Monday, May 31, 2010

Caught in the act

Pacato caught me meditating to our home gym this evening.

It was a pretty solid five minutes—definite progress, especially given earlier attempts at evening meditation. I opted for the "I am breathing in, I am breathing out" approach.

Dinner was broiled salmon, raw carrot salad, and steamed asparagus.
My new favorite food blog: (I have a foodie crush on this girl.)

Worked out . . .
with Shivani in the park. The lady demands excellence. Much fun.

Bedtime: imminent.

Until we meet again, blogland. . . .

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In which I give my body and my mind over to Patrick and Chen once more for experimental purposes

When I finished 90 days of the Peak Condition Project, I jumped for joy. I thought, I would definitely do it again for the first time, but NOT for a second time. Then Patrick e-mailed us all about the Kung Fu Body using buzz words like . . . Flexibility! Agility! Meditation! How could a girl say no to transforming her body into a lethal weapon?

But that's not why I signed up.

The real reason I'm here is that my father passed away unexpectedly on April 3. I was on vacation in New Mexico, and the next thing I knew, I was on a plane to North Carolina because my 61-year-old father was in the hospital. My father who didn't look or feel sick. My father who was up walking around and watching the NCAA tournament. Who was talking and laughing with us the whole day. Who was pronounced dead just minutes after we left the hospital because his arteries were a calcified impasse, and he didn't know until it was too late.

When I signed up for KFB a couple weeks later, I was unsure whether I was in the right headspace to maintain such a regimented lifestyle. Sometimes, I'm still not sure. But I believe in the power of food to prevent and heal disease. I believe that if I stay active, my joints, my muscles—my heart—will always be in my corner.

It's not as easy as handing over years of ideas and habits. As having a lightbulb moment and never eating another tortilla chip. Before my father died, I understood that it was important to eat healthy and exercise. But now I finally get it. We really are what we eat.

Everything we consume either contributes to or detracts from the processes that keep our bodies functioning, but our relationships with food can be complicated. It's hard to make the mental transition from eating for pleasure or comfort to eating to sustain our lives—to enhance our lives. Or to work out to keep our muscles working and not just so our pants will fit. But making the choice to change is a no-brainer for me, and that's why I'm here.

I will still trip up. I might bake chocolate chip cookies or have four beers one night and throw up on the train (right, I didn't mention that part Friday.) And I don't believe it's healthy to deprive ourselves completely of the treats we enjoy. The Kung Fu Body has to work in real life. So I am giving my body and my mind over to Patrick and Chen once more for experimental purposes, but I am reserving the right to make my own choices. To eat fewer carbs if I'm not hungry or have some extra fruit if I am. To do fewer punches and kicks if I need more sleep. That's what I believe the mind-body aspect of this program is about. By sitting with our minds, it will grow easier to understand what our bodies really need.

My father couldn't save his own life, but at least he can save mine.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Clearly, I learned nothing from Lili's experience of drinking German beers and having to work out the next morning. For that matter, clearly I learned nothing from my early 20s. I had four beers last night without dinner, fell asleep on the train, and ended up at Avenue U. Where is Avenue U? I have no idea. Just that the train will take you there, but it will not bring you home. Anyway, I'm pretty sure four beers violates both the "no carbs at night" and "no processed food" rules. Clearly I learned nothing about rebellion from my teenage years.

Jumping should be fun.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane . . .

Today I put myself on an internet diet. No wwws unrelated to my current project till 4 pm. I waste so much time checking e-mail, perusing Facebook, and ogling my Google Reader. I use the web as a distraction from writers' block or to stall when I don't feel like getting into a particularly dirty task (like doing my taxes or cleaning the house.) Maybe it's the quiet mind at work, but I got so much done. It was AWESOME.

Lately I feel like superwoman. Not so much the flying (it's only Day 11, y'all) as the checking things off my to-do list. Heinous adult things like calling the insurance company to reconcile a bill. Usually these necessaries sit on my list for weeks, often getting transferred to a new, updated list. But since we've been KFBing, I'm striking things off like gangbusters. I feel inspired . . . and proud of my accomplishments. Maybe it's the new beginning the project represents, or the daily sitting, or the boost of energy from the morning workout, or the getting enough sleep. Maybe it's all of the above.

I did do my meditation this evening instead of in the morning. My mind is more insistent at night. It was hard not to look at the clock.

In other news, it's summer in New York . . . or at least on Sixth Avenue . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hot Box (cont'd)

It's still hot in hurrr . . .
But mainly because the oven has been eager to please tonight. I am officially a Brooklyn cliche. Homemade everything. Now all I need is an upside down window garden and my own podcast.

Behold, my homemade bread and preserves:

Pacato asked if my way around not being able to eat some of this stuff for the next three months was to make my own. Um, maybe.

Fact: I had a slice for dessert. I just couldn't wait till tomorrow to taste the fruit (fiber?) of my hands. It was awesome. And turns out both were super easy. (The preserves were just strawberries plus sugar plus some hot pepper on the stove for 45 minutes or so, then I added a splash of fresh lemon juice. I'm curious to try with agave. I don't know if it will work. Shivani, re: peanut butter, don't think I haven't thought about it. . . .)

Dinner came from Chinatown:

It looks better than it smells.

As for my chest, I guess I pulled a muscle? I had no idea it was possible. I didn't finish my exercises today because it hurts to lean over. Should be ready to rumble tomorrow.

Hot Box

It was, like, a gazillion degrees in my apartment when I was doing my morning workout. I felt like a wrestler. Or one of those people who walks through Prospect Park in a rubber suit. Sweatin' off that weight,  y'all.

A lot of the agility moves we do are similar to capoeira moves. We call the hook a galopante. The side kick is a martelo.

This morning when I was on my second set of side kicks, I got some tightness in my chest that wouldn't go away. It still hasn't gone away, actually. Pacato finally made me stop exercising, so I moved on to meditation. I'll have to come back to the rest later.

On the food front, I was crazy domestic last night. My intention is to make all our bread, so I started last night with a basic sourdough recipe that I'll bake this evening. I also made strawberry preserves and my own version of Early Bird granola. THEN, I cleaned the kitchen.

Pat. On. The. Back.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Standing Jump: 10.5 inches (26.7 cm)

Consecutive Ball Punches: 25

Morning Standing Forward Bend: Fingertips to floor with slight bend in knees; fingertips to tops of toes without bending knees

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 7 (cont'd)

Ten minute meditation is tough stuff!

For the diet next week, I've decided when Patrick says "no processed foods," he doesn't mean locally produced artisanal goodies like Liddabit Sweets or say, Early Bird granola, even if they are in a package. Also, he must not mean wine.

Have a great weekend!

Day 7

Phew! Boy was I glad to realize it was Day 7 after ignoring my alarm this morning. Less to do, less to rush around to get done. I watched a TED talk while I did my wide angle forward bend (the giant computer being the only source of glowing box entertainment in my house).

William Li talks about eating to starve cancer:

Could preventing, lowering our risk for, and fighting cancer be as easy as eating fruits and vegetables?
I choose to believe it's true. We've got nothing to lose, right?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Early Bird strikes again!

I bet you thought this post was going to be about getting up early. Well, it's not! Although, I did rise early this morning to squeeze in my workout—a feat, considering I forgot to take my phone off vibrate. Needless to say, I woke up confused.

No, this post is about Early Bird granola. Sweet and salty and made in Brooklyn, it is the BEST GRANOLA EVER IN THE HISTORY OF GRANOLA. No exaggeration. Behold, its birth.

I'm passing it on to you guys so that maybe I won't eat it anymore. I got that bag to send to my mom, who I didn't even know liked granola. Unfortunately, it ended up in my belly before it made it to the post office. Don't worry, I will buy her more.

In other news, the Dalai Lama is in town and speaking next door at Radio City Music Hall. Therefore, there are a number of monkily clad people in the neighborhood. One of the reasons to love New York: the scenery is never dull.

The other reason, of course, is the granola.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Ye olde planke is back...


Monday, May 17, 2010

On a whim...

Tonight I went to a lecture at the Natural Gourmet Institute about how cooking techniques enhance nutrition. It was pretty interesting. According to macrobiotic counselor Denny Waxman, the way we cook our food not only brings out different nutrients but also affects the quality of energy we get from it.

For example, quick steaming vegetables brings out fiber (might explain all that gas) and also calms the mind. Blanching (my new favorite technique—why steam for 5 minutes when you can blanch for 30 seconds?) enhances water-soluble vitamins (B & C) and clears the mind. Sauteing is great for vigorous physical activity and quick thinking because it brings out protein. Even frying enhances protein and can provide stamina.

He pointed out that everything we eat becomes our blood. I've been thinking a lot lately about healing through nutrition. I've definitely replaced the old attitude of "will this food make me fat?" with "will this food keep me healthy?"

Anyway, an interesting TED talk by Dean Ornish about the power of food to heal:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Opening para...


I already like KFB better than PCP because the first week is all "eat whatever you want!" as long as you reduce your night carbs. Then the workout is just kicks and punches and holding stances and stuff. I feel like a kung fu badass. Also, Patrick mentioned we get more indulgences. Score.

I resent having to count jumps again. I feel like I've been demoted to kindergarten. (Which might actually be fun—definitely more fun than counting jumps. At least kindergarten involves crayons.)

I don't mind counting to 30(1000), etc.,  when we have to hold a stance.

I'm already starting to rebel. At my house, we don't eat carbs much at night anymore, but as soon as I got Patrick's instructions to eat fewer, I was all: CARBS CARBS CARBS CARBS CARBS CARBS HANDFULOFGRAPES CARBS CARBS BANANA CARBS CARBS COOKIEDOUGH CARBS!
Last night, I had the brilliant idea to get Chinese for dinner. Or pad thai! Pacato was all "Um, eat a bowl of noodles much?" And I was all, "Hmmph." So we compromised by sharing some hummus, which I enjoyed with a beet salad. (Incidentally, the hummus was not too salty, as it was during one of my PCP indulgences.) After dinner, I made panzanella for a picnic today, and I liberally taste-tested the bread cubes. Then I went crazy seasoning it with salt. Totally unlike me. And now it's almost too salty to eat. Oops. 

Confession: I don't wait more than 5 seconds between sets. I didn't do it during PCP either, once I figured how much time I could save on my workout. Perhaps KFB will teach me to "be" in that moment, but right now, I'd rather "be" outside or "be" not getting up at 5:30 am every day.

This blog post will be my last comparing KFB to PCP.

I opted for pull-ups instead of incline pull-ups, since I never did find a good at-home solution for the incline. But seeing as how I haven't done anything but jumprope and 8-minute abs in the past couple of months, my back muscles were like, "Are you serious?"

The 5-minute meditation feels like 1 minute. I'm beginning to wonder if I've been falling asleep.

Whenever I catch myself thinking during the meditation, I label it *thought. That's literally what it looks like. Then I watch it float away. I'm not sure who told me about this technique...maybe someone in college or perhaps I read it somewhere. But it's kinda fun. When Pacato and I first started dating, we went to a donation-based meditation class at one of the centers in the city. They did not teach us this technique. But I can't remember what they taught us, so it doesn't matter. That was one of those things where we were like, "Wow, we should really start meditating every day" and then never did it again.

The side leg swing: um? I'm not sure I caught on, but I gave it my best shot. Patrick, you should totally do a short instructional video for all the kung fu moves. I feel confident this is what Mr. Miyagi would have done had he been working remotely with the Karate Kid.

Oh! Speaking of the Karate Kid, look what I found from college:

Incidentally, I didn't see the movie till last year. Pacato was right. I was really missing out. Next up in never-before-seen classic 80s movies: Back to the Future.