Monday, 24 February 2014

One-Eighth of an Avocado

Nutrition for exercise is notoriously full of Bro Science.



 My recent attempt at cutting carbs and increasing protein, which is fairly standard advice, resulted in, uh, tight bowls and I abandoned it. I needed something, so I went looking on the medical shelves again.

Serious books - as opposed to academic studies - on sports and exercise nutrition are hard to find, and usually heavily theoretical. More food science than actually useful how-to’s. So I was pleased to run across Susan Kleiner’s Power Eating in Blackwells on Charing Cross Road a couple of weeks ago. Ms Kleiner is a real PhD with more letters after her name than most people, but much more important, has worked with the Seattle Seahawks, the Cleveland Browns, Miami Heat and the Seattle SuperSonics. Those are organisations that need and will pay for results, and aren’t going to hire a cute nutritionist because PR. I’m inclined to read with some respect, especially as she dishes the dirt on the obviously faddy stuff.

So, here’s Dr Kleiner’s example diet for a man looking to maintain weight, lose fat and hence gain muscle:

Preworkout Snack: 1 cup plain yoghurt+¾ cup blueberries

Breakfast: 1 slice wholemeal bread, 1 cup fat-free milk, ½ cup orange juice, ½ cup fruit, 1 cup sautéed vegetables, 1 whole egg+4 egg whites, 21g Whey protein with the milk, ⅛ avocado spread on the bread

Lunch: 6-inch Subway with extra meat, banana

Dinner: ½ baked sweet potato, 3oz grapes, 1 cup steam asparagus 4 cups mixed green salad, 6 oz grilled salmon, olive oil, green tea.

There’s also two snacks in there that amount to a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts each.

I am NOT doubting the correctness of this advice. It’s a huge relief to find that someone who knows what they are talking about is in favour of carbohydrate. And vegetables.

BUT… Did that ⅛ avocado get you as well? I’m a live-alone bachelor. What do I do with the other ⅞ of the avocado? Avocados go brown really fast, even in the fridge. I know what the cooks at the Seahawks do, they give the other seven parts to seven other players. The chef at a restaurant would do the same thing. But I can’t. I’m left with most of an avocado that’s going to be wasted.

I can do the breakfast. I added the milk and whey protein, plus some vegetables to my usual stuff the next day. I try to avoid bread if I can because I react to it. (As I’ve discovered I now burp for a good couple of hours after eating commercial cakes in cafes. Damn. No more carrot cake.)

I could do a dinner like that except Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, which are all late-home evenings that leave me about ninety minutes before lights out. Damn. I really have to get all the fish organised: Dr Kleiner is fish fan.

One thing I took away was the need to feed the system soon after exercise. Remember I commute, so I work out and spend the next ninety minutes travelling and settling back into the house. Dr Kleiner is working with people who can be fed soon after training with no problem, and writing for people who don’t have long commutes. That dinner is being eaten way before I get a chance to start. I’m thinking protein powder and a cafe smoothie. Dr Kleiner suggests protein-carb smoothies after exercise for men looking to build muscle, and once again I was asking HOW? I make it at home at 06:15, put in a Thermos which I carry around all day and finally consume it twelve hours later. Milk and banana? I don’t think so. But it’s a snip if I’m a Seattle Seahawk or a High-School athlete. The team support prepare it.

There's more than one reason why office guys who commute are not in the same shape as well-advised and trained athletes. One-eigth of an avocado is one of them. It's why restaurants can serve better meals than you can make at home.

Anyway, I’m putting this into action for the next few months. It means a new set of buying habits, but that’s okay.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Blue Skies Are The Real Subject

It's occurred to me more than once that what I really take pictures of is blue skies. Sure there's some kind of other stuff in there, but what's really happening is that blue. The weather has been stormy and rainy, then again it has been sunny now and then. Not like the unrelenting grey skies of 2013. This can only be contributing to my overall reasonable mood.


Soho Square; Centre Point at the top of Tottenham Court Road; Tottenham Court Road station Crossrail site above ground; the back of that building is in the centre of London?; and by contrast The Mall, along which everybody in Europe seemed to be walking that lunchtime, but I couldn't get that shot because it was into the sun.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Sometimes You Are Living The Answer...

...but you just don't know it.

I found myself saying this recently. There's no more need to ask what I should be doing. Because I'm doing it. This is it - I've arrived. And of course, it's that old same-place, different-attitude thing. I'm doing the things I need to be doing: being in gainful employment, paying my due bills and taxes (which in high-tax, nanny state UK discharges all my social responsibilities as well), exercising and eating properly, behaving soberly and with reciprocal courtesy and consideration, and continuing to learn and develop my culture and skills.

That’s it. It’s fairly minimal because I’m a bachelor in later years. Friends? Sex? Sure, but not so much at my age. That’s another subject.

Monday, 3 February 2014

January 2014 Review

I came out of the two-week rest caused by gym closures and Christmas and said "Since when was a 20kg plate actually heavy?" I may have used stronger language. One week rests are okay - just. Two weeks causes serious strength loss.

I changed around my exercise plan: Clarissa's hour-long spinning class on Tuesday, Yoga on Thursday, weights on Friday and Sunday, and added some lifts before the Spin, just to keep it up. That plus a sudden drop in my carb intake meant what has happened before - constipation which I cured with some tea from a Chinese herbalist. More details would be serious over-sharing. Add in an hour of Thai Combination at Thai Charms in Teddington every other Sunday after the gym, something I'm continuing until the stiffness and tension in my legs goes.

I made a little promise to myself to clear all the unread books I've had on the Unread Book Shelf, and so got through Ian Bone's Bash The Rich, Stephen Turnbull's The Art of Renaissance Warfare, 730 pages of Francis Pryor's The Making of the English Landscape, volume ten of Transmetropolitan, and Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. There's a few left, and I may never get round to Moll Flanders.

I saw Leviathan, Beyond Burlesque, All This Can Happen and Oh Boy at the ICA; American Hustle, The Railway Man, The Wolf of Wall Street, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Out of the Furnace at Cineworld; and This Must Be The Place, and The Great Beauty through Curzon Online. Plus a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory while ironing. Must-see? Oh Boy, without a doubt. And yes, the Cineworld Unlimited card definitely makes it easier to go see a movie: the marginal cost is just the ice-cream. (Ice cream is medicinal. Everyone knows that.)

Sis and I had supper at Karpo, and I got to see King's Cross at 18:00 hours - where the heck do all those people come from? A lot must come from Kings Place and Central St Martins. I ate at the bar at Duck Soup, 10 Greek Street and Jackson and Rye, and tried the burgers at Grillshack. Props to Laura Fitzgerald (aka Boo In London) for the reviews.

Bose QC20i's are amazing. Sure you hear yourself breathe in the quiet passages, and when I eat an apple I need to take the buds out, but otherwise, I put them in, turn on the noise cancelling, play some music and the outside world goes away. Except wind. Wind is noisier with the phones in than out. Also, they take up way less space in the messenger bag, and that means I can use the smaller messenger.

And then there was the bit when someone stole my license plates. Uh-huh. Stole. My. License. Plates. This never happens. You have experienced hundreds of thousands of car-view and none of them have been of cars with missing plates. Well, mine did one Friday evening. I will write about that on another occasion.