Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's New Years Resolution Time

It's New Years Resolution Time!

NOT peanut-butter-jelly time!

It's December 31 and that means new year's resolutions.  For 2012, we ain't stopping 'till we got six packs.  On. Our. Biceps.

I'm going Hardcore Paleo.  With pics or it didn't happen.  For one month.  70% of my diet will be from vegetable matter.  Squirrel, deer, grassfed beef, fish are all on the table.  

Coconut, olive oil, and animal fats are going to be on the table.  I've decided to give butter a break (and cheese).  That's right.  No dairy this month.  No Splenda, sugar, Nutrasweet, Equal.  I'm drinking water, unsweet tea, and coffee.  until January is over or I have six packs (on my biceps).  This means no eating out, and making pretty much everything from scratch.

No grains, legumes or dairy.

And the ticker starts on.....  January the 1st AFTER eating black-eyed peas and cornbread.  If you don't know why, It's okay, you're not from the south.  

Pics or it didn't happen.  Right here, on this blog.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Following Your Excitement

You are reading this because you or someone you love is looking to make positive steps towards health and happiness.

Tim Ferris' 4 Hour Workweek claims that boredom is the true opposite of success (not failure).  Excitement, then, is a synonym for success.  It's pretty close.  Think of the things that excite you.  This is more tangible than focusing on what you think might be successful!

Here is a short list of things I find exciting:
  • Jumping from high places into water.
  • Tubing the Comal
  • Being at the "top of the world" at places like Enchanted Rock.
  • Beach trips with my wife, Tomie.
  • Fighting a good fighter, like Patrick Rogers, without pads.
And since I'm a video game designer, some non-IRL moments:
  • Those "really important" rolls in a Dungeons and Dragons game.
  • Player versus player combat in games like Meridian 59.
  • NBA Jam 98's half court dunks.
Stess is a killer, but excitement is the remedy.  Our hunter-gatherer ancestors definitely had less stress from day-to-day thanks to a minimalist lifestyle.  A few hours a week gathering food left plenty of time for recreation.  But (this is the kicker) they also had more healthy excitement.  Hunting, sparring, spear-throwing, archery... all in a day's play!

What will your next "half-court dunk" be?  What exciting, "impossible" things are you capable of?  Which of your stresses are self-imposed?

Friday, November 25, 2011

What We Think Is Food

Somewhat of a Manifesto:

In his talk at the Ancestral Health Symposium, Andreas Eenfelt mentioned that he thought that the Low-Carb movement and the Paleo movement had some lessons they could learn from one another.  In particular, he mentioned that the low-carbers would do well to focus on "Real Food".

I know that what I regard as "food" has changed a great deal since March.  This, I think, is the largest key to success with diet.  It's one thing to change our behaviors, but to change our views will have longer-lasting results.

Running for 2 hours on a treadmill, then rewarding yourself with cake is sure route for failure.  Cake becomes a reward for exercise, something greater than food, while exercise becomes some form of penance we must pay.

Likewise we reward ourselves for working hard at our jobs, for surviving another year, for anniversaries, for Christmas.  We work very hard, and often have little to show for it at the end of the day.  We may have what Dr. Lane Seabring calls Insufficient Reward Syndrome.  

We take our pills, our vitamins, and we work out so that we can be healthy.  We see these things as a way to "pay the piper."  We do these things and file them under "work hard" so that later, we tell ourselves, we can "play hard."

What if we worked out a few times a week, and each session was an invigorating hedonistic experience?  Paleo life has taught me to enjoy each of my 20 minute workouts each week.  I have started to look forward to my weekly sprinting session.  I wish I had more time during the day to soak up the sun, or to hike in nature.

It is also important to enjoy each meal on a hedonistic level.  We are confident enough to skip a meal rather than compromise.   We experience real hunger rather than blood sugar crashes.  We eat real food (veggies, fats, lean meats and organ meats) and regard food as being a singularly good experience.  We shun tuna-and-mayo on wheat toast and eat red-meat and veggies cooked in real butter with gusto.  We refuse tasteless Fiber-One bars, and other "healthy" products which are overflows from wood, soybean, and corn industries.

We don't reward ourselves with food, because we already enjoy the full experience of cooking, eating, exercising and occasionally, fasting.  

So, for those of you not yet with me. Take a leap of faith and put down the egg-whites.  It's time to start living.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wall of Shame - Jason's Deli

"Free" overtime food, courtesy of work, has given me a unique excuse to branch out and look at various restaurants and their food selections.

Some places have surprisingly informative "allergy" menus.  This seems to be the easiest litmus test for whether a restaurant serves actual food or not.

Jason's Deli gets my first (and probably not last) Wall of Shame entry.

Many of their potatoes feature a "natural buttery blend" -- which I find horrifying.

Reading through their allergy info reveals that basically everything on the menu contains soy.  It's incredible, actually, that a kids' "organic" PB&J contains soy.  I've sent (now open) feedback via their site (and now my own) as follows:

I have looked at your allergen info and almost all of your products appear contain soy and wheat.

I don't understand why the Reuben, PB&J,  and a "Better Choice Roast Beef" contain soy (to name a few).
A texas chili spud contains gluten.
It seems all your chili is padded with both soy and wheat.
Why is soy included in almost every sandwich, and why does your chili contain both soy and wheat?

We can do better than this.

When Taco Bell tried to pass off soy and wheat filler as "meat" we nailed them to the wall, but Jason's Deli has the feel of a place much more upscale and healthy.

After scrubbing through their menu, I came up with the "The Big Chef" salad as the only soy and gluten free option on the menu (with olive oil and balsamic on the side).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Austin 360 goes Paleo

Austin 360's on point with this article, which gives a great review of the Paleo Diet and lifestyle.  

News coverage has been really spotty on this topic, with sources being as likely to ask crufty old nutritionists what is effective rather than looking at the huge group of people who've tried and thrived on this way of life.

Austin's always been open minded, but still, this coverage makes me happy to be an Austinite.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Overeating: Leptin and Ghrelin, meet Yin and Yang.

This post will have some big, strange and scary words, but it could save your life.

In the spirit of Robb Wolf, I'll start with a short nod to brevity and jump to the conclusion.

Get plenty of sleep.
Eat a lot of low-cal veggies.
Avoid fructose.

Now for the science:

My last post was a rather dense video.  I wish to take some concepts mentioned in it and explain them well,  so that we all may understand them better.

A 2004 study doesn't do so well at predicting weight loss for high-fat diets, but it does do a "strictly the facts" take on leptin and ghrelin release.  In short, ghrelin stimulates hunger, while leptin satisfies it.  

This doesn't mean that ghrelin is bad or evil.  It has a vital role to play.  For one, it stimulates growth hormone, and it plays a role in dopamine production. It is also thought to play a role in our lung development as we grow in the womb.  You need ghrelin, but you want it at certain levels throughout the day.

But ghrelin makes us hungry, and since a lot of you guys are looking to pack on 20 to 30 extra pounds, you're wanting to ask:

"Rusty, how can I sabotage my body's hormone balance and gain lots of weight by spiking ghrelin and making myself feel super hungry?"

First off, get inadequate sleep.  Sleep deprivation produces ghrelin and lowers leptin, which makes you hungry.

Secondly, eat tons of fructose, which is found in table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and fruit.  While complex carbs like potatoes produce leptin and suppress ghrelin (making us feel full), fructose hangs out in our liver and thwarts our body's best attempts to say "enough is enough."

So lay off the agave nectar, folks.  

Our second hormone, leptin, is some great stuff.  It inhibits our appetite, and it's produced by our fat cells.  It's our body's own bullet-proof self-defense mechanism. That's right folks, the fatter we get, the less hungry we get.  Leptin is even being studied as another route to treat diabetes. 

Once again, I know what you are thinking.

"Rusty, how can I sabotage my body's hormones by lowering my leptin levels and make myself feel super hungry?"

Get inadequate sleep. This will lower your leptin levels.
Exercise fanatically. You know those chunky folks on the elliptical for 2 hours a day, let them be your new role-model.  
Be a dude and have lots of testosterone. Man-children produce less of the stuff.
Skip 4 or 5 meals in a row.

But there's a catch.

Like insulin, heavier people tend to develop resistance to leptin.  Out bodies tune out the super-high levels, so we become less sensitive to our own satiety signals.

Here are some tips for increasing your sensitivity to this appetite blunting hormone:

Avoid fructose.  This stuff causes all sorts of issues.  That's right, put down the banana and the RC Cola. You'll live without them.

Eat "real" vegetables.  Eating 2 pounds of kale and another pound of spinach might not sound like fun, but low-energy foods seem to help.  (Why else would a salad make us feel full?)  This seems to be one of the key factors that Atkins missed.

Well, good luck!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Sugar: The Bitter Truth is a rather long lecture on sugar (specifically fructose) intake and the cascade of health concerns related to it.

It covers the following questions, and is one of the the most important (free) lectures of our decade on nutrition.

What do the Japanese Diet and the Atkins Diet have in common?

Why did the suggestion to reduce fat intake from 40% of total calories to 30% of total calories cause so many health problems?
What is the Coca Cola conspiracy?
Is there a link between sugar intake and obesity?
Is the last 30 years of nutrition based on Ansel Key's study wrong?
How do "AGEs" (Advanced Glycation End-products) brown steak and damage your arteries?
How does fructose disrupt ghrelin and leptin signalling and make us overeat?
How does fructose, glucose and ethanol metabolism occur within the liver?
How can fructose consumption consumption raise your blood pressure and cause gout?
Why do they put HFCS in sports drinks?
Why is a high sugar diet actually a high fat diet?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why Atkins Hurt My Stomach

FODMAPs sounds like a  bad RPG setting, but it's actually a crazy acronym for "fermentable – oligo- di- and monosaccharides and polyols".  I have to give a shout-out to Kurt Harris for posting this, since it explains why I had some GERD type symptoms on Atkins.  

These FODMAP foods ferment in your colon and can cause big problems.  It's good to know if you're having digestive issues, since reducing these should be an easy tweak.  Here's the list from Harris' article, paraphrased:

Diabetic sugar-alcohols, fructose rich foods and drinks, onions, jerusalem artichokes, wheat, tomatoes, apples, peaches, pears, apples, watermelon etc. 

I was eating a ton of onions and sugar-alcohols on Atkins, and onions in particular seemed to give me fits.  It never seemed like I was digesting them well.  I thought that this was some personal digestive issue, since I limited intake of all of these with the exception of tomatoes and onions, this is no longer a big issue for me.  

It's a good thing to keep in mind, folks!

Zevia Review

Zevia, an "all natural soda" is sweetened with stevia and caffeine free.

Mark Sisson has already done one heck of a breakdown on stevia.  In short, stevia looks to be a better alternative to other sweeteners and it may even have a net therapeutic effect.

For diabetics and dieters who need an occasional soda fix, or miss the comfort of the carbonation, this looks to be the a good product.  It uses erythritol as a medium for the stevia, which is probably pretty benign.  I had two tonight, so If anything funny pops up I'll post an update.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

TAG, you're it Triglycerides!

My triglycerides are good!  But what does this mean, and what do they do?  

Take a bottle of canola oil in one hand and a stick of butter in another hand and hold them up?  Go ahead, I'll wait.  These are triglycerides.  

"Eeewwww.... I'm never going to eat this stuff, it'll get in my blood," you say.  Now wait just one minute, Cochise.

Even Wikipedia will tell you that TAG's are going to get jacked up from eating lots of carbs, not from eating lots of delicious animal fat.  Having lived my life for the last six months, I can tell you with certainty that mine would be lots higher if animal fats, butter, or coconut oil (add some bell-peppers and onions and that's supper) were the enemy.

Cholesterol is kind of a common currency of your cells.  It's a phenomenal substance responsible for lots of important hormones, cell repair and a big part of what you're brain is made of.  You're cells excrete these little guys all the time as a sort of energy transport system.  

Triglycerides are broken down for fatty acids (used by your heart and other muscles) and glycerol (which your brain can use).  If you eat less than about 60% of your daily caloric needs comes from carbs, you'll use this handy transport mechanism for energy.  Otherwise, you start seeing some problems.  

If you are in a mild state of ketosis from time to time (e.g. you keep under 100 grams of carbs most days), you'll burn through these TAGs and use your own fat cells for energy to boot.  Sorry everyone, Atkins was mostly right.  Ketosis should be an important part in your week, but it's not necessarily important to stay there all the time. Just make sure to use your fat cells every week and to get some starch one or two days a week to keep the whole system functioning.  

This is an important topic so I'm up for comments, corrections, and questions.  

The Results are In

Bloodwork is mostly in range.

Total cholesterol 156. (should be less than 200)
Triglycerides 66 (should be less than 150)  <-- this kicks butt.
HDL 35 (should be more than 39)
LDL 106 (should be less than 100 "optimal" or 130 "still healthy)
LDL/HDL Ratio 3.02 (less than 3.55)

According to a H/W chart I just found online, I'm still 86 pounds overweight, so I'm considering these number a victory.  167 lbs sounds like a strangely trim weight to me, 230 is my next target so I'll update how odd 167 still sounds when I get there.

I'm currently reading 4 Hour Body and loving it.

Coming soon... my guide to triglycerides.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why Diets Work (Paleo Edition)

A friend and coworker gets credit for tonight's article for a simple, dubious question.

"Why are such different diets successful for different people?"

The answer isn't obvious, but it is simple.  Success has different criteria.  Someone with food allergies will have different priorities than someone simply trying to lose weight.

My main priorities are weight-loss, sustainability and gut health, and I chose the Paleo Diet.  

The Paleo Diet seems to have demonstrable success in the following parameters:
  • Food Allergies 
  • Auto-Immunity 
  • Brain Function Disorders
  • Gut Health 
  • Weight Correction
  • Increased Insulin Sensitivity 
  • Cortisol Correction
  • Joint Health
  • Sustainability
  • Blood Lipids and Triglycerides
The Atkins Diet, and other Very Low Carb Diets by comparison does quite well on several of these points, such as helping epilepsy and insulin sensitivity, but isn't geared for food allergies as much.  Some of those Atkins-brand candy bars really blew up my stomach thanks to freaky sugar alcohols and other Frankenfoods.  (But I did lose weight).

Why is this type of analysis important?

First, people will do better if they set goals.  Goals require choosing metrics for success.  Example:  I want to lower my fasting blood sugar, so I will try the Paleo Diet, limit carb intake, and test this in 2 months.

This leads to the second point.  These points are testable.  As this study shows, the Paleo Diet seems to out perform the Mediterranean Diet at increasing insulin sensitivity; this suggests a mechanistic cause that could help you accomplish that goal.

The USDA's MyPyramid plan, on the other hand, has a chief stated goal to "educate people about the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans". 

MyPyramid even claims that the "Stone Age Diet" is healthy because it is "low in fat"; this is false.  We have no evidence that fats from wild, healthy animals is anything but healthy even in large doses, and most of us Stone-Agers like a nice fatty chunk of grass-fed steak.

It is healthy because it optimizes the above parameters, but none of those are related to fat intake.  

Think of what vectors you wish to improve and try to make an eating and lifestyle plan that accomplishes them.  Prioritize these vectors and set up realistic and frank methods for testing whether your plan is working.  

Gluten, My Last Meal and a Blood Test

Behold!  Gluten!

Last night, I ate a gluten rich meal anticipating a gluten sensitivity blood test.  I figure if it comes back positive this will be my "last meal".

I didn't experience any of my classic symptoms after the meal, but I did have a bit of elevated heart-rate and trouble sleeping.

Pictured above, Whataburger Patty Melt and Onion Rings (Gluten/TransFat Double Attack)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gluten Killed My Gallbladder

"Gluten Killed My Gallbladder"

I've been saying this for a couple of months but I've just now found some interesting PubMed articles that point to some really neat connections between CCK release and gluten intolerance.

Long, boring article short, gluten intolerance can cause some major gallbladder issues.  These have been show to be resolved by removing gluten from the diet.

From the middle link:  (emphasis added)

In patients at diagnosis, elevated somatostatin levels were associated with increased gallbladder fasting volume, whereas decreased cholecystokinin secretion was responsible for the reduced gallbladder emptying. Gluten-free diet reversed these abnormalities.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Prediction for next April

It's not "if", it's "when" this Paleo movement goes mainstream.  My prediction is that starting next April, we'll see the first of an ever growing trickle of magazine articles, CNN stories, and various other references hit the mainstream.

A short list of my reasons this thing is (and will continue) blowing up:

1) It works.

Robb Wolf, bestselling author of The Paleo Solution, has a completely rad podcast that has over 100 episodes.  Yet his book is a bestseller.  People are buying the book because they are getting some initial results and want to tune in even better (or support him).  Don't let this give you any ideas Robb, but I'll buy absolutely any book you guys write or even forward.  The same goes for Mark Sisson.

2) It's not a religion.

It's science, and it's not bound to any a priori beliefs.  As new data sets come in, the diet gets better.  The role of saturated fats is something Cordain has come around on, for instance.

3) You feel better.

Atkins was onto a lot of things, but chowing down on a couple of those artificially-sweetened sugar-alcohol bars would give you one mondo case of the trots.  Eating Paleo actually heals your gut, so cheating makes you feel worse, more hungry, and more lousy.

As people continue to try this out, for free, for themselves, they'll continue to buy books like The Paleo Solution and The Primal Blueprint for themselves and their friends.

This will fit a classic J curve and start to emerge around next April in a big, big way.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Revelations after losing 50 pounds.

Losing over 50 lbs since between mid March and mid October gives a person some perspective.  I think I would have never had a weight issue if not for wheat.

I've cut back on added sugars, sweeteners, and all sorts of novel food groups losing weight.  I feel tons better and feel a bit like Jonah or one of the other prophets must have felt, burdened by some truth or experience that's nearly impossible to convey to another human.

Just try it, I want to scream.... what could it hurt....

Just quit wheat.

Most people aren't as "far gone" as I was, peaking 310 or 315 in March, and even larger in the couple of years before that.  All of those extra pounds, years of digestive issues, and various other issues....

Just elimination of all wheat products, I think, from around age 10 would have corrected my asthma, weight issues, and probably saved my gallbladder.  This is the conclusion I'm left with, as wheat elimination seems to be the largest part of my weight loss and improved health.

And since I'm bitter about the subject, I'll just add that it's whacky that the government guidelines or what to eat are set by the Department of Agriculture.


"In 2005 the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a food pyramid called MyPyramid, which was designed to educate people about the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans"

MyPyramid recommends that at least 50% of the grains should be whole grain.
Eat at least 3 ounces of whole grain breads, crackers, cereals, crackers, rice or pasta everyday.
Why do we need "at least 3 ounces"?  Oh, well.

It's kind of interesting that there is a nice collection of diets "represented" on the website, and there's some Paleo representation on this site:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Forks Over Knives: Misconceptions

"Forks Over Knives", a whole food vegan diet documentary has a lot of good points.  

Okay, one good point.  It advocates eating whole foods.  Great.  But it's reasons for not eating meat comes from some sort or Kindergarten statement you've probably heard.

"Eating meat is inefficient."

The story goes as follows, it takes some amount of energy to produce a plant calorie and something like ten times that amount of energy to produce an animal calorie.  So what? 

Find ANY vegan commune and you'll notice a literal ton of animal calories and insect calories that are available and that are not utilized.  If efficiency was truly the issue, killing and eating local herbivores and insects is a no-brainer.  The fact is, animals and insects frequent the same geomes that produce plant matter.  

I really don't know how to make this any clearer.  In my home state of Mississippi, there is a ton of woodlands and ponds that are not being used to produce vegetables or fruit, but in which sustainable hunting is a very real (and common) reality.

This is clear to me, but efficiency is not an issue here.  This land is perfectly balanced and hunted upon and provides animal protein to the local people.  This is an efficient and preferred way of obtaining protein, fats, and calories.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fatty foods and Mary Jane

Mark deals with a new fat study on his blog.

It finds that fat may trigger the same mental pathways that trigger endocannabinoids, a chemical triggered by smoking the reefer.  This reveals how marijuana exploits our neurochemistry.  We know that fruit got a selective advantage by exploiting our taste buds by being sweet (one of our body's methods for determining nutrient and mineral density).  

Taste is not enough, however, and our bodies needed to develop redundant systems for motivating us to eat saturated animal fats.  Marijuana exploits a secondary system.  Very cool stuff.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We the People (Against Milk)

In our latest episode of Tax Dollars Well Spent, The FDA is busting Amish farmers who sell raw milk across state lines.

People who go out of their way to pay 6 bucks a gallon for fresh, unpasteurized milk know the risk(s) they are incurring.  I cannot fathom how anyone thinks it's a good idea for the feds to get involved in this kind of matter.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Conventional Wisdom

A Healthy Eating Guide For Men.

This says that eating steak is bad when you "skip the whole grains" (and veggies).  A lot of whole grain studies seem to focus on people who eat whole grains rather than other forms of grains.

I want a study that compares a high-carb/low-fat "whole grain" diet against an omega-3 rich higher fat, lower carb Paleo diet.  Sure, people got crank on bacon-only atkins at 20g of carbs per day.

Let's really take a look at 100g of veggies on a Paleo diet with some grass fed beef.  Compare that to a high-carb low fat diet.

For me, I'll take the salad and the side of pork ribs.


Please take a look at one such study, as analyzed by Tribal God, Mark Sisson:

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I'm not diabetic, but I have plenty of loved ones who are.  I take this crap personal.

Google "dietary guidelines for diabetics" sometime.  I'll wait.  My second hit was for Mayo Clinic, who surprisingly cites exactly no sources in the entire article I found.   Here's a sample, healthy meal for diabetics.

  • Breakfast. Whole-wheat pancakes or waffles, one piece of fruit, 1 cup of low-fat milk.
  • Lunch. Chicken kabob, 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli, 1/2 cup of cooked rice, 1/2 cup of juice.
  • Dinner. Pasta primavera prepared with broccoli, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of low-fat milk.
  • Snacks. Six homemade crispy corn tortilla chips, 1/2 cup fresh vegetables with a seasoned garlic sauce.
I swear, I'd explain what my problem with this is, if I didn't think my brain would fall out of my ears.  It really says something that we've become so lipid-phobic that our reputable links are encouraging diabetics to drink Juice, eat pancakes, fruit, rice, pasta, and tortilla chips in a given day.

Can we please, as a country, get past this low-fat-milk crap.  God willing I will milk a cow this labor day, owned by Amish farmers and drink it's deadly, creamy, unpasteurized froth.  

My Food Pyramid


What a lovely site.  No really.  I found a nice, customized graph to tell me how to eat a healthy 2,800 calorie per day diet which should be appropriate for a man of my activity level, age, and weight.

Eat plenty of grains, especially high fiber grains that are whole, and drink low fat milk.

Given that, worldwide, I think it's safe to say that over half of us are intolerant to either grains or lactose, how can both of these food groups be on the list of recommended foods?

The good news?  I can have 7 whole ounces of meats and beans each day.  But lean meat... wouldn't want any fats.

Okay I can't take this anymore, so here is a picture of bacon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Offal redux, Sweetbreads

A bit time consuming to cook (and intimidating), but quite tasty.  Beef Sweetbreads.  Soak em, boil em, grill em, eat em.

I ate maybe 1/5 of them, the rest of my dinner party liked them a lot, even ample sirloin, pork ribs, and pork chops.

If you're trying to "get into offal", I recommended this as a first step!  (And a cheap, delicious treat)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hamburger Helper

Hamburger doesn't need help. It needs onion, garlic, and some spices.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Avoiding Faleo

Found a new blog thanks to Mark's blog, and it debunks some "Bad Paleo" that she calls "Faleo"

Best Quote:

"Eat some freaking pork belly....a lot of pork belly maybe in some mashed tubers...and some fatty lamb doused in coconut milk...and some short ribs doused in tallow...and a bunch of shrimp cocktails. Eat that stuff until you aren't hungry and then tell me whether the paleo diet works for you. "

Friday, April 8, 2011

Going Primal

I'm reading the Primal Blueprint, and I must say that I really like this Mark Sisson guy.  Granted there is a lot of overlap between Paleo and Primal, but I think the Primal mindset is a bit easier for me to Grok.

One key difference is Saturated Fats.  Primal is perfectly fine with these from most sources, the biggest consideration with fats is striving towards that lovely 1:1 or 2:1 Omega6:Omega3 ratio.

Primal seems more okay, on the whole with butter and things like that as well.  It subtle.  I think Robb Wolf makes some great points in The Paleo Solution, but I can't help but love Mark's book.

Best thing I learned and have practiced from The Paleo Solution:  The 30 day rule.  Just try it for 30 days, and then see how you feel.  I'm pretty sure artificial sweetners have been giving me a fit.  I've mostly cut them out from my diet.

I'm drinking a diet soda right now, actually, and if I'm right I'll really be feeling it later.  Abstaining completely from non-paleo food sources for a while really helps you learn the "good normal" way for your gut to feel rather than the normal you may be used too.

The best thing I've learned so far from The Primal Blueprint:  Don't worry about calories, meal frequency or anything like that.  Eat the right kinds of foods at least 80% of the time and let yourself get into a rythm that works.  If you don't feel like breakfast, skip it.  It's actually good for you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recipe: Turkey Pear Chilli

Turkey Pear Chilli


1 lb. turkey
1 ale or lager
1 pear, diced
1 can whole tomatoes with juice.
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garilic, diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 chilli in adobo, chopped.
olive oil
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp paprika


Heat oil in large skillet.  Soften onion and garlic on medium heat.  Add turkey, chilli powder, chopped chilli, salt and paprika, and tomato paste.  When the turkey is no longer raw, add beer and reduce by half.  Once the beer has reduced, add pears, and add tomatoes, crushing them with your fingers.  Add the juice from the tomatoes, and continue reducing until desired thickness.

Happy eating.

Monday, March 28, 2011

2 Weeks

2 weeks have passed.  I've lost a touch over 10 lbs, not shabby.

What I've learned:

  • There's a whole other "primal" community out there.  I've ordered The Primal Blueprint to check that out.
  • On a related note, Mark's Daily Apple is a really cool site.
  • "Which is the bad fat?" a rather innocent question my wife asked me, is becoming a very difficult question.
  • Butter, a common cheat of Paleo folk, has proven difficult to avoid.  I feel that giving up at least that one, precious form of dairy will be beyond my ability of compromise.  Eggs fried in coconut oil might be interesting, but butter....  ah, so good.
Eating Out:
  • Mongolian Grill seems to be the best place to eat out in downtown Austin.
  • Salad is not a veggie.  Just because some restaurant has a grilled chicken salad does not make it Paleo friendly.  
  • Mexican food is actually quite doable.  Fajitas are an easy option, with yummy guacamole.  
  • You really can't eat out most of the time on Paleo.  Keep 2 or 3 extra servings of meat on hand along with fresh fruit an veggies.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops (Paleo and Primal)

An easier, looser version of EDP's chops.


2 pork chops
Unsweetened apple sauce
Coconut oil
White wine or vermouth
Scant shot of Tequila

Sea Salt
Garlic Powder


Heat coconut oil to medium high (preferably in a cast iron skillet).  Meanwhile dust the pork chops with all the spices, to taste.  Add the pork chops and cook for a bit, until the pan is nice and hot.  Then add your alcohols.  If it catches on fire, great, but I was not so lucky.  Cook about 6 minutes each side, but this is largely going to come down to the thickness of your chops.

Garnish with apple sauce on the side, or on top.  Walnuts are a good pairing as well.  This makes savory, sweet desert chops.  I'd like to try it with diced apple next time, but this was quick, easy and tasty.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What foods are okay?

The following list is a very strict interpretation of the paleo diet.

Of course, there are many exceptions to this.  "Primal" dieters seem to have less problems with fattier meats.  Robb Wolf seems to be okay with some of the fermented soy products such as Tamarin Soy Sauce.  Many, many paleo sites have recipes that call for high-quality grass fed butter or ghee.

Still, a great resource for people who want an informational list.

Update:  A friend of mine has read through my backlog and pointed out that honey is on this list.

I've made my own honey-mustard several times and see no problem with it's occasional use.  Then main takeaway should be "grains/legumes/dairy" avoidance for the first month and then see how you feel.

Monday, March 21, 2011

About Soy

A couple of links that provide different perspectives about soybeans.  I end up sending information like this out to people periodically, so here it is.  Forever.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 7, Sunday

Today was a good day.  Carb cravings seem to have cleared, and my gut feels better than it has in a long time:  I've had digestive problems for about 2 years before and after the removal of my gallbladder.

I'd love to know what food or foods have been bothering my gut, but this has shown me that strict compliance with Paleo (including dairy) was a good idea.  

Biggest Craving today:  Diet Coke (I cut out the sweetners). 

Biggest Win:  Berries (black, blue, rasp).

Best idea:  packing lots of fruit and meats for the road trip to Houston this weekend.  It pays to have extra grub on hand when you are going into the wild unknown.

Best leftovers:  Beef Fajitas meat, onions and peppers made and awesome omelette filling.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 4

Day 4 has been a little funky.  I was in a rush today.  Breakfast was an apple, lunch was a chicken salad with oil and vinegar.  Tasty, but there's something missing here.


By 6:00 I was totally famished.  Luckily my impromptu hamburger/tomato chili was just what the doctor ordered.

My to-do list now is to keep some meat at home that's already cooked (barbecued chicken thighs probably), some lunch meat, and some jerky on hand.  I think I'm starting to slip into ketosis.  There are some hitches, and strange sort-of-hungry feelings that are manageable, but still had me foraging for olives last night in the cupboard.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Paleo 30 Day Challenge

I was talking about the Paleo diet over a year ago.  Blogging about it even!  Maybe it's taken a full year for the full zeitgeist to pull me in.  Maybe my jaded disappointment of gaining back a chunk of weight I lost in college on the Atkins diet is wearing off.

It was probably the movie Fat Head that reminded me of some things I already knew, but I ordered Robb Wolf's "The Paleo Solution" off of Amazon.

Some of you are instant gratification, Kindle types.  I haven't made it that far yet.  But, the standard shipping time  is a great way to prolong trying a diet or healthy lifestyle choice.  I tore through the book in a few days, an easy read.  Actually laugh-out-loud funny in a few places.  I did wonder what Robb's thing with calling me "Buttercup" was all about.

The book convinced me to do something a bit crazy. Go hard-core paleo for 1 month.  Then, if you want to slack up on some of the following, it's your funeral.

Get lots of sleep.
Moderate alcohol intake.
No grains.
No cereals.
No soy.
No corn.
No legumes.
No beans.
No artificial sweeteners.
No dairy.

Do all of this for 30 days.

I have a good grasp on some of these points.  Giving up butter is a cruelty, and a lot of Paleo people have their own special rules with butter.  For now, however, butter and I will be distant lovers.

I'm 3 days into this crazy town of a diet.  It's how we supposedly lived thousands of years ago.  Meat, veggies, and fruit.  It's already becoming something of a mantra, and something of a zen koan.

How can most restaurants not have a meal on the menu that falls into these simple, broad categories?  How have we repackaged corn and flour in so many creative ways?

Luckily, questions like the above haunt me, and give me a weird nerd rage that steels my resolve!