Spring Has Sprung: Time To Tighten Diet and Exercise — My Flexibility Method And Food Pics

Chosen because I had a bear visitor on my deck this morning, an adolescent, maybe 150#. I opened the door and said “hi!”

Spring has sprung after a cold, dark, and snowy winter and I decided to tighten things up a bit in terms of overall lifestyle. The principle meta rules are these, which I began about a week ago in earnest:

  1. Alcohol abstinence
  2. Preparing and eating at home
  3. Logging food and counting calories
  4. Moving and exercising
  5. Work my regular income stream gigs harder and longer plus launch an additional project or two
  6. Limit time on Social Media, plus make the time I’m there be at least half serious stuff that builds my income streams
  7. Do simple, forward-driving To-Do lists and work them most days

At first I had a huge long list of “Meta Rules” of what I would do daily, but it got in the way of itself after a couple of days. It was a good exercise and I’m flexibly, not rigidly, mindful of lots of the stuff, like keeping the house tidy and cleaning the kitchen after food preparation, etc. The above list really distills things down to the most important essentials and it’s working for me.


So for diet, it’s very simple and flexible. In general:

  • Log and track everything.
  • Maintain an average daily caloric deficit ≥ 1.5# loss per week.
  • Weigh in every morning (I have the Nokia Body Cardio Wi-Fi Smart Scale that integrates with LoseIt!).
  • Target lean protein.
  • Trade off carbs for fat, meaning higher carb days are lower fat days and vice versa.
  • Keep it simple; not bland and boring, but not all-out fancy either, as I was always accustomed to doing.

The one thing that has absolutely revolutionized my cooking has been the Air Fryer. I had a smaller model but my mom liked it so much I gave it to her and got a new one: GoWISE USA 5.8-Quarts 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer XL.

I just love everything about it. Since I got the first unit on January 20, other than a few fried eggs or omelets here and there, boiling potatoes, or heating up some frozen vegetables, every single meal has been doing in an Air Fryer. Oh, yea, I did corned beef and cabbage in the Instant Pot.

Perhaps the best thing about it, other than food is really great, is that preparation and cleanup are so effortless. There’s just not ever much mess. Below the exercise section I’ll have some pics and brief recipe procedures for stuff I’ve made lately.


This won’t take long. the basics, same theme of keeping it simple.

  • Battle Rope. Just the basics. A few rounds, limited rest between.
  • Kettle Bell swings. I’ve got a 15, 25, and 45#. But check out what Keith Norris did, a Ghettobell. You can make whatever weight you want for cheap. I’ll be fabricating one soon.
  • Jumprope. Standard stuff, nothing fancy.
  • Body weight stuff. Pushups, dips, lunges, squats, and I’ll be fabricating a pull up bar soon, as well.
  • I’ve contemplated going back to the gym, but if I do so, it’ll be after having re-built a good foundation with this.
  • Three sessions per week.

Injuries suck and I’ve had my share, even one requiring surgery (lumbar herniation), so prudence is key here. Stay in the game.


Just a few things to mention.

  • Always have some home maintenance or improvement project in the works to hit in the afternoons during the weekday, or a good dive in on weekends. In the immediate, I have a lot of burning of fallen twigs, branches, and needles to do in order to maintain the required 30′ defensible space around the house up here at 4,200 feet elevation in the forrest. Another one is to build a retaining wall along the driveway for erosion control.
  • I’ve been taking face selfies every few days to document the change in appearance from cutting out booze, eating very well, and fat loss from caloric deficit. Already I see a pretty profound difference.
  • This will shock some of you, but those who’ve been around 10 years know that I kinda got famous for the no-soap, no-shampoo deal. Well, still no soap on the bod, water is always enough, but with the long hair, it’s just pretty unmanageable, so I’ve been experimenting with Mother Dirt Sulfate Free Shampoo as well as Baebody Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo for a wash every few days and like it. So I’ll stick with it.


Ok, here’s the fun and eye candy. Here’s some previous posts:

The Very Ubiquitous Chicken Wings

Get 10-12 thawed wings (for the 3.4 quart air fryer), patted dry, tossed in about equal proportions of salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne (the cayenne is super important—and it only renders a mild spicyness). Of course, you can play with whatever seasonings you like (like onion and/or garlic powder), and you can toss also toss them in a spicy or savory sauce after cooking— and you ought not need much of any sugar or fat. I’ve tossed them in just a few shakes of a standard bottled hot sauce. Take your pick.

Go ahead and pre-heat your air fryer for a few minutes. Then, simply add your seasoned wings at 400F for 11 minutes. Turn them over, then air fry another 11 minutes. Here’s what I do, instead of a sauce, typically: I toss them in dry, grated parmesan as soon as they come out.

Fries or Potato Wedges

You cook them up basically the same.

To make good air fryer fries it’s simple, but preparation ahead of time is best for simplicity and rapidity. First, par boil a bunch of russets. I do five pounds at a time. You can do peeled or with skins. I typically do them peeled.

  1. Cover the whole potatoes in cold water in a boiling pot.
  2. Place on the stove, on high.
  3. Once they come to a boil, remove them from the heat immediately.
  4. Let them sit for exactly 5 minutes in the hot water.
  5. Drain the hot water immediately and cover with cold water to stop further cooking.
  6. Once cool, place them whole in the refrigerator overnight (this forms resistant starch).
  7. The next day, cut them into fries. I think something between thin and steak fries is the best size.
  8. Toss them in a big preparation bowl with plenty of salt (I like a little pepper too) and a small amount of oil, like I use no more than a TBS or two for the whole 5 pounds and much of it coats the bowl. I prefer using Sisson’s Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil over EVOO which surprised me. The taste and texture is better.
  9. Now, pack them flat in a couple of large Ziplock freezer bags (so they don’t freeze all clumped together).

Now, within a few hours, you have low-fat, high resistant-starch fries on demand. Always preheat the air fryer, but you can do the fries right out of the freezer or let your portion thaw for an hour or so. Do them at 400F. If out of the freezer, I do them for 18 minutes. If thawed, 15 minutes. In either case, toss them halfway through cooking.

There’s another way too, that you can use with fully cooked whole boiled or baked potatoes from the fridge. Slice them up, season and lightly coat with oil and cook at 400 for only 8-10 minutes, since they are fully cooked.

Snapper or Any Flaky White Fish

  • 4 oz Snapper
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1-2 tsp oil (avocado or EVOO)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Pre heat air fryer and while it’s doing that, prep the bread crumbs with a drizzle of oil and make a sort of paste or mash. Dredge the fish in the beaten egg wash and then into the mash. Its sticks nicely. Work it around for a thin, even coating.

Place it in the air fryer basket and cook for 11 min @360. The breading stuck perfectly and it was nice and crunchy.

Along with is 11 1/2 ounces of gold potatoes (with 2 teaspoons of butter, not a jimmy moore 8 ounces). The whole dinner is only 468 kcal.

New York Steak

Well this is the most brainless. There is no easier way to cook a steak. Season it, preferably 40 minutes before cooking. Always preheat the unit. Then 10 minutes at 400. It comes out great, but you can kick it up a notch by getting a hot skillet with 1 pat of butter smoking hot, sear only 30 seconds on each side, then let rest 3-5 minutes. Perfect.

And yep, that’s a baked potato with 2 teaspoons of butter, not 8 ounces in the name of “satiety.”

Potato Balls

Yes, potatoes have balls. People who eat lots of potatoes have balls.

This consists of 12.5 oz of russet potatoes made into mash with only 1 TBS of butter and 1/3 1% milk (136 calories, total), seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper. I made them last night, so in the fridge all night to form retrograded Resistant Starch which significantly lowers BG/insulin response (reheating them does even more).

Preheat the air fryer. Make your leftover mash into slightly smaller than golf-ball size, place them in the basket, and cook at 400 for 11 minutes. They were just fantastic. next time, I’ll form them into tater tots.

Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs

There’s a bunch of ways you could do these. Some ideas:

  • Just plain with seasoning
  • From a marinade of your choosing
  • Some form of Teriyaki or other Asian sauce
  • Some form of sweet or spicy BBQ sauce

In my case, I did a basic “kitchen sink” marinade. Some EVOO, Dijon, soy sauce, Worcestershire, some poultry seasoning, and red wine vinegar. I let it sit in a Ziplock on the counter for 2 hours (overnight in the fridge is better, but i had just come up with the idea). Pre heat the unit and then they go in at 400 for 8 minutes. When it stops, this is the time you coat with any sauce you’re going to do. In my case, I added a couple of TBS of sugar to the marinade, then dropped them back in the bag for a re-coating. Then, they go back in the unit for another 4 minutes. And you’re done.

Very fantastic. Very juicy. And, just so many variations you can do.

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  1. steven on May 14, 2018 at 22:14

    appreciate the potato ideas.

  2. Chris HIGHCOCK on May 14, 2018 at 23:49

    Are you doing anything to optimise sleep? I’ve been doing some readng lately and its a pretty underappreciated area. For me it also goes hand in hand with cutting out the booze. ALcolhol ruins my sleep without me really noticing at the time.

    Interesting to see you on this positive path. Great photos too.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 15, 2018 at 00:03

      It’s just not something that holds much interest to me, or circadian rhythms, nor blue light and all that stuff.

      Sleep has never been a problem for me, alcohol or not, though I understand that quality is probably degraded when boozed up. The only time sleep is an issue is the first three to five days when I initially go from regular drinking to none. Some sort of mini withdrawal, like when you stop drinking coffee cold turkey and get headaches for the first few days.

    • Bret on May 16, 2018 at 04:04

      I’ve got bad middle insomnia. Tend to get extremely sleepy around 9:00, fall asleep quickly, and wake up at 3 a.m. Lie awake for 2 or 3 hours and then often fall back asleep hard an hour before alarm time, so that I’m dead to the world when it’s time to get up and all I want to do is snooze. Extremely frustrating.

      It comes and goes, but it does seem to correlate loosely with alcohol intake. I’m working on no alcohol, not overeating dinner, staying busy/active during the day (not excessive computer all day and night), and not overdoing the caffeine during the day — though I doubt caffeine is the problem since I can fall asleep.

      Experiments over the years with screen time limitations/abstinence at night and blue light reduction have made not one iota of difference that I can tell.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 16, 2018 at 11:47

        Alcohol is definitely the deal for me in that 2-3 hours awake. After five days with zero, sleep is usually pretty fine.

    • marc on May 16, 2018 at 15:38

      Hi Chris :-)

      For ME, everything changed in regards to sleep when meditation became a daily habit…. and I was always a “pretty normal” sleeper

      There are many so called “sleep experts” out there…I find that comical as we simply really don’t know shit about sleep yet…. but that type of discernment, you taught me. Nice seeing your name. Will hit you on email over the weekend.


    • Chris on May 17, 2018 at 06:02

      HI Marc

      Good to hear from you

    • John on June 13, 2018 at 17:50

      I’ll say that cutting down on blue light before bed does seem to help sleep a bit, but the only time I’ve noticed it be a REAL issue is if I have some blue light LED hitting me line of sight when I sleep (like, say, a cable box when I’ve been crashing on a friends couch) or a change from incandescents to “energy efficient” LED or CFLs in light that entered my room (this is an issue from living within a city, and a change in streetlights).

      I just found out about a very interesting concept this week, called “Inclined Bed Therapy.” The concept comes from this guy, Andrew K. Fletcher, a mechanical engineer who figured out that body circulation would improve if one laid down at a 5 degree angle. I was fascinated by this interview, and the testimonials on his site, so I’m giving it a shot.


  3. thhq on May 15, 2018 at 18:34

    The potato balls remind me of Kartoffelland’s instant version.

    I made them into patties and either panfried or deepfried them. Good with yogurt and hot sauce. In Gemany they boiled them, which made them rubbery.

  4. David Major on May 15, 2018 at 16:05

    Awesome Richard. Thanks for the recipes. My friend has an Air Fryer and she has fixed some truly delicious entrees with it.

    Between her gentle urging and your recommendation, I am finally sold on getting one.

  5. Resurgent on May 15, 2018 at 18:25

    Awesome Richard..!

    For the potatoes here is something I recently learnt and tried, and this should fit the air fryer perfectly.


  6. marc on May 16, 2018 at 16:05

    brother, I’m not sure I understand all the logging and tracking.
    Don’t you have life to live???

    • Richard Nikoley on May 16, 2018 at 16:54

      It’s not for permanent. Just shedding some winter poundage.

    • Bret on May 17, 2018 at 05:12

      I’ve learned to swear by logging and tracking when trying to cut weight. I won’t say it’s impossible for me to cut otherwise, but it’s very, very difficult. Too much temptation to toss back an extra handful of chips, crack a beer, whatever. If I know I’m approaching my limits with hard numbers, that makes me quit eating.

    • fearless on May 21, 2018 at 03:49

      Tracking is a great way to relearn portion sizes and what satiety really feels like. What a lot of people call satiety is better described as gluttony. If you cannot possibly eat any more, you have eaten too much.

      For those that are unclear: satiety is ‘enough’ and gluttony is ‘excess’.

    • John on June 13, 2018 at 17:54

      As far as logging and tracking, nothing I’ve tried has ever worked better. It helps to focus attention on your goal, and gives you solid, objective data you can go back and review if you stall out. With things like Fitbit, it is really easy to do as well.

  7. Jason M on May 20, 2018 at 11:14

    This food looks amazing!

    However, Jimmy Moore and his hack of a wife would not approve these for their upcoming Keto Cookbook :)

    • Bret on May 20, 2018 at 14:35

      Speaking of which, Moore is the most horrendously dreadful writer I’ve ever seen. I read Cholesterol Clarity years ago, expecting after much hype to find an organized summary of cholesterol facts, rebuttals to Big Pharma propaganda, and useful personal strategies.

      None of that was anywhere to be found within. Much like his podcasts, it was a fucking mess. Truly gag worthy.

  8. Corey on May 20, 2018 at 18:16

    Richard, thinking about picking up the air fryer, but several reviews on Amazon knock its quality. What is your opinion on the quality/durability of the unit? Does it seem like a cheapy piece of plastic, or is it decent quality?

  9. Why You're Failing On The Keto Diet on May 21, 2018 at 19:18

    […] Spring Has Sprung: Time To Tighten Diet and Exercise — My Flexibility Method And Food Pics […]

  10. Ashlee on August 22, 2018 at 12:58

    Hi Richard! I just joined your Ketotard Chronicles page (love it). I found that article “Oxidative Priority…” – great, informative read. A question for you, though: the article appears to state that protein and potatoes should not be consumed together. I read that: protein + leafy things = good. Proteins + starch/beans, etc. = bad. Starch + fat = bad. Potatoes alone is also fine. But I see in your (delicious looking) meals, you like to combine meat & potatoes. Did I misread the article, or is your approach a bit different? Thanks for clarifying for me…

    • Ashlee on August 28, 2018 at 12:58

      Hi – me again. I just read more of your Ketotard Chronicles and now have a better understanding, so I’ll answer my question on your behalf:

      You: “Ashlee, your question is boring. Just eat real food, keep protein high and the rest moderate to low, monitor CICO, move around a bunch, and do your own research. Now, f*ck off.”

      Me: “Thank you”

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