Big Breakfast

It’s like 2:30 and I’m just now starting to get hungry for lunch. I had a pretty late breakfast, which is probably part of it. I think I ate around 9:30 this morning, once I got to work. I brought a banana, two hard boiled eggs and one of my chorizo links. Seriously, you guys. That’s a hell of a breakfast. I haven’t had any urges to snack at all, which is precisely what I was going for. I think I’ll get my lunch together shortly, and see how that treats me.

I have to say, I’m liking this. I remember I had done some similar meals before and felt great after eating them. Stayed full and satisfied for a good long while. They’re quick, too. I boil my eggs in batches of a dozen and eat two per weekday so a dozen will last me all week. The chorizo, which I know I should be pan-frying or grilling or something actually comes out delicious from the microwave at work so that makes things simpler, too. If I’m at home, and I have time, I’ll cook and eat my breakfast. But if I’m in a rush it’s nice to be able to toss some things in a tupper and bring them with me so I can eat at my desk. So anyway, I’m going to try to stick with this for a bit. I’ll probably mix up the meats (sausage patties, ham steak, bacon, etc.) but i really like doing a couple eggs for breakfast most days of the week. We get pastured eggs, so they’re just full of tons of good stuff, and keep me full for a long time. The only thing i don’t love about boiled eggs is the dry texture they tend to have, and that’s completely mitigated by adding some fatty meat to the mix. Perfection.

Also, I’ve been barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen the past few nights. Well, not actually barefoot. I was wearing my Chucks. And I’m not pregnant, technically. Funny story about that, though. My wife and I are like fairytale soulmates, and we’re kind of silly about it sometimes without even meaning to. Anyway, my wife refers to things like “our placenta” and the like without really meaning to. I think it’s adorable. So I’m not pregnant, even though I’m apparently part-owner of a placenta. Back to the story. I made lasagnas night before last and froze them, and last night I made a double batch of my world-famous gluten-free zuppa toscana. I say world famous because all the people who know about it live on the world. I’m pretty sure that counts. I’m trying to get this stuff prepped because our baby will be here literally any day now (we’re at 40 weeks + 2 today) and we don’t want to have to worry about cooking in the first few days of having him around. So we’ve got some food saved up now, that will hopefully last us for a while. I’m being optimistic and thinking I’ll still be up for doing a little basic food prep, but we’ll have to see.

I’ve also been talking with Heba of MyLifeinaPyramid in the comments of one of my other posts, and she’s gotten me all jazzed about raw milk again. She has a great post about her raw milk journey, and reading it has inspired me to get my proverbial butt in gear and figure out some local sources for my family. Here’s a quick recap of our own journey: My wife and I have always been lactose intolerant. Me, moreso than her. We got the tablets and those worked well most of the time for us. We got curious about doing raw dairy, and went to a meetup group about it to get some more info. Loved the people, loved the milk, but decided it wasn’t for us at that time. We just weren’t drinking much milk, so it didn’t seem to make sense. Time goes by. Then, I got into my whole paleo thing, we started buying grassfed dairy products and noticed that it didn’t make us sick, even without the tablets. Then, trying to go back to conventional dairy products, I felt even worse. Even with a lactase tablet, it would just make me incredibly sick to my stomach. So we’ve been doing that for a while now, trying and liking a lot of different brands of grassfed milk, butter and cheese. We’ve also found Kalona, which is low-temp vat pasteurized and non-homogenized. It’s not raw, but it’s about as close as we can get from a store. Anyway, since switching to the grassfed stuff and not needing the pills anymore, we actually go through a fair bit of milk. Not a ton, but much more than we used to. So it seems like it might be a good time to start looking into the raw thing again. I’m going to write an email to my local WAPF leader and see what info I can get. I’ll keep you all posted, of course.

Okay, I’m calling it a day. Thanks for reading!


On not snacking

I’ve been a snacker for a long time. It used to be candy. I’d get a giant bag of hard candy from Costco, put it in my desk drawer, and just munch away all day. You’d be amazed how much sugar you can plow through at a piece every minute or two for a whole day, day after day. Then, when I started trying to cut back on that stuff, it was Trio bars and Larabars. That’s a huge leap forward, but still not ideal. Here’s the thing. I don’t want to be a snacker. I had a period not too long ago where I would just eat enough, and the right foods, at my meals to be full between them. When our kitchen went MIA, that got tougher. I couldn’t prepare the same kinds of meals I had been, so I would try to do the best I could and then fill the gaps with snacks.

And they weren’t bad snacks, really. Nuts, mostly. Some of the bars previously mentioned. But here’s the deal with snacking: You never have to stop. At least I don’t. I wouldn’t eat enough to fill myself up, I’d eat just enough to take the edge off, and then 30 minutes later I’d be back to it again. I was putting down far more calories than I would have even if I’d stuffed myself silly three times a day, just because I was never quite satisfying myself. And eventually, calories do count, even if you’re eating the right foods.

So yesterday, I ate a good breakfast of Beeler’s sausage links and some scrambled eggs. Today I had some more eggs and a banana. Probably not enough, unfortunately, but I think I can power through to lunch. For lunch, I brought some hot dogs (don’t judge me) and one of my salads. I think one of the things that had always been a bit of a bane for me was eating my salad for lunch. Even with as much fat as I pile onto that thing, it still just wasn’t enough to keep me full until dinner. But I don’t like skipping the salad and just bringing meat, because lunch is a great time to add some veggies to my day? Solution? BOTH. I brought a salad and burgers yesterday, and I’m doing a salad and dogs today. Booyah. I also picked up a ton of Niman Ranch chorizo at VC on sale, and some of that with a couple hard-boiled Vital Farms eggs makes for an excellent breakfast that will keep me full for a good long while.  Dinners are getting better, now that we have a real kitchen again. So really, I’m going to try to eat my meals in such a way that I remove the urge to snack on a daily basis. If it comes up, I have some walnuts in my desk. I don’t love walnuts, but if I’m hungry enough, I’ll eat them. So I guess that’s part of it, too. Bringing in some food-reward theory up in this bee-yotch. If I keep snack foods that I enjoy but don’t love, that should make it easier to consume them in reasonable quantities, when necessary.

What else? Oh yeah, I sprinted the other day, right? My feet and legs are sore today, even worse than yesterday. It’s the arches of my feet, mostly, which means I’d gone too long without giving them a good workout. I really love my forefoot-strike style of running, but it does require some muscles that I don’t use anywhere else. Specifically, it requires some strength in those foot muscles. When I was doing it regularly, I actually grew arches. That was wacky. I’d like to get back there again, and i think the sprinting is a great way to do it. I’m not going to do anything silly though, so I’ll let myself recover for another day or two before I go give it another run.

My weight is coming down, too! Not in any huge ways, but it’s pretty slowly and steadily heading from the top of my normal range (207-209) to the bottom, and being there more consistently. I’m also noticing that I’m getting a little bit leaner in my abdomen. I’d remained much, much leaner than I had been of course, but I think the sugar consumption had gotten me back to some of that sugar-driven belly fat. Just a touch. Just enough that I no longer looked in the mirror or pressed on my stomach and thought I was right on the edge of seeing some abs. I still felt great and felt like I looked good, but I hadn’t been making progress towards my ultimate goal of seeing my ab muscles for the first time ever in my whole life. I wasn’t unsatisfied with where I’d settled, by any means, and that wasn’t really the goal for cutting sugar. I just want to do the things I know I should be doing. It turns out that doing those things seems to help make me leaner, which I’m not going to complain about at all.

So there we go. Everything’s coming up Milhouse. Maybe some links? Yes, have some.

Pizza Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – These look darn tasty. I’m not averse to trying to make some gluten-free pizza crusts from Pamela’s mix or something, but this is much more whole-food friendly. I also really want to get working on some sweet potato recipes. I still haven’t actually made any for myself, despite buying them over and over. Oh well, it’s just a very slow way to build my compost pile, I guess.

Hawaiian Barbecue Bacon Burgers – There is nothing about these I don’t love. I love bbq sauce on my burgers, I love bacon and I love pineapple. Wins all around.

Decoding Labels: McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract – This is why you can’t trust labels. They’re deceitful. This is also why I think most of our food-labeling regulations are just plain laughable. We say you can only call something “pure” if it meets certain criteria. And then someone figures out a way around it. And now we have a bunch of food loaded with junk being labeled pure. We’d have been better off without any gov’t-approved labels in the first place, because then at least people wouldn’t be abdicating the responsibility of knowing what’s in their food. Anyway, enough of my wild-eyed ranting, right?

Why aren’t thin people fat? – This is a great question, and as I’m working my way through the videos I’m seeing just how much the mainstream needs to understand this. Calories in/Calories out only works in a lab environment with a bomb calorimeter. In the world with people and food, those numbers just don’t fly. People be different, yo, and you can’t math yourself into thinness.

Studies question the pairing of food deserts and obesity – A neat article. It turns out people aren’t obese because they don’t have access to the “right foods”, it’s because they’re not choosing to eat the “right foods”. I think there are probably a ton of reasons for this, but lack of access doesn’t appear to be a huge one.

How Vegetable Oils Replaced Animal Fats in the American Diet – I’ve heard some of this before, but this is a really great history of the process. Fascinating, and I’m glad we seem to be getting to the tail end of it. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Okay, that was a lot of links. Busy day on the intertubes, it would seem. Thanks for reading!

Back to the beginning

I’ve gone back to my roots. Maybe that’s a weird thing for a paleo-esque dude to say, since duh. But what I mean is that I’ve started trying to eat more like I ate when I first started this gig. When I started, I was very good about avoiding vegetable oils, very good about limiting my sugar, very good about a lot of things. Those had started to get a little looser in recent weeks, I’m sad to say. Sort of like the sugar had. I’ve still been streets ahead of where I started ever since embarking on this journey, and even my “not so good” right now is still probably pretty darn good by most standards. But hey, I’m a tinkerer by nature, and someone who is rarely satisfied with my own performance. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m awesome. I’m probably more a fan of myself than anyone you know, but I’m also pretty hard on myself when I don’t do as well as I know I can. So, I’m a little disappointed that I’d let things go off the rails. Sugar was part of it, and probably the biggest part. But when I looked at that, I started realizing all the other things I’d let sneak in as well.

A big one is the bad fats. Soybean oil, canola oil, etc. I’m still getting the vast majority of my fat from good sources, but I’d allowed more bad fats into the mix than I should. It started with a bottle of dressing. I was trying to get my wife to eat more spinach (she’s pregnant and I’m overbearing) so I picked up some dressing I knew she’d like. This was before she’d really gotten on board with any of my dietary changes (still eating wheat, drive-through burgers, etc), so I figured the benefit of the veggies outweighed the negatives of a little extra vegetable oil. Anyway, I got some of that for her, but then I ran out of my own salad dressing and started using hers. It was tasty, but honestly I didn’t enjoy it as much as mine (mine’s really freaking good, if I do say so myself). Still, I finished one bottle and moved on to the next. The convenience is what did it to me. It’s not even like it takes a long time to mix up my own, either. I did a new batch this morning and it takes maybe 5 minutes and that batch will last me for weeks. But still, there was some psychological thing about it. I’ve really maximized my dressing-making efficiency at this point. I don’t even use a blender, so there are no dishes. Everything is mixed and stored in the same container.

So anyway, that was one part of it. I’d also started using the Costco pre-crumbled bacon bits on my salads. I got a bag of them for something I was doing a long time back and ended up using the stuff in my salads because (again) I ran out of the pepperoni (Applegate Naturals, so it’s supposed to be pretty good stuff) I had been using, and it was more convenient to just grab a handful of bacon bits out of the bag. The bacon, incidentally, isn’t great quality or anything. It’s not especially tasty, it’s not humanely-raised, all it is is convenient. So I finished the bag and found myself picking up another. Why? No idea. I literally cannot rationally defend this, I’m just telling you what I did. I went through another bag of this stuff. So now my salads, which used to be pretty darn paleo/ethical/delicious were not much better than what I’d get at a drive-through or something. How did this happen? I think I fell into the trap of perceived convenience. Not even real convenience, which I could understand. How long does it take to pull out and cut up some slices of pepperoni? Maybe a minute or two. I’m not so tightly-scheduled that a couple minutes in the morning is going to ruin my whole day. heck, I could very easily slice up all the pepperoni at once and then just grab some and put it on the salad, so there’s literally zero additional time used per day.

But here’s the weird thing. Even with all this added convenience, I wasn’t enjoying my salads like I had been. I used to love them and actually look forward to them, but once I started using the bacon and the store-bought dressing they just didn’t appeal and I stopped eating them. So even with the perceived increase in convenience, the reduction in enjoyment was enough to get me to stop bothering altogether. I really made a point of making my own dressing today, and cutting up the pepperoni, and making my salad like I used to. And it was amazing. I ate a whole big salad and three of my burger patties from the other day with some Dubliner cheese on them. It was incredibly filling, satisfying and best of all, completely guilt-free. Because that’s the thing. There’s some cognitive dissonance when you do something you know you shouldn’t. I know soybean oil and factory-farmed pork aren’t good for me, for my community or the planet. So even though I was making the choice to eat them, there was always a part of me that felt bad about it. I think it’s different from an actual “cheat” though. If I’m going to have some crème brulée, I know I’m eating it purely for enjoyment, and I know that it’s a cheat. But when I’m eating low-quality bacon or soybean oil dressing, I’m not eating those purely for the enjoyment of them. I’m really not, because they’re not good enough to qualify. So there’s that whole “This isn’t supposed to be a cheat, this is just what I eat, but this isn’t what I know I should be eating when I’m just eating what I eat” feeling. That probably doesn’t make any sense.

Anyhow, I’m recommitting. I know what’s good for me, I know how to make it, and when I do I feel better about everything. So I’m going to get back to it. Not saying this is the last time I’ll ever slip up or fall into a trap, but I’m crawling back out again and as long as I keep doing that, I win.

Okay, now for some links, because you know how much I love links.

Paleo Diet Resdiscovered – This is very cool. For one, I love that Robb is a sci-fi geek. But also, I love that someone was barking up this tree 50 years ago. It wasn’t time then, but i think it is now.

Why Calories Count Foshizzle – *Applause* Seriously, zing.

The Straight Dope on Cholesterol: Part 1 – Dr. Attia is always a fun read, and is always informative. This is his latest, and I really enjoy it a lot. I think the whole cholesterol house of cards is collapsing, and will be on the scrap heap of history within a few more years.

That’s it from me for today. Thanks for reading!

I was run-ning!

That’s supposed to be Forrest Gump, in case my “speech-to-text” isn’t so hot. Anyway, I went running this morning for the first time in a long time. I know this because my HRM strap was still set to “El Gordo” and my profile on my Garmin still said 247lbs. So, probably 6 months since I went for a real, dedicated run? Anyway, it was really nice. I ran sprint intervals on the mile loop near my house, and peaked my heart rate at 236 BPM (I know, right?) and my speed at 16.7 MPH. I think that’s fast. Maybe that’s not fast to most people, but it seems fast to me. I’m going to keep improving, too, I’m sure. I had such a good time, and it was a real quick trip (maybe 15 minutes start to finish including warm up and cool down?) so I think I can sneak that in more often.

Now, for a billion links, because it’s been a busy day.

Chocolate ‘may help people slim’ (not)! – Zoe Harcombe goes after another bad observational study and the even worse reporting that often goes along with them. These links, correlations and associations are interesting observations on which to base experimental science, not conclusions in themselves, and everyone who is writing and reading these things needs to be well aware of that.

Which fats you should eat, how and why and how to buy olive oil – I like this breakdown of the different fats, why each one is the way it is and what you should do about them. Also, good info on what the differences are in olive oils.

Spaghetti and Meatball Bites – These look really tasty and fun. I love to dip things. I also love when I can turn a big thing into a small, snackable thing. Partially because that often involves dipping.

Fat-Burning Man podcast interview with Robb Wolf – This is a cool interview with Robb Wolf. I haven’t heard of this guy’s podcast before but I like him, and I think he might go into my regular listening rotation.

Okay, that’ll do for now. Super short post, I know, but sometimes I let you off easy. Go do something productive with your time. Pet a kitty, maybe.

Just a quick post

Hey everyone! Just wanted to share a few links and tell you all about my weekend.

I did pretty well cutting my sugar this weekend. We worked hard on Saturday (after 10-12 hours working on my house, I’ll often feel like something sweet) and had friends over on Sunday so I wasn’t perfect, but I was much better than I have been in recent weeks. I made grassfed beef burgers with gluten free buns from Udi’s, which are the only gluten free bread products we’ve found that are actually good. They need to be toasted to be really good, but once they’re all crispy and brown they taste just great. I don’t like doing fake grain products but when I have friends coming over, I tend to bend my rules a little. I still stick with my “Don’t eat anything that makes you feel sick” rule, because that just makes sense. So anyway, we got through the weekend pretty well, and I had fun chasing my dog around and working on the house. As far as food goes otherwise, we made sausage and potatoes (I’ve added quite a bit of potato back into my diet, with no ill effects either to how I feel or to my waistline, so I’m thinking I’m good to go on those) for dinner and hashbrowns cooked in bacon fat for breakfast. We also made some eggs, and my wife even made us pancakes with Pamela’s baking mix. We’ve finally gotten our kitchen more or less in order and she was excited about getting to make something. Again, it’s not an every day thing, and it was a lot of fun to be cooking together in the new kitchen, and then eating at our dining room table. Overall, it was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long time.

My weight has remained consistently in the 207-209 range still. I’m still feeling like I’m at a pretty comfortable level of leanness, so it’s not bugging me that I haven’t lost anymore in a while. I haven’t been sleeping as much or as well as I know I should, but I’m hoping that having the house mostly done now (Yay!) will help me focus on sleeping. I’ve also figured out the kind of exercise my dog enjoys, which is mostly me chasing her around the back yard. That’s not going to do it for training for running a 10k next month, I don’t think. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of cardio benefit from it, but I need to practice my running technique, since I’ve been away from it for so long. I’m not going to go nuts, but I do want to run 5k once or twice a week. It’s warming up and lightening earlier, so fingers crossed that I can make that happen. I’m also going to try to get back to my Convict Conditioning work because I really enjoyed that. I’ll keep you all posted on how those things go.

Okay, that’s about all for me personally. Now for links.

Meatloaf Cupcakes – I love me some meatloaf, but my wife isn’t a huge fan. I’m convinced that at least part of that is because i haven’t done enough experimentation with different recipes to find one she’ll like. Alternately, I might not have presented the meat loaf in an adorable enough format for her tastes. Meatloaf cupcakes with mashed sweet potato frosting? Problem solved.

Paleo vs. Vegan – This is a really fair, balanced, and reasonable breakdown of the debate between the two diets/lifestyles. They got folks who are recognized authorities on either side and interviewed them, then showed the answers to each question from each side. I still think paleo wins because bacon and butter and steak and cheese, but there’s a lot to be said for any diet that cuts out processed foods and focuses on nutrient density and quality. I also like that at least one or two of the vegan folks recognized that grains can be problematic.

The Skinny on Obesity: Episode 2 – More great info. I’m liking this series a great deal and can’t wait for the next episode!

I’m out for now. Thanks for reading!

Sugar Consumption: Reduced

I know I shouldn’t be eating refined sugar anyway, since it’s certainly not paleo, primal, ancestral or anything else. But it’s my kryptonite, apparently, and completely kicking the habit has been tough. Sugar is very much one of those “feed forward” things for me. The more I eat, the more I want to eat. If I can just keep it out of my system for a while, the cravings subside, but then it will eventually try to sneak back in. So anyway, I’ve taken a new approach to the whole thing. I’m just not keeping it around. I took all the dark chocolate out of my desk, I stopped stocking my desk drawers with Larabars and Trio Bars (They’re great, but I don’t need to be eating several of them every day, by any means. And I was.), I’ve stopped buying my beloved So Delicious coconut milk ice cream, and all the rest. I did splurge a little and got a couple candy bars (Amy’s naturals something or other) on my last trip to Vitamin cottage. But for the most part, I’ve done very well ramping my sugar intake down considerably.

This is where I look at what used to be my normal, and what my new normal had become, and now what I’m trying to establish as my ongoing normal. I used to drink soda by the gallon. You think I’m kidding but I’m not. Literally, when I’d go play board games or something, I’d put down half a dozen (sometimes a full dozen) cans at the table over the course of a few hours. At a restaurant, I’d get a large glass with no ice and go through 4-6 of those. And that’s just one meal. I’d get a large or XL drink with my drive-through meal for lunch (no ice, of course). I’d also drink a couple cans at my desk at work many days, too. It really was insane how much sugar I was consuming, just in beverage format. Then, you add in the candy (probably averaging a pound a day, no exaggeration), the added sugars in all the processed foods I was eating, the white breads, the white rice, the white pasta… It’s mind-boggling, really. It’s simply luck that I hadn’t become diabetic. It’s also luck that I topped out at 250 lbs. With my diet, I could easily have gotten incredibly obese and nobody would have been surprised.

So then, I quit soda, after watching “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” about two and a half years ago. Cold turkey. My wife did, too. We would still have a shirley temple if we went to a nice dinner. That’s always been my favorite beverage, so I think of it like a glass of wine for people who don’t really drink, but want to kick their heels up a bit. I think I will probably continue to do that, since our “nice dinners out” are going to be happening on the order of once or twice a year once the baby’s born, I’m guessing.  I like to pretend I’m a zealot, but really I’m pretty laid back about this stuff, overall. I just don’t eat foods that make me feel like butts or make my butt look like more butts than it ought to. That’s a pretty reasonable stance on all this, I think. Anyway, I was still eating candy, eating cheesecake, eating ice cream, etc. All I’d cut was the soda and juice, really. I was still far from healthy, by any stretch. I was eating deep-fried macaroni and cheese, chalupas, french fries dipped in ranch dressing, etc. Just thinking about it now makes me feel ill. But even so, I cut the soda and dropped some weight. Not a ton, but a little. I also started running more, as I figured out how to run like a human again.

That continued for a long time. Eventually, the running fell away and I slowly put the weight back on. I’ve never gone back to soda as a standard beverage, but all the other sugar in my diet continued unabated. So then, enter my paleo trial. For that first 30 days, I was pretty amazing, overall. I really just stopped eating sugar almost entirely, and had huge benefits all over the place. After a while, I started letting a little bit sneak back in here and there, and eventually got to the point I was just at recently. Eating half a bar of dark chocolate every day after lunch, having some coconut milk ice cream after dinner, etc. Compared to where I was, it’s like a drop in the ocean, but it’s more than I knew I should be eating, by a fair bit. So now I’m taking control of it again. I’m just going to keep less of it around, as that seems to help a lot. I’m going to avoid it as much as possible for a few weeks to help kill the cravings again. Might I still have a few squares of Green & Black’s 85% every now and again after that? Yeah, probably. But I’m going to try very hard not to let it get out of control again.

Okay, so what else is going on? Well for one, I seem to have settled into a pretty comfortable weight of 207-209. I’m thinking it might go down again now that I’ve cut the sugar, and I’m trying to add some sprinting into my routine. Incidentally, I tried to go run last night with my dog, and she was having none of it. She wanted to walk and sniff all leisurely-like, which was not what I had in mind. So when she got stubborn and put her butt down on the path, I scooped her up under one arm and carried her football style while I continued running. That worked pretty well, but then I’d look at her, with this absolutely serene expression on her face and those stumpy little legs dangling in the night air, and I started laughing too hard to keep going. I’d have to stop, put her down, and walk while I got my giggles in order, and then try to run with her again. She’d stop, I’d pick her up, wash, rinse, repeat until we got home. It was fun, but not the workout I was hoping for. So what I’ve decided to do with her is to put a long leash on her (30′ or so) and take her to the green belt near our house, and throw her ball for her. I’ll chase her around, she’ll chase me, we’ll have fun, we’ll both get a good workout, and all will be well. She loves it when I chase her around the back yard, but I can’t get a good head of steam up back there. It’s a good sized yard, but I’m like a freight train. I take a while to get going, and even longer to stop. So the green belt will work great. I can run all over with her, and if she gets too far I can always grab the long leash, if nothing else.

Other than that, not too much, really. Still working on the house, of course. Just put up a new post on the remodeling blog, here. That’s really taking most of my mental and physical energy these days. Just trying to hammer out the last few things before the baby man is born and everything else goes out the window.

Also, I do have some links for you. Because that’s just the kind of guy I am. – I haven’t gotten to poke around in here too much, but Robb Wolf sounds very excited about it. And when he’s excited, I’m excited.

Gross Food – This is why we eat real food. Because nobody is sneaking rancid cockroach thoraxes into my grassfed steak.

Cinnamon French Toast Flatbread – I like this idea. It’s not going to be an every day thing (eggs and bacon are my go-to breakfast, usually with some fruit or nuts) but as a treat for my loving wife sometimes? The one who desperately loves and misses French Toast but isn’t eating it because she knows it’s bad for her and our baby. She’s awesome. Anyway, I’d love to find something that would work to satisfy those cravings for her that I can make at home out of quality ingredients. I hope this might be it!

I’ll sign off for now. Thanks for reading, everyone!

Just another link day

Just popping in real quickly to share some more links, as is my custom. Enjoy!

Mom vs Fast Food – I’m not sure on this one. I think it’s an intriguing idea, for sure, but I’m not sure if I buy that it was the trashing of the happy meal that was the pivotal event for the kids. I tend to think that growing up their whole lives in a house where real food, nutrition, and quality were valued probably had a larger influence. But hey, it probably can’t hurt, right? And I know there’s a lot to be said for powerful, symbolic gestures early in life. That sort of thing really can stick with a person and influence their thinking long term. So like I said, I’m not sure. I don’t think that’s it’s exceptionally wasteful of food or money, either. I waste more than $4 per day on far less important things than teaching my children valuable lessons about health. And really, the best place for that food is in the trash. So I don’t think those are great arguments against the idea, but I’m just not sure that I believe it is uniquely effective. Anyway, watch it and decide for yourself.

Egg Drop Soup – This looks and sounds amazing. We’re very nearly back to having a functional kitchen again so I can actually try making some of these sweet recipes I’ve been finding. I love soup and my wife does too, o finding a few more great soup recipes would be awesome.

Chocolate Bacon Bites – These also sound amazing. We have a shiny new double oven, and I’m thinking I might have to try some of the grain-free baking recipes I’ve amassed very soon. I love to have people over and cook for them, and it’s been hurting my soul not to be able to do that for so long.

The Russian Literature Paradox – This is one of my favorite Robb Wolf-isms. He always talks about how if you were in a room full of people and someone asked the group’s opinion on mid-18th century Russian literature, nobody would offer an opinion because none of them would have studied it (Except that one guy. There’s always one.). However, when you ask a group of people for their opinion on nutrition or paleoanthropology, everyone trips over themselves in the rush to tell you what they think, even though they’ve spent no more time studying diet, physiology, the history of nutritional science or anthropology than they have the Russian literature. So anyway, that’s the paradox. This article is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. He really nails a lot of the things that have been frustrating me about the same issues, but explains it in a way that I haven’t been able to do adequately. Essentially, Mr. Kaplan says that even the people who are supposedly trained in nutritional science don’t get the historical or scientific background that would be expected of other scientific endeavors.  Robb has mentioned this same issue in his podcast, and it’s something I’ve experienced as well. Anyway, it’s a great read and very informative. I think you’ll like it.

That’s it, folks. Short and sweet today. Thanks for reading!

On Temptation and Deprivation

I had an experience yesterday that I thought might be something you guys could appreciate/understand.

Someone brought bagels into the office on Friday, and a few still remained yesterday morning. I was in the break room, refilling my water bottle, and one of my coworkers pointed to the bagels and said “I bet those are calling to you, huh?” I told him the truth, which is “Not in the least.”

And this got me thinking, of course. I mean, I’ve lost 40 pounds now, and have kept it off effortlessly. I’m not as lean as I could be, but I’m perfectly happy where I am, and could live like this for a very long time. When I say effortless, I mean effortless. My workouts are sporadic at best, and I eat as much as I want of all my approved foods, and probably more than I should of everything else. Even so, I feel great, and feel better about how I look than I ever have. But, and this is the key here, I’m not deprived. I eat bacon most every day, steak once or twice a week, loads of butter, lots of tasty veggies, etc. I don’t really miss anything that I’m not eating. I know that under most mainstream weight loss protocols, you’re supposed to be deprived. They tell you that you’re not, but you are. If you made a mistake and ate a little too much full-fat dressing on your salad, that means you’re over your calorie goal for the day and now you don’t get dessert with dinner. Or you get a boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of a steak (Ha! Like most of them would ever allow you to eat red meat, amirite?). Whatever it is, you’re being deprived. I’m not going to act like I can eat as much as I want of any food, because that’s obviously not the case. Grains, legumes and refined sugars are all on the no-fly list (the sugars and beans I will dabble in, but I do limit my intake just because of how they make me feel). Believe me, I could pound down a bag of Skittles faster than anyone you’ve ever seen, but I’d feel positively awful afterward. It wouldn’t be worth it. And because I know how it will make me feel, I don’t crave it. Same with the grains, and with the legumes, to a lesser extent. I never loved them, so they’re not all that hard to keep to a minimum.

I look at grains now much like I look at cigarettes and alcohol. I don’t drink or smoke, and I never have. When I see a glass of wine on the dinner table, I’m not making a choice not to drink it. That choice was made years ago, and it just stays made. When I see someone smoking a cigarette, I’m not tempted to light up. I’m not resisting anything, I just don’t see that as being an available choice. Does that make sense? I have a hard time expressing this stuff sometimes, so I hope I’m doing it right. Anyway, there are some foods that are like that, specifically anything that contains gluten. I don’t want to eat anything so badly that I’m willing to put up with two days of being gassy and crampy. I love food, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never encountered a food that provided a pleasure so intense that it outweighed feeling like 50 pounds of smashed ass for the next 48 hours. The foods that get me to involuntary moaning have always been things that are now staples of my diet. Quality steaks, bacon, cheese, butter. They don’t make me feel anything but awesome, and they are often just incredibly delicious. So much more satisfying than any of the grains ever were.

Also, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t think we generally love the bread or the pasta itself. I know only a few people who enjoy dry bread, and none who enjoy pasta without sauce or butter or something. Grain products, especially wheat products are usually delivery mechanisms for sauces, butter, cream cheese, meat, etc. Now I used to love sandwiches, don’t get me wrong. And I could go to town on some bread and butter. But what I really loved was the butter, or maybe the combination of the flavors and textures. I didn’t love the bread itself like I love steak itself. The best part is that I can put butter on steak. Or on veggies. Or on both. I can have a buttload of butter, and still feel awesome and stay lean. So I still get the things I used to love putting on grain products, now I just put them on meat, veggies, or (more often than I should) some organic corn chips. I know, I know. But hey, the fact that I can eat those chips without feeling gross, and without gaining weight is awesome, still. They’re not forming 60% of my daily calorie intake or anything, because I always smother them in enough cheese and meat to fill me up and keep me full of good protein and fat. Booyah.

Anyway, that’s just my take on all this jazz. I’m not feeling deprived because I’m eating all the stuff I always loved but was told would make me fat and sick. Now that I eat it all the time, I’m no longer fat and sick. And I’m not tempted to go back, because now that I know how those other foods make me feel it just isn’t worth it. I’m still tempted by the things that I shouldn’t be eating too much of that don’t make me feel sick in reasonable amounts, unfortunately (I’m looking at you, coconut milk ice cream and dark chocolate). I slurped down a pint of coconut milk ice cream Saturday, Sunday and Monday night, and felt pretty gnarly as a result each time. Will I never learn? It’s a relatively passing gnarl, though, especially as compared to gluten exposure. I’m not planning on doing it regularly, and I’m actually not buying any more of those foods that I shouldn’t be eating and have a tendency to overconsume. I’ve already gotten a lot of the snacky sweets out of my desk at work, and have plowed through (and not replenished) many of those we’d kept at home, too. So I’ll see how that pans out. In any case, those things are pretty well loaded with refined sugars, so they shouldn’t be part of my diet anyway. The fact that I can get away with eating as much of them as I have been and not gain weight is a testament to the resilience of my repaired metabolism. Go me.

Links? Maybe links.

Should you try the paleo diet? – Yes. Yes you should.

Why the FDA hasn’t banned BPA – This bugs me. I try to avoid BPA as much as possible, but it’s exceedingly hard to do anymore. I’m generally not a fan of gov’t regulators banning things, but if we’re going to keep paying the FDA to protect us, they should at least do the job they’re being paid to do, even if I’d rather we stopped paying them. So I do my research, look for labels on the packaged foods I eat, try to buy things in glass instead of cans or plastic, etc. But still. I’d like to see the FDA jump on this one.

The Final Nail in the Cardio Coffin – This is another interesting article about “cardio” as defined in the article. Essentially it’s that long duration, moderate pace exercise you see people doing on the machines in the gym. I’ve heard conflicting opinions on whether this is “Good” for you in general terms of health, but the increased rates of CVD in marathon runners seem to indicate that maybe this isn’t the case. In any event, it seems like cardio is not the best way to get lean. Whether long, moderate-pace cardio is a good way to get healthy remains to be seen. Maybe with long rests between workouts?

Bucky Balls Could Double Your Lifespan – This is just neat. Like they say, it’s just one study, and an animal study at that. But still. If you could supplement with pure carbon, that seems better than many of the complex compounds we’re currently using. Maybe? I don’t know. Mostly, it’s just neat science.

Grain-Free Petit Fours – These sound pretty tasty. I’m not big into cookies, myself, but they’d be great to serve at a party or something. Maybe with some homemade whipped cream?

That’s it from me, folks. Thanks for reading!

Seriously, you don’t even know how many links I’m about to throw at you

For reals, guys. You don’t. I’ve been reading like mad and haven’t been posting enough so I’ve got a giant backlog of links to share. And today is the day you get inundated.

Cinnamon Chipotle Sliders – I don’t actually see anything in these that says chipotle, so maybe they just spontaneously manifest the chipotle flavor due to the other stuff in there? Anyway, they sound great and you know how much I love me some chipotle flavor. I’m definitely going to be doing these sometime soon.

How do I convince someone to try paleo? – An awesome post by Robb Wolf on convincing someone to try paleo. I’m trying to take this perspective myself, but it’s hard for me. My natural inclination when I have something I love is to share it with people I care about. It pains me to see people in pain when I know I could help them. But you can’t make a horse drink water, as they say, so I can end up frustrated. Robb’s post and some of his podcasts with a similar theme have gotten me to a place where I’m going to try not to let it get to me when someone won’t do what I know they should do.

Paleo Diet Risk Assessment – This is another great post from Robb. I’ll let him speak for himself, but essentially he’s working with Reno fire and police organizations to use a paleo diet program to minimize risk of CVD. It’s super awesome, and is saving lives and money for Reno.

The Skinny on Obesity, Part 1 – A great video by the University of California San Francisco. This one features Dr. Lustig in a big way, but also includes some others to add some breadth to the issue. Very well done piece, for sure. Can’t wait for the rest!

The Fattest People in Paleo – I really like this piece. It’s written by the Paleo Parents who also wrote the paleo eating book for kids Eat Like a Dinosaur. Essentially, they’re saying that they catch crap from some folks both in and outside of the paleosphere about not being ripped like Sisson. They’ve come a long way, have literally saved their own lives, and are happy, and healthy for the first time. I think that’s very much worthy of respect, even if they’re not as lean as they’d like to be. As I’ve said, paleo is about a lot more than your body comp. It’s about being healthy, happy, and being able to do the things you love.

Emotional Eating – This is something I think we all do, to some extent. Trying to act like we don’t, or that we shouldn’t isn’t dealing with reality. I pride myself on my willpower, but I still indulge in something tasty and not-great for me on a pretty regular basis. I like these principles, though. If you’re going to treat yourself, fracking treat yourself. Get all the pleasure out of it that you can, and you have a great chance of being legitimately satisfied. I can personally attest to the veracity of the claim that trying to satisfy a craving with a low-end substitute just leads to overconsuming the lame food until you’d have been better off eating the real deal anyway.

Can you handle the truth? – I like this one. It’s philosophical, which you know I enjoy. Just because we’re talking about food doesn’t mean we can’t be deep. This is a discussion about how truth is perceived by people, and specifically by those in the medical community. Definitely worth reading, just because it’s very much worth thinking about in all of our various arenas.

Everyone on the planet should be vegan, right? – Another cool piece about finding your own path. Everyone has to find what works for them, and what works for you now may not work in 5 years. I definitely dig on this idea. I agree with her conclusion, though, that most every diet, long-term, should include some quality animal products. Obviously, I think a paleo diet of some flavor or another is going to work best for most people in most situations, but I’m a zealot.

Okay, that’s about all I have for now. Enjoy!

Opposing Viewpoints

This is kind of a philosophical post, I guess. I’m going to try to keep it short-ish but you know how I am.

I’m an opinionated dude. I believe what I believe, and I’m passionate about those beliefs. Sometimes, that means I believe a wrong thing and then get corrected. Sometimes that means that I ignore people who disagree with me on a particular topic. I’m not especially proud of these traits, since I have in my head this ideal of being purely objective and rational. Unfortunately, I’ve got a great big fire in my belly that keeps me from maintaining that cool composure sometimes. But anyway, this isn’t really about me being a dick. This is more about why I read what I do and why I don’t read what I don’t.

I read things from people with whom I have some element of common ground. I don’t read things from people whose views are diametrically opposed to mine. That probably causes a bit of selection bias in my research, and I’ll admit that. But I have limited time and energy to read and absorb this stuff (it’s not my day job), so I have to prioritize. If I have 20 hours a week to read studies, articles, blogs, books, listen to podcasts, watch video lectures, etc. where is my time best spent? I could go watch a bunch of durianrider videos (I’m not going to link to him because he’s an asshole and doesn’t need any help from me spreading his assholeishness) to see what the current state of the raw vegan community is. I could go read Dean Ornish’s book to see about all the evils of fat, or T. Colin Campbell’s book to read about how protein is killing us. What would that get me? I know already that they’re not going to change my mind. That’s a bias, for sure, but I think anyone who claims they don’t have such a bias is fooling themselves. If your opinions were so malleable as to be able to rotate 180º every time you read an article, you’d be non-functional. As a rational, thinking adult, you have to weigh the evidence and the strength of the arguments against your existing knowledge and experience.

I’ve read enough about the low-carb/ancestral concepts, and the evidence, arguments and experience are strong enough on that side, that I really just don’t think I’ll be turning back. I feel amazing right now, and I love how I look. I’ve never had either of those, much less both. What is Ornish going to say that will counter the evidence of my own success? This is not to say that I don’t think there is value in opposing viewpoints, because I very much do. My last post was about how to integrate the ideas of the various personalities in the low-carb/paleo/primal/ancestral world. Obviously, those folks might disagree on a few things, but they have more alike than they do different. We’re talking generally about differences of degree, not differences in kind. There are some exceptions, but you see what I’m saying. Everyone’s still pretty much on the same page, they’re just arguing about fonts. They’re all also coming from an evolutionary understanding, which I think is extremely valuable.

So anyway, what’s the point of all this? Essentially what I’m saying is that I don’t spend my limited time reading things I know I’m going to disagree with entirely. I do enjoy reading someone like Denise Minger positively eviscerating a flawed study or book, because she does a great job of presenting the original material, and then presenting evidence and reasoning for why it doesn’t work. She’s also quite fair, and gives credit where it’s due. One of my favorite posts of hers was about Ancel Keys and how he has been treated a bit unfairly by the low-carb/ancestral movements. He was wrong, certainly, but he doesn’t seem to have been malicious or intentionally deceptive. And that’s an important distinction when talking about a man’s legacy. So it’s not like I don’t get access to the information, I just don’t take the time to read it myself and do all the legwork involved in finding counter-evidence and the like. Lazy? Yeah, probably. I prefer to think of it as energy conservation. I also think it’s important to mention (as I know I have before) that the paleo concept isn’t the first interest I’ve taken in nutrition/health/fitness. I took nutrition classes in college, read and tried a number of diets and workouts, worked with a trainer, etc. I am well-schooled in the standard theory of fat accumulation, health, disease, etc. I’m not formally trained in nutrition or medicine (I think my CPR card might have even lapsed) so I don’t have any significant depth of understanding, but I think I know as much or more than the average person, simply because I’ve taken an above-average interest in the topic. Also, I’m kind of a research whore, so when I take an interest in something I tend to learn as much about it as I can.

I guess I really wanted to write this as a sort of personal defense. I feel like some of the people whom I talk to (and like, and respect) who aren’t on board with this whole gig think that I have no idea what I’m talking about. Or, perhaps more accurately, they think I don’t know enough about the standard high-carb, low-fat thing to really understand it. I’m not sure. I don’t think I can blame them, though. When someone isn’t on the ancestral train, I always assume it’s because they just don’t know what I know, and I should probably tell them. So I can’t judge them for judging me, really, because I know I would do the same in their shoes. Maybe that’s the maturity part? Heck if I know. Maybe the difference is that I assume they don’t know about the paleo thing because it’s not the standard. When they assume I don’t know about “calories in/calories out” or how saturated fat collects on the interior of the arterial walls, it’s more like they’re accusing me of not knowing how gravity works or what the chemical structure of water is. These are things that educated people know, just by cultural osmosis if nothing else. But the paleo thing is sort of new, in a very old way. If someone doesn’t know about it, it’s probably because they haven’t been exposed to the concept. And that’s not a judgement on them, because they shouldn’t be expected to know unless someone has taught them. Until paleo becomes the standard in public schools across the country (fingers crossed, right?) then I don’t think there’s any shame in not knowing about it. But there’s some shame in not knowing the stuff that you were supposed to have learned in your basic science courses. Or maybe I’m just thinking there is, because I tend to be kinda hard on myself when it comes to ignorance?

Anyway, now I’m just rambling. If you made it this far, you deserve a treat. Rub some coconut oil on your feet before you put your socks on in the morning. You’re welcome.

Links? Links.

Gravity and insulin: The dynamic duo – This is a cool post from Dr. Attia about why some people seem to have a harder time with reality than others do. It’s a great explanation, I think, about why some people can eat whatever they want and not gain weight, and why others have to be incredibly strict.

Paleo Eating vs Low-Carb Eating – Another interesting take on the differences between the two perspectives.

Study: High Fructose Corn Syrup’s Role in Autism – This article came rather quickly on the heels of another study about pregnant women’s obesity and autism in their children. These are both purely observational, as near as I can tell, and so they’re just generating hypotheses, not conclusions. However, knowing what we know about how Alzheimer’s works on the brain, basically starving certain cells of nutrients due to insulin resistance, I’m wondering if these things may not follow a similar path. Maybe there’s some element of insulin resistance already setting up in the brains of these kids even when they’re in utero, and it’s keeping certain parts of the brain from developing properly? Maybe it can start there in certain genetically-predisposed populations, and in others it takes longer to develop? This is just speculation on my part now, and I could be wrong, but it makes a certain kind of sense to me, at least.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!