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Today is Day 1 of my Whole 30 process.

Honestly, I really like no bull approaches, and this is definitely one of those:

Don’t tell me you “slipped”. Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of Krispy Kremes, you DID NOT SLIP. You made a choice to eat something of poor quality. It’s always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. You make a poor choice, even once, you’re out.

The general logic I think is unrefutable: If you haven’t really truly given your system the time to heal, how do you really know what does and doesn’t do your body bad?

I’ve eaten pretty close to paleo + dairy for more than a year. I say pretty close, because I drink 6-8 beers a month and have half+half in my morning coffee. Then once a month I’ll have some ice cream or one of those delicious DOC pizzas at Two Amy’s. However, I can’t say I’ve really seen the fat loss that I expected. I’m sure that part of this comes from chowing a ridiculous amount of almonds every day. But here’s the thing: I really don’t know. Until you try it cold turkey, and then slowly add things back you just don’t know what your body can and can’t get away with.

For now, coconut milk in coffee seems to work ok. Tastes a little different. Rather than mellowing the coffee flavor, it’s almost as if it draws it out more. I could definitely get used to it and not miss anything.

On a related note, I’ve finally found a consistent source of coconut milk. You know what I mean. Not having your coconut milk separated into solids and liquids while still in the can is a pretty big bonus ;-). After trying 6 or 7 different kinds, the “365 Organic” brand coconut milk is the only one that consistently makes the cut.


(cc) Will MerydithStuck to the diet easily. “Cheated” with two small slices of watermelon and a nectarine. Watermelon is pretty much sugar water. Otherwise:

Breakfast: Couple scrambled eggs
Lunch: Big hunk of smoked salmon with two avocados
Dinner: 12 oz of rack of lamb with a 1/4 cup of quinoa
Handful of almonds as snacks.

I didn’t run the numbers through Fitday, but overall I’m feeling pretty good.

photo: (cc) Will Merydith

Today was the first day of my 100 Day Challenge.

Diet was completely clean and nearly perfect Paleo – with the exception of half and half in my coffee and a banana. The challenge itself is already paying dividends. A couple of times I felt myself looking for food not out of hunger but out of habit or because other people around me where eating. Thinking of my goals stopped me from eating where I otherwise would have without any need.

Calorie Breakdown (1868 total)
Fat: 69%
Carb: 10%
Protein: 21%

Only ate 49g of carbs, which almost certainly kept me in ketosis most of the day, especially when you consider that half of those carbs came from the banana.

Overall, my calories and protein intake was too low. I just didn’t feel hungry, so I didn’t eat.

I’m in my early 30’s. Among my college buddies, almost all of whom played one sport or another at school, the shakeout is clear. Either they’ve stayed in shape, or have gone very soft. There is no in between. I am the first who has managed to noticeably move out of the “soft” category – though I’m not what I would call “in shape”. The change is obvious enough that friends and colleagues have started to ask me what I’m doing and what I’m eating.

Billy asked me a couple of weeks ago what I was up to. I told him about eating paleo, plus dairy since I’ve got the genes for it. I ran him through the general health effects of grain, sugar, and seed oils. I told him about Mountain Athlete, kettlebells and olympic lift fun, but told him that in my experience, diet was key.

“No cereal? What do you eat in the morning?”. Eggs and bacon. Lots of tasty tasty bacon. Billy’s on board with bacon. But Billy couldn’t get over the no pasta thing. He just couldn’t.


So I told him he could eat anything he wanted at home, as long as he cooked it from scratch. If he was out at a restaurant with clients, as his job often requires, meat, fish and veggies only – whenever possible make the meat grassfed, the fish wild, and the veggies organic. Easy enough at fancy “client dinner” restaurants.

Billy: So I can eat pasta then when I’m at home?
Me: You got a pasta roller?
Billy: No, but I cook the pasta.
Me: Does pasta grow on a tree or a bush? Does it swim or run around?
Billy: Don’t be a jackass.
Me: Well, if what you’re eating doesn’t do those things then it isn’t from scratch, now is it?
Billy: How do I make pasta?
Me: Flour, salt, egg – mix it, knead it, roll it out a few times, cut it, then boil it. (we’ll call flour “from scratch”)
Billy: That’s a pain in the ass. Screw it, I’m having steak.

The “Cook It at Home, From Scratch” Diet idea isn’t mine. It’s cribbed from comments made by Harry Balzer right at the end of Michael Pollan’s latest article in the New York Times:

“Easy. You want Americans to eat less? I have the diet for you. It’s short, and it’s simple. Here’s my diet plan: Cook it yourself. That’s it. Eat anything you want — just as long as you’re willing to cook it yourself.”

Harry Balzer isn’t some elitist diet guru. He works for a firm that collects d

ata on what Americans eat. That data is used

by the food industry to get you to buy more processed food. As Pollan’s article describes, the definition of the verb “to cook” has degenerated to the point that putting a tray in a microwave defines cooking for an alarmingly large portion of Americans. Adding the qualifier “from scratch” squares the definition of “to cook” with your grandmother’s. I suspect that is how Balzer is using the verb.

I think there are two reasons why “cook it at home, from scratch” is a great way of introducing the paleo diet to people who aren’t ready for the whole “grains and sugar are the devil” routine.

First, cooking food at home that falls under the definition of paleo is generally quick and easy. Cooking food that falls outside that definition usually takes a long time. Billy’s reaction to making pasta is instructive.

Almost everyone has the 5 minutes it takes to cook up a couple eggs in the morning. Very few people have the 45 minutes it takes to cook up oatmeal or the 30-50 minutes it would take to make muffins. Almost everyone has the 15 minutes it takes to oven roast a piece of pork tenderloin with asparagus after work (and really total prep time is closer to 5). Very few people have the hour or more it takes to knead pizza dough, wait for it to rise, make your own tomato sauce, prepare toppings, shred cheese and then bake the pizza.

Second, once folks are dealing with “from scratch” ingredients on a regular basis they will start to care about the quality of those ingredients. Over time, they will get a good sense of what tastes good and what doesn’t and migrate to local and traditionally farmed foods, even if they don’t understand why the Omega 6 / Omega 3 ratio of their meat matters.

I don’t think this is a perfect solution. But in general, in today’s time constrained world, “cook it at home, from scratch” gets you to 80% paleo.

That’s pretty good.

July 2018
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