Monthly Archives: April 2013

2013 Goals Project - April Review

2013 Goals Project

Hi! It is the last day of April, but that won’t stop me from reviewing this past month with my Goals Project folks.  It is usually around this time of year New Year’s Resolutions are long forgotten and the first of the year determination has diminished greatly if not completely disappeared.  However, we soldier on!  Goals may be adjusted and tweaked and revisited as time passes and we get deeper into the year, but it is our determination to have changed by the start of the next year that counts.  So, let’s get to the action and see what’s happened this month!

Austin K.

Family goals:
1. Remember to help out with the more disagreeable chores (cat litter/bathroom cleaning)
2. Go on a date at least once a month
Suze (my fiancee) and I have gone wine tasting a couple of times within the last month. Both times were overnight trips that were great as it allowed us to get away from the busyness of work and wedding planning, although we did use the opportunity to finish our wine purchasing for the wedding :). I have been much more consistent in remembering to take care of the litter box.

Fitness Goals

1. Complete 200 push ups a day
2. Complete 4 or more races of the 1/2 marathon, Olympic triathlon, long obstacle race, open water swim variety
3. Continue to workout in the A.M. before work at least 4 days a week

So far I have completed two 1/2 marathons and one open water swim. By the time this gets published I will have completed the 100 mile version of the Chico Wildflower Bike Ride. I have been doing significantly more cycling to prepare for the Black Butte Triathlon in early June. This will be an Olympic distance triathlon and depending on how this goes I am considering training for a 1/2 ironman in the fall. I am also looking at running the Tough Mudder in Tahoe in July. I will definitely exceed my goal of four races this year and am now just looking to do as many as make sense for training purposes and to become more competitive when participating.

I recently joined the “Chico Triathlon Team” and have started going to some of their workouts. I am hoping that participating with this group gets me more plugged into the sport, meet some new people with similar interests and helps me improve my performance in these future events. So far it has been fun and motivating.

My other fitness goals have been going very well other than a three or four day hiccup when I was traveling with my buddies for my bachelor party. I definitely didn’t workout like I am used to or do all of my pushups (although I did do a good amount of them). I have since gotten right back into my routine and have been adding extra pushups each day to make up for the days where I neglected them.

 Nutrition goals:
1.  Sign up for CSA box (and utilize it)
2.  Find at least 5 new healthy recipes that I enjoy and can cook easily
3.  Continue using ‘myfitnesspal’ app to document diet and exercise
The myfitnesspal app continues to be the biggest help in maintaining a healthy diet.  I had logged in for about 75 days in a row before going on my bachelor trip.  While the trip certainly not good for me from a nutrition standpoint, I have since gotten back into my routine here as well and am back on track with about 15 days of logging in a row.

Since I started using this app I have lost about 25 pounds and am under 200 pounds for the first time since Jr. High School.  It has really helped me reevaluate my ideas of what healthy eating looks like.  For instance, I was very surprised to see how much more sugar I had been eating each day, even on days when I was well under my overall caloric goal.  I have changed many of my habits without feeling like I am starving or depriving myself.

This reevaluation has helped me with my goal of finding 5 new healthy recipes, as I have had to seek out new recipes that are convenient, less processed, and nutritious.  Lately I have been making a couple of egg/egg white frittatas with lean meat and veggies.  Making two batches of these on Sundays lasts me all week and I can take them to eat after my morning workout instead of the more sugary protein bars I had been relying on.

I still haven’t signed up for the CSA box, and honestly probably will not until we are going to be in town more consistently.  However we do shop at our local farmer’s market for fresh produce which was the basic idea behind this goal.

Work goals:
1.  Obtain high scores on yearly reviews
2.  Get superior ratings for my bands at festival

I just had my final yearly review and it went very well.  My principal is clearly happy with the work I have done this year and has passed onto me the praise she has heard from community members.  I am satisfied with the amount of progress the band has made this year and I am looking forward to being able to implement even more ideas and strategies next year to build off of our work thus far.

I truly appreciate the support structure that this group has provided.  I feel like I have accomplished quite a bit so far this year in respect to my goals.  As my wedding date and beginning of my married life gets closer, I feel that I am in a good position to continue working on these goals and to push some of them even further.

Bill R.

April has been a whirlwind — getting back from AZ, visiting PA and then NC!!  I am holding my own on my goals — having trouble getting down below 235, but will push these last few weeks.  My nails are better than they have been, so I am confident I will be ready for the wedding.  I have cracked the flossing roadblock once and for all and am continuing to meet that goal.  My wife (a dental hygienist) is happy about that one.  We are walking almost every day, biking some, and playing golf — so my exercise goal is on track.

Brian R.

Get stronger!  I’m back on the workout wagon, and I’m feeling stronger each week.  I made a measurable improvement in one area (back squat), and I am optimistic about where things will go this year.  I feel like I’m starting to see the benefits of planning, consistency, and getting good advice.

Finish things I write (and get them to a workshop or a publisher.)  I’ve stalled a little bit this month with a book proposal I’m trying to get to a publisher, but this is because I’m trying to make sure it’s pretty well tuned before sending it on.  I think I’ve come to the point where I need to remind myself that some things may never be ready, but they have to become finished.

Excel at my job.  Still feeling very confident that the plans I made at the end of 2012 to address my frustrations are coming to fruition.  I’m not receiving any more feedback, positive or negative, from my co-workers than I have in the past, but having a plan to follow through on helps keep me focused even without reinforcement.

Finish 36 books.  I finished no books this month, so I have some catching up to do!

Jill C. (that’s me, yo!)
Turn in my fermentation book to my publisher on March 13 without too many book-related freakouts. – Goal accomplished last month.  I’m still in shock that it happened.  Just as an update, I’m working on edits, promotions, and soon the design.  This whole book thing is becoming so real!
Complete the Pittsburgh half marathon on May 5 and beat my 2012 time – The race is in 5 days!  EEEK!  I didn’t get as much running in during April as I probably should have, but that’s just the way it has gone for me.  I’m not going to beat myself up over it and I’m going to go into Sunday’s race determined to do my best.  I’ll have a recap for you next week.
Confidently turn 40 on November 19 – 203 days left in my 30s, and I’m feeling really positive about it.  I still haven’t decided where I want my birthday trip to be.  I was considering Hawaii, but it seems a lot of people I know are going there this year.  Hm. I’d rather blaze my own trail.  Any suggestions?
Complete a home makeover – Our pantry makeover is humming right along.  I mentioned last month that we are going to wallpaper two walls in the pantry.  I got some estimates for some wallpaper pros to help us, but for the small area that will be mostly obscured, the cost seemed too high to make it worth it.  We are going to attempt it ourselves, I think.  We have done some painting and demolition work (I wielded a crowbar and took down a doorway!).  Next big task is to spackle some holes and skim coat the walls in preparation for the wallpaper.
I also mentioned last month the thought of us painting our cabinets.  Well, we might be back pedaling on that thought.  I’ve been pinning a few ideas and nothing is concrete.  I’ll keep you updated.
Become a more confident runner – The rubber will hit the road this Sunday when I tackle this half marathon.  We’ll see if I gained any confidence.  I’ve been building up to this race for so long that it’s all I’ve really thought about.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that the half marathon distance is NOT my distance.  I’m more of a 5k and 10k distance person.  An hour’s run is enough for me and I believe this will be my last half marathon.  I’m just not enjoying the training at all.
But! This doesn’t mean I’m finished with running.  My new CrossFit box has started a runner’s group and my friend, Edith (an excellent runner!) is going to be offering some coaching and leading group runs.  I’m sticking with it and hoping for a 60 minute 10k in Pittsburgh’s annual Great Race at the end of September.
Have more in-person interactions with those I love most – To make a short story long (ha), I am now going to a FABULOUS new CrossFit box (Industrial Athletics/CrossFit Alloy) and to start totally anew, I signed up to take the fundamentals course.  It is designed for those who are completely new to CrossFit, and although I am not a total newb, I decided to take the class anyway because I wanted some detailed instruction on my technique.  Turns out, I really needed it.  I am so happy I took the month-long course.  What the course also afforded me was the time to hang out with some of my friends who also took the class.  Plus (BONUS!) I made some new friends too.  The whole endeavor was very much worthwhile both fitness-wise and friend-wise.
Post more on my blog! – I started the weekly kombucha series (installment 3 coming tomorrow!) and I’m gearing up for TWO giveaways!  Details soon!
So, there you have it.  April is finished and we’re looking ahead!  There is still plenty of room for YOU to join us!  All you need to do is come up with your own list.  Here are some helpful hints and tricks to get you started.  Send me an email containing your list and you’re good to go.

Kombucha Series Part 2 - Choosing Tea

In case you missed Part 1 about making your own SCOBY from scratch, check it out here.

Let’s move right along with dissecting the art of kombucha making by getting to the very essence of what it is all about – tea.  Kombucha is fermented tea, of course, so without it we have a whole lot of nothing.

There are approximately a million and one teas on the market (scientific counting method!) and the range in quality from artisan fancypants teas that bloom a flower in your cup to disgusting little paper bags of tea dust that was swept up off the floor of a teabag factory.  There are teas that make you sleepy, pep you up, settle an upset stomach, and one that are supposed to make you do a number 2.  It is almost overwhelming how many teas there are in the average supermarket aisle.

Teas

What Is Tea?

When you break it down there are only a few kinds and styles of tea.  True tea comes from the leaves and buds of the plant, camellia sinensis. Without getting too complicated or too scientific or muddy the waters with details that aren’t essential to kombucha making, there are four types of camellia sinensis and they come from different regions of the world.  Do not worry about these finer details, however.  For the purposes of casual kombucha making we’re just going to talk about camellia sinensis in a general way and leave it at that.

Ok, so camellia sinensis is the actual true tea that you think of when you think of tea as a beverage.  Generally speaking, after the leaves and buds are harvested from the plant, they are dried and oxidized and possibly subjected to a whole host of physical treatments in order to bring out the certain flavors. This one kind of leaf goes through different processes depending on what the desired outcome is.  Look at this table to see the different ways leaves are handled to produce various types of tea:

Teaprocessing.svg(Courtesy of Wikipedia, click to enlarge)

Let’s focus on the most common types of tea; the ones you are most likely to find in your local market or from your favorite tea purveyor.

Types of Tea

  • Black tea -Black tea is the most common type of tea produced in the world.  It is what is found in the most common and most inexpensive teabags that are widely available in every restaurant and supermarket in the western hemisphere.  As you can tell from the table above, black and oolong teas are the most “processed of all the teas because they go through the most handling before they are finished. Black teas are the most popular choice for kombucha making.  It offers a nice flavor and is widely available.
  • Green tea – Another popular tea and often touted for its health benefits, green tea is still made from camellia sinensis, but once the leaves are picked it goes through a vastly different series of processes than its black tea cousin does.  Green tea tends to be a bit milder in flavor and have grassy notes whereas black tea can be almost woody, fruity or even smoky.  Green tea makes excellent kombucha and personally speaking it is my tea of choice when I brew my ‘buch.
  • Oolong tea – This is a compromise tea between black and green.  It is processed in much the same way as black tea, but the oxidation session is not as long.  The tea’s flavor profile sits between fresh/grassy/light and woody/robust/strong.  Oolong teas can be found in supermarkets, however, they are overshadowed by the overwhelming number of black and green varieties.  Kombucha made from oolong tea is terrific.
  • White tea – While still coming from camellia sinensis and still subjected to a few processes before it is ready for brewing, white tea is made from immature leaves and buds.  If you are brewing white tea to drink hot or iced, it is a fantastic light tea.  For kombucha making, however, it is not the strongest choice.  There are chemical compounds that are present in mature tea leaves that are needed to successfully brew kombucha.  Because white tea has not fully matured, it is a bit more difficult to make a batch of ‘buch with it.
  • Rooibos tea – The one exception to the rule!  Technically rooibos (pronounced ROY-bus) tea is a type of herbal tea and is not made from our friend camellia sinensis, but rather made from aspalathus linearis, which is native to South Africa.  Rooibos teas are generally sweet and grassy or sometimes smoky and naturally caffeine free.  Also commonly known as red tea, rooibos teas make really good kombucha especially for those wanting to avoid caffeine.
  • Herbal tea – While extremely delicious and flavorful, herbal teas are not really teas (that is, they often do not contain any measure of camellia sinensis) and therefore cannot be brewed into kombucha.  Sometimes called “herbal infusions” because technically they don’t contain any tea, this type of tea simply does not have the stuff needed to make kombucha. There are some herbal teas on the market that are blends of herbs AND genuine tea leaves, but they just aren’t quite strong enough to ferment properly.  If you are looking to flavor your tea with herbs, I recommend doing so after the kombucha has fermented (this will be covered in future posts!)
  • Flavored tea –  This type of tea is not recommended at all for kombucha making.  While flavored teas are typically black, green, rooibos, or oolong teas, teh artificial agents used to give the tea a specific fruity or herby flavor can interfere with SCOBY growth and development.  There are kombucha-friendly teas commercially available that contain dried fruit and herbal extract, and these can make wonderful ferments, but if a tea is merely coated in artificial flavorings, steer clear.

IMG_6827

Ok, so now you’ve settled on a black tea, green tea, oolong tea, or rooibos tea.  Now what?

Details

  • Organic or Conventional – Because you are cultivating a living, growing creature during your ferment (your SCOBY), you want to make sure that you are giving it the best, most optimal environment in which to grow.  This is why I choose to use organic teas when I make kombucha.  There is no telling what in the world is sprayed on to your leaves while they are still in the field, and because they go through some heavy processing to become brewable you want to make certain that the whole system is as natural and as clean as can be.  Spend the extra money and get organic tea.  Your SCOBY will thank you for it, and you will have a better final product when you’re sipping your ‘buch at the end of the process.  Verdict: organic all the way.
  • Tea bags or loose tea – There are many reputable companies out there that sell top-quality teas in teabags.  It would be incorrect to say that you cannot find a decent tea in a teabag.  It simply isn’t so.  However, it is really very easy for a tea purveyor to hide tea dust poor quality tea inside a bag.  Caveat emptor! Teabags do not equal bad tea, but you have to do your due diligence and find out if you are getting a good product.  Rip open a bag and see what the leaves look like.  Do they actually look like leaves or are they shards of leaves and dust?  Remember, tea comes from a plant and it ought to look similar to its original form.
    Obviously loose teas cannot hide in a bag and you can very easily see, smell, taste, and feel what you are buying.  Their only drawback is figuring out how to brew a large quantity (a gallon or more) of loose tea, but we’ll get to that in a future post.  Verdict: It depends.  Good kombucha is made from good products so if you find a quality bagged tea, use it.  Loose teas are often less expensive per pound, plus their quality is readily visible.  What really matters is that you are using the best tea you can afford whether it comes in a bag or not.

IMG_6669

  • And now here is the part where I will go against everything I just said – Yes, you can buy inexpensive store brand teabags full of cheap tea and make kombucha out of it.  It will work and the tea will ferment.  It might even taste just fine.  However, I strongly encourage you to go for quality on this.  Get the finest tea your budget will allow because the quality of what you are making hinges upon it.  Sub-par ingredients yield a sub-par final product.  Quality matters.

Where to Buy?

  • Supermarket or co-op – Your local market probably has an enormous tea section.  Most places do.  If you belong to a food co-op you may even have a section where loose teas are sold in bulk.  Before buying anything, be sure your choice contains camellia sinensis, or it isn’t tea and won’t ferment into kombucha.  (Unless it’s rooibos, but see above for that exception.)
  • Asian or Indian markets – Because tea is widely grown in China, India, and Japan (among many other areas), some really unique and delicious teas are available at Asian or Indian markets.
  • A coffee and tea specialty shop – If you happen to live in a larger metropolitan area, then chances are you have a gourmet coffee and tea purveyor nearby.  You will find teas imported from all over the world in shops like this (often sold in bulk), and if you get to know the owners and buyers for these places, you can get some serious education about their coffees and teas.  Plus they’re often locally owned so not only will you get some terrific tea, but you’ll support your neighbors too.  Win-win.
  • The Internet – Research, research, research.  And then buy teas online.  Be sure you are getting what you pay for.

The Take Home

In a quick little nutshell, here is what you need to know about tea selection for kombucha making:

  • Viable tea candidates – black, green, oolong, rooibos
  • Buy organic
  • Loose or teabags, but be sure what you are buying is top-quality tea
  • Available nearly anywhere – mainstream supermarkets, food co-ops, Asian or Indian markets, coffee/tea purveyors, online

Please let me know if you have any questions, problems, or concerns.  I want to hear from you!  Email me, contact me via Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.  And heck you can even find me on Instagram.  Tell me about what you have been using to brew your kombucha, or what you would like to try.
And don’t forget that these kombucha posts will be a weekly occurrence for a while so if you have issues, questions, or topic suggestion for future weeks, tell me in the comments or through one of my aforementioned social media outlets.

Kombucha Series Part 1 - Make Your Own SCOBY

A few days ago I mentioned on Facebook that I get a lot of questions about various aspects of kombucha making.  First of all, keep them coming.  I love getting questions!  Secondly, kombucha is one of my very favorite things in the whole world so talking about it and answering questions about it makes me happy.

Many of the questions I get are from first-timers who want to start fermenting tea into kombucha and yet do not have the very basic materials to start and/or are hesitant about the procedure, troubleshooting, etc.

Kombucha SCOBY

Well, short of saying, “Wait until August 6 and BUY MY BOOK!”, I’ve decided to put together a few posts about the kombucha making process and hopefully answer some common questions around the procedure.

Today’s topic: Make your own SCOBY.

As mentioned in previous posts, a SCOBY is a gelatinous glob of bacteria and yeast needed to ferment tea.  In fact, SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.  It is necessary to have one in order to turn tea into kombucha.

IMG_6660

SCOBYs are not hard to come by if you have a friend who makes kombucha.  Each batch of ‘buch creates a new SCOBY and if your friend is a prolific kombucha brewer then chances are that he/she is overrun with SCOBYs and will gladly give you one along with some starter tea in order to get your new batch going.

However, if you don’t know anyone who brews ‘buch and you still want to give it a go, you will find yourself wondering just how to begin without this essential piece of equipment.  Fortunately there are other resources for you to turn to.

As weird as it may sound, you can sometimes find a SCOBY for sale (or for free!) on Craigslist.  Give it a shot.  You can also order a SCOBY from a reputable online source like Cultures for Health or Kombucha Kamp.  But if you’re like me and you’re cheap and like to save money wherever you can, making a SCOBY at home from scratch is quite easy.  It takes a little bit of forethought, a few materials, and time.

Materials needed:

  • A few cups of raw kombucha – I have always used store-bought, but I have read that using commercially bottled kombucha has an additive that inhibits SCOBY growth.  Personally I have had much success using store-bought, but your mileage may vary.  Also, I use plain (not flavored) kombucha when I grow a SCOBY.  For no reason other than if I am going to buy flavored kombucha, I’ll probably want to drink it.  Plain is plenty tasty, but I love flavored ‘buch.  Plain kombucha has fewer things added to it, obviously, so it makes it a logical choice for me.
  • A few cups of strongly brewed tea – Do not use herbal tea for this.  You must use real, honest to goodness camellia sinensis for this – more commonly known as black tea or green tea.
  • A few tablespoons of sugar – I use regular old white sugar, but you can use evaporated cane juice (Sucanat), or raw sugar.  Do not use powdered sugar, honey, stevia, or any kind of artificial sweetener.
  • A glass jar – Large enough to hold 2 or 3 cups of liquid.
  • A cloth or coffee filter to cover the jar and a rubber band to secure it.

Procedure:

  • Brew the tea using the traditional method.  When it is still hot or warm, stir in the sugar until it dissolves.  I use a tablespoon of white sugar per cup of tea.
  • Set the sweetened tea aside on the counter until it comes to room temperature.
  • Pour the room temperature sweetened tea into the glass jar and add the raw kombucha to it.  Lightly stir.
  • Cover the jar with the cloth or coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but will keep bugs and critters out.
  • Allow the jar to sit at room temperature for several days, or up to two weeks.  During this time, a SCOBY will grow in the jar.  It will start out as a thin, milky film on the surface of the liquid and get whiter and thicker as days pass.

Notes and Troubleshooting:

  • As you can tell by the equipment and ingredients list, measurements do not have to be exact.  A few cups of room temperature sweetened tea plus a cup or two of kombucha is about as precise as you need to be.
  • The amount of time it will take a SCOBY to grow depends on the ambient temperature of your house.  Fermentation, generally speaking, goes more rapidly in warmer temperatures than in cooler temperatures.  My place, for example, is generally very warm and things ferment and grow rapidly in my kitchen.  However, my parents’ house is usually very cool and ferments take a bit longer there.
  • There are no hard and fast rules about how thick a SCOBY has to be in order to be fit for kombucha making; however, I allow my SCOBYs to grow to between a quarter inch and a half inch thick before I use them for fermentation – this can take a couple of weeks.  The only reason I have to doing this is because at that point it is solid enough to handle and I know that the bacteria and yeasts are robust and healthy after a few weeks.

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  • Do not discard the liquid the SCOBY grew in!  This is the starter tea you will need to use when making your first batch of kombucha.  It is full of bacteria and yeast and will keep your SCOBY hydrated and well fed.
  • If you see brown thread-like things floating in your tea or growing off of your SCOBY, do not worry.  This is good!  Little yeasty goodness that will help make your first batch of buch healthy and full of probiotic goodness.
  • Kombucha and SCOBYs smell like feet.  Do not be alarmed.
  • Mold, insect eggs, rancid garbage-like smells mean that something went wrong.  Discard the whole enterprise and start over from scratch.  DO NOT USE!
  • If nothing grows after a week or so, start over using a different kind of kombucha to start.  Get a cup off a friend, or try a different store-bought brand.  As mentioned above, I have never had a problem making my own SCOBYs from store-bought, but you may run into a snag.

Please give this a try if you are considering making your own kombucha.  If you have made your own SCOBY, share your tips and hints and tricks in the comments.  ALSO! I will be doing a weekly post about kombucha making and I want your input!  Leave me a comment.  Email me.  Contact me via Facebook or Twitter.  Let me know what you want to learn about, what your burning questions are, and how I can help you to get going and brewing your delicious delicious ‘buch!

Boston - a reaction

Boston Marathon logo 2015

Friends, by now we have had the chance to try and digest what happened yesterday in Boston during the marathon.  Two bombs went off at the finish line killing three and injuring dozens others, many critically.  A horrific act perpetrated upon innocence and I hope and pray that those responsible will swiftly be brought to justice for their awful crimes. I also hope and pray that those affected both physically and emotionally are able to one day find a way to deal with the events and ultimately find peace.

Like any normal person, I’m repelled by terrible things like this – bombs, mass shootings, violence of any kind.  But this one hit a little close to home for me. I don’t have any connection to Boston.  I didn’t personally know anyone who was running yesterday. I don’t even ever see myself being a strong enough runner to ever qualify for Boston.  However, if you’ve ever run a race – be it a 5k fun run or a world-class event like the Boston Marathon – you know why I feel this was a shot close to home.  It was an assault on the running community.  Whether or not these bombs were meant to target the running community or to assail the government, peace, or the city of Boston, is a moot point.  The running community was hit.

Road races are an everyperson’s opportunity to triumph over their own obstacles.  Running is a sport of fitness of course, but more so it is a challenge of the mind, at least for me.  I originally started running shortly after I moved to Pittsburgh and watched those participating in The Great Race cross the finish which was just a few yards from my front door.  I was in awe.  So impressed by the frontrunners who seemed to sail over the finish with unimaginable speed and grace.  So inspired by the average Jane or Joe who just wanted to finish and do well regardless of age, weight, or how in shape they were.  There were celebrations and tears and hugs and victory for each person who crossed the finish.  This is what running is.  Overcoming whatever stands in your way to achieve something great regardless of speed or distance.  It was THIS kind of community that got me started with running.  It is THIS phenomenon that keeps me running no matter how much it hurts or how slow I go.  This is what keeps me running.

So yesterday, when someone (singular or plural) purposefully sought to ruin this triumph of the human spirit, to kill, maim, and terrify those who were celebrating some of the best we humans can do, I cannot help but to be sickened and disappointed, and revolted to an extra degree.  Violence against anyone disgusts me, but it is especially difficult to comprehend violence against those who are trying to overcome enormous obstacles.  It is especially shameful when it is perpetrated upon those who are most vulnerable.

In light of all this, I admit to being quite confused about what to do next.  I’m not sure how to directly help those affected by yesterday’s blasts other than to give to the Red Cross and other organizations that reputably help victims in times of crisis.  But what I do know is what I can do to keep the best of the human spirit alive and well.  I’m going to keep running and keep doing my best to overcome my own obstacles.  I will try each day to better serve my fellow man.  I’m going to endure and stay out there on the road, putting one foot in front of the other until I cross the finish.

If you run, I hope you’ll join me and keep running.  Keep the special warmth that can only be felt on race day alive and well.  If you don’t run, I hope you can somehow become a part of the running community by volunteering at a race or supporting those of us who choose to chase pavement.  Regardless if you run or not, please put kindness first and keep peace in your heart.  Love one another.

2013 Goals Project - March Review

2013 Goals Project

Hi! It’s April now and I hope the weather has turned in your neck of the woods.  I just came back from Austin, TX where I attended the PaleoFX conference.  It was fantastic!  I will post about it in the next couple of days.  But first, there were some very fascinating developments and accomplishments this past month!  I am so so excited for all that’s happened to the Goals Project folks in March!  Let’s get right to the business:

Diane D.

Business Goals:
Book 16 weddings during 2013 – Three weddings are booked with deposits.  I had a verbal commitment on a fourth but they have since changed their minds.  I hope to get more prospects in the pipeline soon.
Develop 30 new LF recipes and successfully implement them into 2013 events - No changes since February.
Update and publicize all LF menus by June 1.  Update both online and print menus throughout 2013 as new recipes are developed (see above) - No changes since February.
Update the LF website each month with portfolio and/or recipe entries - No changes since February.
Consistently maintain the LF Facebook page to remain current and relevant.  Increase viewership - Since I haven’t been working, I haven’t been posting. But during April, my goal is to develop a strategy for posting relevant content despite not working.

Personal Goals:
Re-commit to fitness using a method that will work on a consistent, life-style basis and keep a journal of progress and/or set-backs - After April 25, I will be able to put some weight on my foot. I will then re-start CrossFit by doing seated WODs and getting some targeted work with personal training.  After attending the Open House of my new CrossFit box, I started a blog entitled “Back on Two Feet – A CrossFitters tale of foot (and mind) reconstruction“.  I have three posts that can be viewed at https://crossfittingcaterer.wordpress.com.
Increase vegetable garden production through improved efficiency - I am changing this goal to “Enlist volunteers to plant vegetable garden. Have garden planted by May 19.”
Increase charitable efforts both personally and professionally - I have volunteered my catering services for an upcoming fundraiser for a local historic society.
Shed all superfluous items - I will be unable to do a Spring garage sale but I am working on a date for a Summer sale. Selling will become a priority once I am mobile.  I have also accumulated several boxes for the Veteran’s pick-up as well as for delivery to the local thrift store.

Austin K.
Overall, I’m feeling great about my stated goals.  I just did two races in one day on Saturday; a half marathon and a mile open water swim. I’m looking forward to an Olympic distance triathlon in June.  I feel like I’m in the best shape ever, and this is due to being able to consistently fit the gym in my schedule and continuing to log everything I eat. Still hitting my push-up goal each day as well.

 I’ve been much better about chore stuff and especially have been all over the cat box lately.  My fiancee, Suze and I are continuing to make quality time for each other and have a few nice dates planned coming up.
As far as work goes, my band didn’t get the ratings I wanted, but what we got was fair.  Most importantly my students had a really positive experience and they left ready to stat working harder so I’m happy with that result.
Brian R.
Get stronger!  My workout situation has changed a little bit over the last couple of months, but I’m pretty proud of myself that I’ve kept things going despite these issues.  The most significant thing that happened to me this month was that I made the decision to not run the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon.  This was a tough call for me, but it required me to realize that I had set a goal for myself that I wasn’t enjoying pursuing and that was causing me enough stress that it was working against my actual goal for the year of getting stronger.  Even though it felt like quitting,  the decision came after a lot of introspective thinking regarding what my goals really are and what it will take to accomplish them.
Finish things I write (and get them to a workshop or a publisher.)  My morning routine of getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual to write has now been extended to 60 minutes every morning.  Even though I dread getting up even earlier than usual, this is now my favorite time of the day.  I’m almost ready to wrap up a book proposal to send off to a publisher, and I have not felt this consistent about writing in my life.
Excel at my job.  Things have gotten a lot less organized at work, but I remain committed to my plans for working smarter and staying organized.  This month I put a lot of time into professional development, and I’m sure it will pay off.  I can already start to feel myself getting frustrated because I just won’t ever get the feedback on my performance I would like to have, but I think I’m getting better at figuring things out for myself in this regard.
Finish 36 books.  Four more books done (although one of them was really a novella, but I’m counting it.)  That puts me 1/3 of the way through to the target.
Matt C.
What a great month!!! I continued to attend my workout classes at the YMCA and even signed up for my first 5K mud run! I’m running the Rebel Race on May 18 with three brothers in-law, my sister in-law and my sister. While I set a goal at the beginning of the year to run the Warrior Dash in August, this may have to suffice as the completed goal since the Warrior Dash itself is when our family goes on vacation.

Other exciting news from the month is that my wife and I sold our house, bought a new (and bigger!) house, and are preparing too move out of our current place. There will be a lot of stress management going on between now and May 10 when the moving van arrives.

The most exciting news, however, is that I achieved the main goal that got me involved in this project in the first place. On March 23, I refereed in the state championship game! It was an incredible experience and to have such a great game in an arena filled with about 9,000 people, being broadcast on statewide television with all of my friends and family sitting in the front row. It was more than I could have imagined. I can honestly say that the confidence I have gained from being more comfortable with myself after being more fit has helped me this year. I may not be bigger, but I know who I am and I know that I can achieve big things.

Ref 1

Bill R.
Well — March has definitely been a “one step back” month in the old adage “two steps forward, one step back”!  No excuses though!!  I just need to refocus myself down the stretch to June !!

Gained back 2 pounds — now at 237.  Goal still 230 for the June 1 wedding!!
Bit back a couple more nails somewhat — guess I was just nervous about leaving AZ and getting back to the cold Midwest!
Still exercising regularly though — lots of walking and hiking and golf in March — BROKE 90 FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE ON MARCH 20!
Flossing only about 3 times a week — this is proving a particularly perplexing tough one for me!!  I think I need to try to do this at a different time than right at bedtime.
As I mentioned last month, I am waiting until after the wedding to concentrate on the 5K run goal.
Had my annual Physical Exam yesterday — all checked out very well — blood work excellent all around, and I feel great.
Jill C. (that’s me, yo!)
Turn in my fermentation book to my publisher on March 13 without too many book-related freakouts. – GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!  This was a big one for me.  I actually turned the book in a whole day early! I’m pretty proud of that. And there were no freakouts to speak of.   You can still pre-order my sweet baby on Amazon.com!
Complete the Pittsburgh half marathon on May 5 and beat my 2012 time – I really stepped up my running in March and did some long (for me!) runs that really made me feel great.  I have just about a month to go until the race!  I’m starting to get a bit nervous, but the more I run this month, the better I’ll feel about it all on race day.
Confidently turn 40 on November 19 – 230 days left in my 30s, and I’m feeling good.  Dude and I are planning to take a trip somewhere over my birthday to celebrate the milestone, and to celebrate the book.  The destination has yet to be decided. I’m torn between somewhere adventurous, a fabulous city we’ve never visited before, or a tropical getaway where we can chillax on the beach and not talk to anyone.  It’s a rough choice.
Complete a home makeover – March got away from me on this front, but I did make some headway with planning.  We are going to wallpaper a little section of our pantry and I’ve been contacting professional hangers for estimates.  We are also considering new furniture or perhaps reupholstering a few pieces we currently own.  Again, more estimates.  And in a total change of course, Dude and I are cautiously toying with the idea of painting our kitchen cabinets.  This would be an HUGE undertaking for us and we’re not natural-born DIY-ers, so we are proceeding with caution.
Become a more confident runner – The long runs I did in March with the Pittsburgh Area CrossFitters Half Marathon group were real accomplishments for me.  I’ve been pretty candid about getting over the mental blocks of running and breaking through some mileage barriers has done wonders for my confidence.  This weekend I have a seven mile run coming up.  It is not my longest run or anything, so I’m feeling good about it.
Have more in-person interactions with those I love most – As mentioned above, I went to PaleoFX and had a ball.  A big highlight was hanging out with Hayley, Bill, Diane, and Scott. I also got to hang with two new friends, Sean and Suzanne.  I also got to spend some much needed time with family after the trip to Austin.
Post more on my blog! – I must do this and I promise I will.  Stay tuned for more goodness.
So, there you have it.  March is finished and we’re looking ahead!  There is still plenty of room for YOU to join us!  All you need to do is come up with your own list.  Here are some helpful hints and tricks to get you started.  Send me an email containing your list and you’re good to go.