Paleo or Partial-Paleo

I know that many of you are fans of the Paleo diet. Myself, I try not to subscribe to any particular diet, choosing rather to adopt principals which I agree with and which I think work best for me. Sticking with Bruce Lee’s principles behind Jeet Kune Do, I prefer to take what I perceive as the best of all of the “styles”, and fashion that collection of principles into my own style.

Opinions on Paleo

I wanted to share this link due to the fact that I think the article has some interesting points that I happen to agree with as far as the various benefits that the Paleo diet offers; benefits which the diet has helped bring to peoples attention. I especially agree with points 1, 3 and 8. These are all things that I have incorporated into my day-to-day, and which have helped me along my journey thus far.

What are your thoughts on the Paleo diet? Are you a committed believer? Have you adopted just a few of the aspects? Are you not sold on it? Let me know!

ENJOY!

Changes

 

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My last four weeks have been some of the most eventful of my entire life. Two and a half weeks ago, I started this blog, and with the help of each of you that are reading this, I consider it a success. Three weeks ago, I completed my first major project after 15 months of blood, sweat and tears, and put my stamp on a piece of the construction industry that no one will ever be able to take from me. One month ago tomorrow, I quit my two-pack-per-day habit cold turkey after waking up in the middle of the night craving a cigarette. The same day I decided to quit smoking is the same day I made the commitment to change my eating habits and to begin, ‘Going Blue’.

Sitting here on the cusp of what I’ll consider a milestone (one month), I’m taking some time to reflect on where I am and what I’ve done. While I will spare you all of the daily miscellaneous victories and defeats, one thing I do need to say is this: without a shadow of a doubt, it has been harder for me to change my eating habits by eating healthier foods as well of less food in general, than it has been for me to quit smoking. 

Even today, I got angry (hangry) on the way home from work, because all I wanted to do was drive straight to the corner pizza joint and eat half of a Sicilian pizza with pepperoni (extra grease), and an order of two-dozen wings. I was more angry at the fact that I was not going to have that food as I ever was at not having a cigarette. Also, the smoking-related cravings have already stopped as of about a week ago.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a relatively tall guy. Growing up, I was always able to rationalize eating as much as I wanted of whatever food I wanted because my weight never caught up to my height. In addition, I was an athlete, so I burned calories at a high rate. Then once my athletic career ended, I worked in construction and spent six to eight hours a day on my feet. All of those things allowed me to eat what I wanted with no consequences. It wasnt until twelve months ago that the issues I outline in my “About” page showed up. Then, it wasn’t until four weeks ago that I really started to take my health seriously. Twenty-seven years of stuffing one’s face is hard thing to quit!

The benefits I’ve felt are really the only thing that stopped me from getting that pizza on the way home today. My energy level really is much higher with the increased servings of fruits and vegetable. On the day following a low fruit / veg day, I feel symptoms I can only equate to a food hangover. I feel tired, full, and mentally dull. Also, I’ve cut my coffee intake town to 0-2 cups per day, and have begun drinking 2-3 cups of green tea daily. This has eased my morning headaches and given me energy coffee never did. I laugh more, I sleep better, I enjoy small things that I never lent any weight to before… It really is amazing. Changing your diet opens you up to a new perspective of yourself. If you don’t believe me, try this. Go to your local market. Buy a handful of limes. Now, every morning for one week, sqeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime into a glass of water each morning and have that as part of your morning routine before you reach for the coffee. Even the small addition of this shot of Vitamin C and a glass of water first thing in the morning made me feel more energetic and mentally sharper.

The challenges I have undertaken have all been well worth it, even with the stress, frustration and agrivation that have gone along with them. If I wasn’t before, I am now certain that my wife is a saint for putting up with my through the last month.

I understand that all of this is self imposed, and that any bitching about hunger that I may do can all be silenced with a trip down to Main Street.  However, I am certain that with the help of my friends and family, I’ll be able to continue discovering a part of life that I was never interested (enlightened) enough to explore before.

Thank you all for visiting my page and following my journey! It means more than you know.

ENJOY!

 

 

Slipped

So, we have gone out to eat the last two nights, and I’m really starting to feeling it today. Regardless of how careful you are with what you order, it’s just not the same as rolling up the sleeves and making yourself a meal that you know is going to be good for you, while listening to some good tunes and sharpening your kitchen skills (bad pun intended).

That said, my wife and I have had some major career decisions to discuss, so at least the time not spent in the kitchen with Gary Clark Jr. blasting has been well spent.

Tonight’s challenge: make dinner with whatever we have in the fridge, incorporating as many colors as possible.

Hopefully this will snap me out of the funk I’m in today. It’s absolutely amazing to me how quickly your energy level drops when your intake of fruits / vegetables declines. It’s brought my entire demeanor down today. The good news: I can feel the change and now I know what it is and how to fix it. PROGRESS!

“We’ll Have the Octopus”

When many people think about going on a diet, their initial reaction can be to cringe. In fact, when you say the word “diet” slowly enough in your own head, it sounds almost exactly like “self-denial”, “is that really an adult-sized portion?”, or “is it ‘cheat-night’ yet?”. Still, the benefits of changing one’s unhealthful eating habits are so numerous that hundreds of thousands of individuals make a conscious decision to change their diet every year. This is my year, and I, like most of us that have tried at one time or another to start eating a more healthful diet, eventually had to face the dreaded crucible of…Going Out To Eat. (insert the Wilhelm scream here).

octopus

My wife and I decided last night, when we got home from work at 7:00pm and realized that neither of us had actually hit the “Start” button on the dishwasher, that it is perfectly acceptable to go out to dinner on a Tuesday night. Truth be told, the weather here was too perfect last night to not sit outside and enjoy smells of an Italian cafe.

I’ve been nervous about going out to eat since I’ve started to change my eating habits to be smaller portions of healthier foods. This is mostly due to the fact that as I cook, I am so focused on where the ingredients are, where my knife blade is in relation to my thumb, what temperature the pan is at, how long the garlic has been on the heat, how long ago the chicken went in the oven, etc… that the anticipation does not have a chance to build the way that it does when you are sitting and waiting to be served, surrounded by other tables already having their meals. That does nothing but get me excited to eat, well, all of it!  Also, when you are handling your food and focusing on your recipe, you are conscious of making healthy decisions like not using too much oil, or not leaving that extra bit of fat on there, or not using that three-finger-pinch of salt when one will do…

All of that said, we decided to go out. After looking at all of the 50+ items on the menu, we decided to try the octopus as our appetizer.

As a relatively educated guess, the ingredients were as follows:

  • 1/2 cup octopus, boiled and rough chopped to about 1/4″ thick
  • 1 medium carrot, semi-fine chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, fine chopped
  • 2+ tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into two wedges
  • 3 tbsp black olive puree
  • salt / pepper to taste
  • 1 slice of nondescript bread soaked in another whole tbsp of EVOO and baked

First, let me say that there was waaaaay too much olive puree for me. The brine of the olives overpowered the relative subtlety of the rest of the ingredients. Nothing else really came through when you got more than 1/2 tsp of olive in a forkful. That said, if you were careful about what you got on your fork, this was delicious. But, was this something that was good for me? Let’s take a look:

Octopus, though many are unfamiliar with it, has an amazing flavor, and is also very nutritious. It contains Vitamins A and C, as well as some of the elusive B vitamins. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, watch out for the cholesterol if making this food a staple.

The avocado, though considered a “super-food”, should still be taken a what it is: a fat. Now, it’s a very healthy fat, and also provides a great amount of antioxidants. However, given the amount that was served, and paired with the amount of EVOO that was on this dish, it could be “too much of a good thing” if you are attempting to lose weight or keep those arteries clear.

The olive puree, though I do not know what chemicals (if any) were in it, I would not shy away from. Too many health benefits to avoid the olives.

There were not enough of the other ingredients to really take into consideration as being a health benefit or detriment, especially as my wife and I split the dish.

With the above, I wanted to give you a little insight into how I have been looking at my meals when we’ve gone out to eat. While I have never been one to count my calories, nor to measure my portions (This one time I did count out the 28 almonds that make up a service size and put them in a ziplock bag for snack… still haven’t regained my dignity), it is incredibly important to be conscious about what you are putting in your body. You can safely go out to dinner as long as you are not predisposed to think of “going out” as “cheating”. You can go to a restaurant and look for the best options for your health. This appetizer was not perfect, but was it a better choice than the fried calamari?

I may not live to be 100 years old, but that doesn’t mean my diet shouldn’t help me get as close to achieving that as possible. I love food too much to give up everything that is bad for me, but I look at it this way: the healthier I eat, the longer I could live, and the more time I’ll have to eat! It’s beautiful logic, isn’t it?

ENJOY!