Monday, 27 February 2012

My new best friend: Paleo Track!!

Hold onto your hats for a big flipping news flash:

I like looking at things.

Ew, that sounds a bit lecherous. How about this:

I'm a visual learner.

Better, yes? I absorb information by seeing it. Could be text, could be a graph or even a photo (oh, what a stretch you might be saying) but this is the way I learn. For the past few weeks on my Primal journey I've been struggling to figure out more precisely how much I should be eating of each of the major macronutrient groups (fat, protein and carbs). I was browsing through some Paleo/Primal blogs and saw a reference to something called PaleoTrack.

At first glance PaleoTrack seems deceptively simple: track your food intake. I had been doing that in my daily food/exercise journal but so far they had really just been words on a virtual page. On a lark I decided to put in my previous day's food intake and suddenly I could "see" how my food choices were adding up.

Breakfast and lunch entered into PaleoTrack
Now for a visual learner like me this was a big deal! I could enter in my breakfast and lunch meals and see how much further I needed to eat (or not eat) to get to my macronutrient goals. Individual foods can be picked from a search/results drop-down menu. If you can't find a particular food you can easily add it in yourself with the information on the label.

Individual recipes listed for easy selection
But wait, it gets better! What if you're making a meal from scratch and it isn't listed? You can make a custom recipe entry listing all the ingredients and the number of servings it makes and you will get a nutrition label for a single serving portion as well as a tab to add it to your daily journal. What a great time saver, and if you're super hungry and have TWO servings of meatballs you can easily click that into your journal.

Now it is soooooo easy for my to see (and thus, understand) where my food requirements are either lacking or in a state of overage.

And on the subject of food requirements I had recently posted one of my day's food logs and how I arrived at those numbers over on my Facebook page for The Reluctant Primalist which I'll post here as well.

How do I get "those numbers" as targets for macronutrients? Here's my breakdown:

255 pounds today (down from 272!)
37.1% body fat = 94 pounds of fat, subtract from total weight =
160 pounds lean body mass (bone, muscles, stuff not fat) times
0.7g protein/pound of lean body mass (moderately active) =
112g of protein per day, only about 450 cal.

less than 75g carbs/day to stay in the fat-burning zone = 300 cal.

My numbers from today:
147g protein
71g carbs
1692 calories total

My meals:

3 slices bacon (baked earlier but warmed in pan to get a little fat)
2 fried eggs
coffee w/ whole milk

big-ass salad of spinach greens, green onion, carrot, peppers, sunflower seeds, Italian infused macadamia nut oil & Balsalmic vinegar dressing and topped with a garlic stuffed olive
7.5 ounce can of canned red salmon (Alaska wild caught)
green tea w/ lemon

handful of trail mix: almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, raisins, 65% dark chocolate chips

brisket (OMG it was awesome) with mushrooms
broccoli w/ lemon dill butter

8 oz. glass of Merlot

Never hungry. And THAT is an awesome feeling.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Still here, still Primal!

It's been quiet as I've figured out how to skin the inside on one of my fingers with my very sharp knives.

But have no fear, I'm still on the Primal road and slimming down. Amazed at how my normal outings photographing airplanes have been made easier because I'm not pausing to eat continuously.

Will be posting more when it isn't so hard to type!

Friday, 17 February 2012

FAILURE.... or is it?

At the beginning of this blog adventure I told you that I would "tell it like it is" and today I'll hold true to that. Life has warts, you know?

So this was the second weigh-in for the Yokota's Biggest Loser YBL event and I'm not nearly as excited as I was for the first one since I've gained almost a half-pound. I can already hear some folks thinking "HA! Failure of the Primal lifestyle... you should eat some whole-grain noodles fattie!" But being the insightful old man that I am I can very easily look back at my food logs and journal entries and see exactly where the problem is.

It's my wife's fault.

Now READ ALL OF THE STUFF BELOW before you start sending the hate mail please.

I blame the bird. Well, maybe not...
My wife is awesome. She's smart, has a good head on her shoulders, has a great sense of humor and is easy on the eyes to top it all off. She has a laugh that simply makes my day when I hear it. Because of her awesomeness she recently got promoted at work and as a result we may have to move this summer after being in Japan only a year. Moving is stressful; moving early sucks rocks. Our last assignment we moved after two years of a three year tour and that was painful enough. This, at the moment, is worse. We have a fantastic church, the kids are happy with their schools, friends and activities and I have yet to get a photo of Mt. Fuji that's worth showing to anyone. I feel like I'm on the express train to Stressville.

Did I mention I happen to be a stress eater? I might have left that part out.

Thank God I have become pretty firmly set in my Primal eating habits. Previously I would have easily packed an additional ten pounds onto my short suffering body under conditions like this (being the grocery shopper can have some negative side effects) but I'm out of the danger zone when it comes to the processed carbs I loved so much i.e. potato chips, french fries and the like.

But there has been some extra cheese hanging around in the fridge. And since I'm the King of Rationalization I said to myself, "Self, cheese doesn't have carbs in it! You should just heat some up on a plate and it won't be nearly as bad as those evil bags of sin you used to eat." So I did. Totally oblivious (OK, I admit I just didn't care) that despite being carb-friendly I could easily plug a thousand extra calories into my body throughout the day. And I did. More than once. sigh 

Because of the YBL weigh-in today I didn't continue on this course. Because of the food logs and journal entries I keep it was very easy to see what happened on such-and-such day AS WELL AS what my food response was to that day. Now, it is super-easy to make an adjustment and since I have a couple of people in my inner-circle of trust that will keep me on track I don't look at this as a failure as much as a lesson that I needed to learn. Emotions can trigger all kinds of ugliness and when combined with a liberal application of rationalization can start me back on the road to fattie land.

You see, our lives are about personal accountability. I made a choice and there were results from that choice. I can't blame my wife, her promotion, the lack of snow in Japan or the fact that I got canvas Nikes in 9th grade and not the cool leather ones. None of that crap is responsible for my actions. I am.

And thus, officially, it is not my wife's fault. Did I mention she's awesome?????

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Guac and Plantain Chips

The first time my wife and I went to China one of the members of our travel group asked our guide if we would be served dog since it was prevalent in the region we were in.

"Oh no, they would never waste dog meat on you." she replied. We laughed but understood that they wouldn't go to the trouble of making it for us as we wouldn't be able to "properly appreciate" it.

And so it's kind of a running joke in our house that if I make something that looks quite delish (happens more frequently than you might think) but isn't quite suitable for someone on a non-Primal diet that I'll just say "dog" and she knows that, despite looking super awesome, it contains that "evil saturated fat" that might kill her where she stands. wink wink

And totally unrelated to this is my guacamole recipe that I made to eat with some freshly-fried plantains.


3 avocados
1 lime
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1/2-1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
fresh ground pepper to taste
2-3 Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
3-4 Tbsp chopped cilantro (stems and all)*
2 big garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

* When buying fresh cilantro cut off the thicker stems just below where the majority of the leaves start to appear and discard. Chop the rest of the greens, stem and all, and use them like this. I think you get a much more robust cilantro flavor and you never notice it in a chunky guacamole mix.

Slice open the avocados, remove the seed and scoop them out of the shells into a bowl. Cut your lime in half and use the juice from one half to coat the avocados, roughly chopping them into large pieces while you assemble the rest of your ingredients. Add them in and stir gently breaking the avocado pieces into smaller bite-sized pieces. Using a spatula level the guacamole in your bowl and cover with plastic wrap (touching the surface) to keep air from turning it brown, chill in the fridge so the flavors can marry.


Be sure to wait until your plantains are ripe before cooking. Think of waiting until they look like bananas being softened for banana bread: lots of black on the outside. Otherwise they're ick.

Future ex-plantain chips cooking in macadamia oil
Slice your plantains very thin with the skin ON otherwise you'll bruise the flesh. Then make a small slice in the skin and peel it off. Heat your frying oil of preference (I use macadamia nut oil) in a small pan until hot then place them gently in the pan and cook for 30 seconds, flip over and cook another 30 seconds on that side. Pull them out and drain on a paper towel, then mash them with the back of a wooden spoon to flatten them out a bit. Cook 'em again until they're golden brown! Drain on paper towels and dust with a touch of salt and red pepper.

Serve with a spoonful of your freshly-made guaca-holy-moly and you have a tasty snack! If you don't think you'll finish all the guac off in a day or two you can freeze it to enjoy later. The plantain chips never last so I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to store them, sorry.

UPDATE: Thanks to a very nifty site called PaleoTrack I was able to work out the nutrient breakdown for a serving (1/8 of the prepared amount) of Guaca-holy-moly:

Guaca-holy-moly nutrition info for 1/8 of the prepared amount.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The word of the day....MEATZA!!

Shamelessly stolen from Justin Owings via Pinterest (WHAT?!?!?!? You don't have a Pinterest account???? Ask me for an invite if you need one). It is a crustless pizza perfect for the Primal lifestyle and the biggest bonus is that everyone on my house will eat it so on this night it is a one-meal prep event.

MEATZA crust in the pan

2 lbs of ground beef
2 eggs
3 tsp salt
1 tsp carroway seeds
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Parmesean cheese

pizza toppings
tomato/spaghetti sauce
mozzarella cheese

Preheat your over to 450F. I used my KitchenAid mixer to get the hamburger mixing while I added my eggs and the dry spices. When mixed, spread it on a large baking sheet (12x17), I oiled mine with macadamia nut oil. Push it all the way to the edges and up forming a little lip which will later hold in your sauce. Bake for 10 minutes and drain the liquid when done. It will shrink a good deal but don't sweat it. Switch your over to broil.

Toppings for the MEATZA!
For my toppings I selected green and orange peppers, red onions, chopped garlic, black and green olives, pepperoni and mushrooms.

While the MEATZA crust is cooking I saute the peppers, onions and garlic. I spoon out the sauce on the cooked beef crust then layer on my toppings and finally finish it off with a nice thick layer of the mozzarella cheese. Place the completed MEATZA under the broiler and keep an eye on it, 5-10 minutes depending on your taste. I like mine on the crispy side so it was nearly 10 minutes. Makes 12 slices. ENJOY!

MEATZA going in under the broiler

Completed MEATZA yielding 12 pieces.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Looking for motivation?

Sometimes motivation comes at you from a totally unexpected angle.

Yesterday one of the moms of a friend of my daughter came up to me and says "Your daughter's real proud of you."

I throw her the furrowed-brow look and she goes on to explain that my 12 year-old was bragging to her daughter that her Daddy has been exercising and not eating the cookies she offers and that it makes her happy.

Well that will light a fire under your ass, believe you me.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Running Playlist 10FEB2012

Hero- Skillet
Monster- Skillet
Student Driver- Stellar Kart
Activate- Stellar Kart
Building the Church (live)- Steve Vai
In God We Trust- Stryper
Ammunition- Switchfoot
Adding to the Noise- Switchfoot

So there you go, a good sampling of what I listen to while running in the dark. Enjoy!