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.
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!