paleo diet: January 2012 Archives

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I'm sure you heard the old news by now about Paula Deen. What a shock. Eating crap her whole life and gets diabetes in her 60's.

Paula, and she defended herself and her cooking by saying things like "I'm not your doctor" and "practice moderation".

Let me lay out exactly what's wrong with that attitude and exactly what's wrong with our society when it comes to food.

1. We are surrounded by bad, but convenient food options. Try to eat healthy on the road.
2. We are all weak. You, me, everyone.
3. Food is like a drug. You get pleasure from eating. Bite into a doughnut. Slurp that coffee with cream and sugar. In your brain, the endorphins explode with delight.
4. Most chefs at any major restaurant can easily tell you that they slather food with butter, salt and sugar. They spike food to make it even more delicious.
5. Most of the processed foods in the worlds have far too much sugar and salt.

So the problem is - we are a trapped society, unless YOU make your own meals. The problem with making your own meals is time. Yes, some meals can be made quickly. But even last night when I decided i'd like to just have a steak & baked sweet potato, it still took me 90 minutes to get it completed. I didn't have steak on hand - so I had to walk to Garden of Eden to buy it fresh, along with the sweet potato. I baked the sweet potato at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. The steak was fast, about 5 minutes cook time, and another 10 minutes of 'rest' before I eat it (let the juices settle).

Now that i'm doing the paleo diet, i'm not going to turn into some born again diet freak shouting from the rooftops that we should not eat breads, pasta, sugars. I love bread. I love pasta. I do plan to eat them again. But i'd like to be a lot more moderate, in the future, about how I do this.

I was at work the other day and someone was telling me how they 'eat in moderation', but 'mostly healthy' and they 'hit the gym all the time'. Meanwhile this was clearly someone overweight. I have no doubt if this person kept a food journal they would quickly realize that they were not eating in moderation. Here's the new rule for eating in moderation: "You get three 'cheat meals' a week". That's it. So imagine you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, 7 days a week, or 21 'meals'. You can eat poorly on only three of those. I would bet you dollars to doughnuts that anyone who says "I eat in moderation" cheats at least 8-10 times. Or, at the very least, have no concept of portion sizes or any concept of what is really healthy. They eat Yoplait yogurt and think it's healthy, while they are guzzling down 30 grams of sugar each serving. Do you know how many grams are in a teaspoon? It's 4. 30 grams is 7.5 teaspoons of sugar. Think about that before you have a yogurt for breakfast and think you are eating "healthy".

Also, It drives me crazy to walk by the gym and watch someone on a treadmill or stationary bike or cross trainer with a "US Weekly" magazine and doing some kind of easy going "la la la la" workout thinking they are just burning away the calories from yesterday's dinner of salad, chicken and 1/2 cup of ranch dressing (*on the side!).

You want to lose weight, it's the EASIEST THING ON THE PLANET TO DO. You don't need special diets. You don't need Weight Watchers. You don't need Nutrisystem. You don't need shakes. You don't need Atkins or Paleo. No special pills. No exotic drugs or fruits that are claiming to be a "breakthrough of science". If you use steroids or HGH, you are a fucking loser and you know it (especially if you are a trainer).

You need to do two things:

1. Eat healthy. Real foods - meat, vegetables, fruit (keeping sugars here in check). No refined sugar. No breads. No pasta. Trust me, you can live without them.
2. Exercise. I don't care if it's Crossfit, or whatever, you need whatever gets your heart beating and you are breaking a sweat. You need to do this more than 3 times a week. At least 4 if not more. You don't need to do it more than 30 minutes. Even if you are out there, jogging, for 20 minutes which breaks a sweat that is a million times better than on a stationary bike for 1 hour pedaling at 2 mph.

That's it. Not that hard. Am I God's gift to exercise? Nope. I'm like anyone else. I'm weak. I said this earlier. But we all know what we need to do, right? I'm trying to do something different and see if I get results.

So what's stopping you?

Week 1 down, Week 2 Begins!

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What has surprised me most after a week of eating Paleo, is how my food cravings have been fairly low. I fully expected to be "dying" for cookies or candy or cupcakes by now, and really it's been a non-issue. Also I have found this diet to be fairly easy, thanks to Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution.

It already has a 30 day mealplan in the book. So I have been following it nearly to the letter. I haven't had any refined sugar. No wheat. No grains. No rice. No dairy.

So far it has been smooth sailing.

My Crossfit workouts haven't dramatically changed. I still get gassed real fast like I used to. I am hoping that after a week on real food that I see faster gains. I went to class five times last week, and plan to go five times this week, whereas in the past I usually went 3-4 times a week to Crossfit.

What has surprised me is how I tell people what i'm doing and the (mostly) negative reactions to it. You try to explain to people the plan and there's a tremendous amount of resistance. No bread? Not even wheat? No cheese??

Listening to people fret over the idea of not being able to eat their favorite foods anymore sort of reminded me when I quit smoking cigarettes. I remember when I quit smoking, how "drinking wouldn't be the same", "watching football wouldn't be the same", "a cigarette after a meal wouldn't be the same".

But once I quit, you got used to it.

Whatever the same pleasure receptors we have in our head for cigarettes must be tied to food. No doubt. That's why it's so hard to "diet". Plus if you look at most everything out there - there is sugar in everything. Or salt. The goal of the food industry is to pack sugar and salt and spike food like Marlboro spiked nicotine into cigarettes. It makes it really hard to quit, doesn't it?

I weighed myself yesterday. Started at 221 last week. I'm down to 218. 3 pounds in a week. Usually that's water weight. I don't have a goal for my weight, to be honest. I mean people put far too much stock into their weight. I'm just concerned about my mid-section, around my hips, stomach which seemed to retain the majority of my weight. Plus, I have zero interest in just losing weight if it involves losing muscle too. I took a 'before' picture with my camera (shirt off!) and will post that at the end of the 6 weeks.

My only issue with this diet is ONE thing. No alcohol. It's not about drinking, but it is about being social. I had two events to attend last weekend, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. I didn't attend either. It's not fun being the sober guy in a bar when everyone else is drinking. And I didn't want the temptation to "just have one".

Also, coming up with idea to do things with your friends that doesn't involve drinking is a bit of a challenge. Movies? Hang out and watch TV? I gotta start thinking about things I can do on the weekend besides hanging out with Rocco or this is going to be a looooong five more weeks.

Tasty Burgers & Salmon w/Pecans

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Day 1 is behind me and I learned two new things to make myself for dinner which were easy and delicious.

1. Salmon with pecans and rosemary.
Grab a filet of salmon, coat a baking pan with coconut oil, top the salmon with pecans, rosemary and some sea salt, cook at 350 for 12 minutes. Fan-tastic. I'm not a fishy-fish guy and normally do NOT eat salmon, but this was the bomb. Simple to make and fast!

2. Burgers
There are a billion burger recipies out there. I found one and it converted me from allrecipes.com Chris' Bay Burger:
1 pound ground beef, 1 tsp basil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 1/2 tsp salt, pepper - cooked in olive oil on the stove (a grill would be perfect, of course) - left off the buns, just grabbed onion & tomato and wrapped it up in red leaf lettuce.

Paleo Challenge: Accepted!

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I joined Crossfit last year, and I found the gym revolutionary. I have tried to convince my friends and family about it, and most people aren't interested. Each have their own reasons, or routines and don't want to rock their proverbial boat they are in.

I, on the other hand, constantly like to try new things & explore new ways of doing things.

My gains at Crossfit have been...OK. I tried to stick to my "Old Diet" while at Crossfit, but was doing it Monday thru Friday 100% clean, but then Saturday & Sunday taking "breaks". It worked, but I found my energy and gains at Crossfit were less than optimal to what I was expecting. I still can barely do pullups, it's my weakest exercise. I got better at other areas, like box jumps. But still felt like I wasn't getting stronger like I should be.

Often, I kept hearing from the Crossfitters about doing the "Paleo Diet". For a long time I just kept thinking "I know how to eat clean. 5 meals a day. Protein/Complex Carbs/Veg, no sugars, dairy, breads, pasta..." I didn't want to change.

But I kept reading about others doing the Paleo Diet and having remarkable results while doing Crossfit. I was intrigued. Curious. I'm not a big fan of "fad diets". I am more of a fan of being smart about what you eat. Limiting my bad food intake. Staying away from sweets and sugars.

The problem? It's not really working well enough.

I decided that it's a new year, a new diet, and going to eat, starting on Monday 100% Paleo for 7 days a week.

What is the Paleo Diet? You can read more about it here. In the most basic description, you just want to eat food that we, as humans, were meant to eat before the development of agriculture. We should eat Woolly mammoth and Sabretooth Tiger steak? Well, no - pro-Paleo advocates claim that genetically our bodies are virtually the same as they were at the end of the Paleolithic era some 20,000 years ago - and have not adapted to agrarian diets. We see plenty of people we know who are lactose tolerant, gluten allergies, peanut allergies or other autoimmune issues.

Here's what the diet basically details:

1. You can eat foods that can be hunted and fished, such as meat (steak, chicken, lamb, pork) and seafood (fish, shellfish, etc), and can be gathered, such as vegetables (including mushrooms), fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. All foods may be cooked, without restrictions.
2. Foods excluded from the diet, mainly grains, legumes (e.g. beans and peanuts), dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils, although some advocates consider the use of oils with low omega-6/omega-3 ratios, such as olive oil and canola oil, to be healthy and advisable.
3. You are advised to drink mainly water, and some advocates recommend tea as a healthy drink, but alcoholic and fermented beverages are restricted from the diet.

So it appears that not only will I be on the diet for 45 days, but also on the wagon for 45 days. This will be...interesting. Anyone want to take odds on how long I last? I give myself about 21 days before I snap. But, with the Crossfit Challenge there is a $100 buy in. If I can stay on the diet for all 45 days, I will get $50 back. If I win the challenge, I win everything in the pot - more info on the Crossfit Hoboken website.

Suffice to say, I may be staying away from bars for the next 45 days. Sorry in advance if I am lame.

I have put in my order with FreshDirect yesterday, and using a diet plan from Robb Wolf's "The Paleo Solution".

I certainly will keep you updated here on my progress.

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This page is a archive of entries in the paleo diet category from January 2012.

paleo diet: February 2012 is the next archive.

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