Tuesday, June 30, 2009

30 Salads in 30 Days

Today kicks off a new, month-long, BTWG blog series, "30 Salads in 30 Days". Before I get to #1, today's salad, a little background and explanation.

As those in the Project know, I am a huge fan of salads; fresh, raw fruits and veggies mixed with fresh raw fruit and I'm in heaven. Let me assure you, it wasn't always this way for me. Growing up in rural Southern Indiana, I was 100% corn-fed and always loved the down home cooking; still do. My personal favorites are still my Mother's fried chicken dinners and my Dad's hamburgers. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, overly cooked vegetables with loads of butter, salt, and pepper is another "death row meal" for me (an Anthony Bourdain reference). Oh, and don't forget the homemade pies and other sweet treats! But today... not so much.

While I still have a fondness for these foods, I rarely eat them. These day's I am 80%-90%+ on the Project diet, with a slight modification to get more protein (another story for another time). Over the past 18 months, I can count on both hands the number of days I have NOT eaten a fresh salad at least once in the day! Plus, there have been countless days where I have eaten salad at two meals during a day. During this time, I have yet to get burned out or bored with eating a big, healthful, fresh salad. That's right, I'm a total freak for salads and raw fruit and veggies. I'm a convert from eating cooked-to-death-veggies drowning in butter and salt to, now, truly preferring them in their natural state.

Over the next month, I am going to post the salad that I eat each day. Some days may be the exact same salad, and that might happen for several days. Who knows? The point isn't to give you 30 new salad ideas, you can use my ideas or use your own. So why am I doing this? I get tired of people in the Project telling me they are tired of salads and that they get bored! I want to show that with some variety, creativity, and an open mind, you can consume one of the most healthful meals every day (if you want) and not get bored. A salad, done right, can deliver a high quality meal with loads of vitamins, nutrients, fiber and vitality, and it can be very tasty and enjoyable.

I hope you enjoy the "30 Salads in 30 Days" feature! Oh, and feel free to share your salad suggestions and I'll give them a try.

Up for a challenge? Join me in eating 30 salads in 30 days and keep me posted on your experience.

One bit of "warning" - you are responsible for your own nutritional choices, these are just suggestions that you can explore. Also, I am not providing the caloric content, specific amounts/volumes and all that. All the things you want in the amounts you need. I am not responsible for your choices, you are. So, don't do anything stupid, like eat only salads in order to try and lose weight. Got it?

Okay, here we go. Today was a bit "unusual" as I often eat a salad at lunch and at dinner. Yet, in order to fit in my training/workout, I had something else at lunch, so it was just one at dinner. It was one of my personal favorites -
Buffalo Chicken Salad
  • Mixed greens, romaine, etc. - couple of big handfuls
  • Grilled chicken breast
  • After grilling, I sliced the chicken into small strips and coated it lightly with some "buffalo wing" sauce
  • Slivered almonds
  • Sliced carrots
  • Small amount of ranch dressing (just enough to taste)
  • Couple of fresh strawberries
  • Normally I add a little hard boiled egg white and some avocado (heart healthy fat), but didn't have any on hand : (

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Series Starts Tomorrow

Check back tomorrow as I introduce a new month long blog series, "30 Salads in 30 Days". I explain more tomorrow : )

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lessons in "Passing" and a July 4th Adventure

Hey Gang,

Wow, not a good week to be a pop culture icon, is it? Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and infomercial pro Billy Mays all passed away within the span of a week. My heart and prayers go out to those who mourn the passing of these popular "celebrities", though it only reinforces the fact that life is short, fleeting, transitory and that you truly never know when your number will be up.

Of those noted above, only Mr. McMahon lived to an age beyond 80. Farrah Fawcett was 62 (I think). Billy Mays and "The King of Pop" both were only 50! No amount of fame, fortune, or popularity can buy you more time on this earth. Being rich and famous doesn't excuse you from suffering and death; sooner or later death will knock on your door as well.

So, what 'cha gonna do with each day you have been graced with? Sit around and think about what you "should be doing", or get out there and get engaged in life? Make choices that strengthen your ego, pride, possessions, and hold you captive to comfort, or rise above and follow the Spirit? Life is way too short (even if you live to be 100) to be stuck in mediocrity, ill health, defunct fitness, and to miss out on the true joys of life.

This brings me to another question, one that was posed during our Pastor's sermon last night, "do you know where you are going when you leave this world?" For some, myself included, the answer is a confident "yes", for some it's a "yes", though they don't feel all that confident on the inside. Sadly, for many, the response is filled with uncertainty, confusion, non-committal, or flat out apathy. For me, there is no more important question for which we need to find an answer in our lifetime; an answer we are 100% confident in, so much that nothing could shake our thoughts on it or rock our faith. If you don't know, are uncertain, have questions, or ever want to talk about it, just let me know!

Okay, assuming I haven't totally turned you off and you are still reading...

Independence Day Adventure
I just found out that Cityoga is closed next Saturday in observance of our nations Independence Day celebration. That means no 8a.m. "Yoga for Strength and Endurance". So, if you would still like to do a workout with me and kick off your 4th of July with a fitness bang, then join me at Eagle Creek for a morning of fun, fitness, and maybe a few "fireworks" of our own.

56th Street Main Gate parking lot.

Arrive by 7:45am. Plan to light this sucker up at 8:00am sharp. I know I tend to start things a little late, however, for this event, I intend to start promptly at 8. Plan to arrive early and be ready to roll.

8:00-8:30 - "Mystery Workout"
8:45-9:45 - Trail Run
9:45-10:15 - Yoga/Stretch/Cool Down/Meditation
Who knows, if I'm feeling good, and it jives with our babysitter, I may stick around for some more trail running after the Adventure wraps up! If so, feel free to stick around.

Trail Run and "Mystery Workout"! Mystery workout? Yup, all I can tell you is that it will be fun and challenging and that it will be appropriate for ALL LEVELS. The Mystery workout will take place first, then we will head out for a lap around our, now infamous, 5 mile loop around Eagle Creek. The run will also feature a couple challenges thrown into the mix.

Post run, I will be leading the group through a short yoga/cool down/meditation session.

What to Bring. What to Wear:
Water bottle and anything else you might need to fuel and hydrate.
Workout attire.
Yoga/Workout Mat.
Snacks/Food to share after the workout (optional).
Anything else you think you might need.

How Much:
$20. A percentage of any money collected will be going to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). To learn more about WWP, click the icon to the right.

Please let me know if you intend to join us as this helps me better plan the Adventure. Also, feel free to email me with any questions you might have: chris-roche@comcast.net.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Back from Vacation... almost

We decided to extend our family vacation by a couple days so I'll be back in action tomorrow. Thanks for checking in and I'll have some goodies coming soon. Until then, here is a little pearl that came to me during one of my vacation workouts. It sums up what is at the core of "Bridging the Wellness Gap" and the key to overcoming negative tendencies, habits, and attachments:

"Do what you don't want to do and do it when you don't want to do it."


Sunday, June 14, 2009

On the Road Again...

Holy smokes! How did I allow more than a week to pass without a fresh post? Well... easy, really. I won't bore you with the details, but things have been really hoppin' around the Roche casa the last several weeks.

Early tomorrow, we are hitting the road for a family vacation; heading out to Delaware to spend the week with one of our girls and her husband. It's also going to be a walk down memory lane for me, as we are going to visit where I was stationed while I was in the Coast Guard (lots of emotions around that one, that's for sure).

Our bags are packed and we plan to hit the road bright and early; that may or may not happen, but I'm not sweating it.Most of my gear going on the trip: Running shoes. Chuck Taylor's (for strength and kettlebell sessions), jump rope, reflective vest, stop watch, kettlebell, mat and H2O bottles. These few items, a couple pair of shorts, shirts, hat and sunglasses and I'm good to go for a week on the road. And, yes, we have lots of healthful foods and snacks packed and ready to go. No Excuses!

So, what's my BTWG plan for the week? Well, I planned my training so that this week would hit as a "recovery week". So, I have plans for a few runs, and I'm bringing along one of my kettlebells, a jump rope, and my mat for a few sessions of "fun". I've also planned a couple "free meals" while traveling. Other than that, I'm looking forward to taking my Project experience on the road. I'll let you know how it goes!

While away, I do not know if I will have email access, so if you email, it may be a while before you hear from me : )


Thursday, June 4, 2009

I wanted to share this video with everyone, yet it is especially for those who attended last weeks Project meeting. Enjoy, and I hope this inspires you. The song is "Times" by, Tenth Avenue North, my latest audio addiction (in a good way). Be sure to stick around and listen at around the 2:15 mark.


Monday, June 1, 2009

BTWG "It's a Lifestyle"

Here is another example of why I came up with the BTWG saying, "It's a Lifestyle"...

"Hi Chris!

Well this week, yesterday, my daughter graduated and we had a family celebration at our home. Just a small group as the open house will be at the end of June. Anyway I actually had a glass of wine, tried everything I prepared including an awesome cookie cake and ice cream! I did all of this without guilt and at the end of the day sat down wrote everything I ate in my log, calculated it and came in around my calorie number! Now I can’t say I am proud of all of my choices but I can say that I was comfortable and certainly did not feel like I was “on a diet”…….today I feel fine, the 4 hours of sleep is much more debilitating than yesterdays food choices but all in all I am at peace with the situation. This is big for me!!! This made the day even more special and memorable to know that I can just “be” and my natural instincts will guide me.

Today I will workout, have a planned day of eating and have no regrets; yesterdays indulgences do not sound good today! This defines the lifestyle change I wanted to emerge. I understand it was one day and it can’t be every day but it’s not something I want everyday so it’s all good!!!

Have a great week,


Contentment versus Complacency

Contentment versus Complacency:

I used last Saturday's Project meeting as an opportunity for those attending to reflect on why they applied for the Project in the first place and to recall what they had hoped to experience and to reconnect with what the Project is about - Health, Fitness, and Well-Being. BTWG is about wellness.

"What is wellness to you?" When Margaret asked my perspective on personal wellness, I shared that, for me, it's having the capacity to engage in the activities that I love and enjoy. Currently, this includes participating in ultra running events; participating, rather than winning or being competitive. For me, this is an important pursuit, yet training to be competitive or to win would be extreme and there is no room for extremes in BTWG. Plus, I like being a well rounded "athlete", rather than a specialist. Just last week I was doing dead lifts at 275 pounds and squatting nearly 300. I can promise you that there are few, if any, elite level ultra runners dead lifting and squatting nearly 300 pounds. In fact, I would be surprised if you can find very many that can dead lift or back squat equal to their body weight. The week prior to that included knocking out 500 push ups with my boot camp students, putting in 3 hours on the trail, practicing yoga and sitting still on my meditation cushion. I illustrate this not as a boast, rather as a point of being fit in multiple aspects of fitness and wellness rather than only one or two areas.

I find that wellness is also about having the energy to do my work and training and still having the energy and time to enjoy other aspects of my life such as spending time with my family or going to the playground and being able to chase after our three year old.

Wellness isn't just a lack of dis-ease, it' also ensuring that my risk factors for illness and dis-ease are in check. How is my body fat percentage, resting heart rate, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and sugar levels, etc.? Being out of range in these areas equals a lack of optimal wellness and relects areas to train.

I also look at my scores on the "Life Satisfaction Questionnaire" (a evaluation tool used in the Project); are my stress scores low and my feelings of well-being high? Or, do I have areas to work on?

Wellness extends beyond the physical. True wellness also reflects mental/emotional well-being, relationship well-being, spiritual well-being and even financial well-being. Am I spiritually nourished and engaged in a regular practice? As a Christian, I feel grateful that I have found a church that feeds me and offers me opportunities for service and helping others. This, along with my family network and the wellness community found in BTWG totally satisfies my spiritual and community/social needs. While Jody and I are anything but rich, we are content with where we are, we are learning to be even more disciplined with our finances and becoming better stewards with the blessings we have.

These are just a few of the things I consider qualities of true wellness and I would encourage you to write a list of your own and to see if you are living the life you envision, or are you settling for less.

This brings me to the point: Contentment versus Complacency.

Being content and satisfied is ultimately what we are seeking. Contentment means that I feel nourished, I feel supported, I feel peace, and I am well. It means that I am continually working to sustain balance and making efforts to be at my best, yet I am okay with where I am; I may not be where I need to be for optimal wellness but I do have a plan and I have faith and I have trust.

Complacency relects an "I give up" attitude, or an "I don't care" mindset. In reality, these attitudes are fear-based and keep one from ever experiencing the life God intended them to live. Complacency arises from past defeats, past hurts, seeing others "fail", or being told "you can't", or "you shouldn't" messages. All of this strips away ones authenticity and the power of ones spirit, it creates an environment for disappointment, unsatisfaction and shame. In many ways a life of complacency is an easier life to live than an engaged and active life. Being fat, out of shape, and sedentary is easy, anyone can do it; while the consequences may suck, it's easy to not take a risk or to put forth an effort and just say, "I'll get to it tomorrow", or "Screw that, I'm happy and fine just the way I am". There are millions of excuses one can give while your life and wellness is going to crap.

In my book life is too short to be unhappy, unfit, and unsatisfied. No Excuses!