Update to My Home Theater

Just made the coolest update to my home theater.  Football season is in full swing, so Saturdays and Sundays I’m basically in the basement all day.  We got a new projector a few months ago, but ever since, the ambient light has been driving me crazy.

The resolution on the new projector is leaps and bounds above the last one I had, but the light output isn’t as high.  I hadn’t realized what a difference this would make until the sun started moving as Fall has progressed.  Now the light enters our theater at a different angle making viewing difficult during the middle of the day.

We had some chintzy shades installed when we first built the theater, but I decided it was time to upgrade to something that could give the total blackout effect.  Searching the Internet I quickly found some quality blackout curtains that were heavy enough for what I needed.  I then found a kit on Amazon that allowed me to control them remotely with a motorized curtain rod.  Pretty sweet.

Now I can watch football any time of day with no ambient light sneaking in.  Makes the projector look amazing!

In my next article I’m going to talk about my search for the best air rifle.  What with all the news about bullets and casings being hard to find, seems like a practical way to go about protecting and providing for yourself in an emergency.…

What’s Cooking

texas-chiliSince starting the Paleo diet I have dramatically changed the foods that I eat.  Gone are the bowls of cereal, oatmeal, and other starchy carbs. This includes pasta and any sort of flour as well as they all contain wheat to one extent or another.

As the season turns to fall and the temperatures drop, I’ve started making more soups.  And chili.  Yesterday I made an amazing Paleo Texas Red Chili with a huge piece of grass fed chuck that I had had in my freezer for a couple of months.

Here’s the basic recipe.

3-4 lbs beef chuck

3 dried ancho chiles

3 dried gaujillo chiles

3 T butter

2 T olive oil

1 can pickled jalapenos

2 green onions, chopped

2 T minced garlic

1 T Cumin

5-6 T Chile powder

2 T Salt

2 T Black Pepper

1 t cayenne (if you like it hot)

1 28oz can whole tomatos

 

Preparation:

Slice the beef chuck into 1/2 inch pieces.  Before doing this, make sure your knife is really sharp.  There’s no better way to slice your finger that when dealing with cold meat.  (Check out this website for some tips on knife sharpening tools.)

Put the butter and olive oil into a dutch oven or stock pot on medium high heat.  Once it’s up to temp, dump in the meat and sear it.  Sprinkle in a little salt.

While the meats going, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Once it boils, dump in the dried chiles.  Cover and remove from the heat.

Stir the meat to cook all sides.  Once its browned a bit, remove it to a bowl and cover with foil.

Add the diced onion to the pot.  (Don’t empty any of the fat or juices, that’s pure flavor).  Once the onions begin to soften (about 10 min) add the garlic.  Cook for about 1 min, but don’t let it burn.  Turn the heat down to low.

Next add the chile powder, salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne if you’re using it.  Stir until well incorporated.

Then add the tomatoes and the jalapenos.

Take the chile peppers out of the hot water, slice and remove all seeds.  Use a blender or food processor to make into a paste.  Add a bit of the hot water from the pot to make sure it’s thin enough to pour.  Then add it to the chili.

Add the meat back to the pan.  Cover and cook for at least 2 hours.  If you want a richer flavor, add 2 T more butter at this point.  The more fat, the richer the flavor.

I let mine cook for about 4 hours on low.  This is one of the richest flavored chili recipe’s I’ve ever tasted.  Not only that, but it’s low in carbs, high in nutritious fats, and protein.  And the best part is, it will be even better over the next couple of days.

Update:  I have to mention another site I recently found for paleo desserts.  It’s Gourmet-Paleo.com.  They have some cookies that are absolutely amazing.  Not sure how they do it, but they taste as good as any cookie I’ve eaten before!

 …

Hot Sauce to Lose Weight?

I remember reading a PDF online a couple years ago that professed to help you lose belly fat and get a six pack.  Something about The Truth About Six Pack Abs or something.

It sounds like a corny title, but of course it was catchy, and I read it.  Surprisingly it contained a ton of good information.  The gist of it was that 80% of your results in the gym are due to diet.  So it doesn’t matter how much time you spend grinding away no the treadmill or stair master, if you’re not eating right, you may as well not bother.

I actually credit this e-book or whatever it was with eventually leading me to the Paleo Diet, and a MUCH healthier diet.  So corny though it may have been, the results were phenomenal.

One of the things this e-book mentioned was to eat foods that helped to increase your metabolism.  This consisted of all sorts of things, including some supplements.  But one of the things that was specifically mentioned was cayenne pepper or hot sauce.  I know what you’re thinking. “Hot sauce is going to help me lose weight? Right”.  And I totally understand.  But taken with other foods that increase metabolism, there may be an actual increase in fat loss.

Anyway, it wouldn’t matter if it works or not.  I LOVE spicy food.  And I love hot sauce.  Especially on eggs.  And last weeks I found one of the best that I’ve ever tasted.  It’s an Indian hot sauce produced in Bend, Oregon.  So why the hell would you buy a hot sauce from Bend, Oregon.  Excellent question.

Ahrun, or Runi as he is called here in the U.S., is of Indian decent.  You can read about where on their website, heatfromtheeast.com.

The flavor I like in particular is the Bangalore Torpedo.  It’s got a nice kick to it.  But the other two flavors are extremely tasty as well.  The Mint Mayhem really surprised me as I’m not much of a fan of mint.

Of course, they make no claims for weight loss.  That has nothing to do with what their about.  But it is a damn tasty hot sauce.  So if you’re in the market.  Check it out.…

How My Diet Has Changed My Workouts

As you might have guessed from my previous post on sugar and the paleo diet, I’ve recently changed my diet in a very significant way.  And one of the things that has in turn affected is my workouts.

One of the long held beliefs of bodybuilders and fitness gurus was that you had to eat loads of carbohydrates in order to perform well in the gym.  BS.  I can attest to the fact that loading up on carbs has very little to do with how I perform during my workouts.

One of the basic tenants of the paleo diet is that you only need to consume somewhere between 75 and 100g of carbohydrates on a given day.  This holds true for all but the most elite athletes.

Myself, I’m usually around 100g of carbs on days when I hit the gym, and around 40-50g on rest days.  My rest days consist of higher levels of fats.

I also incorporate intermittent fasting.  This basically just means that I eat all of my calories each day within an 8 hour window.  The other 16 hours I consume 0 calories.  This may sound tough at first, but your body actually thrives in these circumstances.  If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out leangains.com.

One thing that I have noticed making a good bit of difference in my gym performance since starting this diet is incorporating a couple of supplements.  One is creatine.  Creatine has been around for a while and there’s ton’s of info on the web about it.

Another thing I’ve started using is a pre workout supplement.  Just like creatine, there are quite a few formulas on the market.  You’ll just have to do a bit of research to figure out what the best pre workout supplement is for you.

Most of these products contain similar ingredients.  There’s caffeine to give you an energy boost. As well as Nitrogen to help expand your blood vessels to increase blood flow.

If you decide to train in a fasted state, you’re better off consuming some amino acids to ensure you’re not cannibalizing protein from your muscles.  Just do a search for BCAA’s on Amazon.com and you’ll find plenty of options.  Since they’re all basically the same compounds, it’s best to just go with a flavor that you think you’ll like.

You can find a good bit more information on this topic on website I’ve recently found.  Its www.bodybuilding.com

It’s a great source for supplement and diet information.

You can also get some great info on the Paleo diet and CrossFit from EfficientGains.com.  Click here to visit this page.…

Is Sugar A Drug?

Throughout the course of my life literally thousands of diets have come and gone.  Butter is bad, eat margarine.  Now margarine is bad.  So I should eat butter?  For most of my life grains have formed the base of the food pyramid.  We’re supposed to get several servings a day to ensure colon health as well as keep our cholesterol levels low.  Right?

Now there is research showing that grains wreak havoc on our guts.  And I’m not just talking about our stomachs.  I’m talking about our entire digestive tract.

And, news to me, 60% of our immune system resides in our gut.  That means that damage to our systems caused by grains can negatively impact just about any part of our body.  Diseases such as multiple sclerosis and other potentially life threatening illnesses are being linked to consuming grains as a part of our diet.

With all of this information out there, it’s hard to know what to believe as the truth.  I’ve actually started doing a bit of research into the paleo diet.  If you’ve never heard of it, it stands for paleolithic.

And it’s not your typical take on a diet.  Paleo diet is a description of what humans ate during the paleolithic era.  And this did not include things such as grains, legumes, and refined sugars.

Millions of individuals have rid themselves of any number of ailments by simply switching to this diet.  You can read many of their stories here.

There are hundreds of websites pertaining to the paleo diet including dozens that will help you find very appealing recipes that are strictly ‘paleo’.

But be ready to make some changes to what you eat.  Refined sugars is one of the first things you’ll have to eliminate.  But is that really so bad?  There is mounting evidence that sugar is as dangerous and addictive as hardcore drugs.  Hard to imagine.  Here’s a great article if you want to read more.…

Welcome to Paul Smith Company

You’ve been lucky enough to discover my site.  Here I’ll post my most compelling thoughts on everything from fashion, to politics, from economics and employment to my favorite foods.  You’ll love it.  Trust me.  Talk to you soon.

 

Paul…