Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy


Soup: Carrot Ginger

Nathaniel and I eat a lot of soup for a few reasons: It’s filling, it can be really low in calories and you can make a whole lot of it at once. Nathaniel takes soup to work for lunch nearly everyday and I usually have the same thing at home.

But- I also really love cooking and trying new recipes.

Yesterday I tried a new recipe for carrot ginger soup from The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It turned out delicious which is why I decided to share it here.

This soup is even healthier than the lentil soup we usually eat so I predict you will see it mentioned with frequency in the future.

I just purchased ‘The Vegan Table’ (although I am not vegan) because it has great photos and health information for every recipe which makes choosing new and healthy recipes easier than some other cookbooks do. Also – you can always adapt the recipes for your own lifestyle.

For example: I used low sodium chicken stock instead of vegetable stock and the feta was added for the photo but it tasted great on top.

Carrot Ginger Soup

(Yield: 4 Servings)

7 or 8 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

1 large yellow onion, diced or sliced

2 medium yukon gold potatoes quartered

2 tsp ginger minced

2 garlic cloves minced

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

(If you stay true to the recipe and use vegetable stock each serving only has 145 calories and 2 g fat)

  1. Sautee onions in a medium to large put using either butter olive oil or water (water is used in original recipe)
  2. Once Onions are soft add potatoes, garlic, ginger and carrots to the pot.
  3. Pour in enough liquid (chicken or vegetable stock) until vegetables are covered
  4. Simmer ingredients until carrots and potatoes are easily pierced with a fork
  5. Blend all ingredients in a blender till you have a nice thick soup – you can add more stock to thin the soup if you wish
  6. Season to taste and enjoy!

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Day 3: Push-ups & being lazy

He said:

Today was day two of my 100 push-up plan that I heard about from a coworker.  The basic premise is that after a six week program you should (theoretically) be able to do 100 push-ups in a row without stopping (I will be the perfect case study for you).

I could already do 30 push-ups (I have been doing them on a regular basis for the last couple of months, this is not where I started at) and the program suggested that I start on week three, but after the first day on that I realized I should start on a lower week.  Today was day 2 of week 2 and it went much better with me being able to complete the workout.  There is also an app for this if you have a smart phone which I highly suggest, it will count the breaks in-between sets for you and tracks your progress (and it’s free so there’s nothing to loose).

While Alex has a gym membership (I have had them in the past too) I currently do not.  And while I think I may get on in the future I am currently working from a different perspective.  See in the past I would get on a health kick, diet and go start lifting weights.  But after a couple of weeks I would get discouraged that I wasn’t gaining any muscle, this was because it was still burried under layers of fat.

This time around I am taking my old teachers advice (see post in Day 2) and doing mostly cardio (riding my bike and jogging).  But I also wanted to work out some muscles, so I latched onto push-ups and now this 100 day program.  The basic premise behind the program I am working on is the concept that anyone, anywhere could conceivably do what I am doing right now regardless of their circumstances.  I understand that some people can not afford a gym membership, or fancy protein powder.  So this is a simple plan based around using what I already have at hand.

Daily Food Log:

Breakfast: Skyr (100 cal.)

Mid-morning snack: Banana (120 cal.)

Lunch: Lentil Soup (1g fat, 250 cal.)

Mid-afternoon snack: Apple (100 cal.)

Dinner: Greek Salad + milk (greens, cucumber, 4 olives, vinaigrette 10g fat 410 cal.)

Total calories: 1,020.

She Said:

Today I did not go to the gym mostly because I stayed up too late watching Lord of The Rings and playing paper toss on Nathaniel’s phone. Also – as I reasoned to myself my couch-to-5k plan doesn’t require me to do it everyday.

However I was pondering that if a person walks 4-4.5 miles an hour they will need to walk 20 miles to lose one pound. So while I am lazier less stringent with my workouts than Nathaniel, a very tangible goal for me to set for myself is to do my jogging plan and walk enough miles on top of that to equal at least 20 miles a week until I reach my goal of being able to jog 5 miles at a time.

Saturday we are planning on walking from San Francisco’s Ferry Building to a restaurant on the complete other side of the city for lunch. It should be about 10 miles and have a lot of hills. I am excited because it’s going to be a lot of fun and we might find cool things to take pictures of along the way!

Today’s Food:

1 Siggi’s Yogurt (100 cal.)

1 banana (120 cal.)

1 cup of coffee (10 cal.)

1 bowl of lentil soup (250 cal.)

2 cuties (small citrus fruit) (70 cal.)

1 bowl of carrot ginger soup (145 cal. 2g fat)

4oz milk / 1 cherry cordial (120 cal. 1.5g fat)

Total calorie count: 770

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Day 2

He said:

Hand in hand with diet is exercise. There was a joke going around the internet a couple years ago, that in the year 2020 scientists would, after years of research and billions of dollars in grants, would come to the conclusion that diet and exercise would keep you healthy.

In this the other side of my trying to keep healthy is getting exercise every day.  I work for nine hours a day (on a good day) and as in most office settings I sit most of the time.  Luckily I recently moved to Burlingame and am a twenty minute bike ride (about five miles) from my work.  So I have taken to riding to and from work (which is nothing provides at least a little exercise every day).

On top of the bicycle I am trying to run (jog) at least four times a week.  At the end of high school I took a weight training class at UCSC and got close to lifting what I thought I should.  Near the end of the class I asked the instructor how I could be more tone in my muscles and her response was “you need to run, every day”.

Being the lazy slug I am, the thought of running everyday was not appealing, but now that I have lost some weight it is not as hard to run as it used to be.  Did 2.7 miles yesterday and today, need to keep it up.

Food for today:

Breakfast: Skyr (100 cal.)

Mid-morning snack: Banana (120 cal.)

Lunch: Lentil Soup (1g fat, 250 cal.)

Mid-afternoon snack: Apple (100 cal.)

Dinner: rice with sauteed vegetables and half an avocado (14g fat, 500 cal.)

Total calories for the day: 1070.


She Said:

I am currently doing the couch-to-5k running plan and for my last “jog” during the 25-minute program today I cranked the treadmill up faster than I have in the past. When I got off the treadmill I was a little light headed but the feeling passed after a few seconds.

After that I moved on to the weights, which I used to be intimidated by.

I’ve had 24-hour fitness memberships in the past (and had to cancel them because of my constant moving) but I was always too embarrassed to sign up for a personal trainer. My mom even offered to pay for one when I was just starting college and I refused. The idea of one very in shape person watching me sweat and struggle for an hour at a time was terrifying,

This time around I paid for 3 sessions with a personal trainer and she showed me how to use a ton of stuff at the gym I had been afraid to try. It was great! I was sore after every session and felt really accomplished at the end of the day.

I can’t afford any more sessions but the machines are my favorite part of the gym now. I wasn’t getting my money’s worth in the past by just doing 2 hours on an elliptical.  25 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the weights with a little rowing machine thrown in are a lot more efficient.

Food today:

1 Siggi’s yogurt (100 cal.)

1 banana (120 cal.)

1 cup of coffee (10 cal.)

2 cups of tea (10 cal.)

1 bowl lentil soup (1g fat, 250 cal.)

1 large greek salad: lots of lettuce, ½ cucumber, 5-6 cherry tomatoes, 1/3 cup feta (90 cal.), 8 Kalamata olives (80 cal.), Balsamic vinaigrette (homemade).

2 x 8 oz. diet juice (5 cal. each)

4 oz milk with 1 cherry cordial

***To explain why you are going to see me eating a cherry cordial everyday- my Dad gave me a small box of them on Saturday so I am limiting myself to one per day. Nathaniel and I really don’t buy food like that to have at the apartment even when we aren’t on a diet.



The First Day

He Said:

Today went pretty well, there was a period around 2pm where I was hungry but didn’t want to eat my afternoon snack yet and was thinking about the fact that I wanted a French dip.  Well, not really the whole sandwich, just the bun.  It stuck in my head, and I had to get up and have a glass of water to get my mind off of it.

In trying to eat healthier I, like many I’m sure, feel like I have tried every trick in the book and taken every suggestion people and experts have to offer.  With that said,  I have finally decided that I need to do what works for me and leave the advice that just doesn’t fit.

With this in mind, I eat five meals a day when not on my free day.  Here the term meal may not be what you are thinking, for example one of my meals is a banana, so these are not what an average person would consider a meal, but it helps me not feel hungry most of the time.

Another suggestion that I have taken to heart is drinking, at least, four 8 oz. glasses of water a day.  This helps to fill my stomach, and I find on days where I do not drink this much I am hungry and dehydrated.  I start the morning (after my shower) with drinking two cups of water (no I do not measure out two cups of water with a measuring cup, if you have a regular pub glass, that holds almost exactly two cups) as this helps to get me started for the day.

Another aspect of this is that if you don’t think you can drink that much water, because lets face it, water is a boring drink.  You’ll be happy to know that it counts as drinking water if you drink tea or coffee (though coffee will act as a dehydrator).  The only thing you should watch for is not consuming too much caffeine, I sip on tea almost all day long, but I drink mostly green or herbal teas that contain almost no caffeine.

Food list for today:

Breakfast: Skyr (Icelandic yogurt and something I will blog about later) (100 cal.)

Mid-morning snack: Banana (120 cal.)

Lunch: Lentil Soup (1g fat, 250 cal.)

Mid-afternoon snack: Apple (100 cal.)

Dinner: Lentil Soup (1g fat, 250 cal.) I got home late so I didn’t make dinner and just ate some soup I made for lunch this week.

Total calories for today 820, though it would have been closer to 1000 if I had made the dinner I planned on making.

Getting psyched for tomorrow!


She Said:

Nathaniel and I were discussing how oftentimes people handing out diet suggestions say you should eliminate beer or soda from your diet as an easy way of cutting calories.

The problem with this suggestion (for me and maybe you) is that I don’t drink enough of these things for them to contribute significantly to my weight. To be realistic the beverage that contributes the most calories to my usual diet is milk.

As a child I drank a lot of milk (I’ve always loved it) and my parents didn’t see the point in limiting something that is considered healthy. I once drank a half-gallon of milk in one sitting (although to be fair this was without parental supervision).

Today it was important that I acknowledged to Nathaniel and myself that I really have to pay attention to how much Milk I am pouring into my glass.

I’ve consumed around 1,000 calories today and to be perfectly honest I was still hungry after I finished my dinner of sautéed veggies and white rice. I like to cook meals with big flavors to help keep myself from feeling gypped.

Luckily as a result of being a foodie I have an arsenal of spices. However today I went cheap for my flavor booster and topped the stir-fry with sriracha.

You may have to save some of these recipes for a ‘free day’ but a few of them are diet friendly!

Today’s food intake:

1 cup yogurt (Suggi’s)
2 cups of coffee (no sugar but a splash of milk)
2 cutie’s (small citrus fruit)
1 cup lentil soup (homemade)
1 cup diet juice (ocean spray)
Sautéed veggies over white rice
4 oz. milk / 1 cherry cordial (see’s)
tea (no milk or sugar)

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An Intro to Alex

This is where I need to tell you about why I am overweight and why I want to loose weight.

I haven’t always been overweight although I’ve never been comfortable with the way I look.

In middle school I was legitimately fat although I was good at sports. I never felt more popular in Middle School than when the popular girls begged me to join the softball team… Boys even wanted me to be on their basketball teams during recess but none of them ‘liked-liked’ me.

In the 5th grade I remember being lined up for P.E. with all the other kids for swim class and noticing how the boys reacted to one of the 8th grade girls wearing a green bikini. In my memory she looks like a Sports Illustrated cover girl but in reality at 13 she couldn’t have been that impressive.

It was the first time I ever really compared myself to another female physically and it was the last time I wore a bathing suit in public.

In High School things evened out and all the hours playing basketball, softball, volleyball and golf paid off. I still felt big but at 5’10’’ but I was healthy and well within a normal weight range.

In my junior year I quit basketball and was cut from the softball team so my physical activity plummeted and my eating habits stayed exactly the same. Now – 7 years later I weigh roughly 75 lbs. more than I did in High School.

My ultimate goal (as of right now) is to get into good enough shape to run 5 miles at a time. Once I accomplish that goal I think it will be much easier to loose weight and keep it off in the long term.


An Intro to Nathaniel

For the vast majority of my life (especially the parts I can remember) I have been overweight or obese, with spurts of weight loss sprinkled throughout.  I am currently twenty-five (soon to be twenty-six), which is around the age that people’s metabolism’s start to slow down.  This is not a good occurrence for someone who is overweight and has (no pun intended) been weighing on my mind as a milestone in my life.  Something had to be done.

The story (a quick version of how we got here)

I have been overweight my whole life and have always been self-conscious of this fact.  I grew up in Santa Cruz and there were many frightful days at the beach in my youth, when I knew that I was overweight and was ashamed of this fact, but I was too young to put this feeling into tangible action.

In middle school I wrestled (great activity for a fat kid) and between 6th and 7th grade I gained almost thirty pounds going from 127 to 154 (I remember this from having to do weekly weigh-ins).

In my memory, and what I now know about nutrition, this was achieved mainly between the hours of 4-6pm (the time when I would get home from school and before my parents came home) where I would snack on anything in the house (ice cream, popcorn, chocolate) and not just have microwave popcorn, but melt half a stick of butter to pour on it.

For those not too calorie conscious that is roughly 57g of fat, 400 calories, and 121mg of cholesterol, the fat content being half of your daily allotted amount.  Needless to say, I was developing unhealthy eating habits at a young age that would stick with me till today.

In high school, I do remember consciously trying to loose weight because I was self-conscious about it and for about half a year I drank slim-fast for breakfast and lunch, but ate whatever I wanted for dinner and didn’t exercise at all.  By now I was tipping the scales at 180 and by the end of high school was around 210.

In college, surprisingly enough I did not gain the freshman 15 and was able to loose weight and get back down to 185 (though I was an unhealthy 185) and this was mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t found beer yet and drank mostly clear spirits.

Time went on, between the ages of 18 and 25 I fluctuated between 195-230, always beginning diets and exercise and then inevitably giving up and putting the weight back on.  Almost there people just hang with me a little longer; I look back over my life so far, and realize three important factors that lead to my being overweight/obese:

  1. Not knowing what nutrition is
  2. Not understanding what portion size is
  3. Not exercising at frequent intervals and being an overall slug

Mastery over even two of these three things would have helped me maintain a more healthy weight and even possibly meet my weight goals.

The lead-in

I have recently lost 25 pounds, and while feeling much better and skinnier then I have in years, a simple google search will show that for my height (5’10”) I am still in the overweight category.

This might be a discouraging realization for some, but I look at it as a challenge to continue the work I have started and finally finish my goal.

What was the impetus for losing the first 25 you might ask?  My dad called me after a trip to the dentist (he has been overweight my entire life) and told me that his blood pressure was so high that they could not safely give him the anesthetic he need for the teeth work as it might cause a cardiac event.

This prompted him to embark on a new diet and lifestyle change that would help him to lower his blood pressure (so that he could stop taking medication for it) and to help him get back down to a reasonable weight.

This opened my eyes clearly to what I had been staring at my whole life: that if I continued on the path I was on, it would only lead to more serious, and in the end, more fetal problems, outside the general self-esteem issues I lived with on a day to day basis.

The Plan

There are several aspects to full a concept of how I am trying to go about making this new lifestyle change work, and be effective in the long run.

  1. It has to be sustainable: too many times in the past I have tried to follow plans that were stringent beyond reason and lead inevitably to failure.
  2. Exercise is a must: trying to change weight without exercise seems like shooting yourself in the foot from the beginning and I am sure any article you read suggests at least thirty minutes of exercise a day or at least three times a week.
  3. It must be together: I am going into this now while living with my girlfriend and we must do this together as the age old adage is that couples gain and loose weight together, I feel there must be some truth to this.
  4. It must be delicious: again, all together way too many efforts have ended because the food I was trying to eat was awful in my attempt for it to be “healthy”.

No one of these goals is outrageous or something that I cannot attain and this is something that I need to remind myself of as the weeks go on.  The other general rule to focus on is that this is NOT a diet in the new age sense of the world as that implies a short term goal, this is a lifestyle change that must be permanent for it to stick.

The Goal

My goal, the place I want to be in 100 days is to weigh 175 pounds and be able to run for five miles without stopping to catch my breath.  Keeping the goals simple.