How I Cut Down Drinking Sugar and HFCS

Thursday, July 12, 2012
Coffee mug with sugar cubes
Over the years I've read a lot of different studies related to sugary drinks and weight gain. The more I read, the more I wanted to find ways to stop drinking sugar.

One study claimed calories consumed from drinks don't trigger a response within your body to let you know you've consumed energy. So if you drink a 200 calorie drink, your body doesn't react by triggering enough hunger so you eat 200 less calories than you normally do. In another study participants were split in two groups, one group was given an additional 450 calories a day in jelly beans, the other 450 calories in soda, then they were switched. Those eating jellybeans ate about 100 fewer calories than those drinking soda because their bodies compensated for the extra calories.

Carpenter's Trail Video

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Bottom of Stone Steps of Carpenter's Trail  by Hudson River
Carpenter's Trail in the Fort Lee, NJ section of Palisades Interstate Park is a 0.2 mile long stone stair path that brings you from Shore Trail along the banks of the Hudson River 300 feet up to the top of the Palisades and connects with The Long Path.

Stair climbing is a great low-impact cardio workout. At a good pace it can get my heart rate in Zone 4 or Zone 5 which is where my heart rate is when I'm jogging or running but stair climbing doesn't have the joint strain associated with running.

My last trip up Carpenter's Trail I decided to record it and I'm posting it here in case any one wants to get an idea of what it's like before heading out.

Lower Fat Vinaigrette Recipe

Sunday, June 10, 2012
Fresh garden salad and homemade lower fat vinaigrette bottle
This time of the year I get to enjoy fresh greens straight out of the garden. Salads are great. They provide you with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Choosing a salad over other side dishes can also help reduce caloric intake but it doesn't take much to turn a good salad bad.  Adding high fat items like cheese or adding too much dressing increases the calorie density of your average salad tremendously.

Did you know that 2 tablespoons of olive oil have almost as many calories as 3 heads of romaine lettuce?
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil = 3 Heads Lettuce
Olive oil is considered a good fat and some of the vitamins provided in salads are fat soluble but I wanted to try to cut down the calories so I came up with a vinaigrette recipe that is lower in fat.

A Penny Saved Is 1.15 Pennies Earned

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
1 Penny equals 1.15 pennies
I got into what I consider an odd debate about saving money by making your own coffee at home vs buying coffee with TheShot concerning his/her blog post.

Based on their comments to me and others I don't expect to change their mind but I did want to share some of my thoughts regarding misconceptions people have concerning savings.  I've seen these issues come up in other places. Not just about saving money on coffee but saving money in general.

I'm not sure how the conversation took a turn but it's something that's always bugged me. We used to be a nation of people who valued saving money. Now we're a nation of spenders and borrowers. We can see how that's worked out.

So many people seem to be advocating continuing that trend and giving out what I consider to be misguided advice and just plain false information.

My goal isn't to try to get you to join the 83% of people who make their coffee at home, it's to make you think of some of your expenditures and think about making the more efficient use of your time and money in general.

Free Diet and Workout Programs

Thursday, March 8, 2012
Huston Texan's Training on Weight Equipment
Houston Texans Training
In this morning's news there was an article on how the US Military is getting involved in the obesity epidemic in America because they're having to turn away a lot of potential recruits that are too fat to serve.

This reminded me of two free nutrition and exercise informational guides that I found recently and wanted to share.

The first is  "The Warfighter Nutrition Guide" from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The other is the Houston Texans Strength and Conditioning Program Player's Manual which contains a lot of great information regarding nutrition, diet, supplements, strength and skill training which will be the primary focus of this post.

Update: I also recently came across the Navy Seal Fitness Guide with is worth a look.

Brew Your Own Damn Coffee!

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Man enjoying freshly brewed coffee
It always amazes me how much money people spend buying coffee from places like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Buy one regular brewed coffee every work day and you're spending around $500 a year. Many coffee drinkers purchase more than one coffee a day. If you're opting for the high calorie coffee flavored milkshake type drinks it's even more still. Many people are spending well over $1,000 a year on something you can get an endless amount of practically free with your breakfast at any diner.

Why spend so much money on coffee, have to deal with the hassle of going out, waiting in line when you could brew a better, cheaper cup while still in your robe? (OK more like boxers and t-shirt scratching your groggy head.)

The answer is pretty simple. Most people can't or don't brew a better cup of coffee at home!

Clif Bar Alternative II Recipe

Monday, February 20, 2012
Chewey homemade Clif Bar Alternative protein granola bar
Clif Bar Alternative II
I've been trying to come up with an alternative recipe for Clif Bars. Homemade energy bars don't save a significant amount of money compared to buying Clif Bars in bulk but I wanted to come up with something that didn't contain as much Soy based products.

My first attempt was a Peanut Butter Granola Bar with Chocolate Protein Powder. Nutritionally it was very similar to the Chocolate/Peanut Butter Clif Bars. The problem with them was they were very crumbly and brittle which caused them to break apart in my pocket while hiking or trail running.

I've altered my energy bar recipe a little bit to create something that is a little softer but still provides similar nutrition. I decided to add a little bit of whole wheat flour to create a bar that's a little softer.

Clif Bar Alternative I Recipe

Friday, February 10, 2012
Homemade Cliff Bar Alternative
Clif Bar Alternative Test Batch
I love Clif Bars. Especially the Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch Bar. Clif Bars taste like actual food in my opinion instead of some mutant candy bar concoction.

When I go for a long hike or run I like to bring one with me to help keep my energy up and I can complete my trip without feeling fatigued. They're very convenient and don't melt in my pocket even on the hottest of days.

There are a couple of things about Clif Bars I'm not too crazy about though.

White Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins Recipe

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Homemade white whole wheat blueberry muffins on a plate
A twist on the traditional morning blueberry muffin. These white whole wheat blueberry muffins provide extra fiber and slightly less fat and sugar than traditional blueberry muffins.

I've cut out a lot of refined white flour from my diet and replaced it with whole wheat flour. Muffins don't seem to come out as good with whole wheat flour though.

Muffin's may not be the best food to eat when trying to lose weight and get back in shape but I love them so I keep them in moderation. I've been trying to find a way to make them a little healthier.

Carpenter's Loop I Winter Evening

Sunday, February 5, 2012
Moon over Hudson River in the evening as seen from Shore Trail, Part of Carpenter's Loop I in Palisades Interstate Park, Fort Lee, NJ
During the spring and early fall I started preparing for my winter workouts by getting some warmer workout clothes.

Unfortunately I've been slacking quite a bit. Especially when it comes to my outdoor activities.

The last few weeks I've made an effort to work my way back up to jogging regularly again.

I haven't turned into a complete couch potato but I do a lot of my more intense workouts outdoors and I've been a baby about the cold.

As usual, I started out kind of slow by walking and hiking. Most of my hikes involve the 300' stair climb on Carpenter's trail at Palisades Interstate Park. My short hike includes the Carpenter I loop. I start down Shore Trail at the entrance of the park near Edgewater Colony. Work my way down the stone stairs flanking the only co-op community of its kind that I'm aware of in the area, continue North along the Hudson River, past Hazzard Dock, under the George Washington Bridge, up Carpenter's Trail and then head out of the park on the Long Path back towards the bridge.

Most Reading