Friday, February 26, 2010

What is for Lunch Today?

People often ask me, "what is for lunch today?" Well this is my answer for today. Recipes Included!

Lunch Menu

1 – Spinach Salad with Brocolli, Carrots, Onion, Tomato, and Avocado

2 – Chicken with Stewed Onion Pepper and Tomato

3 – Steamed Brussel Sprouts

4 – Riceless Sushi???

Steamed Brussel Sprouts

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Olive Oil to taste
  • Salt to taste

Steam the Brussel Sprouts for 10 minutes or so, then add olive oil and salt to taste.


  • 1 Chicken Breast (Large)
  • 1 Large Tomato
  • ¼ to ½ Red Onion
  • ½ Green Pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • ½ tbsp Coconut Oil

Defrost chicken, and heat pan with coconut oil. Add chicken breast to coconut oil and cook on one side for 3 minutes. Add onions to pan while chicken is cooking. Flip the chicken over and add tomatoes, and bell pepper. Get a good stir fry going and season to taste with Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper, Oregano, and Garlic Powder. Put a lid over the pan for 3 minutes. At this point the chicken should be cooked through and the veggies stewing nicely. Remove lid, re-season and evaporate unwanted moisture if necessary.

Riceless Sushi (makes 2 rolls)

  • 2 sheets Nori
  • ½ Roma Tomato
  • 2 Mini Carrots
  • ½ Small Avocado
  • 1 Handful of fresh Spinach
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • Hot Sauce of your liking
  • 1 small can of Sardines (Get what you like, I used plain sardines in water. And YES, I would love to have used Ahi Tuni or smoked salmon, but I am on a budget damn-it!!!)

Lay out a sheet of nori as if you were going to make sushi. Start by getting a layer of spinach (As seen in the photo), and add the rest of your ingredients. Make sure to keep slices thin for easy rolling. Roll as if it were real sushi, and wet the closing edge of the nori with a little water so it will hold together. Note: There would be almost infinite variations on this so get creative.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I hinted at Diet and Nutrition in my introduction and I assured you this would be an interesting topic. So now I am formally introducing to you the Paleo Diet, which is the current diet that I adhere to, and some of the results I have had pertaining to general fitness, weight loss, and athletics among other things.

I started to make changes to my diet about 1 year ago upon observing Kevin (my brother). He got on a diet plan after joining the X Gym, where he rapidly lost body fat and increased muscle (His rapid results were of course in large part due to an intense physical training routine as well). So I started by eating only natural/whole foods and a generally low glycemic diet (Also commonly referred to as the diabetic diet). This basically consisted of cutting out of my diet all refined carbs (most cereals and breads, refined sugar), artificial sweeteners (Aspartame, Ascesulfame-K…), and other artificial and chemicals and food additives (High fructose corn syrup, msg…). This led to the avoidance of candy, granola bars, most bread, cereals, and most salad dressings, as they are generally loaded with high fructose corn syrup, msg, added sugar… Thus olive oil and balsamic vinegar became my go to when eating salad and I ate lots of it. From here my diet slowly evolved, I began researching more, adjusting my macronutrient (Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat) ratios, and eliminating certain foods that my research deemed non-optimal. It seemed every step of the way there was improvement in my athletic recovery and overall fitness. As I progressed I found myself eating very close to what is now commonly known as the Paleo Diet. Simply put, this is a diet that is supposed to imitate the diet of our ancestors from the Paleolithic period. Why the Paleolithic Period? Because this is the period of human evolution where the majority of our genetic adaptation took place, hence we then should be genetically optimized to consume the foods that were eaten during that period. These foods include Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts, Seeds, seafood, and wild meats. I know what you are thinking, probably as I did, “This diet is limiting, No Soy! No Beans! No Lentils! And where are all the whole grains?” Unfortunately these foods all need to be processed in some way in order to be eaten, and there is little evidence that any of the foods were in our Paleolithic ancestors’ diet. Of course there are exceptions, where people did consume grains or milk, but it is still not enough to give any of the aforementioned foods the Paleo Diet stamp of approval. The first time I heard about the Paleo Diet I didn’t even consider it a viable option; it was just far too limiting; but over time I found it pretty easy to follow, and with the surprising performance results and improvements in recovery, there was some added motivation to stick with the new regimen.

I was 25 years old, 5’7” tall, and 156 pounds, when starting the diet modifications. I was physically fit as a cyclist, mountain climber, and soccer player. I maintained for all of my college and post college years (up until 1 year ago) a weight within about 5 pounds of that 156 pound mark, with few exceptions; I did at one point get down to 147 pounds (after climbing with the flu, burning almost 10,000 calories in a weekend, and throwing up what little food I ate, followed by having my wisdom teeth removed and being on a liquid diet for the next 4 days) and at one point weighed in at 162 pounds (as a result of my poorest eating habits I had since high school and putting on bulky muscle. I was still very fit, as this was my weight during my first time climbing Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier in the same week.). Looking back at myself, I see a reasonably fit individual, pretty strong, and with good will power to push through and overcome physical challenges such as the Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier week. However, when I look in the mirror today, I see a slightly different beast; I am now 26 years old, a solid 5’8” tall, and 145 pounds. I can run a faster 40 meter, 100 meter, 400 meter, 1 mile, and 10k than I ever have. The only anomalies are the 2 mile and the 5k, as I was in very good shape to run that distance at the height of my soccer playing career, and because I have not recently timed those distances. I can dead lift 40% more; front squat 50% more, do double the consecutive push-ups, and triple the pull-ups that I could at any other time in my life; and I have added 2 mph to my average cycling speed. I would also like to note that all of this is after being off of all activity for almost 9 months because of a knee injury where I tore my ACL, MCL, LCL and Lateral meniscus.

Now some of these results can be attributed more too hard work and specific training, and some of the results attributed to diet, but if there is one thing I have learned it’s that YOU NEED BOTH PROPER DIET AND TRAINING TO MAXIMIZE HEALTH AND PHYSICAL POTENTIAL.

So let’s delve back in to my current diet to see what kind of foods are on the menu that led to the aforementioned results. As I stated previously the diet consists of Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Meat, and Seafood. It does not include Grains or Legumes. Dairy is more of a gray area, but is still avoided especially in a pasteurized or processed form (Almost all of the milk/dairy products available at the grocery store fall into this category). There is some question as to whether Grass Fed, Organic, Raw, and Full Fat dairy products are acceptable, but as a rule the Paleo Diet still does not put it on the menu. So now I will go through the acceptable food groups one by one.

Fruits – Fruits are to be generally low glycemic. If you are not sure which fruits fall into this category, Google has the answers. Off the top of my head I can tell you that apples, pears, oranges, and grapefruit are all fair game. Fruits like bananas, pineapple, and melons have higher glycemic index and should be limited somewhat.

Vegetables – Green Vegetables are all fair game. So eat your kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, chard, mustard greens, and celery. Onions, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and most other vegetables are also acceptable; however there are a couple exceptions, these include potatoes, sweet potatoes and other starchy tubers. These tend to be high carb, high glycemic, and require some processing/cooking to eat, therefore they are not paleo. If you miss mashed potatoes then I recommend trying mashed cauliflower, I actually like it better anyway. Also as a side note, potatoes are a preferred food for athletes on the paleo diet who need a source of carbohydrate to fuel endurance exercise, so for you athletes, potatoes may still be on the menu.

Nuts – Nuts are good, Walnuts and Almonds are probably the most healthful, but pecans, macadamia nuts, and other nuts are still fair game. Cashews (which are actually not a nut, but a seed from fruit) are fair game as well. Peanuts are a legume and are not acceptable. That goes for peanut oil or any other product containing peanuts. Soy is also not acceptable (Soy has been marketed as healthy, but all my research indicates that it is a sorry substitute for more optimal foods and in some cases can be detrimental to overall health, but I will get into this in another post).

Seeds – Most seeds are acceptable, and I cannot think of many exceptions. I particularly like hemp, chia, sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds (Although there has been some recent research on flax that unfortunately has downgraded it in the healthy food community, I still eat it though)

Seafood – Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Muscles, Clams, Lobster, Swordfish, Trout, Herring, Sardines… Eat it, lots of it, but note the following: Some fish contain high amounts of heavy metals, so limit them. Fatty fish, like salmon should be only eaten if wild, farm-raised fish will screw up the fats, and I don’t recommend eating them. If you want to save money by buying farmed seafood stick to shrimp and lean fish only.

Meat – Lean meat is fair game, when eating beef I highly recommend that it is 100% grass fed. Grain fed, and grain finished beef has a fat profile that is harmful to your health, 100% grass fed beef has a fat profile that is very good for your health. All wild meat is fair game, and organ meats are encouraged. Eggs are also fair game, but try to get omega-3 varieties that are organic and free range, also buying from local farms is generally best, and you can go see the operation yourself to ensure quality.

I will stop now, as this is just an introduction into the diet, but before I finish, I will give you an idea of what a normal day looks like for me. Below is a copy of my fitday ( that illustrates what an average day looks like for me. Note that this day would be supplemented with additional calorie intake and carbohydrates if I worked out more than 90 minutes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Osteoporosis - This one is for the Ladies... And everyone else

I stumbled across another blog today, called Nephropal and I like it so much I put the link in the recommended reading section on the right of this blog. To put it simply, Nephropal focuses on Health and Medicine from an evolutionary viewpoint, the blogger/bloggers do a wonderful job of making very complicated subjects understandable to all the normal people, like me.

Anyway they had a great post on Osteoporosis, and calcium absorption. My basic take was that diets high in sugar(specifically fructose) in combination with Vitamin D deficiency has a detrimental effect on calcium absorption, and thus sets one up for Osteoporosis. Women in particular should take note as calcium deficiency is often more of a problem, especially during pregnancy. So eat less fructose (and sugar in general), get more vitamin D (especially during winter months), and make sure to do some load bearing exercise to help keep bone density (They also mention this as being important). So read on...

Oyster Dome trail and Ankle Sprain.

This last Sunday I went for my weekly run of the Oyster Dome. The whole things was going great until the very end of the run (when I say "end of the run" I mean I was literally 20 seconds away from my car after being on the trail for an hour and a half). As I was descending the last switch back to the start of the trail my ankle rolled accompanied by a very audible "SNAP". I immediately drop in a heap of dust and profanities. The pain wasn't to bad, but the whole joint swelled up to the size of a grapefruit within seconds.
Some locals were nice enough to help me limp to my car. I never did get their names, but they were a man and a women (thanks!). The man seemed worried that I was going to pass out because he kept asking me, "Are you going to be alright? Your not going to pass out, right?". I assured him that, no i would not pass out, and that i just needed to get back to town.
I drove as fast as I could without being a menace. My car is a manual transmission, and my ankle was starting to freeze in place, so I wanted to get somewhere before i no longer had the ability to shift. I called a friend who was nice enough to pick me up and take me to the ER. It was funny, I was the first of three people with ankle sprains to come into the hospital in a matter of minutes.
one bag of ice, one x-ray, and 5 hours later I was out of the Hospital. Nothing was broken, and they couldn't tell if any ligaments or tendons were damaged (an MRI would have been worthless with all of the swelling). They just told me to rest, ice it, eat copious amounts of NSAID's and schedule an appointment to see my GP.
One big lesson learned during all of this, don't go to the hospital for a sprain. Looking back I wanted to make sure that I didn't break anything. I think my ankle would have hurt a whole hell of a lot more if I broke it, and the swelling would have been purple and red from a hematoma forming.
Now I don't know if I will be able to compete in the stair climb (suck!), on the other hand I have lots of time to devote to school. Also, I managed to beat my previous PR on the Oyster Dome with a time of 38:38 (take that sprained ankle!).

Friday, February 5, 2010


There is something I have noticed that happens to people as they grow older, specifically at that point that they get a career. They tend to settle down, routine becomes the norm, getting up at the same time every morning, eating the same breakfast, going to the same job, coming home to the same house, and going to bed at the same time every night. Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with routine, having structure allows for efficiency in completing daily tasks, you know what to expect day in and day out and therefore alleviates unneeded stress. However, there is a problem with excessive amounts of routine. I eventually see people so entrenched in going through the same motions every day that they forget how to break routine. They get so used to the same patterns that an observer could watch and swear that they were following some sort of sacred ritual. They will even continue to do things they dislike simply to keep to the routine they have created. You see this when people stay in the same job that they hate 1 year, 2 years, even a decade too long because of an inability to change. It keeps people in relationships that should be ended. It keeps people from trying new things, continuing learning, and ultimately staying young, mentally.

The solution to this little problem is a simple one. You must occasionally challenge yourself; try something new, something scary, something you have never done before; the more unfamiliar the task, and the more stress you feel in attempting it, the better.

I am no stranger to trying something new, it comes easily for me, however I usually don’t stray too far out of my comfort zone, but two nights ago that changed. I really went for it, tried something that had been at the back of my mind for some time. I went to a ballet class. That’s right, BALLET. Now I had multiple reasons for doing this; it was (and is) a new challenge; it improve fitness; the movements are unusual and foreign, so learning them will help keep the brain young; I still have muscle atrophy and movement issues in my left leg as a result of a knee injury, so ballet would likely have a therapeutic effect as well (and it’s cheaper than Physical Therapy)…The list goes on...

Anyway let me continue. Not only had I never taken a dance class before, I had never even danced before; or nothing a respectable person would call dancing, and definitely not sober. I was the guy who would hang out on the sidelines at weddings, smoking cigars and sipping whiskey with the guys to avoid going on the dance floor. So to participate in a ballet class was far out of my comfort zone. In addition being a heterosexual male I was way out of the usual demographic as well (* See Disclaimer Below); so far out that you pretty much have to shut the mind off, there is no room for self-conscious thoughts or I would be enveloped by them and fail, and failure is not an option. It actually brought out a sense of freedom, a sense of carelessness, and dare I say it relaxation. It was a much different experience than I had expected. I really thought it was going to be an anxiety riddled cluster-F*&# similar to giving a long technical presentation in front of a highly critical group of people; But it wasn’t, it ended up being quite the opposite, thank god.

In the past I don’t know if I would have mentally been capable of attempting ballet, it would have simply been too much, too uncomfortable, I wouldn’t have been caught dead attempting it. I don’t know what allowed me to just go for it this time, perhaps it was the mental training I went through when climbing this past summer; I was on the northwest face of Liberty Bell on lead, 40 feet from my last piece of protection. I was fatigued from 12 pitches of difficult climbing prior, and it was getting dark as my hands were slowly losing hold of a flaring crack while performing a lie back maneuver. My options were dwindling quickly; my back was up against the wall (figuratively). No protection, far too technical to down climb, arms were pumped up to the moon, and as I previously stated my grip was failing. My choice became simple, the fear left my conscious thought, it was do or die, nothing mattered anymore. It is funny how a tough situation can get so simple when you only have 1 option; if you attempt it successfully you live, if not you die. What goes through your head at this point is very interesting, it’s a survival mechanism, you throw out all thoughts fear and self preservation, and you proceed to complete the task at hand, with no regard for the situation around you. In hindsight you remember every detail, but at that exact moment you notice nothing but those things that matter. The arm burnout is irrelevant, they either have the strength or they don’t, you don’t care because you have no control over it. The darkness creeping up on you, that goes unnoticed, as again you have no ability to change the fact that you are short on time. The cold, it too goes unnoticed, you can’t stop to put on another layer, it’s impossible in that position. The only thing that gets remembered is every hand placement, every foot placement, and the knowledge of what it will take for your shoe rubber to stick. The line is set, and you climb.

I needed a similar mindset to attempt Ballet, being so far out of my comfort zone I needed to mentally let go. It is like putting yourself in a state of careless vulnerability. You have risk, whether it is falling to your death, or just looking like an idiot trying to get proper turnout to perform a simple tendu, you must not care, because ultimately your goal is to complete what you started; just as climbing without protection was my only option on Liberty Bell, finishing this Ballet class was my only option Tuesday night (Or at least I mentally made up my mind that I was going to finish it no matter what).

This control of mind is a skill, and can be developed. Of course in hindsight one can think more logically about trying something new and uncomfortable. What did I really have to lose by going to a ballet class? The answer is nothing, with the exception of some possible short term embarrassment, I had nothing to lose. I had put myself in a perfect situation; if I failed I was simply back where I started, still with the option of trying again and improving; the only direction to go was forward. This is no different when trying anything that is completely new. So here is my logical advice to everyone. If you find yourself in a rut, doing the same thing every day, getting bored with life with nothing to look forward too, then go out and try something completely new. Think about it, why wouldn’t you? If trying something new can only result in progress and not failure, then why not choose progress? It is good for your psyche on so many levels that I feel everyone who reads this should make it a point to try something new every now and again; in part to keep mentally stimulated (hell it may even be helpful for Alzheimer’s) , and also in part to see what you have to gain.

Lastly, build up the skill of going outside of your comfort zone. If you feel self conscious about going to the gym, go anyway. If you feel uncomfortable about going to a spin class because of fear you won’t do well; who cares? Nobody will fault you if your goal is improvement. If you are avoiding anything that can bring benefit to your life simply because you fear failure, do it anyway; you have nothing to lose. And finally, if you need a little motivation, a tidbit to inspire you, a little morsel to help you get off your ass and try something new, just remember this: Brian went to a Ballet class.

* Disclaimer – By no means did I write this with the intent that all Male Ballet Dancers are homosexual, or that it is even a bad thing to be homosexual, because it’s not. I was simply stating that there are very few male ballet dancers, and ballet dancers that are male do have higher tendency to be gay ( than that of the normal male population, and thus being heterosexual I was far out of the normal demographic that would be found in a ballet studio.

Whole Foods, Fit Employees getting bigger discounts?

Check out this article in the Seattle Times today. It covers Whole Foods new policy to give an extra 10% discount to employees who's body mass index (BMI) is less than 3o. I am not totally sure what I think about this just yet... The following questions arise: Is BMI really an accurate measure for health or fitness? It gives incentive if your BMI is below 30 but what about if you are hovering around 15 and are way too skinny? Perhaps that is when they should offer even more of a discount to encourage more eating :)

Now that I think about it I kinda like the idea. If my company offered some sort of incentive I would score, my BMI is 22 (Which is about the lowest it has ever been).

Anyway, I thought you might find this interesting

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February, 3, 2010 - Spin Class

Workout of The Day:

1 Hour Spin Class at Team Fitness Lake Stevens. Greg, the instructor Wednesday evenings usually does a pretty good class, and is generally more challenging than other instructors.
Average Heart Rate: 157
Max Heart Rate: 178
Minimum Heart Rate (After Warm-up): 146

This was a good workout coming off a couple rest days to recover from a month of 12+ hours per week workouts including cycling, climbing, Crossfit, and strength.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Introductions seem like the thing to do these days. Plus, Brian did it, and I wouldn't want to miss out. Anyway, my name is Jordan Sahlberg, I am a senior at Western Washington University in the Kinesiology program (sports science). Exercise is my life as well as my choice of profession. I love to play many sports, but climbing is my one true passion. I have never been one to love all the rules associated with organized sports (this doesn't mean that I avoid them entirely). Climbing is liberating because it is you vs. yourself. No rules, no referees, just you and the mountains. Anyway, more on that later.

In general, I hope to contribute what I can to this blog. My goals are to record my experiences with injuries, treatments (what worked, what didn't), exercises (goals; what worked, what didn't), and areas of interest (The heart, altitude training, ect.), and general musings.

It should also be noted that Brian and I ascribe to many of the same ideas as far as nutrition and training, but we are very much different. We have different problems as well as slightly different approaches to fitness. Much of this comes from the fact that we are individuals. Everyone responds uniquely to exercise, no one person reacts the same. Ideally, these variances will be represented through our joint contributions as well as the contributions of others. In either case, take what you will.

Saturday, 1/30/2010: Oyster Dome run

It lieu of actually running up stairs this last weekend. I thought it would be good to get out and get the legs moving. School seems to eat up most of my time, so I train when I can with what I have, and what I have is the Oyster Dome. The O dome is little chunk of rock nestled in the Chuckanut mountains near Bellingham. Its 3.25 miles to the top (6.5 round trip) and it gains around 2k vertical feet. Not very glamorous as far as hiking goes (the views are good on a clear day), but it more than delivers as a run. My thought was to run it once hard, then run it again at an easy pace as a base builder.

The First round was over in 39:25 (to the top), not shabby, but I could have pushed a little harder. The second round, which was at a much easier pace, clocked in at 49:12. Because of time constraints for the rest of my winter quarter at Western Washington University, I will most likely be running the Oyster dome every Saturday or Sunday. The rest of my training will be high Intensity intervals on the spin bike and lactate training on the stair stepper. If I can keep up with school and training, it should be an interesting race when the big day comes around.