Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Striking the balance

CrossFit has a sort of addictive quality, especially early on. The average person comes from another more "standard" gym -- full of machines, treadmills and ellipticals (and people who don't ever speak to one another) -- and he or she gets quickly caught up in CrossFit fervor. And it's great. The newbie gets all (justifiably) warm and fuzzy about the sense of community at a CF gym, and feels simultaneously destroyed and invigorated by the workouts, and is generally flying high on the CrossFit-ness of it all....

And then some of them get hurt.

Not all, by any means. There are CFers who managed to do it all right from the outset, but, in my experience, they are in the minority. The more typical scenario often involves the newbie getting so into it all so quickly that he or she gets banged up. And we almost all get hurt; the question is whether you learn something from it.

Many times I think that the most glaring "something" to be learned is how many days a week you can really CrossFit and remain injury-free. And here's the catch: that is a very individual issue.

Yes, some of you can handle a seven-day schedule that goes something like three days on, one day off, two days on, one day off, and survive just fine. Some of you even go three on/one off over and over and do great with that. I even know a few who successfully go six days straight without a rest day.

I tried that three on/one-off routine when I first started CF back in 2010. After all, I used to go to the old globo gym six days a week, so that should be no problem right? I began at my local CF affiliate a couple days a week, and followed their programming in my garage the other days. It was great!

Until it wasn't.

I am in decent shape for a guy who turns 50 this year. But my body cannot handle six (or even five) days a week of CrossFit.

I get sore, and then I tweak something, and then I spend the next few weeks recovering/compensating.

And then there are issues of sleep and body composition to consider. You might think that if you are pretty fit doing CF three or four days a week, you will be a Totally Awesome and Sexy Specimen of Fitness if you just ramp up the amount of training to five or six days.

You might be very wrong.

If I do CF that much, I don't only end up sore and hurt; I sleep badly too. Then when my sleep is wrecked, insulin resistance begins. I might even get a touch of Raynaud's tingling in my fingers to remind me that we aren't off the rails yet, but the shitstorm is coming if we don't get it together.

The question is not whether your body will ever send you these sorts of messages, but, rather, whether you choose to listen.

And it isn't easy. I planned on going to CrossFit this morning. But I played volleyball last night, then had minor trouble falling asleep because I was still hyped up from playing and sore from my already banged-up right arm taking a bit of a beating at volleyball, and I woke up this morning, feeling a slight Raynaud's tingle in the fingers, and thought, "Eff this."

And, mind you, when I think, "Eff this," I don't just get there in one simple step. No, there's guilt and reconsideration and then a little more guilt and thoughts of "maybe I will go after all" and then some more guilt. Hell, most of this post probably began as a way of assuaging my guilt for not going to the gym.

But my body will thank me, even if my ego took a hit.

Play smart, kids. Somewhere in your head, you know what the right frequency of exercise is for you. And that may change from week to week depending on what else is going on in your life. All I know is this: the self-imposed guilt from not going to the gym on a particular day is nothing like the physical repercussions from going when you shouldn't have. Listen to your body. Have fun.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bacon-wrapped, goat-cheese-stuffed dates

I like modern art; I really do, but, if we go to MOMA in NYC or even to a modern exhibition at, say, the Philadelphia Museum Of Art, I have a basic test for the simple question, "Is it really art?"

Could I have done it in five minutes or less? If the answer is yes, then it's not art. Four chairs set up around a light bulb? Not art. A blank canvas? Not art. I don't care if it was intended to speak to the plight of whomever wherever. Not art. On the other hand, weird splotchy paintings, weird twisty sculptures, etc? Those are art.

This is not a tough test.

What does this have to do with recipes? It seems that if you can tell exactly how to make something from the name, the "recipe" maybe isn't a recipe at all. It's just a good idea.

But sometimes something is so delicious that you don't care. Let's take the case of the bacon-wrapped, goat-cheese stuffed dates.

You pretty much figured out how to do it already, I bet.

Well, do it.

It is The World's Greatest Party Food.

We have to go to an Oscars party tonight. (Yeah, I know.... I haven't seen any of those movies either, but the party is fun. This particular one always involves good food, and, get this, all the whisky drinkers bring a different single-malt scotch for a "tasting." It's the one time all year that my wife drives me home).

Anyway, we are bringing bacon-wrapped, goat-cheese-stuffed dates, and, as always, they will be devoured in no time.

We are also bringing a Bowmore 12, but I digress....

But, at the risk of simply stating the obvious, here is how you make bacon-wrapped, goat-cheese-stuffed dates:

Cook a lot of bacon. Now here is the catch. If you use the good bacon, like the bacon at the meat counter at Whole Foods, the big long strips of that stuff, e.g. the "black forest bacon" ..... wowzers, will allow you to wrap each date with one-third of a strip of bacon. But, as a bacon aficionado, a man (or woman) about town of the bacon set, you might think that you want a little extra bacon involved in the wrap -- say, half a slice for each date.

This is a reasonable conclusion.

Have at it. Some higher mathematics should lead you to count the number of dates you are going to stuff/wrap and then divide that number by two or three to determine how many strips of bacon to cook.

Then add a few more strips because you *know* you are going to eat some as you are making this.


While the bacon is cooking, slice each date just enough to get the pit out, and remove that thing. Stuff each date with goat cheese.

You're about to ask me how much goat cheese. This is always a source of debate. For instance, I already think my wife didn't buy enough to stuff the dates that she bought for tonight's party. But we will see. She is usually right about these things. But, to be safe, like the bacon, err on the side of "it's always cool to have some left over because it's so delicious that it won't be around long anyway."

Oh, and yeah, I know... Goat cheese isn't paleo. This is a party. Lighten up, Francis. I am not telling you this is breakfast food.

Now, there's two ways to do the next part. You can heat the stuffed dates in the oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees F or so, just to melt that cheese a little. And then wrap 'em with the bacon, using a toothpick to hold the bacon on.

Or, you can wrap 'em first and then heat 'em up. I like the end result of this latter method better, but don't burn the bacon! In other words, this requires you to be more careful, but the results are even better.

And they look like this:

(Not the best pic, I realize, but, hey, we should be pretty clear at this point that this is not art).

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Bulletproof" coffee.... yowza!

Fat keeps you full. You know that part already, right?

If you want yet another advantage in reaching a noble goal -- the ability to make it from meal to meal without snacking in between -- "bulletproof" coffee could be your thing.

I used to put heavy cream in my coffee. It's a great fat source, but, wow, did it ever snot me up. Every single time, I'd get all phlegmy/gross. It just wasn't working for me.

So I switched to black, and I like black coffee, but it has no fat.

Enter (drumroll, please) "bulletproof" coffee. I should make clear that it is not my recipe. I am just the messenger here. In fact, I am not even going to recopy the recipe, so as to give its owner his due. Just go here and enjoy.

Essentially, it is coffee with butter (unsalted, please; grassfed, please; Kerrygold is a good go-to grassfed butter) and coconut oil in it. It is freaking delicious, and the fat is beautiful for keeping you charged up and full.

And I have no idea if it is responsible, but I got a 20-pound PR on my two-rep back squat tonight less than an hour after drinking a mug of this stuff.

Good enough for me.

The Cory Weissman story. You need to read this.

Some days you'd swear that John Prine was right:

"The world was angry; the world was mean.
Why the man down the street and the kid on the stoop
All agreed that life stank; all the world smelled like poop--
Baby poop that is, the worst kind."

But then, if you look hard enough, you can find the good people.

I should start this by saying that I learned about it first through Michael Smerconish's radio show.

And if this doesn't make you get a little misty, then you are a tougher bastard than me.

Cory Weissman is a senior on the Gettysburg College basketball team. He had a stroke his freshman year. Never scored even one point.

Cory worked his ass off to come back, and he finally did: by his senior year he was able to do layup drills.

But when "senior night" came around, the coach decided to start him, let him play for a few seconds as a tribute to his hard work, and then sub him out. And he did, and it was great. The players on the opposing team from Washington College cheered him as he got on the court.

And if the story ended there, it would still be pretty cool for Cory, but it gets better.

Fast forward to the closing seconds of the game. Gettysburg is way ahead and the coach puts Cory back in. Cool right? But that's *still* not the really good part.

The Washington coach calls time out and tells his players to foul Cory as fast as possible. They do and he heads for the free-throw line -- they were in the double bonus at that point -- and Cory hits the second free throw, scoring his first college point.

The word "awesome" is insufficient to describe everyone involved with this incident. That is just a credit to the human spirit in every way.

The full NPR story is here.

And this is the video:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Snack Question

I think it is the single most-asked question by paleo/primal newbies, or even the paleo-curious: What about snacks?

In fact, I think that, just in the last week, at least two people at work have asked me this question and I think I have already chimed in with an answer to it two or three times on various Facebook pages as well. We love our snacks.

And I totally get it. Pre-paleo, I was a snacking machine. I couldn't make it between *any* meals without shoving some carby nightmare into my gaping maw. So when I first went paleo, I asked the same thing:

What about snacks?

And the answer was pretty much always identical: some variant of jerky, almonds, maybe with some dried fruit, or, better yet, a combo of all three like you can get in a Paleo Kit from Steve's Original.

And those types of snacks are great. In fact, I'll call them the First Level of Paleo Snacking. When you can't eat the kind of food that you'd eat at a regular meal, they do the trick. *And* they are paleo. (*And* in the case of Steve's Original, they support a great charity).

But.... invariably it seems that, as time passes, the number of almonds you are stuffing into your own gaping maw starts to get a little bigger, and bigger, until eventually you are reaching Omega-6-intake levels that could only be equaled by mainlining mayonnaise.

Back off.

Try and shift gears into the Second Level of Paleo Snacking: packing a little extra real food. You know.... the same kind of stuff you usually eat. If lunch is a Tupperware container full of grassfed lamb, guacamole and greens, instead of packing a jerky/almonds snack, think outside (inside?) the box and JUST PACK MORE REAL FOOD. Pack an extra container of that same meat/guacamole/greens combo. Voila.... a "snack" is born.

But, eventually, you can do even better (grasshopper).

Think about it. If you have successfully reached the vaunted Second Level of Paleo Snacking by just packing an extra container of the very same thing you were already eating for lunch, how about this: Just eat *more* at lunch (or breakfast, or dinner).

And, suddenly.... you have reached the (double-vaunted) Third Level of Paleo Snacking: where, in some sort of double-secret Zen trick, the need to snack (almost entirely) disappears. I say "almost entirely" because, hell, I still snack sometimes, but not anything near what I used to.

See, we get these funny/distorted ideas of how much food we are "supposed" to eat at a meal. I don't know where it comes from -- mom, grandma, your spouse, that mean cafeteria lady in third grade, whatever -- but it really generally has almost no relation to the amount of food your body actually *needs* to reach satiety (that's "feeling full").

This is particularly true if, like me, you are an active person. If I go to the gym in the morning and, say, deadlift a bunch of heavy reps and then do a metcon of some sort that lasts 10-20 minutes, if I just let myself eat until I am *truly* full, my breakfast will look something like: 3 or 4 eggs, 3 or 4 strips of bacon, a half-pound (or more) of some kind of meat, a pile of green veggies, a sweet potato and an avocado, followed by a bowl of blueberries covered in coconut milk.

It's a lot of food. It is particularly a lot of food compared to what almost anyone (except perhaps an experienced fellow traveler on the paleo/primal road) would "serve" me as a "normal" meal.

I think you see where we are going here.

If you eat until you are really and truly full at meals *and* your meals include good fats and protein to keep you full, you won't need to snack very often, if at all.

And a lot of this has to do with leveling out your hormones, particularly insulin. When I first went paleo/primal, I had just concluded what I have previously described as the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride of insulin spikes and valleys. Grainy living had effed me up for years, and it took a while in this lifestyle to level things out. I found that my snacking needs were a lot higher as a result back then.

But you'll get there. Don't worry that in the beginning you are going to want to snack. Do it. Just do it smart, and progress your way through the aforementioned "levels of paleo snacking," and, in less time than you think, if you listen to your body's real hunger needs, you will eat so much great, filling food at meals that your need to snack will be nearly, or even completely, eliminated.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be drummers

I made an appointment with an orthopedist today because I am sick of this shit.
I have been drumming for a little over 30 years. A lot of it, particularly in the beginning and again more recently, has been loud and fast. I am entirely self-taught on drums and probably have figured unintentionally unconventional ways of doing things a lot over the years, at high speed, hitting pretty hard.
And my right arm has paid for it.
I am not entirely clear when the range of motion started to get bad, but CrossFit, particularly the overhead-lift part, has made it oh-too-evident.
I can't come close to "locking out" my right arm.
This is my left arm in a mirror, as straight as I can make it. Not *too* far from 180 degrees....

This, however, is my right arm, again in a mirror, extended as absolutely straight as I can:

"Aaaaaaaaughhhh, you are scaring the children!" you just said. "Can't you get that thing fixed?"
We'll see. I hope so. I have previously twice been through a run of Graston scar-tissue-busting technique done by a couple of chiropractors. It made a minor difference, but I think there's enough scar tissue in there to feed a family of four for a week.
I think it needs to be seriously cleaned out.
And this article seems to indicate that I am correct in that belief. (Just ignore the part about "high-level athlete" and think "reasonably skilled drummer").
Now you know why my right wrist hurts: when I do things that require a straight, locked-out arm, my right arm is none of the above and so the weight of the barbell, in an overhead lift, or of me -- in a bodyweight exercise like a pushup, or even some yoga positions -- comes down unevenly on my wrist and twists and jacks it. My elbow is none too happy during any of that either.
I am truly sick of it. So, on March 6, I am headed to a supposedly ace orthopedist in a sports-medicine practice.
Heal me, Hippocrates. I am ready to get this fixed (and yeah, I know it is going to take some serious PT work after surgery, assuming surgery is the fix). Let's go.

UPDATE: Saw the doctor and whoa.... Huge bone spurs on both sides of right elbow, plus a heaping helping of scar tissue, all of which explains why movement is so restricted. Two choices: live with it, or surgery. I chose door # 2, in less than three weeks! Yikes. Wish me luck.

--Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, February 20, 2012

This little appliance can simplify the paleo kitchen

I find that whatever makes life simpler is usually better. The one thing the whole conversion to paleo/primal eating has done in the area of *non*-simplification is to increase the amount of time I am in the kitchen. Generally, I don't mind; I like to cook. In fact, most of the time I love it. But sometimes you just want a break.

That break used to be called "pizza night."

So, I get all kinds of excited whenever I run across a shortcut that fits the paleo way. My latest discovery is the Krups egg cooker.

And no, I am not being paid to shill for Krups. There are other companies out there that make these things too. I just happen to own this one because it is the one I was turned onto during a trip last year to Germany. Our gracious hosts in Deutschland happened to use theirs as the *only* way to boil eggs and have them come out perfect every time.

I bought one not long after we got back. It's amazing. No, boiling eggs is not the biggest pain in the ass in the world, but this thing is just too simple. You pierce each egg, with a little piercer thingy, so they don't explode, and then, after putting in the proper amount of water -- which varies depending on whether you want them soft, medium or hard-boiled, as well as on the number of eggs -- you turn it on. A few minutes later, it buzzes at you; you turn it off.

That's it. Perfect every time. And you can generally find it online for about $25. We love it.

Ok, our golden retriever hates the buzzing noise when it finishes, but the people around here are loving this thing. I am pretty consistently keeping a supply of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge at all times. Breakfast still often involves omelets or scrambled eggs of every conceivable variation, but, if time is pressed, I reach into the HBE stash and dig in.

Simplify, simplify.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Zen and the art of sleep maintenance (a.k.a. 30 days to better sleep)

I've said this before. *Lots* of people have said this before: fix your sleep and *then* your nutrition, and *then* exercise. In that order.

That's because sleep loss, or bad sleep, causes stress and raises your cortisol levels. And then your other hormones, like insulin, get all out of whack.

And once your hormones are out of balance, you are not going to get anything else in order. You cannot eat or exercise your way out of bad sleep.

As a matter of fact, it turns into an exponential death spiral in no time. You know the deal: you're stressed, so you sleep poorly, which causes more stress, and your sleep gets even worse, and around and around it goes. Meanwhile your cortisol levels and insulin resistance are raging, causing, eventually, metabolic derangement along with the pretty substantial mental derangement that you are already feeling from the stress and bad sleep.

I have been there. "Life" rears its ugly head and you either have trouble falling asleep, or you pass out easily but then wake up a lot over the course of the night. Sometimes you lie there thinking about whatever flavor of crapwich "life" has handed you lately. In any of its many variations, it sucks. And you end up exhausted.

How do you make it right?

Alcohol! Drugs!

Errrr, no. Sadly, neither of those things helps you get good sleep. They might help you pass out, but the quality of the resulting sleep is awful.

I have only ever found one successful strategy. I'm sure there are more, but only the one has worked for me: meditation.

Frankly, it sort of freaks me out because I can't say that I truly "understand" it, but it is as simple as this: if I spend 15-20 minutes meditating at any point in the day, but particularly right before bed, I sleep like an effing rock. I could have had the drummer's day from hell (or, more likely, the lawyer's, but we don't talk about that here), but if I meditate I won't wake up -- not even once.

And it even works if I am already exhausted. I have finally learned that the meditation time is worth it even if my ass is dragging and all I want to do is go to sleep -- because the few minutes of staring at a wall will guarantee me a *substantially* better night's sleep than if I just passed out and spent that extra few minutes sleeping (or trying to). The lesson: all "sleep" is not equal.

Yes, staring at a wall.

I am sure there are lots of different ways to meditate. But, as far as I can tell, there are, generally speaking, two schools: (1) the spacy/traveling-to-another-place-in-your-mind kind, and (2) the staying-focused-in-the-here-and-now kind. I don't know anything about that first one. I tried it a long time ago, and it just felt like daydreaming, and it didn't do anything for me. If you like it, cool; go for it, but it went nowhere for me. But the second one is like emptying and then flossing your brain. It also, at first, is undoubtedly a lot more difficult, because you can lapse into daydreaming pretty easily. It goes something like this:

Sit down, on the floor, in front of a wall. Cross-legged is cool. If you can pull off a lotus position, that's even better in terms of helping you focus, but I can't get beyond a half lotus myself (without a trip to the ER, anyway). Whatever. Just sit down. And shut up.

Stare at the wall.

Think about the wall. No, not anything else. Just. The. Wall. It is the only thing you are dealing with in that moment. Everything else is in the past or future, and you aren't concerned with that. Here and now, and that's just that wall in front of you.

When your thoughts go elsewhere -- and, let's be really freaking clear about this, this will occur in about 0.000000013 seconds when you are first starting -- think about the wall again.

Repeat (over and over and over again) for 20 minutes.

That's it.

Now you're thinking: "You freak. You effing freak. How in the world is that going to work? I have had the day/week/life from hell. I can't stop thinking about that to think about a *wall* instead."

But you can. The first time you do it, you will, nearly invariably, think that it was the stupidest thing you have ever done. Actually, I have never ever heard of anyone who had a better reaction that first time. In fact, if, during that first 20 minutes, you amass a grand total of more than *one* minute of thought about the wall rather than about all the other shit that's bringing you down, you will be a one-percenter headed for the Meditation Hall of Fame. That probably won't be you. It doesn't matter. Just do it. Your head may feel, as one friend described it, "like a hornets' nest, buzzing incessantly" with every thought in the world but that wall. But just do it. Think about the wall. When you stop thinking about the wall, think about the damn wall. Keep doing that. No matter how often you have to re-orient back to the wall. It can be *very* hard work. Just do it.

And the next day/night, do it again. Every day. Once a day for 15-20 minutes. Think of it as a 30-day challenge for your brain (and your body, actually).

I can't tell you precisely when the "holy shit" moment will occur, but it *will* occur. And it will be within that first 30 days. And, honestly, it may take you all 30 days just to get that pristine, clear, empty single *minute* (or even ten seconds) of thought about that stupid wall that is front of you.

But that's the thing: if you have (eventually) emptied your mind of everything else but that wall, you have (duh) achieved an enormous amount in terms of stress reduction. Think about it: when is the last time your head was totally empty of thought except a single thought about what is going on right *now*, even for ten seconds?

I repeat: it's like flossing your brain.

It's funny.... I have almost written this post four or five times over the last year, but every time I back off, 'cause the topic of meditation seems to freak some people out. But the farther and deeper I get into this whole paleo/primal lifestyle, the more I realize that if your sleep isn't right, nothing else will fall in line. And if your stress levels are high, your sleep will not be right. This is the only way I know to get it all going in the right direction. Particularly if you are a paleo/primal eater who is open to 30-day eating challenges, you should consider the idea of a 30-day meditation challenge. As Robb Wolf always says about the food angle: "Try it for 30 days and see how it makes you look, feel and perform."

And sleep.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

New and improved! With a Facebook page!

The blog never saw it coming.... It had no idea what was about to hit it.

Yesterday, Liz over at Cave Girl Eats posted my crockpot beef heart recipe. Then someone said, "Does this guy have a Facebook page?"

This guy didn't.

Then a few other people told me that I needed to get out of the cave and set one up.

So I did.

It'd be pretty cool if you went over there and "liked" it. Thanks.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crockpot beef heart stuffed with bacon, mushrooms and onions.

Ever since my paleo/primal journey followed the signs labeled Weston A. Price Foundation, I have been trying to incorporate more nutrient-dense offal into my life.

You know.... the nasty bits.

I already told you how to get yer liver on by making paleo beef-liver pate.

Now it's time to figure out the heart.

Mmmm, hearty.

Taking the approach that all offal is best consumed for the first time with bacon, and also realizing that my otherwise awesome wife is not going to eat this stuff even with the bacon, I not only opted for the bacon addition, but I also called a mushroom audible. She doesn't dig the 'shrooms so much, but if she isn't going to eat this particular delicacy anyway, why not add them? So it went something like this....


--1 (grassfed) beef heart
--garlic (as much as you like)
--1 onion
--2 cups beef broth
--1/4 cup olive oil
--6 to 10 slices of bacon (thick cut if you can)
--8 oz. of fresh mushrooms (don't you dare use canned crap that's floating in some nasty vegetable oil)

Cook the bacon. You then need to cook the mushrooms and onions in a frying pan in either the bacon grease or butter (grassfed, please....Kerrygold is great) along with a bunch of garlic. I opted for the butter route.

Clean the heart by trimming off most of the fat and any obvious arteries from the outside. Then stuff all of the frying-pan ingredients into the heart cavity. Really stuff it full and then use toothpicks -- the longer the better -- to hold it together.

Put the stuffed heart in the crockpot along with the broth and olive oil and some more garlic.

Cook for 11-12 hours on low. Don't skimp on the cooking time, or else you risk ending up with tough rubbery meat. Mine turned out pretty fantastic.

This was my first foray into beef heart. And what does the heart taste like, you ask? Really lean beef. It's so lean, in fact, that I might use coconut milk instead of beef broth/olive oil as the cooking liquid and add chili peppers, cumin or curry along with the garlic in that liquid just to spice things up a little more. The stuffing was *perfect* though. Bacon, mushrooms and onions are a killer combo.

Sliced up after all the cooking and dumped into a pot with lots of the bacon/mushroom/onion goop dumped on top, it looks something like this:

The offal train rolls on....get on board.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

30-day paleo challenges are stupid.... sometimes

I swear that I am not looking right at you when I say this. You may feel guilty about it, but I definitely don't have any specific person in mind. I just hear it a lot -- at the gym, on the FB, even on tweets. It goes something like this:

"Thinking about starting a 30-day paleo challenge. Been eating soooooo badly lately and need to get it together. Who's in?"

And then a few months later, the same people say the same thing, and then again and again.

And every time, I think: dude, really?

Paleo challenges are really genuinely good things ....once. They properly show a person who is skeptical about paleo, who is often metabolically deranged and generally off the rails of eating well, how it's done right. The idea is that you finish the challenge and keep going with it -- not necessarily as strictly as during the 30 days, but the plan is pretty clearly to allow you to develop a way to eat for life, not to act like it's the effing cookie diet, for godsakes, and do it for as short a time as possible and then return to the old ways.

Sustainability is the key. Once you go through that 30 days, you learn what food "works" for you and what doesn't. After the challenge is done, you put together a plan of how you're going to eat from there on out. Dairy? Maybe... Depends on how you handle it when you add it back in. A non-gluten grain like white rice? Maybe... Depends on whether you tolerate it well and whether your body comp is where you want it to be. Some booze? Same deal.

But gluten-containing crap? Vegetable/seed oils? Pringles? Hot Pockets? 24 individually wrapped slices of Kraft American singles "processed cheese food?"

No. Those are gone. Out of here. History. If you are eating them regularly, you fell off the paleo boat and are drowning again. And you also apparently forgot just how amazing you felt when your food intake was cleaned up. Those one-rep-max PRs that just kept coming during the challenge? Gone.

And yeah, duh.... You are going to have those moments -- the ones where the tiramisu leaps into your mouth straight from the plate without even asking permission (or at least that's your story and you're sticking to it). But I am not talking about those once-every-now-and-then occurrences. Those are easy. Fess up to those cheats and get back on the horse. I'm focused on every day.... How are you eating Sunday through Saturday? If someone averaged out your food intake, are you eating like a paleo/primal person, or are you instead eating cheesesteaks, pizza, donuts and bagels on a regular basis and swearing that you'll get it together in time for the next 30-day paleo challenge?

See, it's just not a diet. The worst word on the cover of Robb Wolf's otherwise genius tome is "diet." That's because "diet" connotes "temporary." A "diet" is not something you do as a lifestyle change, but as some sort of passing austerity measure that could never ever last. Just envision eating those "cookies" for life. Gack.

And I know... This all sounds so harsh and judgmental. We all have our slip-ups. You may even have a more-than-occasional one and "need" a challenge to get back in line, and I get that. But remember: it's what you do *after* the challenge that matters. Anyone with barely more than a shred of fortitude can eat paleo/primal for 30 days. The ones who actually achieve something long-lasting are the ones who take what was learned during the challenge and craft a plan from there on out, not just lapse back into old ways and wait for the next challenge.

Get off the rollercoaster. Make the next paleo/primal challenge your last one.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hey paleo/primal people, giving blood is good for you

There are lots of good reasons to give blood, many of which are related to helping others, but here's one that doesn't have a shred of altruism in it at all -- it could save *your* life.

Giving blood helps your body get rid of iron.

Excess iron is linked to heart disease and cancer. Women of childbearing age have the, er, advantage of shedding iron through menstruation, but men and menopausal women don't. So, my paleo/primal pals, regular blood donation every two months could not only help other people; it could keep you on the planet a little longer too. Many of us eat a sizable amount of meat as part of this way of life, and even if you are doing things as best as possible and going for pastured/grassfed sources of animal protein, you may be still building up a lot of iron. Blood donation is a simple way to get rid of some of the excess, while retaining all the benefits of this amazing lifestyle *and* giving something back to your community. Do it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

My head just exploded....

Really, Splenda? You are running an ad that goes something like: "See this bowl of strawberries. It has lots of vitamin C. Now [pouring Splenda all over it]
it has B vitamins too!!!!"

Silly fucking me.... I thought eating real food was the key. But now I know that the path to happiness goes through Splenda.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad