Monday, June 22, 2009

Barley Tabouleh (Tabouli)

Well, this last Saturday it was nice and hot out and I wanted a filling and refreshing cold salad. Going through my mental rolodex of appropriate dishes I immediately settled on tabouleh. However, I wanted barley instead of cracked wheat. That is exactly what I ended up doing.

I took the recipe and made a few small changes from here. That whole website is absolutely great actually.

The barley and fresh vegetables are a great flavour combination and are really quite low calorie for how filling this dish is. The one thing I did notice is that the olive oil is a large chunk of the overall calories in the dish... So, I scaled the oil back a bit so as to not hurt the flavour or taste.

The recipe is quite simple but does require a headstart on cooking the barley. And I would also say that chopping parsley is time consuming to say the least. Next time I think I will try using the food processor, but I wasn't convinced the food processor would do a good job so I spent a solid ten to fifteen minutes chopping mint, parsley, chives, and garlic.

Please, do yourself a favor and try this dish. It is absolutely amazing and refreshing on a hot day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Morsel of Wisdom

"The happiness of most people we know is not ruined by great catastrophes or
fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things."
Ernest Dimnet

Oooh. I must admit fully that I am a quote-aholic. To me, quotes are those little morsels of wisdom that stick with you, sometimes for weeks. They are often very small but very filling, insightful, and reassuring.

This little quote I felt also is true of nutrition in the general population rather than happiness.

As I continue my CRON lifestyle I notice more and more that there are many of us, myself likely included, that have little bad habits that with repetition can slowly build up into a bigger problem for our health or nutrition.

These bad habits are sneaky because who wants to admit that the extra little serving here or the uncounted calories there are really adding up. Notice them. Be honest with yourself. Know that in even the smallest of things are the seeds of unintended consequences. Know that you can change the habit, and do so.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Discipline Re:Defined

dis⋅ci⋅pline  /ˈdɪsəplɪn/ [dis-uh-plin] noun, verb, -plined,


1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill;
training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order
maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
6. a set or system of rules and regulations.
7. Ecclesiastical. the system of government
regulating the practice of a church as distinguished from its doctrine.
8. an instrument of punishment, esp. a whip or scourge, used in the practice of
self-mortification or as an instrument of chastisement in certain religious
9. a branch of instruction or learning: the disciplines of history and economics.

–verb (used with object)

10. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
11. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
12. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.

It is very interesting to me that the very mention of discipline is associated, as is this dictionary definition, with references to harsh punishment, military training, strict rules and regulations. For me discipline is simply focus. Being unfocused means a lack of clarity about your goals and what you want to attract into your life and with that lack of focus those things you want fade away into the horizon. Whereas, if you are disciplined about the thoughts you have; the choices you have minute by minute, you will get closer to your goals and what you focus on will come closer.

Does this mean punishment is inherent? No. Does it mean dealing with opportunity costs where you give up one thing to get another. Yes. Does it mean torture? No.

CRONies need to reclaim and redefine the term discipline. What does discipline mean to me:

It means improving the ways and skill with which I come closer to my goals. It means focus. It does not mean all or nothing ultimatums where I am always disciplined or else my goals disappear. It does mean correcting my behaviour to getting myself back on track.

In biblical Hebrew, the generic word for sin is het. It means to err, to miss the mark. In this way we are all sinners as we have all missed the mark at some point in time. The original meaning of the word sin does not imply praise or blame. It simply means that the mark was missed. The word sin has even been used in archery for centuries.

Discipline is simply the training of your self to better hit your mark and achieve your goals. This training is not inherently negative, brutal, or punishing. It simply refocuses and redirects you.

We all know that there is both positive and negative reinforcement. Yet, people seem to focus on the negative when they hear the word discipline.

So CRONies, others, help me in redefining this word for ourselves and others. The world will be a much better place as a result. And I personally feel that it will help more people achieve their goals through being more compassionate with those that miss the mark, including themselves. Discipline should be without praise and blame and completely about focussing on the target.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer Time

Well Summer has finally come. Daytime temperatures are nearing 30C.

Today at work our organization had a lobster lunch to thank all of our sales staff for a record sales period. It's good to know that some industries are not affected by the economic downturn and I am grateful for such abundance in my life. However, I don't want to look or sound like a hog at a trough because of that abundance.

So, I split a lobster with someone else and loaded up on additional veggies that were available. There was also herbed butter available that was passed over. Mmmm the lobster was very tasty.

However, after lunch I was chided by my end of the table for not eating enough and given an extra helping of dessert to compensate. This social control with food thing just never seems to go away, does it? I find it annoying. I try not to, but it bugs me that so many other well intentioned people line up to tell me what I should eat when and why. Why can't I decide for myself?

I'm still well above my target CR weight and yet people want me to eat larger helpings of dessert with them to be more like them. Salespeople learn pretty quickly that people like people like themselves and they start taking an interest in others to match up similarities. However, I don't want to be like everyone else. That reminded me of a quote I heard once:

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” - Krishnamurti

The more I think about it, the reason I think I don't like these situations is that there is an unspoken leadership role that is expected of me and I'm not prepared. What is the graceful and humble way to laugh with the others but maintain integrity with who I want to be? Because it seems to me that everyone else is wondering 1) how I can have the will power and 2) how they would be able to deal with the same social situations. On a certain level, people are literally looking to me to give them guidance and wisdom on how to react in similar situations. And not only am I being judged, but so is CRON.

At the time I just smiled and ate just half of what I was given and ignored direct contact with everyone. With that even being more than I wanted, I felt like I was giving in for their benefit.

What is the right response? What would Cool Hand Luke have done? What would you do to save face for yourself and for CR?