Mixing it Up: Strength Stats and Routine Changes

I used to set specific strength goals that I wanted to reach by a specific date.  (Example A, Example B, Example C) And while these goals were excellent for providing motivation, unfortunately they caused my form to suffer in order to reach them on time.  Ultimately they just put me at an increased risk for injury and gave me inflated strength measures.

So for the past couple months I decided to ditch the goals and instead focus on perfecting my form.  I started doing VERY deep squats and made sure everything I called a “rep” was indeed a full rep.

obligatory “ab progress” shot

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Farmageddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms

“An issue that can bring together enviro-lefties and free-market conservatives”

-Andrew O’Hehir

“It’s an eye-popping wake-up call revealing how the USDA and the FDA have increasingly waged war on America’s small farmers. “

-Kevin Thomas

 “You owe it to your children to empower yourself with the truth about food safety and food choice.”

-Joel Salatin

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21-Day Sugar Detox

This weekend I attended my friend’s wedding and went home to have a belated birthday celebration with my family.  I kept things mostly Primal by mainly eating pit beef at the wedding and grilled salmon at my house, but both nights I indulged my sweet tooth when it came time for dessert.  I doubt caveman had access to multiple chocolate chip cookies and ice cream pie… but they were both delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed the sugary treats, guilt-free.

But unfortunately this morning I woke up with a serious sugar-hangover: which quickly reminded me how evil sugar is for your body.  After reading Deep Nutrition I learned that sugar causes insulin-resistance, stiffens collagen, jams hormonal signals, and slows neural communication.  These side-effects in turn lead to weight-gain, diabetes, premature wrinkling, arthritis, weakened bones, mood swings, headaches, dulled senses, and more.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Avocado

I love avocados.  They are delicious, they are nutritious, and like bacon – you can eat them with practically everything 😉  (Example A, Example B)  This week Matt, from The Athlete’s Plate, inspired me to use avocados in a whole new way with his Avocado Stuffed Sweet Potato.  I tweaked his recipe to accommodate what I had and still managed to create something delicious.

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Going Caveman: Making Friction Fire

Tomorrow is my 23rd birthday and as a birthday present to myself, I signed up for a class on Friction Fire Making.  I thought it would be a fun way to experience the caveman lifestyle I’ve been promoting for the past year, as well as learn a necessary survival skill if I’m ever living off-grid.

So early Monday morning I drove to Fredericksburg, Virginia and spent the day with Tim MacWelch, the founder of Earth Connection, along with two other students: Paul and Bob.

friction fire making tools, notice there are no matches!

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New Year’s Resolutions: May Progress

“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you.  If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you.  Whatever good things we build end up building us.”

– Jim Rohn

This was a super-busy, fun-packed month for me and the best part is: I still managed to reach the majority of my goals.  Slowly but surely the changes I’m consciously making in my behavior are becoming more and more like second-nature… and it’s a good feeling.  Here’s another briefing on my monthly progress.

and yet another haircut…

Goal 1: Be a better dresser (specifically: get my new work pants tailored, acquire an iron, and find a dress I can wear to my friend’s wedding in June)

  • I managed to get my work pants tailored and find a great dress for my friends’ wedding.  I got the dress from Cache for $53 (marked down from $160!!!) and I’m planning on wearing it to two weddings AND to work when I start my job.  If that’s not a good deal… I don’t know what is!
  • Next month:  Acquire the iron I was supposed to get last month and make a “style board.”  Or basically just define the style I would like to have with words and pictures.

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Mayonnaise Burgers

My Homemade Mayo

Yesterday I made homemade mayonnaise using the recipe Kathleen posted on Ocean Full of Lemons.  It’s a simple recipe consisting mostly of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, eggs, and mustard.  My mayonnaise came out a bit yellower and a bit runnier than hers, but it was delicious nonetheless.  However I soon realized that I had a lot of mayonnaise to use up and thus… mayonnaise burgers were born.

After learning more about meat and nutrition I decided to cook these burgers over a lower heat, for a longer period of time, and covered them with a lid during the process.  This cooking method paired with the half-cup of mayonnaise mixed into the beef resulted in some incredibly moist burgers, cooked to perfection.  Enjoy!

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Calf’s Liver with Bacon & Spinach

So last week Cat, from Things My Belly Likes, posted The Creative Kitchen Challenge in which she challenged all of her followers to cook one thing that scared them every day for a week.  That was a bit ambitious for me; but I appreciated the challenge nevertheless.  So I scaled it down a bit and decided to cook one thing that scared me for one day… and I chose LIVER.

I keep hearing about how awesome liver is.  Mark’s Daily Apple, Deep Nutrition, and other blogs like KatieDid say it is a nutritional powerhouse.  When a body has an excess of protein, sugar, vitamins, and minerals it is stored in the liver.  This means a healthy liver is chock full of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, and magnesium.

So over the weekend I went to the local Amish Market and bought myself a half pound of baby beef liver.  After I got home and started looking up recipes, I realized I should have bought some onions to go with it.  But instead I decided to improvise with a little bacon instead (shocker!).  Thanks to epicurious for the inspiration.

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5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Meat & Nutrition

If you’re like me, you hate a steak that is overcooked.  But did you know ordering a steak well-done affects more than just the meat’s flavor?  The way you cook meat has the ability to ruin or protect the nutrients it contains.

Last week I started reading Deep Nutrition, a book written by Catherine Shanahan, MD and Luke Shanahan, MFA.  In their book they talk about how the food you eat affects your entire body, inside and out, as well as your children… and your children’s children.

So far I’m only about a third of the way through it, but it has already taught an incredible amount… about meat.  Here are 5 things I didn’t know, and 5 things you probably didn’t know either.

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Going Minimalist 2.0

“Becoming Minimalist: because the best things in life aren’t things!”

-Becoming Minimalist

This week I stumbled upon Becoming Minimalist, a website dedicated to helping people become a minimalist.  One of their articles I particularly liked was, “Benefits of Minimalism.”

In this article they mentioned 28 different benefits of being a minimalist.  A few of my favorites were:

  • Finding work you love
  • Less stress
  • Easier souvenir shopping (haha)

But I encourage you to check out the article yourself to read the rest.

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