January 2016 Archives

2016 marks the 8th year that I got rid of my old Volvo. 8 years of not owning a car, and I couldn't be happier. One of the reasons why I love living in this town is that you can walk to just about anything you need: Dry Cleaning, Grocery Shopping, Pet Store, Restaurants, Pharmacy, etc. NextBike Bike Rental is available now. You can take a taxi or Uber for longer distances. Or you can rent a car at Avis for weekend getaways.

Lets take Avis car rental as an example. I have a beach house rental in Bradley Beach, NJ. Every weekend, I go there from May until September - if the weather is nice. Today I will spend about 30 minutes on the Avis website reserving my car for the weekend (Thursday 5pm to Sunday 5pm), which will be a Ford Fusion, and total costs, with insurance will be about $193. Also if I picked an "economy" car, it would be even cheaper at $162, but I like a bigger car so lets stick with a full size.

Today you could go out and get a 2016 Ford Fusion SE $89 per mo. (24 mos), $1995 down pymt + $645 bank fee. 89x24=2136(+1995+645) divided by 24 = $199 a month for a similar car.

Insurance monthly would cost me about $120. I priced this out.

You could park on the street in Hoboken, but after hearing many, many horror stories about street parking (drunks and teenagers fuck with too many cars), you almost have to park in a garage. My building offers parking at $185 a month, which is pretty much the lowest cost parking around. Most parking can be $250-300 a month.

But, lets just use my math. $199 for a car. $120 for insurance. $185 for parking. Total costs are $504 monthly. 12 months a year is $6048 a year.

Lets go back to my car from Avis. Lets say I rent a car every weekend at $193 from Memorial Day until Labor Day. The holiday weekends cost more, so I will double the cost for Memorial, July 4th and Labor day. Total weekends are 15. If we double the costs for holidays that is 3 more to 18 weekends. 18 times $193 is $3474. I'm saving $2574 a year. Even if we throw in holiday weekends like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter - i'm not spending more than $2574 for those, either. Also, any weekend in which it rains or I have to stick around Hoboken I can cancel my car and I don't have to pay a dime.

Plus consider other extra hidden costs of car ownership and leasing, like maintenance costs. Oil changes, tire rotation, mileage checkups all add up. When you rent a car, you don't pay any of those costs. Plus with Avis every single car I rented with them were brand spanking new cars, all with less than 20,000 miles - and 50% of them had less than 10,000 miles. Avis is pretty smart, they keep the cars until they hit about 20,000 miles and then sell them - and just keep buying new cars.

The only reason why people own a car is for work or convenience. When I talk to car owners (that don't need it for work) about giving up their car, its like you suggest they stop eating sugar. They get a look in their face like a world without car ownership isn't a world worth living. I remember one friend of mine was worried about "Maybe I might need my car at 11pm on a Tuesday night!" - I asked where exactly where they going at 11pm on a Tuesday and they didn't have an answer, more of a "What if?" scenario.

If you have children - sure I can understand needing a car. If you are someone that has a job which demands you at strange hours to respond, yes you need a car. But most people who are parking on the street in Hoboken do not NEED a car. They have it because its convenient and some have paid the car off, so their only costs are insurance a month plus maintenance. $120 a month for insurance is still only $1440 a year, plus the parking badge for $15 a year, which is cheaper than the example I laid out above. I did that with my Volvo for a year, I kept moving it around once a week to avoid paying parking tickets for street cleaning.

I'm just here to tell you that you can break free from car ownership and save a lot of money by doing what i'm doing. One of the best reasons for living in Hoboken is because of the Walk Score of 95 or a "Walker's Paradise".

Paleo For Newbies

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It's another year and the winter weight is back. Switching to paleo was as easy and trying on old clothes, and I decided to just write about how easy it was to switch.

First, some back story. I hurt my labrum in my shoulder around May. I couldn't do Crossfit Hoboken, for months, and while resting my shoulder, my feet became a problem child - similar to plantar fasciitis. My heel and under my arch on both feet were extremely sore, I could barely walk when I woke up in the morning. I didn't understand why, and frankly I was just really frustrated. I couldn't lift. I couldn't run, walk or jog.

Eventually my afternoon routine would be that I get home from work. Sleep for 2 hours from being exhausted, wake up, eat dinner or skip dinner, watch TV or play on my computer, and then go to bed around 11pm. I really wasn't drinking as much anymore, usually a bottle of wine with a cigar one day a week.

But the weight caught up to me. I gained about 25 pounds and weighing myself in November I saw the scale read 250 pounds. Now, I am 6'4, so 250 pounds on me is a bit different than someone who is 6 feet tall. It spreads out. But even with spreading out, I saw pictures of myself wearing polo shirts and couldn't believe how bad I looked.

It wasn't just a question of vanity, but also about how I felt. I was sore in my feet, and even along the sides of my body. I went to a massage therapist at Body Balance who was amazing. During the massage, she pointed out to me that the soreness I felt wasn't due to working out (note I didn't touch a weight since May 2015), but it was from inflammation from foods i'm eating.

Walking home from the massage session I was more determined than ever to STOP FEELING BAD. I was fucking tired of it. I was tired of getting home from work exhausted. I was tired of being sore. I was tired of the growing tire around my mid section.

I knew paleo worked, but like a lot of us - making the switch was always such a painful thing. I always had excuses why I couldn't switch.

"It's too hard!"
"I can't not drink alcohol!"
"I love {this food}, I can't eliminate {this food}!"
"I'll start next week. I have a party/dinner this week and I want to enjoy myself."

Each one deserves its own explanation.

Paleo is a learning process. I found that the easiest way to do Paleo is make things simple. One of those ways was making my breakfast a smoothie with a Nutribullet. I drink one every day before work. My recipe is pretty easy:
handful of spinach, carrots, apple, 1/2 banana, mango, blueberries, flax seed, chia seed, cashews, and protein powder (whey protein isolate).

PROTEIN POWDER?! Yep. Was the caveman using protein powder? No. Also technically is protein powder dairy - technically yes. It's a purified extract of a single macronutrient, not a whole food, which is what paleo purists tout on the diet. But in my humble opinion, after doing this for many years, is that we "shouldn't sweat the small things". You need protein in your diet. You are eating whole foods at every meal. Sure, I could eat a grilled chicken breast instead, but this is more convenient.

Lunches I use Kettlebell Kitchen. They prepare lunches for each day and I pick them up at Crossfit Hoboken on Monday and Wednesday nights, for 5 meals. They are healthy and just pop them in the microwave for 3-4 minutes and they taste really good.

For dinner, I just plan it out a few days in advance. Here's what I made last week:

Sunday: Paleo meatloaf. Made garlic cauliflower mashed with it and cooked up steamed broccoli.
Monday: Leftover paleo meatloaf from Sunday.
Tuesday: Paleo Italian Lamb Chops. Used spaghetti squash as my "pasta".
Wednesday: Cracklin' Chicken, with bacon brussel sprouts.
Thursday: Use a Kettlebell Kitchen entree
Friday: Honeygrow or Tony Baloney's Cobb Salad (as a reward I allow the bleu cheese on the salad).
Saturday: BBQ from House of Que - ribs, chicken, sausage, no sauce. Get collard greens for a side.

That's a week of dinners, and I normally don't try to eat out that much, last Saturday I made Jambalaya.

That's my diet. I usually plan for Sunday's dinner to cover Monday. The Cracklin' chicken is once a week. There's the Kettlebell Kitchen entree which covers another dinner. I might experiment with new dishes each week. I'm a HUGE fan of Nom Nom Paleo, and just will scan through their cookbook and pick things to try. Also some of my friends also do paleo and we share recipes, which is how I found the meatloaf dish.

Is it more work than NOT eating paleo, well sure. I certainly found it much easier to have others cook for me and eat "healthyish" from La Isla or Sushi Lounge. The problem was the times when I was eating pizza, burgers or pasta it creeps up on me. I was drinking coke daily, only 8 ounce bottles, but still was 100 empty calories.

As a checklist for a Paleo Newbie, I would keep all of the following in your fridge or cabinets:
1. Garlic
2. 1 sweet Onion
3. Fresh Eggs
4. Coconut Flour
5. Almond Flour/Meal
6. Coconut oil & olive oil
7. Coconut milk (can)
8. Chopped tomato (can)
9. Beef and Chicken stock (can)
10. 1 Cauliflower
11. Balsamic vinegar (good, aged balsamic)
12. Quality Olive Oil. I recently discovered California Olive Ranch.
13. Real, good spices: Oregano, Basil, Cumin, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Cayenne, Crushed Pepper Flakes, Sea Salt, Peppercorns (use a pepper grinder). Add new spices as needed, and buy the SMALLEST side possible from Penzeys. Spices are good for a year, next year throw them all out and buy new spices again. If you have spices in your cabinets that are years old, throw them out!
14. You must have one good 10" cast iron pan.
15. You mast have one good Chef knife.
16. One good non stick 12" skillet.

That's what I would start with, and they make a difference in my cooking life. The Emril skillet I wasn't sure about and now I love it. Having a good balanced knife makes chopping and slicing more fun. Many dishes, like Cracklin' Chicken can't be made in a non-stick pan, it just comes out better from cast iron.

I went back to the gym last week on Monday. I couldn't even do 5 pushups. I felt so weak. I hated starting over again. I started to question was it worth it. But I just took it easy. Baby steps. Rowed on a rowing machine. Stretched. Jumped rope. Waited 2 days. Did the same thing. Waited another 2 days. My pushups were a bit easier. Then Monday comes and I. FEEL. STRONG. Pushups are NO PROBLEM. I'm on the treadmill walking at a 2.0 incline and 4.2MPH. Even add in a 30 second run and feels good, feet are feeling better. Wednesday my power dipped and "Captain Sean" from Monday was gone, but could bang out 10 pushups in multiple sets, but legs felt tired.

Was it paleo helping? I don't know. But I do feel better. I'm absolutely less tired. I told people before that when you start paleo about 2 weeks in your taste buds "explode" and normally bland flavors taste much better. I'm really, really looking forward to my salad from Honeygrow tonight.

OH, here's is my homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing I use on salads:
1/2 cup of GOOD Olive oil, not shitty $9.99 olive oil.
1/4 cup of GOOD aged balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs of Dijon Mustard (grey poupon, but of course)
dashes of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, and a pinch of thyme

Put all into a cup and whisk with a fork. Pour over salad. Thank me later.

I'll post again in a few weeks. Not sure if I will be doing before or after photos, we will see.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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