Tag Archive: Gluten free


November reflection

December is upon us and the Crossfit Games are 3 months away. It is time to reflect on my November and evaluate what I have done during the month.

Lets start with the pull-up rig. I have been kept off/away/discouraged/overruled/told to not do anything with the pull-up rig for at least 3-4 months since my brachial nerve went AWOL in mid-June. I would have to work my way in little steps toward earning the confidence of the coaches/trainers/doctors/spouse to allow me to even attempt anything on the pull-up rig.

After earning that trust, I was permitted to start in November to use the rig for pullups as long as I was using a resistance band to assist me because of the length of time away. I am happy to state that the return was a success and now have set a different goal for December hoping to be ready for the Crossfit Games Open in March 2013. I would like to improve and get in to the top 250 as I was 302nd in 2012. With all the new people joining CF every year my division will also see an increase in the amount of competitors in 2013. That means that 250 will be a significant improvement.

November also saw improvement in some of the benchmark workouts plus other workouts that we have done previously. The workout “Grace” which consists of 30 Clean and Jerks at 135 lbs for men or 95 lbs for women/masters men(55+) which I did previously at 75 pounds in a time of 6:13 I managed to beat using 95 lbs (R’xd at my age) with a time of 5:19. Another one that was improved was “Randy” which is 75 Power Snatches at 75 lbs with a time of 10:19 which was 1 minute longer but this time it was done prescribed (Rx’d). Double unders improved to 4 consecutive ones and beat my 500M row by one second.

My weight during this time came down 3-4 pounds this mostly due the fact that I was eating much better (I made it a larger priority at home) and the BP went down to 115/75 without pills (yippee) I am hoping to get the doctor to not prescribe anything for a period of 3 months and we will review the BP again. My heartbeat has dropped to a consistent 45-50 beats per minute and I changed to a no wheat/gluten-free diet for the month. This has helped with reducing the cravings for junk food immensely.

The verdict for November is a thumbs up and Decembers goal is to work on the unassisted pull-up and the make sure I continue to improve my pullups and core. I have started a daily routine with a small wristband i.e., Livestrong, Breast Cancer or Mental Health to help improve my grip strength so that I can reduce the strain that lifting heavy can take out of you.

December has already tested my shoulder in new ways and I don’t expect it to get any easier.

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While I have not posted since the beginning of the month there should be more than what I am going to write. November was the month that I started back using the pull up rig after a 5 month avoidance due to the brachial nerve issue I had in June. With all that has happened you would have thought I would have posted the progress or what has happened since then.

Many things have taken place; some good, some bad. I always like to get the bad out of the way first and focus on the good and end on a positive note.

The bad was that my wife ended up in the hospital for a lovely five-day stay due to the infection that has constantly plagued her since the first hip operation. This time there was a plan in place set forth by the team of docs, orthopedic surgeon, pathologist, and family doctor. The only problem was the ER doc basically made a poor decision and did not follow the set, enter the dermatologist and the Head of ER and bang!! she was admitted after a 12 hour delay and everything went back to normal after a few days, but those 8 hours missed has caused some lasting grief as we do not think the infection went away like last time. Only time will tell.

The good news is that after a couple of days to recover after leaving the hospital, she was back at the gym making herself all happy with some workouts and meeting up with the gang.

My good news is that during the month I have set new PR’s on the following; 500M row, Overhead Squats, plus benchmark workouts of “Cindy”, “Helen”, and “Randy” and have started to feel better hanging from the pull up rig as we do more and more work such as toes to bar, knees to elbows and of course pullups. I am being watched carefully by the coaches to make sure that I am not doing anything to strenuous on the shoulder but I have worked that part pretty good this month and all is well.

While I said I would end on a good note, I forgot to add that the wheat free/gluten-free diet has taken a rough ride the last week to ten days. there is a bit of good news and that is that I have not drastically increased the weight, a pound or two and once back in the gym I lose it so it is not staying on but I should be more vigilant with the food as it does seem to work.

The new lifestyle of going wheat and gluten-free has changed the way I think about my diet and preparation of food and it has almost made me forget why I decided to go this direction. Previously with the workouts and careful planning of our weekly menu I have not noticed a change in the last 6 months. Being aware of what I ate and the initial fat and water loss when I started working out I have not changed from 220 pounds.

Yes, I have put in the same effort and intensity. I have gained some muscle mass to offset the loss of fat. I have been able to lift more than when I started, have more mobility and have increased my range of motion since November 2010 but I still was sort of plateauing. This was more frustrating and puzzling to me, I don’t drink that often to say that alcohol may increase my sugar levels, if I managed to go through a couple of beer or drinks in 3-4 months that would be a lot. I do not eat that many sweets even though I make them to sell at the local store for a bit of extra cash. Both my wife and myself are do not have any allergies to gluten, wheat or any other food. My wife has some medicinal allergies but that is about it.

So why the change? I figured if nothing else, we could have some fun with seeing what we were left with by going wheat and gluten-free. However after 5 weeks I have felt good, lost some additional weight, dropped the blood pressure to normal(115/78), the belly size has reduced, I don’t have the need for eating (I eat when I am hungry) like I used to and feel like I have more energy. Now, is that this new diet, I don’t know and truthfully don’t care.

The last 2 weeks at the gym we have had some challenging WOD’s and other than 2-3 of them that almost made me puke, I have improved my time and strength. The same could be said for my wife as she has lost weight and does not have the constant feeling that she needs to eat. She may not be doing the exact same movements but she has improved her range of motion for squatting, excellent when you consider she has had both hips replaced and one had to have a revision, so squatting is a difficult movement for her because she would usually use some sort of support to help her, now she does not and has even started to use weight when doing squats. This allows her to front squat, back squat, and even do overhead squats with minimum weight, something she was not able to do before.

I am saying all this because I am overjoyed that I feel better, move better and after my injury have almost gained all the strength I had before. Doing WOD’s we have completed before and that I have an entry for to compare against, I have bettered the performance or come close to matching it and I was completely out of action for 2 months.

My original goal was to get down below 200 lbs and I would be happy with that (for now). The weight loss challenge at work asked what I think my ideal weight would be and I said 180 lbs. I am now at 212 lbs from starting at 220 lbs, I need only 12 pounds to hit goal one and 32 lbs to reach what I think is my ideal number.

Can I do it? Yes. I will look completely different when I get there. In fact 20 years ago I thought I was getting heavy when I weighed 167 lbs before I had a double hernia, so it is not out of the question. I have “bulked up” since then and that is why the number is 180.

This week at the gym has been a tough one. It was a short week with Thanksgiving and the gym being closed on Monday but that has not made it easier as the workouts have been just nasty. The worst part is that they never look that bad on paper or when you read them on the gyms’ website and we know from history that it is the easiest looking ones that sneak up on you and knock the crap out of you.

I mean what can be so hard 5 cycles of a 3 minute AMRAP of 3 power cleans, 6 push ups, 9 air squats; after this one my legs were burning along with my shoulders. The day before we did a workout with the clock continually running of 3 round for time(RFT) of 10 snatches, 10 push ups then at the 10 minute mark do another 3 RFT of 10 Thrusters, 10 chest to bar pullups, then at the 20 minute mark do another 3 RFT of 10 box jumps, 10 toes to bar. This one had me close to puking. Today’s WOD was just cruel after the two previous ones. It consisted of 2 minutes each movement of Double Unders, ABMat Sit ups, Row for calories, Burpees, and Box Jumps for 3 rounds. My legs/knees are still hurting from this one and it has been 4.5 hours since we finished and tomorrow brings running into the mix. All this “fun” has been caused by our owners getting new equipment for the gym (we can’t wait to use it) and due to construction of the new Infinity Rig from Rogue we have been doing these combo MetCons and power lifts until it is finished.

We all can’t wait until everything is in the correct place and bolted down as it will be a blast as we now have ropes to climb and proper bars to do pull-ups, plus the extra weights and abmats mean that more variations will be on the way. I am sure it will be ready for this coming Monday and we should see some WOD’s that incorporate the new stuff.

I cannot remember if I mentioned that I entered a weight loss challenge at work. Well I have and as usual the challenge started off with a weigh in, my weight was 219.6 (clothes on), waist measurement (41 inches) my goal is to get under 200 lbs or more specifically 190 lbs plus drop 3 inches around my waist in the 10 weeks that this challenge is going on. Based on todays weigh in the first week has been a success as I lost 3 lbs the first week (I blame the WOD’s this week for this good news) the waist measurement will happen at the end of the challenge.

The last few days have been a real roller coaster for me. Right now I feel like I got the crap knocked out of me with the workouts this week. That should not be a surprise as I did mention in an earlier posting that the serious season will be starting up. We got the first warning when the post on the gym site stated not to do the strength rotation before the WOD. That is usually a great harbinger of nasty things waiting for you when you arrive. So far the two WOD’s have been ones that on paper you say “that can’t be that hard” and then when you have completed the first round you feel like it will be a long workout if you kept that pace up.

On Tuesday I almost puked after the workout and that is the closest that I came to feeling like that. The WOD today was a simple 3 minute AMRAP of a 3-6-9 set and then we had to do 5 cycles of this fun bad boy. I can tell you I was not a pretty site when I finished today.

The good part of the roller coaster has been the loss of weight and the increase in speed on some of the events. I have seen in 30 days since starting my wheat/gluten-free lifestyle. I have lost 7.4 lbs during the 30 days and have not had the usual craving for something to stuff my face into after I finish eating for the night. The loss of approximately 2 lbs per week is very encouraging as I don’t want to drop pounds like I was bulimic or anorexic. Ideally if I can keep up the number up around 1 pound per week in one year I would have lost 52 lbs.

The speed at which I now move if measured against my pre-W/G free time period has improved so now I don’t look like the geriatric in the gym. Do I expect to be on the same level with some of the people at the gym? not really, but I am not going to give up because it is the younger people that makes me want to go harder when the workout starts.

My goal for the crossfit games this coming year is to get into the top 200. I know even that will be putting me through my paces as I have to get a few movements completed i.e., skipping, pullups, toes to bar or I will be dropping like a stone out of the standings when we start the games probably in February 2013.

With the weight loss I have found that moving during the WOD is getting easier and the AMRAP workouts are much less tiring since changing my diet. I have had people at work stop, and ask me questions about the diet I am on and what I do after work. When I mention I workout doing Crossfit they just give me the blank stare as they try to figure out how and why am I doing that crazy type of workout and then the diet that eliminates bread made from wheat, all I get is “ooh! I can’t do that, no bread and working out”. All I can say after that is “how bad do you want to lose weight?” if you are serious then you will find time to prepare the food and get to the gym and work the diet like most of the diets out there, which is try it and if it starts working then maybe you need to get more information and start considering it, if it doesn’t work then don’t do it.

 

The good, bad and ugly for the record

Ever thought about how you got to a place and wondered what took you so long to get there?

Since starting this Wheat/Gluten Free (w/g free) lifestyle I have noticed a difference in my overall well-being. I am not sure how to explain it, things are different, not the suddenly I can see through walls or I have developed a flat belly overnight different, but I have noticed a change in me. My walking pace seems to have picked up, I am not feeling a need to have a 3pm nap at my desk, my legs feel lighter and I seem to have more life/energy in what I do.

Lets start with the good. My weight has dropped steadily and not dramatically. I am at 214 lbs a drop of 5.5 lbs, blood pressure has come down a bit 126/73, Body Fat now at 31 a small drop, the main point of this change was to improve those numbers, to do it safely and reasonably. Second good thing, the craving for food has diminished. No longer am I wanting to have something fill my gut every few hours, just doing that alone has probably taken off 300 – 400 calories per day without any hard work, simply not eating to eat. Third good thing, it is easier to say no to food and samples if I do not know what is in it. I mentioned last post that I was at a farmers market that just opened and all the vendors had samples and were passing them out like they were at black tie event where all they serve is finger foods, if I did not know what was in it I would pass and tell them I cannot have wheat/gluten. They seemed to understand and moved on so I had no sample to tempt me. Just saying that made it so easy to pass on food. This is not as hard as it looks.

The bad part was the amending of certain recipes that I love and having to hold off on the preserves that my wife and I have made, i.e. jams, pie fillings, etc., until we figure out what we have to use them with. Lately we figured out a recipe for muffins that taste incredible and if we make a few adjustments we will have some nice bread. I think we both have an idea for making flat breads with chick pea flour and will give it try on the weekend. Stay tuned for that.

The ugly part of this is that it has not improved my running, I am a still a piss poor runner and this past week it has hurt my times in the WOD’s as we have had 2 separate run days, each having a total of 2K. Here is the kicker in this ugly part, I have bettered my previous scores in these events every time and I still think I sucked. Either I have improved beyond where I thought I would be or  my expectations have increased dramatically (I am going with that). I improved by one minute on one workout and dropped 95 seconds on another and I figured that the running had not been that great and could improve the time even more when I got better at running.

I would say that the first 18 days of being W/G free have been a success, now lets see what happens for a full month. What have I got to lose other than some more weight. The goal is still 180 lbs and by my math it will take approximately another 130 days to reach the goal of 180 and that will be sometime in February 2013. Winter in the next two months and seems like as good a time as any to start to shed the pounds.

Week one is down on the new food adventure and the world has not changed for the worse. Last week while working out I did not find that I had “lost strength” or “not enough energy” as the new food regimen was implemented. There were some minor changes to what was purchased this week and that was it. Out went most items that had a container, you would not believe the amount of wheat or wheat product is in the food we eat.

As one of my friends at work says, just for shits and giggles, check out the ingredient list on the items you buy at the store. You would be surprised to find what items have a form of wheat in them. I found sausages, yoghurt, bologna, most packaged deli meats, almost anything that was in the frozen food section except for veggies, chips, canned foods, the list goes on. Most of the wheat in those items is filler. Hard to believe that in the land of plenty we need filler in our staples to feed ourselves.

Over this last week the key metrics for my records have been surprising. I will relay that when I  do my weekly weigh in tomorrow morning. I did win last weeks weight loss challenge with a drop of 1.7%, as we measure percentage of weight loss from week to week. That was a nice $20 for only 4 complete days W/G free.

As for the workouts, I did feel a bit lighter and quick of step. The pace I can do now even after being off for 2 months is almost the same before, this is good sign as I expected to not be able to match the pre injury numbers until closer to th end of the year. I was prepared for the loss of strength, as that is normal for a person of my age to see large drops in strength that are quicker than that of a person who is 20 years younger. I’m just keeping things real as they say.

Todays workout was a fine example of the small differences I have noticed. As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes of 5 Clean and Jerks, 10 Pushups, 5 Front Squats and 10 Pullups, I used 70 lbs for the C&J and Front Squats and ring rows for the pull-ups. I have scheduled my return to pull-up sometime around the end of October and will not risk losing another 2 months re-injuring the shoulder by jumping into a pull-up to quickly. I am not making a living out of this so there is no reason to push the limits unnecessarily. You know you are getting closer to full recovery when the trainer asks if you want to consider doing assisted pull-ups today. I did not take the bait and I know it was the right move even though I did consider it for a short moment.

It will be back to the endurance training this week as last week was one of those weeks in which I did not get in that much endurance training. Tomorrow will be 5 x 300M rows and 5 x 400M runs (ouch!!), it should be interesting to see how things go.

Pork Vindaloo

This recipe is for Stephanie D at work. She has been working really hard at losing some weight and getting in better shape (I know she means wants to “get fit” as she has a great figure) eventually I will get her to join Crossfit, I think she would love the challenge of it. Today was our weigh in day for the group at work that in a weight loss challenge. I am proud to say that I just edged Steph out for the weekly pot. The wheat/gluten-free diet was a success. I have also decided to enter work’s “Biggest Loser” 10 week challenge.

Stephanie asked me what I brought in to work the other day that smelled wonderful. I explained that it was Pork Vindaloo, a delicious recipe that has many variations depending on the person who is cooking it and the region, but the basics are the same. My friends from India provided me with one recipe and I have a slightly different version. Adjust some of the seasoning and make it your own way. That’s the beauty of cooking it yourself. Here is my take:

PORK VINDALOO

Ingredient List

1 kg Pork (deboned) cut into cubes

4 tbsp ghee or a good oil

5 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 onions

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp tomato paste

3 tomatoes chopped

3 tbsp wine or cider vinegar

salt and a pinch of crushed peppercorns (add more if desired)

1 tbsp of cilantro leaves

Vindaloo ingredients

The Pork and marinade/paste

The pork and marinade paste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPICE PASTE:

1 tsp cumin seeds

4 cardamom pods

4 cloves

1 inch piece of a cinnamon stick

5 black peppercorns

1 green chile, chopped (Steph this will not be hot with it in the mix)

1 inch piece of ginger root, chopped

4 garlic cloves

3 tbsp lemon juice

Spice Paste – Marinade

Spice paste – Marinade pounded in the mortar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

METHOD

Make spice paste – grind cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, and peppercorn to a fine powder if you have a clean coffee grinder that would be perfect – I use my stone mortar and just pound the crap out everything. Its good therapy 🙂 Blend all that with the green chili, ginger, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor to make a fine paste.

Mix the pork with the paste in a large bowl. Place in a ZipLock bag, take out the air, and let marinate for at least 1.5 hours in the fridge.

Heat the oil  in a very large frying pan/wok. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook until they are golden, stirring occasionally. Add the turmeric, chili powder, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, and vinegar and stir well.

Almost ready for the pork

Almost ready for the pork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the marinated pork and salt to taste. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in one cup water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until pork is cooked through and the sauce is thick.

Looks like a mess – but tastes great – need to learn to take a picture better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the black pepper, then serve hot and garnish with the chopped cilantro leaves.

 

The Tale of the Tape for the record

When I started this adventure of getting fit I did not think it would take as much of my time as completing university. I have researched more information on diets, regiments, nutrition, recovery, injuries, techniques, etc., that I care to admit. It comes down to this, I am in better shape that I have been in a long time even with my injury time off, and do I want to continue what I am doing.

The answer is YES. I feel better and it has affected the way I work. I tend to have better focus and more confidence in what I am doing. That it radiates from me when I talk to people, the way I walk, and even my body language has changed for the good. I dress differently now that I am in better shape. SO… why change what has been working before I decided to go wheat/gluten-free. My answer is that I need to find a way to reduce the paunch I still have, yes it is smaller that over a year ago, but it is still there. I can see it when I sit, and when I do my pants up I still have the belt overhang, it may not be like before but it is still there. Enter the wheat/gluten-free journey.

I forgot to list the tale of the tape at the beginning of this journey:

Waist: 40 inches

Blood Pressure: 133/89

Heart rate resting: 55

Weight: 220

BMI: 32.7 – (obese) anything over 30 is considered obese

Water % – 44.7

Today was a beginning of a new adventure in food trials and tribulations. After reading “Wheat Belly” for the last week I decided to join my wife in the wheat free/gluten-free challenge. There are only a few changes to some of the usual foods that I know and love. For example using chick pea/garbanzo bean flour instead of wheat flour for baking and then adding some Xanthum gum to hold together some of the nut flours and it should work. My wife has a blueberry muffin idea she wants to do. If it works I will have to post the recipe.

The best part is that I am making my favourite foods, i.e. foods from India, Thailand and South East Asia. The foods from those regions use fresh foods in their cooking and look to add spices, herbs and fruits to add flavour. Once you have the basics down for a recipe you can amend and change it to what taste you like. There are no hard and fast rules in cooking for these countries so why should you follow any specific method.

The biggest reason for this change is that I have been stuck in the range of 215-220 lbs for the last 4 months. It did not help that I could not exercise for over 2 months with Achilles tendonitis and a dead arm with a wonky nerve but I only gained 10 pounds during that time which I think is a pretty good accomplishment for not being able to do anything. I am hoping that this will kick-start the weight drop. My initial goal was to get to 200 lbs but when I think about what would be good for me I feel that 180 would the number I should be at. It is reasonable to get there as I did weigh over 250lbs when I started Crossfit and then started eating better. That lead to researching new diets and understanding what fuel I put in my body for working out.

Now after close to two years of going regularly to gym I have hit a roadblock. It was disappointing at first finding out that I lost strength so quickly, but the good news is that I concentrated more on my form while I was off and it has helped with picking up some movements quicker than before. I found that I have less problems and with the added endurance training I am not a s winded during a workout.

I am also keeping a more detailed journal on what I am eating and what my key measurements are. Weight is only part of the picture, waist size, blood pressure and blood sugar are the others.

This should be an interesting few months. If all goes well I think it is reasonable to be at 180 by New Years Day.