Saturday, April 17, 2010

Once Again, Thriving On Meat & Eggs

Before I share my week with you, I want to point out that this blog has slowly veered away from inclusions of theoretical interest and link love to other blogs. I still read my 40+ blogs and sites in the health, wellness and paleo-spheres, but I'm no longer compelled to point out the goodies to my readers. Why? It's two-fold: one, I hope you are all following those blogs yourselves; and two, I don't have time. I often find myself 'starring' items in Google Reader, but never getting back to find ways of linking to the articles here. Since I've started using my iPod Touch for my regular Internet access, and doing all my other reading during down-time at work (the two minutes I can grab as my 'lunch break' if I'm lucky), I can't even easily link to the pages via Twitter. However, I will be putting more effort into doing so, so if you really like being pointed toward good reads, watch my Twitter feed. I'll do my best! I might also pick out really good quotes from the things I read and create mini-posts on the blog, unless anyone objects to that kind of thing....

I would love to have the time to do active research into various areas of health and report back, like Melissa McEwan does re: Paleo sustainability and gender-specific anthropology (and so much more), but the reality is that I have a full-time (and then some) job that keeps me very busy during the school year. The temptation to become just a University student again is very tempting since then it's all about me me me again, and my time is all my own. But no - at least 50% of my waking day belongs to my students. I do like it that way, but it means my focus at other times needs to be on my food and my activity, with a little bit of time once or twice a week to report back to you guys. The blog has really come full circle for me - that I've taken my journey or experimenting and learning, and now I'm keen to keep showing you how I continue to stay clean and thriving on the diet and lifestyle my particular physiology prefers. And it's really that individual journey that I'm endorsing when I say "if I can do it, so can you" - I'm not pushing my choices on anyone, I've made the information that has informed my decisions available to all, and I've shared the trials and successes I've been through on my path. Perhaps I should make a simple chart in future, alongside my Science page, to detail the choices I'd recommend people try, since my resulting dietary needs are not necessarily true for everyone.

My needs:

I need to stick to a meat-only diet (inclusive of all animals - and fish and sea creatures are animals - and eggs). This diet makes me feel best in all aspects of my life, and when I'm aiming to burn stored bodyfat it also keeps me satiated for long periods of time even if I'm eating to caloric deficit, big or small.

If I allow myself to wander into dairy consumption, I tend to become food-obsessed, which may be a hormonal hyperphagia situation, or an insulin issue, or perhaps dairy now blunts my leptin response. I won't know the cause without fiddling with glucose monitors and blood screening, or perhaps therapy for food addiction (and I'm not ruling out the idea that I'm now somewhat damaged psychologically after my year-long exposure to the crazed world of nutrition science and watching my own body's response - I think I'm now on par with the average teenage girl, since I missed that the first time around), but in the meantime, I know how to avoid the issue - avoid dairy. I've had some unpleasant physiological responses to dairy before, no matter from which animal, so I can believe that I'm better off without it. It was the only food standing between me and the Paleo ideal, so I know I'm backed by a strong and widely-shared ideology.

If I allow myself to wander into vegetation consumption beyond small amounts of herbs and spices, I suffer from bloat and the other usual plant-food effects - i.e. flatulation! The knowledge that I will have a nice flat stomach and will never accidentally toot when demonstrating physical theatre to my students is something money can't buy! I never have any stomach or intestinal pain now - something I used to live with - now that I don't have any plant fibre tearing through my system. My system runs smoothly, so fibre is clearly not necessary for me. I don't eat processed meats, and I don't believe in the theory that red meat, in the absence of processed meats, has any association with colon cancer. In the wider theoretical sense, I don't really believe most plants do humans major damage in consumption, though I do know about anti-nutrients and other plant defenses, but I also don't believe that we need to consume plants to thrive. Anti-oxidants are only needed if you're doing the damage that they help to reverse. I know this statement sadly means that I can no longer justify consuming red wine or dark chocolate as being healthful; what a shame!

I've made it this far without getting any real exercise beyond my daily walking to and from work (which is a necessity since I don't drive), but I am interested now in mixing it up, building more muscle in order to burn more fuel, and seeing whether a bit more activity will help with the lingering hormonal imbalance that has me hovering (still!) 8kg above the weight I reached last year pre-Thailand. It does bother me, looking at my bikini photos, that I wasn't even that close to goal before things took an upswing. I had been relying on diet-based caloric deficits back then, so I wonder if part of the DepTran issue was also my body's willingness to return to its bodyfat set-point. My body backpedaled all but 2kg of the original weight I lost. And this is just from binge-eating Primal foods uncontrollably for a couple of weeks. Even now, it seems that if I don't ensure I create a caloric deficit from diet & activity, very excess calorie finds its way into storage. My body doesn't heat up after meals anymore, although I do seem to stay fuller longer now. So while my metabolism may be affected, at least I'm not in the high-carb cycle of urgent & stubborn fat-accumulation driven by insulin's job of reducing blood glucose levels - the energy I consume stays available to burn for a long time since my circulating insulin levels are low. This physiological situation puts me in good stance for upping my activity levels, since my muscles will have adequate access to fuel stores and will not be likely to catabolise themselves.

I'm looking at trialling the kind of fitness I enjoy the most - group dance classes and body-weight work like yoga and Pilates - as well as the much-loved CrossFit (though the one gym in Melbourne is kind of far from home, so I could only go on the weekend, until I knew enough to DIY at home), and some basic strength training at home, though my space is limited and exposed to the neighbours. This past week I actually went to a local dance place, Dance Dynamics in Box Hill, and for $5 tried two Hip Hop classes - one beginner class, and one more advanced class. The beginner class really didn't get me sweating at all, but the Hip Hop Xtreme class used bigger muscle groups and kept us moving for longer: more about running longer sequences than assuming people were mostly uncoordinated and needed to learn each step and arm movement individually. For anyone thinking that dance is akin to aerobics and basic cardio, you're wrong. Dancing - depending on style - spends more time stretching each muscle group and incorporating body-weight work (squats, ab crunches, arm suspensions) subtly into attractive and fun dances. It's not much about bouncing around and getting your heart rate up. I did aerobics for a year in 2006, and barely showed any kind of toning. The same amount of dance, and I'd be in six-pack wonderland, with dancer's legs! At the moment, money is holding me back, since Dance Dynamics is a membership system, whereas I'd much prefer a drop-in system since my time is precious and spare time is variable. I'll continue checking out my options, and might 'invest' in a couple of DVDs or some such... FYI, not totally in love with Hip Hop dancing, since bodyrolls aren't all that fun when you watch the rest of your rolls jiggle out of turn. Popping the chest is also a little wild when you're running without a sports bra... Upside of dancing at home - no mirrors. Downside - motivation and lack of laughs. We'll see...

So, on to the week that was:


Slept in, then had some sausages for lunch, followed by my first-ever go at slow-cooking a chicken - yum!


Breakfast of lamb chops - however, since we hadn't been to the organic butcher thanks to being interstate, I had to resort to conventionally-raised meat from the supermarket. The fat tasted terrible, full of chemicals! And it's not just elitism talking - even the beau thought it smelled pretty rank. Shame I bought 20 of them...

After work, gorged on my favourite - raw salmon (sashimi)!

And then formally dined on yet more roasted chicken - been in a real fowl mood lately.


Also known as the day my phone (camera) ran out of batteries and I had no time to charge it.

Breakfasted on leftover chicken and a side of bacon, cooking up a bunch of Jonathan's Tuscan snags for lunch at work. If I know there's food in the fridge and I have a free period, it drives me mad. So the snags were all eaten at recess, leaving me to fast for the rest of the day. Felt great! The phone was charged by dinner time - but I'll leave you to imagine the entire lack of food eaten for dinner.


Post-fast feast day! Started off like a champion - a bacon & egg smash, fried in coconut oil.

Then, after work, indulged in raw salmon, drizzled in a little lemon juice.

Dined on an incredibly tasty beef fillet from Dad's latest delivery up to me here in the big smoke (kept in the freezer for ages in the meantime - good steak doesn't lose its flavour no matter how long it's kept on ice!) Yum!


Knowing I had rehearsal after the normal teaching day, and then I'd be rushing into the city for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I planned ahead and made 500g worth of beef burger at breakfast, packing them into lunch containers to eat during and after work. I ate one at breakfast with a side of bacon.

I wasn't full, so I ate another, and another... Yeah. So then I fasted for the rest of the day. Felt great, again! Spontaneous 24hr fast FTW!


Time, once again, to feast! I cooked up a big batch of chicken drumsticks in the morning, and managed to successfully pack up half the batch to take to work for lunch. I also decided to bite the social-outcast bullet and take a raw salmon fillet to work, along with my sharp knife (probably against school policy for teachers to carry knives at school, but what the hey), to test the reactions of my colleagues.

I ate three drumsticks and one salmon fillet for breakfast, and the same for lunch, so let's make do with just one photo, shall we?

For dinner, I couldn't make up my mind about what I wanted, so I whipped up some kangaroo steak, bacon, egg & bacon smash, and raw salmon. It was awesome!


Today, after a lovely, long sleep-in, I feasted on freshly-bought organic lamb chops, free-range ham, and bacon. I snacked on the bacon whilst my late lunch (or extremely late breakfast) was on the grill, but managed to get a snap of the remaining lunch as it cooled a little on my chopping board. My eyes were too big for my stomach though, and one chop was put in the fridge for later.

However, I didn't have time to eat it in between writing most of this blog post and heading out the door to start my massive night of FIVE Comedy Festival shows! So I've clocked up another fast this week, feeling great, and am looking forward to feasting tomorrow! Free-range pork roast, hot smoked salmon fillet with creole seasoning (served cold), a leftover lamb chop, some ham... Ooooh, the possibilities!


Susan said...

That pic of your slow cooked chicken is food porn at it's best. WOW, it looks good. I want chicken now!


Lucy said...

Great blog!

dustinholt18 said...

Really enjoyed the My Needs part of your blog today. I’ve been a fan of your sit for awhile now, but that really struck a chord with me. I’ve been eating meat almost exclusively now for little over a week. Lost 8 pounds and feel great. Thanks for all the great info, and sharing just a little of your busy life. Dustin

thania said...

Thanks for sharing. It is very honest, and I like the way you express yourself.

My clean eating has also took me to become food obsessed! And my fingers are sore from BG mesurements. My food need conclusions:

1-Dairy from goat no ill effect on me.(I have lost 10% bone density in 2 years of low-carb eating and eliminating dairy!)so I am back with it and try to include some on daily basis.

2-Very low carb increases my fasting BG!while adding lots of salad and veggies keeps BG controled.

3- Starchy food from grains and sugar take my 1hr BG to real high levels of even 200-2220!! So very carb sensitive and must be insuline resistant. Strangely except for potato the other root veg dont increase my BG!.

4- Unlike the paleo/primal male , the paleo/primal female or at least me need to watch the calories and fat.

5- Donig IF is a part of my life and fills me w lots of energy and stomach discomfort has gone!

6- Fruits even berries set me craving for carbs if I have them need to add some nuts other wise I am in trouble.

This just shows how important it is for each of us to study and measure our individual needs rather than following blindly lowcarb, paleo, primal, zero carb ...etc. What I find out is I need to eat more in MDA primal BP line and your needs are more in ZC border.

Have a nice week.

Jezwyn said...

Thanks for the comments, and for enjoying my 'food porn'! ;)

Dustin - 8 pounds in a week?! Is this switching from a high-carb WOE to Zero-Carb? Cos if that's not mostly water weight, I'm a bit worried! Make sure you get some strength/resistance training in there to keep your muscle if the weight is dropping that fast. I did a bunch of burpies (like, 10) and some random dumbbell and squat stuff behind my desk for a couple of minutes, since I spent a lot of today sitting on my butt. Don't want to lose muscle, although I'm keeping any caloric deficit pretty tight anyway. Slow and steady loss is the way to go...

Hi Thania, didn't know you were still reading my little blog. I'm glad you find value in it. I've been interested in taking some BG measurements myself - I've looked into prices online, and want to ask at the local chemist to compare. I don't want to end up sore though, so I'd use it sparingly. I'm younger than you, so I'm not worried about bone density yet, though I'm getting my calcium from bones and marrow and things in the meantime. How do you know you've lost density? The fasting BG thing is intriguing - though might be explained by your note that you watch your fat intake (why?) so would therefore be eating more protein on ZC/VLC than when you're including some leafy veg? I understand watching calories, but why fat? Is it just so you can eat more food? One of the things that I wonder about is how much my needs might change in short periods of time - it has only been 16 months since I cut out sugar and grains, and now I can't immediately tolerate a range of foods without a significant readjustment period. Right now I feel best on meat & eggs, but who's to say that will be a permanent reaction? Vegans usually feel great for the first little while too... We'll see! And I'd love to play around with the non-invasive medical side of things to get some more distinct stats too. Just gotta get over this problem I have with needles... :)

Sue said...

That interview by Melissa McEwan was good. The comment section was huge. There are quite a few angry, idiotic comments by vegans.

dustinholt18 said...

Jezwyn- Your first inclination was correct. I’m about 6’3” and 280 (now 269 as of this morning) and have been eating rather poorly for several months. High carbs/low protein. I had basically put eating properly on the back burner so I could focus on getting thru this semester. But I saw an interview with Dr. Scott Connelly on the Crossfit Journal from March 12. You may have already seen it if you follow the Journal, if not its worth checking out.
It struck a chord with me just like your post did. Since then I’ve been eating meat, eggs, and occasional broccoli stalk or apple. I have to say that feel better now than I can remember. My mood and energy levels have been even and consistent all week. I’ve lost eleven pounds now and yes that’s with doing some Crossfit and Rippintoe Starting Strength workouts.

thania said...

Hi Jezwin, yes your blog is included in my rss list and is interesting for me to see how others do personal experiment and the results. When I first started with LC, my main concern was its effect on the bone density as it is acid producing,so I asked my traumatologist for a bone desitometry test order (it involves minimal radiation exposure and is not invasive) and repeated in 2 years again Feb 2010. I am still in good state since I am not very old either. I am adding more veggies due to their alkaline levels, to neutralize the acidic side and hopefully shifting towards the alkaline side.

I still eat a lot of fat 50-60%, but try to eat leaner cuts most of the time, but do eat my vegs and salads with lots of olive oil dressing.

I started w BG measuring, as I read few things on VLC and insuline resistance and MDA book, also indicates is good to carb load once in a while too. Even though VLC seems to be ok on me, I just dont want to make myself insuline resistance, which could be only temporary and reversible!! On the other hand I like eating vegtables of all type, specially the night shade ones ( I am mediterranean after all!!) and also the BG seems to indicate I am much better eating them, maybe is due to butyric acid formation , resulting from fiber and healthy gut flora thing??

I do agree with you on grass fed and conventional meat, the smell of the fat of the second one is terrible, it is becoming a problem for me when eating out at friends..

StephenB said...

Hi Jezwyn. What kind of dairy causes the issues? I'm wondering if heavy cream might be fine (no casein, for example).

Jezwyn said...

Hi gang!

Sounds great, Dustin! Congrats on getting back on track :)

StephanB - fear not, I'm not blind to the facts regarding dairy and its potential issue-causers. My first trial was with heavy bovine cream and it did not go down well. Second was with sheep's cheese - no gurgles, but maybe constipation. Third with bovine cheese - definite constipation. So it's not necessarily black/white lactose of casein problems, but perhaps elements of each and other factors in dairy products that my gut doesn't thrive on.

There's only so much you can learn from nutritional theory - it's all about self-experimentation to find what works for you. For instance, I don't believe in the acid/alkaline theory that Thania is following, because perhaps my body happily excretes excess acid (as normal bodies do) but perhaps hers doesn't. Same goes for consumption of olive oil - I'd be worried about my EFA balance and impact on bloodwork, but perhaps her system doesn't have a problem with olive oil. And again, she thinks that VLC eating could increase her insulin resistance, whereas from my reading and experiences, the opposite is true. So who knows? We're all individual mutants, after all :)

thania said...

There are some articles by "primal wisdom" on paleo diet and PH among others in referance to acid/alkaline balance.

I leave the link in case there is interest to learn more:

Jezwyn said...

I love Don's work, but when I read that series it came off as a "I tried meat-only and it gave me cramps, so here's what I think might be behind it" stab in the dark - a theory, not something proven by clinical trial. And there are plenty of cases that would refute this hypothesis. I had cramps when I first started going low-carb, but haven't had even the slightest twinge since going carnivore, and I haven't even been supplementing. I'm clearly getting enough potassium etc to meet my needs despite the apparent acidity of my diet. The theory also ignore all the other acidic foods out there that are not meat, and the fact that the need for calcium can be met with smaller dietary amounts if you are not including anti-calcium uptake elements in your lifestyle.

That link was incorrect, by the by.

Tali said...

Hey there - if you use Google Reader you should also be signed up for Google Buzz. You can click on "share" on any article in reader and it'll share it with your followers. It's a nice way to share items on the fly without the effort of blogging about them. If you don't mind people knowing your google mail address (or create one for this purpose) then they can just find and follow you. BTW, thanks for the great blog.

Jezwyn said...

One step ahead of you, Tali - I did that last night and now have a "Girl Gone Sharin'" widget in my right side bar with my top items - I'll be mentioning it in my next post so you guys know to look there if you want :) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yet another great post...keep 'em coming! I feel so empowered when I read your blog, not to mention a little hungry. :-)