Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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book of june: the power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg was very enjoyable. But, before we get into things I would like to comment on how long the titles of my book of the month books have been these past two months! Geeze! Is that the new thing, ridiculously long titles? I like it. Or at least I’ve really liked these past two books!

The Power of Habit

Anywho! If you haven’t seen my most recent PN post, go check it out, because a big reason for why I read this book was PN. All the talk about habits in PN got my thoughts a churnin’. Luckily, this book gave me some of the answers I was looking for.

First, basically every single habit and lesson in PN is based on thorough research, some of which is touched upon in this book. Second, I think this book should be recommended reading for all those in PN. The book is captivating, touches on a wide range of subjects while still keeping its focus and the interest of the reader. That is quite a feat, in my opinion. At times I was reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing, but I want to claim that Duhigg took a step up in his writing and really kept one focus strong throughout the entire book. Something that is missing from Gladwell’s writing. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of both authors (apparently!), but I felt that The Power of Habit spoke to me personally on a level that Gladwell’s books just don’t.

The ending was truly powerful *wink wink*, but I particularly enjoyed the appendix. If you were to only read one part or section of this book (which I don’t actually recommend) read the appendix. The appendix is particularly juicy. Have you read this book? Did you like it? Hate it? Tell me about it in the comments section below!

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focus

My wife recently suggested that I cut down on my activities. It was really good advice. What she was getting at is that I do a lot of things, activities we’ll call them, though many of these activities are self-imposed “things to do”. I agree, I have a lot on my plate. Many of these “things to do” do not need to get done, or certainly not right now, today.

I’ve decided to prioritize just a few things, and be sure to rock these things.

The title of this post is FOCUS. Both because I am narrowing my FOCUS to just three things: work, play & PN. But also because the name of the PN team I’m in is called team FOCUS. It all fits in nicely.

focus

Thus far I’ve posted three PN posts under that PN tab up top, (one, two and three – if you’re interested). I’m really enjoying the program. If you’ve read the posts you’ll recal that we focus on three things in PN (that’s where I got the magic number three from – no historical mythological connections here). The three PN things we FOCUS on are: lesson, habit & workout.

3

I’m extrapolating this tactic to the other areas of my life. Hopefully to find some personal balance and success in my endeavors. What this means for the blog: in the coming months I will be posting less. I post about 7 posts per month, but for at least the next three months I’ll be posting fewer than that. I certainly enjoy writing and posting, so occasionally writing a blog post will fall under the category of “fun”. But I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to post a particular post at a particular time.

See you in the fall! When I’ll be sure to tell you all about how much I’ve rocked my work, play & PN over the summer.

HAGS!

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roasted vegetable salad with kale & kamut

As per the usual Eggton delivers again. I found this recipe here, and made a few modifications I will be sure to tell you all about.

Yesterday I went shopping to purchase the following ingredients for this scrumptious dish.

Ingredients:

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

For the salad:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 6 c. finely shredded kale leaves (remove the stems first)
  • 1 c. uncooked kamut
  • 3 c. mixed roasted vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, eggplant, zucchini or mushrooms, in bite-sized pieces

In advance I, of course, read this list. Lovely! I thought to myself, as we had many of the items already at home. I was in the store to buy the fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, kamut, parsnip, & zucchini. I’m the only zucchini eater in the house, so we don’t usually have it around. I also love parsnip, so I just had to roast it up and add to the salad.

Eggton’s recipe actually calls for farro. I don’t know what farro is. Sweden does not know what farro is. I tried asking for it in the store, even had my smartphone out with a picture and everything. That guy still thinks I’m crazy. On second thought, he may not have been an employee.

I decided to go with kamut for two reasons, one it’s PN approved. (Curious about my Precision Nutrition experience, click the PN tab above!) Two, it exists in Sweden.

With my spoils in hand, I biked on home. Whipping out the trusty smartphone once again, I examined Eggton’s directions.

Directions:

  • If you don’t have left-over roasted vegetables, roast some.
  • In the meantime, put all the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a jar, close the lid, and shake until combined.  If you taste it, don’t worry: the balsamic flavor will be stronger than in most dressings, but it will be fine when tossed with the salad.
  • Cook the kamut according to the package directions, adding a little salt to the cooking water.
  • In the meantime, put the kale and the tomatoes into a bowl.  When the kamut is done, drain it and immediately add it to the kale and tomatoes.  (You want it to still be warm so that it wilts the kale a little.)  Mix in the grilled vegetables and toss with most of the dressing.
  • Let the salad sit on the counter for a few hours so that the flavors meld.  Taste it and add the remaining salad dressing if desired, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve the salad at room temperature and then store it in the fridge.

I did my best to follow the directions as directed. I did not have left over roasted vegetables, so I chopped up carrots, parsnip, zucchini and peppers in relatively large pieces. On foil I carefully spaced the carrots and parsnip onto the baking pan, adding a light cover of olive oil and chopped garlic and a sprig of rosemary to the mix for flavor. I allowed the carrots and parsnip to roast for about 15 minutes before I added the zucchini and peppers. These vegetables are much softer and waterier, so they will roast faster. (Waterier is a word – right?) I popped everything back in the oven for 30-40 more minutes.

Then it was time for the dressing. Remember how “lovely” I thought it was that we had most of the ingredients already at home? Turns out we had exactly 1/4 a cup of olive oil and exactly 1/4 a cup of balsamic vinaigrette. We have an oil & viniager salad sprayer, and I actually had to sprits out approximately 1/8 of a cup of vinaigrette. I don’t recommend that. It did work out in the end though. Also, a good to know tidbit is that the size of the jar does not need to be large. A smarter woman than I would consider that 1/2 a cup of liquid with one teaspoon of mustard plus a bit of herbs will not make much dressing. Instead, this is what I did:

dressing

Left: The jar size I used. Right: The jar size I should have used.

I didn’t cook the kamut according to packaging instructions either. Coach Ryan in PN instructs us clients to boil grains & beans by using the amount desired covered by 2-3 inches of water. Those of you who don’t have access to Ryan’s awesome videos should know that while boiling, test for readiness by tasting (you’re looking for a tender grain/bean), then drain excess water. That guy knows his stuff, because that’s what I did, and it went swimmingly.

Continuing on to the fresh vegetables I attempted to measure one pint of cherry tomatoes. Actually I got baby plum tomatoes. I don’t know the difference, they seemed similar in size, and the baby plum tomatoes looked much more appetizing (and came from Holland – a short distance from Sweden for the geographically impaired).

Not how to measure tomatoes.

Not how one measures tomatoes.

I think I got about the right amount of tomatoes in the end, so I moved on to the kale. This was another item we already had at home. However, it was not pre-finely shredded. I’m not sure if you can buy kale that is finely shredded for you, but regardless, I did not have that. My first instinct was to take out the cheese grater and grate my kale. This is not possible, so don’t try that. I ended up chopping it. Forgetting that the stems were to be removed, and playing a grown up version of Where’s Waldo as I inspected my chopped kale attempting to remove the stems.

chopped kale

Getting the tomatoes, kale and kamut into one bowl was by far the easiest step of the day. By this time my roasted vegetables had roasted, so I removed them from the oven, cut them into bite sized pieces, and added them to the mix. Eggton suggests adding some of the dressing first only adding more later to taste, I just went all out, and I’m glad I did. It wasn’t that much dressing to begin with, in my humble opinion, so using it all was a good call for me. Then I added salt. I love salt. If you ask me, more salt is more salt. Do it.

Despite the setbacks the salad came out wonderfully.

a finished salad

I hope you can learn from helpful tips (read: embarrassing mistakes) so that you have tremendous success with this super delicious salad.

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precision nutrition

So I made the plunge. After years of reading the PN blog and getting all their free information – I finally did it. I’ve written about PN philosophies before, and now I’ve finally signed up for their coaching program for women. It would have been difficult to sign up for the men’s program, as I am not a man.

PN go time

Today officially concludes day 11, and I had an idea.

I’d like to share my journey with you readers. The ups and downs of this next year with the PN team will hopefully make for some fun stories, and keep you all entertained. Check out the new page at the top entitled “PN” (stands for Precision Nutrition – but you guys are smart enough to know that). I’ll be updating it from time to time with new posts about my journey. Whether or not they’ll be amusing remains to be seen, but I’m definitely expecting some change. So, keep tabs on that tab if you’re interested in my thoughts on the program from now on.

Hope to see you there!

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precision nutrition

This is a website and nutrition concept I’ve mentioned in the past. Dr. John Berardi and his team take on clients every six months and work with them to figure out just what the best nutritional plan is for them.

The Precision Nutrition team just last week had their pre-release and took on new clients. It is now open to the public to sign up (if it isn’t already sold out). I put my name on the pre-sale list. But didn’t sign up.

PN pic

I was really tempted. I read the entries on the site and have even read their e-book (40+ pages of fun). On their website they often talk about how to change oneself and consciously form habits. this, above all else, is what I am most interested in.

They talk about making small extremely manageable changes, all working towards the final goal. In this case being more physically fit. I really like this whole concept. Have a goal? Write it down. Then consider what it takes to get to that goal. All the steps aren’t necessary, just the first one. The first, super easy step that, of course, is manageable. Start there, see how it goes. It goes great! Continue on to the next tiny, super manageable step. Not working out? Revise the first step, how can it be easier? Does the first step need to be in a slightly different direction?

These things seem so logical to me. Sounds like something I could do. So I really wanted to try it. Even better, it seems like something, a way of working with oneself, that could be applied to any subject matter. It doesn’t just have to be nutrition habits. or work out habits. It can be learning habits. Habits at work. Anything. Not only am I very interested in the nutritional field in general, but habit-forming is something I would love to learn more about. And I wanted to learn it from precision Nutrition.

I’m using the bast tense seeing as I did not sign up for the Lean Eating Program. I was fully ready to do so. But then I considered the price, and where I’m at financially right now, today, this week.

Although I’ve saved up for that big party I mentioned, and although I counted my 25 before 25 goal of saving money as complete, I’m not quite where I want to be. I’ve certainly made some steps in the right direction, but I want my Nest Egg to grow and accommodate an entire years worth of living expenses. I want to have a better cushion, and maybe save for a vacation or two. I examined my finances, and although I can afford the Precision Nutrition coaching, technically, I have decided to wait. At least 6 months.

I’m going to follow my savings plan perfectly for 6 months. If I am able to do so, THEN I will join the next group of Lean Eaters.

I’ll keep you posted.

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