Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

As you know, I’ve started a new job. Unemployment was the reason I had time to exercise and turn my focus toward weight loss and better health. I’ve been talking lately about how I don’t want the daily grind to set me back.

I came home from work on Monday night, said hi to my dad, got changed into shorts and sneakers and took My daughter outside. I walked and she biked for 30 minutes. I only got a mile in with her beside me but it was the 30 minutes of slow, deliberate walking that Primal Blueprint Fitness requires. I was happy about that. The weather was beautiful and the sun stayed up just long enough.
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I’ve worked it out so that I can exercise with her on Tuesdays too. I have to take her back to her mom on Tuesdays after work. There’s a park with wide sidewalks around a lake that I can take her to. Once we arrive, we can exercise until her mom gets there and then I can continue at a quicker pace to get ready for the Disney half marathon. I had planned to do this last night after work but the weather had other plans…
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I’ve got two months to prepare. Keep an eye on my road to the marathon weekend!


This weekend I took another trip over to the Winter Park Dairy off of Howell Branch Road in Seminole County. After enjoying several wedges of their cheeses, I felt it was time to share it with my readers.

It’s not difficult to find The Winter Park Dairy but you need to look for the small signs pointing toward the farm. You drive in through a small gate and down a dirt road past horses and cows. Just before you get to the lake, you curve to the right and the farm store is directly in front of you. I’ve been told that if you take away the palm trees that are on the property it feels like you’re in Vermont. The farm store is only open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so you’ve got to make room in your schedule to make a trip over. I always try to get in just after 9 on Saturdays since I’m afraid of how popular this will get and how there’s a chance they will run out of what I want to buy. I know…I’m a little selfish.

The Winter Park Dairy is farmed by the Green family and is the first dairy to be built in the last decade and the only one producing 100% natural raw milk artisan cheese. It is also the smallest, least mechanized and most urban. No pasteurizers or milk pumps to heat, batter and destroy the integrity of the milk. Land development in Central Florida rapidly gobbled up the last farms and Florida dairies became massive industrial enterprises milking tens of thousands of confined cows every day. The milk is processed in mega-sized food plants that would make NASA envious and shipped hundreds of miles to a grocer’s shelf near you.

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That’s what makes The Winter Park Dairy Farm Store unique. The store is not large in size but it has several interesting items to buy. There are jams, honey, and baked goods. Since I don’t eat grains or sugar, I went directly for the honey. They have Orange-Blossom, Wildflower and Tupelo. I went for the Wildflower honey and have used it at home for sweetening my primal ice cream, teas and for using in the new primal bread recipe I’ve been making lately.

On the table next to the register you’ll find wedges of the various raw milk, aged artisan cheeses produced by the Winter Park Dairy. Each type of Cheese has a sample in front of it. During my visits to the farm store, they have had Blue Cheese, Black & Blue Cheese(with peppercorns throughout), Parmesan and Cheddar. The cheese is sliced into big wedges and sold for $6 per wedge. David Green will even encourage you to pick the biggest one since they’re all the same price.

To the right of the cash register, there’s a cooler with farm fresh eggs, Amish butter and goat cheese made from other producers. I purchased a roll of the Amish butter on my first visit over four weeks ago and I still have more than half of the roll left to use.

So far, I’ve tried the Cheddar, Blue Cheese and Black & Blue Cheese. I am a big fan of the Black & Blue. I’ve purchased it twice and have used it to stuff dates, top hamburgers, fill omelets and sliced for an occasional snack.

The texture of the cheese is very creamy. It melts extremely well under the broiler. The rind is edible and also has a great texture to it.

The website for Winter Park Dairy offers this brief history:

Farm History

The Green family has farmed the land surrounding spring fed Lake Florence for 4 generations. Citrus was king and the Green groves produced oranges, tangerines and grapefruit for over a century until the back to back freezes of 1983 and 1985 laid permanent waste to the fruit and trees. So that the farm could continue to produce fresh food for the community and a living for the family, David Green and Dawn Taylor-Green started Winter Park Farm in 2001 to breed and raise Angus cattle. That’s how they became acquainted with the Cow. The Cow is an extremely cool animal. As such, it seemed a dreadful shame that their only destiny was to be fattened and slaughtered by the age of three. The short meaningless life of a Beef Cow. Not our kind of farming.

Dairy Cows. Being a Dairy Cow is the way to go. You have human servants – “Farmers” – attending to your every need, every day. They feed you all natural grains, hay and pure water to your heart’s content. You, in turn, produce five gallons of fresh butterfat rich milk every day. Working together in harmony under the Florida sun to create the Sunshine State’s only raw milk artisanal cheese, all thrive. Grazing on green lakefront pasture year-round, a Dairy Cow’s life is an eternal Spa visit. And they get to live a good long time to enjoy it. Our kind of farming. Winter Park Dairy was born.

I highly advise a visit to the Winter Park Dairy. Every time I walk in, David greets me with a warm welcome and has been very informative about the products his family makes. Support this local family farm and enjoy the fact that your cheese is locally made from quality ingredients without preservatives.

Location: 4501 Howell Branch Road, Winter Park, FL 32792
Owners: David L. Green, MBA, MS and Dawn Taylor Green, RD, LD
Hours: Saturdays Only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Acreage: 8
Products: Raw Milk Aged Artisan Cheese
Website: http://winterparkdairy.com/

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Wow!!! Boneless, skinless chicken is only $2.49/lb today and 1 dozen grade A large eggs are only $0.99!!! Stock up while the price is this low! I did!

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Yesterday I was walking around Park Avenue in Winter Park, FL. If you’ve never been there, it’s full of various shops, salons/spas and restaurants. On Saturdays there’s also a great farmer’s market held nearby.

I stumbled upon The Spice & Tea Exchange and wanted to share. When you enter the store, it’s full of shelves with glass jars containing loose teas, sugars, salts, spices and spice blends. The owner came over to welcome us and invited us to uncap any of the jars and inhale the fragrant blends.

I started off with the salts and found many of them very interesting, especially the Applewood and Hickory salts. I moved on to the spice blends and found many great varieties of curries and ethnic blends.

The spices were next and you can find everything you need including whole nutmeg and star anise. I love anise in chai and espresso.

In the middle of the room were the sugars and a sample of iced plum tea that the shopkeepers made from their loose leaf selection. It was tangy, naturally sweet and very refreshing since it was 94 degrees outside the shop door.

After the sample of tea I went over to smell some of the loose leaf tea blends. I’m a big fan of earl grey and their chocolate blend but in the end I didn’t purchase either.

I walked away with a Korean BBQ Rub and one ounce of the Cinnamon Plum tea.

Grilling the Chicken

I rubbed this chicken with the Korean BBQ blend this morning at 7 a.m., kept it refrigerated and covered and grilled it for lunch on a gas grill like this:

– Heat all burners on high to burn off food particles from last time.

– Brush the grill with a wire brush.

– Oil the grill plates.

– Turn off the right side burners.

– Grill chicken four minutes per side on the far left side of the grill and keep the cover down before and after flipping.

– After four minutes on side two, move the chicken to the far right side of the grill.

– Leave the far left burner on high and wait 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat. Mine were about an inch thick and ended up going 15 minutes for perfect doneness.

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The flavors are incredible. You get a distinct Asian flavor that contains sesame and a slight sweetness. If you dry out your grilled chicken, I don’t think this would taste good but when done properly utilizing a combination of direct and indirect heat like I explained makes it comes out very nice. It’s crisp and flavorful on the outside and juicy in the center. Slicing thin and resting over a salad would create a satisfying primal meal. 20110716-113536.jpg

Brewing the Tea

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I warmed a glass measuring cup with hot water while the tea water came up to temperature. I emptied the measuring cup and added 1.5 tsps of the tea leaves. I covered them with 8 ounces of hot water and let them steep for 4-6 minutes since this is an herbal and takes longer than a cup of green tea. While I waited I added 1 Tbsp of Webb’s local wildflower honey to my tea cup. Using a wire strainer over my cup, I poured the steeped tea catching all the loose tea.

This tea is insanely good. You taste currants, hibiscus and plum with subtle notes of cinnamon and licorice. I enjoyed this hot cup a little more than the iced sample I tried yesterday. This is a new favorite of mine.

I can’t wait to go back and try some other teas and spices. If you’d like to check out The Spice & Tea Exchange, here’s how to do it:

The Spice & Tea Exchange
309 N. Park Avenue
Winter Park‎ FL‎ 32789
Phone: (407) 647-7423
Web: http://spiceandtea.com/

I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people asking how I’ve lost the weight and what I’m eating. I know I’m WAY past due for sharing the details of my household ingredients. First, I have to recommend the two Primal Blueprint cookbooks. I also recommend the standard Primal Blueprint book to help you to understand the structure of this way of life. It’s not a diet, it’s a way of changing your daily pattern of eating and moving and after a 90 pound loss, you better believe it works. It’s not a miracle. You don’t put your faith in the Primal Blueprint, you put your faith in you.

Here are some of the frozen, refrigerator and pantry staples I keep around.

Freezer

Chicken
Pork
Beef
Seafood
Blackberries
Blueberries
Strawberries
70% Dark Chocolate (or higher %)

Refrigerator

Kale
Heavy cream
Mushrooms
Peppers
Cauliflower
Bananas(kept cold for smoothies)
Maple Syrup (grade B)
Butter (WHOLE butter only)
Eggs
Coleman Bacon
Coleman Hot Dogs
Maverick Ranch Ham(no nitrates)

Pantry

Raw almonds
Walnuts
Raw wildflower honey
Coconut milk(move to frig once open)
Coconut oil
Olive oil
Onions (I like Vidalia)
Garlic(real garlic. Not that bottled stuff)
Green Tea
Loose leaf teas
Dry spices

I try to keep as much on hand as possible. I do most of my prep and cooking on weekends and then eat leftovers or prepped foods all week. The key is to find things you like and stick with them.

What Can You Make?

It’s all about following a recipe but modifying it to your specific tastes. I always shoot for quick and simple these days. I’m a huge fan of fewer ingredients in my meals.

Here’s a list of things I like to make:

Grilled chicken
Grilled steak
Grilled hot dogs(no buns)
Pan seared/oven baked fish
Stir fry
Faux fried rice
Egg drop soup
Kale and onions
Creamed kale
Kale chips
Ice cream
Fruit granitas
Grok Rocks(Dk. Choc covered prunes)
Omelettes(veggie or meat filled)
Fritattas
Eggs (over-medium) & bacon or ham
Zucchini Egg Bake(get PB cookbook)
Greek yogurt w/ honey & berries
Green Tea(8 oz every day)
London Broil
Filet Mignon(very affordable at home)
Blackberry marinade
Homemade mayonnaise
Homemade ranch dressing
Homemade wasabi ranch dressing
Wedge salad w/ steak & blue cheese

I can’t keep listing this stuff. I’m getting hungry. Find the things you can do quickly and easily that taste good to you. Eat them frequently and rotate menus as needed.

Water

You have got to hydrate. As far as drink go, I usually drink a cup of green tea each morning with breakfast. Before I eat breakfast, I put 1 liter of water in my body. I try to drink up to 2 more liters before the day ends.

Movement

I move so much more than I used to. I walk, jog, bike and paddle board (I’m actually getting one and will be doing it regularly now!!!).

When I was 388 pounds, I started by walking or biking 30 minutes per day. As the weight went away, I increased my time exercising. I didn’t focus on the time. I focused on the distance. I wanted to see how far I could go without the use of a gas vehicle. I’m still pushing myself to go farther. My top distance in a single day is 40 miles by bike within 3 hours. It took a lot out of me but I enjoyed every bit of it.

Accountability

I’ve said this before. In order to silence the negative voices in your head telling you that you can’t do it, you’ve got to surround yourself with family and friends that tell you that you can. Find people that believe in you and keep them close. Spend time with people who will bike with you, walk with you, run with you, eat with you and everything else possible. It has been the best way for me to reconnect with two of my oldest friends and have their unending support to push me when I need it.

Questions

If you have more questions, email me.

If you need an accountability partner when no one else will be, email me…I’ll do my best to be the motivator for you that many have been for me.

Email: theroad2wd@gmail.com

Chin Up

Pardon me while I speak profanely. There are enough people in this world who will shit on you, knock you down and kick you while you lie there licking your wounds. As soon as YOU start telling yourself they’re right, you’ve lost. Believe in yourself. Sure you may have f$&!ed up along the way but you can certainly turn your life around. F$&! ups aren’t permanent. They’re lessons to look back on. Mental pictures in an album full of disappointment.

Pick your chin up and use it! Look deep at your past and remember how you were ridiculed, turned down, disappointed and left out. Focus on doing what it takes to make DAMNED sure you never go back to that place.

If you want to do it, all you have to do is do it!
~Ben Davis

This shirt I wear

Posted: June 3, 2011 in Fitness, Motivational, Shopping

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Alright, alright. Five years ago in a Hot Topic store in North Carolina…

I bought a shirt. A shirt which bears the symbol of the Mandalorian Marines. The symbol that I bear on my left arm as a tattoo. The symbol that Boba Fett has on his upper bicep just below the left shoulder. The symbol only true Star Wars geeks, like me, can appreciate.

The Mandalorians are a fierce band of warriors whose only purpose in life is to fight for glory and honor. They occasionally have one-on-one fights to the death and are led by a single man, who leads from the front lines.

I bought the shirt in a size 2x. At the time I was wearing 3x sized shirts and I vowed to get down to a weight where the shirt would fit. That shirt sat in the back of the closet for five years. I’d find it every time I moved out of a house and couldn’t bear to throw it out. Each time I’d vow again to one day get down to a weight where it would fit.

Today was that day. I thoroughly enjoyed wearing the shirt today because we went to Disney for Star Wars Weekends.

At one point my daughter took a picture with Anakin from The Clone Wars. I tend to think these costumed actors dress the part but don’t do the research but this guy did. He looked at my daughter, pointed at me and asked “who is that guy?” she answered “that’s my dad”. Anakin said “I think he’s a bounty hunter”. She answered “no, he’s just my dad”.

I felt proud two times in the same moment. So what if I bought the shirt five years ago and wore it for the first time today?! Better late than never.

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***UPDATE***
I talked with Primal Toad this morning and he is giving me two of his smoothie recipe eBooks to add to the June giveaway. One of them will go to the winner of the blender and the other will go to the runner-up. I’ve made several of these smoothies already and they’re pretty amazing. Go check out Toad’s blog a http://primaltoad.com
***UPDATE***

So I’m feeling generous. Good things are happening for me and I want them to start happening for you too. Thanks to The Primal Toad, I found a great personal blender for making primal smoothies at home. This thing is fantastic. It’s small in size but still strong enough to blend ice. It is very portable and comes with two containers and two lids. The lids have a sliding opening at the top where you can sip your smoothies immediately after blending or place a straw in there if they’re a little too thick to gulp.

I really like the fact that you just pop the container off after blending and you’re ready to go. The blades are right inside the container so you blend your drink, take the container off, open the sliding lid and you’re drinking. I’m a big fan of having less to clean in the kitchen and this blender does the trick.

I have them available for you to purchase through my amazon affiliate account. By purchasing them from these links, you get the same great items I’ve personally tested and I get a little bit of money to help with my fitness expenses, registration fees for 5ks, biking events and equipment needs.

So, if you really want it now, you can buy it by clicking here:

The Road BEYOND Warrior Dash Recommends

OR…you can…

Get Something For Free

I’ve decided to purchase an extra blender for you. It’s completely paid for and you can have it by helping me increase blog subscribers and Facebook fans. Here’s how it works:

1. You use your social networks like Twitter, Facebook and such to send people to my blog (https://road2warriordash.wordpress.com) or Facebook Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/theroadbeyondWD).

2. The person has to subscribe to the blog or click the LIKE button at the top of the Facebook page.

3. Once the person has subscribed/liked either or both of them they need to leave a comment on a blog post or on the fan page wall stating who referred them to the page.

The person with the most referrals on June 30th will be the proud owner of a very awesome, very new Hamilton Beach Personal Blender like I use every day. It will be shipped direct to the winner by me so there’s no cost to any of you. I’m just asking for a little of your time to help me share my blog and story with others.

Quick Fitness Update

I’m still deep in the midst of training for my first 5k run with Ben Davis on June 25th. Today was my final run for week four. I jogged a total of 16 minutes spread out in intervals. At the beginning of this week, I went 1.72 miles in 35 minutes. Today, I went 1.85 miles in 32 minutes. My Runkeeper stats say I went from 19 minutes per mile to 17 minutes per mile. I feel great today. I feel like I’m starting to accomplish greater things and as I sit here and type this blog entry, I’m REALLY glad I went jogging at 7:30 this morning because it’s pouring outside my window right now.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for taking part in the giveaway. Talk to you later!

I’ve got so much to say today and so little time to type all of it. A few weeks ago I was made aware of a way to get locally grown, organic produce in Orlando. My friend, Jenny, told me about Homegrown Co-op. In Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Cookbook he talks about where to get food and one of the things he mentions is finding a local co-op for produce. Well, thanks to Jenny, I found one.

You can click this to be transported to their site.

When you go to the website for Homegrown Co-op, you’ll find a lot of information so I’m going to only cover the basics here and tell you of my experiences thus far. On the website, they define a co-op as:

an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

This is a way for you and me to receive locally-grown, unprocessed foods from a network of local farmers that are based within 50 miles of downtown Orlando. The website says that the producers of the Homegrown Co-op range from very small to mid-sized farms. Some are certified organic through the USDA; some are Certified Naturally Grown; and others are non-certified practicing organic. We develop close relationships with our farmers, and visit their operations often to ensure the highest quality of your foods. They say it’s a little more expensive but I have yet to notice the difference if I were to go through the produce section at Publix or Whole Foods and compare costs. After two weeks, I really feel like it’s close in comparison. Also, think of what you’ll save in medical bills later by putting these good quality foods into your body instead of produce that is genetically produced, coated in wax and God knows what else…

The thing I like most about Homegrown Co-op is that they offer an item called “Season’s Pick Box”. It’s available in small, medium or large and it comes full of vegetables that are currently in season. It’s a random mix and you can’t substitute items. Let me tell you something about this item. I am not a fan of vegetables. Having switched to primal eating, it has been a challenge for me to come up with stuff I like. Since I started getting stuff from Homegrown, I have become an Iron Chef of sorts. I get home with my box and I find that there’s stuff in here I have never eaten. Things like Swiss Chard, Yellow Squash, Broccolini, Beets (YES, I ate beets) and more. My stomach says “uh-oh” but my brain says “you just spent $35 on produce. It better NOT go bad and you better FIND a way to cook it to your liking before it spoils. Your body needs this! Do it!” So I’ve had to jump on Google and start searching for things like “what to do with beets” and I have found several options.

Here’s a little breakdown of my experience with the co-op.

The first thing you need to know is that you cannot place an order in the online market unless it is between 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday of each week. That is the only time that the shopping cart icons will appear for you to add your selections. The website is easy to navigate and you can choose categories from the left side that will display relative items to the right.

Week One

I decided to start with a small Season’s Pick Box. I got yellow squash, tomatoes, swiss chard, green pepper, onion and a head of Bibb Lettuce. I honestly can’t remember all of it. What I did feel is that for one person, there wasn’t enough. I will tell you it was all great. The freshness and flavor stood out nicely above what I’m used to. The co-op offers delivery for a fee depending on your zip code. For me it was $9 but I wasn’t going to be available to pick it up myself. I left a cooler outside and they promised to deliver between 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. It arrived around 7:00 p.m.

Week Two

This is what I really want to talk about. This week, I decided to drive down to the co-op to pick up my box. It’s a small building just north of downtown Orlando. You have to pick up your orders on Thursday between 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. I went at 2:30 and the parking lot was slammed. I had to block a car in just to be able to park. Luckily for me, they filled my order before his and I got out without anyone making a scene.

Inside the building, they have tables and glass coolers with a surplus of things you can buy on the spot. Eggs, breads, spices, meats and various other things. I decided to stick with my order and gave my name at the counter. The person went out of the building to another building out back and came back with a bin full of seasonal produce. NOTE: Bring your own bags or boxes to take your items home. I missed this detail and they gave me some but they didn’t have much. Next time I’ll know.

Words can’t describe it so here’s a picture:

This is a medium Season’s Pick Box. This week I got (starting at 6:00 and going clockwise-ish) 1 Onion, 2 Green Peppers, 2 Poblano peppers, 4 tomatoes, 3 cucumbers, 1 eggplant, 2 yellow squash, 1 head of bibb lettuce, 1 pound of green beans, a bunch of broccolini, beets and swiss chard. The eggs belong to my brother-in-law and sister and can be purchased separately from the co-op. Holy Cow!!! I didn’t know where to begin. I knew that there was a recipe for Swiss Chard Frittata in the Primal Blueprint Cookbook so I knew where that would go. Two days ago, a friend told me about Ratatouille. I’ve never made or eaten it so I was anxious to try it. Do you know that everything I need for Ratatouille is in this box. Ok, sure I’ll be substituting the squash for zucchini that the recipe calls for but squash is squash and it’s going to be mushy and slimy once heated so I don’t see the difference. Cucumbers. I do not like cucumbers by themselves. I went back to my middle eastern cuisine days and made tzatziki using some of the greek yogurt I had in the house. I also cut some up and made cucumber water and that’s very refreshing. The real challenge were the beets. I didn’t think I liked them and was pretty scared that they were in there. I started looking frantically for something to do. I found a recipe for a beet soup with feta over at SeriousEats.com. After finishing, a quick taste revealed an earthy/sweet taste I might enjoy now and again. I went ahead and froze it into three seven-ounce portions for later days.

I also never cooked Broccolini. I didn’t even know what it was. Google took me to FoodMayhem.com where I found this article about Broccolini. I really like Food Mayhem. I added them to my RSS reader so I can keep up with their blog for new food ideas.

Week two gave me much more to work with. I love that it helps me be creative again in the kitchen. I love that I’m eating things that are grown by local farmers that are monitored by the co-op for quality. This really adds a new level to the changes I’m making with my food selections. I hope you’ll find this blog encouraging and if you live in the area, that you’ll check out Homegrown Co-op for your produce, dairy, meat or miscellaneous needs.

A Quick Update

My cracked/bruised/broken rib is not fully healed but I’m pleased to report minimal pain. I’m sleeping on my back again and I’ve been biking and walking regularly. I’m going to wait to the end of a full eight weeks before trying any weightlifting again. I biked 18 miles today, 14 yesterday and there’s a chance I’ll be doing 14 tomorrow.

One more thing. I got on the scale and lost four more pounds. I’m at 321 now and all the excess weight I gained after injury from swelling and fluid retention is gone. I smiled.

If you haven’t done it yet, go to the The Road Beyond Warrior Dash Fan Page on Facebook and click the LIKE button at the top. Stop in regularly for food ideas and just to see how I’m doing.

  • If you’re one of the people that motivates me and tells me I’ve inspired you, please tell someone about my journey and how to find the blog.
  • If you’ve got a friend, co-worker, family member…ANYONE that doesn’t believe there’s still time for them to turn their life around and be healthy, please tell them about my journey and how to find the blog.

I’m doing it. If I can do it, I believe others can too. Thanks for reading and for supporting me.

Have a great Easter weekend. Talk to you later!