Posts Tagged ‘paleo diet’

Quick Update

March 29, 2010 1 comment

I’m feeling stronger and thinner although my weight has stabilized. I’m still adjusting to a strict no-sugar diet. In spite of my having little sugar, I still have cravings.

On Saturday I was invited to a wine tasting. There were many restaurants there peddling their non-paleo food. I did the best I could while maintaining politness. I stayed away from the barbecued pulled pork (sugar), and stuck to the chicken. I had the prosciutto and asparagus rather than the salsa over bread. Bread is easy to avoid.

I decided to try sushi. It was my first time I’d had japanese style rice since I started paleo, and I felt a difference immediately. I was bloated and uncomfortable even though I had only three small slices of a roll and three pieces of fish on rice. It’s particularly glutenous, so I wasn’t surprised. That evening, someone made a special dish for me – no pasta or bread – but eggplant parmesan. I simply maintained portion control and ate what I was served.

The next morning I just stuck to fruit.

The only other alteration I’m figuring out is raw milk. After a workout I may have a small glass. The benefit is that I haven’t gotten sick this year. I’m not generally having milk, cheese, or other dairy in my diet, and if I have yogurt it’s whole fat and very occasionally. I still call myself “paleo” because I’m not committed to dairy and can go without.

My workout routine has been two crossfit sessions a week with going to the YMCA to do some general easy workouts. I’ll focus on getting form right, going slow, sometimes going heavy. I’ll do eight sprints, three sets of dips, and lots of stretches. I’ll practice my double-unders for a few minutes. And they’re getting better.

In all parts, however, there’s improvement. Slow, steady, but noticeable improvement. It’s noticeable, in part, because these days I want to do more physical labor.

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Going forward

February 26, 2010 2 comments

I completed 30 days.

I’ve discovered lots of great things:  I can replace foods that make me hungry with lots of alternatives.  I have been cooking at home.   I’m in the habit of saying “no.”

I’m sure, of course, some butter has slipped into the food that I’ve had in restaurants. Refined sugar has also probably crossed my lips as an additive and preservative. And once, I accidentally ate a mint. I did not seek to make the lives of my food handler’s crazy, but consistently made good eating decisions. I needed to practice that, and I believe I now have a discipline.

It wasn’t easy, but I had prepared with small steps over time.  Over the last 5 years I’ve given up processed sugars such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, all fast foods (with the occasional exceptions).  The bread I bought was fibrous. However, I did have some bad habits: booze, rice, waffle fries, and the occasional pizza.  And chocolate chip cookies.

What will I do now?

My diet will remain predominantly unprocessed.  It will be generally sugar free, with occasional tastes of honey, cane sugar, and maple syrup in a way I currently use salt. I intend for this to be permanent.

Now is the testing time. 

I’m giving up sugar, although I’m sure there will be exceptions.  A close friend’s birthday party may require a bite of a piece of cake.    When I go to the Fat Duck or Alinea, I will most likely try one of their desserts. But it will always be a cheat.

I think I’ll continue the way I did my first evening without the rules: I had some bread which was instead made with almond flour, rice flour, and molasses. It was still flavorful. It was fluffy and dark, between a cake and bread. And especially made for me. How could I resist?

Instead of potato chips, I’ll buy sweet potato chips and Terrachips. I’ll snack on Larabars (which I now consider delicious). Sweet Potato fries instead of fries. If I do order a dish with fries, I’ll insist that other people eat them.

After cutting out bacon in the first week of Paleo, I’ll now add it. In two weeks I’ll be getting whole raw cream and pasture butter, using it infrequently, now that Coconut oil is my mainstay. And I’m going to continue having my coffee black.

I did do one 24 hour fast, which wasn’t as hard as I thought. This will be my primary way of doing calorie restriction. Over the next month I’m going to focus a bit more on overall calorie intake.  I didn’t care about how much I ate over the last 30 days.  Sometimes I just felt like I kept eating.  But I was satiated more quickly.

I’m going to consume less salt this month and drink less coffee.

And finally, I’m going to focus on getting more sleep, which will allow me to continue my rigorous exercise regimen.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet, Food, Uncategorized Tags:


February 15, 2010 1 comment

“Hey Michael!”

Michael is a trainer at the Y.  He’s a former semi-pro basketball player, and very fit.   A woman is shouting at him, trying to get his attention.   He’s obliging and addles over to the treadmill where she is walking.

“Guess what!  I decided to get healthy.”  I’ve seen her a lot at the gym, and like many of us, she is struggling with finding effective ways to get healthier.   “I bought a juicer!  Didn’t you say getting a juicer was the way to go?  My whole family’s doing it.”

Michael smiles.  “Well, Juicing is alright.”   He’s agreeable, and doesn’t want to disappoint.  “It does get nutrients into the body fast.  But…” He pauses for a second.

At one point, Mike probably juiced.  But he’s realized that this was now questionable advice.

“The benefits are that it goes into the bloodstream quickly.  But the fiber is also useful.”

“Oh.”  She thinks about the consequences of this.

“So…” he’s tries to find a way justify her expensive health food toy.  “If you can find a way to use the fiber, save it somehow, you know, because it’s also good for the body….  But juicing for some people isn’t a good idea.”


“Well, for some, juicing isn’t good at all.  Without the fiber it’s not great for diabetics.”

She looked perplexed.  “So perhaps I shouldn’t juice. At all?”  She need just a little empathy.  She was so enthusiastic.  And now the disappointment of not getting a health fad right.

“Well,” he smiled sheepishly, “if it helps you eat vegetables, then that’s a good thing.”

“I do love vegetables.”    Most likely, she’ll put the juicer away in a cupboard, and in a few years she’ll have a garage sale, and some other person looking for a way to get healthy quick will buy it for a Jackson.

I do use one of those juice extractors for cooking.  A good cook always has a handful of lemons and limes around; and it seems that if you want to have orange juice it merits putting a little elbow grease for it.    Once in a while a v-8 juice hits the spot.

Even with the salt, it’s better than a Snicker’s bar.


February 10, 2010 1 comment

Last night I had a dinner meeting at a board member’s house.  I was excited, because she’s a great cook.

This is a foodie family.  They love good food and wine – and there was plenty. For our casual meeting, she provided several appetizers.  Tomatoes and mozzarella in olive oil, garlic and basil.  Small dogs in bacon.  Goat cheese the size of quarters,covered in chives.  Stuffed mushrooms, with sauteed bread.  Sopressata.   Jim asked me if I needed any wine.

“Oh no.  No drinking for me.”


Nope.  I usually provide a bottle, and also drink it.

So I ate sopressata, picked out the tomatoes and tried a couple of the dog/bacon bites.  I’m sure it was probably processed or cured with sugar, so I decided, after a couple, to stop.  I’ve been having trouble finding bacon without sugar.

We then sat around the table.  Dinner.  Penne and Vodka sauce.  Before me, a challenge to all I knew about civility and manners.  Because there is one rule I’ve almost always followed:  eat what you’re served.   Maybe not all of it, but some of it.

I didn’t know what to do.

Sit there and not eat anything?  Should I give it back?  Everyone else began to eat.  They all began to murmur:  It was soo goooodLaura, what did you put in this? Cream?  Wow.

Within five minutes one person had gone back for seconds.

I picked up my plate and took the hostess aside, who wasn’t sitting down.

“I’m sorry, Laura.  It looks fabulous.  I’m not eating pasta.”

“Oh!  I totally forgot!” She said.  “What do you eat?”

“The normal.  Filet Mignon, Truffles in a light saffron cream sauce, Southern Bluefin Tuna.  I mean, meat, vegetables, nuts and fruit.”  I smiled.  “I’m not hungry.  I’ll have some of the sopressata.”  She was quite apologetic.  I shrugged.

After we finished, I sat next to her in the living room.  I wanted to assure her that it was not her, but me.  She apologized.  “No, I should have reminded told you,” I said.

“Yes, you should have!”

Normally, if I’m in such a situation and on a restrictive diet, I would have a little.  I wouldn’t finish it, but consume the amount the size of my hand – Zone quantities.  But not on these thirty days.  I might make that a rule:  pasta only when forced to, in extreme circumstances, for the sake of social harmony.  Not at parties, where people don’t care and there is a variety of hors d’oeuvres, but when people are watching.    Then a small amount of pasta may be endured, if it doesn’t kill you.    This time, however, for 30 days, I’m remaining obnoxious as an extreme social and physiological experience.

Fortunately, I wasn’t hungry.  The benefit of the paleo diet is that I’m hungry less.  My eating seems to be habitual, merely because food is present.   Yet, I’m still losing weight.

Later, she brought out dessert.  Key lime pie.  Chocolate chip cookies, all home made, still warm.  I’m sure if the chocolate chip cookies could talk they’d say, “hey you.  Stop staring.”

Trusting in my own discipline, I wrapped some up and brought some home.  For my brother.   Resisting kindles more resistance.

But on this cold day, a part of me dreams of Hot Chocolate, especially as a reward for shoveling.


February 9, 2010 4 comments

One thing is for sure.

The Cheesecake Factory is not Paleo.

It’s everything wrong with the American diet.  Even the salads are a thousand calories.

It’s delicious.

And I couldn’t find anything.

The wild mushrooms I thought would be tasty were served as a little pizza.  The wings were breaded.  Everything was served with fries or mashed potatoes.  Most of the sauces were made with cream.

The servings are large enough to feed a small village somewhere where people eat reasonably, like Botswana or France.   Instead, vegetables and meats breaded, cooked in butter, and served with cheese.  No sweet potato fries.  Most of their salads had Parmesan cheese.  Only seared ahi tuna and Salads were available for the paleo inclined.  Salads if you wanted to pick out every grain of cheese.

I ordered a Kobe burger without the bun with a salad on the side.  It was covered with mushrooms and onions.  I drizzled a little oil and vinegar on top of the salad.

Delicious.  I didn’t ask if the chef made the burger with butter.  But I’m getting used to the problem, and handling it through avoidance.

It might be that the 30 days is simply practice for the rest of my life.  Chances are, paleo will not become the standard fare for most people.  Carbs taste good; they’re everywhere; and they’re cheap.  But by lasting thirty days and enduring these moments of frustration, discovering what I can handle, I can map out a clearer future, stetting up reasonable rules for me, myself and I.

Perhaps that’s success:  learning how to be frustrated with my food choices, but making the right ones anyway.

First frustration, then distraction.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags: ,

Feeling Full

February 1, 2010 3 comments

One of the biggest shifts is that I’m feeling full more, without feeling bloated.  Right now, I do think I have greater energy, in part because I’m laying off the booze.  That means I’m sleeping better.

I made two paleo dishes:  a chicken curry and a chicken soup.  Usually I make the curry with potatoes, and I serve it over a bed of rice.  This time, I made it with plenty of vegetables, including onions, garlic, red peppers, and spinach, adding a little coconut milk and eight ounces whole tomatoes.  My friend Fan thought it was the best curry I’d made.  I served it over the leftover mashed cauliflower I’d made earlier.

Usually I make chicken soup with rice.  I cut up the chicken and roasted it for a while, in the mean time cutting up carrots, celery, cauliflower and parsnips.  I sauteed the vegetables in … coconut milk, adding some chicken broth.  I barely covered the vegetables.

Once the chicken was roasted, I just placed it in the soup, bones and all, and let it cook until the chicken was falling off the bone.  I took it out, let it cool and, using only my hands, picked off all the meat, placing it in a separate bowl.  I took the meat and added it to the soup.

It’ll last me a couple days.  It was a superb post-workout meal, as it combined carbs and protein.

One of my questions:  what kind of reward should I give myself once I get through 30 days?  A new pair of jeans?  Or a 2006 Romanee’?

We did box squats today – my glutes definitely were being pushed more than they usually were.  I could feel them becoming rock hard.

I also broke one of my other rules.

I weighed myself again.

I’d been promising myself just once a week.  To weigh in every day is a symptom of madness, if not a way to incur it.  Our bodies fluctuate, and just because one gets up one morning and loses a pound, or gains another, isn’t reason to fret or feast.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags:


January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night I had a dream I was at work and started eating some curry my brother had made.  I started eating the potatoes.  And then I stopped, shocked, that I had made such an error.

But it was so good.

Later in the dream I made the same mistake.   With rice.

The First Grocery Store Trip

January 25, 2010 2 comments

I left the seminar rearing to go.  I’d been paid, and all the money saved by  not spending on the recent 2007 vintage of Rhone wines would be spent going to Whole Foods, the great consumer of the bourgeois paycheck.

It was on my way home.

I don’t go to Whole Foods that often.  Vegetables are cheaper at Apple Farms, and I mainly go to my local butcher for Bell and Evans chicken.  Stop and Shop usually is more economical.  Some specialty items are, however, less expensive at Whole Foods – high quality yogurt, Kombucha, and the occasional 3 pounder of strawberries.  But add a few artisenal cheeses from Vermont, Prosciutto from Italy, and Wild Salmon and a reasonable bill goes from $50 to $150.

My project was fairly simple:  get some meat, olives, and a bag of spinach for the day until I had time to go to Apple Farms, where red peppers are $.99 a pound.  Yes, they’re probably farmed using slave labor, robots, or inside somewhere.   At least the meat will be happy.

They had a few sales.  Wild cod for $11.99 a lb.  Yes, that’s a sale.  But it is wild, and the instructors ver very clear that wild is best. It was cheaper than the wild Salmon, which is probably a hundred dollars a pound by now.   A got a couple steaks, and looked for some bacon.

A few years ago, when I gave up high fructose corn syrup, I made sure I read all the labels. Just one trip to the grocery store and the educated foodie learns what an uphill battle eating right will be.  Everything has it.  It’s probably an easy way to give up most store-bought bread, because there are only a few bakeries that don’t use it in their ingredients.

The same for sugar.

I’d done some research.  One, Applegate Farms, seemed fairly reliable as a producer of organic, friendly meats, including a variety of comfort foods.    Alongside them was Niman Ranch, one of the first national distributors of heritage meats in the country.   Neither had nitrates.  Both came from happy pigs.  But Niman Ranch added one ingredient that would eliminate it from anyone following a strict Paleo diet, who intended to go 30 days on the straight and narrow.


It wasn’t corn syrup or a sugar variation.  It was a more friendly variety:  raw cane sugar; cane juice; turbinado sugar; maple syrup.  But no matter how friendly the ingredient seems, it is still the enemy.  It is still “less bad.”  It is still the toxin most responsible for our health care crisis, world-wide famine, and will bring us ever closer to the apocalypse.   Only Applegate farms eliminated this ingredient.

Sugar, the pleasurable toxin of choice, was everywhere.

Not that I’m judgmental.  I still have not yet had to resist Chocolate Chip cookies or a bar of Scharffen Berger chocolate.   Instead, I’ve replaced these decadent joys with Larabars.  Melissa, the coach, sometimes puts a health spread on them:  I might choose almond butter.   Larabars, made only from fruit and nuts, will eventually enjoy their own entry on this blog.

I was able to pass the dairy section with merely placing a dozen eggs in my basket.  I didn’t purchase the dessert-like The Greek Gods fig Yogurt.   I walked straight past their cheese station, even though I’m sure there was a block of Jasper Hill Blue waiting for me.   I didn’t pick up a six pack of Rogue, and after passing the deli for some turkey, I went straight to the check out counter.  Success for $133.47.

I might have gone a little overboard with the steaks.

But I’m at least prepared for a week.