So today I said goodbye to McDonald’s. Not really because it is a food love but because it is… was… a convenience love. My son and I often stopped there after I picked him up from the gym on Saturdays. And in case you were wondering, I used a whole TON of salt on those fries because salt is a food group and not a spice!! Only 32 hours left to cram in some good (bad) eats!!!

In my quest to make the most out of my remaining time as a free eater I took this chance to eat one last time at the Brazilian Sandwich shop by the office. I must say, the satisfaction I am deriving from these “cheats” is ever diminishing. Perhaps it is because I was halfway to eating well (low calorie though wrong form). Now I just feel over full, lethargic and uncomfortable. Fear not though, I will cheat at least once more in a big way. I am going out with a BANG!!

Well, last nights party was a smash, I think… To be honest I can clearly remember only the beginning. The last thing I can recall before the rest is shrouded in a carb and dairy induced haze was heading off with that sexy little glass of milk. I woke this morning in a tangle of sheets, stumbled out of bed bleary eyed (and honestly a bit bloated) and turned on the light in the kitchen only to be confronted with the horror from the nights debauchery. On the crumb covered counter was a griddle covered in congealed butter that reflected the light in a dirty rainbow reminiscent of an oil slick. The trash was over flowing with the little paper separators that are designed to keep your cheese in isolation in the package so that you can be assured of their purity. The refrigerator was hanging open, its wan light a sorry counterpoint to my sensitive sleep filled eyes. The sink was filled with its own horrors – bowls with a rim of tomato soup coagulated like blood on the shoes of a CSI tech, paper plates with the now indelible mark of the blade I used to savagely cut my grilled cheese, glasses with a coating of milk on the bottom that had dried like the paint at the bottom of a can left in the sun. The Coup de Grace, the knife I vaguely remembered wielding in my best impression of Jason from the horror series Halloween. It still had a hunk of salami on its tip that drew the eye and served as judge, juror and executioner. Just when I thought I was beaten as low as I could be by the debauchery of the night before I noticed my cat over by the stove with his back to me. I cautiously approached him to see what he was so intent on. He slowly turned his head and looked back at me with feral eyes like those of Church, the cat that returned from death in The Pet Cemetery. Not heading the signs I continued forward to satisfy my curiosity and was confronted with irrefutable proof of my crime. There on the counter where my wife bakes cookies for our children, where many a family meal has been made with love, where my daughter washes her hands after making the numerous objects of affection that adorn my office and where my sins lay under the harsh light of the new day on which my cat was gnawing on, daring me to try and stop him. It was the skeletal remains of the final grilled cheese wedge that escaped my carnivorous rampage only to serve as evidence that I need to make a change and that if I continue down the path I am on, I face the real possibility that one day I could find myself on a lifetime channel show about how America is eating its way into an early grave and how obesity is becoming the new norm. I take this all in and let it strengthen my resolve that starting Monday I embark on a journey of change and self discovery. But until then I am still the weak man with an obsession and a countdown. Only 3 more days to enjoy my old life. Armed with that knowledge I vow not to go without a fight. I will take these last 3 days to prepare myself while sewing my few remaining wild oats. Though it sicken me to do so, I WILL eat pasta one last time. I WILL go to Starbucks this morning and buy my last large iced coffee and I WILL have at least one doughnut washed down with milk so cold it threatens to shatter my teeth. Then I will say goodbye to the me of today and embrace the me of tomorrow.

So with only a few days to go before the challenge starts I have decided to treat those bad foods I love like the prized possessions of an eccentric terminal patient who throws a big party so that he can enjoy them one more time before gifting them to others. Today I bid farewell to grilled cheese. We had a grand party. Of course grilled cheese was there but I also invited some salami to the party. Tomato soup (processed with much salt) crashed the party and before I knew it, a big glass of milk was trying to drag me off to the coat room. I was weak. I admit, we partied. It meant nothing to me though. I don’t intend to call them in the morning and am sure that soon they will find someone new to spend their evenings with while snuggle up to my new love, bell pepper slices…

Today I begin my journey as a paleo eater and more difficult to believe, a cook… Below are the results of my first paleo shopping trip. This was much harder than I thought. So much I had to say no to. I plan to try Marce’s Sweet Potato Chili and Eggplant Medley. Got some extra stuff to experiment with too…

So, for those that don’t know me, or just don’t know, I joined a Crossfit gym last May.  I have been going regularly and am averaging 4-6 times per week.  I ahve to say, I am loving it, from the challenge to the change.  I have seen drastic improvement in my strength and ability and a general slimming accoss the board.  Now it has been nearly 5 months since I joined and I am looking for the next big PUSH for my body.  Enter the LuRong Paleo Crossfit Challenge…

 

My gym has decided to try to field the minimum 20 challengers for this 9 week Paleo event.  They describe it better than I  do:

Welcome to The LuRong Living Paleo Challenge, Your Catalyst for Making Real and Measurable Lifestyle Changes.

Our nationwide challenge is about life-transformation through education, nutrition, and fitness. It is time to take control of your health, diet, and performance. Whether you are just beginning the journey for better health, or an elite athlete looking to break your PR’s, you owe it to yourself to take the LuRong Paleo Challenge. No more excuses and no regrets. Improve yourself, impact the world around you, and win some serious prizes! Now is the time!

This is the first Nationwide Paleo Challenge that gives people of all experience levels a chance to win. The comprehensive scoring is based on 3 major components: WOD performance, diet, and improvements. Compete both as an individual and for your Affiliate Team.

Being a team player and looking for a challenge, I decided to join.  Part of the support system supplied by my fellow team members is a private Facebook Group where we share ideas, thoughts and complaints.  I tend to be a bit wordy and like to turn a phrase.  Some of my fellow teammates suggested I pull some of the better posts out for posterity.  These blog posts are excerpts from my Facebook Group.

 

I hope you enjoy!

Shortly after I moved here, I discovered an interesting phenomenon.  I have concluded, after much observation, that things rot differently in India.  Food rots from the inside-out here.

On several occasions, I would buy perfect-looking potatoes from the little market, only to cut them open to find that the inside was completely brown.  The skin would look just fine, there was no indication that anything was amiss.

Same thing with apples…nice, red apple, no soft spots to be found, only to reveal a soft, mealy center upon cutting.

Just when I got used to this strange thing happening with my apples and potatoes, a new vegetable decided to join the elite group of inside-out rotting.

Behold, the Green Pepper….

It looked good from the outside.  Green, firm, shiny… offering no warning of the horror that awaited inside.

Perhaps its a sign?  A symbol of our moral decay?  Maybe its just an omen meant for me alone.  Or maybe, in India, even the vegetables are a little different.

The drivers here in Hyderabad are a peculiar sort.  As we’ve mentioned in the past, the driving is a nightmare.  There seems to be virtually no laws or rules, save for one:  Always keep going.

Don’t stop for people, they’ll jump out of the way.  Don’t swerve for dogs…they are nimble enough (except for those hobbling along on 3 legs…they didn’t quite make the cut).  Swerve for the water buffalo, because they will dent your car, but always find a tiny space to squeeze through in the middle of the herd…they don’t seem to get too angry if you cut them off. Don’t worry if you are surrounded by other cars on all sides…you can always find space to squeeze into…just keep going!

However, when there are 2 cars wanting to go in opposite directions on the very same part of the road, there is trouble.  A little game of “chicken” commences, with both of them trying to veer into the empty space at the same time.  This inevitably results in the two cars facing each other, bumper to bumper, with nowhere to go.  The mad honking and gesturing begins, as if whoever can lay on the horn the loudest or longest will magically be awarded with a little bridge over the other car.  Of course, no little bridge appears, and the cars will stay like that for many uncomfortable moments, until one of them surrenders and veers off, nearly scraping the side of his enemy in the process.

My driver happens to be one of the more stubborn ones.  I am not certain that I have ever seen him back down in one of these exchanges.  In fact, I swear he tries to get in those situations.  A car will be coming toward us.  Due to cows or people or broken-down auto rickshaws, there is only room for one to go through.  Any sensible person would pull over and let the other car through, seeing that two cannot possibly fit, but not our driver.  He plows ahead as if he is driving a presidential limo, and everyone must move out of his way.  When the other driver does not comply, he starts gesturing wildly and mumbling, and tapping his head in a universal sign meaning “This other driver is obviously stupid and/or mentally unstable”.

As you might imagine, I am not too fond of these little exchanges.  I sit and stare dumbly ahead, pretending that I’m oblivious to what is going on beside me.  I keep expecting, at any moment, to have the other driver jump out and start pounding on our car.  Luckily, that hasn’t happened.  Eventually, everyone just seems to move out of the way.  Perhaps what I see as the universal symbol for “idiot” is actually some sort of sign language for “get outta my way or this mute western woman beside me will crack your head open like a ripe coconut!”  Who knows?

Anyway, today, when I experienced this yet another time, I thought of a poem by Dr. Seuss.  It is very fitting in this situation, as it seems to sum up the attitude of our driver (and many Indian drivers) perfectly.  Enjoy!

The Zax

One day, making tracks
In the prairie of Prax,
Came a North-Going Zax
And a South-Going Zax.

And it happened that both of them came to a place
Where they bumped.  There they stood.
Foot to foot.  Face to face.

"Look here, now!" the North-Going Zax said, "I say!
You are blocking my path.  You are right in my way.
I'm a North-Going Zax and I always go north.
Get out of my way, now, and let me go forth!"

"Who's in whose way?" snapped the South-Going Zax.
"I always go south, making south-going tracks.
So you're in MY way!  And I ask you to move
And let me go south in my south-going groove."

Then the North-Going Zax puffed his chest up with pride.
"I never," he said, "take a step to one side.
And I'll prove to you that I won't change my ways
If I have to keep standing here fifty-nine days!"

"And I'll prove to YOU," yelled the South-Going Zax,
"That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax
For fifty-nine years!  For I live by a rule
That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School.
Never budge!  That's my rule.  Never budge in the least!
Not an inch to the west!  Not an inch to the east!
I'll stay here, not budging!  I can and I will
If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!"

Well...
Of course the world didn't stand still.  The world grew.
In a couple of years, the new highway came through
And they built it right over those two stubborn Zax
And left them there, standing un-budge in their tracks.

There is an interesting custom here in India that I am growing to really dislike.  It seems that every time there is a party of any sort, there are a plethora of balloons involved.  While I’m used to parties that have lots of decorations with balloons as an accent, here, balloons seem to be the decorations exclusively.  People are hired to come in and put up the balloons, always in a distinctive 4-balloon pattern that looks like a tripod of three balloons with another balloon sticking off the top.  These are stuck on the walls and ceiling and every available space.

Now, comes the bad part.  Shortly after the party starts (we’re talking 10 minutes tops), the popping begins.  Each and every kid arms themselves with a toothpick or fork or pin or whatever they can find, and goes off on a balloon popping frenzy.  Generally, 30 minutes into the party, there is not a balloon in sight, as each and every one has been popped.  The noise is deafening, as you might imagine.  The kids are relentless in the pursuit of balloons to pop, and adults become willing accomplices, pulling the balloons off the walls and ceiling for them if they can’t reach.

The first time they encountered this, our kids were reduced to tears, as they watched the balloon they were batting in the air snatched and popped before their eyes.  They have tried hiding them with us wherever we are sitting, but the others just come and pull them right off the table in front of it.  There’s just no fighting it.

The last party we went to saw Ender finally join in the popping.  I guess he’s adjusting.  I’ll just have to remind him not to do it in the US…I don’t think his friends (or their parents) would appreciate it.