Monthly Archives: March 2015

In his words: Shoe count

Andy here! I just got the first of two shipments of new walking shoes this week, so I thought it’d be a good time to talk about my walking footwear. I am now currently on my 14th pair (not including the previously mentioned shoes that just arrived and the two that are on the way), dating back to Memorial Day weekend 2011.

  1. Nike ACG hiking shoes:

I can’t remember the exact name but they lasted 6 months and they were VERY comfortable.

  1. Nike Air Pegasus TR:

A gift from my beautiful wife. Great for the treadmill but not great for cold/wet winter weather.

  1. Nike Air Moto 8:

I demolished these in 6 weeks. No joke. Wore them down to the white cushiony part under the black sole. Running shoes are NOT good for walking and at the end, these hurt my shins and made walking very painful.

4-8. Nike Salbolier ACG:

These were the best and my absolute favorite shoe. A reasonably priced hiking shoe ($50.00 – $55.00 per pair) with a stiff ride with lots of tread which fits my walking stride very well. It’s counter-intuitive, but my shin-splint pain was gone almost immediately and these shoes allowed me to walk pretty fast.

I went through 5 pairs of these amazingly good shoes. They lasted an average of 2.5 months and from about July 1, 2012, through mid-May of 2014, this was the shoe. Sadly it was already discontinued by the time that I found them on clearance at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Beaverton. As soon as I fell in love with them and realized I didn’t want to have to ever switch to another shoe, I scoured the internet for them. I was able to order 4 pairs from (through a retailer in the UK).

I still look for them online when I have a few free minutes at work.

9-11. Merrell Moab (Ventilator):

A reasonable replacement for the Nike Salbolier ACG’s that I loved. I started in on these after a recommendation from a clerk at the Washington Square Track N’ Trail store. A good, stiff ride combined with a fairly thick Vibram sole made them great on wet or dry pavement.

The downside: $90.00 a pop, and they’d only last about a month and a half to 2 months before they were done. And when they were done, they were DONE i.e. shin splints. Also, the Ventilator version of the shoe means it’s a vented shoe and not great for winter/rainy weather walking.

  1. Merrell Moab (Waterproof):

Ditto to the above but waterproof*.
(*the extra $20.00 for this version isn’t worth it and if your pants hang just right, the water will run right down the pant leg onto your socks and get the shoe wet from the inside out. Better to just wear hiking shorts and have wet legs.)

13+14.Merrell Pulsate (Ventilator)

The closest that I have come to finding “the shoe”. I bought 2 pair from The Clymb on a lark in November 2014 (based on a suggestion from my beautiful wife). These have been a VERY good shoe. $60.00 a pair, lasting about 2 – 2.5 months with a stiff sole and lots of tread (not a Vibram sole, so they are a little slick on wet pavement).

I am now on the second pair. I first laced them up around January 24th and they seem to still be holding together quite well.

Because I like to have backups ready to go and ideally trade off on shoes to help them last longer, I have placed orders for 4 more pairs. The Clymb ( is an online retail clearance type site that sells sporting goods at less than retail. Normally this shoe is sold at $60.00 per pair, but recently they marked down to $50.00 so I ordered a couple pair. When I got an email a couple of weeks later that they were having a random, one day sale (sitewide – an extra 20% off orders over $75.00), I placed another order.

Based on my past usage, average mileage, and experience, the shoes I am on currently should last me through the end of March and the next 4 pair should get me through the end of 2015.

(Please note that the statements and reviews are NOT paid product endorsements of any kind. These shoes were all purchased through brick/mortar and online stores by my wife and I with our own money and were NOT given to us by any of the above named companies.)

Garden 2015: A few successes

Spring is always such a busy time around our yard. The lawn starts growing and before I know it it’s up to my knees, the blackberry vines start their take over, and as I weed my garden beds I find all the peanuts the squirrels buried in the fall.

This year has been no exception–seriously, I don’t know where those squirrels are finding all those peanuts!

My seedlings are growing quite nicely and overall I’d say my starts have been a success. My tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and cabbage are going strong and should be ready for planting at the end of April. The cauliflower and kale are a little more questionable, which is odd because I’ve never had any issues starting kale. Depending on how things shake out, I may plant a few extra seeds along side the starts just to hedge my growing bets next month. The celery on the other hand has been a complete and dismal failure. I planted 25 plants, got 3 “starts”, and those starts just disintegrated. I’m going to try direct sowing and hope for the best.

I did manage to get all but one garden bed weeded and composted last week, and the following seeds are safely in the ground: Turnips, beets, fava beans, radishes, arugula, carrots, lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach. I also covered the beds with chicken wire to keep the squirrels, birds, raccoons, and cats (ew) away.

I’ll continue to update as things start coming up!

March 27th: Weekly meal plan

Here’s a peek at what Andy and I will be eating this week–and here’s our grocery list!

You’ll notice that it’s significantly longer this week, and has things like sugar and chocolate chips. We’re hosting Easter next week for Andy’s family so I wanted to give myself a leg up on food prep and the budget and get a few things this week. Also, it’s Andy’s chile prep weekend which means a few extra ingredients that I usually only buy once a month.

Have a great week!

– Brussels sprouts gratin (I’m playing around with the ingredients a little bit and will post the recipe if it’s a success)
– “Texy Mexy” skillet (based on this recipe, but I’m tweaking it because we don’t eat rice or beans. Again, if it’s successful I’ll share the recipe!)
– Stuffed cabbage casserole
– Chicken enchilada rice bowl
– Gyro meatball salad with tzatziki dressing
– Fried eggs with roasted veggies and salad
– Hodge Podge!

Everyone’s got an opinion

If you’ve done any research at all on Type 2 diabetes- based diets and lifestyle changes, you’ve probably noticed that everybody’s got a cure-all. You’ve got high-protein/low-carb, low-protein/high-carb, vegetarian, vegan, whole grains, no grains, all meat, raw, and the list goes on!

After Andy’s diagnosis, I played around with dozens of diets to see if I could find the miracle cure that would get us back to normal. We tried South-Beach (neither one of us is a big fan—no matter how much we ate we always felt hungry). We tried recipes from diabetic cookbooks (I’m not a numbers person, so it was difficult to remember how many carbs we weren’t supposed to be eating). We tried switching entirely to whole grains (it just never felt quite right for us).

We realized that for our situation, no one-size-fits-all diet plan was going to work. We needed to find a combination of foods that worked with our chosen treatment program—one that kept our blood sugar in check, didn’t leave us hungry, and didn’t leave us missing all the food we’d “left behind.” This can mean different things to different people. But for us it meant more veggies and lean protein and less starchy carbs (including grains).

Andy and I were blessed because his diagnosis hit in early spring heading into the peak produce season of the year. We filled our plates with fresh fruits and vegetables. From tomatoes and broccoli to pineapple and watermelon our plates were always colorful. We found that a diet low in carbs (both whole and refined), high in lean protein (we eat a lot of eggs and ground turkey), and high in fruits and vegetables perfectly complemented Andy’s workout routine. Just enough food to energize his day, not too much leaving him dragging and sluggish.

We encourage you to play around—it’s very likely that certain elements of several diets will be your winning combination. And be patient. It will take you a while to determine which foods will and won’t work for your lifestyle.


In his words: My mileage

I get a LOT of people asking me how many miles I walk every day, and resisting the urge to be a wise guy and saying “all of them”, here is the actual answer.

Daily mileage: 3.5 miles every morning and again every night after work*. Speed: 4 – 4.5 mph. Mormons have had to jog/run to keep up with me. True story.

*Weekdays. Weekend afternoon walks can last up to 11.5 miles in some instances, although the average in the fall/winter/spring is 5.5 – 7.5 miles.

To move a mountain

Aside from changing our daily food intake, the main thing we knew after Andy’s Type 2 diagnosis was that he needed to move. Never a fan of exercise, Andy wasn’t exactly thrilled to devote a portion of his week to getting his heart rate up. After a long day of work, the last thing he wanted was to sacrifice his couch time.

Knowing this, I wrestled with the best way to encourage his movement. I knew nagging wouldn’t work—when has nagging ever accomplished anything? I was really scared about his health, but I knew that he needed support just as much as he needed exercise. Having my own exercise routine already established, I didn’t necessarily want to start a secondary routine, and he didn’t want to join my DVD workout every morning.

To start, I suggested we start playing Wii Tennis. It was interactive so we could play together, and we’re both fairly competitive, so we would both play hard to win. It was great! For about a week. Then Andy got so good that he just kind of stood there flicking his wrist as his overall score inched up and up.

Andy played a little tennis in Jr. High, and he claims to have liked it, so my next thought was to see if he’d teach me to play the real thing. And he did! And I was horrible. There are just some things that certain people can’t do, and I’ve yet to learn that a gentle serve can be more productive than hitting the ball as hard as I can. I mean, that’s what you do in softball, right? He spent more time chasing balls than he really cared to, and while his heart rate was up he wasn’t enjoying it.

At this point,  Andy took things into his own hands. In his early 20s, he’d established a walk around his parents’ neighborhood that he would do on occasion. Since we live only a few minutes from his childhood home, he decided to give that walk another go. It was a little inconvenient (he had to drive to the starting point), but it provided some solid activity.

After a few weeks, he decided that to be the most productive he would need a walk originating from our front door. He started scoping out our own neighborhood and shortly found the walk that he still does to this day. The walk that helped him lose close to 40 pounds in four months. The walk that helped stabilize his blood sugar. The walk that, as the days became longer, he did 3-4 times on Saturdays and Sundays in addition to his twice-daily walks before and after work during the week. The walk that by September 2011 helped him get the “You are now diabetes free” diagnosis from his doctor.

I tend to attack a large project all at once, but Andy’s taught me that it’s okay to start small—a little here, a little there, and a lot of patience, can yield far better results than you ever could have expected.

March 20th: Weekly meal plan

I’ve always been a list maker. I’m so dedicated to my lists that sometimes if I do something that wasn’t on a list, I’ll add it just so I can cross it off. I know. I have issues. When Andy was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, the best way for us to stay on track with healthy cooking and eating was to create a weekly meal plan along with a grocery list. It helped establish and maintain a grocery budget, and it made shopping so much easier than just wandering through the aisles grabbing things that looked good (even if they weren’t good for us).

Over the years, my grocery lists have taken several forms: Good old pen and paper, the Our Grocery app, and most recently a spreadsheet in Google Docs.

So that you can see how our weekly meal plans translate into a grocery list, I’ve decided to share our weekly grocery list with you! If you have any questions about what you see (Seriously, 5 heads of cabbage? That can’t be right!) please let us know. There is a method to our madness.

And without further ado, here’s what we’ll be eating this week!

Garbage stirfry from NomNom Paleo
– Cobb salad
– Brussels sprouts hash with fried eggs
Braised cabbage with fried eggs
– Pork tenderloin with roasted sweet potatoes, turnips, and Granny Smith apples
– Zoodles (zucchini noodles) with mushroom tomato ragu
– Hodge Podge

Recipe: Grain-free crumble topping

A crumble topping is something I figured I’d never have again once Andy and I gave up wheat in September 2012. Crumble toppings require one main ingredient–flour (or breadcrumbs if you’re going the savory route), and flour was out entirely.

Imagine my joy (I may have squeaked–I do that when I get excited) when I realized I could make a grain-free crumble topping (sweet or savory) with just a few ingredients I already keep in my pantry.

I’ve provided two variations here–one sweet and one savory. I use this on everything from apple crumble to chicken divan. Feel free to trade up the spices in either version to suit your preference. I like the option of being flexible.

Base ingredients:
1/2 cup almond flour (I prefer Honeyville, but as this is a crumble topping something coarser will do)
2 TBL cold butter, cut into small pieces and stored in the refrigerator until just ready to use*

Sweet version:
1–2 tsp. cinnamon (or a combination of warm spices including ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom)
1–2 tsp. granulated sugar (I like brown or coconut palm)

Savory version:
1 tsp. garlic powder
a pinch of salt
a couple grinds of black pepper

Stir together the almond flour with either the sweet or savory ingredients. Add the butter and cut in with either a fork or your fingers until the mixture resembles small pieces of gravel. If you use your fingers, the butter may get a little melty. Don’t worry, you can pop it into the fridge to chill so the butter is nice and cold going into the oven.

Evenly sprinkle the mixture over your pie, coffeecake, or casserole. Pop into the oven and bake per your recipe’s instructions. (Almond flour can be a little sensitive when it comes to high cooking temps. Keep an eye on it– if it starts to look a little dark, just cover it with foil while the dish finishes cooking.)

* Don’t want to use butter? You can use melted coconut or olive oils, just use a fork to stir until the mixture gets a little clumpy. I find that coconut oil can be a little too sweet for savory dishes, but that’s just me. Coconut and I have a complicated relationship. If that’s all you have, go for it!

An old adage gone awry

There’s an old saying:

Men marry women hoping they won’t change. Women marry men hoping they will.

Going into our marriage Andy was crystal clear that he wasn’t going to change. He’d worn the same type of outfit since he was twelve years old—cargo shorts and a t-shirt—and I shouldn’t expect him to start wearing slacks and polos. He liked certain foods and I shouldn’t expect him to like new things. He’d give them a try, but was more willing to not like them than to give them an honest chance. He did not exercise—he’d go for a walk, but  would much prefer to do anything but. What I saw is what I was going to get.

After his Type 2 diagnosis, there were certain aspects of Andy’s life that had to change and there was no getting around that fact. There were some foods we couldn’t eat on a regular basis. Zoning out on the couch was no longer an option. There had to be some movement. If not on a daily basis, at least several times a week. Not all these changes were met with a smile.

But soon, our new habits became our new lifestyle. I started to realize that I was hearing things from Andy that I never expected I would—things like:

I think I’m going to try to squeeze in a fourth walk today.

I’m going to need a new pair of walking shoes soon—I’ve worn through the pair I bought four months ago.

You know, I think I’d be okay if we decided to be vegetarians.

Could you pick up some green tea this week—I’m out.

I think I’d like to try drinking unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar. Can you please grab some when you go to the store?

I’ll eat as much steamed broccoli as you can make this week.

I’m pretty sure that I could do the raw food diet.

Type 2 Diabetes forced a change in our life. At first it was an unpleasant shock. Eating broccoli instead of French fries took some getting used to. But we were determined to beat this diagnosis and change was necessary. As the weeks went by, we adapted. Soon enough we found ourselves swapping that glass of soda for a cup of green tea. We may even have had smiles on our faces. If we have learned anything throughout this journey its that change can be a very good thing.


In his words: Introducing Andy


I figured I’d better introduce myself …  I’m Olivia’s husband. “Who’s Olivia?” you ask. Well, she’s my wife.

She’s also the creator of this blog and the loving woman whose cooking contributed to and then saved me from Type 2 Diabetes. Along with cutting out junk food, carbage (processed foods made with grains like bread, pasta, etc.), consistent and daily exercise, and not drinking my calories (haven’t had soda in 2 ½ years).

I figured I’d better help out around here and will be periodically writing some blog entries in order to share my perspective on our journey to better health and what not. Thanks for following along!