The No Beer Manifesto

Temperature highs are pushing 90 degrees and the days are long with sunsets well past 8pm.

My workout routine is pushing personal records. 6+ mile runs, Sunday bike rides, and intensive gardening to boot as I transplant sunflowers and tomatoes I started from saved seed.

Oh, how a refreshing beer beckons on a sweltering afternoon! How Deschutes Black Butte Porter or Fresh Squeezed IPA lures me with the promise of unwinding on a long summer evening.

But NO! Just as I must get out from the warm covers in the cold winter to rise early and seize the morning, I must resist the allure of an ice-cold beer.


Because that is not the athlete I want to be.

Because I do not want to reward myself with such a treat after a day of hard exercise and homestead labor.

Because I want the labor in itself to be the reward. To feel satisfied through the work and the outcome.

Because I don’t want to seek an external reward via a “treat”.

Because I want to unwind my afternoons and evenings fully sober as I continue to seize the day.

Because I don’t want my thinking to become cloudy and impede any ounce of potential.

Because I want to go to bed feeling good, clean, strong, and limber.

Because I don’t want to compromise my sleep quality with struggling digestion of alcohol or thirst the next morning.

Because I want to rise early the next day for a sunrise lake run, hill walk, tomato watering, and to see the hens’ first waking moments as they rise with the sun.

I want full control of my senses and seek refreshment in ways that are truly quenching.

This post’s photo is from a painted rock along Lake Michigan, near Loyola University in Chicago. I passed by this on a bike ride in September 2013 and it remains a favorite.


Awaken the bread machine!

Last year, I received a bread machine from a neighbor who had previously received it from another neighbor. It sat unused for years at her home so she passed it on. Alas, the tradition continued as it sat on my shelf for many months, yearning for yeast and flour.

I resolved that 2023 was going to be different. I would awaken this bread machine from its deep slumber.

Also, I jogged with a friend along the lake, and we chatted about schmalzkuchen (German beignets), sourdough, and this bread machine. Thank you to this friend for sharing the joy of running and making bread!

Here is a 1 pound loaf, which is the smallest size possible with this machine. The machine kneaded away my fears with its automatic mixing, gentle heat application as the dough rose (proofing), and finally the actual baking. It took 2.5 hours from start to finish with very little hands on and cleaning effort. This cube loaf is chewy and tastes like normal bread! The crust is a little tougher through than store-bought loaves, but I will eventually figure out how to amend this. The yield is a perfect amount for me to enjoy in one week, 1 to 2 half slices per day as part of breakfast or a snack with vegan butter and homemade invasive blackberry jam.

Also: The proofed dough is an exquisite texture that I highly recommend patting. Far better than a baby’s bum!

I was curious…
How much did this 1 pound loaf of homemade bread cost?

IngredientGrams in packageCost of packageCost/gramGrams in loafCost for loaf
Water240g (1 cup)$00240g$0
Olive Oil (organic)1832$15.99$0.00872828g$0.24
(organic, raw)
All-Purpose Flour
(organic, 5 lb bag)
Active Yeast (2 lb)908$7.49$0.0082494.2g
1.5 teaspoons
Sunflower Seeds, Toasted, Unsalted, Shelled454$2.99$0.00658660g$0.40
1 Loaf Total670.2g
(about 1 lb)
Note: All ingredients were from Costco except for the flour (Grocery Outlet) and Sunflower Seeds (Trader Joe’s).

So I made 1 week’s worth of organic bread for just 147 cents! Definitely a tasty and inexpensively repeatable activity. Next time I will mix sunflower seeds into the dough (I love seed-rich, “bird food” bread) and maybe use a third or half whole wheat flour for more nuttiness.

*Update February 19, 2023*
I’ve now made this recipe 4 times. By happy accident, I discovered that doubling the honey from 15g to 30g somehow produced a softer, chewier bread (did not dry out as quickly) without noticeable sweetness. I also add 60g of sunflower seeds which gets mixed into the dough and gives nice texture. Trader Joe’s has the best value on these. The final bread weight is lighter than adding all the raw ingredients due to water evaporating as it bakes.

If you have a bread machine, you can follow the Ingredient + Grams in Loaf columns to get the recipe. I poured the ingredients in this order (top to bottom) in the Breadman Plus machine.

Time versus Distance

Earn your pomodoro (tomato)!

I started jogging / running this year, and picked up a guide on training for Triathlons on my way home from an evening run. I skipped to the section on running advice for beginners, and one tip stuck out to me.

Run by time, not by distance. It’s easier to measure how many minutes you’ve run than it is by distance. For example, run 3 minutes, then walk 1 minute. Repeat 3-5 times, then call it a day.

Some days we run better, and some days the legs are just harder to move.

By setting goals by time rather than distance, we can still guarantee we got some jogging in, rather than getting hung up that we didn’t quite run the full mile we intended.

It also happens that my secondhand, 10-year old Garmin Forerunner watch takes many minutes to boot up the distance-tracking/GPS mode. Sometimes I’m halfway through my run by the time it’s booted up! The timer option doesn’t require booting up so I sometimes just go with that. I aim to run about 1 mile each time I go out, but when I measure by time, I don’t get so hung up on whether I met that distance or not. I feel physically good after running and mentally don’t look for reasons to lament that it ‘wasn’t enough’.

I’ve been applying this lately to work, too. There’s something called the Pomodoro Technique where you work in blocks of time, then take a dedicated break (you’ve earned your tomato!), and repeat. Even if the task isn’t completed during the block of time, there was still progress made. I think it’s key to experiment and find what block length keeps you motivated.

Currently, I find 30 minutes of work, then about 10-15 min of break works well. 30 minutes is bite-sized enough that I’m willing to get started, knowing the finish line is in sight. This has helped with self-disciplining my productivity while avoiding becoming burnt out, eyeballs glazed and back aching by the end of the day.

What are ways you make your goals more bite-sized and thus attainable?