Links! Not too many, but I’m easing back into it.

Hey guys! I had some fun links I wanted to post, so here you go. Not as many as I’d like, but I’ll try to keep ‘em coming.

Also, there’s been plenty going on in my own life, but too much to get to with the time I have today. Suffice it to say that I was at 201 and 12.8% body fat this morning, which is one of the lowest I’ve ever seen on my Omron. Woot!

Calories and Carbohydrate – This is another great example of Dr. Guyenet making me think about things. Nothing in nutrition is as simple as we’d like it to be, but it’s tough to deny that starving people tend to lose weight. I really, really want to see some of the AHS 2012 presentations. I hear that some of them relating to carbohydrates got a little heated, and there’s nothing like a little nutritional brouhaha to get my blood up. I don’t watch much TV, so I have to make my own fun. Sue me.

Suddenly Last Summer – Dr. Feinman discusses some really neat science, specifically treating cancer patients with a low-carb diet intervention. Sounds like it worked very well, and the next step is breaking through the intellectual inertia that just doesn’t want to see it. Fingers crossed that it’ll work out. I think that could be huge for people, and would make such a difference in so many lives.

Healthwatch Reno – More on the program Robb Wolf is working on with Specialty Health in Reno. Exciting stuff, for sure!

Defining Junk Food – This is a great, short piece about the dangers of gov’t intervention in nutrition. As many of us in the whole/traditonal/ancestral food worlds know, there’s nothing wrong with saturated animal fats from healthy animals, or with fruit, or with reasonable quantities of local, raw honey. Even if a government agency wanted to help people avoid “unhealthy” foods, there’s no guarantee that such an agency’s idea of what’s healthy would look anything like what I know to be healthy for me and my family. I’d rather they just stayed out of it entirely and let the magic of the information age work to educate people.

Plantain Crackers – These are nut-free and egg-free, which is important to me ever since we figured out that my wife has an egg sensitivity. They sound really good, and could be great with some kind of dip, or with tuna salad. Actually, that sounds awesome. I love my tuna salad with something crispy, and these would be perfect. I just gave myself a great excuse to make these!

Okay, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

Final Whole 30 Pics

Sorry for the lack of posts, guys! I’m seriously slacking on it. I do have the final pics from my Whole 30, though. This is on the first day and the last day, side by side. Enjoy!

And he’s the side view, side-by-side:

Significant differences all around, I’d say! I’m very pleased. And this morning, for the first time in at least 10 years, I weighed in under 200 lbs! That’s pretty huge, I think. That means I’ve lost over 50 lbs total from my heaviest (252 sometime in August or September of last year), and about 47 from starting this whole paleo gig back in October of last year. Pretty cool, I have to say.

Okay, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Whole 30 – Complete!

Hey guys! Just a quick check-in here. Today is the first day after my Whole 30. I’ve lost about 6 pounds, an inch or more off my waist, at least 1.5% body fat, and I’ve really changed a lot about how I see food. I’m surprised, honestly. I’ve always had issues with sugar, but now I don’t even really crave it. I had a sweetened yogurt this morning as part of my dairy reintroduction protocol, and my mouth started feeling kinda sticky and mucus-y almost immediately. Later on, I could taste the familiar “sugar graveyard” taste in my mouth. You know the one? Your mouth tastes kinda gross, kinda dry, and the best solution for it seems to be popping something sweet back in the ol’ bacon-hole to start the cycle all over again? Yeah, only now I recognized the taste for what it was, and didn’t get stuck in the trap.

So that’s cool. I really haven’t been craving sweets at all since I got a couple weeks into the Whole 30. My tastes have changed dramatically. I used to think that fruit wasn’t very sweet, but now it’s plenty sweet and in such a way that I don’t get the nasty taste later on. Plus I’m also getting nutrients, moisture and fiber at the same time. Big win for fruit. I’ve also noticed that my palate is more open to new flavors. I’m handling spicy food better than I used to, and even enjoying a little heat. I think I’d jacked my palate so far to the sweet end of the spectrum before that anything that wasn’t sweet was amplified. Now I’m much more balanced and can appreciate a wider range of flavors. That’s good stuff.

What else? Oh yeah. I’m flexible now. No idea when or how that happened but I can lean over and touch the floor with my knees locked. I haven’t been able to do that…ever. I have always struggled with flexibility and now it seems like I’ve got it to spare, at least compared to how I was before. Awesome!

I’ve got a picture from this morning, but haven’t loaded it up yet. I’ll do my usual comparison bits for you all. I’m jazzed, though! Definitely some significant results, and I realized that I can eat real, clean paleo for a good long while and be plenty happy. I don’t think I’ll be maintaining Whole 30-level strictness all the time, but I do think I’ll be living much, much closer to it than I was before. maybe a little sugar every now and again, probably some cheese on the regular, but I’m not going to be “that guy who says he eats paleo but every time you see him he’s eating nachos” anymore. Grains, with very few exceptions, are out for good. Cauliflower rice is plenty good enough to satisfy any rice-requiring dishes. I’m not saying I’ll never touch another corn chip, but I’m not going to buy the Costco-sized bag of them anymore, no matter how delicious they are and how great a deal it is. I don’t need to plow through three pounds of chips in a week.

Okay, so that’s it! Hopefully everyone enjoyed the journey as much as I did. I’m not where I want to be, body composition-wise, but I’ll just keep working at it until I get there. I know what I need to do, and I know that I can do it, and that’s a great thing. Thanks for reading!

Whole 30 – Week 3

One more week, one more check-in from me. Here goes:

 

I’m really starting to see some difference now. Significantly less on the sides, and a little definition around the upper chest. Score!

I think this perspective shows even more. I’m seeing increased definition in my shoulder, a flatter stomach, even a leaner neck and chin area. Pretty cool!

A couple other cool things. I made this dressing: Paleo Caesar it’s really tasty, and tastes just like creamy caesar dressing from a bottle. I used the It Starts With Food recipe for my latest batch of olive oil mayo and it turned out perfectly. Best taste and best texture of any recipe I’ve tried. here it is, if you want to give it a try:

  • One egg
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 1/4 cups light-tasting olive oil
Put the egg and the lemon juice into the blender or food processor (or bowl, if you don’t have those) and let rest for 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Add dry mustard and salt and 1/4 of oil and start mixing. Once the mixture is smooth, you slowly (very slowly) add the remaining oil until it’s all gone. Voila! Mayo.
What else? Oh, I also made the ISWF BBQ sauce, and that’s been really good, too (I’ll post a recipe for that one soon). And we made cauliflower rice to go with a curry that some friends brought over. It turned out so well! Here’s the recipe for that, from Nom Nom Paleo: Another (Simpler) Version of Cauliflower Rice
So yeah, lots of cooking. It’s been really fun! We’ve also gotten into a couple of super easy recipes lately. Oven-roasted chicken parts is probably my favorite. Some clarified butter, some salt, some seasonings, cover with foil, into the oven for 35 minutes at 400ยบ, then take the foil off and broil to get a little brown on them. It’s so easy you don’t even know. It’s tasty, too, and organic chicken legs from Costco are crazy cheap.

Okay, here’s a pile of links for you. I have many more, but this will help.

Vegans Secretly Achin’ for Some Bacon – I’m pretty sure this is why my wife married me. Bacon and underpants are a powerful combination.

Off the Wagon or Simple Indulgence? – “There is no cheating or indulging until you are well.” I like this idea. I also like his explanation for why an “indulgence” makes more sense, linguistically, than a “cheat”. I also think it makes sense to limit your indulgences to things that don’t hurt you too hard. If I have a bad reaction to gluten, I wouldn’t have a slice of cake as my indulgence. Your indulgences should be things you can enjoy a little of while staying healthy. If your indulgence makes you unhealthy, it’s too much or the wrong thing. Maybe it’s worth it to you to feel like a sack of smashed butts for a few days because you love cake that much? More power to you, but that’s not my jam. I can find plenty of amazingly delicious things I can eat that don’t make me sick. I don’t want to eat them for every meal, because that would make me unhealthy, but a little bit sometimes is perfect.

iPhone Appcessory Tests if Food is Really Organic – This is just cool. Science!

Chickens Dying From Fowl Light Bulbs – This is for my friends with hens. You might already know this, but it’s not something I would have considered if I had birds, so I figured I’d share.

How Should Science Be Done? – I’ve heard this argument as well, and I was swayed by it. Shouldn’t you be trying to disprove your hypothesis? If it’s your hypothesis ad you’re trying to prove it, doesn’t that mentality lead people to do bad science? I think it’s a reasonable question, but I can also understand Dr. Guyenet’s points. I don’t think that people are suggesting that we never stop trying to prove hypotheses wrong, though, which he seems to imply. At a certain point, those experiments are no longer useful, and I think everyone would agree. The difference is whether, when designing and running an experiment, you are working harder to prove yourself wrong or right? I can still see some benefit to going in with the mentality of trying to prove your hypothesis wrong, mostly from a psychological standpoint. Anyway, now I’m rambling.

Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 – Dr. Guyenet’s perspective on the conference. I’ll be posting more of these as they become available, and links to the talks themselves as well, when they pop up. Should be awesome! I like Dr. Guyenet’s perspective because he’s a little bit on his own in the ancestral health area, though people are slowly moving more towards his ideas, it seems. But he’s always fun, and sometimes he makes the hardcore low-carbers look downright silly. Or mean. And both are super funny to me.

Epic (Sustainable Farm-to-Table) Mealtime – This looks like a heck of a meal.

Why Animal Fats Are Good For You – A talk by Chris Masterjohn that he gave on the Low-Carb Cruise. That sounds like a great way to spend a week, btw. Steak and lobster and lots of garlic butter? Sign me up. Anyway, I like his approach. I also hear he absolutely knocked his AHS talk out of the park from a couple of sources I trust. Can’t wait to see it!

Okay, that’s it from me for today. Thanks for reading!

Whole 30 – Week 2

Jeez, I’ve been meaning to post more but life keeps interfering. Well I’ll at least get these once-a-week updates out, if nothing else.
Let’s get to it:

Honestly, I don’t feel like the pictures are doing me justice. I can feel abs under a thin layer of skin and fat all around my belly button. I don’t know that I’ve ever had that before. I know that I’ve lost significant fat, but maybe it just isn’t showing yet?

This one shows a little better, I think. Definitely less plump up front. I didn’t have a huge amount to lose, honestly, so I shouldn’t be surprised that the result isn’t super dramatic. What I would love to see is a comparison of myself before starting paleo and now. Unfortunately I didn’t take any proper “before” photos, but I’m so much skinnier! In a good way, though.

Okay, what else? Oh yeah, we’ve been making some recipes, too. Here’s one that worked well for us: The Tastiest Whole Roasted Chicken. Period.

We didn’t actually do it whole, though. I broke it down as best I could with my stupid-dull knives and roasted it in sections in a pan with some carrots, celery and onions. All I used to season was salt and a little black pepper and it came out really good! We also used the carcasses of the chickens to make some stock, which I’m currently working on filtering. I’m struggling with it, as I struggled with straining my clarified butter, but I’ve got high hopes that I’ll figure it out eventually.

Okay, I think that’s it. Sorry I haven’t been posting links for you guys. I just haven’t had the time to do them justice, so I’ll have to hit a few giant posts soon and try to get caught up. Thanks for reading!

Whole 30 – Week 1

Hey guys! Just wanted to check in with some news on the Whole 30. We’ve got over a dozen people taking part now, which is pretty awesome. I’ve finished reading the book, and absolutely loved it. We’ve also been getting as many group members together as possible a couple times a week to eat together, talk about progress, commiserate over foods we miss, etc. Overall, everyone seems to be having a good time, though the people who are transitioning to a Whole 30 lifestyle from a SAD are struggling more than those of us who were already paleo/gluten-free or whatever. We’re all still in the early, induction-type phases, though. I think as we get into weeks three and four, we’ll start seeing people universally feeling better.

In any case, I did want to share my pics with you. I’m doing one per week. Here’s the front shot from the day we started:

Side shot from start day:

Front shot from the end of week one. I can really feel myself leaning out. I’m not weighing myself (Boy do I want to, though), but I can absolutely tell by looking and feeling on my abdomen that I’ve slimmed down a fair amount. Just a week! Maybe you can’t really see it in these pictures, but I feel like I can a little.

Week one side shot:

Okay, here’s the start pic and the week one pic side by side. I feel like I can see some slimming on the sides for sure, though it’s definitely subtle.

Side by side shots of the side:

Not sure how much difference I’m seeing there. Most of the change I’m noticing is in the feeling when I touch my stomach. I know I’ve mentioned before that there’s a “loosening” phase when I lose fat, so it may not be getting smaller immediately, but the fat is much less dense, which has been the thing I’ve noticed first before I’ve noticed it going away completely. So that’s cool! I’m only a week into this gig, and there’s plenty of time left for some really serious changes, physically speaking.

Speaking of non-physical changes (hang on, I will be soon) there are a few things I’ve noticed that I’m really hoping the Whole 30 will help me change. For one, I am in the habit of eating something sweet after a meal. Every meal, it seems. Does breakfast usually include dessert? For me it was, for a while. So I’m working on that. Being done with a meal when I’m full, not when I was already full and then ate something sugary anyway. It doesn’t matter if it’s 85% cocoa, organic, fair-trade dark chocolate. The problem isn’t the sweet I’m eating, the problem is the habit that makes me reach for something sweet even when I’m not hungry anymore. The problem is also that treats should be just that, to my mind. There’s nothing special about Tuesday’s lunch. It doesn’t need to be finished with a dessert. Especially if I’m not even going to pay attention to thing while I’m eating it (which is very much how it tends to go). So what I’m working on now is to go without anything sweet after my lunches, maybe including some berries with breakfast, and I will generally have some fruit when I get home from work and with dinner. We’re going through a lot of fruit, which probably isn’t ideal, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Both my wife and I have noticed that fruit tastes sweeter when it’s the sweetest thing you eat than it does when you’re constantly dulling your tastebuds with hyper-tasting foods. I don’t know that I’ll ever get to the point where something tastes “too sweet” (you’re talking to the man who invented the jamsicle, here) but I’d at least like to be to the point where a sweet taste is a treat instead of the standard, especially if it’s any kind of added sweetener instead of fruit.

So there we go. That’s what’s up now. I’m enjoying good, solid, hearty breakfasts. Eggs with mustard and baconnaise with some paprika mixed in make for a tasty, non-traditional breakfast food. We’re also really loving the sugar-free bacon we got from US Wellness Meats (I won a $100 gift certificate! Did I tell you guys that? It’s awesome, and I bought so much meat.) and we found some clean breakfast sausages as well. Finding things that are gluten free is a cakewalk anymore, but finding packaged foods that are sugar free is far tougher than you’d think. Most any of the regular brands of hot dogs you see will have sugar in them. Lunch meats will often have sugar in them. Most every sauce, dressing, or anything else will. It’s kinda crazy when you think about it. My lunches thus far are mostly leftovers from dinner or my salads. Unfortunately the Applegate Farms pepperoni that I like so much contains sugar, so that’s a no-go. I found some pre-cooked chicken breast strips at Costco that are far from the highest quality meat, but they are definitely super quick and easy to throw together in the morning. For dinners, we’ve had burgers, steaks, chicken, ribs,smoked pork, lots of broccoli, sweet potatoes, a chuck roast cooked in a stew with carrots, celery and onions that was very good, and probably loads more I’m forgetting. We’re not hurting by any means, and we’re actually saving money, surprisingly enough. Gluten free packaged food is stupid expensive. It’s so much cheaper to eat real, unpackaged food that is gluten free because it’s only got the one ingredient. We’re also cruising through our meat stores pretty quickly, which is awesome! Gotta clear out the freezer and make room for the next cow.

Okay, I’m done for reals now. Thanks for reading!

Practical Paleo Review – Part 2

Back again, and holy cow was yesterday a big day for the blog! Many many thanks to Diane for posting the link on her Facebook page and bringing all you wonderful people here. It seems like people enjoyed Part 1, and I’m hoping Part 2 can do justice to what is my favorite section of this book. Let’s just jump right in, shall we? Here’s goes my review of Part 2 of Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.

So here’s the thing. Most people who aren’t elbow-deep in the paleo world, especially those who have very strong opinions based on very little understanding, think that there’s just one way to do the paleo thing. Those of us who follow the blogs, read the books, listen to the podcasts, and watch the interviews/presentations, know better (though we may not have much of a social life, due to our paleo-obsessiveness). There are a lot of ways to do paleo, and there’s probably a way to do it for your specific needs that’s already out there somewhere. But other than baseline paleo (from Robb Wolf‘s book The Paleo Solution) or primal (from Mark Sisson‘s book The Primal Blueprint) and maybe Robb’s autoimmune protocol (from his website) do people actually know where to go to get a breakdown of what they should be eating for their specific goals? That’s what I love about section 2 of Practical Paleo, and why it’s my favorite section of the three. She has not just guidelines, but actual “Here are thirty days of meals, three meals a day, with the recipes,” for not just one or two goals, but for eleven of them! Everything from the neurological protocol designed for people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s to the athletic performance plan for hard-charging athletes. From digestive health, to heart health, to getting your blood sugar in line, Diane has laid out a 30-day plan for anything you could want to do. And if you don’t have any specific goals or health issues, she’s got a full 30-day plan called “Squeaky Clean Paleo” that will work for anyone who just wants to be lean and healthy. Seriously, I don’t think I’m doing justice to how cool this is.

When I talk to someone about paleo (as I did last night with the lady who cuts my hair) they always have a lot of questions about whether it’s healthy, how it works, why it works, etc. Section one covers all of that beautifully. Then, if they’re interested, their next question is almost always “How can I do it?” People are intimidated by such a big change, and the idea of giving up drive-through trash and caramel-colored liquid sugar fills them with dread. You mean they’d have to think about what they eat? They’d have to decide what Tuesday’s lunch will look like when they’re at the store on Sunday instead of when they’re at the menu board at McDonald’s on Tuesday at lunchtime? It’s terrifying. It’s more thought than most of them have put into their food at any point in their lives, which is probably what got them to the same place where living that way had gotten me: fat and sick. Doing a straight-up paleo gig is certainly good, and you can find some meal plans out there for them, but nothing I’ve seen is as comprehensive as Practical Paleo’s approach. Shopping guide, meal plan, recipe book, all of it in one place. It’s fantastic. And not just for your baseline paleo, but for all the different things you could possibly want to work on. That’s something I think bears repeating, so I’ll get to repeating it. Bear bear bear. Wait, that’s wrong. Here goes: The paleo diet concept is a baseline of quality real foods, avoiding irritants and processed junk, and eating quality carbohydrates in accordance with your goals. That’s broad, though. There’s a ton of space in there, and it’s easy to get lost, or at the very least not to find what’s optimal for you if you’re not a really dedicated researcher or tinkerer. Someone with Alzheimer’s and someone competing for the Crossfit games have violently different nutritional needs. Bam. This book has them both covered. Someone skinny looking to put on muscle and someone overweight looking to lose fat need to eat very differently. Bam. Covered. Digestive problems? Covered. Autoimmunity? Covered. And this isn’t to say that a baseline paleo wouldn’t help these people. It almost certainly would. But if we’re on board with the paleo concept, we’ve already got better. We want best. And having these individual plans will help people get to best all that much faster, and with less time spent experimenting to try to figure it out on their own. That means they get to their goals faster and easier, which means they’re more likely to stay motivated. Booyah all around.

Okay, so let’s get to details before we wrap up. What does each plan include? You get a full list of all the conditions or problems that a given plan is designed to help with. Then you get a list of “Add” or “Avoid” things. These are items or activities that are especially important for you to include in your diet or lifestyle, or to keep out of it, depending on your goall. You get a list of supplements that can help you, along with a list of the important nutrients you can get from whole foods and what those whole foods are. The section also includes a portion size guideline, which I think is very helpful. It’s very reasonable, too. Hefty amounts of protein, unlimited non-starchy veggies, and smaller amounts of starchy carbs and fruit. It’s far from restrictive, but also gives people an idea that it’s possible to overeat on a paleo plan (though I’ve noticed it’s much harder to do so), especially if fat loss is a goal.

So there you have it! That’s section two of Practical paleo and it’s excellent. I think it really adds something important to the whole paleosphere, and in a very concrete way. Not just another perspective on the same info, but a real expansion of some important concepts, laid out clearly and beautifully. Awesome!

I did want to mention that I finally talked myself into doing a Whole 30 with some friends. Actually the number of friends has expanded dramatically. It was going to be me and two others and now it’s like eight people, including my wife. That’s pretty cool! So I weighed and measured myself this morning as my “Before” stats, and I’ll do the same in 30 days (and not until then). Here’s where I stand right now:

  • Weight – 207.6 lbs
  • Omron – 14.6%
  • Calculated Lean Mass – 177.3 lbs
  • Calculated Fat Mass – 30.3 lbs
  • Waist – 35.5″
  • Suprailiac Pinch – 14

Not too bad, but I’m really thinking that I can make significant progress with this Whole 30 gig. To get to 10% body fat (which is my goal, and where I suspect I’ll see some abs) I need to lose 10 pounds of fat without losing any lean mass. I’m going to keep doing my Convict Conditioning work and eating plenty of quality protein, so I’m not worried about losing muscle, and if my prior experience is any indication, I think a full month without any sugar and with pretty limited starch might just get me to 10 pounds of fat loss. Fingers crossed!

That’s it for today, but I’ll be back with the final installment of my review, where I actually cook something from the book’s recipe section (I’m actually doing the clarified butter and the mayo tomorrow night, with friends, to get us all geared up for our Whole 30s, but I’m talking about a recipe even beyond those) so hopefully I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for reading!

Monday Monday

Greetings! We had a big weekend, and I finally uploaded my pics of mayo. So here’s all of it, briefly. As briefly as I can do anything, that is.

Before I get to that, I wanted to tell you guys that I’ve been reading my review copy of Practical Paleo, and it’s amazing. I’m not nearly as far into it as I’d like to be (busy weekend, as I mentioned) but it’s already a fantastic resource for anyone interested in paleo. Great information, organized beautifully, with enough depth to answer most any question you could have. I’m really, really impressed. I even made a recipe from one of the earliest reviews of the book that I saw, and it turned out very well. It was a little spicy for me, I think because I misread the recipe (the recipe makes it look like you want to put all of the spices listed into the burger mix, but you actually want to mix all of those ingredients together separately, and then add 2 Tbsp of that mix into the meat) so I ended up adding more of the spices than I should have. I doubled the meat but didn’t double the spices, thankfully, so it wasn’t as bad as it might have been. Next time, though, I’ll definitely be cutting the spices down to the amount actually listed in the recipe. The pineapple topping was excellent, and that’s going to be a regular as well. I didn’t use the ginger or the sesame seeds, because I didn’t have any on hand. So really, it ended up pineapple chunks with juice and a little water, crushed up, with a couple tablespoons of Tamari in it. Not at all what the recipe called for, but I’m a free spirit. And it was still good.

I also had some cherry sorbet last night, and it has convinced me that I absolutely need to make my own. Maybe a lemon cherry? or pineapple cherry? Anyway, I’m going to do it and it’s going to be awesome. I’ll figure it out and share the recipe.

As for me, I’m still doing my Convict Conditioning, and still enjoying it a great deal. Some of the exercises I’m doing now are actually pretty challenging, and others are still easy, which is to be expected. I’m just slowly working my way through all of it, making steady progress. I’m still easily staying under 210 lbs and 15% body fat,which is a good thing. I’ve convinced myself officially to do a Whole 30 now, and I’ve even got some friends who will do it with me. I’m thinking September.

Okay, here’s the mayo recipe: Paleo Mayo

Here’s how I did it.

These are your ingredients. The “Extra Light Tasting” olive oil is key. You don’t want to use extra virgin, as the stronger flavor will overpower your mayonnaise flavor. Maybe if you wanted to make some kind of garlicky, olivey base mayo to use in a caesar dressing it would work? I’ll have to try it sometime, I guess. if you were better prepared than I am, you might also have fresh squeezed lemon juice available. Also, most mayo recipes just call for plain yellow mustard, but I kinda like using some stoneground stuff. Your mileage may vary.

Okay, this is the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and egg yolks. i was supposed to use whole eggs, but wasn’t paying attention to my recipe. D’oh! its cool, it still turned out just fine.

Okay, blend it/process it/whisk it, whatever. Get it mixed. Put your lid on and get ready to drizzle.

This little hole right here is why my food processor is my mayo-making machine of choice. I can just pour the olive oil into this cup and it will very slowly drizzle into the processing chamber. It makes it impossible to rush, and makes the whole thing very painless. So there you go, really. you just drizzle your oil into the mixer while you’re mixing, and it should form an emulsion. As the emulsion comes together, you’ll see it start to look like mayonnaise and get all creamy. Once it does this, you can keep adding oil slowly and the oil will continue to get incorporated into the mayonnaise, but if you do too much of it you can end up with an oily mouth feel. Not ideal. So use the cup of oil as your guideline, but you’ll really just need to make mayo a couple of times to get a feel for how it looks when you’re done.

Okay, there it is. Homemade paleo mayo. Ta-da! It’s good stuff, and this ended up being a very small batch, compared to previous batches. Maybe the yolk-only makes it form an emulsion faster, requiring less oil and making for less volume? Now that I’ve got a better feel for mayo (and a new recipe to try in Practical Paleo) I’m thinking I may have to try bacon mayo again. We eat a lot of bacon and always save our drippings, which basically makes our mayo free. A couple eggs are like less than $1, regardless of where we buy them, and a tablespoon of a few things I’ve got plenty big containers of aren’t worth calculating the price on. With fat from bacon we’re going to eat anyway forming the bulk of the mayonnaise, how can I say no? I’ll do that and maybe run it in video format for you guys so you can see how it goes.

Can a Christian be a Paleo Diet Advocate? – An interesting post, and one that I’d imagine comes up for people when talking to friends and family, or when trying to decide for themselves whether this is the lifestyle for them. I think it’s clear that a Christian can be a proponent of this way of eating, even if they reject the notion of evolution. Evolution provides the “why” of the paleo diet (Why don’t we deal well with grains, generally speaking? Why do we deal well with meat? Why does our digestive system look different from that of our closest living relatives?) but you don’t need the why for it to work for you. That’s the best part of science, I think. You don’t need to believe it, agree with it, or even be aware of it for it to work, consistently and predictably. So if you think the Earth was called into being 6000 years ago, or if you think it was spun into being from the matter thrown out of a supernova 6 billion years ago, eating this way will still help to keep you lean, healthy and happy. And that’s something we can all agree is a good thing.

At what temperature are food enzymes destroyed? – I figured I’d post this one to see what people think about it. Generally when you hear people arguing about food enzymes, they’re about three quarters of the way to advocating for a raw vegan diet. Obviously, this isn’t the case for Sarah. So what gives? We know that cooking makes food more digestible, can give us greater access to certain nutrients, makes food easier to chew, etc. Cooking is generally good, right? How concerned ought we to be about “food enzymes” anyway? There are even arguments about whether whole foods even contain the enzymes that people are worried about destroying (many sources claim that there isn’t any lactase in raw milk, while raw milk advocates claim there is). So who knows? But apparently if there are enzymes in your food and you don’t want to kill them, your finger can tell you when the liquid is too hot. So there you go.

Another way to pit cherries – Definitely a good way to go, especially if you’re going to use the cherries for something where they don’t need to look all pretty. Alton Brown would be proud of this multi-tasking!

I’m 95% Confident This is a Good Definition of a P-Value – If you read a lot of scientific studies, but aren’t too keen on the statistics side of things, this is a really helpful piece detailing what those p-values mean, and how useful they are.

How to Spot an A-Hole – It’s the internet. They’re everywhere.

Ancient Wisdom Confirmed by Modern Science – I remember reading Tom Naughton’s interview of this guy a while back and thinking that his book sounded pretty darned cool. I never ended up buying it, because I had (and still have) a giant stack of books on my nightstand that were already being neglected. Still, it’s cool to see that Johnathan Bailor is tying in to the ancestral health movement. The more the merrier!

Grains, Vegetarians, Vegans and Nutritional Density – This is a cool piece, and one I’ve done something similar to before, though not as throughly. I like the idea of it, but i think it can get too far into nutritionism. Because the calories reported on a bomb calorimeter and the amount of protein/minerals/vitamins reported in a lab for a given food have only a passing relationship with what your body actually gets out of that food. We’re all individuals, and our food is individual. Our digestion, where and when our food was grown, how far it traveled after harvest or slaughter, how it was raised, even what time of day we eat or how much sleep we got the night before all seem to influence our ability to absorb nutrients. So I get what he’s saying, and I think it’s a fair point. I think it’s also probably very convincing to people who really do think of whole foods as “a good source of vitamin C” or “100% of your RDA for selenium” but once you get to a more nuanced understanding of nutrition and digestion, it doesn’t actually pay to spend too much time fiddling with the numbers like this. I’m sure Mr. Nikoley is well aware of this, and wrote this post to make a point, not to advocate for a nutritionist approach.

Paleo Parenting: Our Free Guide – Woot! Free things about feeding kids real food!

Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption – I’ve posted things similar to this before, but this article (and I’m sure the book it’s referencing) have a more in-depth take of the issue than I’ve seen previously. Some specific facts & figures as well as some quotes from prominent doctors, pharmaceutical executives, journal editors, etc. It’s scary stuff. This is the sort of thing that makes you not want to listen to any mainstream science, or at least not trust it without verifying who paid for it and how it was designed first. That’s the most frustrating thing. Pure science is an incredible tool for understanding ourselves and our world. Thinking that the system of funding and publishing we have now is a failure doesn’t mean you hate science, it means you hate what a bunch of assholes have done to science.

Artichoke Dip – If you use some homemade mayo, fresh garlic and some good quality parmesan (maybe even fresh artichokes?) you could make this into a high-quality primal dip for veggies. Or a topping for burgers/steaks/chicken? Sounds crazy tasty to me.

Chareva’s Kitchen: Pancake Sandwiches – I love this idea. We’ve struggled trying to find gluten-free bread with the right texture and flavor, but Pamela’s pancake mix is pure gold every time. If you want a gluten free, semi-paleo PBJ, you could do worse than a Pamela’s pancake with Justin’s Honey Almond Butter and some Crofter’s all-fruit jam.

Easy and Delicious Sausage Frittata – This just sounds tasty. I love frittatas, mostly because I never mastered the technique of an actual omelet.

I have many more links, but this is already a hefty load for one day. I’m going to try to post every day until I get through all the stuff I want to share with you guys. Thanks for reading, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!

We be jammin’, but less so

Okay, so a couple nights ago I ate the tiny little bit of jamsicle that I’d frozen in a cup. It was good. Crazy sweet, but good. Too sweet, though, to eat a whole popsicle’s worth in a sitting. And this coming from the man who used to consider a one-pound bag of Skittles ‘one serving’. Anyway, I have to figure this out. So I melted the popsicles into the measuring cup again, and added a can of coconut milk. I whisked it all together, then poured it back into the popsicle molds and, since there was more volume than previously, I also ended up making a few extra tiny cups on the side. It all went into the freezer overnight.

In the morning, it was glorious. The coconut cut the sweetness just right, and added a bit of coconut flavor that worked well with the strawberry. It also really helped the pops to freeze to the sticks, which was an issue I hadn’t anticipated with the original jamsicles, but which became apparent when I was trying to pull them out to let them thaw. So I think it was a success, overall. Unfortunately, Jenna didn’t really care for them, which sort of defeats the purpose. D’oh! Back to the drawing board, I guess. Maybe just the strawberry puree with the honey, without anything being cooked down? Or maybe half the strawberry puree cooked down and the other half not? We’ll see. Sounds like a series of delicious experiments, to me.

Speaking of which, I also created a batch of ranch dressing based on Mark Sisson’s recipe. I’ve only tasted it, and haven’t actually used it for anything properly yet, so I’m not sure how it’ll pan out. I’m a little worried that it will be too much dairy for me, unfortunately. I hear there’s a way to make a mayonnaise-based ranch dressing that I may have to work out. In any case, I made this one and it definitely does taste like ranch dressing!

I also wanted to let you all know that I’ve bumped up my pullups and squats to the next level. Now I’m doing horizontal pulls and jackknife squats. Interesting stuff, for sure! My knees make horrible noises at me when I get into a full squat position, but there’s no pain or discomfort, just a lot of sound. I’m taking it very slowly, of course, and will see if the full range squats seem to be causing me any pain as I ramp up my numbers on them. If so, I might have to do just half squats or something for a while while I build up the strength of the connective tissue in there. If it continues even past that, I’ll probably have to have them looked at.

Okay, link time!

Everything in Moderation – This is good. Moderation is a useless term unless it is defined, and by its very nature, it is never defined. You can use it to justify a big piece of cake after an already big meal, or you can use it to justify skipping a workout. Oddly enough, people rarely use this thinking to justify a little extra salad or 10 more pushups.

Why Aren’t Humans Adapted to Grains? – Yes, this is awesome. Fantastic explanation.

Barbecuing may be traditional, but is it healthy? – I’ve seen articles similar to this a number of times and figured I’d finally post one up here. This one is pretty comprehensive, comparatively, so it makes sense to go with it over some of the others. In any case, I’m not going to stop grilling, but I have definitely moved to indirect heat to avoid getting any charred meat/fat on my steaks and burgers. I also don’t grill all that much in the grand scheme. Maybe once a week, on average? And it’s always with indirect heat anymore, so I’m hoping that I’m at least reducing whatever nasties are in there. My overall take on this is that I could probably optimize my diet and avoid some nasty stuff by not grilling anymore, but it really isn’t worth it to me. With my current balance of good food, good sleep, moderate exercise and decent sun exposure, I’m about a kerblillion lightyears ahead of where I was last year, health-wise. I’ll continue improving, but I don’t think I’m going to give up grilling entirely at any point. I have so many other areas i could improve first that I know are doing more harm.

Wasp Spraying – This is just a cool idea. Just spray them far away from me, please.

Evolutionary Medicine 101 - Great piece! He touches on a number of issues, and brings up a wide range of concepts that I think should definitely be on them inds of medical students. “Normal” and average shouldn’t mean the same thing. The average cholesterol level of an unhealthy population isn’t likely to be the optimal level, but we tend to assume that we can push everyone towards the middle of the bell curve and make them healthier. Doesn’t really make sense when you think about it, but too few people really think about it, I fear.

The Straight Dope on Cholesterol, Part VIII – Dr. Attia’s back, this time with a discussion about whether there is any benefit to testing blood lipid parameters outside the traditional panel. He says yes, but a recent report says no. I’m inclined to agree with him on this one, and he gives great explanations for why he thinks there’s good reason to test other aspects of cholesterol.

The Straight Dope on Cholesterol, Part IX – What should you eat to delay the onset of cardiovascular disease? Dr. Attia runs through the literature on this one, pulling the best information we have available to see what really causes CVD and what we can do to help reduce our risks of developing CVD for ourselves. You might have guessed that it involved cutting sugars, because I think we all know at this point that sugar’s pretty bad for us, especially in the vast quantities that make up the SAD. Almost done with this series!

Egg Turkey Cups – Okay, I dig these.

All done! Thanks for reading and we’ll catch up soon. Enjoy!

Accidental Strawberry Jamsicles

Yeah, that’s what I said. So my wife loves her some strawberry popsicles, right? Like for realsies. I’ve tried a few different formulations, including one where i simply pureed frozen strawberries and poured them into the molds. Those tasted much like you’d imagine they would. They were okay, but they weren’t really what she’d been craving. I ate them all, of course, but I’ve been wanting to try something else for her. For one, because I’m thinking that we could likely save ourselves some money by making our own, and also because I’d rather see her eating something made with quality ingredients. I’d love to wean her off the sweets, but she’s a grown-ass woman who can do what she wants. As long as she’s going to be eating them, it’s better if shes at least eating real food sweets instead of corn syrup and the like, and that’s something I can help with.

So, that’s why I tried something else last night. We got a couple pounds of organic strawberries on sale from the grocery. They weren’t the prettiest things, but certainly worthy of going into the food processor. I also grabbed some of our local, raw, unfiltered honey. I’m not basing this on any sort of recipe, mind you, I’m just playing around here. Okay, let’s get started.

Strawberry Jamsicles

Ingredients:

  • 2 Lbs. Organic Strawberries
  • 1/2 cup Honey

Here we go. Two packages of strawberries and some honey.

Wash ‘em up, cut the tops off and put them into your food processor. Probably a blender would work, too? Puree until they’re pretty much just a smooth liquid.

Yeah, that’s it. When it looks like this, you’re done pureeing.

Now get your 1/2 cup of honey. Pour that and the puree into a saucepan. The mixture will expand a bit as it cooks, so use a bigger one than you think you’ll need. I used my 8-qt pot and that was perfect.

Okay, there you go. Whisk the honey into the puree and turn the stove onto medium-low. You can push to medium and it’ll go faster, but you run the risk of burning it if you don’t sit right there and stir constantly. I wanted to be free to go do other things, so I left mine on medium low and just came back to stir every few minutes.

When it starts to simmer, it’ll look like this. There’s a lighter-colored sort of foam that rises to the top. You just keep simmering and stirring until that starts to go away. That’s how you know you’ve cooked off most of the water, and you’re getting where you want to be.

As you keep stirring, you’ll notice that the foam takes over the surface every time you stir, and then when you let it sit for a while, the bubbles breaking the surface will move the foam out of the way, showing the darker red underneath. You just stir it up again and again until there’s no longer any foam on the surface.

That’s it. When it looks like this, you’re all done. There’s no more foam, just a red glaze that looks kinda shiny.

Okay, I poured the glaze into this measuring cup because it has a spout on it so I can pour it into my molds more easily. If you wanted to ladle it out or something, this step isn’t actually necessary. You want to cool this a bit, just enough so you don’t damage your molds. You can stick it in the fridge for a few hours or do what I did and just bury it in a bowl of ice.

Now that the glaze is cool, you can pour it into your molds. I think I mentioned before that I have this set and really like them a lot. I’ve used them several times and they work great.

There you go. I leave some pace for expansion at the top. The extra goes into tiny little cheapy Glad storage cups that also go into the freezer.

Pop your handles on, put in the freezer overnight, and enjoy!

Now here’s the thing. These are called Jamsicles because they taste like strawberry jam. Legit. it’s like you just got a spoon out and dug into a jar of strawberry jam. If that’s your jam, so to speak, then more power to you. You will not be disappointed. it’s actually too sweet for us, though. I wouldn’t have thought that half a cup of honey would be too much for that many strawberries. The ice cream recipe I’ve been using called for 1/4 cup of honey per one 16-oz can of coconut milk, and this stuff is easily double that volume, even once it’s cooked down. Sure the strawberries themselves are going to be sweet, but that sweet? I guess so. So my options are these. Power through these and deal with the mind-shattering sweetness that goes along with them, or I can re-melt my pops, mix in a can or two of coconut milk, and then re-make them. I’m thinking I’ll try the second option. I like to do fat with my sweets when possible to slow down the digestion so I don’t hit my system quite so hard. Next batch, I’ll try zero honey and see how that tastes, and maybe it’ll end up being sweet enough or maybe it’ll end up being 1/4 cup of honey that works better. In any case, I’ll keep experimenting and let you know.

How about some more links? Yes, have some.

(Re)defining Paleo – This is awesome. Legit. You should read this and understand it. It’s such a great primal primer, I think it should come on a card so we can all just pull it out and read it to anyone who asks us about it. She covers everything, really. She doesn’t rely on evolutionary theory, doesn’t demand low-carb, and allows for personal variation. A masterpiece, I say.

A Pressure Cooker for the 21st Century – This looks so cool! I really like the idea of a one-stop shop for slow cooking, steaming, browning, etc. Right now we have a number of different machines doing those jobs, and simplifying would be pretty great. Amazon offers it for $120 with free shipping, here.

New Study: Is a calorie a calorie? – You might have seen this study recently, and Dr. Guyenet has a neat summary of it with his thoughts. It goes to show that some diets seem to fare better than others when it comes to maintaining weight loss after a significant drop. As always, I like Dr. Guyenet’s take on this stuff, since he adds a measured view that isn’t specifically tied to either paleo or low-carb, which tend to be the two groups I most associate with.

Good science, bad interpretation – Dr. Attia goes after the same study, and really explains it well. He differs with Dr. Guyenet in that he thinks it does show significant benefits to carbohydrate restriction. Reading both takes on it is fascinating, as I love both of these guys.

Reading the Scientific Literature – Helpful piece by Dr. Feinman discussing how you can spot bad science.

Okay, let’s call it good there. Thanks for reading!