Things have been going so well with my knee that I’ve stopped blogging my daily workouts and am going back to just writing about unique workouts and nutrition! It also doesn’t help that it’s school season again so my full-time job has ramped up and I’m once again at the mercy of teachers and students needing all things technical.
Yesterday I signed up for The Heist!! This is an all-women’s bouldering competition held at Central Rock Gym (my home gym) in Watertown, MA. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I heard about it after CRG’s Ring of Fire comp back in March. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to compete due to my knee, but I’m back in the gym twice a week and I’m feeling strong so let’s do this!
I’ll admit, I’m nervous. I’m still very much a beginner climber; my height to weight ratio really works against me in the gym. So even though I’ve been climbing twice a week since January, my techniques’ just so-so and I’ll be competing at a beginner’s level. This means I’ll be attempting 5 bouldering problems rated V0-V2 over the course of 3 hours. That is a LONG comp, much longer than the one I did back in March. I honestly rarely do gym sessions that are so long and while the length is really to give people time to rest between attempts, folks who need more attempts (as I might due to my level) will just end up climbing more. My goal is literally to not come in last. This is a real goal for me because in my last comp, well, I came in last.
Due to the healing time for my knee I missed out on the chance to train with The Heist CRG Team so for now I’m on my own. I’m training by bouldering once a week to gain strength and skill and top roping once a week to help me with endurance. I also just treated myself to new shoes (I’ll blog about those another time) since my old shoes were starting to fall apart and really weren’t ideal for bouldering. On the days I’m not in the gym I’m doing a mix of cardio (biking for my knee), tabata/HiiT workouts, kettlebell strength training, and yoga.
It’s been interesting, as I work to strengthen my legs and upper body I’ve been gaining weight. A chunk of that is from new muscle, but if I’m honest with myself a larger chunk comes from allowing myself to drift into a summer junk food diet cheating more and more on my allergy diet. I’d still say overall I’m a very healthy eater, but I’ve had fried clams/oysters, lobster salads, bagels with lox, burgers and beer, Mexican and margaritas, and all sorts of things that are great once in a while but not once a week. It’s time to slim down, which means being strict about not eating foods I’m allergic to and keeping my portions reasonable with a paleo-tilt. Every pound in my body is a pound I’m dragging up the wall with me. Thankfully, this is also harvest season so my kitchen is FULL of local, organic produce, most of which from my or my Dad’s garden.
This week I’m trying out a few new recipes. The first one was Punjabi Baingan Bharta, which is an eggplant dish that I actually enjoy (I usually hate eggplant). I basically followed that recipe to a T except that I quadrupled the amount of garam masala, added a little turmeric and cardamom, and used an immersion blender at the end. Its was so good!
Last night though was INCREDIBLE!! It was adapted heavily from this recipe, but I’ll put my whole recipe here.
Grilled Chicken with Raw Peanut Ginger Lime Veggies
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 tbsp olive oil, or an oil of your choosing
- 3 large or 5 small carrots, spiraled or peeled into noodles*
- 1 large zucchini spiraled or peeled into noodles*
- 1 medium beet spiraled or peeled into noodles*
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter if you’re strict paleo)
- 4 tablespoons coconut milk (use canned or “cooking coconut milk”)
- 2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
- Dash cayenne pepper
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
*Note: I use the GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer but have my eye on the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer. The GEFU works well for zucchini but for the carrots and beets I just used a vegetable peeler to make strips.
- Preheat your grill (if it’s not grilling season you can pan-fry the chicken in coconut oil, ghee or an oil of your choosing). In a small bowl mix olive oil, salt and pepper and brush on chicken (note: if you’re pan-frying just sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken).
- In a medium bowl mix the nut butter, coconut milk, aminos, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and lime juice.
- Begin grilling the chicken, depending on the thickness it should be grilled about 6 minutes per side to an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Mix spiraled/peeled veggies with cilantro and stir in sauce.
- After chicken has cooled for ~5 minutes cut it into bite-sized chunks and mix in with the “pasta” until fully coated in the sauce.
- Serves two!
Finally, here are two of my favorite DIY workouts from the past two weeks. These are both core and lower-body intensive to compliment my climbing and knee recovery, but they are still full-body workouts (and both started with 30 mins on the exercise bike doing intervals and end with 15-20 mins of yoga):
8/22/2014 3 Rounds for Time (my time = 20 mins)
- KB backward lunge row and pass under x 20 (26lb KB)
- Weighted sit-up and butt-lift x 10 (15lb dumbbell)
- Single-leg lateral lift x 10 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
- KB Single-leg deadlifts x 5 each side (26lb KB)
- Single-leg kick-backs x 10 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
9/3/2014 – 2 Rounds for Time (my time = 22 mins) – I purposely lowered the KB weight for this per my Physical Therapist as I get back into weighted squats. I’d normally use a 26lb KB so choose your own weight that’s right for you.
- Weighted double-leg lifts x 15 (5 lb ankle weights)
- Single-leg lateral lift x 15 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
- Single-leg medial lift x 15 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
- 2 X 20 Kettlebell One-Arm Swings (15lb KB)
- Figure 4 Squats x 12 each leg (15lb KB)
- Weighted Deadlift kickbacks x 15 each side (15lb KB + 5 lb ankle weights)
Enjoy the beginning of the change of season and remember to eat those fresh veggies!!
Since coming back from the Lomilomi retreat, I’ve been trying to cook more vegetarian meals for dinner. My goal is eating vegetarian 3-4 times per week. This is challenging since I really enjoy getting a lot of protein and don’t enjoy the gassiness from most legumes but I’m giving it a go. Since I’m also dairy-free, most of my veg meals are vegan, though I do use ghee or eggs in some of my dishes. It is not my intent to become vegetarian or vegan, both due to how my system does well with meat and that I have access to local meats from small farms that I trust. BUT, the American diet has definitely become a meat-fest and I think I’ll both be healthier and will eat more sustainably for our planet if don’t eat meat in every meal and eat it in smaller portions when I do.
Last night I was particularly pleased with the concoction I made up. I bought some great organic veggies at Sweet Pea in Waitsfield, VT, which included tomatillos, a veggie I’ve had in Mexican dishes but hadn’t really cooked with. I decided to see if they worked in a Coconut Curry, and holy crap I think tomatillos might be a perfect pairing for Indian food. I can’t wait to try them in my bhindi masala once my okra is ready to pick! This is an easy recipe with a lot of warmth and a good mix of tart and sweet.
- 2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
- 2 Tbsp. flax seeds
- 1 Tbsp. mustard seed
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5-7 sliced baby bella mushrooms (or 3 portobello mushrooms)
- 6-7 tomatillos, sliced thin
- 1 handful of snap peas
- 3/4 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1.5 tsp. garam masala
- 1 Tbsp. red curry powder
- 1 tsp. tumeric
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- dash of cardamom powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: toasted coconut flake (throw some coconut flake under the broiler or in the toaster oven for just a few minutes, watch it, it burns fast!)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the flax and mustard seeds, once they are starting to pop add the chopped onion and cook for just a minute or two.
- Before the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms (this is if you like your mushrooms well done, like I do, otherwise wait until the onions are translucent).
- Cook mushrooms to desired doneness, then add tomatillos, garlic and all spices. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until tomatillos have softened and there’s some juice in the pan.
- Add snap peas and broccoli, cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add coconut milk and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring, then reduce heat to low. Adjust spices as desired. Simmer covered on low 5-7 minutes or until veggies have softened a bit but snap peas still have some crunch to them.
- Serve over rice or quinoa, optionally top with coconut flake. Enjoy!
This morning I finally tried making almond milk from scratch. It was not only incredibly creamy and delicious, but it was also SUPER easy!
- 1-1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked 8-12 hours and rinsed (optional: remove skins by pinching then after they’ve soaked*)
- 6 cups filtered water
- Optional: 1 tsp. vanilla
- Optional: 1 Tbsp. honey (or sweetener of your choice, or 3-4 large dates)
- Toss all ingredients in a Vitamix or high-powered blender. Blend on high for two-minutes (if you’re not using a Vitamix you may need to blend longer and also may need to strain the final result for optimum creaminess).
Now, wasn’t that easy? Why have I been buying pre-made almond milk with preservatives and cane sugar?! Well, now I know. 😉 I also have to brag and say that I’ve found many store-bought brands are watery and either too sweet or flavorless. This was a nice mild nuttiness, very rich and creamy, and for me it was just the right sweetness.
Next up, making my own coconut milk! Now that I know how easy it is, the sky’s the limit!