Category Archives: Paleo

Right, where was I?

Apologies for never finishing the last post – life, well mostly work, poked it’s ugly nose in the way. I’ll be posting a lot of new food photos anyway, so no stress.

First of all, here’s how I’m looking:

Dave Progress

And here’s the weight:

Dave's-Weight-20130531As you see, I had a big blip at Christmas, which I recovered to hit my lowest recorded weight of 76.9kgs and then again at Easter – from the latter I haven’t yet recovered, but I appear to have things under control again.

What caused this? Simple, booze, too much booze, mostly beer, which I love. So the new rule is that I stop drinking at home and allow myself whatever I want if I go out. Given that I only go out once or twice a month it should make quite a difference (plus wifey will be happy). Still a few bottles in the house to, uhm, dispose of, but I’ve promised her (and myself!!) not to buy any more.

Regardless of this, I’m not looking too bad right now, but still feel I need to lose about 5kgs – this is mostly a little bit of a belly and some fat around the upper torso. Goal for this year is to expose my abs, the famous six-pack. Not sure if that’s feasible, but I’l going to try for it.

If you don’t eat bread and pasta, what do you eat?

I’ve lost count of the people that have asked my how I lost so much weight, in fact it got so much that t I made a standard email that I send out to people with the general guidelines and pointers to further reading. Like most Paleo folks the strongest reaction I get is when you tell people that you don’t eat bread or, even worse than that, no grains at all; people just can’t get their heads around that at all and really do ask “What do you eat then?”.

In an attempt to answer that question I will post a week of everything I scoff. This will be a long post as I’ll put photos of as much as I can…

Sunday 20th January

9:30 four espresso’s – that’s Delhaize Columbian Fairtrade beans – less than half the price of Illy and tasting almost as good 4500iu Vitamin D

Espresso

11:30 Bacon & Eggs with some HP Sauce (yes I know this really isn’t Paleo, but it’s a tiny amount I eat once per week) Vitamins (krill oil, iodine, copper, vitamin c, vitamin B complex, vitamin K2)

Bacon&Eggs

 

12:00 – 14:45 Three more espresso’s – now I do the weekly cook-up…

Catch-Up

Two weeks since the last post – been extremely busy both at home and work… So, my gout eased-off after a few days on the medication, unfortunately after that I got a cold. The main symptoms only lasted three days, but I’ve been blowing out loads of green snot for the last ten days…

In all other respects things are fine. I’ve been eating some really great food, as much as I can of course and still losing weight, or more precisely body fat.

When I first started following the Perfect Health Diet I gained 1.5 kilos – this has since been lost and I’m consistently losing about a kilo per week. I’m still fasting on Mondays and Tuesdays, but the weight loss seems to spread through-out the week. Nevertheless once I get to my target weight of 82 kilos I’ll change from the 5/2 fast to a 16/8 daily routine, i.e. eating only in an 8 hour feeding window each day. Why is this so good? Well they say that autophagy - the body’s cell repair mechanism – begins after 12 hours of fasting, so doing a 16 hour daily fast means you’ll take benefits of the process every day. The goal here isn’t weight-loss, but health.

I also bought myself a FitBit – this clever little device tracks activity and sleep patterns. The real benefit is that it encourages you to move more and in my case to get to bed a bit earlier. Most people think that exercise helps weight-loss by helping create a calorie deficit, personally I think it’s more beneficial as it decreases liver glycogen stores encouraging the use of body fat as the primary energy source.

I’m exercising a couple of times per week: interval hill sprints one day, body-weight exercises another (pull-ups, push-ups, planks and squats). Been quite active moving around furniture too (thanks to my dear wife) and I’ve stopped taking the car to work, so I’m walking a lot more too and of course I never take the elevator if there are stairs available. The FitBit reveals just how sedentary we are sitting at work all day, I alleviate this by using toilets on other floors in the building, getting a walk and some stairs every hour or so.

Food-wise I’ve been making some stews in the slow-cooker. I tried a lamb ragout, but the bones in the meat went too crumbly, like chalk, and were not at all nice. Instead I’m now making with steak and I put in some beef marrow bones too. Along with the coconut oil this makes for an incredibly delicious and nutritious meal which I eat along with some smashed vegetables and potato. It’s cheap too, total cost is about €15 and I get four meals out of it.

Paleo stew with marrow bone, mashed potatoes and veggies

Marrow bones – pre-cooked in the oven prior to dropping in the stew

More Food

For breakfast I tried something a little different with my smoothie as I’ve been wanting to get myself off soy milk for some time now. Despite having grown to like it very much  it’s stuffed full of lectins which is quite toxic to humans and also contains quite high levels of oestrogen, despite what the soy producers would like to you believe… (just Google and you’ll find a wealth of info, here’s one link in case you’re too lazy to do that) Now I think my man-boobs are quite big enough, thank you very much, so time for change. I had tried some various alternatives in coconut and almond milk, both pre-packaged like the soy, pasteurised and unfortunately with added sugar; regardless of that the taste of both made me want to vomit. My friend and work colleague, Ramona, has recently bought a Vitamix blender and she made her own almond mil, so I though I’d try too.

I soaked 50g of almonds overnight in 300ml of water, then threw this in the blender this morning with a handful of frozen forest fruits, handful of fresh blueberries, 35g of pure whey protein, 10g each of olive, avocado and linseed oil. Pulsed for 30 seconds, then on full blend for about 2 minutes. Now my blender isn’t as good as a Vitamix and it’s not a crappy one neither, but the whole thing was still a bit gritty with nit bit. Regardless of that it was way better than using the bought stuff with an overriding sensation like marzipan – if anything a little too strong, perhaps 30g of almonds would be enough in future.

Sorry to say that I didn’t take a photo, will make the same tomorrow and take a picture.

For lunch I cobbled together the left-overs from some nice steak I had for dinner yesterday: fired up some onions in olive oil, added some chopped mushrooms, once cooked added the steak diced, stir for a few minutes, added three teaspoons of tomato puree concentrate and some dried basil.

Vegetables are even easier: half a leek, half a courgette, handful of cauliflower. I boil/steam the cauliflower and leek first, then add the courgette after about 4 minutes just for two minutes more, that was the courgette doesn’t disintegrate into poo-slime. Drain the water into a glass to drink later add some good oils and a pinch of salt & pepper (normally I’d use a bit of soy sauce, but I noticed all my soy sauces have flour in then, so they’re going in the bin and I need to get some more. Note that soy sauce doesn’t have the same lectin issue as soy milk as it’s fermented and the fermenting process removes most of the lectins). Smash the veggies with a potato masher.

I put the rocquette on top as an afterthought so that anyone seeing it would think I was a chef, or posh…

For dessert it’s a couple of organic plums and an organic nectarine, which are in season right now. Note that most of the food I buy is organic. I know there’s a raging debate about whether it’s really that much better in nutrients or not. Personally I prefer to err on the side of caution, but it goes deeper than that. Organically farmed food is kinder for the environment and more importantly for me the standards of animal husbandry are much higher. So regardless of the debate I’ll keep buying it. It’s not even that much more expensive, I buy all our meat for instance from a small organic, Marché Vert, shop here in Uccle and it’s cheaper than the meat in the Delhaize supermarket next door (and far, far superior). Their bio (as organic is called in French) cucumbers are less than half the price of the ones in the supermarket too. It pays to shop around a little.

Now this isn’t organic, but it is fresh – a trio of lettuces sold live with roots and soil, 59 cents  twice the quantity of pre-packaged, a quarter of the price and fresher. Bargain!!

And yes, it’s all paleo (more on that soon)

Update 29th August: here’s a photo of that smoothie I promised

Eating Out on Paleo

It’s hard, but not impossible to eat paleo when you’re at a restaurant. We were in Domburg, Holland, for the day and I still managed to get some highly nutritious, healthy foods. Firstly for lunch, some fish with some veggies. This also came with fries and some kind of sauce. Normally these sauces are made with flour, so I asked them to provide it separately and I requested that the fries were replaced with an extra serving of vegetables. I’m not convinced they did give the extra veggies, but it was sufficient as it was and kept me going until dinner.

Then for dinner we ate at our favourite restaurant in the town: De Bommelje, good food, very friendly staff and all organic too! And they do bring extra vegetables too when requested as well as some very good olive oil to drench over the veggies.

I pigged-out with a started of smoked salmon with mango & salad, a main of lamb with rosemary and two extra vegetable portions and two bowls of fruit for dessert. A lot of food I guess, but it had been a very active day with the kids, so I was pretty hungry.

Apparently it’s: gemarineerd in Zeeuws gerookte thee, gerookt zeezout, mango met rode pepers en krokante peterseliewortel

And the main: Proeverijtje van lam met geroosterde zoete aardappel, groene groenten en rozemarijnjus

So it is possible to eat well while you’re out and about:

  • Keep it simple: steak; fish, veggies, salad
  • Avoid overly prepared dishes as they can hide all sorts of ingredients
  • Ask for sauces to be given separately and salads to be undressed
  • Request extra veggies or salad

and despite this huge feast I found myself 87.9 kgs this morning :)

What’s for Dinner?

Well I was home a little late from work and I wanted to do some exercise before I ate – so time was a but limited. Nevertheless I managed to throw this together:

  • 6 organic chicken wings – these are delicious beyond belief and I eat pretty much everything except the bones and gristle. They’re so easy to cook that even an idiot like me can do it: coat in olive oil, salt, pepper and dried basil, put in a tray in the middle of the oven 185°C for 1 hour, turning after 30 minutes. The skin’s cripsy and the meat soft, bloody super-yum! And not expensive either – around €3 for the packet from Delhaize – bio too!! No excuses…
  • Then there’s a salad of course. I love salads and I ate them pretty much daily even when I wasn’t doing this low carb thing. This one isn’t especially fancy though, but it is BIG and it does contain a whole avocado. I feel salads without avocado are like sex with a condom – it’s nice, you want it, but it could be much, much better. For the rest it’s LOTS of leaves and roquette, bean sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, red pepper, olive oil – balsamic – salt & pepper
  • Then there’s dessert – that’s a handful of blueberries, almonds and pistachios, with a very few salted peanuts as a treat – didn’t really enjoy those, they tasted synthetic, will avoid in future
  • And last, but perhaps not least, I had a spoon of high EPA/DHA fish-oil that I bought on the way home – I’ll write about the importance of that another time

30 minutes before the meal I had 6 teaspoons of psyllium husk in water with a little lime juice. This stuff keep things moving along nicely inside, will also cover that at some point.

Now to bed…

 

 

Lunchtime at the Office

OK, we laugh and joke here about the poor quality of the food at the European Commission employee restaurants, but to be honest we are far luckier than many office workers who’s only choice in their bought lunch is the filling of the sandwich. So whereas most of the meals offered here are not really suitable – potatoes, rice, breadcrumb coatings, sauces made with wheat etc. it is possible to construct something that fits both a low-carb and paleo diet.

More often than not I tend to head to the grill where they have steaks, chicken and fish, if it’s doesn’t look too toxic then I go for the fish every time. OK, I have to admit that two years ago I had incredibly bad food poisoning from EC restaurant fish, I was bed/toilet-ridden for two days and couldn’t keep food in my system properly for nearly two months, but on the positive side I did lose 6 kgs :-)

Here’s today’s “best effort” – even with a bit of photo enhancement it still looks rather unappealing:

So that side-plate is roasted aubergines, mushrooms and courgettes with olive oil and balsamic. In fact I had to leave the courgettes as they were coated with some kind of slime that I couldn’t identify a) I think it was sugar and wheat based, b) it was totally disgusting!

The main dish is colin fish – also amusingly called “pollock” in the UK. It’s high in vitamin B12 & selenium as well as providing all essential amino acids and a decent amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. The rest was haricot beans, mixed veg and mixed salad.

Not the highest quality food by a long way, but way better than the average get to eat, so I’m pretty satisfied with that.

What does always make me laugh though, every day, is the look on the face of the restaurant staff when I don’t have any rice, potatoes or fries with it. They clearly think I’m insane, mind you, who’s to say they’re wrong?

Dinner Time

A lot of my friends and my dear wife often say “If you can’t eat bread, pasta, oats, sugar, potatoes and dairy, what’s left?” (well they don’t say that, but you catch the drift…); plenty actually. Sure there’s a lot of fish and meat, veggies and salads, nuts and seeds, berries and fruits, but really the choice amongst all these and the many ways they can be combined and prepared make for really delicious eating.

So in order to perhaps provide a modicum of inspiration, I’ll post pretty much everything I eat – not that I’m a paleo guru or gourmet cook of course, just to show that an average person with a busy life can make choices and live with it quite comfortably.

As I had a late breakfast today I skipped lunch and had a late afternoon snack with the remainder of the morning’s smoothie along with a handful of almond and pistachio nuts.

And here’s today’s dinner:

What have we got here then?

  • Steak: this is a “Pelé Royale”, which after looking at a picture of beef cuts appears to be the hamstring from the rear leg of the animal. It’s a pretty tender and fat-free cut. I brush with olive oil and fry on a high heat for about 5 minutes each side so it’s still rare in the middle
  • Not seen in this photo as I added it afterwards was a dollop of coarse-grain mustard
  • Then there’s some sautéed brown mushrooms with onions, garlic, olive oil and Kikkomans soy sauce
  • A large piece of cauliflower which I drenched with more olive oil (I like olive oil) and a bit of salt – when eaten like this, the much maligned vegetable tasted really great
  • The salad is half young leaves and roquette, soy bean srpouts, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, green olives, beetroot and feta. Then at the table I’ve added (guess what) olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper

This was not so time-consuming to prepare and in parallel I cooked the kids some sausages and made them vegetables & potatoes (that’s where I stole the cauliflower from). I’m not great cook and yet this was damn tasty and very healthy food without a grain on sight.

And the benefit of this – I eat until I’m full, sometimes stuffed, but I lose weight at the same time and I won’t feel hungry for a long time afterwards. I’m pretty sure my main health indicators are good too – I will get them checked soon and will post a comparison with how they were before I started all this.

You may notice that I eat (drink?) a lot of olive oil. In fact I have it with every meal: I put it in my breakfast smoothie, pout it over salads and vegetables, fry with it, grill and bake. Even in the office restaurants they have bottles of the stuff and I use it there too on the meals I buy. I reckon I have about 75ml per day, which equates to 675 calories, in principle around 25% of my calorific intake. More on that another day…