Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rest Day

How to Eat Healthy for cheap in Leiden...
This has been more of a process than I anticipated. Honestly, coming in, finding food was the least of my concerns. But as soon as I moved into my place I knew it was an oversight. The kitchen situation is minimalist: 2 electric burners, 2 square feet of counter space, and a miniature refrigerator (with no freezer space beyond ice trays). Needless to say, the days of microwavable brown rice and frozen vegetables were long gone. And no oven, no grill.
The first week was full of trial and error with local grocers, i.e. buying too much food, buying shitty food, not understanding the labels on anything, and struggling to use foreign currency. However, now that we're into week 2, I think I've hit my stride. Every Wednesday and Saturday, I've discovered, local growers and merchants sell nuts, produce, meat, eggs, fish, bread, cheese, sweets, and pretty much anything else you can imagine along either side of the Rijn river that runs through the middle of town. The earlier in the day, the more expensive the prices. (Also, the better the pickings) With my fridge situation, a 3 day menu is about the most I can handle anyways, so the wed/sat is perfect. Yesterday I bought bell peppers (red,green,yellow), spinach, avocado, blueberries, bananas, Oude Kaas ("Old cheese", and the best cheese you've ever had), a small bag of potatoes, 1 kilogram of salmon, 3 chicken breasts, a dozen farm fresh eggs, and about a kilogram of an assorted raw nut trail mix (walnuts, almonds, cranberries, and god know what else). My fridge is at max capacity, but there's nothing superfluous and all of it will be gone by the weekend. Anyways, the best part is that all of this cost me about 35 euro, 15 of which was the salmon and chicken. When added to the non-perishables I got in bulk at the natural foods store (brown rice, cous-cous, canned kidney and black beans, lentils, salt, pepper, hot sauce, dressing) and some greek yogurt, I'm completely set. Every morning I'm able to scramble eggs with peppers, spinach, cheese, avocado and potatoes. Every night I alternate between fish and chicken with salad and grains. Snacks are combinations of yogurt, nuts, and fruit, plus leftovers. I've been frequenting a sandwich shop just about every afternoon when I'm out and about, but all their food is fresh as well. All in all, it's like I've been forced into a more agrarian, paleolithic diet than I've ever had because of INaccessibility and my INability to store things. Kind of ironic that the more choices we have, the worse ones we make, and vice versa.


  1. This is going to be an awesome journey in Europe, I'm excited for you man. I saw you going hard in Aromas this summer, atmosphere was incredible and I can only imagine that you are going to come stronger next year !

    I actually live in Belgium and training here is improvised a little like you since there's no CF gym. I don't have any old school weightlifting place either, that place looks great ! Will have to make it up there soometimes, could be fun.

    Are you learning to speak dutch too ?



  2. Rich,

    I'm picking up a few things here and there, but since everyone speaks such good english it hasn't been too necessary yet. Where in Belgium are you? Would be fun to train together at some point since you're so close and facing similar challenges.


  3. That's great, dutch isn't very far from english either.

    I live close to Brussels, there's nothing remotely close to crossfit here. I do my lifting in a regular gym, thank god they have a few bumper plates there, and I run and do a lot of stuff outdoors. I'm trying to get ready for the european qualifier this year, it should be fun. It was fun last year, especially discovering monster Mikko :)

    I'd be stoked to train with you ! If you have rings around, give this one a shot, I did it last week and felt just right :


  4. nice workout! looked tough. sadly i dont have rings around, but maybe ill be able to find some. if i do ill try it out for sure

  5. Found your food "foraging" quite interesting. In reality, this is how optimal food consumption was intended; fresh, locally grown and sold, and perishable. Would love to see some pics of the farmers market, your food storage, and food prep. Your blog is great! Keep it coming