Monthly Archives: March 2012

Organic Running

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Did you do your 100 today?!?! Have no clue what I’m talking about? Don’t worry, I’m definitely going to fill you in: 30 Day Challenge

I was definitely in pain by those last 20 or so push-ups.  No, I did not do them all at once, but if you did, you are a total beast. I’m just a partial beast, but a beast nonetheless. Please feel free to share any thoughts or comments.  Dialogue is what makes us human.

Oh yea! If you want to keep updated on my blog, (because guess what? It’s only going to get better from here) please like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter! So far I only have two followers on Twitter and I’m pretty sure they are both adult film stars.

I love you guys, but I’m going to take a break from cooking today, is that cool with you? Good, but it didn’t really matter if it was or not.  I do what I want.

So today I wanted to show you all some pictures of the beautiful place I run!  Good ol’ Cross Country running owns the mess out of a treadmill.

Here’s why

1.  The gorgeous scenery, especially around 7 pm when I usually get out there.

2.  It is an incredible workout.  Two weeks ago I went to Myrtle Beach with my sis and was really excited about using the hotel gym, since I’m poor and never get to go to a gym.  Welp, I felt like I could run forever on a treadmill.  It was a self-esteem boost, but it mostly made me really proud that I’ve struggled so much with the terrain I’m used to.  It has made me so much stronger; the dirt, the hills, the unforeseen obstacles that come along with the great outdoors, makes a strong runner.  So here is an example of how being poor has greatly enhanced my life.

3.  When the sun hits your face with a delicate warmth that can never be recreated, you just know that it’s all going to be okay.  Running is my anti-depressant.

4.  This might actually be my favorite reason:  My dogs go with me.  It is so natural, the four of us, running in nature as it was intended.

5.  You never know what you might see.  Seriously, anything can happen.

I’ll take that over a treadmill and a flat screen any day.

Most of these pictures were taken with my phone, so enjoy the organic beauty that comes along with unplanned photos.  That was fancy talk for: Don’t judge my pictures.

Sometimes my niece goes with me!  We don’t run the whole time, but don’t let her fool you,  she may only be 3 , but the girl can run.

My sweet Lilly.  She is absolutely precious.  The other dogs and myself make fun of her, because she often has to lay down and rest or takes short-cuts.  Actually come to think of it, she takes a lot of short-cuts.  Did I just refer to my dogs as my peers? Maybe I did, maybe I need more friends, maybe I need to get out more, but I swear these dogs are my soulmates.  Wait, don’t tell anybody I said that.

A runaway cow!!! Seriously! I ran across this little lass about a month ago! She had escaped from a farm that is near-by.  She seriously charged through a fence so she could be free. I have a lot of respect for this little girl.  Fun fact: No one could ever catch this cow, she’s still roaming around free.

She let me pet her! I think we’re life friends.

Try finding that in a gym.

As always, thank you for spending a few moments with me!

30 Day Challenge!

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You! Yes! I’m talking to you!  I’m starting the push-up 30 day challenge tomorrow! What does this entail? 100 push-ups a day for 30 days! I am officially inviting you to join me! I will provide a before and after picture, and invite you to do the same! Come on, it will be awesome.  I’m not sure how visible my progress will be, because my arms are still pretty umm…well….chubby? Who cares, I’m all for some self improvement, so let’s go!

Wow, now that I’ve blogged it and people will read it, that means I actually have to do it.  This is your fault, so you better do it with me!

Man, I ate a lot of meat and raspberries today.

Can we just take a minute to laugh at my before picture?  Yes, that is my bathroom, and yes I am hiding.  Now that I put all my business out there, you need to share one too, pleaseeeeeee! I will beg.

Why you absolutely positively should.  Besides getting ripped, if you submit your before and after pictures by emailing me or commenting on my blog, following my blog, and I will enter all participants in an AWESOME drawing for something AWESOME.  What is the prize? ummmm don’t know yet, I’ll let you know by Monday.

Submit your pictures by May 6, 2012

Before: 3/30/2012

I guess it would make more sense to post a pic of my back, butttt that is almost impossible by yourself.

Dark Chocolate Mini “Cheesecake” with Fresh Raspberries

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Hide the scale.  I’m obsessed.  It’s really great because the scale has been coming down steadily, but it is getting out of hand.  I’m really happy with my decision to give up milk products.  I was absolutely convicted, through my research, to give up grains, but I was on the fence about milk products.  Once I was about 2 weeks into no grain, my body decided for me that it was time to give up the dairy.  I talk about this often, but it is so amazing how when you eliminate junk from your life, your body and your mind become so in sync.  Now when my body tries to communicate, I can understand and fix problems, because there is no junk in the way, confusing my body and mind.

If you have ever had problems in your life with an inability to lose weight, (Meaning an actual problem, not lack of self control) this is a way of life that you should definitely give a shot.

There is a huge concern that it is unhealthy to give up entire food groups.  Did God tell you to eat whole wheat? probably not. The government did.  Think about that for a minute.  There are three essential groups to consider when looking at the macro-nutrients (These are the foods you receive the most calories and energy from. Micro-nutrients are vitamins, minerals, and other assorted compounds) in your diet: Carbs, Protein, and Fat.  You should figure out what ratios of these three work for you. It’s not an easy process, but if you eliminate junk, it will be a whole lot easier.  Speaking of God, funny/terrible story, When I take communion I always hold the bread in my mouth until I can slyly spit it out in a tissue.  And there it is.

Back to the scale, I have asked my mom to hide my scale until my next official weigh in: 4/4.  I’m serious, I need help. I just can’t stop weighing myself multiple times a day.  It’s driving me crazy.  Good thing she hid the scale, because I am about to destroy this dessert. Enjoy (in moderation! please share this and get it out of your house!!!!!!)

I’m still struggling with my photog skills, bear with me.

I devoured this thing after this picture was taken.  Also, not so fun fact, I had to take 124 pictures to get these 2 mediocre pictures. Oh.My.Goodness.

Dark Chocolate “Cheesecake” with Fresh Raspberries

For the crust:

1 cup of cashews

1/4 cup if cocoa powder

1/8 cup of coconut oil

1/8 cup honey

1 egg

1 tsp of real vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F

Put cashews in a food processor and pulse until almost a flour like consistency.  Sometimes I just put the cashews in a ziploc bag and pound it out with a meat tenderizer hammer thingy.  I hate getting out appliances.

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix very well.  Mold crust to the bottom of each mold in a cupcake pan (or you could do one large cheesecake in a spring form pan)

Bake for 5 minutes, lower oven to 225 F

For the “Cheesecake”

9 ounces of Excellent Dark Chocolate (60% cocoa or more)

1/2 cup coconut oil

-Melt these two ingredients together in a double boiler until chocolate is just melted

2/3 cup honey

1 tbs of water

3 eggs

tsp of brewed espresso of coffee

Once chocolate is just melted, remove from heat and add the honey, water and espresso (leftover coffee from breakfast works too. It’s actually an important step because it really brings out the chocolate flavor)

Wisk in the three eggs.

Pour chocolate mixture into the cupcake molds and fill to the top.  Place pans in a preheated water bath( I just use a large casserole dish put some water in it and preheat it with the oven).  The water should come to about half way up the side of the pan.  *****If using a spring form pan, you should wrap the pan in tinfoil, so water doesn’t seep in)

Bake for 1 hour or until the top is dry to touch, but still slightly jiggly. If you don’t preheat your water bath, it will take longer to cook.

Remove, let cool until cool enough to touch.  Place in refrigerator and let it firm up for about 3 hours.  Cake should be of a fudgy texture

Add the garnish of your choosing! Raspberries definitely complement the dark chocolate.

Perfect Salmon, Sweet Potato Fritters, and Baked Zucchini Chips

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Spring.  Here is a list of things I love about Spring:

Asparagus (bleh have you ever tasted a late summer asparagus in the grocery store? gross)

cherries

lemons

strawberries

All of my beautiful herbs are slowly, but surely popping out of the ground! I seriously go outside everyday and just stare at my garden to see if anything changed.  Ok, maybe I do this more than once a day.  I’m just waiting for my pansies to die so I can have more room in my garden.  That sounds bad, but when it’s time to go, it’s just time. DIE PANSIES DIE. Whoa, where did that come from?  Now I am not an expert gardener by any means, so if you would like to hold my hand during this process I would greatly appreciate it (sorry if it’s sweaty).  Has anyone ever experimented with lasagna gardening? Well, it’s awesome and I feel like I could grow anything in that garden!  I need to get some onions and collards going and then I’ll be set.  It’s ugly, but this summer, when it has filled out, it will be gorgeous…and tasty.

Collards. Oh.My.Goodness, I love collards.  I never liked them until I started cooking them, and guess what? I would like to formally challenge all of your southern grandmothers to a collard cook off! I’m serious, I can cook the ever-livin’ mess out of some collards. Wow, I am super humble today.  I will soon share my collard recipe, but I have to beat all of your little southern grandmas first. Throw down, let’s go.

Rant: I read a lot of paleo blogs and something is really bothering me.  I know they’re trying to drum up business and please the people, but seriously, stop posting so many paleo desserts!  Every post can’t be a dessert. Why? because you’re making us fat. Even though the recipes usually use honey, sugar is sugar.  So here’s what I’m going to do, I promise to only post one dessert per week and it will always include a disclaimer! Please, please, please share your desserts with people.  Do not leave the stuff hanging around the house.  Enjoy a wonderful piece or slice of the decadent dessert and then give it away. I’m sorry, does this upset you? Believe me, after that one time I ate an entire pan of paleo lemon bars, I can assure that you will thank me for the advice.  That being said, I have an AMAZING Chocolate Raspberry “Cheesecake” coming tomorrow. You do not want to miss this.

But today, I’m going to share with you a simple supper that I adore.  We all eat and cook salmon, but have you ever tried baking the salmon at a very low temperature? We’re talking 200 F, people.  It turns out so moist and perfect. The texture is just over the top lovely. So delicious. So eat this freely and without guilt.  Get those Omega 3s, people!

Perfect Salmon

Preheat oven to 200 F.  Leave the door slightly ajar, so the temp stays slightly below 200 degrees.

Start with a beautiful, fresh, piece of  salmon (or how many you need for your family).  This is probably the biggest factor in a successful, mouth watering, little piece of heaven.  Heaven never comes frozen.

Place the salmon on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment.

Season your salmon any way you desire ( I use a mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder).  Top with some olive oil and add a splash of water to the pan.

Bake in oven for 12-20 minutes, depending on the done-ness you prefer. I prefer My salmon cooked to medium (just barely warm in the center) That takes about 17 minutes.

Squeeze half a lemon on top, and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Fritters

I’m almost ashamed to give you this recipe, it’s so easy.  Every week I roast a sweet potato for dinner, eat half, and save the other half for whatever.

Cut your leftover sweet potato (fully cooked) into 1/2 inch slices.

Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Fry sweet potato fritters until brown and crusty on both sides.

Squeeze  lemon on top (if you desire)

Baked Zucchini Chips

These I can not take credit for.  These little guys blew up on Pinterest and they are really yummy.  Here is the link

Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bac-ey

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Bac-ey. That just looks funny. I’m talking about bacon people.  That previous sentence really needs a comma but everytime I start to think about bacon people it makes me laugh, so I’ll leave the grammatical error.  When I was  little, my mom used to wake up my my sister and me by saying this.  So this is a breakfast post…well kind of.  I’m having a really hard time keeping this post coherent and cohesive.  I have so much stuff in my head!

Children are funny.  I watch my 3 year old niece on a regular basis and today she kept calling me a *itch.  Like over and over again and I was close to throwing down some old school discipline.  Well apparently she was watching Bob the Builder and was trying to show me that he was digging a ditch.  Oops…at least I kept my cool.  Just thought I would share.  Sometimes it pays to think before you act.  Wait scratch that, it always pays to think before you act

On an un-related note, it got so cold last night and I was so worried that it would kill my little herb plants.  Well I am happy to announce that they made it through the night. Of course thank goodness I live in Eastern NC where the weather is ridiculously crazy and today it is in the 70s.  I know, you really care.  I also took a picture of my garden to share with you, but…it was so ugly I just deleted it.

I’m just getting into this weight lifting thing. I wish I was hard core, but the reality is I only have a few weights and a gross old bench that is shoved in a corner in my parent’s garage.  By the way, dead lifts are the way to go.  I think everyone says this, but seriously I hurt so good today.  Here’s a picture, enjoy the laugh.

I guess I really need to go to a gym for that, but I would rather spend my money on something I actually need. Like, new clothes for my shrinking body! I’m so impatient about being a size smaller.  You know what I’m talking about, you start losing weight and clothes start getting looser, but you’re scared to death to go and try on new clothes because you’re afraid that your weight-loss is some fantasy that was fabricated in your head. Now that was a run-on sentence. Deal with it.  I’m so scared that one day, no matter what I do, the scale is going to stop going down.  Even though people tell me I look smaller, I sometimes feel like its in my head.  I think in a way, it’s a good fear to have. At least you are going to work your tail off trying to escape that fear.  You know what the biggest reality check is? pictures. Oh.My.Goodness.  Does anybody hate pictures as much as I do? I mean I would go as far as to say that I wouldn’t want to hire a photographer for my hypothetical, probably never going to happen, wedding.  I used to think that I was a lot smaller than I was, but pictures never ever lie. So how do we escape this fear? bleh, heck if I know, but try to keep the focus on being healthy and deal with things as they come.

Fitness

That paragraph was a bit of a downer, gross.  Let’s talk about fitness! yay! That was way over the top, but I definitely love(hate) it.  I’m sure you don’t care about my routine, but we’re all here, we paid the money, let’s hear it, right? I like to mix aerobic exercise with anaerobic exercise.  Actually EVERYBODY should do this.  It has been the most effective for changing the way my body looks.  So what is aerobic and anaerobic? aerobic means with oxygen, and obviously, anaerobic means without. Ok, we could have all gone our entire lives without needing that knowledge.  Basically we’re talking about cardio vs. strength.

MWF- run 2 miles, recovery mile walk.  I have to be honest, as big as I am we can’t really call it running, but it sounds good. ha.  Oh and don’t even ask me how fast I run a mile, it’s pitiful.

TTHSat- Strength training. This means either a Jillian Michaels strength based DVD or lifting weights out in the garage, next to the yard sale sign.  Sometimes both

I say I do this, but I get bored really easily, so if it’s not a very pretty day, I might do a DVD…probably a JM one.  I will however run in the rain, because I am a beast like that.

Cereal

So far this has not been a breakfast post at all, as the title would suggest. Geez! I’m getting there, get off my back.  One of the challenges to eating the way I do and living with people who think I’m crazy, is breakfast.  It is especially hard now because my Dad’s doctor told him to stop eating eggs for breakfast because of his high cholesterol.  Which I think is bogus by the way, but we’ll get to that sometime in the future.  Yes, we all eat breakfast together at 6:30 every morning. Stop laughing.  So I had to figure out what the heck I was going to eat on cereal days.  So I did it, I made my own cereal.

This is great for anyone who is paleo. Maybe even someone who is trying to convert their kids to paleo. OR if you realize that cereal is the most over-processed junk ever. seriously, ever.  It’s just better to make it at home.

I do put a disclaimer on this.  This is not something I eat very often…why? because it has honey in it AND a lot of nuts.  I try not to eat too much honey and well, nuts just make me fat.  This recipe is awesome though, and you better try it. I’m watching.

With a bit of almond milk. Delish. This picture is killing me though…if only it were center. grrr

This is a second way I like to eat it, in Trifle form. Yum.

Just because it’s is so pretty….

Grain free, dairy free, Honey-Nut Cereal

Makes about 4 cups (I’m guestimating, don’t trust me)

  • 1 Cup of Raw Pecans
  • 1 Cup of Raw Cashews
  • 1/4 Cup of Milled Flax Seed
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Organic Honey
  • 1/4 Cup of Melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees F
  2. Place your pecans and cashews(these are my favorite combo, use whatever nuts you like)  in a food processor or I put them in a gallon ziploc, and bang them up until it is part flour consistency, part chunks of nuts.
  3. In a bowl, combine nuts with the honey, flax seed, melted coconut oil, and eggs and mix until well blended
  4. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and spread the mixture out thinly across the parchment.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until your cereal is done, it will pass the toothpick test
  6. Let cool until you can safely handle the cereal
  7. If the parchment paper is really greasy, replace the parchment.  Crumble up the cereal until it, well, looks like cereal.  Bite sized pieces
  8. Crank oven up to 400 F and let the cereal crisp up for a few minutes.  Watch it carefully, because it will burn.
  9. Once cool, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator
  10. Once the crust is done
Link

So let’s talk about food.  I would confidently say that weight loss is 85% a food game.  With my body type, I could run 10 miles a day and not drop a pound if I don’t fine tune my diet.  So where did I start and where am I now? I started like the rest of you; counting calories, eating my whole grains, buying whatever product that claimed to help me feel fuller longer.  I’m not going to say that I didn’t lose any weight like this, but the bottom line is that it just wasn’t working for me.  I had to go back and figure out why I am fat.  So I had this revelation: Maybe the problem isn’t that I’m eating too much, maybe my body doesn’t agree with my food choices. Hmm what a concept. Let me preface what comes next by saying that I have done countless hours of research on food and how it affects the body.  Heck, I’ve even thought about going to school to be a nutritionist because besides music, it has become quite the passion of mine.  So here we go…bear with me

The P-word.

Any of us who worry about what food is doing to our body and has done the research, has come across The Paleo Diet.  The theory is that humans were never genetically predisposed to eat the foods that are currently staples in the standard American diet.  So the term Paleo comes from the Paleolithic period when humans were hunter/gatherers.  I really like this idea, but do I call myself Paleo? no, I do not.  Here’s why:  I could never duplicate what our hunter/gatherer ancestors ate. I’m still poor and it takes every bit of financial restraint to afford that 54 oz jar of coconut oil I buy every two months.  I also don’t like the stigma of being on a ‘diet.’  So I just eat what I eat and let it be the way it is.  I’m not going to sit here all day and explain the ins and outs of the Paleo Diet, but if you’re interested in learning more, please check out this website: www.robbwolf.com

So what do I eat? easy answer: lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts

what do I not eat? All grains, all dairy products, processed foods, sugar, and legumes

what do I cheat on every now and again? I allow some honey as a treat. Oh and I definitely drink dark chocolate almond milk (amazing…seriously).  It has cane juice in it as a sweetner, but I treat it as a now and again treat, so I don’t worry about it too much.

I also limit my nut consumption to about 1-2 oz a day and try to only have a couple of servings of fruit a day.

It sounds crazy right? It’s against everything we were raised to believe.  I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that I’ve never EVER felt like this before.  The first two weeks on no grain were plain ol’ rough.  I was in withdrawal (that is a main reason I don’t eat grains, anything that highly addictive can’t be good for you).  I ached, couldn’t sleep, had a dry mouth, and no energy whatsoever.  After my withdrawal period I felt better than ever before and decided that I should at least try to give up dairy to see if I could reach the optimal feel goodness (I know, that’s awkward, but so am I). Guess what? I feel even more amazing.  My depression is slowly but surely slipping away. For the first time in a long time I feel like I CAN. That is huge for me. HUGE, I say. So your next question may be: “Why in the world would whole grains and dairy be bad for you?” This is certainly not an easy question to answer and believe me, you just about have to be a scientist to understand it all (no joke).  Here is what I gather, some people can handle the products of the agricultural revolution, and some just can’t.  I could really go into some natural selection and other evolutionary theories, but lucky you, I won’t.  What does the paleo diet do for you? It helps you eliminate the junk out of your life so you can listen to your body.  I didn’t even realize that I had a dairy intolerance until I gave up grains.  I also discovered that I have a banana( totally sang that Gwen Stefani song in my head, trying to remember how to spell banana) intolerance.  I also now know that too many nuts make me gain weight.  It is quite the journey and believe me, it is the most frustrating thing ever. Do I have my diet completely figured out yet? Nope. It’s still a daily battle, but with every good choice, I become closer to understanding my body.  The most complicated battle of this food journey is that I live with my parents and have limited funds, but as I have learned, where there is a will, there is a way.

So let me show you how yummy this paleo way of life can be! Here is a recipe that I love…I could eat this every day.  OK I have to say, I have a crappy digital camera which I don’t even know how to use that well. So to say the least, my pictures are awful.  Awful I say, but the food is good so don’t hold it against me!

Carmelized Onion and Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Wow that’s a long title

Makes about 6 wraps

1 lb. of chicken cooked and diced (season with s and p before cooking)

1 cup of fully cooked sausage, crumbled

1 medium onion, thinly sliced and carmelized ( I know this takes forever, but it’s so good!)

about 30 grapes, halved

1 small avocado, cubed

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup of paleo mayo or be lazy and just use regular mayo.  Here is an excellent recipe for paleo mayo

a few whole lettuce leaves

Directions:

Season and cook chicken by whatever method (bake, grill, really doesn’t matter and if you’re having a hard time with this just email me!) brown the sausage, carmelize the onion.  Combine all ingredients (except lettuce) into a large bowl and refrigerate (or eat it warm if you’re into that sort of thing. I don’t judge.)  Spoon mixture into a leaf of  lettuce and roll up like a burrito!  Devour!

Let’s get right to it

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Well here you are. I’m not sure what bad decision or crazy link you clicked on to get here, but all I know is that you’re here! That previous sentence was not a judgement, I love people with questionable morals!  I know, I know, I’m not funny, but please stay tuned and maybe I’ll be ready for my own sitcom by the end of this blog.  Think about it…read my blog religiously and you can say that you knew me before I was famous! Ok, gross, what a shameless plug…so let me stop rotting your brain and get to the matter at hand.

Oh wait, please, please, please, go to my About me section and read so you can get emotionally connected and add my blog to your favorites list (I am not above begging)

There is so much I need to tell you, where to start, wow this is overwhelming.  We could talk about nutrition, fitness, life goals, my adorable dog, music, gardening…but today we’ll start with the biggest changes I’ve made in my life in the past few months.

I have been trying to lose weight for more than half of my life.  I’m not your typical story, you know, the one where you ate junk your whole life, emotional eater, never got off the couch, and wondered why you were fat.  I ballooned when I was 10 years old, which I don’t know if any of you remember Middle School, but talk about horrendous.  My mother always prepared nutritious meals, we never went out to eat, and I lived a very active life.  So here I am a fat 10 year old that kept getting fatter and fatter for seemingly no reason (Oh except for college…yea…I definitely got fatter in college for a reason. It’s called Cookout). So here I am 25, living with my parents, single, and obese.  Hot stuff, right? That was not meant to be self-deprecating, I just like to call it how I see it.  Ok here’s the number, are you ready? November 2011: 239 pounds.

Whew, got that number off my chest, feels good.  I know I said that I’ve been trying to lose weight my whole life, but in Nov 2011, I finally realized that I was dying on the inside.  My life was plagued with severe depression, illness, migraines, insomnia, and the most angry stomach.  So I started out (as I always do) exercising and eating right, but what is different this time? I haven’t stopped.  That’s some powerful stuff people.  So I started eating right and exercising, my whole life has changed for the better, and I’m 60 lbs lighter, right? Hahaha I literally laughed out loud as I was typing that. The answer is: absolutely not.  No one ever tells you that for some people out there, weight-loss is the hardest thing that you will ever attempt.  I have struggled everyday for the past 4 months, but the beauty is that I haven’t stopped.  I am 20 lbs lighter and I swear to you those 20 lbs went down kicking and screaming.  The most important thing is that for the first time, no matter how hard it has been, I’m finally in it for life.

Ok, I’m trying to not completely overload you, because I want you to come back!!!! Tomorrow we talk about food! You might even get a recipe out of it. Did I mention that I’m a fabulous cook? Whoa, I need to get that arrogance in check.