March 29, 2011

Even the WSJ knows

Gluten is bad, bacon is rad.

Okay, they don't say anything about bacon, but you know in your heart that it's true.

H/T Robb Wolf.

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March 18, 2011

I have dissappointed myself

But God probably knew this was coming.  I desperately needed a glass of milk when I got home from the gym today, so I went ahead and had... several.  I wanted to just eat my beef and sweet potato curry, but I'm so damn burnt out on crockpotted food that I couldn't bear it.  This is going to be a problem.

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March 10, 2011


I'm badly lapsed, but I've tried to give up something each of the last few years for the Lenten season.  It seems a little silly in context, because I already adhere to a pretty austere diet (by SAD standards, anyhow), but I try to give up something that I still consider a vice.  So this season:

  • Coffee
  • Liquid food
  • Wheat
I basically get no wheat 90% of the time,  but that last 10% is frequent enough that I'm never really giving my gut a chance to rest and recover.  Coffee I knew was a problem, as I'd been abusing it to maintain my 16 hour daily fasts.  Basically, I'd wake up, drink 64 oz of coffee, lift if it was a lifting day, and then eat a massive lunch.  That'll work for a while, but it's also a good recipe for excessive cortisol and subsequent adrenal fatigue.  So for Lent, no coffee, and until I can maintain or lose weight while eating breakfast, no early-morning fasting either.  Right now I've gained a little bit, so it'll be awhile before I start that again.  Liquid food is on the list because as a non-infant I really shouldn't be drinking any calories anyway, and I was pretty sure I was over-reliant on milk and protein shakes.  Yes, the category includes alcohol.

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November 18, 2010

These two ought to combine nicely.

I turn 35 in just under a month, and I'm not planning on a huge cheat for my birthday, so my current plan is to make something dessert-like that's not too much of a stretch.

Behold, I have the makings of an almost-paleo pumpkin cheesecake:

I'll review after I've actually made it.

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October 08, 2010

IF links, and humility

Since I've moved my workouts earlier in the day these past 3 weeks, I've been struggling to maintain my intermittent fasts with my normal 12pm-8pm feeding window. I've been having my post-workout meal around 10am most days, then occasionally getting lunch just 2 hours later( or skipping lunch altogether). The practical fallout from this is that if I want to continue daily 16 hour fasts, my feeding window closes at 6pm, which is an hour before I make it home most nights. This can often mean me eating a 2nd/3rd meal somewhat later than planned, mostly because getting home = dinner in my mind. I've tried to skip dinner on the days when I've had two meals while I've been away from home, but it's not always easy. My weight has also crept up a pound or two (mostly it goes up 2 or 3, then I skip dinner and it comes down 1 or 2). Anyhow, in light of that, I went back to see what Martin Berkhan recommended for my situation.

Early morning fasted training seems to recommend the protocol I should be following, whether it involves me bringing a lunch or not. For anyone interested, his general guide is here.  I'll be grinding through the BCAAs, but it's worth it.

Also, Christine (aka cookiemonster) posted this back on the 29th, but I just saw it.  Squatting 260 lb at a weight of 114 lb.  F*&^, I can't do that.  I was pretty pleased that I got 4 reps at 215 lb today, at a bodyweight of 188 lb.  Also, I want to praise Christine for posting all her weights in pounds for us metric denialists, even though she's Canadian.

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March 31, 2010


Since I'm looking to cut calories -- at least for awhile -- I figured it might be wise to calculate how many I need. According to the calculating tool at NutritionData, as a sedentary male that lifts weights vigorously for about 30 minutes a day (actually 60-70 minutes 3x a week, but that's as close as I could get with the tool), I need roughly 2925 kc/day to maintain my current weight.

Per week, that's: 2925 kc * 7 = 20475 kc

According to S.P.E.E.D. (to be reviewed soon, I'm still reading it), I need to create a deficit of roughly 20 to 40% below my maintenance quantity to shed additional pounds.  Since I haven't been losing lately, I suspect that I underestimated my normal intake in the prior post.  I'd wager that I've probably really averaged about 3000 kc/day for most of the past two months, higher on some days, lower on others.

For comparison's sake, a 20% reduction would give:
Daily: 2925 kc * 0.8 = 2340 kc
Weekly: 2340 kc * 7 = 16380 kc
Deficit per week:  20475 kc - 16380 kc = 4095 kc = 1.17 lb fat

And 40% would be:
Daily: 2925 kc * 0.6 = 1755 kc
Weekly: 1755 kc * 7 = 12285 kc
Deficit per week: 20475 kc - 12285 kc = 8190 kc = 2.34 lb fat

(the mathletes in the audience will note that the second deficit calculation is redundant, since all the values are simply doubled from the first, I include it for completeness)

Since I'd rather lose faster than slower (who wouldn't?) and I consider 2.34 lb a safe rate to lose at, the question becomes how best to maintain a roughly 1755 kc/day intake, and whether I could/should lump more calories into some days and none into others.  I'll have to experiment with both approaches and see which causes me less anguish.

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January 22, 2010

Eating Fewer Things

I've been keeping VLC (Very Low Carb) or ZC (Zero Carb) pretty well, but I'm still drinking a fair amount of coffee (1-3 cups a day) and I've been adding heavy cream on some days.  Cream has very small amounts of carbohydrate, even without it the taste is sweet enough that it may still be provoking a rise in my insulin level, similarly to a diet soda.

Also, the "experts" are all over the place on caffeine.  Some studies say it raises blood sugar and thus insulin, others say it raises blood sugar but blocks insulin, and still others say it does neither but does make cells more responsive to insulin.  Since nearly all of evolutionary history occurred in the absence of coffee -- indeed, in the absence of hot beverages in general -- I'm going to play it safe and just quit it as well.

I'm unsure about whether to keep drinking tea.  I have tons of tea laying around, and I mostly drink it iced, and it's basically just water with leaf residue in it, no fire necessary, so I may hang onto it for now and see how I feel going forward.

And yes, this means my diet has now narrowed to meat, water, tea, and the occasional piece of broccoli I'm offered at a restaurant.  I'll let you know if scurvy actually sets in, or the Eskimos are really onto something.

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July 19, 2009

Eating Out

No, not that, I'm talking about patronizing restaurants.  I eat out for lunch a lot more often than I'd like.  I inevitably end up eating more than I ought to, spending more than I needed to, and mildly regretting the whole thing as I pat my ever-expanding belly in the mid-afternoon.  The same is more-or-less true of dinners I eat out: usually bigger than I need, and far more expensive than eating in.

So why go?

  1. Convenience: making food takes time and effort, starting with shopping for ingredients in advance, with an eye toward what I think I'll want to eat several days hence.
  2. Socializing: eating together is a ritual of significance in every human culture of which I've heard.  We ate with parents or family as children because we could not make or buy our own food, we grow up eating with friends and family.  It's hard for me to turn down an invitation to eat with others, and I feel especially rude doing so.
That said, I need to cut back, a lot.  I'm presently much fatter* than I'd like to be, and daily restaurant meals aren't helping me.  Further, I really like preparing my own food, I've just been far too lazy or preoccupied to take the time.  The amusing thing -- to me, at least -- is that none of this would be a problem if I were poorer.  Somewhere along the way from impoverished college student to decently-middle-class engineer, I lost the disciplined thrift I'd honed so well when my wallet was thinner (and so was I).

* I tried to think of a good euphemism for "fatter" but then I realized I was trying to think of a euphemism.

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June 09, 2009


I'm not saying where I found this, or that I'm proud of it, but it's hilarious.


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April 16, 2009

Neanderthin, week 1 recap

After posting about it last week, I got inspired, so I've been eating paleo starting with breakfast last Friday. Those loyal readers who recall the pitiful failure that was Meat Week (which ended on day 5) will be pleased to know that so far I've been able to keep to it rather easily.  Fruit, vegetables, and nuts help a lot.  Slight deviation on Easter for a piece of apple pie and a roll, other than that I'm solid.  TMI stats below the fold.

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April 03, 2009

Great talk on nutrition and obesity

Here, from the previous Neanderthin link.

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January 09, 2009

Kashi Go-Lean Crunch: Honey Almond Flax

It's tasty, and filling, but I worry that the bigger clusters will crack my teeth.

Also, no amount of eating it regularly does anything to diminish the gas it creates after contact with my intestinal flora.  Nothing compares to the quantity I experience after a bowl of this.

(Yes, this is a sucky post about cereal, I'm not finished with the book I wanted to review)

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August 04, 2008

Meat Week - day 5 recap? Not gonna happen

Since this'll be the last post on the subject, it goes above the jump.  I cracked.  I skipped breakfast because I couldn't eat at the time.  By lunch time I was ready to throw in the towel on the experiment, and grabbed myself a chicken pesto grinder.

Can I survive on just meat?
Probably, at least for a while.

Is it any fun?
No.  It is categorically not fun.  Not after the first day, anyhow.

Any other lessons learned?
Pleasure from eating is important.  I'm not a hedonist in any other way, but I really love food, and denying myself that pleasure -- while possible in the short term -- makes life immediately feel less worth living.  Many people effortlessly stay thin and fit throughout life.  I'm not one of them, and it's easy to feel jealous of that trait.  I just have to recognize that, and put in the effort.  I can't stay out of shape forever, and waiting for the cure for exercise and crappy diet is a fool's gamble.

Yes, I'm aware there's nothing profound here, and nothing you can't find whined about on any number of personal blogs.  Unless asked about it, this is the last I'll speak of it.  On the other hand, next time I have a stupid idea, I can look at this, remember, and maybe skip it.

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Meat Week - day 4 recap


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August 03, 2008

Meat Week - day 3 recap


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August 02, 2008

Meat Week - day 2 recap


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August 01, 2008

Meat Week - day 1 recap


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July 30, 2008

Meat week

As mentioned in the previous post, I'm going to try an experiment.  For the next week, I'm going all-carnivore.  Nothing but meat from 12am tomorrow until 12am next Thursday.  Since I'm not partial to (nor do I think I could find) any adrenal glands to eat, I'll be adding lemon juice to my drinking water and tea to avoid scurvy.  I've had plenty of mostly-meat days in the past, but I'm curious what a week of only meat will feel like.

As of today, I'm congested, had an afternoon headache and mental fuzziness -- to the point that I decided to bug out of the office early, and I feel bloated and puffy. 
I weigh 209lb.

As the week progresses, I'll be recording my weight and any change in symptoms, along with what I've eaten.  Since this isn't the primary purpose of the blog (and I don't want this to become a dieting blog), I'll be hiding meat-week content behind a jump for the most part, though the conclusion post will be public.

Time to go eat my last apple for a little while, and start the crock pot.

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Prior to a planned, one-week dietary experiment, I'm going to write a short history.
Twice upon a time, I was in pretty damn good shape.

The first time was eons ago while still pursuing my BSE. I was taking aikido classes three times a week, lifting 4 times a week, doing cardio of some form another 3 times a week. I ate very high protein, very low fat, and very low sugar. At my colossal height of 5'5", I weighed in at about 127 (I'd started at about 210). As a natural endomorph, I was gaunt at this weight, but I carried a fair amount of muscle. I was as fit as any good gymnast, not for a sport or a job, but just because I wanted to be. I was also an insufferable jackass. I was better than you, and I'd let you know. Probably while smirking.

It didn't last. School got harder as I progressed into my senior and super-senior years, and in stress I slowly dropped every behavior that had made me fit. My gut came back, my pants didn't fit, and I hated myself for it. I was, at least, much more sufferable.

Graduation, my first job, and marriage added every pound back on. I coasted, in mediocre shape, for a few years. My divorce was a shock. It woke me up and scared the crap out of me. I needed my health back for a lot of reasons. It was at about this time that I read Neanderthin, the best, hokiest-titled diet book I'd ever read.

Neanderthin has a simple premise: your body is the result of untold millenia of evolution, and many of the foods we eat today didn't exist for the vast majority of history. Fire's only been under human control for about 100,000 years, and grains and farming have only been around for 10,000-20,000 years. The prescription to go along with this premise is that -- for optimal health -- you should only eat things that man could have acquired prior to agriculture, and preferably prior to fire (though you should still cook meat for safety).

So, for 6 straight months, without a single cheat, I did just that.

I ate: meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Nothing else. No booze, no diet soda, and not one cracker. I lost 50lbs. I wasn't hungry once. I had energy I hadn't had since college. My occasional migraines vanished. My perpetual sinus congestion was gone. I joined a gym and actually used it. I felt fantastic. But I really, really wanted a brownie.

After 6 months without a single cheat, I planned a single day of "nutritional adventure". I gorged, I had unbelievable sugar highs. I got high on milk, for crying out loud. The next day... I didn't crash. I expected to, but I felt fine. I wish to God I'd felt a hangover, horrible pain, something. No such luck. Between the lack of consequences for my cheat day and starting to date again (disastrously), the dam was broken. I haven't exercised regularly or eaten right since.

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