Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cornfed To Thoroughbred: Surviving Midwest BBQ Season

The Midwest is the best place on earth to be a doctor, for every wrong reason. There is no lack of business, and its all due to what goes into people’s mouths. To be fair, beer and smokes take their toll as well, but I honestly would be out of a job if it weren’t for the corn-fed diet that predominates. Its ubiquitous….its every weekend that somebody from work is grilling out…it tastes pretty darned good (yes, I love Johnsonville’s brats)….and its out to get YOU. Don’t believe me, huh? When’s the last time you had grilled chicken breast with a side of grilled squash and some low-fat bean medley at a barbeque? I have yet to see it in the Midwest…and part of me says I’d never like to see it change, for the same reason I am happy that punk bands are still alive and well: its pretty dang good if its only once in a while. But its every weekend around here, and every year that I live in the Midwest I amazingly drop about ten pounds once it gets too cold to grill out anymore.

But you and I we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate. –Bob Dylan, Watchtower

If you have taken the time to read this, you’ve made some life choices already, and likely need only some empathy, some props for sticking with it, and some ideas to keep that ball rolling. But someone out there may be like my buddy Jeremy with whom I skied and climbed off of Alaska’s Ruth Glacier last month. I told him in February that I was getting back in climbing shape and going to the Ruth if it killed me. True to his nature, Jeremy committed then and there, telling his wife they would be in the Twin Cities the next day, buying a Stairmaster. That Stairmaster got more use in three months than most get in their lifetimes, even if owned by folks that train a lot. But the most impressive part of his transformation (and I looked for a better word than the cliché, almost sermon-worthy word ‘transformation’, but none could hack it), was his choice of foods. He called me and asked for a diet plan, and I made it pretty simple, taking a lot of what I have learned from P90X and adding in a bit here and there for the cardio that mountaineering requires. Its basic, but its complete. If nothing else call my bluff and try it for a couple weeks. I'll eat corndogs for a week straight if you try it and don't feel better and perform better...and this is Iowa, where corndogs are taken seriously.

Total calories per day: 2070
Protein per day: 110 grams (500 calories)
Fat per day: 50 grams (450 calories)
Fruit per day: 2 servings (140 calories)
Greens (lettuce/spinach): 4 servings (60 calories)
Colored Veggies (carrots/tomatoes): 4 servings (120 calories)
Complex carbs (whole grain only!!): 8 servings (800 calories)

Protein is lean white chicken breast or turkey breast, or whey protein mix; Clif builder bars are good too, just cost a lot of cash and you have to take into account the carbs/fat in protein bars; NO dark meat, no processed meats. Eggs have too much fat.
Fruit is a medium sized apple, orange, or banana
Fat is one tablespoon of olive oil. Nothing else is as nutritious and can be as satisfying.
Complex carbs are whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and occasionally brown rice. Kashi Go-Lean crunch cereal is allowed.
Free night is once a week when between 6 and 10 pm anything goes, within reason.


  1. ok, time to get down to my fightin' weight!

  2. flatland power!! it'd be awesome the next time CBE reunites if one leo denoyer randomly took off his shirt and ashamed a couple of formerly chisled college hockey players...ahh yeah (and you know they'd follow suit).

  3. BBQ follow up: one Boca Burger, one bun, tons of veggies/ketshup/mustard, side of raw veggies, side of fruit salad, and two diet sodas....and I was the Asador (guy running the grill and cranking out cheeseburgers).

    I could NOT have pulled off an hour and a half of yoga and some time hiking on the treadmill tonight after eating the burgers/chips/cake/ice cream/cookies/et al that predominated that place.