Category Archives: Goalsetting

Old Chinese Proverb


This is so true.  The Chinese have the best sayings.  We hear this a lot at work with all the ideas we propose to people who are a little more…um…conservative.



What I’ve been up to-Part 1

For over 2 years now I’ve been focused on trying to lose weight and get more healthy.  It’s for a variety of reason, and yes, vanity is in the list.  I started this journey by focusing on CrossFit, but over time I noticed that my lifestyle became more Paleo or Primal.  I’ve also started to modify my exercise along the same lines of lifting heavy objects and slow steady movement.  Hiking, biking, gardening, swimming, etc all fit into this pattern of movement.

As I got into this I realized how ridiculously sustainable this way of eating is.  I eat animals (local grass fed for the most part) and a bunch of fruits and vegetables.  The fat I eat comes from the meat, lard from the pigs I buy and some organic butter from the store.  It’s super easy to eat within your local food shed when you eat like this.  Oh sure I eat some things that aren’t local too, like bananas and sweet potatoes, but for the most part you can eat this way and eat seasonally.  All it requires is putting up more than someone who eats grains, dairy and legumes, especially since the bulk of your calories come from meat and fat which are easily sourced locally.  As opposed to a more plant based diet where grains are moved in from another location.

Living in Iowa I think about our agriculture.  It mostly consists of CAFO hog operations, beef cattle raised on pasture (until they are a certain age and shipped to feedlots), confinement egg production, corn on one side of the road and soybeans on the other.  If more consumers moved to a way of eating that was focused on a Paleo or Primal way of eating I can’t help but think of how much different our landscape would be.  Would our soil be eroding down the Mississippi at such a horrific rate?  (or see this article from the Des Moines Register)  How much cleaner would our water be?  How much more attractive would our fields be full of animals and natural plants instead of rows of corn and beans?  Would we care so much about deer populations if they just ate the grass in our fields instead of the beans and corn?

It also seems like a fairly easy way to live over the long term too.  I can grow a fair amount of the fruits and vegetables I would like to eat on a small plot of land around my house.  (I live on 1/3 of an acre so it’s not like this land is huge)  And with a small chicken coop it would be easy to raise enough eggs for us to eat.  Where I would get tripped up is the meat, though I have to say I can buy it from plenty of farmers in the area, and if something like this were to happen the amount of farmer’s selling products in this area would increase exponentially.

Of course there are plenty that say that the most sustainable way to eat is to eat a plant based diet.  I disagree.  The amount of energy involved in raising the grains for that type of diet is immense.  The energy involved in transporting those foodstuffs around the world is immense.  The erosion, pollution, isolation of farmers, disrupting communities to grow on a larger scale and ag subsidies all conspire to make me think that eating a plant based diet is not the way to go.  You can disagree with me, that’s fine with me.  But for me, my health, my pocketbook and where I live, buying my meat from a local farmer and raising as much of my own fruits and vegetables as possible seems to be the way I can live and reduce my impact on the earth.  It’s the diet that I think humans are evolved to eat.  It’s sustainable in my mind.  And it’s a great way to hedge against future food insecurity because so much of it can be raised locally.

New Pants

I picked up some new pants yesterday.  My pants have gotten so loose they hang on me really badly, and sometimes just plain fall down.

I was almost able to get into a 38, which is two pant sizes less than than the ones I was wearing at the time.  Rachael thinks the 40 waist pants I got may be too big as they loosen up so I may go back and look at the 38s again.

Pretty exciting for me as I haven’t been under a 40 for a long time.  If I remember correctly, that would be a drop so far this year from a 44 to a 38.


Sorry I’ve been away for so long, I’ve got a lot to say but not a lot of time right now.

Well, most of the month of February was lost. I ended up gaining 3 pounds by the time the week in Vegas (and subsequent week long readjustment after wards) was over. That puts me as of now at 15 pounds lost. Still have 20 to go. This week might be the week though. I feel some changes in my body and with gardening starting up I’m now busy in the evenings too (even if I just want to lie down) which means even more calories burnt. I typically lose 10-15 pounds over the summer so hopefully that will continue.

Loving them. I’ve been spreading out mostly finished compost in the garden and they are finishing the work for me. I’ll be planting or trimming something nearby and they are digging up the beds and spreading around the compost looking for things to eat. Unfortunately they got into my cold frames when I had the lids off but I think I was able to stop most of the damage. They are doing a great job though earning their keep.

I planted lettuces, Swiss chard and spinach in the cold frames. Also transplanted some so we’ll see how that takes. First results aren’t very good. Last night I also planted onions, carrots, parsnips, beets and turnips. I’m waiting for the moon phase to turn again at the end of the month and I’ll plant peas, broccoli, cabbage and other things, although I did start their seeds to see how they take. I also started some tomato and pepper plants. I’m not planning to grow many tomato plants this year. I’ll plan to buy most of what I need to can. Squash and melons will be started when the moon phases line up too, although they’ll only have about 6 weeks in the tray by that time. Seed potatoes are sitting on the counter waiting for the right time.

I heavily mulched some spinach last winter and it seems to be coming back just fine this spring, which is really cool. I should get my first asparagus crop this year and the garlic is doing nicely, although I planted less this year. I haven’t seen the rhubarb coming up yet.

Food stores
I did a lot better stocking up last fall and managing it through the winter. We ran out of pizza sauce, but that was really all. Most of my potatoes are unusable because of shriveling and sprouts, but that was because I was sold bags of mixed potatoes instead of just long storage ones. Otherwise we’ve had plenty of jelly, tomatoes, sauces, beans, corn and other things. We ran low on meat for a while but we’re past that now. I guess heading into this summer I have a much better idea what I need to stock up on and how much to stock up on.

If you live in the area and want to help I’ve got some opportunities for you!
I am planning to do my runs again this summer from a local CSA farmer to the food kitchens. This would be once or twice a week. You would need to be able to pick up about 40 pounds and have a large enough vehicle to hold 4 or 5 boxes of produce.

I’m working with the Matthew 25 hub on a couple of projects.
1) We are setting up an effort to beautify the flooded areas of the city. Right now (pending city approval) we are planning to build a sheet mulched garden bed in the public space at intersections (maybe 6-8 ft around) that will be studded with native Iowa wildflowers, sunflowers, etc. Sometime in late April we are planning a gardening blitz, so keep your options open at the end of the month. Contact me if you would like to donate some seed packets.

2.) Additionally, through Local Food Connection we have two CSA shares being delivered to Cedar Rapids to Red Cedar Farm that will need to be picked up and delivered to the Matthew 25 hub once a week for 18 weeks. This produce will then be distributed to local low income families at a time to be determined. We’ll need volunteers to pick up the produce on occasion as well as people to staff the area during distribution time. We’ll also be doing some education opportunities which might be fun and interesting to be involved with. Let me know if you are interested.

Weight loss update

I’m  a little behind this week.  I stayed flat at 260 this week.  Considering what I’m eating here in Vegas I’m sure I’ll gain this week.  My friend Chad is dropping weight fast, so I’ll have to hit the diet hard next week.

I’m having a great time here in Vegas enjoying the 70 degree weather.  My class isn’t all that hard.  Rachael comes tonight so things will pick up. I’m going to try to talk her into seeing the Blue Man group.

NASCAR comes to town this weekend.  We’ll see how that turns out.

Weight Loss Update #6

260 this week.  (I know I’m late but I did weigh myself on Sunday)  I lose the two pounds again (does that mean they count as 4????) and an extra one.  That puts me down 18 total so far.

The loss has really slowed down since I started eating more.  But, my energy level is through the roof.  Trade off I guess.  I’ll get worried if I stop losing.  As long as I’m still going down I’m happy.

I’m going to Vegas next week for my once a year business trip.  I hope that doesn’t kill me on the scales.  We’ll see.

I have to start carrying a notepad with me because I had a lot to say but I’ve now forgotten it all.  Sorry.

Weight Loss Update #5

It should be a gain update.  I found 2 of the pounds from last week that I lost.  263

I figured that my weight would be up this week.  I had a hard week food wise and I was eating a little more every day anyway to try to combat the tiredness.  It didn’t help the tiredness much so I’m going to cut the food again.  I do feel stronger this Sunday than most Sunday’s lately, but that might be a combination of easier week in the gym and the extra food I shouldn’t have had.

We’ll see how next week ends up.  I’m hoping later today to re-write the train post, if I can remember what I talked about.