Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pizza Night

I'm not known for my cooking skills.  In fact quite the opposite.  But I'm learning.  Wednesday night is usually pizza night and by that I mean frozen pizza night.  But since I've given up wheat this also means I've given up regular pizza crust which means pizza night gets really weird.  And by that I mean I end up chopping up a plate of lettuce for myself and removing the sauce and cheese from the pizza and putting it on the lettuce.  Lettuce pizza.  I wish I was joking about this.  Jonny usually does the cooking.  Or the Indian restaurant on the other side of town.

But as fate would have it I accidentally requested the 'Wheat Belly Cookbook' from the library rather than just the plain old 'Wheat Belly' book and when I picked it up after waiting weeks for it I was extremely irritated with myself for the oversight.  But I'd gone to the hassle of braving downtown traffic and the sea of homeless people who form a moat of not such good smells at the entrance to the library and there were actual cops so who knows what was going on in the library this time (the state of the Boulder library is very sad making but that's a post for another day) so I figured I should at least check out some of the recipes.  And wow, so much delicious stuff in there and all of it easy, less than 30 minutes mostly.  A perfect book of delicious food for the culinarily challenged.

I started last week with wheat free pizza made from a crust of almond flour, coconut flour, flax seed, egg and cheese.  I can't put the exact recipe from the book because duh but if you go to YouTube and search for 'wheat free pizza' (or gluten free or paleo or whatever) a similar recipe and explanation will come up.  But so easy, even I could do it.  And no dogs got drunk this time and nearly had to go to rehab which is not something I can say about the last time I attempted pizza crust.

The crust looked like this:

And the finished pizza?  So much deliciousness.

Spinach and mushroom

And so filling.  I was full after 2 slices and forced down a third because I was in some serious calorie deficit already.  So much tastier and hearty than regular pizza crust.

That was last Wednesday.  And tonight?  Cauliflower pizza crust.  This time I used a recipe I saw on YouTube.

Again, so easy.  And again, no drunk dogs.

The crust.  Should have cooked it a little longer.  I'm never sure how to adjust for altitude until I try cooking something the first time and I prefer stuff undercooked to burned.

Spinach, mushrooms and onions this time.

Once again, very delicious, much tastier than bread crust but not as similar to bread crust texture-wise as the almond flour crust.  Definitely not as filling as the almond flour crust either, I easily ate half the pizza but I'd  hardly eaten at all today and had gone riding earlier so I was on the hungry side.  Jonny better hope he gets home from riding soon or I'm might tear into his half.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bulletproof Coffee - Mocha Style

Butter in my coffee?  I've been experimenting with so called 'Bullet Proof Coffee' which is coffee plus butter (grass fed or pastured) plus coconut or MCT oil mixed up in a blender.  You can read more about it here.  Some of the alleged benefits include improved mental function, help with fat burning (if you're following a low carb/high fat diet) and appetite suppression which is helpful for intermittent fasting.  My interest in it is a possible pre-race concoction to boost race day performance though the creator of the stuff doesn't necessarily promote it for that.

In addition, the creator sells his own 'upgraded coffee' which supposedly doesn't make you as jittery and icky feeling as regular coffee can and also supposedly doesn't make you have to pee as much or as urgently because allegedly it has less mycotoxins than regular coffee, even the fancy pants stuff.  He also sells his own 'upgraded brain octane oil' that is supposedly 18x stronger than coconut oil and purports to reduce brain fog, increase brain power and give you fast energy.  Now believe me, I know all about marketing.  More than I wish I knew.  I was plenty cynical about the claims.  But I was interested to give his stuff a try nonetheless.  I had no MCT oil and Jonny was out of coffee so may as well.

It did not go well at first to put it mildly.  Apparently at first I made the coffee too strong for what I can tolerate caffeine-wise and I felt very very bad for about 3 hours.  Heart racing, jittery, unable to think or do much of anything, pretty much the opposite of what I was hoping for.  But I put this down to user error.  I don't tolerate caffeine very well and I had no idea that the recommended amount would be too much for me.  So I kept cutting back the amount of beans I used and I started adding my own stuff to it.  First some almond/coconut milk with a dash a half and half and then some unsweetened cocoa until finally I had the almost perfect concoction - Bulletproof Mocha.  I say almost perfect because between the weak coffee and all the added stuff I now hardly feel any positive effect from the coffee.  So I may try to make it just a wee bit stronger and see what happens.  In any case, my new concoction is amazingly delicious and a solution to my love of mochas but intolerance of sugar.

The only downside is, wow, this is ridiculously complicated for first thing in the morning before I've had my caffeine.  This is all the stuff you need, not including a teapot and one or two pots.

I need some bulletproof mocha before I can make my bulletproof mocha.

Here is my recipe.

2 non-heaping tablespoons of upgraded coffee, ground very fine (this is weak, 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons are recommended but that was WAY too strong for me)

1-2 tablespoons grass fed or pastured butter or ghee

3/4 tablespoon upgraded MCT oil (working my way up to 2 tablespoons)

8 ounces boiled water for coffee

6 ounces or so almond/coconut milk blend plus splash of half and half or heavy cream

1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Before I start gathering and preparing everything I put a teapot of water on to boil and when it's done I put it in the blender to heat up the blender and keep it warm.

I heat up the almond/coconut milk and gradually add the cocoa.  Make sure a skin doesn't form because ewww, gross.  Of course you can use milk or cream or whatever you like or skip it altogether and just put the cocoa in the blender with the coffee.

Once you've got the coffee made however you like to make it (I use a pour over filter thingy because I don't know how to work the coffee maker and sheesh, already too much with the equipment and gizmos) and the milk/cocoa heated you simply pour the heated water out of the blender and add coffee, milk/cocoa mixture, butter and MCT oil then blend for about 30 secs.

Kind of a big hassle but mmmmmmm, so worth it.

And of course you can add sugar to taste and make whip cream if you want a real mocha.  I would have loved to have had whip cream this morning but sheesh that's another project and my stand mixer is so heavy to drag out and lift from the ground floor cabinet.  And really it was super tasty enough as it was.

Even better on a snowy April Sunday morning with one of my bestest buds for company (Jonny missed all the fun because at 6:30 in the morning he walked up to the local coffee shop in a snowstorm to watch a soccer game.  Because he might be a little bit touched in the head).

No I did not share it with him.  The last thing that dog needs is caffeine on a snowy day when he's cooped up inside.

I'll get off of food and back on to dogs and triathlon soon, just bogged down with important life type stuff.  But I've got 2 trials coming up in the next few weeks, one of them being Regionals and I've started working with a triathlon coach for the first time ever in my life and I'll write a bit about that too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ketosis Experiment Update

I've been down many more rabbit holes, very strange places where there is stuff called biohacking and cold thermogenisis and quantum tunneling and oh all manner of weirdness.  I can't tell if these people are genuises, batshit crazy or pulling off ingenious marketing scams but I'm fascinated by it all nonetheless.  At some point I'll try to put a post together if I ever get my brain around it all in a cohesive fashion.  In the meantime I won't be plunging my face into a sinkful of ice water anytime soon.

Maybe Huey Lewis was ahead of his time?

I loathe Huey Lewis but he was all I could think about while reading the cold thermogenisis protocol, Step 1 of which involves plunging your face into a sink full  of ice water.  Did this guy really invent something new or did he pass out while watching Huey Lewis videos after a night of too much tequila and 'special' mushrooms and think, 'Hey, I think I'm onto something?'  Or again maybe he's a genius. Or batshit crazy.  Still not quite sure.

Anyway, it's been a few weeks now since I started the great ketosis experiment which actually never ended up in ketosis, not even a little bit, but was interesting nonetheless.  Before the experiment my typical diet consisted of 47% fat, 33% carbs, 20% protein.  Ish.  On weekends when we went out to dinner or pizza night I'm sure the number of carbs were way higher but it's hard to tell with restaurant food.

Next I made a few minor tweaks and came up with 58% fat, 22% carbs, 20% protein.  A ketogenic diet would call for something like 70-80% fat, 15% protein, 5-15% carbs/20-50 grams of carbs.  After a few more days of tweaking I was able to bring the totals to 61% fat, 21% carb, 18% protein with the number of carb grams varying with calories per day.  The higher calorie amounts were training days, the lower amounts were rest days or lower volume training.

Some sample days looked like:

Carb=21% (69.5 g), Fat=61% (121.4 g), Protein=18% (57.4 g), Calories=1595

Carb=21% (47.6 g), Fat=61% (94.6 g), Protein=18% (63.1 g), Calories=1245

Carb=20% (41.0 g), Fat=62% (105.1 g), Protein=18% (60.6 g), Calories=1285

Carb=19% (57.7 g), Fat=63% (107.4 g), Protein=18% (70.2 g), Calories=1459

Then the weekend would come and Jonny and I would go out and I don't know the totals but I'm sure they were still too high to be in ketosis.  In general I would get vegetable dishes with white rice which oddly enough is supposedly less 'toxic' than brown rice.  And I'd generally have longer training sessions beforehand than during the week.  But ketosis is a pass/fail thing and it can take weeks to months to become adapted.  After 3 weeks I realized I was not going to be able to work out ways to follow this strict regime in enough time to adapt before I amp up my triathlon training for my summer races.  And supposedly adaptation involves being tired and having athletic performance declines for the several weeks, maybe months it takes.  You want to do this in your off season, not while you're gearing up for summer.  So the rest of the experiment will wait until fall/winter.

However I did have a lot of good fallout from the tweaks to my diet and I learned a lot about nutrition, exercise, insulin, weight loss, etc. that will be invaluable in helping clients.  The biggest tweak was giving up the last of the wheat and grains I was eating.  I'd been giving up things like pasta and crackers over the years because I didn't feel well after eating them.  But I was still having the occasional piece of bread and of course there was pizza night.  Of course those had to go in the pursuit of ketosis as did refried beans and tofu and the occasional taco shell.  And wow, I couldn't believe how much better I felt.  HUGE difference.  No way those things are coming back, at least not on a regular basis.  I found some interesting videos about the effects of wheat and grain, very eye opening.

Wheat Belly author

Grain Brain author

I've got 'Grain Brain' and 'Wheat Belly' on reserve at the library but there's loads of info. in those videos.

Also I've noticed that with the increase in fats and decrease in carbs my appetite has plummeted and I no longer have to eat all day long.  When I do get hungry it's a totally different feeling as well, no more sudden deep hunger pangs.  No more feeling like, 'I must have food.  NOW.'  And I can easily go on a 2 1/4 hour bike ride without taking any food, bars, gels, etc. and not be bonky afterwards.  My hope is that with my current not-quite-ketogenic-but-close ratios I can keep these good effects and hopefully even be able to race with little or no race nutrition which was the main goal of it all in the first place.  Stay tuned to see how that works out.

I also feel like I have more energy and less mental fog.  Had a 3 day USDAA fest agilitython a couple of weeks ago and held up way better than I normally do, even for the full day of team.  I spent one night in a hotel because there was a snow storm and it was a bit of a challenge to work out the food.  Soups and salad at Panera worked out well but breakfasts and lunch on team day when I couldn't get away for long enough to make it to Panera was challenging and I had a bit of wrap and bread but mostly I was able to manage.  Will have to work out better solutions for future trial days but that's always been a challenge.  But it was nice not being hungry all day or having sudden, craving hunger signals at unpredicted times as I sometimes do at trials.  And I was a bit tired by the last runs of the day on Sunday but we managed a Q in Snooker then a really nice run on a complicated Masters Challenge Jumpers course for our last run, 2 of the most brain drainy events in agility.

Being a vegetarian was not a problem at all, in fact the biggest problem I had was having too much protein.  No matter what I tried I couldn't seem to bring up the fat and lower the protein and meat would actually make that problem more difficult.  The diet involves-or can involve-loads of vegetables.  In fact I found that I was eating even more vegetables because I had to substitute the bread and quinoa with something.  However in the past couple of days I have been trying to re-introduce meat into my diet.  The main reason is that while I'm fine with eating loads of fat, I'm not so happy about eating in the form of only dairy products.  I was already a bit iffy about the amount of dairy products I was eating before this adventure and the huge increase in them is making me nervous.  I don't want to develop an allergy, especially to eggs which I love dearly and eat almost every day.  And believe it or not I'm SO sick of the heavy cream.  At first it was such a luxury and now, ugh, I can barely think about it.  Also it will give me more food options especially in restaurants.  Cutting out grains/wheat/bread/etc. is no problem but I have to replace it with something other than veggies all the time.

So on Saturday we went out for breakfast and the omelette I normally order comes with bacon and I always ask them to leave it out but instead I let them include it.  Unfortunately it came in the omelette rather than in strips on the side and there was a LOT.  Especially for someone who's been a vegetarian for 30 years who never particularly liked bacon in the first place.  It was nitrate free, healthy happy sing the pig a lullaby before it goes to sleep each night bacon but still, pig meat.  All I kept thinking was 'Unclean Pig Meat'.  Which let me tell you does not aid in digestion.  I picked a good portion of it out and took it home for the dogs.  My stomach was roiling for an hour or two afterwards but after that I was fine.  I was very concerned about meat staying down because I had a bad experience many years ago with a 'friend' giving me meat without my knowing.  But by evening I had completely forgotten about it.

Today I experimented with some wild sockeye salmon and so far no puking.  I can't say that I thought it tasted all that great, would have preferred my normal Chard/onion/eggs fry up but it was not as horrible as the bacon and so far I'm keeping it down.  I've never cooked fish in my life but I found an electric griller on clearance at Target for $12 and it worked great (can't stand the thought of meat splatters all over the inside of my oven).  Of course I ended up cooking it with lots of dairy products but I wanted my first experience to be tolerable.  I'm sure I'll find other ways to eat it now that I know it isn't very fishy tasting and horrible.  I still have one more portion of fish in the fridge so I can experiment some more.  Not sure if the meat thing will stick but if it does it'll give me more options when I go to restaurants provided we go to places that have grass fed or pastured (turns out there's a difference) or organic or whatever humanely raised type of meat.  Which is not a huge problem to find in Boulder.  What this does to the budget is another matter but at least it's only me eating the stuff, Jonny is not interested which is fine.

I have plenty more to write about but I'll leave it at this for the moment.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Fun with My New Bike at the Valmont Bike Park

I treated myself to a new bike 2 weeks ago.  A 6 month early Happy 50th Birthday to Me present.  My old bike is over 11 years old replacing some of the old equipment was going to be a project and maybe not cost effective so I decided it was time.  I thought I would test ride different types of bikes and sizes (hard tail vs full suspension, 27.5" wheels vs 29er and all combinations thereof) and wait for the shop to get demo versions so I could try them on trails, probably in April.  But after renting a Trek Lush 29er full suspension in Sedona I became convinced that I wanted another full suspension bike and that I could handle a 29er therefore a 27.5er would also be fine.  So when the Scott Spark 27.5er arrived in the shop I test rode it around the block to be sure of fit and bought it without worrying about trails or demo bikes or anything.  I reasoned that the bike was lighter and would be easier to handle than the 29" Specialized I was considering plus the added benefit of being able to lock out both front and rear suspension from a lever on the handlebars.  And you can either lock it all the way out or part of the way out.  This is turning out to be a HUGE performance advantage on the smoother trails and especially on climbs.  A much bigger advantage than a 29er.  I've taken it on a couple of trails rides (Dirty Bismark and Left Hand Trail/Boulder Valley trails), nothing very technical but still I have a good idea that the bike will be awesome for me.

Meet Sparky.  Lola is unimpressed but I'm very excited.

After 11 years of having a girl bike (women's specific design) I now have a boy bike.  Because the women's version of this bike is puke green and there was just no way.

And it turns out this is the only difference between the men's and women's version except maybe the saddle.  It has no women's specific geometry at all.  Nonetheless the bike fits me great, no problems with my back.  The guy at Boulder Cycle Sports spent a bunch of time making sure the geometry and suspension was set up just right for me.  And he told me to come back for more adjustments if I need them.  And they gave me a gift card to the shop so I was able to buy a better saddle for me, pedals, bottle cage  (SO excited to have a bottle cage!  There was no room on my old frame), new tires and a bunch of other stuff at 20% off and I still have $50 left. 

Had some fun with the new bike and the GoPro at Valmont Bike Park yesterday.

2014-2-28-Boulder Bike Park from colliebrains on Vimeo.

One of the Xterra's I entered this summer has some man-made features like woods bridges I guess, I don't know exactly what I've gotten myself into and the course is on private land so I can't pre-ride it until the day before the race.  So Valmont Bike Park is the next best thing.

Now if only the rest of the trails would dry out so we can get on with some spring riding.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finally Some Agility Practice

Of course I pick the hottest day of the year to get some agility practice.  It looks dreary in the video but in reality the sun was shining and it was nearly 60 degrees.  We had to cut practice short because poor Strummer's tongue was down to his knees after just 2 exercises.

2014-2-27-Practice from colliebrains on Vimeo.

I was pleased considering that I can't remember the last time we trained.  I tweaked my 'good' knee, which is not so very good but not as bad as my bad knee, last week doing hill repeats in the freezing cold and it's not quite 100% so I practiced rear crosses since the fronts were making the knee complain.  Plus we need practice with the rears.  I've been taking TRX classes through a Groupon type deal and my quads are in a constant state of jello from these classes which is why I think I tweaked my knee on the hills.  So I've cut back on other training this week, only swimming and going to TRX and being careful with the squats and lunges.  I realized I have a 3 day agility trial next week so I need to make sure it heals completely by then.

So far the lowering of the carbs in my diet has been almost a non-issue.  The one thing I need to work out is how much food to eat.  Previously I've always eaten when I was hungry, stopped when I was full and that's worked out well.  When I sat down and actually worked out the calories I was eating it was freaky how close they were to what I needed without ever planning it out or thinking about it.  But now I'm not hungry and last night I had what felt like a very filling dinner but in hindsight was probably only around 250 calories.  I wasn't hungry when I woke up and didn't want to eat before TRX class at 7:00 a.m. and about 40 minutes into class I started getting dizzy.  Though I wasn't the only one so it could also have been the toughness of the workout.  Anyway, I may have to start planning meals and thinking about calories since I can't rely on hunger anymore.  Once the keto-adaptation takes place in a couple few weeks it should be a non-issue for but now I'm kind of in limbo.  So far an interesting and fun experiment.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ketogenic Diet for Athletes/Agility?

Wow, where did that come from?  I've been down some rabbit holes the past 2 weeks, mostly doing research for my weight loss clients.  I mostly don't give out dietary advice.  People come to me with their own plans for weight loss and I help them with the behavioral changes they need to make for their plan to succeed.  I urge them in the direction of eating healthy portions of healthy, whole foods and I leave it up to them to decide what that means.  Because there are a lot of voices out there having a big old food fight over what is a healthy diet and I'm not about to start throwing plates of spaghetti around in that mess.

Nonetheless I've had some clients who claimed to be eating a healthy diet, calorie restricted (some so much so that I wondered how they were still standing by the end of the day), getting regular exercise.  For some reason eat less/exercise more/healthy whole foods (whatever that means) wasn't working for them.  And I wanted to know why.  Were they deceiving themselves?  Underestimating how much they were eating, overestimating their exercise, overeating to make up for their exercise?  Or was something else going on?  I didn't feel comfortable just brushing them off, after seeing enough of them, hearing their stories, I felt like I was missing something and I felt I needed to find out what I was missing.  No point helping people change their behaviors if they succeed in making those changes yet still don't reach their goals.

So many voices out there, so many opinions, so much bad science and politics and bad studies and even worse science and politics and ranting and raving.  This journey is not for the faint of heart.  In the end the conclusion I came to, and have been coming to for about 5 years now, is that insulin is largely at the heart of it all for many people who struggle with their weight.  And this means restriction of carbohydrates, even whole grains.  It's taken me a while to fully understand this because I could think of so many exceptions, so many people for whom 'eat less, exercise more' works.  But the idea that's emerged this time down the rabbit hole is the notion that insulin sensitivity is different in different people.  And that there are people out there who are 'insulin resistant' and these folks can't tolerate carbs.  They can cut calories down to ridiculous levels, exercise 2 hour a day and still not lose weight if they're following a high carb/low fat diet.

Case in point, Dr. Peter Attia.  He has a great blog called The Eating Academy, very technical, maybe you need a degree in biochemistry, but still very interesting.  Below he describes how he lost a bunch of weight and turned around his metabolic disease and improved his cholesterol numbers by following a ketogenic diet consisting of 80% of calories from fat.  Yeah, you heard that right.  All I can say is watch the video.  And be prepared for charts and graphs.  Lots of charts and graphs.

This led me to start looking into low carb/high fat diets.  Of course these are nothing new, Atkins back in the 70's and in fact these diets were used to treat kids with seizures as far back as the 1920's.  And here's where the politics comes in and the conspiracy theories that are maybe not so wacky and Nixon and the Farm Bill and suddenly fat is bad and carbs are good and now 40 years later we have a worldwide obesity epidemic to beat the band.  Probably some of the best voices here are Dr. Robert Lustig and Gary Taubes.

Do not mess with Robert Lustig, he is on a mission from Sugar.  I think he is kind of my hero.

Gary Taubes (the intro is 6 minutes  if you want to skip to the lecture though the intro is interesting)

Yeah, I know, it's a lot of material but very worth it if health and nutrition are important to you.  I found a lot of my ideas about 'healthy' turned upside down, inside out and scrambled around.  Like someone declared it Nutrition Opposite Day.  And I became even more surprised when I decided to track my own diet for a few days and found that I naturally eat more fats than carbs (average of 47% fat, 33% carbs, 20% protein).  And I found that with a few minor tweaks (eg, no more toast with my eggs) I was able to bring it to 58% fat, 22% carbs, 20% protein.  A ketogenic diet would call for something like 70-80% fat, 15% protein, 5-15% carbs (usually 20-50g of carbs depending on insulin resistance but some high volume athletes can maybe go to 100 g), depending how insulin sensitive you are among other things.

There are a lot of voices out there.  Very loud and shouty voices, very sure they know the answers.  I'm not saying these guys and only these guys know all the answers.  If this subject interests you you should investigate it for yourself and most importantly experiment with your own diet and decide what works for you.

And in that spirit I've become interested in the potential advantages of a ketogenic diet for triathlon and agility.  Over the years I've become less and less able to tolerate sugar and processed carbs (especially pasta and bread, even the whole wheat versions).  I cut breakfast cereal out many years ago.  I can eat these things but they cause bloating and a even a mildly ill sort of feeling sometimes.  I eat them but rarely and usually on the weekend when I've got a big training day planned.

Further I discovered that carbs and all that I knew about timing of meals pre and post workout might not only be wrong but actually might be having a detrimental effect to my triathlon training.  For the first time I was unable to tolerate the sugary gel packets in my last 2 races last year and in fact they made things worse for me.  My theory is that I've finally become unable to tolerate sugar even during races.  One of the reasons I switched to racing Xterra's is that they're shorter and require less energy bars and gels both in training and races (plus the added benefit of they are so much more fun).  But they still require some fueling.  Or do they?

Nutritional ketosis is difficult to explain and requires diagrams and chemical equations and maybe even a biochemistry degree.  Hands up who remembers the Krebs cycle?  Well I remember learning about it somewhere at some point a long long time ago.  But in short the idea is that you limit carbs and keep protein low so that the body burns fat rather than glycogen.  Because we can only store about 2000 cals of glycogen but fat stores are endless, even in a scrawny triathlete.  Plus the claims that the brain stays more alert when running on ketones.  Imagine feeling mentally sharp for that Snooker run at the end of a long agility day.  I've been entering half days of agility these days because after about 3-4 hours I'm tired and crabby and mentally drained and don't want to be there anymore.  Would a ketogenic diet allow me to handle a full day?

Some ultrarunners and endurance athletes are adopting these diets and I'm intrigued.  I've bought a $6 e-book from Amazon called 'The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance' and it's fascinating stuff.  One of the authors discusses the concepts and recent research findings below.

Jeff Volek

I'm interested enough to consider giving it a try.  I have the added challenge of being a vegetarian so I'm not entirely sure how this will work but I think I can find some hacks for it and I know Peter Attia has said that's it's possible.  I'm not completely sold but I love a good experiment.  I'm going to start gradually, not going to shoot for ketosis right away but I'm already a good way of the way there so I'm not anticipating too many problems at first.  The biggest challenge is the world at large, eating out or at other people's houses.  And Jonny who does most of the cooking and still likes him his grains.  He was not happy with me picking out 2/3 of the sweet potatoes from dinner the other night.  But I think if I leave my carb allotment for dinner we should be able to live in peace.  My grocery cart is getting weirder that's for sure. And if there are any athletes out there who have given this a try please feel free to offer up experiences.  For those who are interested, the Paleorunner blog has loads and loads of podcasts offering up all manner of opinions about diet and training.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sedona - Hiking Boyton Canyon

Are you channeling your energy vortex chakras yet?  Sedona cracks me up.

So many great pictures from my hike in Boyton Canyon, it's hard to choose which ones to post.  The hike was short, a bit over an hour or so because that was as far as my aunt wanted to go.

This is my third time hiking Boyton Canyon which is one of Sedona's famous energy vortexes.  Don't ask me what an energy vortex is, I have no clue.  But the red rocks are fantabulous and the clouds and lighting in the canyon at that time of morning provided for some dramatic shots.

Towards the end of the hike somebody started playing a flute somewhere in the canyon and it was impossible not to hear it.  It was incredibly annoying but also kind of funny in a selfish new age hippy cliche sort of way.

I went for a bike ride after the hike and have even more photos and video but I'll leave that for another day so all the pictures of red rocks don't blend together.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Grand Canyon

I'm a bit behind with blogging and will catch up as time and energy permit.  I went to Arizona last week and missed the subzero cold snap in Colorado.  Aside from barely making my plane because the bus was late due to some icy roads my travel was not impacted thankfully.  I hate traveling enough as it is, I don't need complications.  However my aunt who I was meeting was not so lucky and her plane arrived some 4-5 hours late which meant I had to amuse myself in Phoenix while waiting for her because we were driving to Sedona in the same rental car.  There is not a lot to do in Phoenix, at least not that I could find.  Drove around downtown for ages and couldn't even find a place to eat.  And if I could there was nowhere to park anyway.  But it was cool seeing palm trees and cacti in February.  I'm not a winter getaway person, this is the first time ever that I've been somewhere warm-ish during the winter and this was due to my aunt wanting to escape Michigan's Polar Vortex Freeze-o-Rama.  It stayed mostly in the 50's in Sedona which was fine for me but maybe not what she was hoping for.  Still, so much better than the -14 degrees in Boulder and probably worse in Michigan.  Jonny said it was so cold the back door froze shut and he had to shovel a path to the front door in the subzero temps.  Can't say I was sorry to miss that.

We went to the Grand Canyon which is very cool in winter.

My aunt had never been to the Grand Canyon and she was excited to see it.  I've only been once before.  I think we're the only 2 in our family who have been there.  We didn't get to do any hiking.  Maybe at some point I'll go when I can actually hike but it's not top of my list.

Flagstaff was fun too, we had breakfast there on the way up.  Jonny and I are looking for places to possibly move to sometime in the future and Flagstaff is a maybe.  Will have to go back and spend more time there.

More photos from the rest of my trip coming soon.