Tag Archives: diet

Let’s Get Physical

No, no my will hasn’t given out at the end of the year.  I’ve been busy working on next years plan and I’m sure you didn’t want to hear me complain about not eating meat again for another month.

Next year I switch things up a bit and focusing on improving the body with physical influences.  I will attempt to improve my fitness level in the most common areas measured. Each month will begin and end with an assessment of where I am to see if there has been any improvement.  Also at the beginning and end of the year, I will be doing a full assessment to see how I have changed throughout the year.

New this year will be videos, pictures and maybe audio at various times.  No one really wants to watch me eat but since this is now a physically challenge, the results can been seen. I will now let you in a little further to see just how my will is tested.

If you’d like to join me this year be my guess.  Encourage others to join you, to encourage you or to try it for themselves.  See you in January for the assessment.

Certified Organic Post

Wow, 22 days and no post!  I think I might have to post a whole series of lost episodes when this is over.

Well let me catch you up on things. Yes, organic is expensive. Thankfully, I can eat meat again but it is costly. I’ve done a few searches online and found that I can save some money on products from the manufacturers with coupons from their sites. Nice!  That should help my pockets not go slim so quickly.
Basically there’s different distinctions for organic there’s USDA Organic and “uncertified” organic.  The USDA seal has some tough rules behind it.
Since it’s tough to find organic items, I’ve decided that as long as the label indicates the item is organic (or partially organic) then it counts. This is usually the case for frozen items.  Not every ingredient is organic so they list what is and isn’t organic.
Finally I was able to eat some of the same things from my Vegan days so some food choices were easy. So far things have been pretty easy.  The food choices are more than I though and I’ve found organic chocolate which is a blessing.  More updates to follow. I just have them queued up and need to be written down.  Stay tuned.

Thoughts on Veganism

Let’s face facts, animals are tasty (in case you’ve never tried one) and they smell good when cooked (a fact you can’t deny even if you haven’t had one)! It’s a historically proven fact.

But veganism isn’t about taste, it’s about impact. Or rather lessening impact. They believe that abuse our relationship with animals through exploitation, consumption and experimentation.  During this month, I didn’t take on the full philosophy of a vegan but I did eat like one.  I learned three things by doing so; First is that it’s very hard to live this way. Second, it takes a lot of planning.  And third, a lot of vegans are very judgmental. A good example of this is in the documentary Super Size Me.  Morgan’s girlfriend Alex’s feelings echo a lot of vegans thoughts. It was something subtle that was missed because of the subject of the movie:



That much aside, I can’t say this would be something I’d do full time. Much for the reasons Morgan stated in the second video.

Most importantly from this, I learned that I should better plan my meals.  Vegans can’t go out and just pick something to eat like most of us.  They need to do a little prior to putting food into their mouths or plan what, when and where they are going to it.  It feels very lonely and isolating to be this way.  But I guess if you are around other like minded people it becomes more comforting.

Surviving a weekend with friends

To a great weekend! Nothing like a nice relaxing weekend away with friends at the shore. That is unless you just decided to become a vegan for the month.

After the initial shock, questions and pressure to give in we got a food plan together.  The ladies of the house were willing to read labels for me and pick out the proper foods.  I was impressed.  Thanks ladies.  We were able to eat most of our meals in the house and no one suffered.  They ate what they wanted and I, well ate what I could.

I do have to say that during this trip I had the absolute worse thing I’ve ever had.  Vegan or not.  It was called a Chik’N meatless patty.  I’ve had my share of chicken patties in my day and this was horrid.  Even drowned in some hot sauce, they still maintained their terrible flavor.  I’ll never eat them again.

My next surprise/challenge came on Sunday.  It was opening day for football so we went to Hooters to see as many games as we could.  Sticking to my rigid vegan values, I passed on everything on the menu except for a salad with no cheese.  After some confusion about being out of salad, (I can’t see this as a popular item at Hooters) I settle back and enjoyed a few beers.

The trip back home wasn’t too glorious either.  After passing about 25 or so Hardies we decided to stop in. Again, salad with no cheese.  Thankfully I had some cashews and animal crackers to hold me over.

It was a fun trip and a lot of lessons learned by everyone.  Had I known this trip would happen I probably wouldn’t have schedule this challenge for this month but I did want it to be difficult.

Don’t have a cow

Or a chicken or even a fish.  As a matter of fact, don’t have anything that has to do with them.  That’s pretty much the mantra of a vegan.  No animal products, by-products or items produced from something involving animals.

From the beginning I knew I would have trouble with this one but I didn’t know how much until the last few days in doing research.  No eating chocolate, honey, milk and worst of all, no Cinnamon Toast Crunch?  Man you guys have a tough club.

This isn’t just a way of eating, it’s a lifestyle.  The mantra extends to all products.  Thankfully I’m only focusing on the food because this doesn’t seem like something I can fit into a month.  That’s good because this is going to be one tough month for eating.

So if you know me personally, expect me to be grumpy for the next month.

Déjà Vu

This month seems like déjà vu.  It is similar to March but not exactly the same.  Before it was no liquids except water and now it’s no alcohol.  Why punish myself two times with similar items?  Easy, they’re two different schools of though.

Water allows you to flush out what the other liquids put in as it hydrates.  Water intake increases and you feel more hydrated.  The flip side to this was that the amount of flavors experienced during a mean was dramatically limited.  Wine pairings were definitely out and so was my usual morning juice.

No alcohol limits a certain type of beverage but does allow other flavors through fluids.  During No Water, I learned that drinks enhance the flavors of meals dramatically!  Even sodas and juices make a difference.  Next time you have dinner, try a different drink other than your usual.  You’d be amazed at how different it is.

On a side note, first salty snack was Lay’s Plain Potato Chips.  I would’ve went for something more flavorful but they were more convenient at the time.  They did provide the right amount of salt to satisfy  31 days worth of craving.

The Food Table

You’ve been there before:  Someone you know moves into a new house and they throw a House Warming.  Everyone chips in and brings a few dishes to help the new home owner supply the meal.  There’s your vegetarian dish just in case, the visibly-ruined desert that is still editable, a cheese/meat/veggie/cracker tray (honestly people why do you buy these things?) and of course the salty snacks.

Pretzels, chips, dip and cheese puffs, they’ve been invited just like you and they’re mingling in with the rest of the other food trying to blend in.  The first stop is always the cooler which is either outside or down stairs.  No sense walking around the party empty handed. This is the first reason for failure.

With a drink in one hand and a plate in the other, you think "I will just grab as much as I can now then come back."  Big mistake.  A hot dog or burger starts off the party on your plate.  Soon it’s joined by some type of salad, usually something with a type of noodle in it.  To balance it all out, you add a hot side dish and fill in the empty areas with some easy to grab items from the CMVC tray but there’s still some room left.

Looking for the next item to join your food party you stumble upon some type of dip.  It looks good so you plop some on your plate.  Second reason for failure. But you can’t eat dip without an edible utensil and that’s where the salty foods sneak in.  Next thing you know, you’re eating a plate full of food and not thinking of what you just grabbed. 

Yup, that’s how it happened to me and it can happen to you too.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels Problem

So what do you when you have a Chocolate Covered Pretzel problem?? And better yet, what the hell am I talking about?  Well, if you have been following for the last couple months you’d know that this month there are No Salty Snacks and last month there were no Sweets.  So what does that make a Chocolate Covered Pretzel?

Conventional knowledge (and a Google search) tells us that pretzel is a salty food but what makes it so?  Is it because it is covered with salt?  Is it no longer a salty food if it is an unsalted pretzel?  And then what is the result when you cover a salted pretzel with chocolate, a sweet?

The CDC says we are eating too much salt and I’m not surprised.  Salt is in everything for two reasons, it’s a preservative and it tastes good.  If you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant chances are that you’ve noticed something was lacking salt. And chances are that you added salt to make it taste better.

Salt comes in all different types of flavors, garlic, sea, seasoned even bacon!  But no matter how you flavor it, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s salt.

To play it safe, i won’t be eating them but it just goes to show how much we know about the things we eat.  Subtleties such as this are often ignored when putting food into the mouth. 

Sugar Sugar

Today it’s a calibration!  Sugar is back on!


It was a tough month but once I figured out that I could replace those sugar cravings with something else like fruits and yogurt it got a lot easier.

First sugar item; Pretzel M&M’s.  I’ve been hearing about them all month so I bought a bag to keep in my desk draw to try them out.  I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t had sweets in a month or whether they are this good but they must either be from Baltimore or named DJ Class because these things are the Ish!


Cheating in a non-cheating way

You’ve seen the Yoplait commercials (see below) and thought just like me, this chick is crazy!  And look at the typical clueless guy in the back there looking for the food she mentions.  But you know what, these things actually do satisfy a craving for sweets and are good for you.  (Don’t worry chocolate, I still love you!)

I’m not sure if consuming more yogurt is a good thing (of course the folks at Dannon don’t believe so) since it is basically a bacteria but the commercials say it is and we know we should trust the commercials.

This isn’t a promotion for their product but if you’re craving a snack, reach for a yogurt instead of candy.  You body may thank you for it.

I want candy!



Actually, I want a Cinnabon, a slice of Tiramisu Cheese Cake, a Snickers Blizzard and some Funnel Cake.  I like sweets! Sugar is my friend and has been for a long time.  That’s why this month I need to get a handle on how much of it I eat.  Many years back, I stopped drinking soda which was a good choice to make.  It probably saved myself me many pounds due to the sugar in the drinks. 

Many people don’t realize that sugar turns to fat and the amount of sugar we eat and drinks adds up pretty quickly. Add to that the bad habit of late night snacking and you have a nice recipe for trouble (pun intended).

So to define what this month is about, it’s all about the treats with added sugars.  If it comes in a wrapper and is sweet, it’s pretty much off limits!  That goes for desserts as well.  Items still on the table so to speak are breakfast cereals, yogurt and energy bars.

How to handle vacation

It’s that time of year when vacations are the first thing on everyone’s mind next to hoping the weather will stay nice.  So how do you handle the Iron Will Plan while on vacation?  I have two answers:

The responsible one:  Stick to the plan. This is a test of will and will power doesn’t take vacations.  What’s more, this is a test against yourself.  You have the most to benefit from it and you will be stronger to not failing the test.

The irresponsible one: When I cater, I have one answer for people on diets; all diets are off!  Yes I know this isn’t a diet but the same rules apply.  It’s vacation and time to relax.  The last thing you want to worry about is when and what to eat.  That’s why Norwegian Cruise Line started their whole Freestyle Cruising ad campaign.

Hopefully my two answers will confuse you enough for you to make the right decision for yourself.  Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.  Just choices.

Unofficial Aid

Yesterday I took a long awaited trip to the orthodontists to pick up my first set of Invisalign.  You know, the invisible braces.

First impressions?  While they are invisible per say, they are noticeable up close.  Case in point, I dropped a pair and lost them on the floor for about half an hour.

They’ll take a bit getting used to but I have a 13 month sentence to do so.

So what’s this have to do with Iron Will Year?  Well, seeing as how I now have to take out my grillz before I can eat or drink anything, it’ll make it much easier to pay attention to what I’m eating.  If I had gotten them in the beginning of the month maybe i wouldn’t have slipped up a few times!



Weight Loss Myths Exposed

A few months back, Runners World ran an article entitled Incredible Weight Loss Myths Exposed.  It’s a good read for everyone including non-runners.  Most notibly on the list, Eating at night causes weight gain.

The point of the Iron Will Year is not to debunk diet myths but rather to call attention to eating habits.  The article mentions that at night, we tend to eat fatty foods because they are the quickest to prepare; chips, ice cream and other desserts.  Using the plan, I’ve quickly realized this is a fact.  Late night snacking is something I will hopefully have a hold of after this month is complete.

On a side note, it appears that the soda tax in Philly isn’t going to happen.  The proposal is “on life support” according to Councilman Jim Kenney.  Not surprising, I don’t think anyone reasonably thought it was a good idea.

Damn little tasty treats!

I just mentioned breaking this old habit and here I am falling for it!  Once again I’ve been done in by a "slip of the tongue."

Right before bed last night I had a funny taste in my mouth.  Looking for some relief, I mindlessly reached into the cabinet and grabbed a piece of chocolate and popped it in my mouth.  I was half-way to my bedroom before I realized the mistake I had made. 🙁 Damn I was pissed.

8 is not Enough

It may have been for Dick Van Patten and the gang but not for me. In case you’re wondering what I mean, let me show you;

"Eat after 8 and gain the weight."

"Don’t eat after 8 and you’ll lose the weight."

It rhymes so it must be logical right?  I mean come on, Shakespeare and Shakur both do it. Even though there is no evidence that it harms or hurts, people often believe this rhyme as rule.  But if that were the case, all of our mothers would have broken backs.

Not eating after 8 will prove to be tough some days. Sometimes I don’t make it out of the gym until 7:30 PM!  So in interest of following the letter of the law, no food can be consumed after 8 PM until morning and such food should be considered breakfast.

I’ll admit to some late night snacking so hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have that habit under control.

On the no red meat note, first red meat was beef jerky because it was convenient.  Tomorrow is the Broad Street Run here in Philly, a 10 mile race to benefit cancer. You can believe there will be some red meat consumed afterwards.

Water water everywhere

Please leave only your footprints Well, this post isn’t really about drinking water directly but if you go to the shore and get in it, you just may swallow some!  A story about the cleanliness of New Jersey beaches surfaced a few weeks back and it’s not pretty.

According to the article, among the things found on the beach were; “toilet seats, a pregnancy test (result unclear), bags of pet waste, an 8-track tape, half a Barbie doll, a tube of denture cement, a jockstrap and fake breasts.” Can’t say it making me want to go to a New Jersey beach this summer but the folks at  Clean Ocean Action want to make sure my thoughts don’t happen.

This season make sure it’s only sand that you are stepping on and of course like the picture says, use the trashcan!

Almost a whole month and no updates

Oh my how time flies. It’s been almost 3 weeks and no posts!!! We’ll let me bring you up to speed before we jump into the next month. Not eating red meat isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

  • I’m staying away from fast food which is mostly red meat based.
  • A hot breakfast just isn’t the same without bacon.
  • I don’t care what anyone says, chicken isn’t a pizza topping.
  • Chinese buffets are a great source of alternative food to red meat.
  • American restaurants are nothing but red meat: burgers, dogs, pizza, steaks, pork something.

It’s a pain having to be choosy but it’ doable.

Not really the other white meat


Only 7 days in to no meat (and 97 days into the Iron Will Year) and thanks to some clever marketing I’ve made a mistake.

After being brainwashed by commercials from the U.S. National Pork Board most of my life, I’ve been fooled into thinking that pork is a white meat.  Conventional wisdom (as well as the USDA) says that all mammals including ducks and geese are red meats.

Only in America do we try to convince ourselves that pork is a white meat. Or rather, only does the industry tried to convince us that park is a white meat in hopes that we will continue to buy it to reap the health benefits of white meat.

Things like this are what the Iron Will Year are all about; knowing what you are putting into your body rather than listening to what others say.  Education is the key to a healthy lifestyle! Lesson learned.