Wednesday, August 24, 2011


My schedule this semester is going to be interesting. The good thing about it is that I'm on campus at 9 am at the latest every day. Another good thing is that I'm done before noon every day, and if I don't feel like being a superstar and auditing a physics class, I'm done by 11. This is the perfect schedule to then go to the office and get a couple of hours of work in and still get home at an early time.

And it also gives me the perfect opportunity to bring my lunch to school and have plenty of time to eat it. I don't know how that last part relates to my schedule, but that was my train of thought at the moment. Mostly, I need to stop buying lunch on campus when I can bring something more nutritious and significantly cheaper.

And the perfect lunch that won't spill from my tupperwate into my backpack that also doesn't require immediate refrigeration is...SALAD! Actually, I came to the idea of salad because I'm in love with balsamic vinegar at the moment, but whatever. I need to eat more vegetables in general so this is perfect.

I was never one to like salad because I didn't think it filled me up enough (and I REALLY don't like lettuce). I still have that concern today so I turned to the interwebs for some answers.

After much searching, I found the sentence that somewhat summarizes what makes a salad filling. Essentially, what you need is a "little meat or fish, like chicken or tuna salad, or salads that incorporate hearty grains, or beans or pasta."

But my favorite was still the first result of my "filling salad ingredients" Google search:
Salads That Will Fill You Up on

Yes, please! If it's good enough for a dude, then I think I'll like it. Here is my favorite of the four listed:

Filling salad 2: Niçoise salad 

1/2 head Boston lettuce leaves
1/2 pound green beans, lightly steamed
1/2 cup vinaigrette (mixture of olive oil, the vinegar of your choice, and a squeeze of mustard)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1-2 red potatoes, peeled, sliced, and boiled in water until cooked
1 3-oz can chunk tuna or 1 cooked tuna steaks
3 hard-boiled eggs, halved
1 red onion
1 can of anchovies
1/3 cup small black Niçoise-type olives
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp shallots
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley

Put the lettuce in a shallow bowl. Toss the beans with the shallots, a couple spoonfuls of vinaigrette, and salt and pepper. Baste the tomatoes with a spoonful of vinaigrette. Cook and slice the potatoes and arrange them with the beans, tomatoes and tuna in the center of the plate. Ring the platter with halves of hard-boiled eggs. Spoon vinaigrette over everything; scatter on olives, capers, parsley, and serve. This should make about three servings.

Fullness factor:
The complexities in taste will trick your mouth into believing you’re eating a huge seafood dinner. The tuna, especially when using the tuna steak option, and hard-boiled eggs provide a heavy protein base. The salty anchovies and starchy potatoes make this a satisfying, well-rounded meal, but each ingredient is so simple and healthy on its own that you never end up veering into unhealthy territory.

I'm not a fan of anchovies or olives so those will have to be omitted, but other than that this sounds amazing. Now I wonder if cold tuna steak is just as good as warm tuna steak...

I found another version that added and/or substituted the following for the eggs and olives, for 2-3 servings:
6 cups mixed salad greens (instead of Boston lettuce leaves)
1/2 small cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
12 small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 2-inch pieces

Another option that was suggested by Wikipedia is canned tuna, so that may be my back-up plan.

And here's another "filling salad" simply because I crave BBQ chicken sometimes:

Filling salad 4: Barbecue chicken salad

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can sweet corn, drained
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 tbsps nonfat mayonnaise

Broil the chicken in your oven for 10 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Remove from heat, cool and cut into cubes. Toss together the chicken, celery, red bell pepper, onion, and corn. In another bowl, mix the barbeque sauce and mayonnaise. Pour over the chicken and veggies. This makes about four servings.

Fullness factor: When you’re craving barbecue but don’t want the calories or the hassle, this salad will really save you. In around 30 minutes, you can make as delicious a dish as most restaurants. It’s easy, healthy, and the chicken really fills you up. This is a salad any man can feel good about eating and not worry about looking like a rabbit.

A side note: you can substitute Fage Fat-Free Greek Yogurt for the mayonnaise and it will be just as tasty but much less calorific. In fact, Fage works as a substitute for mayo in all cases, except when you need to bake with it. In that case, I can't help you.

Oh, and all the canned stuff in these recipes can definitely come from non-canned sources, which is what I plan on doing. I'm just going to make something for dinner the night before that incorporates the canned ingredients and make them in excess for salad the next day (like corn).

This is the start of me trying to make my lunch from leftovers. It's a difficult thing for me to do since up until about a year ago, I never ate leftovers. They still gross me out, but I don't like cooking every day more than I don't like eating leftovers. Lesser of two evils, I suppose.

I've also found a great salad dressing from delish and Food & Wine:
Creamy Feta Vinaigrette - Serve with Mixed Grilled Vegetables
Brush thickly sliced zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and onions with olive oil. Grill until tender and browned. Serve warm, topped with the dressing.

Anywhos, for now, I have plenty of delicious meat from home to make some awesome sandwiches for the next week or so, but after that I'm totally making salad. Chicken or tuna salads are also on the menu for the colder months.

And lastly, I finally pumped up the tires on my junk commuter bike and they were at 15 psi. They should be at 65. That explains why it's been so hard to go anywhere. And here I thought I was just grossly out of shape.

P.S. In my search for delicious salads, I stumbled upon a blog that has some great ideas, called 101 Cookbooks. Here are the ones I'm planning on trying:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

One hundred pushups

Wow, I can't believe it's been this long since I last posted. I can legitimately blame my silence on being busy with summer classes, but really it's all about laziness and choosing to be lazy instead of active.

I'm currently sitting at home in California hanging out with my parents and as I usually do when I'm here, I've made a commitment to do something about my weight. Why do I always say that when I'm home? Well, it's because my parents aren't shy about telling me I'm fat. They never have been and I'm sure even if/when I get thin, they'll still have something to say about it. Every phone conversation involves my weight, so I'm not surprised that every day at home has at least one mention of losing weight.

Anywhos, today I did the initial test for the one hundred pushups program to see where I stand. It's a 6-week program that has you doing pushups in sets three times a week, with the volume increasing gradually. I really don't like the way my upper arms look in the mirror and this seems like the perfect way to get them toned, as well as work on my core strength.

I think I can do 2 perfect form pushups at the moment (and that's being optimistic), which is well below where I'd like to be, so I'm going to start with the girly pushups that have you on your knees and are generally easier. (P.S. Why do are girly push-ups the ones you do on your knees? Am I the only one that has a dirty mind?) I got 19 today before crapping out, so I'm not discouraged by my number and probably won't need to repeat a week in my quest to do 100 of them by the end of the six weeks. I really don't like having to redo weeks because that makes me quit so I thought I would start with the easy form of pushups and go from there. Once I get to 100 on my knees, I'll try real ones and do the program again. I'm pretty weak right now in my back, and my shoulders keep popping so I don't want to hurt myself.

Also, since I haven't posted in so long, I also haven't mentioned that I severely hurt my wrist about 2 months ago during Tough Mudder Colorado. After many tests and doctors' visits, it turns out I just have a really bad sprain. And since then I've learned that the wrist is a very useful joint. Most importantly and disappointedly (not a word, I know), this injury has kept me off the bike for most of the summer. Bummer! It's also forced me to modify the pushups to knuckle pushups since I still can't fully bend my wrist, but this form will apparently strengthen it and my forearm as a side-effect so it's not too bad.

Back to the bike-related front, now that the wrist splint has come off after 6 weeks of immobilization, when I get back to Colorado by the end of the weekend I intend to hop on my bike and get some miles under my wheels. I've missed it too much! And since I've been instructed to return to normal activity, I fully intend to follow doctor's orders for once. (I could've biked one-handed prior to that, but I didn't feel comfortable only having use of one brake.)

That is that. I'll keep you posted on the pushup program. I've decided that the best time to do it is as soon as I get home from a run, which is the other ambitious program I'm restarting, since the motivation for exercise will already be there. That's assuming I get out the door in the first place, but the regular school year will be much more chill than summer session and I'm hoping I'll get into a good routine that's not so frantic.

213.5 lbs