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Day 26: I ate goat

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Today was truly an awesome day.  Well, it was an awesome day to experience, hopefully its also an awesome day to read about.

For the first time in at least a year, Jenn and I were able to go to the farmer’s market at St. Phillips.  Thats the same farmer’s market that I went to a few weeks ago and left after five minutes because I am boring.  It was a heck of a lot more fun with Jenn.  The market has nearly doubled in size since we first heard about it 3 years ago, I find that awesome.  There are not only a lot more vendors there, but now they are selling more than just lettuce and honey.  There is all kinds of grass-fed beef, mesquite flour, gluten free tasties, even somebody selling sprouted seeds.  Someone flies up to Alaska every fall and catches a ton of salmon, then freezes them and flies home and sells them.  Its great to see so many different kinds of locally raised and organic options available.

Jenn and I got some great lettuce, carrots, purple onions with long green stalks on them, and some mesquite flour.  Mesquite can be used a bunch of ways in the kitchen, is gluten free, and has an almost chocolate coffee sweet taste to it.  Organizations like Desert Harvesters collect what is cast off in our neighborhoods and grind it up.  If you are non-local and want to try some, go to mesquiteflour.com.  They are a southern Arizona company, and they can ship to anywhere.  We put it on some steaks last night as a flavor rub, and it was awesome.

Also at the market, we got to taste grass-fed goat.  I was astonished by how much I liked it.  The nice lady from Van Haren Meat Company was there selling her local product.  Realizing that the best way to draw in customers is to give away samples, she had a slow cooker of goat shoulder roast going that had just been salt, pepper and garlicked.  So very mild seasoning.  Jenn and I were hesitant, at first deciding to split a sample.  Jenn took a taste, and I was immediately told to get my own.  The flavor really is very similar to beef.  It had only a tiny hint of the gaminess that tends to mar non cow animals.  I have tried lamb many times and can barely eat it.  Goat I would eat knowingly and gladly.  I will probably order some in the future, as soon as I work through the ton of meat I got from Dickman’s.  I can already think of a bunch of ways to cook it, and its super healthy for you.  I was so glad I got the chance to taste it.

Breakfast:

2 cups coffee with cream and cane sugar

Lunch:

Round Steak

Grilled Purple Onions

Salad

The round steak we got from Dickman’s was incredibly tender for what cut it is.  We cooked it with mesquite rub and salt and pepper and it was awesome.  We also through the purple onions on the grill just like they do in Spain.  The outer layer chars up nice, and the inside cooks it its juices.  You just peel off the outside, and scarf.

Dinner:

1 small bowl of salt and pepper pistachios

Fruit Smoothie

We made the rest of our strawberries and bananas into smoothies last night.  We made them with more bananas this time, and they were even tastier.  I will have to keep fruit in the house just for that.

Weight: 233

I feel like I am going to start losing again in the next few days.  I can usually tell, so hopefully this takes me to 230.

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Day 25: Long Weekend

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I didn’t have much opportunity to be tribal today.  In fact, I didn’t really have any.  I had to work, and it was my last day before a nice long weekend.  So I didn’t really push myself.  I mainly went to work, came home, and relaxed.  I know I will get lots of chances over the next few days to learn and grow, so there was no need to cram them in while exhausted.

I did get to pick up my meat package from Dickman’s yesterday.  I got 44lbs of totally awesome meat, for about $3.50 a pound.  My decent sized chest freezer went from damn near empty, to actually containing some goodness.  That should help cut my food outlay down quite a bit for the next month or so.  Nothing is worse than me going in hungry every few days and buying more than I need.  When I was there I saw them get very busy, and a bunch of packages were being carried out.  It was good to see a local business getting that much attention.  If we all shopped that way it would be a more interesting city.

Breakfast:

2 cups of coffee with cane sugar and cream

Jenn pointed out, while drinking coffee yesterday, that the pasture raised cream that we were drinking tastes different than the regular kind.  Its still not as good as the raw milk, but it does have some of that “grassy” flavor that you expect from natural.

Lunch:

Skip

Dinner:

2 jalapeño cheddar brat patties

3 strips maple bacon

1 grilled onion

1 Giant heap of salad with sour cream and organic chipotle ranch dressing.

Jenn had an awesome dinner waiting for me, and an even more kick ass desert.  We had an awesome selection of grilled breakfast meats that were great.  The organic onions once again cooked up even better than the regular kind.  Lastly, colored peppers must be in season, because the yellow peppers we got for our salad were awesome.

Lastly, Jenn made awesome smoothies for desert.  I will list the recipe below, but suffice it to say, I could have drunk a gallon of them.

1/2 pound good strawberries (the small ones taste better)

1 banana

Silk Coconut milk

Ice

Blend till smooth

Drink the crap out of it.

Weight: 235

My weight seems to have plateaued for now, but I will start losing again once my shape catches up.

Day 24: Value is hiding, you just have to look.

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You would never assume that running around on domestic errands yesterday would be fun, but it was.  It was good to have Jenn back in the house, and the house certainly needed some refilling.  Now I have food again, beyond the next 48 hours anyway.  My birds and my herd of yard rabbits also now have food.  I got a mirror hung up in our bedroom that has needed to go up for a long time.  It was good to get up off of my butt and be useful.  I also discovered two hidden values in the last day.

The first hidden value is my butcher shop.  Now, you might ask how the hell that could possibly be hidden since all I have done for the last three weeks is talk about how much I loved it.  Well, I do, but they have better product than even they realize.  When I first started going, I asked if they carried pastured chicken and pork.  I had seen grassfed beef in the freezer, but none of the other. I was informed that they didn’t.  That struck me as a little odd, especially given the quality of everything they had.   Either way, I still loved it and I moved on.

I had been purchasing lots of beef and pork, and I had noticed how much pinker the pork is there than in the store.  Last night was the tipping point.  Jenn and I bought a chicken.  Which she cooked beautifully.  In addition, it turned out to be a pastured chicken, and we didn’t even know.  It was a bit smaller than a regular fryer, which was a sign.  It also had a completely different texture and flavor, and it was amazing.  It had an extra think layer of fat under the skin, and the white meat wasn’t a lot lighter than the dark.  It was truly amazing.  You owe it to yourself to go try one.  The best part is, I found a supplier of pastured food, and they don’t even know they could be charging a hell of a lot more for it.

The second hidden value I found, is the value of sitting down to dinner with family.  In the nine years that I have been married, I think Jenn and I have used our kitchen table together about 10 times.  At least without other people in the house its that rare.  Well Jenn and I have decided to start eating at the table together now, and its awesome.  It really does give you a chance to forge a better connection.  I can only imagine how something like this affects us on a cultural scale.  We all need that time that we can be together and talk.  If we are filling that void with TV, instead of sharing a communal meal, what all are we missing out on?  I am enjoying it, and I think its something that should be more common.

Breakfast:

Coffee with cream and cane sugar

Lunch:

1 Pork chop

Cottage cheese

Salad

I wasn’t really hungry at lunch time, but I figured it would be good to eat.  Some leftovers hit the spot.

Dinner:

1/2 Chicken

Salad

Yogurt w/ preserves

The chicken was epic.  Cut the chicken in half.  Pan fry in coconut oil until golden brown.  Season with garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper.  Put in the oven for about 35 minutes.  It will be awesome, crispy and juicy.  It was great.

Weight: 235.

Day 23: Boss Visit

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Today was a stressful day, but it was a necessary hurdle to pass in order to get to my nice long weekend.  Anytime your boss visits, its an inherently stressful situation.  When you boss brings his boss, its doubly so.  Although, in this case, the big boss was actually pretty cool.  His feedback on the store was valid, and he is from Portland.  Thus we shared a lot of common perspective on food and growing locally.  Although he clutters it up by feeling it overly necessary to exercise.  I will never get on that band wagon.  I did learn pretty quickly that it was easy to get him side tracked by talking about coffee or food.  Handy tools to have in the arsenal.

I also discovered a new joy, that I most certainly wouldn’t have appreciated a few years ago.  Makers Mark whiskey.  Jenn was super thoughtful and brought me back a hand waxed bottle from Kentucky.  She actually got to tour the distillery where they make it, and she learned all about it.  Its a mark of my adult taste buds that I actually liked it with just some ice in it.  Its not something to drink everyday, well technically you shouldn’t drink anything every day, but it was pretty damn good.  It was certainly a welcome diversion after a tough day.  It helped get the kinks out of my shoulders.

Breakfast:

1 cup of coffee with cream and cane sugar

I only had time for one cup of coffee this morning.  Boo.

Lunch:

1 whole milk latte with raw sugar

Hey, the big boss was buying, I would be a fool not to.  There is a new local coffee shop in my mall, he loved it.  He might be a boss, but at least he knows what food is about.

Dinner:

1 pork chop

Asparagus

grilled onions

I once again had my nose rubbed in how much sweeter organic onions are than the poisoned ones.  Also, it was good to have asparagus again, since apparently I can’t cook it on my own.  Pork chops where super simple, just salt and pepper, and they were awesome.  Can’t wait to go on a food exploration trip this weekend with Jenn.

Weight: 234

Day 22: Homecoming

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Jenn officially made it home safe and sound last night, which makes me incredibly happy.  I will now, in all likelihood, adapt the Jon Acuff “Quitter” Method to the morning times.   OK, technically most of these were written in the morning anyway, but morning will now mean 7:00am ish instead of between midnight and 1am.  That type of writing schedule is much less considerate of others than simply getting up early.

The last 24 hours have been very rough for me and my family, nothing critical, but much of it stressful.  So today’s post will be fairly brief.  I should get back on track in the next few days.  If anyone reads this and could throw a prayer our way, Jenn and I would both appreciate that.

On a more positive note, today going forward I get to share my paleo journey with Jenn, who has agreed to join me in my crazy hippieness.  It will be even more fun to walk this road with someone else.  Also, since she hasn’t seen me in 3 weeks, she was able to confirm that I am looking much leaner.  I am still paunchy and doughy, but my belly is shrinking quite a bit.  Maybe one day I won’t have one.  Our bodies have a truly amazing ability to repair themselves, if only we can give them the right fuel.

As I was running around yesterday getting ready for Jenn’s homecoming, I realized that the house screws itself up while you aren’t looking.  I realized that despite my best efforts to keep it clean, dust had managed to coat everything.  I also realized that my fridge was empty.  So I ran out to the store on the way home from work, and bought enough food to actually sustain somebody who couldn’t leave to go get food.  We have enough to get us through to Friday.  Then I get to introduce Jenn to Dickman’s meats.

Breakfast:

Coffee with cream and cane sugar

I felt like I was running in quicksand this morning, so I only had time for one cup of coffee.  That didn’t help the quicksand feeling.

Lunch:

Small Bowl Cottage Cheese

Technically I had a small bowl

Dinner:

Two burgers

two strips of bacon

Heap of salad.

Yeah, thats right, a heap of salad.  Also, my burgers were amazing.  If you want a kick ass burger, the key is to season it all the way through.  I don’t measure, but here is my recipe:

2 lbs ground beef

Chili Powder

Cumin

Curry Powder

Red Devil Hot-sauce

Don’t be afraid when seasoning.  Apply with a heavy hand.  Mix it all together really good with your hands in a bowl.  Most of the actual heat will burn off in the cooking process.  All that will be left is a tasty deliciousness.  It went really good with the apple smoked bacon I grilled with it.  Tasty.  Enjoy.

 

Day 21: Last Night Alone

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This isn’t going to flow in any kind of narrative, so I am just going to put this right up front at the beginning.  Please consider supporting a group that I have become very fond of, Bella Medical Ministries.  These guys are survivalists in the truest sense of the word, and use it to help others.  They deploy everywhere from Joplin after the tornado, to Haiti.  They go in with all of their own supplies, and place no extra strain on the situation. They have medical training to help those in need, and they can save a person’s life for just a few dollars.  For a more detailed interview on what they do, listen to this episode of the survival podcast.  There are two ways you can help.  First, you can go to their site and donate.  I did.  If you can’t, or don’t want to, please just go to their Facebook page linked above and just click like.  This costs you nothing, and allows Bella to get corporate sponsorships.  Its like using someone else’s money to help people.  If more of us followed God’s word to watch out for our fellow man, we could put the government out of business.

I told you that wouldn’t flow, but it is extremely important to me.

Tonight is also my last night as a bachelor.  I am so incredibly happy about that.  I really just do not do well on my own.  I miss having my best friend around to share things with.  Fortunately, we discovered her flight gets in about two hours earlier than we thought it would, so we actually get to spend some time together tomorrow evening.  Then I just have one INCREDIBLY stressful day at work, and I can ease into a nice long weekend.  Woo.

Today was probably the smallest amount of food I have eaten in a long time.  I was too tense about a presentation I was supposed to do at work, and I didn’t feel like eating.

Breakfast:

2 cups of coffee with cream and sugar

Lunch:

Nothing

Dinner:

4 strips of bacon

1 tomato and pepper jack omelette

1/2 container of vanilla yogurt

Apple Juice

Now admittedly, I have eaten a ton of eggs lately.  I would probably have made something else, except I forgot that closing means I got out of work after the butcher was already closed.  So it was either get sub-par meat, or make do with what I had.  I have to say, this was the best batch of eggs I have had in a long time.  4 eggs, about 8 diced cherry tomatoes and a heavy dose of cream.  Mix it all together, and pour into hot bacon pan.  It cooked up like a dream.

Weight: 234 right before dinner.  Don’t even want to know right now.

Politics is not the solution, People are.

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I am no longer a political junkie.  Nor will I ever be a political blogger, so before you click screaming from this post.  Hear me out.  This isn’t about which clown will take the oath he intends to break before he steps down off the platform.  This is about why things are going to have to change, and why that change has made my life better.  I bet if you look for these examples in your own life, you will find them too.

We are, at least in America, hip deep in the latest election cycle.  By the way, that cycle apparently starts immediately after the inauguration, since people have been lining up to run since 2008.  Well, actually its the same people that ran in 2008, but that proves my point.  With all of these clowns running, when was the last time you heard anything different from them?  More importantly, when you heard something different, when was the last time anything changed?  Do we really believe that going out and punching a button next to a D or an R will make a difference?  Judge Andrew Napalitano spells this out better than I ever could.  I heard the audio the other day, but I had to link to the video instead.  Personally I find the video distracting, but his speech is spot on.  Whether you agree with him or not, its worth the 5:00 to listen.

So why did I just say I don’t care about politics, and then talk about it?  Because it was the easiest way to illustrate a point.  We as a people, are told to isolate ourselves more and more away from “the others”.  We are trapped into believing that there are only ever two sides to each issue.  Do we tax the rich, or do we throw old people into the landfill?  Do we bomb Syria, or will Hezzbollah run rampant down the streets of New York?  Do we drill oil directly through a caribou skull, or do we ban all cars and plastic entirely?  Do we ban recreational drugs, or will our youth all curl up in a ball in the basement listening to Pink Floyd?  We are trapped in the great lie of dichotomy (a little over an hour, good to listen to on a commute).

Those examples are all extreme, and you can see right through them.  How many in your life can’t you see through?  I myself was one of the biggest culprits of this.  I believe God gives us the ability to see right from wrong, and to me those two extremes shall never meet.  My moral compass is black and white.  What I have learned though, is that people are not.  I thank God for bringing me to Tucson.  It was here that I learned that although a persons actions can be judged, the people themselves are more fluid.

Here in Tucson I learned that hippies have some awesome ideas about food.  Local and natural really is better.  I learned that not all Muslims want to blow up schools full of children.  I am in fact good friends with one.  I learned that not all potheads are lazy.  One in fact started his own company and works harder than I do.  I learned that Republicans can be just as bad at running a government as democrats.  I was forced to expose myself to new types of people, and that changed my perspective on myself and everyone else.

Reach out to others that you would normally shun.  Worst case scenario, you have a fruitless conversation.  I believe deep down, despite whats on the surface, we are all Libertarians.  I will prove that later this week.  Instead of focusing on the 10% where we disagree.  Focus on the 90% we have in common.  There is a very thin thread between a commune hippy and a survivalist.  Maybe instead of hating each other, we can share rain water harvesting techniques.  If you just spend time in your little box, the walls will start to close in on you.  When we demonize each other, the only ones who win is government.  Just ask the Untermenschen in the corner.

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