A Brief Lettuce Wrap up

The first steps after a long fall

After bouncing back from a recent shoulder surgery and coming out of my funk I started cooking again and taking care of myself. It took me a week and a half but bounce back I did. Now a week and a half off may not seem like a long time to some that don’t train for years because “life is too crazy” or whatever excuse you can come up with. But a week and a half of eating crap food and not training drains my soul. Granted I had a legitimate excuse and was hopped up on pain killers nearly 24/7 the week after my surgery. But that phase didn’t last long, I got back on my feet and back in the kitchen. After my first post-op workout everything seemed to fall into place. You know sometimes you just gotta get moving, get a little sweat going. As Confucius say: “The man who contemplates the perfect step on a long journey forever spends his time on one leg” (or something like that). Take those little baby steps and know that they will eventually build to bigger and better things.

Initiate Project Epcot:

It was pretty rough at first only using one arm. Lifting stock pots and such was a major PITA and sometimes just damn impossible (I had to ask my roomies for help a couple times). But once I determined I wanted to cook a french food week I got excited and started planning my menu. My clients and friends were so interested that I started doing these themed menus every week since. Here is a quick breakdown of what I have been up to the past month and a half or so. Future updates will include more detail and more photos.

French Bistro Week (oct 15th)

wt= 145.6 BF=11.1%

Steak and asparagus
Roast chicken with mashed cauliflower
French Lentils
Tuna crouettes on arugala salad

Latin Week (Oct 23)

wt= 143.3 BF= 11.2%

Fish taco lettuce wraps w/ coleslaw and low-cal chipotle dressing
Taco salad with pork tenderloin and fresh pico/ guac
Carne Asada with grilled bell pepper, onion, and portabello
Pulled chicken breast with home made Molé sauce (this was a PITA and not worth repeating)
Baked plantains (post workout carb source)

English menu (Oct 30)

wt= 142.57 BF=10.42%
(not an easy cuisine to make figure friendly and tasty what was I thinking?! turned out ok though)
Shephard’s Pie w/ mashed cauliflower on top
Welsch rarebit inspired salad
Roast beast w/ home made horse radish sauce over spinach and artichoke
Oven “fried” fish and Chips
Baked Beet Salad w/ walnuts and blue cheese

Greek Week (Nov 5th)

wt=141.65 BF=9.35%

Chicken breast (sous vide in keifer) salad w/ taziki sauce
Home made goats milk yogurt and chopped dates
Beef Kafka-bobs w/ roast tomato sauce on spinach
Grilled tilapia marinated in parsley lemon sauce
Cauliflower tabouleh w/ sun dried tomato
Home made hummus with assorted veggies for dipping
pita chips (post workout carb source)

Indian Week (nov 12th)

wt=141.27 BF=9.47%

Saag with spinach and tofu
“Tandoori” chicken salad with yogurt lemon dressing
Tilapia sous vide with sauted okra and shallots
Goat Tika masala over cauliflower “rice”
Home made mango lassi ice cream

Stepford Housewife 1950’s (nov 19)

wt=139.94 bf=8.61%

Tuna casserole 2.0 w/ shirataki noodles and spinach
Pork chops and applesauce with green beans
Pot Roast with turnips and brussle sprouts
Chicken Meatloaf and mashed cauliflower
Breakfat Quiche (ham, artichokes, spinach, and mushroom)
Tang flavored Agar Jello
Cottage cheese and rhubarb “jam”
Pecan Pie Protein Shake (AMAZING)

On deck for next week: Pot luck

too many leftovers to justify a new themed week but I’m thinking Vietnamese the week after that.
Other themed weeks I have done previously w/o enough documentation for write up:
Cajun, Italian, Southwestern/Tex-Mex, Thai, German, Chinese, all I can think of right now

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Turkey day workout Update

from all or nothing to always something

Some things are simply out of our control.  One must accept this or go crazy.  Though I had a very nice plan executing it was a bit flawed.  We missed the train we were supposed to catch to take us up to Sleepy Hallow and were running a lil late.

By my estimate I would have 30 mins to workout and change and greet a room full of people I had never met before.  It would be rushed but at least it would be something.  I probably got through 8-10 mins of my workout before a surprise was sprung on me.  There were plans for all of us to take a walking tour of the river before our large dinner.  Though this might be some physical activity, it was not of the intensity I would have desired.  Oh well, something is better than nothing.

We got home at around 10:30 and I immediately hit the gym on the top floor of my friends apartment.  The carb high from desert and sweet potato had hit and I was restless to finish what I had started earlier.  I finished my tabata rounds of 20s on 10s off x10 sets.  I did a little rowing to finish the job and went home by 11:00.

As a lesson something is always better than nothing.  We must force ourselves to accept limitations and conditions beyond our control and simply do what we can.  If you are truly doing what you can, or all you can, what else could you ask for?

Now I am not so OCD that I did not enoy myself.  So I leave you with a shot of the desert table of which I sampled nearly everything (there goes all or nothing, cause I definitely had a lil of everything).

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Quick Pre-Stuff Your Face workout

 Minimizing abb destruction

Its thanksgiving day and we all plan on overdoing it lil (or alot) with the stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and all the other stuff I probably wouldn’t be eating in an entire week let alone one meal.  But I plan on enjoying this holiday feast because I am not OCD despite what my friends and clients think.  I will however, do what is in my best ability to minimize the impact said meal is going to have on maintaining a low bodyfat percentage and staying lean.  Thus some purposeful exercise is in order.  You see when we engage in purposeful exercise certain hormonal shifts occur in the body that favor energy expenditure.  This hormonal shift also gives an advantage directly after training: improved insulin sensitivity.  And what does that mean to us?  Better carb tolerance.  Yes, simply by exercising before a big meal we can reduce the impact that meal will have not just in total calories but also in content.  Suddenly all those carbs wont go straight to your waistline.  So I plan on burning a few extra calories and putting myself in a favorable hormone state by this brief but intense mini workout.

The Challenge:

 I am traveling with a friend to Sleepy Hallow to visit his family so I will not have any equipment to rely on. No bikes, no sleds, no kettlebells, no barbells.  None of the usual stuff I rely on to get blood pumping and the sweat dripping.  Which I plan on doing for about 10 minutes (ok maybe 15 if Im feeling productive).
Now lets keep in mind that I had major shoulder surgery (a completely torn labrum 360º for those curious) in September so my exercise selection is already a bit limited and I will be doing a few extra exercises you will probably not need to work on my shoulder stability.  So no push ups, pull ups, handstands, chair dips, burpees, etc, and others that might work for a normal Joe. 

The Solution


Im going to pack this jump rope these two mini-bands and this one super band.  I think with these and my creativity I should be able to hack it.

The Workout

Warm-up 5-7min total:
Jump rope 3-min
Mobility/ activation drills 2-min
(8 ea) clam shells, bird dogs, single leg hip lifts, plank (20s), hip mobility
single leg balance
Circuit x 3 sets (10min)
Pistol squat 5 reps ea leg
External Shoulder rotation
Internal Shoulder Rotation
Hang arm stretch for active recovery 2 mins
Conditioning 5 min
Jump rope tabattas x10 rounds
20seconds intense: 10 seconds rest
Cool down-2min
Mobility drills



There you go I estimate this will take just over 20 mins.  I’ll update yall and let you know how it goes and provide video of some of the exercises in an update later this evening.  So stay tuned!

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Pecan Pie protein Smoothie

And a case study on motivation

This may come as a shock to you, but I’ve never been a goody two shoes. Particularly growing up I much preferred the thrill of challenging authority and generally being a pain in the neck. I was always getting into fights on the schoolyard (usually over some percieved insult my pride not allowing me to back down); but in the 1st grade I had a teacher who knew exactly how to bring out the best in me. She knew the best way to keeping me in line was straight through my belly.

You see Ms.Allen promised her students that if they could go 100 days without getting into trouble or breaking any rules she would take them on a field trip to House of Pies. House of Pies is truly a landmark in Houston, TX where I am from. If you ever get the chance and your waistline can afford it I highly recommend stopping by.

Back when I was a kid 100 days might has well have been 1000, there was no way I thought. Not me, I would never see the inside of the hallowed place. But at some point between scuffles on the playground, I heard one of my friends talk about the amazing ice-cream and how fun it was getting to leave class just to go have pie with the teacher. They talked about all the different kinds of pies and milk shakes you could get; this place had everything! Key lime, banana cream pie, cheese cake, you name it. But there was only one option for me: Pecan Pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The marriage of sweetness, crunchy roasted pecans, and crumbly crust with the smooth velvety vanilla ice cream.

I knew, I had to make that trip. I had to somehow keep myself from yelling indoors, remember to bring my homework, keep my desk clean, and abstain from doing all the other things that usually came as second nature to me. In general be a good kid.

House of Pies on Westheimer Rd in Houston, TX

120 something days later (I had a few relapses) I was taken out of class to go with Ms. Allen to the pie shop for pie and ice cream. Success never tasted so sweet. Naturally I got into a fight over the swing set the very next day but hey at least I got my prize.

This recipe is a protein shake that could earn you a few extra points with YOUR teacher because it is full of muscle building protein, disease fighting tocopherols (vitamin-E), and heart health promoting fats. You don’t even have to be a good kid for over 3 months to earn one either (though I do recommend always saying please and thank you).

Pecan Pie Protein Smoothie:

2 cups ice
2 scoops Metabolic drive vanilla protein powder (my favorite but use what ever brand you like)
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup sugar free pancake syrup (more if you like it sweeter)
Enough water to get things spinning (1/4-1/2 cup or as little as needed)

Blend to desired consistency. (more blending equals thicker shake less blending equals icier shake, stay tuned for a dedicated shake making technique post)

Makes two small servings as a meal replacement or 4 servings as a desert.

Deceptively simple, luxuriously delicious.

So thanks Ms. Allen; your the best 1st grade teacher a guy could ever have. Your methods of positive incentive motivated me to new heights. I don’t think Ive ever been that well behaved before (or ever since). Hmm, maybe I could use deserts as a reward to help me achieve my goals…? That might be counterproductive. I think I’ll just stick to the shakes for now.

ps. I didn’t mix up my b’s and d’s this time Ms. Allen arnt you proub!

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Mashed Cauliflower, a low-carb alternative

How to trick yourself into thinking that your getting carbs:

Damn you carbs! Damn you for being so delicious and so horrible to my midsection. (now there is a very appropriate time to consume carbs but that discussion will have to wait for its own blog post). If I didn’t just get done working out you won’t catch me reaching for the toasted bagel, the crunchy pita chips, or even the brown rice. My goals are to stay as lean as possible (I’m at about 8%BF right now and wish to keep it thataway) which necessitates me abstain from most starchy carbohydrates most of the time. I’m planning on having steak though and it just looks so lonely without those delicious mashed potatoes. Poor lonely protein. The steak and asparagus need their friend. Enter mashed cauliflower. It can be used as a substitute for mashed potatoes. It has a similar color, similar texture, and when you load it up with flavor from sour cream or yogurt and truffle oil in my case tastes just as good. (even better if your stuck eating those fakey flakey microwaved potatoes, that’s just wrong)

It’s also very easy to make:

Trim cauliflower into florets
Microwave covered with plastic wrap until tender (4-5min depending)
Mash with an immersion blender or food processor (the food processor usually works better)
Add flavor and seasoning (I went with some home made yogurt 3tbsp, 1 tsp of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and 1 tbsp of truffle oil)

Serve just as you would mashed potatoes. Like with a yummy dry aged steak. Take that carbs!

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