Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19th, 2010

Grass-fed Steak

So I finally cooked the grass-fed New York strip steaks I overpaid for at Whole Foods the other day. I managed to open the doors and windows before the house had a chance to really fill up with smoke. That's what I get for using a cast iron pan rather than a grill. I need a BBQ. I have fought with buying one for a while now, because I know that I will want something that is significantly more than what we really need as a family. I guess we are not really a small family anymore. Five people is a medium-to-large family these days.

The steaks turned out great. I have discovered the secret to following instructions I find online. Follow all the directions, but add five minutes to whatever cooking time they list. For some reason everything turns out better that way.

My steak was about 1/2 an inch bigger than K's, and I cooked her to a just about perfect medium rare. Mine turned out to be a very juicy and tender rare. Not raw mind you. I actually managed to cook a steak rare and have it actually cook the way I like them. As for the difference in flavor, I could barely perceive any difference between this steak and a good quality feedlot steak. I'm not talking bargain steaks from the racks at WinCo, but a quality steak from Raleys. Mine did not have a lot of extra fat, which was kind of sad, but I snagged some from K's plate. That was the only place that you could really taste a difference. It was... richer and a little "beefier."

My Meals Today:

3x Eggs, scrambled in Butter
6 oz. Bacon
2x tablespoons of Salsa

1x Banana
4 oz. Mixed Nuts

8 oz. New York Strip Steak, grass-fed
1/2 Sweet Potato (w/ Butter and a tablespoon of Brown Sugar)
4 oz. sauteed Baby Portabello Mushrooms

Additionally, I went to the grocery store to buy myself a Tejava Tea. Most deliciously strong black tea with no additives or extra crap. They were out. So, I bought myself a Smart Water. Htwoonly would be proud. Go water!

  1. No Sugar. I will give myself a C. I had a tablespoon of brown sugar on my sweet potato. Meh... I just could not have the sweet potato without it.
  2. No Grains. I get an A. No grains today.
  3. Move around a little every day. I get a D. Today sucked. I was just completely exhausted this morning.
  4. Lift heavy things. I get an A today. After my afternoon nap, before dinner, I went upstairs and did two big sets of Squats and Push-ups. I pushed myself to failure both times.
Overall Grade: B- Not bad. The sugar dragged me down a little.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 18th, 2010

Mud Puddles

My wife made me get out of the house today and take our car to the mechanic. While waiting for them to finish servicing our car, I decided that I would be better off taking a walk for an hour than sitting on my bum. I do enough sitting at work.

Our mechanic is just down the road from us and about halfway from our house to my favorite mini-trail. It is a pedestrian / equestrian trail that circles Ancil Hoffman Park and Golf Course. I was amazed to see so many people out walking today, considering the amount of rain we have had in the last 48 hours. But, it was a rainless, albeit cloudy day, and you take what you can in winter.

I was pretty stoked to see a family of barefoot runners. Two older teen boys and a tween girl were happily jogging along without shoes in shorts and tee shirts. Their mother was wearing Vibram Five Fingers and bundled up from ankles to the top of her head. It was pretty awesome to see that. I hope that will be my family one of these days.

I was amused to think how much more fun they were having sloshing through mud puddles that I was being very careful to walk around in my crap-ass Vans that I foolishly decided to wear today. Get some damn Vibrams back in stock. Grrr... I cannot find the color / size that I want in stock anywhere. This is what happens when something starts to become trendy.

The unfortunate side of having to spend so much time at the mechanic meant that I was not able to cook my grass-fed steaks tonight. I was really looking forward to those. Instead the wife wanted Carl's Jr, which is not a terrible option as far as fast food evil goes. I ordered a lettuce-wrapped guacamole bacon six-dollar burger. I am paying for it now. Almost immediately after eating dinner I was hit with some massive indigestion. Grrr... stupid processed crap. I may have avoided the bun, but apparently the fake guacamole is not stomach friendly.

My Meals Today:

3x Eggs fried in Butter
6 oz. Bacon

B.A.S. (big ass salad) of mixed baby greens and spinach
6x Cherry Tomatoes
4 oz. of sliced Baby Portabello Mushrooms
2 oz. of pickled Jalapenos
3x tablespoons of Marie's Ranch
1/2 Orange

Lettuce-wrapped Guacamole-Bacon Six Dollar Burger (aka indigestion hell)
2x Chicken Strips (aka pressed chicken in the shape of breast strips)
3x Fried Zucchini

  1. No Sugar. I did well today. I deserve an A.
  2. No Grains. I did poorly if you consider the breading on the chicken strips I stole from my daughters (who I don't blame for not eating them). I will give myself a C for that unappetizing meal deviation.
  3. Move around a little every day. I am giving myself an A. I did great. I actually chose to move around instead of sitting and reading a book. My legs are sore, which just means that I am not walking enough.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. Yeah... I can't have everything I suppose.
  5. Lift heavy things. I am doing squats and inclined push-ups in the office ever hour or so. I will give myself a B.
Overall Grade: B/B+ This was a good day. It would have been great if I had had time for a good dinner.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 17th, 2010


My body was doing some strange things today. I felt nauseous for most of today. I did not eat breakfast with my girls early this morning. I did not eat any lunch until just after 1500. When I did eat, it was a delicious root vegetable hash with bacon and eggs. Whenever I transition from high-carb to low-carb my body always has a brief period of... let's say... evacuation. Not sure what causes it... or why it only happens after 2-3 days of eating low-carb.

My mother's side of the family seems to have a history of gall stones and gall bladder surgery. I have never had any issues with my gall bladder or with gall stones, but I have considered that the lack of carbohydrates might compound the presence of additional fats in my diet. If my body is not full optimized for digestion of fat (as in not producing enough bile) it might account for my... difficulties. I'm sure no one is interested in any of this... I just thought I would write it down to document it.

My Meals Today:

1/2 Apple
Carrot, Parsnip, and Onion Hash
4 oz. Bacon
2x Eggs fried in Butter

6 to 8 oz. mixed nuts (no peanuts)
2.5 oz. Dark Chocolate (67%)

  1. No Sugar. I will give myself a B. I ate chocolate, which has sugar. But, it was dark chocolate and I only had a small amount.
  2. No Grains. I earned an A. I had no grains. This is usually the easy part.
  3. Move around a little every day. I will give myself a B. I did a lot of moving around while I was awake at home. I moved a lot of stuff up and down our stairs and I worked up a good sweat while bleaching our standing shower stall.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. --- bah, humbug.
  5. Lift heavy things. Let's go with a C. I carried some heavy boxes up the stairs, but that did not last very long. I need to start working on this one as soon as I wake up in the morning / afternoon.

Overall Grade: B Yay, a surprisingly good day. And this is the third day in a row. I finally feel like I am on the right track.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 16th, 2010

The Wagon

So, I am back to doing the right thing. I ate two primal meals and kept moving as much as possible today. I even managed to be rather productive and cross off a few things on my wife's Honey-Do list. Anyone else hate calling it a "honey do list." It makes me think I am shopping for melons.

My Meals Today:

12 oz. Tri-Tip
B.A.S. (Big Ass Salad)
1/2 Avacado
6x Cherry Tomatos
3 tablespoons of Marie's Ranch

4 oz. Whole Milk

8 to 10 oz. Beef Liver fried in Butter
1/2 sliced Yellow Onion
1/2 pound of Asparagus Spears
1 tablespoon of Mayonnaise
2 oz. Bacon

I can now say that I do not care for liver. It's just got the wrong flavor. I did not spit it out like I would have if I were say a 1 year old who eats anything she finds on the floor. I just felt like I need to do something with it to make it palatable. I need to put it in something not eat it straight up. My wife thought that it tasted ok, but that I had overcooked it which gave it a strange texture.

Strangely, I cooked liver we bought at both Raleys and at Whole Foods. The thicker cut liver from Raleys was actually better tasting than the fancy-pants liver from Whole Foods.

A few recipes that I found online suggest cooking the liver in bacon grease or in a casserole with bacon. I am not one to turn down bacon under almost any circumstances, but frankly I am at a loss. Why eat the liver at all if I am just covering up the flavor with bacon? If I cook it again, I will most likely soak it in milk for a few hours to leech out some of the bitterness and try cooking it with bacon. Just to give it another shot.

Liver is too good a source of vitamins A, B (all B vitamins), and copper. Copper is a very important metal for the human body and most people are copper deficient without realizing it. We get so much zinc from consuming muscle tissue that it blocks copper absorption.

While at Whole Foods today I picked up two New York Strip steaks from their selection of Grass-Fed meats. I asked the butcher for a cut that gave a good profile of the grass-fed beef flavor. My wife and I are considering buying 1/4 of a grass-fed cow, if an economical option presents itself. Neither of us know exactly what to expect when it comes to how it will taste. She is very resistant to anything that tastes gamy. The higher concentration of omega-3s in wild animals gives them that gamy taste. We fear that will be the case with the grass-fed beef.

I also picked up a small container of whole milk. Dairy is not strictly primal, but I have read a lot about how different whole milk tastes and the benefits of non-pasteurized dairy. The result: my wife won't touch it. Since it is unpasteurized she fears for our unborn son. She also will not let our daughters drink it. I tried it. It tastes almost like every other glass of milk I have ever tried. If anything... it has a subtle butter-like taste. Not unpleasant, but I do not drink milk regularly. I am semi-lactose intollerant, yet hours later, I have had no ill effects.

  1. No Sugar. I get an A today.
  2. No Grains. I get another A today.
  3. Move around a little every day. I will give myself a C. I did lots of little tasks, but no real distance.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. I may as well just drop this category, since I do not seem to ever use it.
  5. Lift heavy things. I will give myself a D. I moved some boxes and a bed, but I did not do any of my body weight exercises.
Overall Grade: C+/B- I did pretty good. I need to move around more.

Friday, January 15, 2010

January 15th, 2010

Way to Fail!

So I was doing a great job, up until I ate the last piece of my Ice Cream Cake. *sigh*

Let's just get down to it and give myself a big fat F.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 13th - 14th, 2010

Two Days of Culinary Debauchery

Ok. So now I feel like crap. We celebrated my birthday with sushi at Mikuni. All I can say is that I have enjoyed every sushi place in Sacramento we have tried, except Mikuni. They are overpriced and their sushi tastes like crap. Their tempura was good. Their miso soup was overly salty and just tasted like crappy broth. I ordered my favorite type of roll, soft shelled crab, and I got what tasted like two-day old fish sticks wrapped in sea weed. I've never had a sushi roll taste dry and fishy. Especially one that did not even have any actual fish.

I can recommend at least three other good sushi restaurants in the Sacramento Area: Sushi Hook, Ichi Maki, and Silver Sake. Mikuni seems to be all about the hype. They are popular so obviously the food must be good... or at least that is how popular opinion seems to go. In reality I think they are barely edible, but the environment they present is easily accessable to suburban America and targets a younger, "hip" crowd.

Later we picked up a chocolate-peanut butter ice cream cake from Cold Stone. See... debauchery. It was good, but strangely I did not enjoy it as much as I used to. I was in an incredibly energized mood going into Wednesday, but I think the cake started my rapid fall back into the carb-laden doldrums. I just feel worn out and tired. So today, even with 1/3 of the cake left in the freezer, I am done with it. If the wife and kids want the rest, fine. If they don't, great, we can toss it.

No grading yesterday and today. Maybe by next year I will be prepared to remain steadfast on my birthday. I was informed by my wife that it is not about me, but is in fact about my family celebrating me. To that effect the cake was essential and I was not about to ruin a perfectly good birthday dinner at sushi by not ordering rolls I normally enjoy because of a little rice.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 12th, 2010

Not So Tasty Squash

I used my leftover stuffing from my Stuffed Pumpkin the other night to stuff my kabocha squash. I added some sunflower kernels we bought for salads to the mix. The squash was too bitter to really taste good. My wife says I am obsessed with kabochas... I do not believe this to be true. We have only bought them three times. This is twice now that they just have not tasted good. I think I am done with them now. One magical squash was tasty, the rest of them are just too bitter. The sunflower kernels on the other hand were a delicious addition to my stuffing mix. They may find their way into more of my mixed meat and veggi dishes.

When my youngest daughter went down for her nap my 2 year old and I did some body weight exercises in the living room. She loved making circles with her arms and her assisted sit ups. She especially loved watching me do jumping jacks... she ran circles around me screaming the whole time. She is a very random kid.

My Meals Today:

My appetite has been crazy today. Everything looks good enough to eat.

12 oz. Tri-Tip
B.A.S. (Big Ass Salad)
12x Grape Tomatos
3x tablespoons of Marie's Ranch

1/2 Orange

1/4 Stuffed Kabocha Squash
1.5 cups of Brocholi and Cauliflower

3 oz. salted Cashews

  1. No Sugar. I will give myself an A. I ate an orange, but I am not going to count fruit as raw sugar.
  2. No Grains. I will give myself a B. There was some rice in my stuffed squash.
  3. Move around a little every day. I have to give myself a C. I did play with my kids, but it was nothing significant. I did a few sets of side-straddle hops which had me beat.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. Another day without sprints.
  5. Lift heavy things. I will give myself a B. I worked up a sweat and I can feel it in my arms.
Overall Grade: B About time I started having better days. Now let's keep it up.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11th, 2010

Short and No Added Sweeteners

I do not have a whole lot to add about my day. I have some little research projects I am focused on, but work was so busy with stupid projects that I do not have any time to post some of my findings.

Between my Mother giving me a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas and my wife gifting me with books for my birthday I now have five of the books I have been wanting to read for a long time. I picked up the following:

My Meals Today:

All food was consumed between 1400 and 1700.

6x Mini Red Peppers w/ Cream Cheese

12 oz. Tri-Tip
mixed Lettuce and Spinach salad
12x Grape Tomatoes
1/4 sliced Cucumber
1 oz. Sunflower Kernels
2x tablespoons Marie's Ranch

  1. No Sugar. I will give myself an A. I did not consume any refined sugars today.
  2. No Grains. I will give myself an A. I did not consume any grains today.
  3. Move around a little every day. I will have to give myself a D. I woke up with my kids and made it a point to clean up the kitchen, but that is not the real intent behind getting out and walking around more.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. Passing again. This is getting repetitive.
  5. Lift heavy things. Sadly, another F today. I did not do any of my exercises.
Overall Grade: C+ This is not one of my worst days, but I need to start making more progress. Not getting outside and moving around is really holding me back from having a great day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10th, 2010

1 Week Down

I'm not happy with my progress. My head cold threw me for a loop, but that does not really excuse or explain my lack of dedication. I have a goal and I want to reach it. Weeks like this are not going to cut it in the long run.

I have had some progress. My belt is looser than it was. I can't say much about my pant size, because they were a little big to begin with.

I will take some measurements soon, so that I have a baseline to measure against.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January 9th, 2010

Intermittent Fasting

Today was not a great example of the lifestyle I am trying to live. My wonderful wife let me sleep in until 1200 because I had to stay late at work. Staying late when you already work 1900 to 0300 means that I was up until about 0430.

This is probably the most inconvenient work schedule I have ever had. I am not at home in the evenings, when my two toddlers are most cranky, and usually most resistant to going to bed. This is pure chaos for my 8 month pregnant wife.

Lately, I have trying to get up with my girls in the wee morning hours so my wife can get some much need rest. My youngest is fond of waking up around 0630, probably because of a neighbor with squeaky breaks leaving for work at just that time. I am up with them for about 2-3 hours, or until the toddlers made enough noise to wake up Mommy. Between my head cold last week and the hour of overtime last night, I have not been able to get myself out of bed that early to take care of them.

I have more energy again so tomorrow I will be up, bright and early. Or is that dark and early if the sun is not up yet? As my step-sister used to say, "the butt-crack of dawn." A fitting metaphor when you have to change poopy diapers at 0630.

Today was not so much about what I was eating, but when I was eating it. We ate at a restaurant that I had never tried before, Tahoe Joe's, and I struggled to find something on the menu that fit my ideals and sounded appetizing. I finally decided that I was not going to pay $25 for a steak I could cook at home, so I ordered a mixed plate of ribs and shrimp. The ribs were BBQ, but it was not a heavy, sweet sauce. It was more of a peppery sauce that made your taste buds pop. The shrimp was breaded and came with a slightly zesty Asian-style ginger sauce. I figured out that it was supposed to be some sort of salad, because it came on a bed of shredded lettuce with peanuts and won ton strips. Of course, I had already eaten all of the shrimp before I realized the pile of pale, limp strips on my plate were more than decorative. The shrimp had a decent flavor, but the texture was a little chewy and just not very appetizing overall.

Afterward, my wife decided that she had to have cheesecake, from Cheesecake Factory. No cheap, grocery-store, semi-frozen cheesecake would suit her. I was excited because I had heard that they sold no-sugar added cheesecakes, and I wanted to try one. Turns out, according to the cashier, they stopped selling those cheesecakes because no one bought them. Now they offer a few "low-carb" cheesecakes with Splenda. Um... NOOOOO. Realizing that I was not going to be happy either way, I just went ahead and purchased a full fat, full sugar, real cheesecake (four slices actually). At least they make their cheesecakes with real ingredients, frankly that is better than eating real poison like artificial sweeteners.

I ate all of my food in a four hour block of time, which is pretty standard among followers of Intermittant Fasting (or IF). The nutritional studies done on IF have shown significant improvement in insulin response and even longevity which mimic similar results from caloric restriction studies. So... if I can not stress about calories, but still reap the same benefits as caloric restriction, why not? I don't get hungry. At least I rarely get hungry. Eating is more reflexive than it is instinctive for me. I find news articles discussing fasting, as part of a religious ritual or as part of a diet regimen, requiring huge amounts of willpower to be quite amusing. Anyone will tell you that I am not a font of resolve. If anything, I struggle more than most to stick with plans, jobs, hobbies, and even previous relationships.

Eating in a small window of time each day just feels natural for me. I work late, and I sleep weird hours, so if I want to eat with my family I must do so when I am home and they are awake and hungry. This usually means between 1300 and 1700. Maybe, as my body approaches a normal fat to muscle ratio, I may experience more of the effects of hunger. But, then again, I may not. Avoiding carbohydrates means that I will also avoid the ebb and spike of insulin response.

Additional information on IF can be found here at: Mark's Daily Apple.

My Meals Today:

All food was eaten between 1330 and 1730.

1/6 left-over Stuffed Pumpkin

1x Crab Cake (w/ questionable ingredients)
small portion of a crappy Baby Greens salad
1x rack of BBQ Ribs (delicious, peppery, and mildly sweet)
12x Asian-ginger Breaded Shrimp (good flavor, rubbery texture)

1/2 Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
1/2 Red Velvet Cheesecake

Overall Grade: F I will not even go into the details of why I failed today. This week has not been my best effort.

Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8th, 2010

Soup And Salad

Today was a much better day. My kids let me sleep in a little, 8 AM is sleeping in to them. And, I woke up with a lot more energy and a lot less crappy head cold.

Breakfast was my wife's left over chicken fried steak with two freshly cooked eggs. I'm not going to say that the chicken fried steak was a great decision, but it was too delicious to let go to waste. For lunch I made Watercress and Bacon Soup from Mark's Daily Apple. Let me tell you it was one of the most delicious things I have ever cooked. Even my 1 year old could not get enough. It was like I was feeding her chocolate cake, only healthier.

Recipes: Watercress and Bacon Soup

1x bunch of Watercress
1x chopped Red Onion
3x chopped Garlic Cloves
4 cups Beef Stock
4x Celery Leaves
8x chopped slices of Bacon


Start by frying the bacon in a large, deep frying pan. Then remove the bacon, chop it up and set it aside; use the bacon grease (or olive oil if desired) to sauté the onion and garlic until browned. Then add the watercress stems, crumbled bacon, stock and celery leaves.

watercress chopped Watercress Bacon Soup

(If using cream or potato, add now) Simmer for at least 30 minutes with a lid on then add the watercress leaves and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

simmering soup Watercress Bacon Soup

Pluck out the celery leaves. Add salt and pepper if needed, but the watercress and bacon should already provide adequate seasoning.

I used uncured Pepper Bacon from Whole Foods. This dish really required very little effort for a big payout. There was no need for additional seasonings. The author suggests adding cream or a russet potato for a thicker soup, but it is really unnecessary.

I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who likes a savory meal. For some reason it reminded me of the flavors of really good sushi.

My wife took the 2.5 year old shopping today. It was just me and the 1 year old. We had a blast; reading books, watching Yo Gabba Gabba, and eating delicious soup. When her sister is not around, she is the most well behaved little girl. She even let me take a small nap when she was down for the count at 4 PM until 5:30 PM. She never takes those kind of naps when sister is up and making a ruckus.

I had so much extra energy that I decided to start working on my push-ups. I would do a set of 5 followed by the Front Leaning Rest Position for as long as I could hold it. I do believe that one of the best reasons for smoking privates in BCT is to improve their push-ups. Holding a plank for extended periods of time will work all of the muscles that assist with push-ups, including all of your abs and even your legs. So much for the idea that push-ups are only upper body.

I found this on a pretty solid blog, Fitness Spotlight, and I thought it was worth re posting to supplement my own set of rules:

Eliminate (Just Say No)

  • No sugars (yes even artificial sweeteners)
  • No processed foods (including canned items, frozen dinners or anything that is not in its most natural state - read the label ingredients as it should not have any additives/additional chemicals)
  • No pasta, breads, crackers, baked goods, muffins, bagels
  • No cereals, grains, breads, wheat (allergenic, take time off to clear your gut/system)
  • No fast food, no burgers, no hot dogs, no fried foods, no deli meats
  • No dairy - mainly milk, yogurt, and cheese (allergenic, take time off to clear your gut/system)
  • No vegetable oils - ditch the margarine and any veg oils for cooking (see healthy cooking oil post for alternatives)
  • No soda, diet soda, fruit drinks
  • No coffee/espresso (cut out the high caffeine for 2 weeks, drink tea instead if you like)
  • No alcohol (wine, liquor, beer)

Say Yes to:

  • Eat Real Foods only (real means in it’s original packaging and source, like an apple and not apple juice). This means such things are all kinds of fruits, vegetables, meats (beef-steak, chicken, fish-salmon/herring), eggs, nuts/seeds, healthy fats (butter, olive oil, coconut oil). If you need more lists then download and use our “real food” shopping list (click here)
  • Don’t worry about ratios of protein/carbs/fat, feeding windows (this means no “IF” focus right now) or counting calories
  • Drink water (and plenty of it), lemon in water, tea
  • Move/Exercise for at least 30 min a day (do something/anything to get the blood moving such as walk, jump rope, resistance bands, lift weights, shadow-box, dance or whatever you enjoy)
  • Get to bed early and sleep 8 hours
They are hosting a 30-day weight loss challenge to their readers. I thought it fitting to re post their rules since they are so similar to mine. I agree with all of it. Even the part about dairy with no cheese makes sense. Dairy is just such a touchy subject. Cheese is just so... cheesy... it's hard to resist. It compliments so many other foods so well... and the fact that it is technically a fermented food makes me feel a little more accommodating to cheese.

My Meals Today:

Chicken Fried Steak w/ Country Gravy
2x Eggs, sunny side up, fried in Butter

1/2 Watercress and Bacon Soup (minus the contribution of my 1 year old)

Roasted Chicken Leg Quarter (seasoned with salt and pepper)
B.A.S. (Big Ass Salad w/ Lettuce, Spinach, Grape Tomatoes)
3x tablespoons of Marie's Ranch


  1. No Sugar. I will give myself an A. I had nothing sweet, or even fruity today.
  2. No Grains. I will give myself a D. My breakfast was not at all Primal. Breading plus country gravy? Not gravy at all.
  3. Move around a little every day. I will give myself a C. I played with my 1 year old and rolled around on the floor a lot, but I could have taken her for a walk in our new single jogging stroller and I did not.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. I will have to pass on this one again. Tomorrow is my deadline for some sprints. I will get out of the house and work on this one.
  5. Lift heavy things. I will give myself a C. I worked on some push-ups and some planks. I threw in a few sets of body weight squats as well. Not a bad start, but it was also not very intensive.
Overall Grade: C+ I am definitely doing better than yesterday.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

January 7th, 2010


We will not speak much of this day. Suffice to say that I have not felt this bad in a LOOOONG time... yet I did manage to finish washing, drying, and folding 8 loads of laundry, plus folding 3+ loads that remained from last week.

I was in no condition to cook. My wife suggested take out. I suggested Chili's. I will not pay good money for something i can make at home (i.e. Salads with dubious ingredients). I ordered mini-burgers. Meh... at least the jalapenos cleared up my sinuses a bit.

Overall Grade: F meh... there was nothing Primal about today.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 6th, 2010

Not Induction Flu, Head Cold

Turns out I was not suffering from induction flu. Or, if I was, I also have a head cold. In any case, I am sniffly and achy and coughing. Fun stuff. Hopefully it will pass quickly and I can begin to reap the energy benefits of avoiding heavy carbohydrates.

We left the house today, to run some errands, and I ended up napping in the parking lot of Old Navy with my 1 year old while K and the 2.5 year old went shopping.

Recipes: Stuffed Pumpkin

1x small Baking Pumpkin
1 tablespoon of Butter
1/2 lb. Ground Pork Sausage
1 lb. Ground Beef
1x chopped Yellow Onion
1x bunch chopped Spinach
2x chopped Zuchini
3x chopped Celery Stalks
4x chopped Young Carrots
8x chopped White Button Mushrooms
1 1/2 cups Cooked Wild Rice

The basis for my stuffed pumpkin was Alton Brown's Stuffed Squash.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut 1-inch off the top of each acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. If necessary in order for the squash to sit upright, cut off a small portion of the bottom. Put 1 of the 4 pieces of butter in the cavity of each squash. Set squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown the ground pork until no longer pink. Remove the meat from the pan, add the olive oil and saute the onion, celery, and carrot until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.

Return the pork to the pan along with the cooked rice, spinach, pine nuts, oregano and salt and pepper, to taste. Stirring constantly, heat mixture thoroughly, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Divide the mixture evenly among the squash, top each squash with its lid and bake for 1 hour or until the squash is tender. Serve immediately.

I used a small baking pumpkin in place of acorn squash. The wife and I have never had good luck with the smaller, weirder squashes. I purchased a Kabocha Squash to use with this recipe as well, but I figure I will save it and cook it another night. I had plenty of left over stuffing.

I had plenty of assorted vegetables in the fridge and I decided to chop them all up and toss them into the pot. The more the merrier.

The last few times I have attempted to stuff a pumpkin, either the skin burned or turned out too hard and raw. This time, I had perfect results, and the flesh was amazingly delicious.

My Meals Today:

1x Banana

2.5 oz Dark Chocolate (67%)

1/6 Serving of Stuffed Pumpkin
Hefeweizen Beer

  1. No Sugar. I will give myself a B. I ate some dark chocolate, but I was otherwise a good boy.
  2. No Grains. I will give myself a C. I drank a beer and had wild rice in my stuffed pumpkin. The beer is a bad habit that will be gone as soon as the last beer is gone. The rice was a mix of wild rice so it was not as bad as say a plate full of Uncle Ben's Minute Rice.
  3. Move around a little every day. I will give myself a C. I amazed myself by actually leaving the house. K did not give me much choice in the matter. But, the way I was feeling leaving the house at all on my day off was an achievement.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. I will pass on this one until I feel better. No sprinting, but my accelerated heart rate just climbing stairs and walking to the car was good enough today.
  5. Lift heavy things. I will give myself an F. I did no body weight exercises. Getting out of bed with my 1 year old this morning was enough work for me today.
Overall Grade: C- I feel like crap. My activities reflect this trend. My meals today were quite well planned. I hope to get a lot of rest tonight and feel significantly better in the morning.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5th, 2010

Induction Flu!

I know I went overboard the last few months. Cakes, pies, cookies and candy were plentiful and frequently tempted me to indulge. I know my waistline shows this trend.

The last time I drastically changed my diet was in the winter of 2008. Since then I have had brief moments of low-carb eating, but overall I've been a bad egg. We do not have a functioning scale, so I have no idea the exact amount of weight that I have gained over the past 18 months, but I would estimate 60 to 80 lbs. Most of it is around my mid-section, which is new for my body. I used to carry my weight more evenly and I rarely looked as heavy as I was.

Now, with barely more than 48 hours of trying to eat paleo-friendly I have the worst case of "induction flu" to deal with. I am borrowing a term from Atkins. My lethargic, sniffly, achy body is dealing with the metabolic transition from carbohydrate metabolism to ketogenic fat metabolism. Since my carb load was so great over the past three months I imagine this is a serious shock to my system.

I was keeping a very low-carb count, partially out of a personal need to speed up the transition phase and partially as a holdover from my previous low-carb attempts at weight loss. I realize that Primal nutrition does not require draconian carb reduction. It is quite possible to lose weight at a steady pace in the 50g to 100g per day range. But, with so much weight to lose and with a desire to feel capable of really running again, I would like to maintain ketosis for at least one to two months.

Call it weakness or call it a craving. My body had to eat an orange. I could literally smell the sweet, juicy fruit from my kitchen counter. It was sour and sweet at the same time, and oh so delicious. Fruit is not processed, and I know primal eating encourages fruits and vegetables, but modern fruit is not the same as paleo fruit. We have genetically bred fruit for sweetness and increased fructose load. I need to remember to incorporate lower-carb fruits like berries into my diet.

Recipes: Bacon-Portobello Carbonara

6 oz. Uncured Bacon, sliced thin
4x Garlic cloves, minced
2x Large Eggs
1 cup Romano / Parmesan Cheese
2x Portobello Mushroom caps, cubed
2x Zucchini, shredded

Tonight, I faced my first significant hurdle. I had decided that I was going to make Tyler Florence's carbonara for dinner. My plan was to provide pasta for my wife and two kids, while I chowed down on a bed of shredded zucchini. Turns out, you cannot cook the egg / cheese sauce without the heat from the cooked pasta. So, we all ate some rather tasty bacon / mushroom carbonara with pasta. I'm not happy with having to eat the pasta, but my headache is mostly gone now and I would have had to fix an entirely separate meal for myself. The trick is finding ways to cook the same main course for everyone, but adding things like rice and potatoes for the family.

I added sauteed portobello mushrooms and shredded zucchini to the pasta. Even after cooking, the mushrooms brought a lot of added moisture to the pot, which made the sauce a bit thinner than I would have preferred. The pasta was a bit undercooked, but given the fact that the pot I was using to cook with decided to start literally sticking to the burner, I figured turning off the heat a bit early was better than breathing more of the noxious fumes coming from the melting metal. I still don't know what the hell happened there, I've been using the same pot to make Crab Boils for a few months now with no problems.

My Meals Today:

2x Eggs, sunny-side up, fried in butter
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1/4 White Onion

1 Orange

Bacon-Portobello Carbonara w/ Pasta
Chopped Lettuce Salad w/ shredded Zucchini and 8 Grape Tomatoes
2 tablespoons of Ranch Dressing
Hefeweizen beer
2.5 oz. Dark Chocolate (67%)

  1. No Sugar. I am going to take a C on this one today. I ate an orange and some dark chocolate.
  2. No Grains. I will have to give myself an F today. I ate pasta and drank a beer.
  3. Move around a little every day. I will give myself a C today. I cleaned the house a bit, and took out the garbage. While I did not spend any significant time just sitting, I also did not take any lengthy walks.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. I will give myself a pass on this one again. Tomorrow, I will have to do something about this one or face a negative grade.
  5. Lift heavy things. I will give myself a B today. I am taking breaks at work every hour to work on push-ups. Between having almost no energy from induction flu and having not done a push-up in about four months, I am not doing so well.
Overall Grade: D+ Wow, this was a bad day.

Monday, January 4, 2010

January 4th, 2010

Today was the first day I attempted to live by my new primal rules. It did not go as well as I had hoped.

Due to some very delicious sushi last night, I was compelled to utilize the seasoned fajita beef I had planned for dinner last night tonight. It wasn't bad, but it was seasoned with one of those el cheapo fajita seasoning packets that are loaded with dextrose and chemical binders. I also used some mayo from the fridge on my artichokes... I realized that I would have to give up store bought mayo when I reread the ingredients and found canola oil.

For those of you who do not know, canola oil is a heavily processed oil from the Chinese rapeseed plant. It has all sorts of health food claims all over the packaging, but the reality is that it is not fit for human consumption. The unprocessed oil is actually toxic and used in some places as an industrial solvent. Fun stuff.

Recipes: Mayonnaise

1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
3/4-1 cup oil
a generous pinch of sea salt

I found this recipe online for a home-made mayo. It sounds decent. I have heard negative reviews about using Extra Virgin olive oil because of the overpowering taste. Alternatives include expeller-pressed sunflower oil and flax oil. Flax oil is just retarded. It is too expensive for some very bad tasting oil.

I would use coconut oil, but it just seems too firm at room temperature for mayo. I may just have to try it with Virgin olive oil or even cold pressed olive oil. I am not going to explain the differences, it is easily Google-able. Let's just say the flavor profile decreases with the amount of processing involved.

I am not a huge fan of the Dijon mustard. It has a rather strong flavor that does not lend itself to all foods.


1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 pinches of sugar (BAD)
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 cup of oil

Thank you Alten Brown. His recipe is good, except for the sugar. I imagine it is there to balance out the vinegar. He recomends safflower or corn oil. Um... no thank you.

"In a glass bowl, whisk together egg yolk and dry ingredients. Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the yolk mixture. Start whisking briskly, then start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a bit, (which means you've got an emulsion on your hands). Once you reach that point you can relax your arm a little (but just a little) and increase the oil flow to a constant (albeit thin) stream. Once half of the oil is in add the rest of the lemon juice mixture.

Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated. Leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours then refrigerate for up to 1 week."

You have to add the oil a little at a time until the whole thing emulsifies. Yes, it uses raw eggs and yolks. I'm not really scared... since the egg itself represents a hermetically sealed environment suitable for sustaining life.

My meals today:

12 oz. of Ground Beef w/ canned sloppy joe sauce.
2x Artichokes w/ store-bought mayo.
12 oz. of London Broil (cut fajita style) w/ dry fajita seasoning.
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, 1/4 White Onion sauteed in Coconut Oil.
1 tablespoon of Sour Cream.

Let's review how well I followed my five rules today:

  1. No sugar. I will give myself a B on this one. I had no overt sugar, but the fajita seasoning contained dextrose and the sloppy joe mix had all sorts of preseratives.
  2. No grains. I will also give myself a B on this one; see 1 above.
  3. Move around a little every day. I will give myself a B. My wife and I purchased a pre-owned couch on craigslist. We had to rent a U-Haul and move it ourselves, including moving our old couch out of the way. I will consider this outside of my normal sedentary routine.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. I will give myself a pass on this one today. I don't have to sprint every day.
  5. Lift heavy things. I will give myself a C on this one. While I did lift the couch, twice, and move my old couch by myself, I did not do any body weight exercises like I had planned.
Overall Grade: B- I can, and will do better.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ground Rules

Tomorrow, I begin my re-evolution to a primal lifestyle. I'm not going to start sleeping outside and wearing leaves; no one wants to see that. I will be changing my eating habits to only consume whole, natural foods with minimal processing. I will be eliminating foods that contain the bane of modern health, refined carbohydrates (aka sugar and flour).

What this means is lots of protein and fat. A good steak is ok, but a juicy slice of untrimmed tri-tip with plenty of marbleized fat is even better. I would like to say that I will only be eating free range, grass-fed beef, pork, and poultry, but there is no way I can afford that lifestyle on my budget. For now, I will have to look for the best quality protein I can afford on my budget and hope that the changes I am making to my diet are sufficient.

Additionally, I am going to try to stay active. I am not talking about going into chronic cardio overload. I am going to keep myself moving around for as much as the day as possible at a reasonable pace. Throw in some brief moments of furious activity, possibly chasing after a two year old, and you have a head start on maintaining an active metabolism.

To begin with, I plan on using the concept of a 30 day challenge. I am setting a goal of living by these rules for 30 days. I will act "as if" I really am a determined individual with an iron-will to succeed. I'm sure my wife would be completely floored by my sudden change in personality if this actually happens, but it's part of my goal.

To do so, I feel I need to establish some ground rules for myself.

  1. No sugar. This is the most important rule. No soda, no juice, no candy, no cookies, no cake, etc.
  2. No grains. This is secondary to sugar, but should almost be the same rule. Grains and especially wheat are simply not necessary for survival. They require too much processing to be considered a natural food. "Complex carbohydrates" is a fancy way of saying "these break down into sugar and trigger an insulin response."
  3. Move around a little every day. This one is going to be tough, but I was the most healthy when I was in Army Basic Training. I had no control over what I was eating, yet I was able to drop 60 lbs. and feel great. I believe one of the primary causes for my weight loss was just being on the move constantly. I have to sit to do my job, but the rest of the day needs to be spent moving and doing something.
  4. Move really fast every once in a while. This means I will be including sprints into my routine when the situation warrants. Once, maybe twice, a week is sufficient.
  5. Lift heavy things. Right now, this means me. I can get a good strength training workout just utilizing bodyweight exercises. I will work on something every day (push-ups, squats, bridges, step-ups, pull-ups, etc.). Patterns and routines are for civilized folk.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day

This is a record of my journey to a more primal lifestyle.

This means no grains, no refined sugars, and limited dairy products.

This also means plenty of sunshine, fresh air, lifting heavy things, and sometimes running like a saber toothed feline is ready to eat me.

Of course I am not alone on this journey. My wife and two (soon to be three) small children are forced to share in my experiences. Hopefully I can drag them into the same lifestyle.