February 2012 Archives

It's the final week of my paleo diet and here's my final thoughts (which may be a rehash of old thoughts):

1. It's sort of like a "smart" Atkins diet. Basically it says "OK dummy, here's what makes you fat: sugars and carbs. Don't eat refined sugars and carbs. Eat everything else." So you can nit pick and question "IS THERE SUGAR IN KETCHUP?!", and count calories if you want. The bottom line is just avoid wheat, dairy, rice, beans/lentils and sugar and any product that is made with those ingredients. Eat meats, veggies and fruits to your hearts content. Don't worry so much about fat. Fat doesn't make you fat. Carbs and sugar makes you fat.

2. It's an easy diet if you plan. It's difficult if you don't plan and/or have food/leftovers in your fridge. There were a few nights where it got late, I didn't have food on hand and suddenly...I'M HUNGRY!!! I would get like Taco Truck tacos (without shells), add in a veggie or fruit, throw in a handful of nuts and - that's dinner.

Also along with the "planning" part is the time part. Most of my dinners took at least 20 minutes of prep (chopping, etc) and then time to cook, etc - and usually was a solid hour of 'dinner'. That really cuts into your time. By the time i'm home from CrossFit and showered it was 7pm. I have to walk Rocco, which is another 20 minutes. Then make & eat dinner, and I was done by 8:15 to 8:30. Then you have maybe 2 to 2 1/2 hours of whatever to do until bed.

3. I'm frankly amazed how everyone I met has zero willpower. You mention not eating dairy and I always get the same reaction, like I told the person they had to take cold showers for the rest of their lives. "Whhaaaattt? No dairy? No cheese? No yogurt!?"

Also on a related topic. Try not eating dairy for 30+ days and then eat something with milk, and watch your body's reaction. For me it was cramps and some quality "toilet time". A bit TMI, but really makes you wonder if we were meant to drink cow's milk.

4. Believe it or not the hardest part of the diet wasn't the alcohol restriction. I was fine. There were a few times where I would have liked a beer or a glass of wine, but for the most part, it wasn't hard to give up drinking. The only problem I did have with giving up drinking was my social life (and lack thereof) was basically zero. You ask your friends to do something that doesn't involve getting a drink and you hear crickets on the other end of the phone - or replies by text of: "That sounds like an option" and never hearing back from them again for a week.

What was hard was "missing food". Like missing that big cup of coffee with cream and sugar. Or pizza from Grimaldi's. Or getting a cupcake from Sweet.

5. I think it's sustainable, and do-able as a normal diet. I plan to continue it, but the big problem I can start to see is 'cheating'. I plan to resume drinking. I plan to have foods that have rice in them. I'd like to avoid wheat. I'd like to avoid sugar. But I guar-an-tee you I will be walking down the street with a box of cupcakes and run into someone who is going to be like, "OOOH! That's not on the DIET!"

Willpower is one thing, like I mentioned before, and that willpower is basically going to be focused on reducing the bad foods that I mentioned above. I hear from my friends all the time how they eat so well, and then watch how they check into Foursquare to places where I know they aren't ordering something healthy. Or I ask the same people "Keep a food log for ONE WEEK. Just one week. Write down EVERYTHING you eat or drink. Then you will immediately see why you can't lose weight."

I love the people who do eat 95% right but are out drinking 3-4 nights a week and claim "It's just wine! That's good for you!". It's good when you have one glass of wine, not a bottle of wine. Trust me, cutting out alcohol was probably the #1 reason why I was able to lose 2-3 pounds a week.


So, that's it. My 'final weight' was 211 pounds from 222. 11 pounds in 6 weeks. Only had 1 true "cheat" meal which was my birthday on Feb 12th. Otherwise I stuck to the diet, and I do have some "before and after" pictures, but not sure if I want to put them up on the web. If you shoot me an email at philly2hoboken (at) gmail I will share them with my friends and answer any Paleo-centric questions you may have.

Week 6 on Paleo - Is Crossfit A Cult?

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So far so good. Things in the last week were a bit more 'routine' with my diet. I did a lot of the same meals, and wasn't as creative. Kept it to the basics. Steak, chicken, fish. With a vegggie or sweet potato side. But to my credit, been chugging along on the diet. My first and only "cheat" was last Saturday night. It was my birthday. I figured I was good for 33 days, and could afford the luxury of...ICE CREAM.

I went to Marea with my family. It was out of this world good. I have been to a lot of great restaurants over the year, but this one takes the cake.

I actually was pretty paleo friendly ordering the fixed price meal there and getting a fish appetizer (and nearly choking on a fish bone) and having the steak for dinner (normally I wouldn't order a steak at a seafood restaurant, but this sirloin was highly recommended - and best I have had in years!).

But didn't stay so paleo with my fusili with octopus and bone marrow.

And then brown sugar gelato covered in rum & espresso. Heavenly. It was

Once a year, it's a birthday. Gotta celebrate. It was quite enjoyable and felt like a nice reward for myself after sticking to the diet. My weight is down to 212 today. Jeans fit very loose and I need a new belt.

Not sure how my weight I need to lose now, really. Being around 210 would be my ideal weight. The Paleo Challenge ends on Feb 22, so I have about 8 more days of staying on the plan.

Crossfit is good. A friend of mine posted this article on my wall, "Inside the Cult of CrossFit". It was a reprint of another article from Men's Fitness back in October 2011.

It's 'somewhat' fair article but sensationalizes the Crossfit a bit. To me, Crossfit is kind of like joining a sport. You have a group of people who work out together to get stronger at what they are doing. If anyone played an organized sport they would recognize this. I was in crew in high school and I remember running up and down stairs until I was ready to throw up. I remember running track and my legs would be wobbly, you run until your lungs were burning.

Somehow...the author equates Crossfit to a cult. That's a bit absurd. It's no more a cult than your local high school football or basketball team is a cult.

I think people get so amped up about CrossFit because (like he wrote) it fun to be back in great shape. You want to spread the word, and say, "This works! Try it!" - so you try to tell your friends about it, and are enthusiastic about getting your friends to join.

Like anything else, you get what you put into it. And if you go overboard in any sport you can hurt yourself. So I listen to my body, record my workouts and the next time I try a workout see if I can do better. The whole "NO PAIN NO GAIN" thing that the writer tries to make the reader believe is bullshit (at least in my opinion). Certainly people push themselves, and people do get hurt, but I think that would be true in any sport - Crossfit is the sport of fitness. Every class is led by an instructor, who is often watching what you are doing and offering advice on how to do it better.

I think the big issue I have with anyone working out or if they are trying to lose weight is "overtraining". People go overboard with exercise in the desire to gain muscle or lose weight. That's the quickest way to hurt yourself. Crossfit is no exception, and the author's examples in his article about Crossfit are examples of people who have no idea what they are doing, and this could have happened to anyone playing any organize sport - or working out on their own.

Crossfit to some is a "fad". Most people who say that never tried it and simply don't know what they are talking about. I definitely encourage anyone to try the free class in Hoboken which is on Wednesday night or Saturday night.

JWOWW & Snooki's New Jersey City Home

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Not confirmed, but rumor has it they are moving into Grove & Mercer in Jersey City. Here's is a picture from Google Street View of "The Fortress of STDs":


View Larger Map

Looks like they are right behind City Hall and only a few blocks from Zeppelin Hall Beer Garden. NJ.com has photos of the place from 2008 here.

Comments or Questions? Email me! Philly2hoboken {at} gmail.

I told friends I started the diet for two reasons. One, I felt like my old diet plan was good, but most of my weight stabilized, and I wasn't really losing or gaining weight. Two, I wanted to see if there was a major difference in my Crossfit gains while working out.

Now, I did ramp up my Crossfit a lot. I went from 3-4 days a week to 5 days a week. Now each class is 'only' 45 minutes, and we focus on various muscle groups that each class is basically unique. So i'm hitting all body parts, rarely repeating exercises and some days we are doing strength and some days we are doing conditioning. It's good and I like it - plus I am seeing decent, if not grand improvements in my strength and conditioning.

The Paleo for the last week, I am starting to hit a slight rut with my cooking. When I first started I was excited to try new recipes. Now, I get home from the gym and want to eat without having to cook for very long. Most of my dishes take at least 30 minutes prep time and cook time, if not longer - especially if I forgot an ingredient, like i'm missing a certain spice, herb or vegetable.

Oh, here's my million dollar idea, after cooking Paleo for a month. Someone needs to come up with a compact spice line (similar to this - but maybe smaller and more choices for the random spices, so you have 30 spices available, not 15. Also the ability to change names on the bottles). Most spices, like that from FreshDirect or in your local store, are in 8 ounce bottles, or a 1/2 cup. I don't know about the rest of the world, but I have spices in my spice rack which could be over 3+ years old. I'm not talking Oregano or Basil, but the random spices for the "one time I made this dish..." kind of spices like saffron or cumin.

Spices aren't that expensive, really, at $3 for basil or oregano. Maybe more 'exotic' ones can be $4-5. I know saffron can be ridiculously expensive.

You know what the problem is? Not the price - but the size. Wouldn't it be nice to have a whole spice rack, compact, that costs $1 per spice, each in a glass vial about 3-4 ounces? Certainly you can get larger, more commonly used spices if you wish. My spice cabinet is overflowing with spices and often finding the coriander or chili powder involves me taking out about 10 different spices before I can find it.

My idea would be a compact spice rack, with small vials (like test tubes, and lids) of each ingredient, and keep the price low, but the quality high (from packaging to content). I would surmise these are your 15 "basic spices" that every chef should have on hand.

15 spices - $15 dollars instead of paying $50-60. Plus every year you could replace your whole spice cabinet for $15 to have fresh spices on hand every year. Most people agree that ground (not while) spices should be replaced every 6 to 24 months, and will lose flavor after six months.

So think about your marketing. You are selling the idea that you will always have on hand fresh spices, at a low cost, and market it online. Plus, once someone buys your bottle packaging, you can just sell them the spices in a plastic bag, which they can just refill into your special, well crafted bottles.

The only problem would be getting the word out and marketing it. There's lots of places to buy spices online. The key would be figuring out a way to distinguish yourself from the pack. I would think that Fresh Direct could do something like that....now only if I had a contact over there...

Back to Paleo...

I think it's a good diet, and easily do-able by anyone. The key is being prepared. The second key is getting rid of any 'cheat' foods you have in your home. Paleo makes a big deal about rice, wheat, beans and sugar as the 'bad foods' to avoid. It's nearly impossible to avoid them when you want something fast and on the go. We talk about sugar being the reason why our society is so overweight, but we have to think that empty carbs from wheat and other sources have to come into play here. Plus the explosion of gluten & celiac diseases certainly lends credibility to this.

The problem is just convenience to preparing and eating. But i think that's true for any diet, and not just Paleo.

For those keeping score at home, i'm down to 213 pounds. 4 weeks and 8 pounds, about 2 pounds a week, so I think that's healthy. My jeans are fitting great, and starting to see serious ab definition. I'm thinking I should be 210 by the end of this. Anyone getting married in 6 weeks and you need to lose 12 pounds (the healthy way?)?

Week 4 Update On Paleo

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The paleo diet started on January 9th and this is week four. My friend Matt emailed me, "Three weeks I guess.. how do you like Paleo?"

The Good:

1. It's much easier than I thought. I remember on my old diet it was very repetitive and after three weeks I was DYING for diversity in my meals. It's fairly easy to plan, since I started with a few paleo-centric cookbooks to plan out my meals.

2. I was already kind-of-sort-of doing a good diet Monday thru Friday before I started paleo. Brown rice, sweet potato, meat, vegetable etc was already part of my meal plan, but I probably cheated a lot more than I should have. With the Paleo Challenge from Crossfit, I paid $100, and will get $50 back if I complete the plan for 45 days. So there's a financial incentive to stick to it. Plus, if i'm chosen as the (male) winner I get what's in the pot. So far I have been adhering to the rules, and haven't cheated (as far as I know - zomg! that balsamic dressing had 1 milligram of sugar in it!!).

3. If you plan out your meals for the week it's easier. Where I would run into trouble is when I didn't plan my dinners out well enough and then be missing an ingredient (where's my coconut milk!?) and then be stuck. Fortunately, I kinda learned a few quick meals to make over the years which aren't that exciting but do the job. And, i'm always game for a steak and sweet potato dinner.

The Bad:

1. I don't feel "amazing". I thought maybe after a few weeks my energy levels would soar, and i'd be sleeping great. My sleep still sucks, but I think (not sure) my snoring must be reduced since I did lose 7 pounds and alcohol makes snoring worse. Rocco isn't complaining that i'm keeping him up.

2. Crossfit "gains" haven't nearly improved like I would have liked. I have gone to Crossfit since Jan 9 about five days a week, except for last week when I hurt my shoulder. I thought maybe i'd see (by now) some serious strength increases, but i'm still feeling weak in most classes, and still doing beginner weight levels. In our last "Fight Gone Bad" workout I scored a 170, and probably should have been around 200. I know these numbers probably don't mean anything to you, but they aren't good. The top end people are scoring 300+. It's still early on this, but now have to start re-thinking what i'm doing wrong here. I got the diet down, and been attending all the classes - I may need to hit my condo gym after class and just work on weights on my own. I'm definitely getting fitter, no doubt, but not sure if i'm getting 'stronger'.

3. I still miss pizza, sandwiches and alcohol. I would be lying if I said i'd do Paleo for the rest of my life. I don't have cravings for those things, it's more like a wistful remembrance of how good they were. I would (hope) that once the diet ends I can just do it during the week, and on the weekends try to "cheat less". Maybe try to keep two "meals" over the weekend where I can have a Fiore's roast beef or one meal is a personal pizza from Grimaldi's. Plus, making plans with friends where you cannot drink is nearly impossible (at least with my friends) - "Hey! Want to see a movie? Hello? Hello?"

That's about it. Bottom line is that the diet works, i'm halfway through it, but really will see where I am around day 45 before I give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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