Monday, September 20, 2010

A week and a half in on the PB 30 Day Challenge

I'm a week and a half into my 30 Day Challenge.  I'll be honest and say that I feel about the same.  However, I hardly ate like crap before I started.  I've been doing the healthy thing for eight or nine years now.

Nine years ago

Not that this diet isn't better than most, it is.  But, like many diets, people go from "shit to suck"* merely by "going on a diet." I was already at suck, I guess.**

I think the Primal Blueprint is a better diet than most, at least from a health perspective. It concentrates on whole foods, close to their natural state.  There are some supplements allowed, the goal to make up for what modern versions of ancient food lack these days.  I take some fish oil, creatine, and some vitamins and minerals, for instance.

About nine years in, what did I expect from this that I wasn't getting on my own?  A tightening up. Not of my skin. Not the elusive "toning" that's the goal of so many. More of a consistency of diet than the diet itself. Although, Mark Sisson's got an 80/20 rule that can make or break you if you're not careful.  More on that, later.

Eating, weight, and body composition

Not as many grains and legumes as the general public, but not paleo levels, that's for sure. All this has done is tighten things up.  I'm down about 2lbs, despite not having the time to workout as much as before, so all is good.

9 days without gluten, and my eyes and nose run as often as it did before on gluten.  Still, it's no great loss, beer excepted.  I've had a one fourth of a sixer of Redbridge (a gluten free beer) and a couple of green apple hard ciders from TJ's, and that's good with me.  Giving up gluten means giving up bread, buns is bread, and burgers have buns.  Those of you who really know me, know I love the burger, and can eat multiple burgers per day per sitting.  Going bunless means more meat, which leads to longer periods between meals, which means fewer calories.  Win win if there ever was one.

For me, the jury is still out on long term grain eating.  What is it doing to us, albeit slowly, that won't appear for many years?  I don't know.  However, I haven't missed the grains much, and the only one I have had is corn.  Two fresh cobs of the stuff, grilled, and two corn tortillas, hot of the griddle, stuffed with carne asada.

I will say that I feel less puffy when I eat fewer carbs, but ice cream and bread are really the only "carbs" that I can really go to town on, so I try to keep these away from my mouth.  I can only eat so much corn and I'm done, and even 300-400 calories of corn doesn't make me feel bloated or puffy.  Rice, too, although I can skip the rice, sushi excepted.  I guess that's two grains I've had, but six wheels of spicy tuna roll isn't much rice in the grand scheme of things.  All part of the 80/20 rule, anyway...


Burgers and tacos aside, I've been cooking a lot, so I've got lots of recipes coming up.  Osso buco with cherries and dried mushrooms, chopped veggie salads, and a few more that need more fine tuning.  Recipes in progress. I have a cold right now, and typing this is about all I've got in me.

Health & vitality

I mentioned the cold? So much for those people who think paleo and primal are magic.  Maybe it's my 20% overtaking my 80%?  Damned rice and corn! ;)

By and large, the spirit of the Primal Blueprint is to embrace the spirit, lifestyle, and nutrition of our ancestral heritage.  With the Primal Blueprint, you eat natural, wholesome foods that provide a positive contribution to health and avoid those that have negative ramifications to your vitality. You get enough exercise to keep heart, muscle, and bone healthy.  Get enough sleep, rest, relaxation, and play to feel young and happy. It's a good recipe for health that would serve most people well.

The 80/20 principal

From Mark's Daily Apple...
The central point of the 80/20 Principle  is this: if you’re eating fully Primal 80% of the time, the other 20% offers room for well-intentioned but practical choices when we can’t be Primal or choose not to be for a variety of personal reasons.
I'll come clean that my 20% must be carefully chosen, lest I binge and it becomes the 80/200. No joke!  Ice cream must be carefully rationed out and the rest of the carton rinsed down the sink. Funny how this doesn't happen when my girlfriend is around, and I'm not even afraid of her (hi, sweetie), leading me back to my long held belief that you can't get slim to get happy, you have to get happy to get slim (see Fat & Happy).

I will say that 80/20 is a good starting point for most of us.  For some, we might need to go 90/10 or 95/5, especially if our goal is fat loss and/or we have emotional eating issues (he raises his hand).  If you're still bogging down at 80/20, try 90/10 or 95/5. Still floundering?  It's time to rethink your 80/20 choices, since you might not have the math skillz.  Also, that 20% is subjective?  Is it meals, calories, ingredients, days?  If you aren't "primal" for 20% of your meals, how much damage can you do to the other 80%?


In the spirit of Mark's 80/20 rule, I'll share that I have an 80/20 PB thing, overall. My 80% concentrates on the food choices and not on the primal-style activities and workouts, which aren't typically my style.  They can get hard and get you into good shape, but they usually aren't my style.

In nod to primalocity, I usually train kettlebells without shoes, so there's that.  I do workout with weights and kettlebells (Lift Heavy Things in the PB vernacular).  I also move around real slow for a long time.  I can't remember the tenet of PB that calls for that, but let's just say that's been checked off the list. Finally, I rarely sprint, per se, but I can sprint. My "sprints" are mostly kettlebell related burst of Jerks-at-speed OR a race for the frisbee when my son says "you're too slow" after a long throw.

My strength is good (still either Shit or Suck, though), and I continue to make gains on the Bench Press using Wendler's 5/3/1.  This is my only conventional weight training day right now, the rest of my days are pretty busy with training for the kettlebell charity event, below...

My Energy is good, and I've made it up to 37 continuous minutes of kettle bell Long Cycle (clean & jerk) with a 20kg kettlebell.  I have about 5 weeks to get myself to a straight hour to make a good showing at my friend Jason's One Hour Long Cycle charity event.

37 minutes is well into the "need carbs" zone, right?  I do pretty well on low carb, though, and my trans-workout nutrition goes something like this -- meat and veggies an hour before swinging the kettlebell, water during, meat and veggies afterward.  Fat, protein, and whatever carbs you might get from a tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. It's not going to put me into ketosis, but it's not carb loading, either.

Again, this is the event. Check it out.

One Hour Long Cycle Charity Event
* From the Dave Tate scale of Shit>Suck>Good>Great

** I actually think I eat around Good, but going from Good to Great is more than I have in me right now.

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