food & cooking


Last night I went a little nuts on the food. This is typical of post-race me, and I think of most runners: you run far or fast and then when you get home you eat everything in the house. Yesterday was kind of strange for me after the Lilac Run, namely in that my stomach was feeling weird for most of the afternoon, plus I had a headache. So I took a nap. But I’ve been craving ice cream lately. Specifically the soft serve ice cream they serve at Cheese & Crack, a little cheese snack shop here in Portland. Aside from the soft serve being the perfect consistency, they also dust it with stuff like chocolate malt or matcha. And you can get a chocolate cowboy hat.

I want to eat this.

So, I want that, really badly. (I also want the cheese boxes they make, but that’s a different story.)

But I didn’t get it. Instead I went to Safeway and bought Ben & Jerry’s. But I didn’t buy my typical B&J–no, this time I bought a non-dairy flavor, the Colin Kaepernick flavor, which was very tasty but a little Too Woke™ for my tastes! (That was a joke, in case you thought maybe I had suddenly turned into a MAGA hat wearing weirdo.) It’s made with sunflower milk. Hell, I didn’t even know sunflowers had nipples!

Side note: I’m sharing this particular gif because they called him Craig even though his name in the movie is Greg. I just find it funny that whoever made this gif didn’t take the extra five seconds required to learn the name of the main character in this movie which actually has two movies. Two movies to learn the guy’s name is Greg!

As you have learned by now, I am more focused on my diet than ever because running sometimes makes you poop. And the last time I had significant stomach trouble wasn’t actually during a run, but it was during an intentionally fast walk, which, ironically, is what you do when you have significant stomach trouble. I went for the walk right after eating a bowl of cereal (raisin bran) and long story short … I think I’m lactose intolerant.

Or, rather, I think eating dairy prior to exercise makes me more lactose intolerant. If anything, having a big bowl of fiber and milk probably isn’t a good idea. So when I went to get this INCREDIBLY WOKE Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, I thought I’d go for non-dairy just to see how it affected my guts. And the result is that I felt fine. I was definitely full when I went to bed, but that was likely from the bunch of other stuff I ate, including Kettle Chips brand air-fried chips which, I must say again are excellent and so much better than their normal chips. Less greasy, taste better. (I’ve found that most food tastes better with less salt in it. Not all! [Pasta sauce.] But most.)

But this morning I woke up feeling fine and I even went out for my morning run without using the bathroom beforehand and felt fine. It makes sense that I’m a little lactose intolerant, inasmuch as we’re all probably a little lactose intolerant because we’re not supposed to be eating lactose this late in life. Can you imagine like 10,000 years ago when ancient humans first discovered cheese curdling inside the mammoth’s stomach they used to keep some other animal’s milk? And then they ATE it and were like “Oh, this is pretty good?” Man, ancient humans must’ve been desperate for food to eat all the things they ate.

Anyway, I think my intention for this week is to drastically reduce my dairy intake and see how I feel. I still have some cheese around and will add it to things, but will try to keep it to a minimum. I also bought reduced fat cheddar slices which are fine. I don’t think I’m at a point where eating dairy causes me to shit explosively or anything, unless I’m exercising after I eat it. So let’s not do that as well.

Let’s see if I remember to talk about this a week from now!

betterment food & cooking personal


18,000 cattle were killed in a dairy farm explosion and subsequent fire in Texas on Monday. That’s … mind boggling, but according to that article, that’s around 20% of the cattle who are slaughtered every day in America.

Now, I’ve never been huge on the moral quandaries associated with eating meat. I understand that the meat industry is shady as hell. I understand that male babies are often killed because they’re not as useful as females. (I’ve seen the baby chicks being put in the grinder, thanks.) I’m not sure how you can decouple eating meat with knowing how animals are slaughtered. There was that whole thing a few years back about teaching kids where their chicken nuggets come from, but I think most teens and adults understand slaughter. In fact, more often than not, rural communities understand slaughter way more than urban ones, because they deal with it first or secondhand.

I’ve never lived rurally enough to experience slaughter firsthand, but my family did live relatively close to a now closed slaughterhouse and when I would drive to college every morning I would pass by it and the conveyor belt plopping steaming intestines and other internal parts into a big truck. Man that place stunk.

Truthfully, I think the consumption of animals is crucial for human development. Specifically, it’s theorized that the cooking of meat is what jump started human brain development, tens of thousands of years ago. Cooking breaks down tough fibers into more easily digestible ones, which meant that prehistoric humans suddenly were getting more nutrients from cooked meat than from raw. Plus it was easier to chew and probably tasted good as hell to homo erectus.

That said, at some point our brains got big enough that we became self-aware and empathic toward the thing that got us here in the first place. The moral and ethical issues involved with eating meat, to me, are more entwined with cruel-free practices of raising and slaughtering animals than they are with the eating of animal meat itself. Cows are an animal meant to be eaten. If not us, then wolves or other predators. We’re just very good at killing animals, and, more recently, much more interested in consuming as much meat as humanly possible, it seems.

So, when I see 18,000 cattle dead (and ranchers lamenting about how they’ve lost around $2,000 per cow) due to, arguably, poor living conditions for the animals, it makes me take stock in my own meat, dairy, and byproduct consumption and how possible it could be to make it more ethically and morally appealing in the future. There is no ethical consumption under capitalism, but perhaps I can lessen my impact.

I’m not here to make any promises, but here are some thoughts on forward progress:

  • Reducing meat consumption.

This one is a no-brainer, obviously, but is also worrying for me mostly because it was meat (I think) which helped get me out of a depressive slump. More specifically, I think I was lacking iron and/or B vitamins that we can only get from animal consumption, and then one day a coworker left and we went to a Brazilian grill for her last day and I ate all the meats and felt better than I had in months afterward. Another friend of mine was basically prescribed a weekly meat meal by her doctor to combat low iron.1I know you can get iron in plants (what up spinach) but heme iron is supposed to be much easier for us to absorb. For me, then, I would prefer to find locally sourced meat once or twice a week, and supplement the B vitamins (B12? Is there another one?) with the multivitamin I already take.

I expect this will be way more expensive than the meat I buy at Safeway, but if I reduce the amount I consume in the first place, it should even out.

  • Ethically sourcing dairy and animal byproducts.

Again, this is like the above point. I’m slightly less concerned with some byproducts, like honey, which I don’t think is as unethically collected as, say, eggs and milk. But I like eggs and I like milk and I’d like to get them both from local sources. Especially eggs–factory farmed eggs are so shit compared to fresh, free range farmed eggs. Gotta get that orange yolk. Milk is the same. Honestly I think I can fix this by taking trips to Market of Choice instead of Safeway; their commitment to animal welfare page makes me feel more comfortable with purchasing meat and dairy there.

  • Ethical consumption and/or vegan consumption outside the home.

This one will be tougher. Portland restaurants are pretty good about letting you know where their meat comes from, depending on the quality of the restaurant. But in the end you just never know. So I think outside of my home I’d like to try to consume less or no meat at all, and maybe go vegan entirely. I don’t know if this will stick; obviously I want my restaurant experience to be better than my home cooking, and for me that includes dairy and/or meat. YES there are excellent vegan foods out there and I will absolutely go that route if I see something I like. But I am not a vegan or vegetarian really so I don’t feel the need to limit myself as much there.

  • Giving back to the community?

If I’m going to eat another animal I feel like I should at least use that energy to better myself or the community. I don’t know if this will be financial or actual volunteerism (I am terrible at volunteering), but I want to try to put the energy I receive from another living being into bettering the world as a whole.

Again, I live in Portland so these things should be easy to implement. At the very least though, having a clear concept of the impact I am having on my environment and how I can adjust it to be more ethical and conscious is a good start.

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    I know you can get iron in plants (what up spinach) but heme iron is supposed to be much easier for us to absorb.
food & cooking

Josh Makes: Lime & Pepper Chicken

So, I just made the best chicken of my life. And I think it could’ve been even better, if I had a couple more ingredients.

The chicken in choice is taken from this site, with some modifications. I’m going to post everything now because that site has like 50 paragraphs before you even get to the recipe.

First, the marinade, from their site:

  • ¼ cup (60ml) freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp powdered red pepper flakes (you could also use cayenne pepper or chili pepper flakes)
  • grated zest of 2 limes

My modifications were that the lime juice was from a bottle (thus, no zest), I used about 1/4th a tsp of garlic powder instead of cloves, and I used chili powder instead of flakes. Out of all of those, I probably missed the zest the most.

I did do the pan sear and I will swear by that until the day I die. The only other real change was that I don’t have a Dutch oven so I just baked them in a dish without a lid. Didn’t seem to matter at all, the chicken was still moist and delicious. Again, the zest probably would’ve kicked the lime flavor up a notch, but I’m very satisfied with what I made.

I also made some lime & cilantro rice. I’m one of those freaks who thinks cilantro tastes like soap, so I didn’t have any. It doesn’t taste like soap in a rice dish like this, or at least it doesn’t at Chipotle, but regardless, I don’t keep cilantro around.

For the rice I used this recipe, which I kind of screwed up.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, or other long-grain white rice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Finely grated zest of one lime
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro (leaves and tender stems only)

Modifications: I used enriched long grain rice instead of basmati, sesame oil instead of olive, garlic pepper, and no zest or cilantro. The sesame oil gave the whole thing a toasted sesame flavor and smell that was nice.

It says to brown the rice first, which was fine, but then when it came time to add the water I poured a bit in and forgot that the pot was hot, thus the water boiled immediately and I freaked out a bit and just poured water into the pot without measuring. I’m pretty sure I put too little in, and thus the rice was a little chewier than I would prefer. But it wasn’t bad! I also only used lime juice for this and it worked well.

For the veggies, I just steamed ’em and added pepper and some chipotle Tabasco, which I kind of regret doing. Wasn’t terrible, but the flavor was distinctly not what this dish was. Oh well.

The best part is that I have lots of leftovers, plus some extra raw chicken in the marinade still that I plan to just cook on the stove top. Apparently I meal prepped today. How about that. Reminds me of when I would cook chicken years ago when I was weight lifting … except much, much better. Back then it was frozen chicken with salt and pepper. Sometimes olive oil, if I felt special. This Spartan recipe wasn’t because I was watching calories, but because I couldn’t cook for shit. I’m getting better!

food & cooking

Josh Makes: Street Tacos

Long time people who know me, especially on Twitter, will know that I like to talk about the food I make sometimes. Like, not cereal or anything that mundane (though I do like a good cereal), but more often than not, my constant foray into burrito making. You might be asking yourself now, “Is there anything Josh won’t write about?” The answer is no. Well, kind of yes. I wouldn’t write a manifesto declaring Adolf Hitler as the Coolest Guy Who Ever Lived & Also, Great Painter.

I like to make burritos because they are the perfect food. All of the things that I like wrapped into a tortilla that I can hold in my hands? It’s basically a long bowl I can eat. Miraculous.

Originally I would go to Safeway and buy the Taco Seasoning packets. I would do this a lot. Like, too much. I thought They’re only 99¢! That’s a steal! Then my friend Will reminded me of spices, and how if you buy the spices you can make your own taco seasoning and it’s much cheaper overall. So I did that! I went with the McCormick seasoning because I liked it the best of the few seasoning packets I’ve tried. I use this recipe, straight from the McCormick website:

This is basically the packet of seasoning. Lots of paprika, but it’s mostly for color.

So I’ve been making my burrito meat with this seasoning a lot. It’s not bad but it’s missing something that tangy kick that I couldn’t figure out for the longest time until I remembered that phrase: Salt Fat Acid Heat. I had three out of the four, but was missing the acidity. Then it hit me, like a guy who barely cooks — limes! Lime juice!

The tacos I made for lunch today were made with two changes to the above: the addition of lime juice, and swapping garlic powder for garlic salt. The lime juice was a game changer, and I was being conservative with it. I think I could’ve added twice as much to really get that tang. The garlic salt was a good addition but because it’s the powder and the salt, I tried to adjust for taste and probably could’ve done 1/3rd less, maybe more. It was a little too garlicky. Which is something I never thought I would say.

OBVIOUSLY I needed more ingredients, I just didn’t have any. I needed crunch, like onions or bell peppers or even shredded lettuce. Also needed guac. Would’ve been killer with guac. Alas, I worked with what I had.

At this point I’m wondering why the hell I write posts like these which are probably very mundane to anyone who, say, makes any meal whatsoever. One of these days I’ll have an answer to that wonder, but today will not be that day.