Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
March 2, 2017
This month has been a weird start for my work life so to speak. We have been experiencing a lot of issues with just about everything in our operating system, making it difficult to get our jobs done and praying for death as the end of our shifts come up. At this point in time, no one is willingly doing overtime due to these issues. I get pretty upset with the fact my ancient desktop is still far better than the ones I have to work with, even though I have a weird McAfee Security pop-up that is making my life miserable (to hell with you McAfee, I just wanted to update my damn Flash plug-in!!). Anyway, the company is trying to placate us a little, or least the supervisors are trying to keep their teams in a happy mood by getting a pizza lately…and I mean a lot of it. There was one day where I was walking to my car to take my customary afternoon mini-nap when not only Pizza Hut was walking in the building, but also Dominos. There was a Mexican stand-off between the two when they got to the door, like each one was plotting to trip up the other and make them lose their sale. I wish I could have been like “Yojimbo” in that situation, playing both sides. I should have, because guess where those damn pizzas were placed?! So yes, the smell of pizza has been permeating my nostrils as of late and making me wish for an early death. I say this with the utmost respect to my former mistress because I would have just parked a whole box next to my desk and eaten the whole damn thing. Other co-workers be damned! So why am I once again lamenting about pizza? Shouldn’t I be past this nonsense by now?
Well of course, I manage to avoid pizza rather easily these days, mainly because most bars and grills don’t wish to accommodate the non-dairy and non-meat crowd. I don’t mind all that much when I truly think about it, but it does get to me from time to time. I say this because I am once again trying to make sure I eat more food at home rather than out and about. I don’t want a repeat of the infamous 2014, where I effectively gained weight back and spiraled into a hell I wish not to describe. What this also means is I have to make a concerted effort in cutting up ingredients, purchasing ingredients and you know, trying stuff outside of my comfort zone. I did make my own Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme not too long ago, but the expense of making such a dish was quite the pain in the butt. Of course, these days food at Taco Bell is starting to get expensive, and the guy that made a rant about buying 49 dollars worth of Taco Food isn’t so bad these days (though it would still ONLY cover 31 burritos under the Arizona pricing system). Of course, the video is masterful!! https://youtu.be/0hMTqhGaK8k Of course, I can only imagine what his rant would have been like in the 90s when they had that crazy 39-59-79 deal that was compelling me to eat at that place every day! I was eating at Taco Bell so much that the people at the store knew what I wanted before I came in and I was soon forced to start changing up the order to keep them off guard, because they have no right to establish a rapport with me! Okay, so perhaps I still have a little bit of a Taco Bell fetish but trust me, that is firmly under control (mainly because they seem to mess up my order every time…I mean, don’t they get the idea of what Fresco-style is! It means no stinking sour cream! I got so pissed off the third time around that I smashed the damn food and then returned it…fortunately I didn’t make a scene but I was pretty pissed off). And yes, while you observe the last paragraph, that is the sign of a person that is obsessive compulsive and in need of perfection. But at least I was not like this one guy recently who rammed his car through a Taco Bell store because they weren’t open! What do you expect, though. I do one thing wrong at work and the windfall on my bonus could be huge! So yes, I have become obsessive compulsive (except with my writing apparently, which is riddled with mistakes!).
Okay, so I am trying to get myself back into the full vibe of cooking. It has become a challenge for me these days, for I have some weird idiosyncrasies that may be interpreted as “odd” to the average person. First of all, I hate to have too much food in my house that might spoil. This drives me up the wall, mainly because I am obsessed with potentially throwing food away, so when I get something, I have to consider the ideas of using all of the ingredients. Just this past week, I got three bags of “expired” organic apples at my store and I have been having apples come out of my nose. I mean, I have been eating so much of the buggers that you might as well call me Stephen Appleseed (hmm, that is not a bad band name if I can ever fully learn my bass and start some abomination to the music industry). I also may be eating way too much cinnamon…for it seems my lunchbag is smelling like an apple pie (though, Saigon Cinnamon doesn’t have the same smell, so it must be some olfactory association). Right now, I am scared to death with how to cook this massive amount of acorn squash that a friend gave me. I haven’t really had the time to cook it and I can only hope it last for a little while longer before it becomes mulch for my tree in the front yard (or rabbit food for the local bunnies, who constantly congregate in my front yard). I guess I could try to cook it and put light dabs of olive oil in the oven, dabbing some other spices on top to make it taste different. Maybe I will even find a use father Chinese Five Spice I have!
A couple weekends ago, I made a really good one-pan noodle dish that was amazing. It was supposed to be some kind of vegan Paella dish, only I altered it slightly to coincide with my latino sensibilities a little more. I added hotter peppers and less artichoke hearts. I put in a lot more cayenne pepper in addition to additional onion and used roasted garnet spears as opposed to minced pieces. I think next time I might add a dash of habanero peppers to make the stuff a little more hot. Either way, there will always be a next time. I also went a little crazy and added Beyond Meat crumbles, which turned into some weird goulash concoction that's really spicy and hearty. I have to tell you, that was real job to make, for it felt good to actually use my cooking skills rather than just make bean and rice burritos (the foundation of my diet). Eventually I’m going have to try to make something with potatoes again, because I seriously miss the ground gourds. I was thinking of trying my hand once again at something I made a couple years ago, only doing it right this time. You, before I ever had an idea of what samosas were, I was making something similar to it with the shaved potato stuffing and various spices. The only thing is, I put it in a pita bread like a weirdo. Yes, I have come a long way but hey that stuff was good as well!!
Last week, if you can really believe this for this could give the authority of any other vegan out there to take my vegan card…but I made tofu for the first time. Over four years living the plant based life and I finally made tofu. I rarely eat the stuff, not because I believed the stupid idea that if you eat soy, you get man boobs. I did something that Christa used to do on a regular basis by cooking thin slices of the stuff and curing them with some some spices. I cooked them until they had a decent consistency and then made a legitimate stir fry—for the first time in maybe four years—and enjoyed every last bite of it! Now of course, I was supposed to mix the stuff with white rice, but I used brown rice…so sue me.
No why do I need cooking in my life. Well, I have touched on this aspect of my life before…it’s about the calories. I mean, you can get upwards of 2,000 calories for one meal! And that is not included if you are sitting down and watching your alma mater lose at home to their rival. Ugh. Now the other thing that really helps me out with the cooking side is the idea of expression. In a world that has millions of photos of beautiful looking food, plated to absolute perfection, here I am making more feasible options with less appeal. But I enjoy it more, because it is made to fill my preference not someone else’s. Now I suppose if I was trying to impress a woman with my culinary panache, I would seek to follow the rules on the recipe just for the sake of not really knowing the culinary taste of said person. Which is why I will always ask someone if they like spicy food (which I forgot to do once and all my friends were suffering from the heat…even after skimming back on the peppers). There is a stress release about the art form, especially since I really don’t get to show any other forms of self expression in my life besides doing this blog (and a lot of times, this in more an obligation and a job…though sometimes it can be really fun!). This weekend I intend to take advantage of two of favorite culinary delights, that being beans and pasta, and making pasta/bean/barbecue burgers. It sounds weird, but trust me, it will work in the end. I will post photos on my social media feeds. The cool thing though, with myself in charge of this debacle, you know what will happen! I will add some jalapeños to the mix and use a spicy barbecue sauce, most likely the brand from Stubbs. And yes, did I mention I like spicy food? Of course, this also means I will nee to get some Chao cheese, but this also means I need to show some darn restraint!
Of course, the dangerous aspect of cooking for yourself is the fact you might eat too much, which is certainly a problem that I run into frequently. When you make a huge batch of pasta that is meant to make you roughly five meals, you can go a little overboard at first because the freshness of the newly made food is the addiction I have to my cooking. I think that is why I always loved going to restaurants, for in spite of what they might have sold in those places in those days, I still love the fact that it was made for me. Even my pea brained mind can be tricked by perfectly warmed up food from a fast food joint, which is why I would always frequent certain stops that made their food a little better than the other places. Seriously the best fast food places to eat were the ones that were slow, mainly because the people working were most likely “Oh shit! Someone just shows up!” I always found the wait to be worth it. It is just like my other theory about coffee…if the place is busy, then the coffee will be fresher than normal…unless you go to a Circle K, because back in the day I started rotation techniques that were utilized up until the day everyone started using the gigantic storage basins for their coffee. You cannot replace quality with quantity. Trust me! People had no way to tell which coffee pot had been sitting and which had just brewed. Only the people I liked knew my secret and were allowed to crack the code.
Over the coming weeks, I will continuously seek to make some good food that is not the typical workout ready norm for me, like the spinach and the fruits and the veggies and the one stop a week to Chipotle after my Monday workout. I have to get this eating thing under control and now that I have a high end grocery store near my house (they had veggie cooking stock!!) I can actually go a little more outside the box with my creations. I thin the biggest reason I need this is because I need some other outlets in my life. Hitting the gym and writing the blog doesn’t always do it for me on most days. Time to get back into the world of making my own weird (albeit delicious) concoctions.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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