Mexican Shrimp Soup

Here’s an incredible dish I made last night. The original recipe was from a paleo/wellness cookbook, although I modified it somewhat for my own use.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • Pot with a lid
  • 1/2 red onion, normal sized
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, depending on size
  • 1 serrano pepper (for some kick, not crazy spicy)
  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 medium/large tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound of shelled shrimp
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/3 cauliflower
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lime

Preparation:

  1. Chop up the onion, garlic, and serrano pepper into small pieces and cook in a small amount of olive oil. Use your best judgement of how long – they don’t need to be browned but should be cooked through decently well.
  2. Once step 1 is cooked properly, add tomatoes and preferably put a lid on the pot while letting the tomatoes cook down. You don’t want a pure liquid, but the tomatoes should start to separate and cook down a bit. At this stage you should also add your oregano (a moderate amount)
  3. Add shrimp, zucchini that is chopped to be bite sized, and bite sized cauliflower bits. Also add your chicken stock.
  4. Cook until vegetables are as soft as you want them to be. Add salt and pepper. Serve with a lime squeezed over it.
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Tomato Lentil Jalapeño Soup

Okay, so very rarely will you see me come up with my own recipe. I had help with this one: RJ’s sister and I picked out ingredients for this today. She also eats very healthy. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised at the ease, small number of ingredients, and taste to this one, I guarantee it.

Ingredients:

3 large tomatoes (get juicy ones, i.e. no roma tomatoes. Vine ripe or heirloom work great)
1/2 of Trader Joe’s Lentils (about 250 grams or 9 oz’s of cooked lentils)
1/2 red onion
1 Jalapeño
8-15 fresh basil leaves
Sea Salt

1) Chop up the red onion into small strips, although dicing them will also work. Place into a pot intended for soup and put on high heat.

2) While that’s starting, very thinly slice each tomato both vertically and horizontally. You should get many pillars of tomato, resembling a checkerboard. As you finish each tomato, toss into the pot, and be careful not to burn the onion by delaying.

3) After the onion & tomatoes, thinly slice the jalapeño and place into pot as soon as possible. It should still be on high heat, so make sure to stir regularly. Make sure to get all the seeds and everything in.
NOTE: this will not make it unbearably spicy. If you’re worried, perhaps add 1/2 or 2/3 of a jalapeño, but it’s not a death sentence unless you can’t even handle mild salsa.

4) Next comes the lentils. These can be added virtually any time, as they are already cooked (if you buy the trader joe’s brand). Add to the pot and keep stirring regularly.

The purpose of the high heat is to cook down all the ingredients and let the flavors mesh, with the tomatoes being the base for the soup. Stir stir stir!

5) Lastly is the basil. You want to wait until the tomatoes are completely cooked down (or nearly so if you want some chunks in your soup) and then add the basil a few minutes before finishing up. You want them to cook into the meal but not be destroyed. The basil adds a good taste and balances out some of the strong tomato tastes.

6) Salt is to be used sparingly; you really don’t need it given the flavor of the soup. I just put in a little bit and it worked out fine.

And there you have it. Simple as all get up. Takes me about 10-15 minutes tops.

My Omaha Pilgrimage: An Interesting Weekend

How I Started This Post Last Sunday (Before a Busy Week Hit)

Let me start off by saying that I’m still not caught up on sleep: I’m mad at myself. It’s just poor choices, one after another, and I feel like most normal people right now. With how I’m eating, I should be on another level, but hey, just as they are eating meats, dairy, and heavy starches, I’m not sleeping well. I can fix myself up easier & faster than they can.

sleep-deprived

I missed my flight this morning. I looked at my flight from Omaha into Memphis, and then the flight from Memphis to Indianapolis and got the times wrong. I thought my 2nd flight was my first one, so while I was ready for a 1:10 PM flight, my flight from Omaha actually left at 11:25 AM. It was from being super sleep deprived and zombie-like in my attention to detail. Oh well. The Delta attendant set up 2 new flights for me free of charge. The world is smiling on me today.

Real-Time Now (Sorry Guys, A Long Post Since It’s Been Awhile)

Okay, so you can see how disappointed with myself I was when I didn’t sleep much last week. It really is a huge drag on the rest of your day, and although I know most people don’t eat as I do, I feel that same drag whenever I eat the Standard American Diet (SAD). On those nights when you get 2-4 hours of sleep, you now know how I feel when I eat steak and potatoes.

On Friday I graduated college, having taken my last final at 8 AM. I wore the most ridiculous gangster jumpsuit to the exam to celebrate and finished first in the room as usual. I was in a hurry to get to the airport shuttle and I only just barely made it. Fortunately, I had packed a salad from a local grocery co-op and ate it at the airport right next to a McDonald’s. The expressions I got from a few people on what I was eating were pretty interesting; most people don’t expect a male at my age to eat like this. (My gangster outfit below with me on the right, back 4 years ago):

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Omaha was an amazing time. I woke up at 4:15 AM the next morning to make it to the meeting by 5 AM, which allowed me to be one of the first in the doors. I brought 2 red bell peppers and a few apples to eat outside the door, which attracted a bunch of attention from my investing friends. They went so far as to start a betting pool on what I might bring with me to eat next year (jokingly of course).  Once inside, we had a great view of the entire executive management team and of course, Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger.

I was hungry before it all started and there wasn’t a single thing to eat. They had a bunch of free packaged pastries- which made me sick to look at- coffee (which I decided to grab even though not healthy), and bottled waters. The concessions were serving pizza, hot dogs, etc. (typical stadium food), and I asked a guy if they had any fruits or vegetables. He told me he saw a patch of grass outside and that would be my best bet. With my lack of sleep coupled with being in a hurry (meeting was about to start) I simply walked away without acknowledging his joke. I’m usually not so cold, but I don’t do well when sleep deprived. But he’s absolutely right. They didn’t serve anything remotely resembling food and it was tough to find anything. I ended up going across the street to a Starbuck’s and grabbed a bunch of fruit, despite trying to generally avoid sugar.

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Speaking of sugar, Warren and Charlie each downed 3-4 Cokes throughout the 8-hour meeting, as well as a few boxes of See’s Candies (one of their companies). It has become a tradition and they enjoy the sugar rush, but it hurts me to think what they’re doing to their bodies. Warren’s diet consists of burgers and fries, steak, and Dairy Queen, among other things. He eats like a child and loves every minute of it, but I seriously doubt his body does. Even when questioned about it, they joked that it leads to the best mental performance for quick analytical thinking; I would challenge them on this 100%. I feel better mentally when eating like this than I ever have in many ways: increased mental clarity, more energy through the day, and a “high on life” feeling that doesn’t go away. Prolonged exposure to sugar has too many side effects for my mental clarity, not to mention the toll on the rest of my body.

Enough about Warren and Charlie- just some thoughts I had from being around them all day last Saturday. It truly was a great day though.

On my way home, I flew through Minneapolis, MN, and let me say one thing- if you’re vegan or even vegetarian, good luck. Seriously. The lack of actual food was atrocious. I walked about half the airport before realizing I had to suck it up and pay a premium $13 for a simple salad that costs $3-4 to make. McDonald’s and Ben & Jerry’s had much cheaper food, but I won’t ever sacrifice health for money. I’d rather be poor than eat SAD.

A Very Busy Week With No Responsibilities

After Omaha, there was no school at all. Along with many of my senior friends, I celebrated in a number of ways, much of which is outside the scope of this blog. But I put health on the sidelines for this week when it came to drinking and sleeping. I felt pretty lousy all week because of it- no surprise there!- and it just reinforced how much I desire to be healthy in the future. But it was nice to enjoy the college lifestyle one last time.

One of my best friends had his birthday mid-week and I cooked for about 20 people. Unfortunately, only about 5 people ate. This was mainly terrible planning but it still sucked- I wanted to do something nice for him and I didn’t feel as if many people really appreciated it. Everyone was gearing up to drink and didn’t want food. They did like the hummus I made though- I’m getting better at perfecting it! I made Gypsy Stew for everyone, and the recipe is as follows:

Cooking Time: 0.5-2 hours (depending on amount of vegetables used)

  • 1 Jar of Indian Curry Sauce (I used Madras, next time am looking to try Tikki Masala or Vindaloo)
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes chopped into bite size pieces
  • Any and all Chopped Vegetables You Want (I used Kale, Spinach, Sweet Peppers, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Broccoli, Jalapeños & Habaneros, Carrots, Tomatoes, and probably others as well)

Directions:

  • Boil potatoes in water until soft (this is discretionary for how long, if you want the potatoes to turn into the sauce then boil until very soft; I prefer them to be a part of the dish rather than the sauce, so I only boil for 10 minutes or so)
  • Add potatoes to curry sauce in a pan, turn on Medium Heat.
  • Add all chopped vegetables to pan. It will all cook down into a stew, stir regularly.

And that’s about it! I’ve made it a few times now. I’d recommend playing around with adding vegetables at different times so that some are crunchy and others are soft. You want to make sure all vegetables are bite sized so that it’s easy to eat (think about it like you’re making a salad). I’d also recommend playing around with how long you cook the sweet potatoes. But beyond that, it’s quite simple. I like mine spicy, but this could easily be mild.

The dish was a big hit with the 3 AM crowd- all the drunk kids that came through after the bars. I think that’s saying something, especially considering we were next door to a popular pizza place. But not enough people were hungry when I served it around 8:30 PM. I can say it’s my favorite cooked meal I’ve made, although it is cooked. Keep in mind: you’re destroying the enzymes in the vegetables when you cook them, as well as some nutrients. The pH miracle likes about 70-80% of your vegetable intake (which also supposed to be about 70-80% of your diet) to be raw, so I only eat a fully cooked meal like this once every few days.

A Farewell To RJ, College, and Heading Home

RJ and I said goodbye to each other a few days ago and it may be awhile before we see each other again. Every time I hear one of his songs in my iTunes it brings him to mind; it really is too bad we didn’t spend more time together in school. After I got sick last year, he took me under his wing by letting me live at the house he bought, and then later with health. He’s one of those few role models I’ll ever have in person. Most come from books for me, so that’s saying something. He means a lot to me. Its sucks to see him go. (Picture of RJ below).

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College was easier to say goodbye to than RJ. I’ve been waiting since day 1 to move on to the real world and I’ve been preparing for it nonstop. I have my friends from IU, sure, but the few I want to stay in touch with will be rather easy to (since there’s only 4-6 of them!). The education itself, well… I don’t want to get myself into trouble through an online forum. Ask me in person and I’ll tell you. But let’s just say I’m glad it’s over.

I’m now in the car with my family, who graciously drove out to pick me up and celebrate my graduation. We stopped at Wendy’s on the way home and I ordered a salad. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t bad! I’ll never go there on my own, but if I had to I’d honestly say I would eat there. So props to them. The greens were fresh, tomatoes in decent shape, candied nuts weren’t healthy but tasted good, and I used as little dressing as I could. But it was still real food!

This upcoming week I’ll be cooking every single night for my family. I missed my mom’s birthday back in April and today is her Anniversary with my dad, so I figured I’d cook dinner all week to take the burden off her shoulders. I’ll also be cooking my extremely healthy diet, so it will be interesting to see how they take to it. I won’t be cooking tonight, but starting tomorrow you will be seeing pictures and recipes for what I make. It should get interesting. Stay posted.

First Time’s the Charm: Awesome Hummus Recipe

I made a great salad for myself only to discover that there was no hummus left. This depressed me, but luckily I had a bunch of garbanzo beans sitting around. So I looked at the container in the recycling in our kitchen and saw a simple recipe of ingredients on there. There were no directions, just listed ingredients. Using what I had of them, I made hummus with this recipe:

Time: About 5 minutes

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime’s worth of juice (not through a juicer, just squeeze it. I didn’t have any lemons as their recipe called for)
  • Few pinches of salt, pepper, cumin seed, and chile powder for flavor (I put in a little more cumin than the other 3)

Blend until liquified, add water to desired consistency

I’m amazed at the result. This is literally my first attempt at making hummus and it is a home run- the best I’ve ever had. Sorry Sabra.

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Incidentally, I’ll be posting tomorrow about my weekend. I wrote out a post already but it got deleted, so you’ll have to forgive me for not keeping up with my usual pace. I have a lot to say from this weekend so I may split it up into multiple posts.

Anyways, enjoy the hummus! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

An Introduction

Photo on 4-29-13 at 12.38 PMAllow me to introduce myself: My name is Andrew Schneck, I’m 21 years old, and have a number of diverse interests. I’m going to graduate college in 3 days with a business degree from IU Bloomington, originally hail from Pittsburgh, PA, and am headed to Raleigh, NC for a job full time in August.

I ran 2 blogs, one after the other, on investing the past few years. I’m taking one down soon, but a link to my old one is here. I also have a research site where I post my portfolio and research. A sample can be seen here if you’re interested; currently I’m up to over 200 “files” just like this one.

I like to read. A lot. I educated myself through college on all aspects of finance and investing. Malcom Gladwell wrote a fabulous book, The Outliers, which stressed the importance of dedicated practice in order to become an expert. 10,000 hours to be exact. I officially hit 10,000 hours sometime between February and March of this year with stocks, which I am quite pleased with. The book says it should take about 10 years; I did it in half the time, which means 5 hours per day on average over that time. As I said, I’m a pretty intense individual.

I’m not bored with investing, don’t get me wrong, but I want to start a new 10,000 hour project. I decided on health and wellness. My roommate is the zen master of the universe, or at least in my eyes he is, so I’ve looked to him for guidance and education this school year. He’s had me watch a number of documentaries, read books, and try different health experiments to see how my body reacted. I will be posting about much of the education I’ve gotten so far and I’ll then pick topics that interest me. I figure it’s great to learn in the public spotlight and get connected with other like-minded people. But if no one checks my site, so be it; I know from experience the benefits of writing about what you love.

Why Health & Wellness?

I got sick in 2012. I left school, spent 6 months at home recovering (having left school for spring semester) and gained 70 pounds. I was in great shape, approaching six pack status, so 70 pounds on top of 190 was crippling. I increased my weight by 35% and life changed drastically for me. Not only did my medication slow my mind and body down, my weight kept me out of the gym because of the sheer difficulty of activity.

My zen-master roommate changed all of that around, however. He introduced me to juicing, organic foods, and basic education on the differences between the American and paleolithic diets. From January 5th of this year, the day I came off my medication, I’ve dropped somewhere in the range of 50 pounds (I’m on a juice fast currently and part of my ritual is to not weigh myself until it’s over). So while I’m not fully back, I’ve made significant progress toward my goals. I’d say about 20 were just medication-related, but about 30 were hard-earned juicing & exercise pounds that I shed through sheer determination.

Not only that, it was easy! I was never hungry over that period, I actually felt healthier than I ever did eating normal meals, and I started to view food differently. Rather than something that sates a craving, it was something I put in my system to fuel myself. The difference is huge, but most McDonald’s customers wouldn’t understand the distinction. I still am becoming acquainted with it.

Educating Our Youth

I will likely post on this at some point, but I believe our education system has utterly failed our kids. When it comes to health and wellness, it’s egregious. Lobbyists are protecting their respective industries, the amount of money in Big Food is so much that you have to be careful of what you say, for fear of being sued, and so we have a food pyramid forced on us that is nowhere near reality.

I finish school this week after 17 years of “education” and I don’t know how to prepare a meal for myself, let alone know the difference between a cheeseburger and hummus with pita. I’m now getting there, but it’s not because of our schools. We shouldn’t have to go to culinary school for a basic wellness education. But that is where we are today.

childhood obesity education programsWe have the most obese country in the world laden with the most illnesses- nearly all preventable- and a lack of awareness of our bodies. Most Americans believe they have healthy diets when it’s anything but. I’ll get into more detail in its own post, but some of things I have seen have shocked me to my core. And it’s all easily preventable! Weight Watchers isn’t the solution, nor are any of the major weight management programs in the country. They preach discipline but not education; they want to hand you a fish but not teach you how to hook them on your own. They say cake is still okay, as are many other things so long as in moderation. I believe if people truly knew what was in a slice of cake, they wouldn’t touch it except on birthdays. And therein lies the rub: with a focus on profits, nobody is truly helped by the industry.

The answer does not lie with even more regulation, but rather education. McDonald’s can fight the government, but they can’t fight abandonment. If people choose to stop poisoning their bodies, there is no way around it for Big Food.

Recipes, Recipes, Recipes!

2013-04-04 13.11.17I want to start learning to seriously cook and prepare foods- mostly raw vegan- to nurture my body and also taste good. I think most people would be turned off to this type of rigidity, but if you could make it taste good, I doubt many would complain. So for my future romantic relationships, or even perhaps a business someday, I want to learn to prepare food the right way. Salads are great and all, but creativity and new food combinations excite me.

I will be sharing my personal cooking experiences as well as juicing recipes I find or come up with. I’m not into smoothies as much, but maybe that will change. I prefer to eat my fruits and juice my veggies. Be prepared for pictures and my thoughts on some of the foods, in addition to my commentary on topics like pasteurization, mass-produced food, V8, composting, sustainability, and organic vs. regular produce.

That’s Enough Already!

Okay, okay, I know. I can write for a long time, the issue is getting people to read more than a page! So I’ll cut this off here. I just want it to be clear why I’m writing: I was sick, I was introduced to a way of life I want to explore further, and perhaps people can learn along with me. I encourage people to get in touch as well; idea exchanges are highly valuable and I’m always interested in new points of view.

So with that, I’ll say thanks for visiting and I will begin posting more upon graduation.