health

Paleo Shrimp, Avocado & Cilantro Salad

One of the best aspects of living in Florida (as opposed to Floriduh where the idiots roam), is the abundance of fresh seafood. We get Gulf Shrimp daily, Atlantic reef fish like Snapper and Grouper almost on every street corner.  Daytona doesn’t have quite the fresh variety that we had growing up in Miami, but the pickings are still good.

We also have a plethora of Avocados. I have to admit that as a child I detested Avocados. I referred to guacamole as “baby poop”. Funny story; the first time I had dinner with my now wife’s family her mom asked if wanted any “pear”.  Being a fan of the Bartlett Pear, I said sure. She handed me a rather large slice of Avocado. That’s not a pear I said. Sue it is, she replied, it’s an alligator pear! I had never heard of an alligator pear and handed it back since I knew it was just an Avocado by a different name. When I told her I didn’t care for Avocados she came back with her usual reply; Have you ever tried them? Mom’s rule was that you had to try something before you said you didn’t like it.  I assured I had tried it before, so she left me alone.

Which brings me to a wonderful recipe my Twitter friend Shane Organ  (@iamshaneorgan) posted just the other day. A very interesting Paleo Shrimp & Avocado salad.  I have come to tolerate Avocados recently mainly for the health benefits.

Here is the original recipe:

Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Cilantro
Ingredients
Cilantro Dressing/Marinade
• 3 tbs fresh Lime Juice
• 2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped ( I like a bit more cilantro)
• 1/8 tsp fresh cracked Pepper
• pinch salt to taste
Salad
• 1 lb cooked chilled shrimp deveined/ tail removed
• 2 ripe avocados
• 2 cups baby spinach
• 2 cups chopped lettuce of your choice
Servings: servings
Instructions
Cilantro Dressing/Marinade
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.
Salad
1. Drain any excess water off shrimp if using thawed shrimp.
2. Pour cilantro dressing over shrimp. Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (2 or 3 is better).
3. Wash and dry lettuce (use a Salad Spinner or just let it sit in a strainer). Divide among plates.
4. Cut avocado into bite-size wedges (about 1/2 inch cubes work well too). Sprinkle over lettuce.
5. Add marinated shrimp to the top.
6. Top with marinated shrimp and leftover dressing. Enjoy!

As usual, we changed it up a bit. Instead of using bland, rubbery, pre-cooked shrimp (Shane is in Canada after all. I would imagine it’s hard to get fresh shrimp.) I took about a pound of freshly cleaned and peeled shrimp with about 1/2 TBSP (I don’t measure anything, it’s all eyeballed) of Badia Chile & Lime seasoning, 1 TBSP of Lemon Pepper and 2 tsp of Seasoned Salt. Seasoned up the shrimp and let sit for about 5 minutes, then sautéed them over medium heat in about 1 TBSP of Ghee.  Then mixed the dressing/marinade as above with the shrimp and threw it all in the fridge to cool down.  Then off to the gym we went.

When we came home we assembled the salad as described and chowed down.  Even had enough left over so that Wifey® and I have lunch for today. And let me tell you, it’s an awesome dish!  Thanks Shane.

Peace,
B

(Shane can found on Twitter as noted above and his website: http://www.shaneorgannutrition.com/)

Gym Observations

(Warning: This may be considered as sexist by some folks.  Too bad.)

In an effort to get a bit healthier, Wifey® and I have joined a gym. Well actually Planet Fitness (some do not consider this a real gym).  But it works for us, and there are many well-defined men and women that use this facility.  Some of these gentlemen are rather large and appear to have been working out for quite some time. They lift enormous amounts of weights (at least compared to me).  Some are quite “cut” as if they are preparing for a body building competition, other are just massive.

The other night there were of two of these “massive” gentlemen standing in the middle of the gym, blocking access to several machines talking about their tattoos.  But were heavily inked. But the funny thing about it was they were pointing to specific tats and saying how much this one hurt more than this other one. It was like they were trying to one up each other; “my tat hurt worse than your tat”.  This went on for a good twenty minutes. With people trying to move around them to use the equipment the whole time.

Then there are the ladies. They are several young ladies that are quite fit. I know they can out lift me, out sit-up me, basically just out do me. Period. I am amazed. And a bit humiliated.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.  It’s the old men, and by that I mean older than me (and I’m damn near 60).  These guys, which I’m sure are there “on advice of their doctors”, do nothing more than stand around and stare at these ladies. I don’t entirely blame them, some of these ladies (all young enough to be my daughters, so maybe these old farts grand daughters) are quite attractive. Any one of them could be a model in any fashion magazine. But to just stare and gawk is not helpful in any way.

I’m sure these ladies don’t mind nearly as much the attention of the younger, more “buff” men in the gym, but the unwarranted voyeurism of these men is downright disrespectful.  Now I’m not saying I don’t look at them either, I am a human male after all (even if I do have “low T”). But I try to give them the respect I would expect if I wasn’t a fat old man (with nice hair). Even Wifey® admits she “checks out” the young studs and “wonders how old that one is” (again, young enough to be your son dear).

Of course there are various reason folks go to the gym. Some its health reasons (doctors do quite frequently advise patients to get more exercise), some to lose weight, others to improve their body image (body physically and mentally).  But if the main reason you’re paying your monthly membership is to ogle the women, go to a strip club. You have more to see and the drinks are better.

Peace,
B

It’s Been One Week (Since I Had A Beer)

(With apologies to The Barenaked Ladies)

Well, I’ve made it one whole week.  And what a week it was.  As I’ve posted before, the job is causing lots of stress right now.  To quote one of my favorite movies;

drinking

Last night we took the girls for Mexican food. Somehow I had the will power to just have a glass of water and not a Negro Modelo as I usually have with Mexican. It didn’t help the heartburn any though. Today’s grocery shopping will be even more difficult when walking down the beer aisle.

Which leads to this.  Lots of folks have told me when you quit drinking lots of “good” things happen.

  • You’ll sleep better.  Bullshit. I have had more weird dreams in the last week than the rest of my life combined.  It used to be if I dreamed, I didn’t remember them when I awoke. Now, the weirdness just keeps following me all day long. Most of the dreams seem to put me back in the military, but I don’t recognize the locations.  One dream was supposed to have the whole family back in Fort Greely. It was very lush, with palm trees and other tropical like vegetation.  Problem is, Ft. Greely is in Alaska.  Damn near the middle of Alaska.  It’s rather remote (89 miles to the closest McDonalds when we were there). It did reach 95F one summer, for about 15 minutes.  But it was usually about -50F. Needless to say there is no lush tropical vegation. In fact all there is are gnarled pine trees.  And not much snow as it was to cold to snow. Yes that’s a real thing. Too damn cold to snow.
  • Your digestion will be better.  Again, not true.  I have had the worst heartburn for the last week. Now this may have a different cause. My insurance will no long send me Nexium for the usual $9 co-pay, it went up to $40. But, I can get a generic brand for free. So I gave my doctor the list of alternative choices and she picked one. I started that one about two weeks ago, so it may not be working as well, or it’s taking my body some time to adjust. So the jury is still out on this count.
  • Your mind will be clearer.  Clearer than what?  I still sit and stare at my computer at work trying to remember my password. It’s not all that difficult of a password, and I have to use it at least 50 times a day, but still, I sit and ask myself “What’s the password again?”. Not to mention I mistype it constantly. But I never did take typing lessons, so that part is understandable.
  • You’ll have more energy.  Maybe this goes along with the dreams and not sleeping well, but I am dead tired by 2PM every day. That makes going to gym in the evenings just about impossible.
  • Your mood will be better. Seriously? The frustration level is through the roof. (See this post).  Wifey is constantly reminding me to mellow out.  And I need it. It seems the granddaughters and the stupid end-users at work get the brunt of my frustration. Sorry folks.

So having said all that, I still plan on going 30 days or so without beer to see if things clear up (7 days isn’t a long enough time for a valid test). I have dropped two pounds during this week, so maybe it will facilitate some weight/fat loss.  And I’m sure some of this is age. I am getting to that special age where you go to bed just fine and wake up in stage 4 of something or other. As my brother says, “We ain’t spring chickens any more.” (Were we ever?)

I’ve posted the video that I stole the title for this post from below.  I like this song a lot for several reasons.  I really dig the cars; the General Lee from “Dukes of Hazard” and the Grand Torino from “Starskey and Hutch” (complete with requisite hood slide).

I also like the line;

“I wear my mind on my sleeve, I have a history of taking off my shirt.”

I really do feel like I’m losing my mind some (most) of the time.

And what about the line;

“I’m the kinda guy who laughs at a funeral”.

 

At my grandmother’s “viewing” (what a stupid concept – have a wake instead. Get drunk and tell stories. Not just walk up to the casket and say “He/She looks so natural”.  They’re dead. (“He’s dead Jim!” ~ Bones McCoy) Say good-bye and go get a drink, and pour one into the coffin for the dearly departed as well. Can’t hurt.).  Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, my grandmother’s viewing, we were in a small room in the funeral home off to one side. Apparently there was a rather large funeral going on in the main chapel. Even without the booze, a staff member had to come in several times to ask us to keep the laughing down.  We were disturbing the funeral guests.  We were just sitting around telling stories of Nanny, as we called her. Easily the best viewing of all time, hands down, if we had some booze we would probably been asked to leave.  Hell, I’ve been thrown out of better establishments. I can’t wait for someone to say “He looks so natural” when I’m dead. I plan on being cremated, so if an urn of ashes looks “natural”, then I’m worse off than I thought.

So I present to you The Barenaked Ladies and “One Week”, enjoy! (And I can’t understand half the words either…)

I think somebody should have made me sign a waiver or something before I started this.

Peace,
B

 

Killing Lunch Time (or is it killing me?)

Sitting here at my desk, my meager lunch finished and music blaring in my headphones.

As I’ve posted before, my wife and I have been trying the Paleo and/or Keto eating plans.  Seems that my body does not care for either one.  The highest my blood pressure has been since starting these is 94/62. Basically I should be in a coma. My blood sugar has dropped extremely low, and the A-Fib has returned. So obviously, I am stopping the plan. We did learn somethings we will carry forward such as limiting our carbs to a greater extent. As I also have a cholesterol problem, and keto is known to elevate cholesterol, my doctor also advised me to stop.

Part 2:

Not the best day at work I have to admit. When I was promoted to this position it was for two main projects. Both of which have been pretty much stopped cold. Our city commission has cut about $780K from the city budget for next year, with a chance that it could go deeper still. This means that while my main project is funded for this year, as of October 1st, it may not be. So phase two (not to mention phase three) may not go. And with the issues we are having with phase one, it may get canceled even sooner. If the council cuts the budget ever deeper, there is a possibility that lay offs could occur. So I am rather concerned about my job future.

And of course with all this going on, the Bi-Polar depression is in high swing.  The usual visual and auditory hallucinations are going full blast.  Like Jackson Browne says in “For A Dancer”;

“It’s like a song playing right in my ear that I can’t sing, I can’t help listening.”

Things move in and out of the peripheral of my vision, thumps and whines in my ear all the time.  Hence the headphones.  At least then I know what I’m listening to and I can shut out the world for a short time.

Hopefully tonight’s gym time will work it all out.  Or I’ll die.  Either is acceptable.

Peace,
B

 

First 4 Week Check-In

Four weeks ago, Wifey and I started the paleo eating plan. It didn’t take us long to realize it wasn’t for us. So I did some more research and switched to the keto eating plan. We were following it closer than paleo from the beginning anyway.

So after following the two plans (not exactly very strictly either) I have lost 3.4 pounds. I was hoping for something closer to 10, but again we were just easing into this. As today will be my last beer day for the foreseeable future, I expect better results next month.

But, on the good side, I have lost 3 inches from my belly! This could be due to a number of reasons.

  • Exercise has tightened my abs.
  • Maybe the exercise has burned off some intra-muscular fat as opposed to the subcutaneous belly fat.
  • I have added muscle weight (which according to my doctor is seven times more dense than fat), which accounts for the small weight change.
  • I suck at measuring.  As the Mythbusters said; “Failure is always an option.” I may have taken my measurements in different spots than last time.  But this is an average of three measurements, so hopefully this is not the reason.

But I still have a way to go. We will be eating stricter to the guidelines laid out for keto, but getting down to 20g of carbs a day will be a very difficult battle. Cutting out beer, even the light beer I switched to, will help immensely.  Provided I can do it.  That will be the biggest challenge of all time.  Giving up ice cream was easier.

Please leave a comment if you have ways to cut alcohol (other than meetings – I won’t do that).

Peace,
B

Keto Cookbooks – FREE!

So I went “shopping” on Amazon the other day and found four free keto cookbooks.  Thought I’d share them.  I have not tested any recipes out of these yet, but plan on it this weekend during our “cookup”.  Please note that these books may no longer be free, I didn’t check the date to see if was a daily special.

The Keto Crockpot: 100 Simple And Delicious Ketogenic Crock Pot Recipes To Help You Lose Weight Fast

Ketogenic Diet: Recipes That Melt Your Tongue(Ketogenic Cookbook,Ketogenic Diet Recipes,Ketogenic Diet Cookbook, Ketogenic Diet Books, Keto Diet For Beginners)

Ketogenic Fat Bomb Recipes: A Ketogenic Cookbook with 20 Paleo Ketogenic Recipes For Fast Weight Loss

7-Day Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan: Delicious and Easy Keto Recipes To Burn Fat and Gain Energy

Not all recipes in these books may fall under a “strict” keto eating plan, as some are too high in carbs. But that doesn’t mean they don’t make a good transition to a more strict keto regimen. I am not limiting myself to just 20g of carbs a day yet.  Right now I’m closer to 50g per day, working myself (and my wife) down from a much higher daily intake.  We’re trying to avoid the “Keto Flu”.

Check them out if you’d like. After all if you get one idea or recipe from a free book, it’s money well spent!

Peace,
B

On Being Bi-Polar

As I look back on my life I realize now that I have been bi-polar my whole life.  I was finally diagnosed about 12 years ago, but the signs were there at an early age.

I remember lying in bed crying for no reason, and my mom, not understanding, gave the usual remarks of “What’s this about?” “Stop it!” and “Grow up”. But there wasn’t anything I could do about it.  Back then (mid 1960’s) bi-polar wasn’t a diagnosis yet.  They used the term “manic-depressive” for adults but for an eight year old boy, it was “just a phase”.

But I never grew out of “that phase”. In my high school years, I would still have times of uncontrollable crying and depression. I just learned to hide them better.  Plus I had a record player that I turned up real loud to mask any sounds. There would be days I hid in my room listening to music. I would leave for school, only to stop somewhere and wait for my parents to leave for work and go back home.  The only reason I passed high school is I have an uncanny knack at test taking.  Plus the curriculum of the 70’s was so repetitious it was easy to catch up on the days I did go.

Since my diagnosis I’ve gone through many different medications, psychiatrists and a therapist. Nothing has ever brought me to what I would consider “normal”.  I seriously doubt anything can.  While I have had quite strong suicidal thoughts, I have never acted on them. BUT, I do have the constant feeling that the world would have been much better had I never been born.  (It should be noted that I was not a planned pregnancy.  My parents took a second honeymoon and brought me home. As I am quite a bit younger than my three siblings, they were mostly out of the house by the time I was a teenager. I got to go on RV trips with my parents that they never did.  And while some of them were jealous of that fact, they never had to feel the “odd man out” vibe I received.  There were many discussions I over heard when they thought I was sleeping, “We can’t go there with him” and such.)  My wife seems to think that this mental status means I would rather be dead than married to her.  Nothing is farther from the truth.  She is a rock and the main reason I have not committed any rash acts.  What it does mean is that, if I had not been born she could have found a better man to marry.  Someone who didn’t drag her all around, going from Army base to Army base.  Her children with this other man would have had a better chance at college and more opportunities in life.  I am nothing but a boat anchor holding everyone down.

There is also a fair amount of social anxiety mixed in as well.  I’m rather introverted (this blog is a major and difficult step for me). I do not care for parties or crowds, I won’t even attend the office lunches here at work.  Small talk frightens me.  Being a “geek” of types (I do work in an IT department), I am not one to introduce myself to someone in a non-work environment. And women? Forget it!  Think Raj on Big Bang Theory. Unless I am forced into a conversation with a woman (such as a server or co-worker) I just stand back and do my best not to stare.

So the meds keep me from major depression, but not by much.  I still tend to drink too much.  But according to my late mother in law, I’m a “happy drunk”.  So to me at least, beer does improve my mental state. At least for a while. If I am an alcoholic (which I do probably qualify as) it would be a “High Functioning Alcoholic” (is that really a thing?).  I have no alcohol related incidents, I do not miss work or family time due to my drinking and have never placed beer above the requirements of my family (paying the bills etc.).  I can, and have, gone without beer when I thought the cost could be put to better use. And no, I will not go to an AA meeting. So don’t tell me to.

I’ve read a few books on bi-polar.  However they were all written from the outside. That is they are for people who have to deal with bi-polar people in their families or elsewhere. Nothing I’ve found has been written by a bi-polar person that describes what they’re going through and how they are coping with the disease.  If you know of such a book, please leave a comment with the title so I can find it.

So what is a high functioning alcoholic bi-polar person to do?  Leave a comment if you wish.  And I hope I didn’t depress you.

Peace,

B