So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Life happens. In my other life, I’m an IT manager over a rather large number of individuals in the public sector – so sometimes I get buried in work. This stress has done some fun things to me, meaning I haven’t been losing as much lately. That being said – I’ve stuck to my eating, and will just continue to work the process. Below, I wanted to share some life experiences I’ve had recently as well as one of my newest favorite things to eat.
For me, this was a magical number to hit. I hit 18 miles a few times, but never hit 20. This is on the York County (PA) rail trail. I started at one of my alma maters, York College, and went down to Hanover Junction. If you continue on the trail, it goes into MD another 10 miles down from there. So – maybe next summer??? My goal might be to try and get down to MD and back, which is 40 miles. I might need a different bike for that, and perhaps that goal might be a few years out.
What made this interesting for me, is the day before I put on 11 miles biking at the Reading (PA) rail trail – which is about a mile from my grandmother’s house. I remember as a 14 year old having a 10 speed with the skinny tires – I would ride that back and forth twice, at about 22 miles. So, I have cracked 20 miles before, but that was before I had digital proof, and it was 25 years ago when my body was slighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhtly different.
Of interest, I got a jolting wake up at how enormous I had become yesterday. I read an article on York’s rail trail – and how it was expanding to the north side past Rt30. Well, of interest to me is twofold:
- I live a half mile from the North extension. This means, theoretically, that I could bike from my house to MD without getting on a major highway. I would no longer have to put my bike rack on and drive 15 minutes to access the trail.
- I am the fat guy in the picture in the article. The picture was taken in Sept 2016 – I know this because I had just gotten the blue shorts, I’m using the bike I have now, and the green water bottle I got rid of at Christmas. I had biked only a few times that fall, and the one time it was a lot more overcast. So – I got to see myself 70 pounds before. Mind you, I am not starving myself to lose 70 pounds. I did not run 4 miles a day for 3 months to get this weight off of me. I have put on 20 pounds of muscle, put on 10-15 pounds of water, and shed close to 100 pounds of fat.
Zoodles and meatballs….close to guilt free!!
I love me some spaghetti! It was one of my staples in a former life. I probably could eat pasta 5 times a week. This is also when I was chronically dehydrated, so I would crave the water in pasta, is my guess. Amazingly, since I’ve started drinking a ton of water, and eating healthy, my cravings for pasta have subsided tremendously. That being said, every now and then I do indulge in pasta. Alton Brown recommended to not eat it more than once a week. Since I have my macros at 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat, pasta can drive up the carb count – quickly. So I looked for an alternative:
So yeah – this is relatively guilt free. Zoodles don’t freeze/heat up very well, so I decided to make a ton of meatballs and sauce up, and make zoodles fresh anytime I want the spaghetti and meatballs. To add one level of health, I decided to use ground turkey (93%) to make the meatballs.
One of the handful of followers I have creates gorgeous food pictures. She must be a photographer. I’m some idiot at home cooking and taking pictures with his iPhone to show you potential. I leave the professional photography..to the professionals.
What you see above is:
- Meatballs being formed in about 1 oz balls. I used a 20oz package and used 1 egg for it. Some salt, pepper, onion, chili powder, garlic powder. Bake for 20 mins at 350, check at that time, they should be fine. I used some non-stick spray to ensure they didn’t stick to the foil.
- Get the sauce on, and put on low. The idea then is after the meatballs are cooked, we want to cook them in the sauce for 15-20 minutes to infuse some flavor.
- I “zoodled” about 3-3.5 zucchinis and then placed them in some oil, added some salt and pepper. They take 8-10 minutes, and will have some liquid come out.
- Use a pair of tongs to get your zoodles out, as you will see lots of liquid cook off. Then, plate and add your sauce and meatballs with parmesan cheese. Take the rest of the meatballs and sauce to freeze in measured quantities. Each meatball has a nutritional value. Sauce can be measured by the half cup.
By the way….let me explain something. I used to not have any idea about calories and pasta. Remember, I’m 41 and went through the “low fat” and “non-fat” dieting times, where since pasta had no fat, it was ok to eat. This was well before I new about balancing macros out (use MyFitnessPal to make this super easy).
My pasta dinners…..I would:
- make up a pound of spaghetti. I was generous with some olive oil at the end to keep from sticking.
- Make up sauce. I’d make up from scratch or augment some jar sauce. This usually had 1.5 pounds of ground beef cooked and mixed with the sauce.
- I’d eat roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of all made.
- I’d then also eat 3 pieces of bread with butter on them.
My guess is this was a 2,000-2,500 calorie dinner. It would spike the hell out of my insulin, always making me “too tired” after dinner to exercise. I’d overeat, and the pasta sauce would bother my acid issues, so I would have heartburn and acid reflux. This affected my sleep. I’d be tired, and the next day I’d be trapped in the “too tired” paradox, and end up repeating a lot of behaviors.
This pasta satisfies my pasta cravings – you can get the al dente “bite” you get with pasta, and the sauce and meatballs quickly fill in the flavors you associate with pasta. I could honestly say that my body detected very little difference, and I saved about 1,500-2,000 calories in the process.