Sunday, 28 November 2010

30 Day paleo challenge day 19

firstly this is the longest I have ever gone without eating dairy or grains etc. I would say that now it has become a good natural habit to eat in this fashion.

So far I have not been watching my portion sizes in any major way. I think that myself like many people just need to "reset" my metabolism before worrying about calorific intake. Although this is not massively important, I am talking about long term "fine tuning"

An interesting finding is that I am now very good at feeling the effects of certain foods when I eat them. Its almost as if my internal monitor is much better at reporting any main issues - if that makes sense. Like I had too much fat last night which made me tired this morning and not feek optimal.

This is the beauty of doing the 30 day challenge because you can find out exactly what hits your buttons and what does not.

I had a cracking salad when I went out yesterday but I asked for no dressing as I'm not sure what is gluten free and what is not. However the idiots put some kind of dressing on which I had to send back. The moral is always check before you eat.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Plants are alive!

I love learning new things. Just love it. The biggest thing I have learnt on this challenge is the issues with anti-nutrients from some plants.

When you think about it of course it makes COMPLETE sense that there may be things in plants that dont agree with us. Most of us tend to associate plants with things that you have to plant to get a bloom in spring or something that we eat. True we have a vague recollection that they have something to do with the Sun and energy, but mostly we just like they way they look in the garden.

I think it is very easy to think that if anything is natural then it must be inherently good for us but this is far from the case as you will see.

Consider first, the humble apple. Although we eat the fruit and seemingly destroy the plant, there is a happy (ish) trade off for the Apples mum. In terms of defence, apples are quite high up and do have a skin which would protect it from some insect predators. Once the apple is eaten it will then be passed on through the body and left in a nice pile of fertile dung- so like in good business, there is a fair trade here.

However, lets look at seeds. These beauties are the offspring of a plant and like any living thing, plants want to reproduce. It aint gona be very helpful if they were just munched on by every bugger that sees them- soooo what do they do? They contain something called phytates which if my understanding is correct, is responsible for binding together of nutrients such as Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium which are critical for the seeds to sprout and flourish.

So what do you think occurs when we throw these things on top of our chicken salad? Well the phytates that bind these nutrients do exactly the same in our bodies and "hold on" to the same nutrients making it near impossible for us to utilise them. What are we generally deficient in the UK in?

The end result is that with chronic consumption of phytates we are unable to absorb a lot of nutrients regardless of how man supplements we take.

So some of those plants that seem harmless are actually complete bastards!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

30 day paleo 7


Hmmmm there are some visual signs that my belly is getting firmer, unless it is purely the power of positive thought*

*and strategic bathroom lighting perhaps :-)

Being honest, this is the longest I have EVER been without gluten, dairy legumes or grains. Although my diet has been pretty good before it has never been clean enough to test this theory. I believe that because it is only for 30 days it is a tangible time frame. I consider that if you attempt to implement these changes "forever" than you are doomed to failure.

Like a crack addict I was overcome by temptation yesterday and had a double espresso (it really bugs me when people call it eXpresso) in the afternoon. Felt good though and didn't feel guilty after having it. I know coffee isn't exactly forbidden but I have still been a good boy and not had them.

I just bought the Now Foods powdered magnesium. I understand from various sources that magnesium supplementation before bed can really improve your sleep. I expect this today and will let you know how it goes and if it works.

I did my first full strength training programme yesterday for a while. Strength training is undoubtedly the most neglected part of my training- well its actually all neglected- but probably the most important for me.

Off into Manchester today so this will be another test of my outdoor hunting skills. One piece of advice I have found quite useful is that when you go into restaurants is to say to them that if you give me gluten it will kill me. Firstly, just for the look on their faces and secondly, this makes them really be careful about what they do with your food!

Monday, 15 November 2010

30 day paleo 6

Delicious grass fed steak, sausages broccoli and courgettes for Lunch!

Back to work today after having a week off so it was the first challenge for me in terms if preparing food before I went. For lunch I had the food on the right (and breakfast incidentally).

Still feeling good although was very tired this afternoon. Last night I did not sleep well at all and was up a few times and I could feel it today. The last week I have been getting up naturally when I felt like it and I really felt the benefits.

I spoke to a friend of mine today who has just done Charles Poliquin's Biosignature course. If you don't know about this, it's a fascinating health analysis based on hormones and magic (Ok not magic :-)). According to Charlie he can tell based upon where you store your body fat is an indication of your hormonal profile. It is a combination of diet, exercise, a targeted supplementation program, and lifestyle modifications.
What is interesting is that this is almost identical to the words of Robb Wolf in the Paleo Solution (and is why I am doing this Paleo Challenge). I am interested to know if my results correlate with his so we will see!

Oh and what ever you do, never eat fish oil that has gone past its expiry date! I was eating mine thinking the vile taste was normal but then I realised that it had expired 5 months ago... BeJesus! I only realised it was so bad when I bought some fresh stuff and it tasted OK.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

30 day paleo 4 and 5

Today is now day 5 of the paleo challenge. Last night I made a delicious paleo curry with pumpkin and grass fed minced beef which you can see on the right there.

I would say that one of the biggest differences I can see so far is the sleep thing. As I said before I am certainly getting better sleep and seem to be going deeper and deeper into slumberland. This morning I also seemed to wake up a little earlier and still be refreshed.

I attribute this mostly to the lack of caffeine I am now having. I have moved onto Chinese Tea which is a great substitute and healthy too!

Generally feeling excellent and "clean". Energy levels are constant and I was "itching" to go an exercise yesterday- a novel feeling indeed.

Exercise wise which I have not mentioned as yet has been a gradual beginning. I have been doing exercise off and on recently but the problem has been having enough energy to 1) be arsed and 2) progress and develop my fitness. So this week I have done three consecutive days of exercise so today I have been resting.

Day 1 was simply 4x hard runs for 1 minute with 2 minutes rest. Day 2 was a 1 hour hike with a heavy backpack and day 4 was skipping sprints 4x 1minute with 2 minute rest.

Thought for the day.....
Next time you are in a public place have a look around at how many people you see who are "well". By well I mean vibrant, slim and healthy looking. You will see (certainly in the UK) that there are few people who even come close to this. Indeed, it seems that especially the older folks are alive but not living, if you know what I mean

Saturday, 13 November 2010

30 day paleo 3

Last night was the first night in ages that I slept all the way through. I am normally a very light sleeper and the merest noise will awaken me. However, I slept very well last night and woke up feeling more refreshed than normal which is probably due to the effect cortisol has on me.

Normally, cortisol is high in the morning- so you want to get up and do things (like hunt, eat and survive the commute to work), and low at night so you wind down and want to sleep. However, if you have a reverse cortisol profile the opposite tends to be the case. You wake up in the morning feeling like crap (low cortisol) and at night when you want to sleep you get a"second wind" sensation (high cortisol).

I think that if my cortisol is sorting itself out, my sleep will start to get even better but lets see shall we.....

On another note I tried Salmon for the first time today for my lunch. I have had an irrational fear of fish for some time now and I just couldn't bring myself to eat it. The rather unique smell pre-cooking was what probably did it. It helps that it is filleted as it is always easier to eat something that you dont recognise as being a living creature.

Whilst in BHS (homeware shop) I got my first big craving for coffee as I walked past the cafe. The smell of coffee was overwhelming and at one point I was tempted to distract my wife with the bedding section and then make a run for it and get a cheeky espresso. However, to maintain my dignity I managed to restrain myself and leave the shop and go home and have a nice green tea (bah!)

Breakfast= Scrambled eggs and walnuts
Lunch = Salmon
Dinner = Gluten Free Sausages with broccoli and cabbage

30 day paleo 2

Today was the first big struggle in terms of wanting coffee......... ahhh the sweet smell and taste of espresso! Certainly I have that horrible tension headache that you get from caffeine withdrawl - just between the eyebrows.

One thing I forgot to mention was that I am taking 20g of fish oil per day (as per recommended in the Robb Wolf guide). This is not a long term prescription but rather it is something to help you "heal" the inflammation until your body. However, I think I would rather drink my own urine that have to taste it so I wonder if there is something I could put in it to make it taste better?

Food wise, Breakfast left over beef curry, Lunch, Trout with salad and olive oil and Dinner was Roast chicken, parsnips, sweet potato and olive oil.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

30 day paleo 1

I have just finished reading the superb Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and I thought I would give the 30 day paleo challenge a go.

Although I am aware of the potential benefits of doing this, I have never actually done it fully for 30 days so now is the time.

One of the most interesting points I took from the book is the issue with gluten. Apparently, "cutting down" on your gluten intake is not good enough becausee It can take up to 14 days to eliminate the effects from your system- and I certainly have been eating more frequently than this.

So....... day 1) Breakfast eggs , Lunch Mackerel with lettuce and tomatoes and dinner- curry, grass fed beef and coconut milk with cabbage and broccoli.
Feeling a bit iffy due to having no coffee (without milk or cream it just ain't the same!)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Are starches as bad as we think?

Earlier this week I spent some time with my delightful family. My Nan, who is 92 (bless her) has just come out of the hospital so I thought I would pop down and see her and give her my best wishes.

My gran has the most voracious appetite of any old lady I have ever soon. It is fairly common place to see an old dear nibbling on a piece of lettuce and being satisfied for several days. However, my Nan is the exact opposite. I recall that on once occasion we went out for a meal together as a family and for dessert we ordered the sharing platter dessert (notice the deliberate emphasis on sharing there). Once the dolce had arrived, no sooner had it been placed on the table whereupon my Nan lunged into it like a crack addict going towards their next hit. She gobbled up at least three quarters of the tasty morsel herself- The greedy BITCH!

I digress. My Nan, is as thin as a rake and has been for as long as I have known her. I do recall reading somewhere that Insulin control has been linked to longevity (a future post methinks). When I questioned her about what she ate when she was younger, there was no fruit and hardly any sugar. She did eat a lot of potatoes and some bread but never had a problem with her weight. Oh and she ate copious amounts of fat and butter. Incidentally, this was also the staple diet of my mother (bread and dripping anyone?).

Some research recently has suggested that the carbs we eat from starches may not necessarily impact people as badly as was previously thought. Certainly once a person is insulin resistant, then starches do cause a serious problem if you can no longer tolerate carbs. However, the damage may not be from starches themselves but the combination of excess sugar in the diet that gives the insulin system a damn good battering for several years and buggers up the system.

Potentially, this could mean that once you have "healed" your metabolic conditioning, you may be able to introduce starchier food without the same detrimental effects.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Coffee hell!

Hi there. Sorry I have been gone for a while, I am gonna shape up for 2010 and make sure I hit this ol'blog regularly!

Recently, I have been feeling very lethargic throughout the day at least compared to normal. Now, my diet is pretty, pretty, pretty (Larry David anyone?) good so it has been a mystery to me whats been happening. However, after reading something about Adrenal Fatigue, I decided that maybe I am an unknown sufferer.

One of the causes attributed to adrenal fatigue is excess coffee. Now, I am British and there is no people on earth who get more excited about hot beverages then us (just mention the word "tea" around any woman of a certain age in this country and see what I mean), however, I FUCKING LOVE coffee man! Not just the effect of the caffeine but the whole darn experience, the heat of the cup, the smell of it.....................Sorry back to my point. Coffee in excess can lead to adrenal fatigue, which can cause tiredness, lack of sex drive, craving of certain foods etc. And I drink 15 cups+ per day, so I am a prime candidate for this.

So today is day 5 of my caffeine free "diet". The first three days were absolute hell I have to say, with recurring severe headaches the most prominent symptom. Interestingly, I also had flu like symptoms on the second night whilst I was in bed. I checked for symptoms of caffeine withdrawl and this is a common symptom.

Anyway last night, the headaches subsided for the first time and I have to say I do feel much better and "full of beans" as my mother would say (I was often literally full of beans when I was younger-but ill save that for another day).

I will keep you posted on the long term effects of this however, I do intend to go back to drinking coffee, but purely because I want to not because I NEED to know what I mean?

Andy xx