Health Updates
Annual Review 2018: Not Good But Not So Bad Either

While I’ve been writing a ton recently about my software development progress it was the topic of quantified self, longevity, and personal fitness experimentation that started this whole blog. As this year rounds out I once again looked at the state of my fitness over that time. Just as with last year while I have only been at most intermittently focused on what I would call a healthful lifestyle I have continued to be meticulous with measuring my daily food intake, how well I adhered to my five goals, and ancillary observations from there. Let’s see how 2018 was in an absolute and a relative to 2017 view.


Annual Review 2017 Good and (mostly) Bad

While I’ve mostly been absent from writing to the blog, and my fitness routine has only been slightly less absent than that, I have been able to maintain one thing completely dialed in over all this time: fitness tracking (as usual).  With all of that data together I decided to create my first annual review post.   I’d say compared to the average American I had a very normal year.  Unfortunately I don’t want to have the fitness level and longevity of the average American, so while I’m not going to say things were bad they weren’t where I want them to be either.


2017 Phase 8 Goal Accountability: Finally Dialed In

At the end of June, part of the way through this year’s 7th goal accountability phase I decided to finally get my shit together.  I carried that momentum into the 8th phase.  I haven’t done too many summaries this year, since I’ve mostly been sucking wind, but I have been keeping up my daily grading.  Now that I’m dialed in from the goal perspective, so too will I be dialed in on reporting it. I am happy to report straight A’s across all my goals, finally!


Finally had a 4.0 week, don't make it a stumbling block

Since I started dialing my fitness regiment in three weeks ago I’ve been striving to get a perfect 4.0 grade across all five of my daily goals for an entire week.  I was getting really close, but each week had one or two hiccups/slip ups that kept me off the perfect mark.  No longer.  I finally got a 4.0 across all my categories for an entire week for the first time since I started trying to do  this whole daily grading thing (even back to my Nutritarian Experiment of 2016).  First, I’ll congratulate myself for a job well done.  Now, a word of warning.  When I nail something like this I often have an impulse to try to extend it longer and longer.  Inevitably I stumble, just like anyone else does with anything like this.  That stumble then usually leads to a crash.  That crash then leads to a period of rationalization of how I was doing well so deserve a little “reward” for it, whatever that means, and that I’ll get back to it tomorrow.  String a bunch of tomorrows together and I get years of getting back to it “tomorrow”.

This week may be a perfect week again, or it may not not.  Instead of focusing on these longer term trends like I usually do I’m going to take my “being in the present” mindset that has been working these past three weeks forward. I’ll concentrate on nailing my goals today, and only today.  I’m not going to worry about what I screwed up yesterday, or if I’ll screw up tomorrow.  I’ll still track and trend all of these things as an observational and historical thing, but I’m not going to expend mental energy on it beyond just working it out today.


What Does Fasting For Weightloss Look Like?

I’ve written several times about the use of periodic fasting days to counteract our periodic feast days as well as health benefits of fasting from the perspective of supposed cancer fighting and potentially longevity.  I’ve also mentioned fasting as a means of accomplishing weight loss too.  Now that I’m a couple months into that practice, I figured I’d show what that actually looks like.


2017 Phase 2 Goal Accountability: Finishing Strong

Phase 1 of 2017’s Goal Accountability project was a disaster, as I chronicled here.  Phase 1 ended weak, really non-existent adherence, which rolled into Phase 2 beginning equally weak; but I got my butt in gear one week in and finished it strong!


2017 Phase 1 Goal Accountability: A Dud

When I wrote about kicking off 2017 (link) with a new push for goal accountability I specifically stated that it wasn’t a new years resolution and that those don’t work for me anyway.  If my performance in the first phase isn’t a pointed tail of that I don’t know what is.


Goal Tracking Report Card 2016 Phase 11/12, A Big Fail…

October 16, 2016, when I got back from my honeymoon, I said I was going to be emphasizing a fitness focus by looking at using a goal accountability report card.  Really this is getting the tempo for doing these things more into 2017 and beyond.  Work and life took my eye off the ball but it didn’t stop me from actually keeping the report card.  What’s the point of an accountability exercise if you only do it when you know you are going to score well?  That’s like only going to the doctor when you are healthy.  The sobering reality is that right now I’m failing on my five goals, but I didn’t need a report card to actually tell me that.


Exercise Isolation: Mixed Results

I’m one month into my exercise isolation experiment to see what would happen if I really crank up my crappy exercise regiment (which means not exercising at all) while holding my pretty decent diet pretty static.  Over the month I’ve seen some good changes, but some other things stayed more static than I was expecting.  A full writeup of my experiment methodology is here.  I’ll do a full break down later, but I wanted to do a quick summary with the last day done.


Six Week Challenge Summary

Yes!  The Six Week Nutritarian challenge is now in the books!  I’ve been covering it week to week, but what did it look like all put together?  I obviously didn’t ace each week, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t highlights or lessons.


Goal Week 6 Redux

I wanted to ace the sixth week, but work messed up those plans.  It wasn’t a bad ending to the challenge but I could have obviously done much better.


Goal Week 5 Redux

I have to be honest with myself, week 5 has been the worst one, in terms of adherence so far.  Not only did I bottom out scores on two categories, but I was about fed up with the dietary restrictions of the nutritarian diet as well.


Goal Week 4 Redux

The fourth week of my diet challenge is now behind me. With the added formalism to my grading I can really keep myself more honest about how things are going.  As usual, while I’m able to keep the diet dialed in, other things just don’t get the attention they need.  As schedules get more compressed and busy I often just don’t have the energy to get the exercise things done, or it’s a trade-off between sleep and exercise.  Hopefully next week I’ll be able to address that with some schedule changes.


Week 3 Redux

The third week of my diet challenge is now behind me.  I added some formalism to how I’m grading myself on each category each day, and therefore the weekly grade.  I’m getting faster and stronger too, but for some reason I’m now being haunted by food dreams.


Goal Week 2 Redux

The second week of my diet challenge is now behind me.  I’ve really settled into a good tempo on the diet, even managing eating out rather well.  While I’ve made some improvements on the other goals I still have a way to go.


Goal Week 1 Redux

The first week of my nutritarian diet challenge is now in the books.  I’ve had some good food experiments, I’ve made some progress on my body composition, and I’ve survived some of the challenges.  I’ve also stumbled a bit, but that’s I guess why I called it a challenge in the first place.  So, how did I do with each of my goals?


2014 Recap, Nothing Goes As Planned

This day one year ago I was going to be embarking on the beginning of one and a half to two years of self experimentation in the name of figuring out what works best for my body and documenting the process for any internet passerby to read.  I had just come off of my first marathon and had hoped to get a second one under my belt in 2014.  I had hoped to lean out a little bit, increase my strength fitness and complete my second marathon strong, regardless of how long it took.  I missed the mark by just a little bit…


November monthly update

A month ago I gave myself a call to action. Unfortunately that turned out to be more theoretical than practical.  I actually did manage to do some calisthenics in the beginning but that fizzled. I need to try to get back to daily exercise if I’m going to beat back the weight.  I didn’t clean up my diet as much as I’d like, but I did manage to clean it up a little bit.  The net effect is about one more pound of fat on my bones but no more muscle.

I have two things on the horizon that I am weighing to use to jump start my process.  The first is the idea of signing up for a half marathon for late March.  It’s far enough away that training is reasonable.  I really don’t have any more marathon ambitions, while I still regret not achieving my extra long goals in that area, and half’s are still challenging enough that I have to keep moving forward.  That seems like a great path to take.  However it doesn’t address the problem I was having in getting my butt to do proper cross training and strength training.  Running is better than nothing, but it will not help slow down muscle atrophy caused by aging.

A second idea is to do monthly contests with friends.  I have seen this work wonders with people in the last year.  People set targets for themselves and then win, or lose, based on how well they hit their targets.  The targets have to be mutually agreed upon and reasonably challenging.  What good is it for someone’s target to be to lose ten pounds and the other to lose none over that same period of time?  When done in larger groups cash purses have been what I’ve seen done.  Perhaps on a smaller scale it could be something like buying a dinner or something along those lines.

Either way, I have yet another month of increased size, increased fat and at best plateaued muscle mass.  I need to reverse these trends sooner rather than later.  It’s no mystery why they are happening: I’m not eating as well as I should and I’m not exercising at all.  The longer I wait to actually start doing these things the harder it will be to correct.


Coasting

I had hoped that putting my struggles with getting back on track would reinvigorate my determination towards completing this phase, and thus being able to move forward with the experiment in general.  Unfortunately it has not.  Instead I’ve gotten so frustrated with the process that even the daily logging of food, moods and other markers seemed to become a chore.  Keep in mind that this is something I have done daily, religiously for 3.5 years and at no point in time did it ever seem like a chore until now.  Until I build up some more reserves or get my groove with that again I’m going to punt back to a more free form way of eating.  I’m still going to try to emphasize whole foods over processed foods.  I’m just not going to be so mindful of what I am eating in any given moment in terms of whether it fits some preexisting eating style label.  I’m afraid if I try to power through with it then not only will I fail to actually achieve those objectives but that I will also break the 3.5 year span of data that I have successfully collected and want to continue to collect for the foreseeable future.


Paleo Diet, The Quiet Phase

This seems to happen with each of the diet phases, at least the first two.  Like most people that change up their lifestyle we settle into a routine.  Once we are in a routine the goings on of a given day are actually quite boring.  While I could sit here and type out each day that I ate eggs (or a shake) for breakfast, had sushi (or a Chipotle Paleo Bowl) for lunch and had a huge salad (or one of other three options) for dinner, I really don’t see the point.  I have a food journal for that.   Some days may be interesting and worth blogging about.   Maybe I’ll try a new recipe.  Maybe I’ll have some training event that is especially noteworthy.  Other than that though it’s all starting to sound rather repetitive.  I’m therefore going to drop back to only blogging on days that really stand out to me and leave the rest to summary reports at the weekly and/or monthly level.


Paleo Day 35: Parties on Paleo Suck

Sorry, but there is no way to abbreviate that any more.  I’m a guy that likes spending time with people in a social setting surrounding food.  Call that the curse of my ethnic background but food, and often drink, is a standard part of that arrangement.  We aren’t talking a gourmet foodie Instagram worthy meal every time, but we also aren’t talking about just hot dogs and hamburgers either.  Abstaining from the wine or drinks is pretty easy, there are other rather good options.  Abstaining from almost all the food is another matter.


Paleo Day 34: A Paleo 4th of July!

With Hurricane Arthur right off the coast our previously oppressively hot and muggy weather has turned almost spring like.  What better way to enjoy the weather than with some running and then watching Fourth of July fireworks with friends.


Paleo Day 33: Made It To The Gym But Then…

So much for being on a roll.  One free day turned into two, but will not turn into three.  At least I held myself to a good clean Paleo diet all day.


Paleo Day 32: Impromptu Intermittent Fasting, Then Gorging

A Muslim friend of mine pointed out to me that I should try fasting like they are doing right now for Ramadan.  I actually have informally been doing that periodically, but have looked at doing that once I hone down what my personally optimal diet is.  But once I started eating I didn’t want to stop.  At least being on Paleo without any Paleo-labeled (so not really Paleo) junk food around the house, it was highly nutritious eating.


Paleo Day 31: Month 1 Finished, Month 2 Starting

With one month of Paleo behind me, I look forward to continuing the success that I have had so far as well as to hopefully get a little more cooking experimentation in.  With some holidays and vacations mixed in that won’t necessarily be easy, but we’ll find out how that goes soon enough.  As it was, today was a relatively ordinary day with some good eating and finally a roll on the exercise front.


Paleo Day 30: Sushi, Sushi and more Sushi

With a day of training, but with some necessary errands mixed in, I didn’t plan on doing much more than eating my huge vegetable and nuts snack, eating some salad then coming home and repeating the same routine.  Boy did I call that wrong!


Paleo Day 29: Long Run In (Finally)…and Dogging it!

Okay, I’m seriously going to go running today.  I promise!


Paleo Day 28: A New Shake Recipe And Lots of Restaurant Foods

I started getting into the real estate search business recently.  I like my house but in the quest to look at the reasonableness of doing an upgrade to the house I ended up looking for a new one.  If you have ever done a house search you know that entails lots of time in a car.  This was no exception.


Paleo Day 27: Definitely Not Wired

Regardless of how much energy I felt I had the day before, I knew that not getting anywhere enough sleep the day before was going to hit me eventually, and so it did today.


Paleo Day 26: Totally Wired!

When I woke up at 3:45 am and couldn’t get back to sleep, I assumed I was going to be in for a crash half way through the day.  Little did I know I’d still be up at midnight still going strong.


Paleo Day 25: Listening To My Body

Wednesday, June 25, 2014–After the last two days of running hot, both with work and exercise, I was supposed to plow into today with still more of the same.  In the end I could feel that wasn’t the right thing to do.  Rather than power through with my plan as if it was etched on stone tablets I decided to dial things back and give my body some restoration time.


Paleo Day 24: Making good on promise to eat lots of vegetables

Tuesday, June 24, 2014–I said to myself I really wanted to make up for my lost weekend of technically Paleo eating, but not really so great with that due to travel, by amping up the vegetable consumption.  Boy did I ever.  I also started ramping up the working out too.


Paleo Day 23: Back to some good Paleo Home Meals

Monday, June 23, 2014–Finally done with travel I had the luxury of eating at home again.  It’s a bit ironic that while eating out used to be the luxury because of cost, now eating at home is a luxury because of lack of time.  I used that time, which wasn’t too much more, to not only get some good Paleo eating in but to also finally start my running back up.

The day actually started with the running.  Out of bed I hopped onto the running trail for a quick three mile run.  I’m supposed to be keeping things in a lower gear, but that wasn’t really what I was feeling.  I was finally out back on the road again and it was only three miles.  So, rather than stick in a Zone 2 heart rate I just ran it out.  I’m way out of shape compared to where I was, so my time sucked, but it did feel refreshing to get the cob webs out on a good strong run.

After the run I really needed to get some nourishment in.  I was torn between an egg-based breakfast or my Virgin Diet Shake.  In the end tho Diet Shake won out.  I tried to make it extra thick by using the mixing wand that is attached to the blender lid.  That does help, but it still was just way too thick, so half way through I modded it up with just a little water.  I washed all that down with a modification of the turmeric and ginger tea.  I decided to add a heaping spoonful of cinnamon to it.  That certainly changed the flavor profile a lot, and I certainly enjoyed it.  I’ll keep messing around with the turmeric tea until something really resonates with me.

I went from breakfast to lunch in several short hours. I was actually really hungry for lunch since the shake, even with the added berries, didn’t even meet the energy I had expended on the run.  It was a food court day and Chipotle is really the only option besides the salad bar.  I did my Paleo Bowl, again with the extra meat, and gobbled it all down.  All I could think of fifteen minutes later was, “I want some more!”  Unfortunately there was no more to be had and there are no Paleo friendly treats in the office at all.  It was therefore just going to be a long wait until dinner.

Dinner was rather simple as a flank steak with a baked sweet potato between the two of us.  To that I wanted to add some vegetables.  Rather than steam up some vegetables I instead heated up that cauliflower based Clam Chowder that I made a few weeks ago from the recipe at Cafe Janae.  Once reheated it had the exact same flavor and texture as it was just out of the pot.  I love foods that freeze well like that!

We had some errands to run for the rest of the night and didn’t get home until after 11 pm.  Because of my running I was very under on calories for the day.  I had hoped to eat some fruit when I got home, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  The next morning, like this morning, will be an early one with alarm clock and all.  The last thing I need to do is make it a restless night for some reason.


Paleo Day 22: Paleo Travel Is Ticking Me Off

Sunday, June 22–Traveling and Paleo are seriously ticking me off at this point.  It’s one thing to have to suffer through self selections at restaurants.  I don’t expect things to be as easy as it is when I am at home with the comfort of supermarkets, kitchens and my own routines.  But on travel days where air travel is concerned it goes from being a nuisance to being totally irritating.  I was close to dropping some F-bombs on myself for subjecting myself to this stupidity.  I could just cave for one day, but I didn’t.  Instead I just slugged through and threw myself a little pity party.


Paleo Day 21: Walking, Touring and Getting Some Food History

Saturday June 21, 2014–After yesterday’s relatively low key day, we fired up yet another one but this one with far more outdoor activities and walking but also some good opportunity to get some socializing in.  By happenstance it also gave us a glimpse into the life and times of an ancient culture.


Paleo Day 20: Keeping it low key

Friday, June 20–A low key day and a very low interest meal selection for the day.  A heavy breakfast, a light lunch and a pretty decent dinner combined with hanging out with some friends is one way to round out a week.


Paleo Day 19: Theme Parks and Paleo Don’t Mix Well

Thursday, June 19, 2014–Today was my first day in LA on this trip, and it was one hundred percent about the Disneyland experience.  While I have been to Disney World many times, Disneyland is something that always eluded me.  My partner loves both and used to work at Disneyland.  I therefore was promised, and got, the entire Disneyland experience–all seventeen hours worth.  I stayed surprisingly close to my Paleo protocol and got a ton of exercise while also having a lot of fun too.


Paleo Day 18: Paleo and Travel Means Being Prepared

Wednesday, June 18, 2014–It is no surprise that being Paleo at home is far easier than eating Paleo out.  When you have to travel, especially with air travel, you have to take things to another level however.


Paleo Day 17: Salad for breakfast and steak for dinner, that’s one way to have a Paleo day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014–As I stated yesterday, I was really craving the notion of having a big salad for breakfast. Yeah, it’s bizarre but there was something about it that I found enjoyable. Yesterday’s meeting schedule made it impractical but today’s more than allowed for it. Starting the day with a huge helping of kale, cabbage, mushrooms and carrots worked beautifully to get the day started and kept me more than full through lunch time.


Paleo Day 16: More Butt Dragging

While I’m not thoroughly exhausted, the perpetual yawning throughout the day got old really quick.  I think I nailed down what it was, the next question is if I want to fix it or not.


Paleo Day 15: Shifted Sleep and "Spaghetti" Paleo Style

Today was a day with travel home to spend some time with my dad on Father’s Day.  As such I went back to my go-to travel plans on most of my meals.  As I’m finally working through my backlog of squashes I decided to crack open another one tonight and whip up a quick meal of Shrimp Marinara over spaghetti (squash).


Paleo Day 14: Back To Clean Eating

As I said at the end of Day 13, I was going to seriously buckle down and get back to some good whole foods clean eating.  That is exactly what I did and I threw in some exercise (finally!) to boot.


Paleo Day 13: Technically In Check But Poor Diet

The end of the second week is now coming quickly.  It’s becoming a bit tiresome to explain schedule problems for poor eating, but it is what I grapple with.  I just need to shift some stuff around to fix, but I didn’t.  While it wasn’t a totally horrible eating day, it wasn’t the best either.  It may have been technically compliant, but not really.


Paleo Day 12: Eating out with Paleo Friends

Most of the friends and coworkers I talk to about my diet experiment don’t exactly understand what I’m trying to do, but they are supportive.  Because the word “diet” has taken on the perception of something you do to lose weight quickly, it can be a bit jarring to hear I’m going to “diet” for 1.5 years.  People also like to shake their head at my self-induced dietary restrictions, but always in jest.  Thankfully due to a meeting I had downtown I had the opportunity to dine with some friends that are on the Paleo bandwagon and have been for quite some time.


Paleo Day 11: Two Big Meals

I seem to be dropping in meal frequency, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Just a factor of schedule and timing, today I found myself without any snacks or breakfast.  It was therefore just two big meals for me today.  I really struggled between lunch and dinner, but I didn’t overeat in the end anyway.


Paleo Day 10: Pizza Party (for everyone else)

With another hectic day I once again ended up skipping breakfast and jumping right to lunch.  I had a hangout planned around pizza that everyone was thankfully accommodating on.  Overall it was a very calorie light day, but one that ended still Paleo pure.


Paleo Day 9: A little lunch, a lot of snacking

I knew the work day was going to be a string of meetings and goals to achieve that wouldn’t leave me much time to go out and grab any snacks.  I also knew that I would be very easily tempted by the non-Paleo stuff in the office.  I therefore packed ahead, quite heavily, to stave off any temptation.


Paleo Day 8: Penance

What is the best way to make up for yesterdays minor indiscretion?  How about a ton of non-paleo cooking and not indulging in a single taste or morsel?


Paleo Day 7: Feasting and One Little Cheat

Today was going to be back to a good amount of driving, followed up by some nice time going out to dinner and hanging with friends.  With no intention of ditching the Paleo diet, at worst maybe bending it a little, I ended up succumbing to a little non-Paleo indulgence after all.


Paleo Day 6: All home cooking (finally), plus some experimentation

After spending the rest of the week away from home I was finally able to have a day at home.  The day after “fast food and eating out” Paleo I’m now back to the making things at home and doing a real Paleo eating plan.  On top of that I got to experiment with a new champagne and a new style of cooking potatoes.


Paleo Day 5: Road time means fast food paleo time

After a night of restless sleeping, and only a few hours at that, most of the day was spent traveling.  A couple of days of good manual labor and little sleep combined to make me feel like I was dragging ass all day, to say nothing for the stresses of the day itself.  When on the road diets that don’t substantially mirror the standard American diet can be hard to accommodate.  Today was no different, but it wasn’t totally impossible either.


Paleo Day 4: Rinse and repeat, with a little wine

With a second day of having to do work away from home I just settled into the same routine I had yesterday, for the most part.  I had most of what I needed so it was easy enough to just rinse and repeat.


Paleo Day 3: Decadent snacks foiled!

There is nothing like a day full of activity to get the appetite up.  I knew from the start of the day that I needed to think ahead for the food choices I’d be faced.  Usually when I’m in this sort of work mode I reach for the easy foods that most people would.  A sandwich for lunch is always a good option.  Certainly one would snack on chips or pretzels or both.  I had none of these options, so making sure I didn’t set myself up for failure was important.


Paleo Day 2: Easier when eating at home

After my first day being the overwhelming majority of my time on the road, the second day was mostly me working from and around home.  I was therefore able to much more easily cruise through getting everything I needed without scrounging around for scraps of barely acceptable food products to eat.  The caffeine withdraw however is increasingly getting worse.


Paleo Day 1: Travel and paleo are not compatible

I originally wasn’t expecting to be driving on the road for my first Paleo day. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be also finishing up digesting a very heavy and luxurious dinner meal from the night before while doing that either.  That, however, was my first world problems tribulation of the day.


Paleo Phase Week 1 Plan

Monday begins the Paleo week off in high fashion.  Actually, it’s going to be starting the Paleo Phase off a day early.  Considering all the gorging on junk food I’ve had (did I mention I ate a Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream for lunch) I figured it’s good to get cleaning out early.  While I won’t have the luxury of being creative with my meal planning for breakfast or lunch, I do plan on spreading my wings at dinner time.


February 2014 Monthly Update

I’m surprised at how fast the months of the experiment are flying by.  It seems like I just started the Virgin Diet a couple weeks ago, yet I’m now almost through with the testing phase and getting ready to move onto the first real diet phase, The Paleo Diet.  While life got in the way of some of the process, I mostly adhered to what I was trying to do with the testing and did get some interesting results.


Egg Test Week Smooth Sailing

Another test week down, another example of how things that I thought may be bothering me really aren’t.  Granted I didn’t think I was having any major adverse reactions to any of these seven foods, but I did keep an open mind to the possibility.  In the end though, I think eggs passed without a doubt but I also think it is proving that the minor gluten issues were just that, issues and not being caused by something else.


Week 5 Virgin Diet: Dairy Trial Week

I’ve been on hiatus from blogging for a couple of weeks but now that the diet experiment weeks are in full effect things are changing up and can get interesting.  I skipped the end of the pure abstinence phase, Week 4.  I have all the data but the end results can be summed up as “more of the same.”  The dairy trial week is another matter, although I’m probably going to have to do it again for reasons that will be obvious shortly.  Based on the initial results however, I’d say that I don’t have any sensitivity to dairy, which is somewhat surprising to me.


Day 22 and 23: I think I'm switching to weekly updates

As the diet experiment drags on it’s clear that the novelty quickly wears off, and therefore so does the need to have literally daily updates.  Sure, it is interesting when I’m first getting the hang of a diet.  There will always be times when I have a new recipe I tried, or something along those lines as well.  However after a while this whole thing becomes rote, and the daily update is really just overkill.  I will still track all my foods and moods daily, but I think unless an interesting thing happens on a given day, I’ll be reverting back to once a week updates for this phase.


Week 3 Virgin Diet Summary

With the third week done I’m now moving into the last week of abstaining from all of the forbidden foods.  While I have the hang of it still, I can’t say I’m beyond craving the foods that I really like.  Just like last week I’m not feeling any different, with the exception of having a cold and feeling those couple of “disconnected” feelings right before lunch on Thursday and Saturday.  Diet wise I really didn’t do so great with the nutrition.  I did have a couple of salads but a lot more of my calories came from rice and potatoes.  While that didn’t violate any of the rules of the seven forbidden foods, it is breaking the rules with respect to the ratio of carbs, greens and protein.  While that is more for people trying to lose weight on this diet than about determining if they are having a food sensitivity, the fact that I am low on a lot more nutrients this week than last week means I have to get my vegetable intake up in this coming week.  The breakdown was:


As you can see things are looking pretty piss poor on Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Thiamin and Zinc.  For once I’m also a bit low on Food Folate and Iron too.  What I’m especially not happy about is that that Calcium levels are just over 100% but that is with me taking a Calcium supplement too.  I really don’t like having to take a supplement anyway, but I need to for Vitamin D (the one vitamin I don’t mind since a lot of Vitamin D is supposed to come from sunlight).  The fact that even with supplementation Calcium is just over 100% means I need to do a better job eating calcium. For most people they head right to the “cheese and milk” visualization of how to do that.  Actually, vegetables can be quite high in calcium as well.  So, once again this goes back to I’m not eating enough vegetables.  I really need to get onto to that stat!


Day 21 Virgin Diet: Portobello "bun" failure

I’m not the type of person that needs to eat sandwiches and burgers on a daily basis.  However Every once in a while it’s a nice thing to have.  Obviously with no gluten products until July that’s not going to happen.  Besides that everything was just an ordinary day of eating.


Day 20 Virgin Diet: Discovering acorn squash and properly raised filet

The third week of the Virgin Diet phase of the experiment is almost gone.  Juggling a very tight and busy work schedule combined with not using any of my usual pacifiers proved a bit of a challenge, but it was one that I actually did well against in the end.


Day 19 Virgin Diet: Sushi without soy sauce can be tasty

With a busy day of business meetings I didn’t have too much time to fit in my typical meals.  I started the day with the usual shake which I had to drink on my drive to my first appointment.  Lunch was an amazingly large salad which only held me until mid-afternoon.  Ironically while I wasn’t hungry at all around noon, by the time I got lunch twenty minutes later I was practically light headed.  I’m not sure what is up with that, but I do know I felt better after lunch.


Day 18 Virgin Diet: Status Quo

After the day of dealing with snow, today was a rather bland day.  I’m kind of sore from yesterday, and even woke up in the middle of the night with my right lower back sort of spazzing out.  It settled down eventually though.  Tomorrow night is the night of my next set of pushups, so I still have one day to recover.  Food wise everything was incredibly ordinary.  The usual shake started the day and kept me full until lunch.  Lunch was a not so big salad.  I originally was intending to get some Chicken Tikki, but for some reason all the were making were sandwiches today.  That obviously wasn’t going to fly, but I wasn’t in the mood for a giant salad.  It was just the usual.  Dinner was just some bacon wrapped chicken breasts with a baked potato followed by some almond butter fudge and a bowl of grapes.  As I said, nothing too dramatic or interesting.


Day 17 Virgin Diet: Lots of exercise (and shoveling) to fill the day

The Northeast/Mid-Atlantic had their taste of some real snow, which meant cocooning in the house doing “work” work while regularly going out to shovel.  There will be a snowblower for the next storm!  Until then it was more a neighborly effort to keep shoveling before it got too deep since three houses share a 250 foot driveway.  Despite all that I was able to get some good eating in and to try a new way of cooking chicken.


Day 16 Virgin Diet: Still under the weather, but not helping much with this diet…

Today I woke up feeling about the same as I did yesterday morning, and it continued through the afternoon and evening.  It’s nothing horrific but enough to be a nuisance and for me to try to avoid contact with people.  Sadly due to poor schedule management on my part my diet for the day wasn’t altogether bad, but it wasn’t that diverse either.


Day 15 Virgin Diet: Feeling under the weather and no comfort food to be had!

I had gone to bed feeling a bit dehydrated and woke up with a splitting headache.  On a Sunday morning when I wasn’t abstaining from alcohol that would have been a clear indication I had too much alcohol the night before, which sadly with my metabolism can be as little as three beers sometimes.  I tried nursing it off but to no avail, so I just kept trying some nourishment to fill in the gaps and lots of water/seltzer trying to fight it down.


Week 2 Virgin Diet Summary

The second week is now down and while I certainly am getting used to the restrictions I can’t say I have gotten to the point where I’m not missing certain foods anymore.  It is great to notice that I can pick up the scents of these foods I used to eat all the time, often from across the room.  Unfortunately that creates a craving not revulsion sensation.  I think part of the reason for that is because I’m actually not sensitive to any of these foods that I’ve excluded.  Perhaps it is too early to tell, and in the coming weeks I will have a revelation about something that is just not agreeing with my system.  There is only one way to find out, of course.


Day-14 Virgin Diet: Rounding out week 2 with a little cheating (very little)

With several friends in from out of town I decided for once to bring myself down into the city to enjoy some sites and tastes and spend some time with friends.  The inertia against going out in the city versus out in the suburbs, especially after a week of work, often overcomes any desire to go.  That becomes less so every year as more local good restaurants open up and our own social circles out here get solidified.  Every time I do get downtown though, like this day, I am reminded that I need to do it more frequently.


Day-13 Virgin Diet: Easing into the weekend

After a pretty busy week with a lot of eating out, I ended the work week doing more of the same.  I think I may have had a minor slip up but interestingly (or sadly) I don’t think it affected me one iota.  Overall best intentions were still met, and I sort of treated Friday (as I will Saturday) as a bit of a “cheat day” without actually violating any of the rules of the elimination diet.


Day-12 Virgin Diet: Another (almost) all restaurant day

Since my schedule kind of sucks in terms of making time to cook, I’ve been relying heavily on eating out this week.  Today is no exception.  Tomorrow and Saturday won’t be either.  I’ve learned my lesson from the past and just plan ahead a bit to get around the problems.  In so doing I’ve nailed down the whole restaurant experience, at least where I can find at least one item I can eat, or at least modify, from the entree section.


Day 11-Virgin Diet: Getting the hang of restaurants?

A busy day of work meant that most of my meals, actually all but breakfast, were going to be eating out.  A little homework ahead of time made that process a bit more streamlined than it has been in the past though.


Week 1 Virgin Diet Summary

With one week of the elimination diet now behind me I wanted to do a summary of how things are going so far.  I think as the diets unfold it’s good to look at the state of the nutrition, how I was feeling, if there were any problems et cetera.  So while this is important, I also think it’s good practice for the real deal.


Day 10-Virgin Diet: Still disappointed with some nutrients, but yay for sushi

Day 10 was a rather blase day, diet wise.  I had a typical shake for breakfast.  I followed that up with a typical huge salad for lunch.  Mid-to-late afternoon was a huge container of carrots and celery with a heaping serving of the homemade garlic hummus.  I was kind of hungry by dinner time and didn’t have any big things planned so it was a trip to Wegman’s for an assortment of sushi followed by some of that homemmade almond butter fudge for “dessert.”  I entered all of that into the computer and out popped the fact that I was pretty low on several vitamins and minerals.  That’s nothing that a bowl full of pumpkin seeds, almonds and cashews couldn’t take care of.  The problem is that eating that many nuts and seeds at the same time does not make for a happy stomach.


Day-9 Virgin Diet: Restaurant Week Poses Interesting Challenges

Day 9 is now down and although I was better prepared for the day, the evening proved a bit more difficult.  Dining out on any of these diets is going to be difficult, doing it on Virgin Diet is even more so though, I think.


Day 8-Virgin Diet: 50/50 successful cooking trials, exercise fail however

The last day of the weekend, the first day of the second week of this elimination diet.  It was actually a rather busy day with lots of progress on many fronts, but not all.  Things got off to a bit of a rocky start, but in the end the day finished up pretty solid and satisfying.


Day-7 Virgin Diet: Rounding out first week hitting 100%

Today was the last day of the first week, and overall things felt good.  I had to navigate a happy hour and a dinner, but came through squeaky clean.  I also started doing some analysis for the first week and realized I needed to balance out some vitamins and minerals, but that was fine since I still had more eating to do by the end of the night.


Day 6-Virgin Diet: I will eat my daily calorie burn!

After nearly a week of barely being able to eat up to my daily calorie burn, although we are still talking about an average difference of about 500 calories a day, I decided I needed to try to eat at least my calorie burn on this eating plan while still maintaining strict adherence to it.  I was able to accomplish it, but believe it or not, it was quite a challenge.


Day 5-Virgin Diet: Sinking teeth into a big juicy steak

As much as I’m starting to get into the swing of things on some matters, others still cause me a struggle. For example the shakes are constantly giving me little annoyances, like forgetting an ingredient, or not having a big enough container to take, or forgetting to put the coconut milk away when I leave. The same goes for the snacks I like in the morning and afternoon. I just can’t seem to get fully down to not forgetting some or all of them. That notwithstanding, I’m starting to do a lot better with the diet and it’s now just a question of a little self discipline.


Day 4-Virgin Diet: Salads and more salads (followed by ribs!)

I was a little bit better prepared today than I was yesterday.  Maybe that was because I was tired of being tired and hungry, or it was because I actually had several dreams last night about “accidentally” eating the wrong food at restaurants.  Despite my best planning I was still ending the day hungry, so a second dinner and some light snacking made up some of the difference.


Day-3 Virgin Diet: No snacks makes me tired and hungry boy

To say that the preponderance of available foods at the store and food establishments have the 7 food groups I’m avoiding would be an understatement.  I’d say they all do, but that would be a stretch too, just not as bad.  That unfortunately makes recovering from lack of being prepared pretty difficult, especially three days in.


Day 2-Virgin Diet: Snacks are hard but pasta is harder

Day 2 of the Virgin Diet was the first real world test case for me.  The previous times I’ve tried it I’ve either been doing a little trial run or was home-bound.  The real world test proved to be a bit more difficult, especially with no means of just “skipping” it for a moment and then going back to it again.  During each of the diet experiment phases I’m going to try to have zero slip ups.  I am not planning for cheat days, cheat meals or whatever.  A slip up is bound to happen, but those should be accidents not on-purposes.  With that in mind I was able to navigate the landscape but it definitely wasn’t completely carefree or pleasant.


Day 1 Elimination Diet, Smooth Sailing

The first day of the elimination diet is now in the record books.  I was never concerned about being able to get through the first day, and there were no real surprised except for the need to really plan ahead for the next week’s food.


T-1 Day To Elimination Diet, Strict With Touches of Indulgence

Yesterday was the last day before the grand diet experiment begins.  I made some conscious decisions in terms of practicing for the big shift, but I still granted myself some last minute indulgences while I still had the chance.


T-2 Days to Elimination Diet: Cleaning Out the House!

With only two days left to go I decided to finish up cleaning out the house.  I hate wasting food, which means I’m a really good left-overs saver.  I know lots of people can’t stand the idea of putting food they made away in the freezer to be thawed out, reheated and eaten later. Sure, it’s not as good as the day you bought it.  Consider though that most of the prepared food you buy and reheat from the grocery store went through the exact same process, it just did it on an industrial scale and with god knows what (along with excess salt and sugar) added to it.  Since several of the foods in the house were going to be verboten for the better part of a year, I started eating my way through them.  I was able to do it in a mostly responsible way.


T-3 days, status quo

I had the unfortunate need to wake up early today, but i still wanted to try to get a shake made before I left.  Now that it’s the third time making it I found it quite easy to do.  The bigger problem was going to be that I wasn’t going to have time to get the rest of my meals in.  I had no intention of eating compliant with the elimination diet but I did want to try to eat somewhat healthy.  The “Boneless Wings” (aka chicken nuggets) and cornbread at Famous Dave’s didn’t contribute to that, but I figured I’d be off that stuff for awhile so why not?  I did do a relatively clean sushi for dinner, but after not having much to eat today and a rough drive I added a little bread and some carrots to the mix afterward.  Oh, did I mention a couple of glasses of white wine too?  After three hours of driving in white out snow condition I was really wanting to just chill a bit.  That did the trick.


T-4 Days To Elimination Diet, Could Have Gone Better…

For phasing reasons the beginning of the elimination diet phase begins on Sunday, so I still have four more days to start getting acclimated.  I suppose I could just start things right away, but I’m trying to ease myself into it.  By far the biggest thing to get used to is making these JJ Virgin Health Shakes.  This is now the second time I’ve made them, and this time they actually turned out a bit better.  First, I got a real blender for Christmas, so the actual process of making the shake was a lot smoother than with the stick blender.  On top of that, I now have the correct coconut milk.  I still have a bunch of the sweetened vanilla flavored So Delicious coconut milk, but now I have the unsweetened stuff too.  Considering how much getting used it took the first time I ate one of these things, I figured with the unsweetened version it would have been worse.  In actuality I found this shake to be far more palatable.  Maybe my brain is getting used to the pea protein powder faster than I thought it would.


December 2013 Monthly Summary (and 4th Quarter)

December has now come and gone and so has the year 2013.  As is typical for most people, including me, the year ended with a lot of excessive indulgences, holiday cheer (aka parties) and enjoying the company of friends and family.  It also ended with me completing one of my life objectives, running a full marathon.  Instead of a month of eating healthy and maintaining a new exercise regiment post-marathon, I instead fell into a regiment of working too much and eating too much crap food.  Thankfully the three months of JJ Virgin’s elimination diet should provide the initial buffer that I was looking for to begin experiments.


Monthly Measurements, January 2014

Beginning the month of January my body measurements took a predictably bad turn.  Between excessive eating throughout the month as parties, family gatherings and tasty morsels presented themselves throughout the month I picked up a bit of extra weight and girth.  I also didn’t do any exercise after my marathon early in the month.  All of that trends poorly.  Again, I was hoping to not start any of the diet experiment phases with skewed body chemistry and state, but I think the three months of the elimination diet before the core trials begin will make this not a complete tragedy.


Monthly Measurements, December 2013

Although I just did my “November” measurements back on the 10th, I wanted to get into the beginning of the month tempo to make sure I’m getting literally monthly updates on my body measurements.  Because of that I wasn’t expecting too much change in my stats being as there was only two and a half weeks between them.  Surprisingly there were some relatively large changes in my body measurements and composition, especially with such little time elapsing.

A few notable things happened over the course of those three weeks.  One important thing is that I cleaned up my diet a little bit.  That means that I was eating a lot cleaner and more whole foods, but was still indulging from things several times a week.  I was far from perfect, but I wasn’t a junk food junkie.  Between those dates I also stopped ramping up my distances for my marathon training and was deep into my “taper” period.  That means the distance I was running each week was dropping from a peak of 28 miles in a week down to just 6 (the week I did the measurement).  Lastly, starting in late September I started taking some herbal supplements to help augment testosterone production since my testosterone levels had dropped between my second and third quarter blood tests.  This common problem with endurance training is something I wanted to mitigate, but once I was no longer building up mileage I figured I no longer needed to be taking these supplements.  Therefore a few days after my longest long run (20 miles) I stopped taking them.  Any one of those things could have caused the changes I’m seeing, but the results are what they are.

As noted in other areas, my weight actually dropped considerably, but it happened over such a short period of time that most of it must be water weight.  That is born out by the measurements as well.  While all my torso measurements went down by a quarter inch or more, my skin fold measurement came out just slightly less than in the previous measurement.  That put my percent body fat down from 17% to 16.5%.  That drop is pretty consistent with the drop measured on my scale (which using bioelectric impedance to measure body fat).  Unfortunately other “good” measurements seemed to have dropped well.  My arms either stayed the same or dropped an eight of an inch (both in forearm and bicep area).  My upper legs shrank almost half an inch while my calves stayed the same.

With my marathon training done until next summer I’m going to keep a good running base of 8-12 miles a week.  This will give me a lot of time to crank up strength training to see what I can do about my overall body composition and strength (especially upper body).  I’m not sure how much of that I will get to crank up with my post-marathon recovery taking a week or so and the holidays taking its toll from a time and nutrition perspective.  I can’t wait to see though, since that’s the last set before I head into the experiment.


November 2013 Summary

November is now in the record books and even with a huge Thanksgiving feast and some travel it still went quite well in terms of my overall health.  After two months of eating mostly crap I decided I needed to start dialing in my nutritional practices.  I had no choice but to power through my marathon distance training, but I didn’t end up incorporating as much cross training as often as I would have liked.  While the experiment is set to begin in earnest in about a month, I didn’t have much I needed to get done for that but time is quickly going a way for when I can dabble with the first phase recipes.

After all of the gorging in September and October I felt that a good part of my training problems were really due to poor diet.  Yes, I was technically getting all the micronutrients I was supposed to be getting but I was getting a lot of gunk with it too.  I didn’t totally clean up my diet, after all there was plenty of Thanksgiving and practice cooking (and eating) for Thanksgiving, but compared to the previous months I ate much cleaner.  The only two nutrients I was even somewhat deficient on were Vitamin E and calcium.  Both of these were just slightly below the recommended levels (96% and 92% respectively).  I’m not buying the levels on the calcium however because I often fail to record the mineral water I’m drinking and each serving of mineral water (Pellegrino and Perrier anyway) has 4% of your daily value of calcium.  I’m a bit high on my fat and saturated fat (about 140%), which I wouldn’t care as much about if I was eating all good fats but I know a bunch of that came from ice cream and cheesecake.  A lot of my calories were coming from food that is now home made rather than store bought, things like home made health bars and yogurt.  Lastly, with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend, I didn’t have any huge gorge fest weekends.

All that said I had a hard time keeping to my original calorie budget plan.  Training for the marathon is believed to be a way to stay lean.  I think it has the opposite effect.  I often found myself famished.  That didn’t happen as much on the day of my long trainings, which were hard to me to eat healthily up to the level I burned that day.  It was more the out days.  Even up to three or four days later I would be craving carb rich food (both healthy and unhealthy) and really felt like I needed to give my body what it needed.  In the beginning I did that the easy way out, by having another slice of cheesecake or scoop of ice cream.  However after I had my little talk with myself about straightening up my nutrition I was doing that with apples, carrots, plain yogurt and berries.

My weight kept going up and up until mid month when it suddenly plummeted.  I’m not sure what exactly was going on but I have two theories, both of them dealing with excessive water retention.  The first theory was that my body was more inflamed as I kept on increasing the training mileage.  As a result of that inflammation it was taking on more and more water weight, distributing it pretty evenly.  My second theory was that it was due to some supplements I had started to take in September.  These supplements are supposed to help boost testosterone production.  No, I’m not looking to a “natural” steroid replacement or anything like that.  What I was trying to do was up regulate my testosterone production while I was increasing my mileage.  Between my various blood tests I had a pretty good drop between the second and third quarter results.  Knowing that endurance training can create that effect I figured I would try to give my body some tools to fight that.  I stopped the supplements right about the time I also stopped the mileage build up.  I therefore can’t tell which of the two caused it.  I could possibly due an experiment to find out, but I mostly don’t care at this point.

The overall summary for November was one where I got kept my marathon training in check but I didn’t get my cross training ramped up like I had hoped.  I was able to get my nutritional profile better but still not great.  Lastly, I believe I’m on target to begin the experiment in the beginning of January 2014.  Overall, I’d say that’s a pretty good month.


First marathon down: lessons learned and what to do better next time.

Well, I now get to strike one more item off my bucket list.  For many years the idea of running a marathon has always intrigued me.  When I started running as a means of fitness a few years ago I set that as a potential end goal.  With several aborted attempts at running a marathon in my history I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it, but by breaking it up into smaller goals (first a 10K, then a half then a full) over multiple years I was actually able to finally finish my first marathon.  What can I say besides how awesome it feels?  I could talk about how my legs still aren’t working well the next day, but I think a lot of that comes down to errors in my running and training strategies.


Thanksgiving Reax: As bad as I planned, so what?

For many years I was like most people, where Christmas would surprise me by being in December and I wouldn’t have enough saved up to buy presents for people.  So I did what any other red blooded American would do.  I whipped out my credit card, blew it up and then paid it down over the next few months.  Holidays are a lot like that too but with calories rather than dollars.  Up until a couple years ago I was in the same boat as everyone else.  I’d gorge on holidays, blow up a few pounds and then go on a diet to lose the weight.  I’m now in a different mode of operating, which means that whether it’s good for me or not I actually plan my holiday feasts and save up for the occasion.


October 2013 Summary

From a fitness and wellness perspective, October 2013 was a bit of a mixed bag.  I did a good job keeping up with my running routine in preparation for the marathon at the end of this year.  I didn’t keep up with my cross training at all.  That is actually a pretty bad thing.  While running does wonders for the cardiovascular system and does work some muscles, there are lots of other muscles that are important for running without injury that really should be worked out by doing other things.  I did get some cycling in, but I totally skipped out on yoga, swimming and/or strength training.  As I said this time last year when I finished my first half marathon, I’ll concentrate on that after the race.  I didn’t hold to it last year, perhaps I will this.


Disney Food & Wine Week, The Antithesis of Healthy Eating

Last month I got to experience the Disney World Food and Wine Festival for the first time in my life.  For those not familiar with the experience, Disney World has a park called EPCOT.  EPCOT’s origins are as a model of a future community structure which then morphed into a science and history educational theme park.  While much has changed on the technology side, the World Showcase, with it’s 1.2 mile long oval track of countries has remained mostly intact.  The premise of the Food and Wine festival is simple, Disney has about 30 host countries setup stations throughout the World Showcase where they can each exhibit two to three dishes, plus a handful of adult beverages.  I went there fully intending to gorge myself on food, both at the festival and at the various restaurants for dinner.  The end results aren’t exactly surprising, but I thought it would be good to put them out there to see exactly what a week of such eating looks like.


Monthly Measurements, November 2013

I’ve been meaning to start doing my body measurements monthly again, but I haven’t been able to get on the band wagon.  The last set of measurements I took was at the very end of August, so that would be September 2013.  It’s important to track at one month granularity since each of the diet phases is going to be only three months.  I therefore need to get cracking with being consistent at measuring at the beginning of each month.

Although I’m banging out lots of miles training for my first marathon, I also had a series of vacations with lots of indulgences.  The upshot of all that is that I packed on several pounds over the last two months.  It shows up in my percent body fat, my weight and my various measurements.  The weight is probably a little higher than it actually is since I ate a ton of sodium yesterday, but it’s not so off that it’s in the wrong direction or indicative of a trend.  I’m not interested in cutting weight, but I will say that I’m at the upper end of the scale/percent body fat where I still feel healthy.  My peak “this feels great” for me is between 14-16% body fat and about 173-180 pounds.  Too much lower than that and I am ravenous.  Too much more than that and I start feeling more sluggish.  Since I’m training for my first marathon I’m not interested in cutting calories to reach some theoretical ideal weight.  I’ll therefore address that after that is done, if I don’t just let it fall into some equilibrium status on its own during the experiment.


Junk Food "Heaven"

After spending a week of indulging myself at Disney World’s Food and Wine festival (will post about that later, unfortunately behind) I figured this week I’d get back to my healthy eating and exercise.  Unfortunately a stressful and busy work schedule has conspired against that.  Skipping the gory details I’ll leave it at that junk food of all sorts (candy bars, chips, cookies) have been in great supply.   Lunches have been not that great either,  today’s was some more pizza.

Between the two weeks of crap eating, hectic schedule and not exercising at all, my body has been really craving this junk food.  What’s sad is how little willpower I have against the junk food at this point.  Sure, I’ll have an extra slice of pizza, or a handful of chocolate covered almonds, or Reeses cups, or chips.  What’s most interesting to me is how my appetite is never satiated.  I’m not eating as much as I “could” but it’s still many hundreds of calories of nothing but junk food every day.   Along with not being good for me, leading me to crave insane quantities of food and not feeling great I have a feeling it’s going to lead to my 20 mile long run being a complete disaster.  Hopefully I’ll get some time to do some running tomorrow and/or Friday to get my body somewhat ready for the beating.


Vegan Week Experiment Summary

With all the data collected about my week of eating vegan, plus my own direct personal observations of how things went.  I thought it was time to take a look at how things went and if there are any lessons learned from it.


Vegan Week Day 6

The final day of the vegan week experiment is over.   As promised, it started humdrum but ended with some good experimentation and flare!


Vegan Week Day 5

Fifth day of the vegan experiment week was much more ho-hum than the last.  Sadly, food wise it was also the most boring.  The day was less hectic and I didn’t feel any compulsion to cheat, which was good because I knew from the beginning I wouldn’t be trying anything tasty or new today.  Breakfast was the same as always.  I didn’t have time for lunch so that was just a big heaping pile of carrots and celery that I dipped in a big serving of artichoke and spinach hummus (commercially made). Dinner was all leftovers.  Left overs from last night, plus one of the beet and bean burgers reheated from the freezer.  I’m glad they thaw and heat up well since I’ll always be making a whole bunch at a time and only feeding one.  I finished off with a big bowl of the butternut squash soup and then frozen berries.

Just like the paleo experiment, it seems to get easier and easier as you get into the diet.  I’m sure that knowing the last day of it is tomorrow helps.  The idea of perpetual abstinence is what trips us up, at least when we are trying to get used to doing things a different way.  Perhaps if one was looking to make a permanent change the idea of allowing intentional trip ups, or free days, is important to get over the psychological barriers that we setup for ourselves.  For one week however, with the exception of falling back on my old stress relief indulgences, that wasn’t necessary.  Tomorrow I think I’ll be trying to do a vegan indulgence like how I ended my paleo week.


Vegan Week Day 4

The fourth day of this experiment was one where I was really close to breaking it. Stress always requires release, and we want to fall back on our crutches.  That’s booze for some, drugs for others.  For me it’s food.  Combine that with some lack of preparation and I narrowly averted breaking the plan.  I didn’t though, and got the chance to try another new dinner option concocted by my friend.


Vegan Week Day 3

Third day of the vegan experiment went off without a hitch.  Preparation and familiarity is the key, but ending off with the best vegan “burgers” I’ve made yet was perfect.


Vegan Week Day 2

Day 2 started off and ended better than Day 1 did.  I was certainly a bit more prepared, but it was still a bit trying due to a heavily compressed schedule.  What I’m looking forward to is trying tomorrow’s new vegan burger recipe, but today’s food was certainly tasty nonetheless.


Vegan Week Day 1

Maybe I didn’t pick the best day to start Vegan Week, but it is what it is.  I know I didn’t prepare enough for it which is going to make things ever more interesting through tomorrow.  Despite all the problems I actually got through mostly okay, minus one slip up….


Paleo Week Test Summary

With Paleo Week now behind me, I wanted to take a look back and see how things ended up.  While it’s easy to draw potential false conclusions while you are doing something, I liked the idea of looking back at hard data while thinking about how the week went.  The bottom line is that the week was very successful overall.  I got all the nutrition I needed.  I felt as good as usual, although some noticed I was a bit more irritable than usual.  I had a lot of weight loss, which I wasn’t expecting or shooting for and want to try to understand better.  I learned a few new recipes and coping mechanisms for the actual diet phase later this year.  Lastly I was able to go a whole week without consuming any diet soda or artificially sweetened beverages.


Paleo Week Test Day 6

The sixth and final day of the paleo test has been completed.  Why isn’t there seven?  I’m calling tomorrow my Sabbath so I’m going to have a day of rest, already!  Most of the day was a rehash of various meals from the week but the ending came in the form of a most delicious homemade paleo ice cream (yes you read that right)!


Paleo Week Test Day 5

I’m really getting into the groove, or rut, now.  I have always been able to eat the same thing over and over and over again without getting bored with it.  That’s how a lot of this week is turning out, but today still left some new discoveries to be found.


Paleo Week Test Day 4

Crossing the half way point the whole Paleo thing is certainly getting easier, but there are definitely tons of landmines to navigate still.


Paleo Week Test Day 3

Day 3 went much easier for me, perhaps I'm finally getting into the groove.  Restaurant eating is proving a bit of a dicey road but I think I want to intentionally try to eat out more to test my reflexes.


Paleo Week Test Day 2

Waking up with a hangover (even though I didn’t have a drop of alcohol the previous day), not packing enough snacks and having a tasty but not filling lunch made the second Paleo day drag on, but it ended with bacon wrapped chicken and sweet potato pancakes so all ended well.


Paleo Week Test Day 1

Ah, the first day of Paleo!  The beginning of my one week Paleo expedition began somewhat auspiciously after an afternoon and night of feasting.  The trials of breaking my daily routines, attempting to avoid Coke Zero, and to eat a pure Paleo way on a day when I woke up especially irritable to begin with, certainly posed some challenges.  However by the end of the day the challenge of the diet wasn’t about what I wasn’t eating but what I still had left to eat.


June 2013 Summary

With July underway I wanted to belatedly post what the first of many monthly updates.  During the actual experiment phase these sorts of updates will allow me to look at large scale changes during a diet phase.  By looking at the month as a whole it is possible to see much longer term trends than what one can see for simple daily or weekly stats, which will also be a bigger part of the experiment.  You can see graphs of the various elements and their discussions below the fold:


Weekly Review: 6/2-6/8, 2013

Week was pretty solid from a nutrition standpoint.  I met or exceeded all of the RDA’s for all micronutrients and fiber.  Carbs were over 50% of my total calories, and saturated fat was a little high.  Overall though calories were in check, I ate mostly well with the exception of dessert indulgences.  That’s what happens when I make Key Lime Pie, ice cream and frozen yogurt.

Exercise wise I hit my target long run but I didn’t hold up on my cross training days.  I’ll have to redouble my efforts next week.

On the blogging front I’m considering trying to setup a “day in the life” scenario for each of the diets.  For each day in a week I’ll plan out and eat each of the suggested diets for that day.  It will get me in the habit of planning of planning a healthy and complete daily diet for each of the eating regimes, as well as getting me used to trying to cook some of the food.


Weekly Review: 5/26-6/1, 2013

This was a good rebound week from the weekend long food orgy that is Memorial Day weekend.  For the most part I ate a much cleaner diet.  Dinners, sadly, were often capped with ice cream and yesterday was another big feast day.  I ran 7 miles, supposed to be 8, yesterday morning though so even with wolfing down sumptuous food and some good beer continuously for an entire afternoon and evening, I still was only 500 calories over what I burned for the day and while it was excessively high in bad fats and refined sugars, the micronutrient profile was actually pretty solid.  This week I’m hoping to lay out a relatively clean diet heading into an awesome yoga retreat weekend.  I’ll be experimenting with some ice cream, yogurt and cheese recipes so will be indulging in those a bit.  I’ll also be experimenting with a Paleo Bolognese recipe.  We’ll see how that all turns out.


Daily Update: 29 May 2013

Long day at work meant skipping my workout. Overall I still ate healthy, minus the ice cream with dinner.  Plus, unlike the week before or over the weekend, this is the second day I’m not famished.  All around sounds good.


Daily Update: 28 May 2013

First day back at work after a long weekend kept me occupied.  I managed to eat pretty healthy, still had some ice cream and a glass of wine though, which was a nice change.  I did very well on a cardiovascular calibration run I started doing last year.  I’m almost at the same level I was on my best time, which was back in July.  This is one of the metrics I’m going to be tracking to check my fitness levels as I do the experiment.  Lastly, for the first time in a long time I wasn’t hungry, except for right after my workout.


Weekly Update: 19-25 May 2013

My first week of tracking on here has been hit or miss.  My first few daily updates had specific nutritional information, but it just takes too much to generate that data and I don’t think anyone will give a crap about it anyway.  So I’ve decided against doing that until I can figure out a better way to do it.  I think it’d be more important over longer terms anyway.  Even with the reduced level of posting requirements I still didn’t hit every day.  I suppose if someone ever starts reading the blog those gaps may matter, but I doubt it. It was still a nice exercise so I think I’ll try it for one more week.


Daily Update: 27 May 2013

I’ve been on vacation, enjoying lots of good tasting (although thoroughly unhealthy) food and time with family.  There is nothing like spending the holiday with family and friends.  Unfortunately my body isn’t happy with the indulgence.  I can feel it through and through.  It’s amazing how conflicted it is to enjoy food that treats you so badly.  I did get a good run in yesterday, so today was the day off I was supposed to have yesterday.  I just couldn’t help myself but to indulge in the possibility of running on the beach.


Daily Update: Friday, 24 May 2013

I had a voracious appetite all day.  I could have eaten a horse.  I succumb to lots of goodies: pancakes, a milk shake, a bunch of pretzels, pizza, some wine.  It’s your stereotypical SAD diet.  The morning started with a workout which was less than enthusiastic.  It was supposed to be 5 miles but I ended it at 3.5 miles more worn out than at the end of my much faster 7 mile run last weekend.  I can’t wait to be running outside after the allergy season is over.


Daily Update: Thursday, 23 May 2013

Ate far better today, despite being famished through lunch time.  I nice huge salad for dinner and some homemade yogurt and mango helped squelch that by evening.  Skipped working out so have double up next couple of days.


Daily Update: Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Ate crap.  Ran like crap.  End of day feel like crap.  The last part is a bit melodramatic, but I’m not happy that I crapped out during my run.


Daily Update: Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Power yoga kicked my ass, that or a combination of that plus allergy medicines, allergies and overly light breakfast.  Comfort food was in order for lunch, but still didn’t make me feel better.  A 3+ hour nap in the afternoon after taking rest of day off of work did however.  Hearty steak and salad dinner with some yogurt and mango dessert (plus some pita chips and brownie bark) made for a not terrible but not great SAD diet day


Daily Update: Monday, 20 May 2013

Today was supposed to be an easy run day on my training routine, and sure enough it was a nice 2.5 miles not evening hitting zone three. Diet could have been better, especially with the indulgences in brownies after dinner, but overall not bad, with health bars and carrots as snacks and breakfast, sushi for lunch and a nice big lean filet with huge salad for dinner.


Picture of Me (Hank)

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