugar and trans fat intake (and to lose a little weight), I am quitting... cold turkey. No more coffee and creamer (except maybe on the weekends). So far I'm not really liking this coffee-less existence (my head is kind of in a fog), but I'm hoping that it will go away in a few days... we'll see.

November 18, 2005

The Wonders of Peanut Butter

In my on going fight to clear this menacing ailment from my lungs, I have become good friends with my Robitussin. But as many times as I have chugged down that ruby red syrup, I still can't stand the way it tastes. Every swig needs to be followed immediately by a chaser of some sort... and I have tried many, many different chasers... everything from water to saltine crackers to mouth wash to caramel corn. Finally, after two weeks of dealing with this crap, I have found the perfect chaser...

Peanut Butter

Just one spoonful of peanut butter will eliminate all traces of that repugnant Robitussin. If only I had discovered this two weeks ago...

November 15, 2005

Sent to the ER by My Own Cooking

I had an interesting day yesterday... but it really all started over the weekend. I will start with Sunday night.

Steph and I had just finished watching 'our show', Grey's Anatomy (ironically, a show that takes place in a hospital). I felt a little bit of heartburn, so I popped a few Tums to stave it off, then went to bed. Almost instantly, I started feeling tight pressure in my chest, with pain radiating out to my left shoulder blade and up to my jaw. It wasn't a sharp, stabbing pain, but it was persistent and very uncomfortable. I was also feeling a bit short of breath, and found breathing to be a chore. I tried changing positions in the hopes to alleviate the pain, but it wouldn't go away. I briefly thought, "Is this what a heart attack feels like?", but dismissed it as just being a side effect of my ongoing pneumonia-like lung ailment. I took a few Advil and crawled back into bed to tough it out, not saying a word about it to Steph.

I eventually fell asleep, but awoke during the middle of the night to use the restroom. My back and jaw pain was gone, but I still felt pressure in my chest. I took another one of my Expectorant/Cough Suppressant pills and went back to bed. I awoke at 6:00am feeling very well rested, but still feeling like something was very tight in my chest. I didn't feel like I needed coffee (a rare thing), so I just had a bowl of Cheerios. When I went to drink the leftover cereal milk, I felt a bit of discomfort in my chest with each gulp. A short time later, I felt the need to belch... but it was difficult to get the air out, and when it did go through, it was a bit painful... but a huge relief once it passed.

I went to work with the intent of calling Kaiser to make an appointment for this pesky (and now a bit painful) chest ailment. No appointments were available, so I got put on a call-back list.

In the meantime, I went in to discuss what had happened with JD and Nick. JD asked, "Have you looked up the symptoms of a heart attack online?". I had not. Nick asked, "How do you know you didn't have one?". I replied, "Because I woke up in the morning". Nick was flabbergasted.

I went in and googled for the symptoms of a heart attack. Yikes! I had just about all of the symptoms, minus the lightheadedness, fainting, sweating and nausea. Could it be?

At about 1:00pm, the advice nurse from Kaiser called back to get more information from me. I told her that my chest ailment had been feeling better until Sunday night, and I described what transpired. This immediately raised a red flag for her and she asked if my family had a history of heart disease. I said I didn't think so. She said they didn't have any appointments available at the clinic, but she would phone the on-call doctor and advise me of what to do next. She phoned my back and informed my that I should either go to the Urgent Care Clinic (which opened at 4:30pm) or to the Emergency Room. I called Steph to tell let her know what was going on and made plans to run up to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital a little before 3:00pm, and I checked in. They took my blood pressure and my pulse, and strapped a little pink plastic band on my wrist. I was soon led back to the ER where they hooked me up to a heart monitor and started asking a few questions. The nurse who helped me felt very confident that my heart was perfectly fine, based on my strong heartbeat and on the fact that the walk into the hospital was not difficult for me. Still, he needed to order an EKG, just to be sure. A few minutes after the EKG tech had finished recording my heartbeat (and disconnecting all her sensors), a doctor came in to let my know that my EKG looked 'perfect'. That was good to know.

Now that my heart was given a clean bill of health, they still needed to see what was up with my lungs, so they ordered a chest X-ray. I quickly headed down to radiology for a few photos, and headed back to my little 8x10 curtained cell. A nurse came in to hook me back up to the heart monitor and oxygen, but I told her that my heart was fine and she didn't need to hook me back up... she reluctantly complied with my wishes. After waiting close to a half hour, the doctor finally returned to tell me that my chest X-ray also looked 'perfect'... there was no infection or pneumonia in my chest... it was just a virus. So what was going on?!?!

The doctor then turned his attention to the heartburn-like feeling I had experienced before my 'red flag' symptoms started occurring. He determined that I was having a severe acid-reflux episode, and those symptoms, when combined with my chest cold, were mimicking a majority of the symptoms of a heart attack. I was also passing large amounts of gas (belching), which was not helping the matter. He prescribed some Zantac and sent me on my way.

So what caused all this discomfort? My own cooking. I had cooked a marvelous Mexican food feast on Saturday, and I had partaken of plenty of leftovers on Sunday. I had a rather large helping of refried beans, rice, steak (loaded with onions and bell peppers), guacamole, cilantro and Tapatio. I had to wash it all down with a couple Jarritos soda pops, too. It just needed a few hours of percolation to start causing problems...

I was still having some painful belches last night, but they have finally subsided, and this morning I feel very good. My chest congestion seems to finally be clearing up to the point where I pretty much feel normal... I just hack things up periodically. I hope to be well by the end of the week.

I don't care to see the inside of a hospital again for a good while... not until our little girl comes along in a few months... :-)

November 9, 2005


I seem to have come down with a mild case of pneumonia. I haven't gone to the doctor to verify this for sure, but I definitely have a majority of the symptoms (and I had a chest cold a week before). It does seem to be getting better, although I do still have swollen glands and a bit of tingling in my extremities. If I had a fever I might be more worried, but my body temperature has actually been low... as low as 97 degrees.

I am still able to go to work, and I actually was able to do some yardwork/winterizing at home yesterday, but I am pretty well drained by early evening. I look forward to having a little more energy back... and I look forward to being able to take deep breaths without a coughing fit. Hopefully I won't feel quite so creativity challenged once I shake this... then maybe I will be able to make a decent weblog entry.

At this point I will do the Roth thing and let my immune system battle it out... which frustrates Stephanie to no end. :-)