Category Archives: Natural Fighter

Combat vs. Communication

One winter I worked security at a big music festival’s final evening performance. It was a volunteer gig, and our team comprised of a fairly laughable security squad. Of the nine of us three were underage, none over six foot or 160 pounds, and only two prepared to deal with a potentially violent altercation. Since this was a goodwill event attended mostly by a crowd of professionally connected couples and singles in their late thirties and forties, violence seemed unlikely. At most we would have to bounce a drunk, and I’d done that before.

The heads of security were a pair of senior citizens who were content to sit at the front desk, and asked us to cover the rest of the lobby, hall, and auditorium. By the time we’d been assigned badges and yellow SECURITY T-shirts and begun taking up stations in the halls I needed a cigarette, so I nipped outside and found a quiet place to smoke.

On re-entry I noticed my teammates were mostly clumped in pairs and trios in the lobby and hall close to the reception desk. I walked the perimeter and identified potential danger zones and then retraced my steps and spoke with each member of the team individually. Within a half hour I had them on individual stations set in a zig-zag pattern that covered the lobby, the hall, and the auditorium, and enabled each yellow-shirted youngster to see at least two others at all times. After that I set them on a fifteen minute rotation to keep them alert and incorporate regular bathroom checks.

The guests arrived dressed to impress and flowed past the reception desk, mingled through the lobby and hall, and eventually found seats in the auditorium. I took off my badge and yellow shirt and walked among them alert for threats and detecting none. Once the majority of the attendees had settled in seats the speeches began, and shortly afterwards the band took the stage.

Seeing nothing but responsible adults having a good time, I checked on my teammates and then returned to the reception desk. I asked the heads of security if they needed anything and they told me guests had been exiting and re-entering the auditorium through the side door, which was supposed to be reserved for staff and emergency purposes. They asked me to stand inside the auditorium and deter guests from using the side doors, which sounded good to me because the band rocked around the lead of a charismatic stand-up bass player.

I stationed myself in front of the side doors and listened to the music and watched the band and apologetically turned away the occasional guest and pointed them to the back doors. After an hour or so a man approached carrying a small child in his arms.

“I need to get through here,” he informed me.

“Sorry sir,” I responded as I had to all the other guests, “the side doors are reserved for emergency purposes, if you could please proceed to the main exits at the back I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.”

The man took a good look at me, and then a good look at himself. I was wearing cargo shorts and a cheap yellow SECURITY T-shirt and army green crocs. He wore a three piece suit that probably cost as many thousands of dollars and fine leather shoes, and he was taller than me, and heavier, and broader across the shoulders.

“Look buddy,” he told me, “I own this building. I’m the one who paid for this whole event, and I could have you fired in a snap. So you’re going to let me through those doors.”

I chuckled and took a deep breath.

“Listen buddy,” I said, catching his eyes and not looking away. “I’m a volunteer so I’m not sure you can fire me, and even if you do I’m the head of security, so no one will escort me from the premises for you. Also, these doors are reserved for emergency purposes. Unless there’s a fire, you’re not going through them.”

The man took a surprised step back, staring at me and then looking away and then checking his very expensive watch. Even with a few drinks in his system he didn’t have the courage to respond.

The little girl in his arms wriggled and whispered something in his ear.

“She has to go to the bathroom,” the man said blankly.

“You should have started with that,” I informed him, stepping aside and holding the door open for them to pass. I smiled at the child. “Bathroom emergencies count.”


Gluten/dairy/sugar free Chocolate Cookies!

Quick note before we get started, by “sugar” I mean cane sugar… this recipe contains coconut sugar. Onward!

Ingredients / Things you will need

1/4 cup canola oil or other liquid fat
1/2-3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 eggs + one egg white (optional)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour (I used one heavy on pea flour and potato starch, if in doubt just use more brown rice flour)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
3-5 tbsp. cocoa, depending how much sugar you use and how dark you want your chocolate cookies

1 bowl
1 whisk
1 spatula (rubber)
1 spatula (metal)
1 cookie sheet
coconut oil or other fat to grease the cookie sheet


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Whisk the canola oil and coconut sugar together in the bowl until they are completely combined
Add two eggs. If your eggs are small or you want extra protein, add an extra egg white. Continue whisking until combined.
Heat your cookie sheet by placing it on your ovens vent

Dump the measured flours atop the wet ingredients in a slight sweeping motion, creating a dry island
Supplement the dry island of flours with the xanthan gum and and baking soda
Whisk dry ingredients together and then combine with sugary wetness below
Switch to the spatula as the mixture becomes too sticky to whisk and add the cocoa

Trust your taste buds add additional cocoa and/or coconut sugar until the batter tastes like it will make delicious cookies.
Spoon large heaping tablespoons of batter onto t in a well spaced 3×4 pattern
Place cookie sheet inside oven
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Bake cookies for 8 minutes if you want a cooked but gooey inside, 9 if you want them more solid. Careful! Overbaking will ruin the moisture balance that is so important in gluten-free baking.

Let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes and then remove with a metal spatula to a plate or cooling rack.

Wait another few minutes and they should be cool enough to enjoy!

The xanthan gum is the most key ingredient in this recipe. Most of the other ingredients could be substituted out but due to the amount of moisture from the eggs and oil we need to keep this recipe xanthan gummy. Happy baking!

Gluten Free Crustless Quiche!

I know it’s been awhile since I posted a recipe (or anything on the topic of food), so here’s one of the things I usually do when I find my self with too many eggs, a few leftover vegetables, and no other sources of protein.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Paleo-Opitioned Crustless Quiche!

Ingredients / Things you will need

4-5 Eggs depending on size
3-4 Tblsp olive oil or your preferred fat source
1/4 Cup Brown Rice Flour (use almond meal or omit for Paleo, it is not necessary but adds a nice starch)
0.5 tsp Baking soda (again omit if Paleo)
0.5 tsp Xanthan gum (I’m not even sure if this is Paleo or not, but certainly it’s not necessary, helps the flour though)
1-1.5 cups chopped vegetables. I used yams and onions because I had nothing else!
Salt and Pepper, other spices to taste. I chose turmeric and curry!

A Bowl
A Pie Plate or other bakeable vessel you wish to Quiche in
Coconut Oil or other fat source to grease the pie plate
A Whisk or other implement for beating

IMG_0030(Not quite everything is present but this gives the idea!)


Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees Farenheit
Crack 4-5 eggs into the bowl
Add 3-4 tblsp olive oil
Beat them (with the whisk) until eggs and oil learn to be friends and make bubbles
Casually Toss In 1/4 cup of Brown Rice Flour and about a half teaspoon each of baking soda and xanthan gum
Beat it all until the rice and xanthan and soda are so scared they spread out and hide amidst the liquids
Spice to taste. I used salt, pepper and about three teaspoons of turmeric and one of curry. Great for anti-inflammation!
Beat until absorbed.

Grease Pie plate with coconut oil
Pour Mixture in to pie plate
Carefully add the chopped vegetables and push them down so the egg mixture at least partially covers them.

Bake at 350 Degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown as pictured above and below.
SAFETY FIRST use the oven mitts to take it out

Let Cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting. A butterknife should do the trick.
Cut into triangular slices and serve.

You can throw pretty much anything in a quiche! Beans, broccoli, cheese if you’re lucky enough to digest such things.

Questions and comments are welcome! If you’d like to follow my blog on facebook here’s a link to the page.

First Run of the Season

  buttonrun              facerun

In case the glare is too great, the button says Lover / Fighter … une grande merci a ma petite fille pour m’avoir montrer ce button en Katimavik des annees passes. I wear it almost everywhere I go in the winter, and it helps to remind me what’s important in life.

Loving. Fighting. Writing about it. I think I’ve been a little too caught up in the third part of late. Between Elance and Althanas and this I’ve been writing a lot, and maybe letting my social life and fitness slide. Certainly haven’t been keeping my attendance up at the gym. So yesterday I did a short boxing circuit at home, and today I went for a run in the snow and sun.

Running is about so much more than just aerobic fitness. It requires a certain state of mind to go outside and run in a big circle just because. It’s similar to the kind of will required to train at a combat gym. I like to settle into a meditative rhythm when I run, but I couldn’t quite do that today. There was water and ice everywhere, deceptively deep and surprisingly slippery. I did a short loop with three large hills in it, which is another reason I say running isn’t just about aerobic fitness. Do a few hills in a row and you kick into anaerobic gear, burning carbs for energy and activating Human Growth Hormone as surely as if you were in the gym pumping iron.

When I got home I cooked up some Rice and Lentils and logged my run on MapMyRun. And then I used the site’s social media tools to post my workout to Facebook, and challenged some of my further-away friends to see who could run the furthest by June 1st. One of them already responded, and I’m sure we’ll be keeping each other motivated and fleet-footed. And of course, whoever wins the spring sectional will have to defend their reputation into the summer…

Today’s run eased a lot of tense muscles that had been bugging me, and I’m looking forward to getting back out tomorrow. As a closing note, thanks to everyone who’s been liking and following the short stories I post on here – I’m hoping to have more of the same soon!

Perfect Homemade Pancakes

Just today I was thinking I need to start photographing the things I cook so I can post pictures on here. Of course, I still forgot to do that when I made gluten-free coconut pancakes tonight. I’ll have to commit to posting some pics the next time I make these.

Pancakes are enough of a staple around here to be a stereotype, and I’ve always enjoyed them but had issues with their lack of nutrition even before I went gluten/dairy/sugar free. I once referred to them as “fluff and syrup”… but the recipe I offer you today is much heartier, and still full of fluffy deliciousness.

Warm a large frying pan on a medium-low heat setting.

Combine in a medium bowl…
3/4 cup gluten free flour (use a store-bought mix or your own, this should be a low fiber mixture)
1/4 cup coconut flour (naturally gluten free an high in fiber)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
(not necessary if using a flour mix that contains it)
3 tsp cinnamon (adjust to your taste buds)

Beat in a small bowl or measuring cup…
2 tbsp canola oil (or sub your preferred oil)
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
1 tbsp vanilla (extract works)
1 egg
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your preference)

Pour wet mixture into dry and mix thoroughly. It will undoubtedly be a thick mixture, and you should add water or an equal parts solution of almond milk and water to thin it from here on out. I like to get the batter to a consistency where it almost folds out of the bowl when poured, rather than running like a liquid.

Beat batter until well mixed and then fry up your pancakes. Unlike regular pancakes, these are usually ready to flip when the first few bubbles burst through. Press in blueberries while the first side cooks if desired. I like to top these with earth balance or almond butter and a small flood of maple syrup.

Serves 1-4 people depending on if you’re a middle school barbershop quartette or an adult athlete with a firestorm for a metabolism.

Pictures to come soon, hopefully. Time for bed now. Delicious pancakes make me sleepy.

The Nutritional Unicorn: Chocolate Superfood

Anyone who has ever made an effort to control their diet has probably had the same fantasy: healthy dessert. Foods that satisfy all the cravings accrued over days or weeks of careful self control, but won’t bitch-slap your GI tract like an iron gauntlet.

For me, it’s almost not dessert if it’s not chocolate. Chocolate was my favorite flavor of everything growing up, and still holds the championship in most cases. Off the hop, it seemed like I was screwed. How do you get a rich, genuinely creamy chocolate taste without milk products? The answer is surprising. I’ve had a lot of success with blackbean brownies and stovetop donuts, but there’s no recipe I’ve found that can match Chocolate Avocado Pudding for richness and ease of preparation, as well as a simple option to change it from dessert to meal supplement. It is vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and (cane) sugar free.

Ingredients – all items with brackets beside them are optional

2-3 ripe avocados, depending on size
1/4-3/4 cup honey or maple syrup, depending on desired sweetness
1/4-1/3 cup cocoa powder, depending on desired darkness
A Dash of salt

2 tsp coconut oil (extra richness and a faint coconut taste)
1 tsp cinnamon powder (for a little zing)
A Dash of cayenne powder (for extra zing)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (for a more robust flavor)
Unsweetened Almond Milk (preferably chocolate, used to thin if needed)
A scoop of vegan protein powder (again preferably chocolate, if added the protein makes it a complete meal replacement.)

Simply combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. If this seems difficult due to the model or power of the machine, blend only the avocados and liquid ingredients, then transfer the mush to a bowl and beat in the remaining ingredients.

I used all of the bracketed options, and my pudding turned out fantastic. I didn’t really taste the coconut, cinnamon, cayenne or vanilla. These things help replace that full flavor that is usually unobtainable without dairy. It seems like an odd substitution, but it works.

Having a good quality vegan protein powder was the key to turning this recipe from a decadent dessert into a functional (if scandalous) meal. This is not only healthier than say, take-out or boxed mac-and-cheese, it’s also tastier and actually fulfilling. The first time I made this it ended up replacing my usual dinner and late night snack. I used small bowls of pudding to turn myself into a Pavlovian dog, performing all sorts of tasks I usually put off in order to get to my next dose of energy enhancing superfood.

Please note, I’m not encouraging you to make an entire batch of this and eat it in one day. But I’m not exactly discouraging the action, either.

The Human Engine that Could


The gym was busy enough tonight that I had to park at a dollar store next door, and Jay actually had to think before designing the circuit. We usually have three groups; one for the newer athletes, one for the advanced athletes, and one for the big guys who can lift more weight, but have more trouble with the box jumps and such. This time, Jay put me on the advanced circuit.

I felt honored, and intimidated, and proud, and like I might pass out. The last time I did the advanced circuit was my first night back at Loyalist MMA, a whole month ago. It’s a sizable step up… we lift heavier, run faster, and jump higher.

We did five 4-minute rounds at 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off, with 1 minute rests between rounds. I started on burpies and progressed to squat thrusters, pullups on the high bar, 30-inch box jumps, and finally the steeply inclined treadmill. Unlike last month I moved through the first four rounds without completely gassing. The treadmill still killed me, but then again that’s what it’s meant to do… especially when you get it for the last round.

Afterwards I had some water and small sip of my recovery smoothie, and then wrapped up. As usual we started with several rounds of shadow-boxing and bagwork while Jay showed some newer guys their stance and footwork. I hit the speed bag for awhile, practicing getting my jab fluid and regular and bringing the right cross through as often as I could.

When we moved to mittwork I ended up paired with the same guy as last week. I’m getting comfortable with correcting other people’s errors when they’re glaring enough. You need to stay in sideways boxing stance, avoid the temptation to square up. Bend your knees more, so when you go to slip you don’t bend from the waist and duck forward. Above all, stay on the balls of the feet and keep the hands up.

We worked counter-punching combinations most of the night, and finished with a hellish punchout. Double jabs for a round, then punches in bunches, then triple jabs (high-low-high) and then endless hooks. Down on the ground for crunches, super crunches, leg raises, and situps.

I asked Jay to show me the finer points of slipping and weaving punches, and he was very happy to do so. While the other guys started getting packed up I worked on pivoting properly to flow into the counter hook. Having done a lot of karate, kung fu, and free-form sparring in my life some of the footwork is very counter-intuitive for me, but a few minutes with the master set me straight. Jay also showed me how to work the pivoting motion into shadowboxing, so I can work this on my own.

Aaaand my abs hurt. I have pretty good core strength, but now that the rest of my body has caught up to my core, I’m starting to feel it there. The treadmill is at least partially to blame. Ah well… ’tis the price of moving forward, ever onward and upward.

Almost finished my smoothie, and when that’s done I’ll be making something else… planning to try chocolate-avocado pudding tonight. If it works amazing, I might just post my recipe.

Thanks for reading! Be well and stay safe, and share this blog with a friend if you like what you’re reading. Ciao!


Thaibox Tuesday

When it blizzards like it did tonight I always worry I’ll show up and the gym will be locked.

Absolutely not the case. The crowd was a bit thinner than usual, but the dedicated keep on truckin’.

Some real-life complications made me miss the massacre that is our Monday night circuit. Tonight I opted to arrive at a quarter past seven for Crossfit and Muay Thai. Crossfit is a school of hardcore conditioning that is growing evermore popular among high caliber athletes – from marathoners to gymnasts to MMA fighters, it’s a good program for anyone who wants to kick themselves in the ass – hard – and jump their fitness up a notch or three. Crossfit has their own gyms (called “boxes”) but the central theme that sets them apart from other crosstrainers is the much loved (or feared, depending on how new you are) Workout Of the Day, dubbed “WOD” for short.

I started on the treadmill running at 7.5 mph on a decent incline. After seven minutes of that, a quick breather and straight to Box Jumps and Kettlebell swings. Four sets of each at 40 then 30 then 20 then 10 reps. I barely made it out alive.

After pulling my heart out of cardiac arrest and convincing my mind to retreat from the bright, soft light in the distance, I grabbed some water and changed my shirt. Loyalist MMA is just a two-shirt kind of gym. I realized pretty quick that I had to decide between a little extra laundry or catching a chill every other night.

Since it was my first night in Muay Thai Jay set me to practicing leg-kick counters in the mirror. The knee raises with the shin facing outward while the same-side elbow comes down to create a seamless barrier. The opposite hand extends out in a push-punch to set the opponent up for a counter.

After two rounds of that my shoulders and hips ached. I have tight hip flexors (something to work on) and they don’t like blocking leg-kicks any more than my shoulders like holding the high Thai guard after a kettlebell workout. Luckily, we moved on to greater things.

Next we worked a teep-round kick combination. The teep (similar to a front push kick) is something I’ve worked on by myself in the past and comes out as naturally as a jab. Ideally it starts with a short stutter-step where the rear foot falls almost level with the front heel. The front leg then comes straight up and lashes out like a piston, the hard ball of the foot aimed for the opponent’s solar plexus.

Round kicks are a little counter-intuitive to me, coming from a history of contact Karate. In karate almost all kicks are thrown with the ball of the foot or heel, and aimed either at soft parts of the torso or the head and neck. There are no leg kicks in Karate competition. Thai round kicks are quite different. I need to remember to step closer than I feel like I need to, so I don’t break my foot, and point my toe slightly, so that the sharpest part of my shin slams into the target.

Next we practiced countering punches with kicks. The opponent throws a jab, countered by a teep to the midsection and followed by a right leg kick. The opponent throws a straight right which is parried and trapped, drawing them in for two knee strikes and a shin aimed for the skull.

As we ran through this combo I found myself explaining some of the finer points to my partner. He kept trying to trap my straight right with an outward parry rather than inward – using a variation on the technique that is often seen in action movies, but that has very little use in any kind of real fight. I showed him how the inward parry leads directly to head-and-arm control with the arm hyper extended – a control position I use sometimes in grappling, and see often in the UFC.

For the last couple rounds we got in the ring and Jay showed us a basic method for trapping kicks and…


Heh, sorry about that. Jay’s eyes light up when he explains the nastier fighting techniques, and Thai legsweeps are plenty nasty. It’s the kind of energy that makes me feel really at home, because I know every time I think about fighting I get the same crazy grin.

My workout buddy had to leave a bit early for a night shift, so Jay stepped in for the last few rounds and showed me some serious clinchwork. The Thai clinch is probably the part of the sport I’m most familiar with – as a No-Gi Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I use head control often to set up control positions. Even so, I felt like I’d never even attempted it before. Jay is strong as a Minotaur, forcing you to hit the technique just right or feel like a silly fool. I was familiar with the first two (crossface and chest push) but the third was a thing of beauty I’m not sure I can even describe right now.

I finished the night by hitting the heaviest bag until my arms got heavy, working round kicks and teeps into the combinations. When I didn’t have the energy to hit the heavy bag anymore I switched to a bungee-rope speedbag and kept pace until it became a blur.

A good night at the gym, and a safe drive home through driven snow. I must return tomorrow night. I will. I must. I will.

Bob and Weave

Wednesday night at Loyalist MMA follows the same setup as Monday. I arrived a bit early and spent some quality time skipping and stretching. I always hated skipping as a kid (it was the most boring unit in Phys Ed, hands down) but it’s a good way to get your head in the game.

The circuit ran a bit differently. We did four four-minute rounds working 30s on 10s off, with one minute breaks in between. Heavy kettlebell swings, burpies, box jumps, ladder climbers. I actually almost made it through the burpies without gassing. The good news is I’m getting stronger. The bad news is… slowly. And it still hurts.

After the workout we wrapped up and did a few warm-up rounds. I chose to also put some gloves on and work the heavy bag, practicing my combinations from Monday. The one-two-duck-right to the body-left uppercut-roll out is becoming a thing of beauty. It’s all bobbing and weaving, so my weight ends up flying into every punch. Like swinging a rock in a sock.

I partnered with the only woman who regularly trains there these days. As usual the combinations felt awkward at first but by the end of the first minute I could throw them as easy as a jab-cross.

Drill 1: Jab-jab-slip-hook-rollout. This felt absolutely wrong until Jay came over and showed me how to slip properly. I need to remember to pivot on the ball of my back foot, much like throwing a right cross, so that the slip happens naturally and auto-loads the counter hook.
For the second drill we added body armor, and this combo just clicked with me. Jab-block-liver hook-uppercut-rollout. All left handed punches while the right sits in the pocket and defends. At the end of the drill I noticed Jay watching me and expected another pointer or two, but all he said was.

“Good work. That’s great in-fighting.” Jay isn’t exactly liberal with praise. He tells you when you’re doing something wrong, so you can change it, and tells you when you’re doing something right, so you keep it the same. I grinned like an idiot through the punch out, and probably could have gone a few extra rounds if necessary.

I’m becoming comfortable with the fact that I’m abnormally good at punching. I learned to hit hard in Karate at a young age. No wraps for wrist protection, no cushy 12oz gloves covering the knuckles. And I’ve been practicing Wing Chun chain-punching on and off for about eight years now. Despite the fact I’m easily the least fit “young guy” at the gym right now, I have an easier time keeping my hands up and throwing punches at the end of the night than most of the others.

It doesn’t make up for my horrific cardio, but it does feel good.

I stayed late to stretch and unwind a bit again, and found a moment to talk to Jay one on one. We ended up chatting for a good twenty minutes, but there were only four words I really needed to say.

“I want to fight.”

We’re on the same page regarding my conditioning – it sucks, it needs to get better. But he looked a little like a kid on Xmas. Jay loves training fighters, and I’ve been showing up and then flaking out for years now. It feels pretty great to see someone else get as stoked as I am at the prospect of me becoming a competitive athlete.

Loyalist MMA… in a few weeks, it’s going to feel like home.

Thoughts on Food

Since it’s 1:35am and my brain won’t shut off, I figured I’d make notes on my current self-experimentation in nutrition. I’m considering starting a series of youtube videos that would be one part cooking show, one part nutritional seminar, and one part holistic life lessons. It will contain information and easily learned skills I wish I had when I went to University, and that I wish my parents had when I was growing up. Wisdom I wish we all had in Katimavik, eating plain (and on occasion, burned) rice five nights a week. Meals can be cheap and efficient without being dull, or tasteless, or lacking in calories.

I’m hesitant to call it a diet, but that’s such a popular word these days. This could be called the “Beans and Rice diet” or “the Zombie Apocalypse Diet”, or any number of things related to wilderness survival. The purpose was to come up with something that I not only could eat every day, but that I would eat every day. Something to make it easy to stay away from gluten, dairy, and sugar. Regardless of how poor I might be, or picky, or craving of new flavors. I went back all the way to Asia’s ancient staples. They certainly make for interesting breakfast.

Day 1: Lentils and rice, rinsed and cooked with a few drops of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a healthy dose of curry and cayenne pepper. I love spicy food and I’m a wild man when it comes to experimenting in the kitchen. This turned out delicious but might have blowtorched the throats of some. I ate it with a vegan protein shake and realized, if I’m going to share my ideas I’m going to have to measure.

Day 2: Lentils and rice. I’m using a white long grain basmati because I happen to have that on hand, but I’d prefer something brown with some fiber. It’s really a non-issue though, because of the fiber content in lentils. Incidentally, lentils are my favorite legume. They have a very neutral, appealing flavor, cook up much faster than other dried beans, and come highly recommended from a number of sources. Cooked a quarter cup of each with an approximate teaspoon of olive oil and an eyeballed tablespoon of curry powder. Remembering to measure is hard.

Day 3: Lentils and rice. I cut the rice serving to an eighth of a cup because I don’t need that much empty carbohydrate in my morning meal. Today I decided to go “non spicy”, since some people can’t handle the heat at all, and I may want to cook for or share this with them. A (approximate again!) teaspoon of olive oil, but I measured the spices, I swear! A teaspoon of rosemary, one and a half of turmeric. A half helping of cumin and a quarter of sage. A dash of cinnamon. Always salt and pepper. Ate it on a bed of spinach and red lettuce. Delicious.

Day 4: I’m becoming confident I won’t tire easily of this meal. A quarter cup lentils and an eighth cup of rice. I kept the same spices as yesterday but prepared something special. Frozen shrimp, rinsed just enough to get the ice off, and tossed in to cook and blend with the other flavors for the final 5-10 minutes of simmering.

Recommended Protein sources: Pre-cooked shrimp worked well, but I imagine tofu (or even marinated tofu) would work the same way. Pre-cooked chicken or lean cuts of pork would also be tasty, and hard-boiled eggs could be added easily at the end. Serving with nutrient-dense vegetables is ideal, but not necessary for overall effectiveness as they add considerable cost. I do love my spinach though. Generally I try to eat at least 25-30 grams of protein at breakfast, as recommended by my nutritionist and many modern diets.

Notes on cooking: Rinsing dried goods like rice and lentils prior to cooking is important to remove sulfites and other junk. The oil is not necessary but makes rice stick to the bottom of the pot less, and adds important essential fats (and calories). Spices are essential as they add a smorgasbord of nutrients as well as the flavor that keeps the meal fresh. I prefer to cook all the moisture up so the dish can be served on a salad or added to something else like a stir-fry, however the base meal could easily be made a soup simply by adding more water and oil if desired.

That’s it for now… good night and good eats.