Jicama Tacos with Chipotle Crema- Inspired by Richard on Top Chef

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Food and Drink, Smurf

Welcome to the first food post on FitLifeSF… and, happy Cinco de Mayo!

I love Mexican food. Like, a lot. So what better day to start off with what I hope will be some inspriation for everyone to find ways to continue loving the things they love- either in moderation (as I am with the well-measured 1.5 oz of Tradicionalhere by my side) or in a healthier version, as I did with this tacos recipe.

What does “healthy” mean in the context of my postings here on FitLife SF? Well, it depends. Sometimes it will be calories, sometimes it will be fat, sometimes it will be adding veggies, sometimes all three. In all cases, though, the food I make contains “real food.” No poly-styro-carbonate fat-free binders. I think the most extreme I get is using egg whites or natural fat replacements like fruit purees and lower-or-non-fat dairy products. Nothing too scary.

So, without further ado, I bring you…

Jicama Tacos with Chipotle Crema

Fans of Top Chef will no doubt recognize the inventive replacement of a traditional corn or flour tortilla with jicama. I have to admit, I was with Zoi when I said “there is NO way that tastes good.” But, I am pleased to report that this recipe turned out really well! Here’s what I did:

The raw materials:

Raw Materials

I started with a big ol’ jicamaand some chili-rubbed Kobe beef flank steak kabobs leftover from yesterday. The meat is from our favorite neighborhood meatmart, Avedano’s, and kabobs also have leeks, red and orange pepper, and mushrooms.

First, I sliced the jicama on the thinnest setting of my new mandoline.

Then, I salted and limed it and set it aside.

Next, I made:

Chipotle Crema

½ 5.3 oz Tub Fage 0% Greek Yogurt

1 tsp ground chipotle (to taste)

A few scrapes of lime zest

Dash of Worchestire

Salt

Pepper

Orange Juice to Thin

 

Mix yogurt with first six ingredients. Thin with orange juice to slightly-runny consistency. Check for taste, then set aside while preparting the tacos. Taste and adjust seasonings again before serving.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Corn- fresh from cob preferred, or 1 can well-drained

Black Beans, rinsed and well-drained

½ Jalapeno pepper (with or without seeds, depending on desired heat)

¼ Red Onion, diced

(When making this stand-alone, I add one small bell pepper diced, but today the kabobs have grilled bells pepper in them)

Squeeze of lime

1 handful cilantro, chopped (1-2 tbs, or to taste)

Salt

Pepper

Pinch of sugar

 

Place corn, jalapenos (and bell pepper, if using) and onions in hot nonstick skillet sprayed with olive oil (I like Spectrum Naturals brand, or use my knock-off Mr. Misto.) Season with salt and pepper, add a pinch of sugar and toss to coat. Leave it be until the corn starts to pop around and you smell a nice corn aroma coming from the pan. Flip once and repeat. At this point, you should have nicely caramelized corn and onions and some bits stuck to the pan. Add the juice of a small half of lime and use a rubber spatula to help loosen some of the bits on the pan. Add the well-rinsed black beans and toss. Add a handful of cilantro and set aside.

Finally, I spruce up the meat and veggies on the kabobs by chopping an sauteing with a splash of lime and a dusting of cumin.

To construct the tacos, place a spoonful of the Corn and Black Bean Salsa on a jicama sheet, topped with some of the meat mixture, 1/4 oz of Ricotta Salata cheese, and a thin slice of avocado, roll and place seam-side down on storebought mango salsa. Drizzle with the chipotle cream, and there you have it!

According to my calculations, a whole plate of these puppies comes in at under 350 calories, very low fat (well, if I’d used a flank steak other than the Kobe I had left over), and more protein than carbs (with the option of swaying that even more if you leave out the black beans.) And, did I mention it was really good?

Slim in 6/ 6-Day Express: Results!

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Slim in 6, Smurf, Weightloss

I’m quite pleased to report… I. AM. VICTORIOUS! I stuck to the 6-Day Express program 100%, and here are the results:

– I dropped 5 pounds (OK, maybe more like 5.5 or 5.75, but I want to give myself a head start for next week.) For those wanting to get a little perspective on what you might expect- I started at 145 lbs, my goal is 127. I’m 5′ 6″ish. Keep in mind I also did a 5.75 mile run on Sunday, plus a week of P90X workouts.

– My bodyfat looks to have dropped a few percentage points, but we get pretty broad variance in our results.

– I lost an inch in my waist, an inch or so in my belly, a little in my chest (boo!) Not sure about my arms and legs, but I don’t much care about them. My hips are the same, which is fine by me.

– Most importantly, I know that I am able to live quite fine on significantly fewer calories, and I’m ready to dive into the P90X Fat Burner Nutrition plan (though MillionDollarBody.com is giving me a meal plan that has, in my opinion, more calories than I’d like.) I am kind of going to be Deal-a-Mealing it with the P90X nutrition plan, using the MyBeachBody?MillionDollar menus for ideas.

Yesterday, I ate pretty normally (even had a few juleps at the Derby- R.I.P. Eight Belles– and a margi afterwards) and dropped another half a pound before yesterday and today.

That said, I am blogging this from my couch, laid up with some fiercely sore/burning lungs and general malaise, so I had to miss today’s run. This is likely related to my immune system tanking from the steroid shot I had to get for my rashy face (read about it at the end of this post), but I’m sure the seriously limited calories this week didn’t help.

Things I’m most excited about in the coming week– STEEL CUT OATMEAL for breakfast, and getting to within 10 pound of my goal? Stay tuned…

Slim in 6 / Beachbody 6-Day Express: Day 6

Posted 55 CommentsPosted in Slim in 6, Smurf, Weightloss

It’s the last, and probably most challenging, day of the Slim in 6 6-Day Express program.

For starters, my work brings in FREE LUNCH every Friday– today is Indian. Somehow, enjoying chicken breast and zucchini with a plain fizzy water just doesn’t fly when the whole office smells of tandoori, tikka masala, naan and mango lassi.

For follow-up-ers, tonight is the Cock-T’s show at Annie’s Social Club and a dinner-date before at our favorite sushi joint, Yo’s. I have my plan of attack ready for tonight- I’ll be having one ahi sashimi, one yellowfin sashimi and a seaweed salad with hot tea at Yo’s, and club soda with lemon at Annie’s. But, still, hipster bars are kind of a pain in the ass without a bit of boozy buffer.

Surprisingly, I am feeling pretty well. I think the ill health effects I am suffering are more from the steroid shot I got for the poison ivy- tired, some joint pain and have a bit of a cough (steroid shots can tank your immune system.) I take this as exactly the kind of feedback I needed– I can go for 6 days on 1100 cals/day and not totally crash, I should be able to jump right in with the P90X+ “lean” and the fat burner eating plan with no ill effects. In other words, while I’m trying to get the fat off, I don’t need to be eating like a bodybuilder. I pride myself on eating WELL, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing… i think I was totally underestimating the quantity of good food I was eating.

We’ll see tomorrow morning at weigh-in if any of the past 6 days shows on the scale, tape or calipers. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I’m not counting on anything.

Incidentally, I tracked the poison ivy to eating a mango from the office’s Fruit Guys box about two weeks ago. I remember hearing once that mango skin has the same oils in it as poison ivy, but I’d never remembered reacting before. Anyhow, the mango was kind of not-ripe, so I was chewing the fruit off the skin. Apparently, I swallowed some because… well… you don’t want to hear about all that, now do you? Bah.

Review: It’s Yoga San Francisco / Rocket Yoga

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Reviews, San Francisco FitLife, Smurf, Yoga/Pilates

It’s Yoga

848 Folsom St. – San Francisco, CA – 94107

415.543-1970

I discovered It’s Yoga about 2 years ago when working a few blocks away. What a gem. First, the studio is lovely- a huge warehouse space that looks like it used to be a garage or something. It is very minimal – the kind of yoga studio where go to work, not the kind of yoga studio where you go to let your nails dry while soaking your toes in a lavender-scented fizzy-bath. There are no locker rooms, so change before you get there or change in one of the bathrooms. If you don’t have a mat, they have them, but some are of questionable olfactory suitability. The studio is carpeted and can get a little wet-dog smelling when it’s warm out, but you won’t notice it once the practice starts.

With the exception of a few Ashtanga primary series and conditioning classes, all of the classes offered are Rocket series, which was created by the studio’s owner, Larry Schultz, and draws from Ashtanga. It is a very vigorous practice, and a testament to the intensity is the large percentage of men in the classes. The practice includes loads of handstands, headstands, arm balances and backbends… the kind of poses that make you wish there were a class photographer just so you can show all your friends the crazy shit you did.

Larry is a phenomenal teacher, as are all of the teachers at the studio. Reid and Marie are great, and the community of knowledgeable yogis and yoginis are very down-to-Earth and always ready with help and encouragement.

In a refreshing change from other SF studios I’ve been to, they don’t hit you over the head with the spiritual side of the practice- granted the practice itself is spiritual, so there is really no way to take that OUT of the practice. They allude to it, and it’s there, but you definitely don’t feel like you’re standing on your head during mass at Grace Cathedral.

The studio also offers a wonderful teacher training program, so there are always practitioners from around the world coming to learn the way of the Rocket.

Check out the website for their beginner’s student special; It’s a great deal at $180 for 3 months unlimited. If you want to experience It’s Yoga in all its glory, you really need to go to the 4:30 Friday Happy Hour class- just arrive early to get a place for your mat against the wall if your handstands aren’t rock solid… You’ll be doing about 20 of them.

THE FINAL WORD: A true gem among a multitude of SF yoga studios. I regret that I’m not able to get to the studio as often as I’d like, but it’s comforting to know the crew at It’s Yoga will be there when I am able to make it back.

Ps. They also have a Rocket 2 dvd available, which I have ordered and will be reviewing soon.

THE VERDICT: Smurf loves it!

Beachbody “6-Day Express”: Day Three

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Slim in 6, Smurf, Weightloss

As I mentioned in my previous blog, after a less-than-stellar progress assessment on Saturday, I started the Beachbody 6-Day Express kickstart program on Sunday. There appear to be various iterations of the same basic program included with different Beachbody products, including Slim in 6 and Hip Hop Abs, but each is the same construct: Three meals, two snacks, lower carbs, low calories, and no booze or soda (even diet!)

The Food Situation: I was shocked when I tallied up the calories for Sunday and Monday to see that I was only at about 1,000 calories per day. Talk about “crash diet” and “totally not sustainable!” But, I am looking at this as more of a level-setting and cleanse than something I expect to bring long-term results.

A typical day on the program is a smoothie for breakfast, made of blueberries, skim milk and protein powder (or a scramble with egg white, mushroom, broccoli, and light Swiss cheese), a lunchmeat/lowfat swiss cheese roll-up for AM snack (or some nonfat cottage cheese and strawberries), a salad with turkey or tuna and Newman’s Own Light Balsamic for lunch, 20 almonds for PM snack and a wonderful shrimp or chicken stirfry for dinner that I kind of pieced together with ingredients from all the various nights’ dinners.

I feel like I am eating al lot, but I think I am just eating very regularly- pretty much every 2 hours- to try to cram all the food in before 8:30 PM. On the program, you are supposed to finish eating three hours before going to bed. This morning was the first day that I noticed I was feeling a little spacey, so I’ve been really careful today to have some of the higher-carb options (eg. Strawberries and cottage cheese instead of a meat/cheese wrap) and to eat very regularly.

The Liquids: I have been drinking a camel’s ration of herbal tea, which I really do enjoy. The Slim in 6 6-Day Express wants you to take supplements that have green tea in them, so, in lieu of pills, green tea has become my beverage of choice during the day. I have replaced my traditional lunchtime Coke Zero with a sparkling water (which I was pleased to find in the Free Soda Fridge at work- usually works don’t provide free sparkling water for some reason.) Those who know me from the “always a Diet Pepsi in hand” days will be surprised to hear I am down to just one diet soda per day, but I have to say, that “just one” has been tough to give up.

In the evenings, I have really been enjoying getting back into teas. I really am a tea girl at heart, but of course I’ll opt for a glass of wine or cocktail given the choice. Not pouring myself a glass of wine or snifter of rum is surprisingly easy if I just don’t give myself the option. And, needless to say, the soda machine has been a godsend.

The Workouts: Sunday, I did my run. 5.75 miles in 50 minutes or so. (Next week I must get to 6 miles!) I felt great, despite the fact it was 88 degrees out and half my face was covered in mystery rash*. My fitness must really be improving because, even without the usual post-run P90X Recovery Drink, I didn’t crash like I had on weeks previous. Monday, it was Upper Plus and Abs/Core Plus from the P90X+ program. Yesterday, it was Plyometrics. Today is Total Body Plus and I might throw in a 20 minute jog to get my heart rate up some if I get home in time.

The Results: Well, I kind of have a headache… Does that count? No, seriously, I have decided that I won’t be doing any weighing in or measuring until Saturday, and then that will be my P90X weigh-in marker moving forward. After all, I’m not doing this because I think it’s going to create lasting physical changes. I just want to reset my system before embarking on a much more reasonable eating program.

*For those who’ve inquired about the mystery rash I’ve been mentioning- It started with a dime-sized rough patch on my cheek Friday and, by Saturday, half my face had erupted in clustered blisters. Sort of oozy. On Sunday, they got all itchy. Pretty gross. Monday, I was able to get in to see the dermatologist, and turns out it’s poison ivy. Which is just reallyfuckingfantastic considering I haven’t been in the great outdoors for months, so where it’s coming from, I have no clue. (Scary: I just realized a week before the rash broke out, I was watching an episode of Batman with Poison Ivy in it… Coincidence?) All I can say is that it had better not be in the backyard! So, the dermatologist gave me a steroid shot and sent me on my way to crust over and, hopefully, heal up.

“Yoga Booty Ballet Live: Cardio Cabaret Burlesque Style” Review

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Reviews, Smurf

Yoga Booty Ballet Live: Cardio Cabaret Burlesque Style!

Cardio Cabaret Burlesque Style

Normally, I’d start a review of a Beachbody product with a reminder that Rob is a coach and you should buy your products through him because he can give you a discount. But, that point is moot in this case, because you can get this undulating eyesore for only $3 used on Amazon.

I have actually heard good things about the Yoga Booty Ballet line of products, but, let me tell you— Cardio Cabaret is nearly unbearable.

First: The instructors. I’d take a scoop of what they are having and sip it through a straw… up my nose… if this weren’t a health and fitness blog. They are so busy heaving and hamming for the camera that they give nary a real instruction. Luckily, I have a background in dance, so was able to flail my way through most of it on cue, otherwise, I’d surely have pulled something. Here’s hoping I wasn’t supposed to perform any move in any certain way for the sake of safety or conditioning.

Second: I was please to see Ravi Drums, an old pal from the Metreon/Project Ahimsa days, in the video. But they hardly made use of him as anything but a set dressing. And, tablas and burlesque? Huh?

Third: There is nothing burlesque about this workout, at all. I think there is may be one move they toss in where they reference a stocking and one spot where they have you shimmy. If they would have written the title more appropriately, it would have been: Booty Live: Ballet Yoga! Cabaret Burlesque Style. It’s a shame to see such an obvious attempt to squeeze as many trendy buzzwords into one title, when it really speaks to none of them well.

Fourth: Intensity. I was able to push myself enough to feel like I’d gone for a brisk walk. It was an OK way to get my heartrate up for a little while (though 34 minutes of it hardly counts as a full cardio day for me.)

THE FINAL WORD: For me, doing this workout again would be like watching Two Girls, One Cup a second time. You’d have to be nuts to know what’s coming and still subject yourself to it.

THE VERDICT:

On P90X, Defining Success, Accepting Vanity: Random Smurf Musings

Posted 7 CommentsPosted in P90X/P90X+, Smurf, Weightloss

This may seem on the surface to not be a very “Fit Life SF” post. After all, Rob and I started this site because we wanted to bring our friends together in the pursuit of health, with the slant that you don’t have to count every calorie or forever turn your back on Bi Rite Creamery to get there. There is a balance and, at the end of the day, it’s all about your personal goals and how you feel, not being a mindless musclehead with a gym body and no life. (Insert requisite, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” here.)

So, this is my challenge in writing this post.

On Saturday, I had my 70-something-day weigh-in and measurements since starting the P90X program. I “officially” started on February 14, but I’d been doing the workouts with Rob pretty regularly since mid-January. Not only did I not have any improvement this weigh-in, my bodyfat crept up and a measurements stayed basically the same. And, frankly, I felt all this before we ever broke out the measuring tape and calipers. Frustrating! Especailly considering I’ve been spending at least 1.25 hours per day on the program, plus my Sunday runs, and eating impeccably during the day.

Here are the awesome things that have happened since starting P90X:

  • I feel stronger.
  • There are muscles under there.
  • I can do two whole back-to-back, for-real pull-ups (I could only do .25 of one when starting!)
  • My arms are pretty awesomely toned
  • I went off Wellbutrin without incident
  • I can run 5.75 miles and feel great about it

Here are the un-awesome things to happen since starting P90X:

  • My belly is getting bigger/flubbier/more muffin-tastic

Hmmm… seems to me like the whole “pro/con list” crowd would have me just suck it up and stop my whining. But, I don’t wannaaaa! OK, no, seriously. I know that we are all here to live full, healthy lives. But part of that for me is that I want a smokin’ body, dammit! ( I can absolve some of my vanity by pointing out that I also have the kind of chub situation that makes me more likely to die, and that would sorta suck, too. But, really… Britney abs. Circa Slave 4 U, please.) I don’t want to spend the time I’m spending and make the changes I’ve been making only to have no results.

Now, don’t think I’m blaming Tony Horton for this one. I know that the root of my problem is that, while I’ve changed my food intake during the day and on weeknights, for the most part, my love of wine and weekend culinary adventures are holding me back from getting to the place that I want to be. What’s doubly frustrating is that Rob is seeing stellar results from just doing the workouts and making minimal other changes.

So, I figure I can sit around and bitch and moan that I’m spending all this time and not seeing the results I want, or I can realize that things need to change and really kick my own ass to get where I want to be.

I can:

  • Realize that I need to get my eating in check, and commit to doing the Slim in 6 quickstart eating program for the next 6 days (which means no wine, lower carbs, very simple foods) It’s like the ultimate no-fun program, but, hell, it’s only six days! (Though, not to toot my own horn– I managed to make baby bok choy, shrimp, ginger, garlic and no-calorie seasonings taste pretty damned good tonight!)
  • Commit to doing the P90X Fat Burner eating prgram after that until I reach my goal- which means… I can have wine again! And go back to making fun recipes. Whee, it’s not so bad!
  • Realize that P90X “Classic” is probably not enough cardio to power through the fat I need to burn, and switch to “Lean,” with runs or another cardio workout replacing the P90X cardio workouts that simply don’t work for me (Kenpo X and Cardio X.)
  • Realize that it’s OK for me to pay closer attention to what I’m consuming for a while to get to the point I want to be… It doesn’t have to rule my life, and it doesn’t mean I’m “one of them”

So, I guess this post is part embarassment at admitting that I don’t have it all figured out; and part heads-up that my posts might veer from the “regulary scheduled program” while I do get it figured out; and part asking for encouragement as I go the next 4 days (I started the 6 days on Sunday) eating totally clean and cutting out my lovely vino, all while working out and still trying to be a reasonably amiable human being.

I guess the message is that we all hit a wall sometimes. And that’s OK, because part of the process of finding out what WILL work for you is finding out what WON’T. Victory here is as much about recognizing when it’s time to change course and try something new as it is in finally having Britney abs. But, dammit… I really want the abs!