Monday, January 31, 2011

Beer Notes: Sunday Jan 30, 2011

Sunday was my diet cheat day so I hit the Horseshoe Pub in Hudson for a lunch and a couple of brews.

I started off with a Meantime IPA from GB.  The crew behind the bar tried to warn me off it as many people haven't liked it but I tried it anyway.  There was definitely some funky yeast things going on with the beer.  I don't know of the keg was spoiled or that's how it is supposed to taste.  I love funky yeast flavors so I enjoyed my glass but I can see why folks expecting a traditional IPA wouldn't like it. 

My second beer was another IPA but this one from Nebraska Brewing.   The bar crew said most people liked this beer and I can see why; it's very nice standard IPA.  But honestly, to my taste buds, nothing stood out about it.  It was good but not memorable.  Given that I don't see many beers from Nebraska I'd probably try more of their products but my expectations wont be high.

The third beer was an Affligen Noel.  A classic dark Belgium Christmas Ale.  If I didn't have to earn a living I could drown myself in this stuff.

The beers were accompanied by a bag of the Horseshoe's homemade chips and some fried Calamari.  Both were tasty but the portion of Calamari was skimpy.

After a nice afternoon nap I drank the Nøgne Ø #100 I blogged about earlier.  I drank it from a snifter at winter cellar temp.   It poured beautifully with a nice head.  Mouth feel was rich but it still was pretty quafable for a Barleywine.  The hops are pronounced on the nose.  It nicely scratched the itch I've been having for a Barleywine.  I'll certainly buy another bottle.

Just Watched: Red

Just Watched: Red

This is the best movie Bruce Willis has made in ages.  Unfortunately he's set the bar so low this movie didn't have to be very good for that to be true.  So it's not an awesome film but I did enjoy it more than I expected to.

In case you don't know already; RED is an acronym for 'Retired Extremely Dangerous' and it's referring to Willis and his gaggle of ex-CIA goon friends who are forced to come out of retirement when someone starts trying to kill them.

As I watched this film I kept thinking of the movie Space Cowboys and how this falls in the genre of rolling out past-their-prime action heros to do-it one last time.   Usually those films rely heavily on a nostalgia for a specific character type - Clint being Clint for example but there was no 'Yippe-ki-yay Mother Fucker' lines from Willis nor are the other actors really that associated with the action genre. 

There are lots of gun fights and some tense moments here and there.  I particularly enjoyed watching Helen Mirren with a machine gun, though it was pretty obvious she had no idea what she was doing with the thing,  and I always enjoy John Malkovich's performances. 

Not a bad way to spend an evening.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Just Back From the Beer Store

(sorry crappy iPhone picture)

From left to right we have:

1.  Beer Geek Brunch (Weasel) by Mikkeller out of Denmark.
This is an Oatmeal Stout brewed with coffee.  But not any coffee, this is made with coffee crapped out by weasels (actually the Asian Palm Civet).  I shit you not.  I've never tried it so I'll let you know how it goes.

2. Hop Stoopid by Lagunitas out of California
This is a double IPA with a IBU of 102.  That means it's really, really bitter.  I love bitter so that's a good thing.  This is one of my go-to favorite big IPAs.

3. St. Bernardus Abt 12 by Brouwerij St. Bernardus out of Belgium
This is a Quadrupel (a strong dark Belgian style brew).  Many people consider this the best beer in the world and I've never had it.  Looking forward to this one.

4. Little Sumpin' Wild by Lagunitas out of California
This is a Belgian style strong pale ale.  It reminds me a lot of an IPA but with plenty of the funky Belgian yeast flavors.  This is another of my favorites.

5. #100 by Nøgne Ø out of Norway
This is described as an American Barleywine.  I've never had this or any other Norwegian brew.  Can't wait to try it

Found all these at Colonial Spirits in Acton.

Diet week 4. Back in the saddle

I lost 2 pounds this week.  Nice!  After last weeks disappointment I told myself I just needed to be patient and that if I simply kept eating right and exercising the weight would come off.  I had the whole 'it's marathon not sprint' talk with myself and basically relaxed.  It's working so far because I've not been inclined to cheat this week and though I've not been doing cardio as much as I should, I've at least done more.

Cheat day is still all about beer for me.  During the week I've had red wine and some hard stuff but neither are scratching my beer craving in the least.  I'm dreaming of having a nice beer tasting tomorrow.  Maybe starting off with a Smuttynose Barelywine or a rich Baltic Porter and working my way through an Allagash Tripel and maybe finishing up with a Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Double IPA.   The specifics don't really matter but I'm going to live the dream.

(photo found on Panoramio,com)
I'll finish up today with a similar picture to one I saw this week that kicked up my motivation.  It's a picture of Lake O'Hara in Yoho National park, British Columbia.  I hiked this area back in my 20s and have always dreamed of going back.   If I can drop all this weight perhaps I finally will.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fava Beans

I'm a pretty adventurous eater.  I love Brussel Sprouts, Beets and Okra.   I've tried Sweatbread, Kidney, Tripe,  Liver, Gizard, and Heart without flinching.  I've caught, killed, filleted and eaten raw fish while still on the boat.  Truly, the stinkier the cheese the better.  So it's a bit perplexing that last night I hit a snag when I opened a can of Fava Beans and nearly flinched from eating them.

My brain was bouncing wildly from 'June Bug' to 'Moose Turd' as I stared down at the brown legumes.  I forced myself to eat them but the thoughts kept racing in my head.  Even today when I went to grab some lunch I tried the leftovers and the same thing happened.  It's just a big fucking bean!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Diet week 3. No measurable progress

Ouch.  There was no measurable progress this week.  I stepped on the scale early yesterday and the lack of progress was so disappointing I fell off the diet train and I had some rice with the Thai food I had for dinner.  I need to regroup.  My motivation is definitely slipping.

Next week I'll try adding in regular cardio and go back to including a salad (with beans) as a fourth small meal in the afternoons.  I did that the first two weeks but started skipping it this week.  I need to drink more water too.

On a positive note, I'm feeling great.  I know I'm eating a lot less calories than I did before and I'm eating healthier calories as well so even if there's no visible progress I know my body is thanking me.   The exercising is going well too.  I'm regaining both strength and endurance.

Fit by fifty. Fit by fifty, Fit by fifty!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Diet week 2. Back in the 200s.

This week saw only 2 pounds come off the scale but that was enough to cross the line back from being a 300 pounder to 298.  Given the efforts of the week it was a bit disappointing only loosing 2lb but being back in the 200s is a nice feeling.  Most of my measurements didn't move much but my neck lost almost an inch if my skill with the tape measure can be trusted.

I've really settled into incorporating beans in my meals.  The key for me has been in making big batches of bean heavy preparations:  Turkey Chilli with tons and tons of beans, homemade spicy re-fried beans, Lentils in chicken stock.  I nice pile of spicy re-friend beans with an egg on top and some chopped tomato is a very delicious breakfast.

This week I also started working out with a 20lb kettlebell.   Most people recommend a heavier kettle for a guy my size but I wanted to take it slow.  I've been doing a Kettlebell two handed swing and various other presses and twists.   I've added this to a set of exercises with resistance bands and exercise ball  that I started last week.  All of this done from the comfort of my home office so there's no excuse not to do something.

Cheat day tomorrow.  No big food cravings but  I need to find a few good beers for the occasion.  Go Patriots.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Re-fried Beans

Today I made my own re-fried beans.   Surprise, they aren't fried at all.  Call me stupid but how did I not know that already.  Basically they are mashed boiled beans.  I sauteed up some onions, Poblano peppers, Jalapeno peppers and some Chipotle in Adobo in a little EVO;  added a big can of beans, a little salt and some water and just mashed away.  Spice-eeeeeeee.  I could live on this stuff.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The 4 Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

The 4 Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

I used to be able to get away with describing myself with nice euphemisms like husky and big boned but lately I've just gotten plain fat.  So I decided to do something about it.  "Fit by Fifty" is my new mantra  and I'm going to try and drop that many pounds at least by my birthday in October.
In the past I had good success with Atkins but I always felt kind of guilty eating all that saturated fat.  So, I was looking for a diet that emphasized carbohydrate control but also espoused eating  healthy foods.  I was also looking around for a diet I would have a chance of sticking with for a while.

When I first saw this book I just laughed.  I figured it was all gimmick.  The full title is actually: The Four Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman.  I just wanted to loose some pounds, not become a sexual Tyrannosaurus with X-Ray vision so I  dismissed it and moved on.  I considered the Paleo diet and other variations of 'caveman' eating but a funny thing happened while I was doing my research; I kept finding references to the '4 Hour' book.  Okay, I said to myself, perhaps this isn't just a joke and I looked a little deeper.

It turned out the diet being suggested was exactly what I was looking for.  It's a diet that emphasizes beans, vegetables and lean protein and that actually encourages you to cheat 1 day a week.  I've only read the first few chapters on diet and exercise but those alone were worth the price of the book.  It's all very grounded in simple nutritional and behavioral science.

So far I've been following the diet and proscribed behavioral changes for a week and I've lost 10 pounds and an inch from my gut.   I'm not often hungry and I've set my cheat day to fall on Sundays so I can sit back with a couple of beers and nachos and still enjoy the total Football watching experience with my buddies.  

The book claims 20 pounds can be lost in 30 days and I need to loose a lot more than that.  The first week is always the easiest and I'm off to a good start but wish me luck because I'm sure it will tough haul at times.   I'll be tracking my progress here so stay tuned for updated results.
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