Mike Cornelison

Letters from the Lunar Outpost

Author: mhc (page 1 of 2)

alpha Chik’n Fajita Burrito

Lean protein – nothing fuels you better, nothing keeps you feeling full for longer. When it comes to lean protein, my go to’s have always been tuna, turkey and a nice lean steak or lean ground beef. However, one of my new year’s resolutions is to try getting more of my proteins from plants and less from the meats. With that in mind, I decided to try the alpha chik’n fajita burrito. (For the record, they brand themselves with the uncapitalized “alpha”.)

It’s a little pricey. For $3.99 you get a 5 oz. burrito. By comparison, you can get *eight* 4 oz. El Monterey beef & cheese burritos for 60 cents less. I do want to eat less meat, but that’s a pretty high price to pay.

Sticking with the El Monterey comparison, alpha’s burrito is a little more protein packed, 11g protein from 330 calories (1g per 33) vs. 8g protein from 280 calories (1g per 35) from the El Monterey burrito.

So how does it taste? The filling is freakin’ deliciious! Unfortunately, for me, a 5 oz. burrito equates to four bites and the first bite was all tortilla. Yes, this could be a quality control issue with this one burrito (and I can only impagine the plight of the burrito wrappers at the factory and the quotas they’re supposed to hit) but even if the filling was spaced out evenly, there was still too much tortilla and too little filling. If you’re going to make a four dollar burrito, one, it should be bigger, and two, every bite should be loaded with that delicious filling.

The verdict: The filling is tasty enough to convert a meat lover, but until alpha offers a bigger, fuller burrito, I’d rather spend $3.29 on a 7-Layer at Taco Bell.

The Debate Between Low-Fat and Low-Carb Diets Is Over

For decades, Big Sugar and the Corn Syrup Industry worked hard to keep America focused on the intuitive idea that less fat in your diet would equate to less fat on your body. Unfortunately, the hidden trade off was that for almost anything advertised as low-fat, the “low-fat” translates to “loaded with sugar”.

Low-carb diets on the other hand, rely on the counter-intuitive idea that you can get thin by eating more fat.

With every new diet that comes out, there’s a sense of hope and excitement that with this latest diet, modern science has finally delivered to us the magic diet that will outperform all the diets that came before it. Currently, the Keto and Paleo Diets are hailed as the latest and greatest, but it helps to remember that these diets are really just spin-offs from the Atkins diet of the 1970s and low-carb diets themselves can be traced back to 1825.

Here’s an interesting thing I learned on the way to my yearly resolution – if you want to drop some pounds, the debate as to which diet will give you the best shot is over. When it comes to low-fat vs. low-carb, a recent Stanford study shows that neither one is any more effective than the other! That’s right, for all the focus diets place on the types of calories we consume, it’s really not the quality but the quantity.

The study took 609 participants aged between 18 and 50 with a roughly equal split of men and women and randomized them into a low-fat group and a low-carb group. They were then instructed to maintain their diets for a year and from the 80% who managed to stick with it, here are the results:

For all the faith I had placed in different diets at different times, what a shock to see the results between the low-fat dieters and the low-carb dieter nearly identical.

Diets will come and diets will go, but there are three axioms worth holding:

• There is no magic diet and there is no magic pill.
• Stay active and burn more calories than you consume.
• Avoid the processed foods and shop the outside perimiter of your grocery store.

Pro tip: Journaling with an app like Cronometer can do wonders in helping you track your calories burned vs. calories consumed.

h/t: Netflix Explained, S1 E6

Solo

I have a soul to share,
I know it’s around somewhere,
Always I’m feeling I’m all alone,
I’m calling Sweet Jesus, “Won’t you bring me on home?”

I have no time to spare,
Feel like I am almost there.

Transform me once again,
Lift me up from all this sin,
Hollow’s the feeling I only feel,
So empty of a feeling that it doesn’t seem real.

I have no time to waste,
Wipe this blank look off my face.

The time has come, it’s time to go,
The damage has been done, it’s time to go solo,
I’m going solo, you know that it’s true,
Nothing you say is going to change what I do,
Gotta make a clean break, gotta lighten my load,
Gotta the hell out and get on that road!

repeat chorus

One more day in the books,
One more day avoiding looks,
When did we share our last loving glance?
How long has it been since I took off your pants?

I have no urge, it’s true,
And there’s not a thing to do.

If feel the mental strain,
Every move’s against the grain,
Nothing to see, we’ll just move a long,
There’s nothing left here but the words to this song,
Two hearts with different Gods,
Two peas in our separate pods.

chorus

The Purpose Driven Life, Day Four

Made to Last Forever

Just as the nine months you spent in your mother’s womb were not an end in themselves but preparation for life, so this life is preparation for the next.

Day Four – Thinking about My Purpose

Point to Ponder: There is more to life than just here and now.

Verse to Remember: “This world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.” 1 John 2:17 (NLT)

Question to Consider: Since I was made to last forever, what is the one thing I should stop doing and the one thing I should start doing today?

I should stop wishing I could run headlong into oblivion and I should start living a life full of gratitude and faith.

The Purpose Driven Life, Day Three

What Drives Your Life?

The five most common driving forces in people’s lives:

• Guilt – running from regrets and hiding shame
• Resentment and anger – holding on to hurts
• Fear – a self-imposed prison
• Materialism – the desire to acquire
• The need for approval – trying to please everyone leads to failure

Without God, life has no purpose . . . The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.

Day Three – Thinking about My Purpose

Point to Ponder: Living on purpose is the path to peace.

Verse to Remember: “You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3 (TEV)

Question to Consider: What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What do I want it to be?

Drinking and getting drunk is what family and friends would say is my driving force, and they would have been right for most of my years up to this point. For what it’s worth, I have never been in denial about this.

I would like my driving force to be serving God’s purpose, whatever it may be.

The Purpose Driven Life, Day Two

You Are Not an Accident.

On day two, I found a passage that I can take a lot of solace in:

God decided *how* you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. It doesn’t matter whether your parents were good, bad, or indifferent. God knew that those two individuals possessed *exactly* the right genetic makeup to create the custom “you” he hand in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you.

While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children. Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are not unplanned by God. God’s purpose took into account human error, and even sin.

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

Day Two – Thinking About My Purpose

Point to Ponder: I am not an accident.

Verse to Remember: “I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.” – Isaiah 44:2 (CEV)

Question to Consider: I know that God uniquely created me. What areas of my personality, background, and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?

Tracking down your birth parents, only to find your biological mother says you were the product of a date rape was a tough pill to swallow. I feel quite grateful that I was probably the smartest kid in any given class during my years in school, but it makes me wonder why that blessing was combined with the curse of having a compulsion to destroy the gift I was given through alcohol and drug abuse. It’s as if I was hellbent on destroying the intelligence I was given.

The Purpose Driven Life, Day One

It All Starts with God

Day One – Thinking About My Purpose

Point to Ponder: It’s not about me.

Verse to Remember: “Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” – Colossians 1:16b (Msg)

Question to Consider: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself.

>> At the age of 50, compared to most of my peers of the same age group and socio-economic background, I find myself almost destitute in material possessions.  I do have a roof over my head, so I am thankful for that, but I don’t own a home, I don’t own a car and I don’t have any investments or savings. Despite all this, every day when I wake up, I remind myself to be thankful because God has granted me a gift far greater than anything I could ever purchase – another day to live and breathe and love.

Yes indeed, there is advertising all around me and the truth is, I am completely fascinated by it. I admire and respect the people who work in the field of advertising because the art and science of making people want so much that they do not need is the greatest driving force behind our Capitalist system – a system that has made ours the most prosperous time in human history.

But at this moment in time, I can’t afford any of what they’re selling.  In a world so completely fixated on worldly possessions, I am the monk who has abandoned everything.  I am an empty vessel, ready to receive my purpose from God. <<

Crab Spinwich Recipe

What’s a “spinwich” you ask? A “spinwich” is my term for a sandwich using spinach & egg white slices as a substitute for bread. I coined the word because for purists, it’s not bread if it’s not based on some form of flour and while the slices could be likened to a frittata, a frittata is primarily egg-based with all the fillings mixed right in.

Directions:

Use cheesecloth to drain all the spinach from a 27 oz. can, getting every drop you can into a separate bowl. The drained juice makes for a healthy, tasty drink, ensuring you’re` getting all those good nutrients as they’re listed on the can.

(You can tell from the photo that this recipe features some pretty thick slices of spinach – just call me Popeye because I can never get enough! If you prefer a ratio with a little more filling, cut the spinach and egg white in half by using a 13.5 oz. can of spinach with 80 grams of egg white.)

In a 6.5″ x 8.5″ pyrex baking dish, thoroughly mix the drained spinach with the egg whites and then press down into a single layer. Bake at 425-degrees for 30 minutes. With a metal spatula, first pry the edges away from the dish and then work the spatula underneath, scraping out the entire layer of spinach.

Cut this layer of spinach into two halves and toast in a toaster oven. You may even choose to toast your slices twice, with the main goal being to get the slices dry enough to hold together like a sandwich.

Mix crab and monterey jack in a container and microwave for 30 seconds. The monterey jack binds the crab into a unified filling and is mild enough to let the crab flavor shine through. (You can substitute shredded mozzarella or mayonnaise for a keto-friendly recipe as well.)

Layer sliced tomato on top of the filling, season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Living Garbage Free

Recently, I was taking an Uber to the airport when a car pulled right in front of us, causing my driver to slam on the brakes, skidding and missing the other car by inches. The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.

My driver just smiled and waved at the guy and he was friendly and sincere in doing so. I asked him, “How can you smile and wave at that guy? He almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!”

This is when my driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck”. He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you.

He said, “Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well and move on! Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, on the streets or at home. The bottom line is that stress-free people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.”

Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love on the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don’t. Life is ten percent what you make of it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a garbage-free day.

~ Author unknown

The 8-Carb Burger

Here is my delicious, super keto-friendly recipe that I call my “8-Carb Burger”. The name says it all, there are only eight net carbs in the entire sandwich. By comparison, a Big Mac has 42 net grams of carbohydrates, a Whopper has a whopping 47 grams and my favorite, the Farmer Boys’ Farmer Burger, has 55!

It all starts with a couple Pyrex dishes. I got a nice deal on a set of three for only $15 at Amazon.

Over 100 years since it was invented in 1915, there’s still nothing that compares to Pyrex – it works equally well both in both microwaves and conventional ovens, the fact that it’s see-through allows you to view layered ingredients at a side angle, it’s easy to see just how clean your dish really is and everything comes clean with a little steel wool without any worries of scratching it.

(Can you tell I love my Pyrex?)

I start with the small 5.5″ x 7.5″ dish to make the buns.

  • 28g almond flour
  • 42g egg whites (or one medium-sized egg)
  • 14g melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • salt to taste

Mix it well and microwave it for 90 seconds. Note how the baking powder made the bread rise. Split that dish full of bread into two to make for a top and bottom bun and toast.

With the slightly larger 6.5″ x 8.5″ dish, I add a half-pound of ground beef, season it and then smooth it out to a flat, even layer. Split that layer of meat to make two quarter-pound patties – you can use one patty for now and one for later or use the two patties to make it a double. By using the slightly larger dish to mold the patties in the same shape as the buns, your patties should cook down to fit your buns perfectly.

(Being a bit OCD, I love it when my patties and my buns match perfectly!)

There you have it, The 8-Carb Burger, suitable for the strictest of low-carb diets.

A couple notes on carbs:

Tomatoes have 1 gram net carb for every 37 grams, otherwise, I would normally have more tomato on my burger. As it is, the tomatoes are the only ingredient adding to the egg white almond bread in this burger’s total of 8.7 net carbs. (Those 23 grams of tomato equal 0.6 net grams of carbs.)

Be careful with the mayonnaise you choose. Miracle Whip and other mayo substitutes proudly advertise that they’re lower in fat and lower in calories, but the trade off is that when they remove the fat, they dump in a bunch of
high-fructose corn syrup or cheap, refined sugar as a replacement. If you’re serious about a low-carb diet, avoid those low-fat and fat-free products and go with that delicious, zero carb, fat-laden mayonnaise!

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