Are You Going to Eat That?

“Sometimes all you have to do is ask, and it can lead to all your dreams coming true” -Randy Pausch

Who in their right mind abandons a pizza?  Who has the heart to desert a perfectly fine pizza on the ledge of a pizza-truck pick-up window?

Door County Brewing Co. 

I witnessed the culprits recklessly strolling away with a red blinking restaurant pager in tow—one too many craft beers to notice.

It was a bustling Friday night at Door County Brewing Co.’s outdoor beer garden in Bailey’s Harbor WI.

Echoes of live music from the indoor taproom bled into the air and a bonfire flickered a mellow glow over rows of packed picnic tables.  Amidst the patrons, I spotted the highlight for which I’d come to explore.

Beyond the brews of Door County Brewing Co. they provide some delicious eats; epic meat and cheese boards, corn dogs and push-pops; but I was after the pizza-truck parked out back called Harbor Pizza.  With a “mobile stone oven” local restaurant Chives had expanded their operation and set up shop to serve pizzas to brewery customers.  It appears they feature about three different 12-inch varieties on any given night.

No, pizza is going to waste on my watch.

As I walked by to glance at the menu and observe their outdoor operation, I admired the steady stream of pizzas lining up as customers would approach and trade in their restaurant pagers for their pies.

As the night progressed, each time I’d pass by I couldn’t help but notice one little pizza at the end of the counter that was never picked up.  Every so often I’d crane my neck from where we were sitting and notice all the other pizzas joining their owners and that one pizza continually going unclaimed.

With closing time approaching, I couldn’t help but meander over to the disregarded pie and inquire about its future.  A kind dread-locked pizza-truck employee wielding a pizza peel gently turned around from tending the oven and noticed me gesturing towards the pizza.  “Did someone forget their pizza?” I asked.

“No one ever came back for it, man”

I had to ask whether it’s next home would be the overflowing bar trash can or if someone was going to claim it and to my utmost excitement my newfound hero replied: “you want it?”.

The good samaritan then spun his charred pizza paddle, swooped in to pick up the pie and slung it back in the oven with a smile on his face. A true gentleman indeed (he even gave us a box!).

unnamed-6.jpg
The orphan on round two.  

A few minutes later and the pizza was piping hot and back in business with a giddy new family. I chuckled all the way home, pizza box open in hand, reliving the silliness of the moment; the forgotten pizza resurrected and gifted by the kind-hearted pizzaiolo.

What pizza taught me:

It never hurts to ask the pizza-lovers proverbial question “is someone going to eat that?”.  Never leave a pizza behind (or a loved one for that matter).

What I’m eating: Abandoned pizza at Harbor Pizza pizza-truck at Door County Brewing Co. in Bailey’s Harbor, WI.

What I’m reading:  Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimized Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex -Aubrey Marcus

 

Catching Up With a Slice

“Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”

grilling-pizza-e1499625290913.pngThere’s nothing like grilling pizza over open flames with friends on the 4th of July. That’s right, to celebrate this great nation’s independence Tess and I joined a couple of our dearest friends Adam and Micki to grill homemade pizzas. Enjoying some pizza on a beautiful summer evening feels like the perfect way to catch up with good friends

We’ve also come together to give cheers to a milestone in the girls growing essential oil empire (They sell and lead teams for Young Living essential oil products, good stuff).  After a lot of hard work Tess hit the silver rank within the company and Micki hit gold, which is pretty darn cool in the essential oil business.  I’m very proud and happy for them both.

crispy crust

Celebrating my own pizza milestone. 

Along with the girls I too feel I’m about to a experience a benchmark moment in life as I’m about to grill my first pizza. I stand back and watch in wonder as the first crust hits the grill. Dancing flames kiss the bottom of our hand stretched oil-ladened dough.

Adam is the pizza-grilling veteran among us, he is also a pizza-lover extraordinaire (like me) and director of corporate operations for Toppers Pizza (he loves pizza so much he made it a career, respect).  I grow excited as I listen to him explain his plan to execute three delicious pizzas over the open flame.

“It’s all about the olive oil” he insists as he applies a coating to a pizza crust awaiting its turn to hit the heat.  He also reveals that cooking both sides of the crust is the real secret to crispy homemade grill fired pizza.

making pizza

Gathering for some grilled pizza.

I was blessed with a lot of quality friends and family time over the long holiday weekend and such interactions felt long overdue.  As the years go on, hangouts seem to happen less and are more challenging to organize as schedules quickly fill up.

Pizza is a great way to connect with our favorite people.  Pizza can provide the perfect motivation and excuse for us to get together.  Pizza offers a great way to maintain our relationships, build new ones, and celebrate life’s victories.

pep grill pizza

Use pizza to connect.

It’s as simple as inviting your best friend to a new pizza place or throwing a pizza party for your whole crew. Pizza is the perfect food to cheer us up or celebrate our accomplishments.

With some quality social time all the effort and hard work we put in all week feels worth it.  At the end of the day, it’s all about the people we share our pizza with.

What pizza taught me:

Staying physically and mentally healthy is very important, but equally important is keeping healthy relationships. Everyone loves pizza, so use it as a tool to connect you with those you cherish the most.

pesto pizza

What I’m eating: Grilled homemade pizzas:

  • Pepperoni and sausage with fresh mozzarella.
  • Buffalo chicken pizza with fresh mozzarella, blue cheese crumbles and diced buffalo chicken pieces on a ranch base.
  • Mushroom and fresh mozzarella on a white sauce base, topped with pesto drizzle.

What I’m reading: Deepok Chopra “Creating Affluence”

Photo Credit: Micki Oldenburg

To get more info on essential oils contact: tessrad@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Pizza at the End of the Tunnel.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced everyday.”-Jim Rohn

IMG_6318Life’s not always extra cheese and pepperoni.  If you’ve followed me thus far you probably think I’m an obsessive pizza freak, just eating pizza all day and always seeking more.

You may wonder how did this pizza loving weirdo lose 70 pounds in the last year and a half?  I’ll address the elephant in the pictures of me from 2012 right now.

It’s true that I am a little crazed over pizza and do frequently daydream about it, and write about it, and take pictures of it.  What I haven’t revealed is that strict routines and daily practices have helped me become a healthier individual and pizza is only a piece of the pie.

Pizza is the prize I win at the end of a good week.  Pizza is my reward.  I’ll share how I earn it.  Hopefully I can offer some helpful takeaways for others as well.

Disclaimer:  If my personal routines outside of devouring pizza do not interest you (which I totally get), do not read on. 

Discipline.  

The strategy I’ve followed has yielded an average of 1-2 pounds lost per week for the last 18 months.  I’ve done this while eating massive amounts of pizza on Fridays and cheating most Saturdays too.

Many of the healthy habits I’ve adopted come from what Tim Ferriss recommends in his podcast, blog and books, specifically his book “The Four Hour Body”.  My diet when I’m not eating pizza is similar to the Slow Carb diet he offers.

Basically, Monday-Thursday I’m very strict and try to limit my carb consumption to 50-70 grams a day and I don’t eat any white carbs (bread, pasta, rice etc).  Sunday is kind of an in-between day where I avoid carbs, but still wanna enjoy the weekend, so I may nibble on some naughty things a little more than I would during the week (like cheese).  Friday night-Saturday I pretty much eat whatever I want.

Here is my current Monday-Thursday diet, exercise, supplement and mindfulness regimen: 

6:20 am:  Wake up and eat breakfast:

  • Eat half an apple.
  • Take supplements:
    • One scoop Athletic Greens: 75 ingredient super-food/supplement cocktail (it’s like the ultimate multi-vitamin, with antioxidants and probiotics).
    • Vectomega: DHA/EPA, Phospholipids and Peptides (basically the good stuff you want from an Omega-3 supplement),
    • D3 2000 mcg
    • B12 Methylcobalamin 1000 mcg (sublingual)
    • One scoop Jarrow collagen bone broth dissolved in hot water.

7:05 am: 25 push ups, drink 24 ounces of water.

8:00 am-Noon:  Attempt to stand at my desk roughly 50% of the time (while I’m on the phone usually). Drink 48 ounces of water.

12 pm: Lunch:

  • 10 baby carrots
  • Half grilled chicken breat or 2 slices of deli turkey.
  • 7-10 almonds or mixed nuts
  • piece of cheese (sometimes two, I have a hard time with cheese portioning).
  • Another scoop of Athletic Greens.

1 pm-5pm: Again, attempt to stand at my desk at work 50% of the afternoon.  Drink 48 ounces of water.

5:15pm: Snack time; usually another 10 almonds or mixed nuts, couple pieces of beef jerky.  Stretch for workout.

5:45-7:10 pm: Exercise:

  • Ride exercise bike 30 minutes while reading a book (Two birds, one stone! and more importantly I don’t get bored).
  • Walk on treadmill for 20 minutes while listening to music (Ipod on shuffle, it’s eclectic and again saves me from boredom).
  • Monday and Wednesday three sets of 20 burpees. Tuesday and Thursday three sets of 50 kettle bell swings followed by 25 pushups.  On kettle bell swing days I drink a protein shake afterwards.

7:20 pm: Drink 24 ounces water.  Meditate using Headspace app (work-out my mental muscles).

8 pm: Dinner:

  • Salad: Spinach, shredded carrots, I’m a sucker for Olive Garden dressing, but it’s probably not good for you.
  • Protein: Chicken or steak usually.  I give most things some Mexican flare with salsa, onions, cheese, avocado and hot sauce.
  • 1/2 cup of Black beans or Pinto beans.

8:30 pm:  De-stress and relax with the help of some essential oils: I apply Frankincense, Australian Blue, Acceptance, and Myrrh.  Tess got me hooked on these, they are great for chilling out.

9:40 pm: Before bed supplements that knock me out and keep me asleep throughout the night.

  • One Tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
  • One capsule Nature’s Purest Garlic 6000 Allicin mcg.
  • One Tablespoon Naturally Calm Magnesium with Calcium.
  • Two Capsules Nature’s Purest “Rest Factors”.

9:50 pm: Turn on Dohm white noise machine, apply Dreamcatcher essential oil for sleep.  I sleep like a baby for 8 hours and repeat.

Holy cow that’s boring.

Nothing too fancy here, I’m just eating minimal carbs, no sweets, no starches, working out a lot, and drinking plenty of water.  I also keep mentally healthy and energized with good sleep and meditation.

So, that’s how I lost a whole bunch of weight, while still eating pizza and enjoying myself every week.  I gotta admit I feel pretty darn good and the pizza is more enjoyable when I don’t regret it afterwards.

What pizza taught me:

Pizza is my prize at the end of the tunnel. It tastes better when I feel I’ve earned it. Now, I deserve some pizza.

  • What I’m eating:  Tess’s homemade pizza-bake (pepperoni, mozzarella, onion, mushroom, egg, fresh basil, Di Salvos pizza sauce).  No carbs, so I can have a piece given I have a pizza withdrawal/breakdown mid-week.
  • What I’m reading: “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”-Angela Duckworth

 

 

 

 

 

If You Love Pizza, Give it Away.

“For it is in giving that we receive” -Francis of Assisi

Do you want the last slice of pizza? I know I do, I also want the first one, second one, the crispy corner one and the cheesy middle one.  What are the chances I’m getting the slice I want in a room full of equally crazed pizza-loving friends?

I’m proud to say the odds are pretty good these days (we even shared with a FedEx guy last weekend!).  This behavior was not always the case.

Wrestling to get a slice.

I remember back to slumber parties I would attend while growing up and how filling my pizza appetite felt so difficult. The chance of getting the last slice seemed nearly impossible, even getting a fulfilling amount was a challenge.  Picture a rabid pack of sweaty 13 year-olds lunging on a pizza, snarling and devouring it’s entirety like a pack of starved wolves.

It felt like the goal was to shovel down each slice as fast as possible in hopes of getting another.  This struggle to adequately meet my pizza needs haunted me through daycare, middle school sleepovers, even into college parties.  After awhile I was conditioned to grapple for whatever pizza I could get my hands on.  Eventually I started acting selfishly and feeling bitter when I didn’t get my way.  I had developed a sense of pizza entitlement.

The pizza universe shines down.

As I got older, I started reading more and became intrigued by ideas commonly presented in eastern philosophy like mindfulness and karma. I’ve always been intrigued by karma; the idea that you get what you give or you reap what you sow.  That idea always seemed so simple and practical; live and treat others well and things work out well.

I realized I had to start sharing my pizza, and start exchanging some good karma with the universe. Learning to give was a challenge at first, as I fought the selfishness I had developed.  I had to figure out how to be content with my conditions and to empathize with others.  I had to get back to the basics of what makes pizza fun; enjoying it with someone else.

Give it away and enjoy the party.

The true greatness of pizza is it’s ability to connect us with other people.  Pizza is delicious and fun to eat, but it’s all about the time we spend together.  When I share my favorite pizza with others and get to see them light up the same way I do, a new level of happiness emerges.

Sometimes after I’ve shared a slice, I’ll receive one back when I want it even more.  Though I’d like to think it’s karma, I always try to remind myself there is no keeping score and I should expect nothing in return.  Giving is all about helping another person and the reward is knowing you brought them satisfaction.

What pizza taught me:

When giving to someone the highlight is knowing you contributed to their happiness. Pizza is delicious and versatile, but more importantly social and fun. Sharing it is the best part.

Learning to let go of the things we desire most in life is tough, but worthwhile. If you want to enjoy the best pizza, let your last slice go to someone you love and the law of karma will bring that slice full circle.  It’s the circle of pizza.

  • What I’m eating: Rosa’s Pizza, Whitewater WI, sausage and pepperoni.
  • What I’m reading: “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”-Deepak Chopra
  • What I’m listening to: Do Make Say Think “Horripilation”

 

Photo credit: Sarah Kroll