Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-30-11

7:00am Breakfast
Scrambled Eggs
6oz Pacific Wild Salmon
Coconut Smoothie

11:00am Workout
Bench Press 6 sets @ 5 reps (70/85/100/110/120/130)

Tabatas: 20 seconds work / 10 seconds rest / 8 iterations
Alternated iterations of burpees & sumo high pull

Round 1: 61 reps
Round 2: 73 reps

Noon Lunch
Ground Lamb, sweet potato, apple, coconut oil, and green curry paste

5:30pm Supper
Paleo Pizza (crust made from cauliflower and Jolly Farmer Cheddar (raw milk, grass fed)

Previous Day    Next Day

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-29-11

7:00am Breakfast
Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo, leftovers)
Sausage & Sauerkraut
Coconut Smoothie

11:00am Workout
Squats, 6 sets @ 5 reps (60/70/80/90/100/105)

3 Rounds of:
500m Bike (stationary, level 12)
21 Kettlebell Swings @ 55lbs
12 Chinups (assisted, machine)

Result: 13:20


Noon Lunch
Garrison "Movember burger", sans bun (hey I won it!)
Strawberry Chevre Salad

5:30pm Supper
Bacon-wrapped Scallops
Stir-fried Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, orange pepper) in olive oil & cayenne sauce

Previous Day    Next Day

Monday, November 28, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-28-11

7:00am Breakfast
2-egg omelette (eggs, chicken, red onion, peppers)
Coconut Smoothie (coconut milk, frozen strawberries, 1/2 banana)

Noon Lunch
6oz Lamb & Sauerkraut
Lettuce & Spinach Salad w/ Balsamic Dressing

5:00pm Supper
Spinach/Red Onion/Lettuce Salad
Spiced Beef (beef + 1tsp each cumin, garlic, smoked paprika. Season w/ salt+pepper)
Guacamole (avocado, lime, garlic, red onion)

Previous Day    Next Day

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-27-11

7:45am Pre-workout Snack
1 banana

8:00am Workout
Overhead Press 6 sets @ 5 reps (45/60/70/80/85/90)

1000m Row (4:16.00)
50 Thrusters @ 45lbs
30 Pull-ups

Untimed as my iPod timer stopped working


9:00am Breakfast
Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo-style)
Pork Breakfast Sausage
Sauerkraut & Organic Brown Mustard

Previous Day    Next Day

Food-Exercise Log 11-26-11

8:00am Breakfast
Spinach and Bacon Omelette (Cora's)

Noon Snack (Big brekky, not overly hungry)
Banana & Paleo Krunch

3:00pm Supper
Pesto Chicken (ate lots of this, yum)
Mashed Potato

7:00pm Dessert (post Santa Claus Parade)
Pumpkin Parfait (full fat cream cheese*, coconut milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, Paleo Krunch)

*yeah this is not quite Paleo, but full-fat dairy is a treat in my opinion

Previous Day    Next Day

Friday, November 25, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-25-11

7:00am Breakfast
Scrambled Eggs

11:00am Workout
Deadlift 6 sets @ 5 reps (85/100/115/130/145/155)
2.5km trail (snow-packed) run (time: 12:38)

Noon Lunch
Stir-fried sweet potato in coconut oil, coconut milk and green curry paste
Chicken Kabob (via Cedar Tree Cafe)
1/2 Slota (salad via Cedar Tree Cafe)

6:00pm supper
Chicken Shawarma
Avocado & Salsa Salad (just like it sounds, avocado and salsa, over green salad)

Previous Day    Next Day

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-24-11

6:30am Breakfast
Scrambled eggs (free range from RFC)
Canadian Bacon (also from RFC)
Sauerkraut (also from RFC, love that spot)

11:30am Lunch
6oz wild pacific salmon w/ dill
Sweet potato, pan fried in coconut oil, coconut milk, and green curry paste

6:00pm supper
8oz wild pacific salmon
Sauteed Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, red onion, peppers)
Previous Day      Next Day

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-23-11

7:00am Breakfast
Jolly Farmer Sausage
2 Eggs, scrambled
8oz coffee

Noon Lunch
Leftover boar, chicken, bacon, and Sauerkraut (from RFC)
Put over a salad of baby spinach and red onion

5pm Supper
Smokey Lime Rib Steak
Baked Potato Slices (thinly sliced potato, olive oil, salt, spices)
Spinach salad w/ walnuts & a bit of raw milk cheddar (not entirely Paleo but tasty)

Previous Day     Next Day

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-22-11

6:30am Breakfast
6oz wild pacific salmon (leftovers)
1 egg fried in coconut oil
coconut smoothie (coconut milk, banana, frozen cherries)

8oz coffee (Jonnie Java, best coffee in Fredericton)

Noon Workout
Bench Press 6 sets @ 5 reps for 65/80/90/100/110/120
3 Round of (for time):
  • Kettlebell Sumo High Pulls 35lbs @ 21 reps
  • Kettlebell Swings 35lbs @ 15 reps
  • 9 Handstand Pushups
Result: 7:43

Stretch & Attempting Pistol Squats

1pm Lunch
6oz wild boar
sweet potato & apple hash

5:00pm Supper (enjoyed lunch, decided to have it again)

6oz wild boar
sweet potato & apple hash

Previous Day     Next Day

Monday, November 21, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-21-11

6:30am Breakfast
2 eggs fried in coconut oil

7:30am Workout
Squats, 6 sets @ 5 reps: 45/65/75/85/90/95
4 rounds of:
  • 10 chinups (assisted)
  • 60 second bike on level 20
 Results for chinups: 10/10/10/9
Completed all bike rounds fully

8:30am Post-workout Snack
chicken & strawberries
8oz coffee

Noon Lunch
6oz pacific wild salmon
curry spiced sweet potato pan fried in coconut oil

Afternoon Snack
Paleo Jerky Sticks

5pm Supper
1 large bowl soup (grassfed sirloin, sweet potato, leek, celery, carrot, bone broth)

Previous Day     Next Day

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-20-11

9:30am Breakfast
3-egg omelette with red onion & red pepper, lightly sprinkled with sea salt & red pepper flakes
Smoothie (1 banana, frozen cherries, light coconut milk)
8oz Coffee

Afternoon Snack (late breakfast so skipped lunch)
Chicken & some fruit

6pm Supper
leftover beef/bacon over salad

Previous Day     Next Day

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Food-Exercise Log 11-19-11

7am Breakfast
6 oz Jamaican Jerk Salmon 
Coconut Berry Smoothie (light coconut milk & frozen berries)

8am Workout
Overhead Press: 6 set / 5 reps @ 45/55/65/75/80/85 (3 min rest between each of last 4 sets, 1 for first 2)

Tabata Burpees: 20 seconds burpees, 10 seconds rest @ 8 sets
Results: 6/7/6/5/6/5/5/5 = 45

Front/Side Planks: hold as long as you can, short rest in between

10am Snack (on road with son getting groceries)
Grass fed beef jerky

Noon Lunch (in a rush so made it quick)
1 Large Banana
Nuts (Paleo Krunch)
Handful of cold chicken

5pm Supper
Grass fed ground beef, bacon, raw milk sharp cheddar** (all from RFC)
Put over a large salad of baby spinach and rapini

** not strictly Paleo, dairy is off limits first 30 days to assess dairy sensitivity.

Next Day

Friday, November 18, 2011

With A Little Help From My Friends

Well its been almost 4 weeks since I started this blog and I am approaching 1000 page views, so thanks to all of you that read this.

When I started this blog my goal was simply to share what I had learned over the past few months. So much of the dietary advice we are given is so deeply flawed that I simply could not stay quiet. I figured that most people would cling to this advice so it might be a long road.

Surprising, I have found almost the complete opposite. Most people are pretty willing to consider an alternative view especially when it been backed up by positive changes. I managed to drop 30lbs and for some reason that seems to be enough to make people even just a little bit curious ... curious enough to give this thing a try.

What seems to stop people in their tracks though is what the heck are they going to eat.  I think I have been doing this whole Paleo thing for so long now that I forget what it was like in the beginning. Paleo can be a pretty big change for some people and that can be intimidating. So for those of you who need a bit of help getting started I am going to provide a couple resources.

First I will be continuing my series on "What To Eat". My first post in this series was on breakfast and can be found at I hope to get something posted on Lunch and Supper as well as Snacks a bit later on.

In addition I've added a new page over here (page not posted yet) which outlines a lot of the foods that I consider to be Paleo. One thing to realize about Paleo is that there really is no single diet. Heck, the whole thing is not really even a diet, it is a framework that you can use to apply to your own situation. So what you eat will depend on what your situation is, and what you believe in. Most Paleo folks do not consider dairy to be Paleo. However I think once the first 30 days are up and you have been compliant and removed dairy, why shouldn't you try it again and see how you do? If you do not care for dairy then by all means skip it, but if you do then some of the dairy sources I list may work for you. I consider this a Paleo approach even though the foods are not in the core common foods that most Paleo folks eat. The diet that you end up eating will be customized for you.

So what type of food will you find on this list? Paleo emphasizes REAL WHOLE FOODS, preferably from natural sources. You will find lots of meat and fish. You will also finds lots of veggies and fruit. Rounding out the list will be some nuts, and some healthy fats like olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil and coconut products (milk, oil, flakes, and butter). I also add in some dairy, mostly fermented (cheese, yogurt) with a preference for grass fed sources and non-pasteurized. Does this mean you can never eat pizza again? Of course not. What you will do is go 30 days without grains, legumes, and dairy and then you will see how you feel. If you feel great then you can add something back in at your leisure. If it has no affect on you then you can probably still eat it in the future without too much trouble. If you do not do well on it then the next time you are faced with the option you will have to make the choice between eating the food and feeling like crap, or avoiding it and feeling good. Sometimes you will pick column A, and sometimes you will pick column B. It is about choices.

Lastly I plan to begin leading by example. While I will not go as far as creating a food log on here I plan to post daily (or try to) what exactly I ate for meals that day so people can get an idea of how to string this all together. If any of it sounds appetizing, by all means ask for the recipe. **Update: It pretty much has turned into a food log :D See the first one here **

Paleo is also about more than nutrition, it is also about exercise, stress reduction, and sleep quality. These 3 factors are just as important as nutrition and neglecting them can derail even the best of "diets". To give you an idea on how I deal with the first two I plan on chronicling my workouts and rest periods on here as well. For sleep all I can tell you is that there are a few tips I can pass along

  1. Minimize light sources in your bedroom. Yes, all of them, even the alarm clock.
  2. Get to bed early. Pre-midnight sleep tends to be the most restorative according to studies.
  3. Get at least 8 hours sleep per night. Do not rely on coffee or caffeine in general to make up for lack of sleep. Riding the caffeine train up and down is a quick road to adrenal fatigue. As a parent I know this can be hard, so do your best.
  4.  Minimize exposure to electronic screens (TV, computer, etc) within an hour of sleep
  5. Food, same as above. If you tend to snack late then maybe try snacking earlier and make it protein based (animal based).
 Well folks that is about it. I will start working on the promised pages tomorrow and hopefully put something together that you will all find useful.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fresh Fish For Everybody

Arguably one of the most nutritious Paleo friendly foods on the east coast is fresh caught wild fish. We have the luxury of living life on the coast and having access to fresh caught fish, but most of us never take advantage of it. A lot of fresh fish in supermarkets is farmed (which isn't always problematic but farmed fish can be less than desirable) or imported long distances and as such is not always as "fresh" as it could be.  Regardless, the point of this post is not on which type of fish is better.

Numerous species of fish are a healthy food source as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and selenium as well as a rich protein source. Most important is fish are rich in EPA/DHA (an omega-3) which have numerous health benefits including protection against cardio vascular disease, auto-immune diseases and a reduction in total mortality. DHA/EPA also play a big role in fetal brain development which makes fish a great choice for pregnant women. If you are concerned with PCB/Toxin exposure from fish, especially mercury, then you should read this article from Chris Kresser on the topic. In essence mercury is only an issue in species of fish where the level of Selenium is lower than the level of Mercury. Since Selenium has a binding affinity for Mercury the two tend to cancel each other out.

So why should you care? Well other than the obvious health benefits fresh fish is extremely yummy. Yes, that is a subjective observation but I stand by it. For those that agree I have some exciting news for you. Earlier today I received an email from Real Food Connections (my favorite store) regarding an exciting new program from the Fundy North Fisherman’s Association in St. Andrew's. The gist of the program is that you pay $10/year and RFC will offer a fresh local fish option once per month on a specific day. This month is fresh live lobster, $5/lb. Yes, that is not a type.  If you are interested in the program you can read more about it here.

Space is limited so please contact them ASAP if you are interested.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Paleo Myth: Nutrient Deficiency

So Paleo has been in the news quite a bit lately (see recent Breakfast TV spot here) and it has pretty much become a script for how this plays out. Scene 1 we see some random person who has adopted the Paleo lifestyle, insert editorial about cavemen, etc and then a brief description of the eating habits (meat, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds). In scene 2 we tend to see the naysayers who trot out all manner of excuses as to why this 'diet' could potentially be 'dangerous'  as well as numerous other poorly thought out arguments concerning our Paleo ancestors.

The biggest myth I have seen appear over and over, usually by a dietician or nutritionist, is that you will become nutrient deficient without your healthy whole grains or dairy.  Instead of arguing why I think this is a fallacy and the result of "just not doing your homework", let us actually look at what you get out of grains and dairy.

If I take bread for instance, and flip over to the back and take a look at the vitamin content (I linked in the info for Dempster's Ancient Grains to give you an idea) you see that it contributes mostly to Selenium, Magnesium, and Maganese. Depending on the type of bread you may also see an "Ok" amount of other minerals like Iron, Thiamine, or Folate (most at 8 - 10%).

If we look at what types of foods are actually high in these vitamins/minerals you'll notice some interesting things. I have taken the vitamins/minerals above and searched out the foods that contain the most. It is a pretty easy exercise, simply Google the vitamin/mineral name and then "foods".


If you take a look through these you will notice that fruits/veggies/nuts/seeds/meat/fish MAKE UP MOST of the top foods. You will see flours and grains in there, I will not lie. However if you look at HOW MUCH you have to eat of each you can gain a better appreciation, especially if you are concerned about caloric content. Calorie per calorie, Paleo-friendly foods are amongst the most nutritious you can eat. Conversely most grains are pretty nutrient-poor if you consider the calorie content one must eat to accumulate the necessarily vitamins/nutrients. Also do not be fooled about protein content, most grain protein comes in the form of gluten, which the digestive system has issues breaking down (or can't break down at all).

"How about dairy then? How will I ever get my calcium, vitamin A and D" you say ... well.

Vitamin D
Vitamin A

In all cases but calcium, Paleo-friendly foods outperform dairy. Regarding calcium, and this goes for all the vitamins/minerals even the ones Paleo is plentiful with, it is not just about how much you eat, it is about about how much you absorb. Co-factors that aid in calcium absorption are Vitamin D and Magnesium, both of which Paleo is high in. Dairy products also tend to be high in vitamin D (fortified) but here is an interesting tidbit. Just as you need some vitamin D to help with calcium absorption, you require a fat source for vitamin D to be digested properly. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning that it is absorbed in the intestines with the aid of lipids (fats).

Now, think about that for a second then consider the vast majority of dairy you eat. It is probably low-fat, right? Think about it.

For some other fun facts about calcium on Paleo you should definitely check out Diane Sanfilippo's blog post on calcium here. While most people are probably willing to give something different a try they are less adventurous when it comes to their children. If you are nervous about your children being nutrient deficient (especially if they tend to be pickier eaters) you can check out Diane's other post on the USDA Recommendation for kids vs Paleo.

I do not think the issue here is that Paleo is necessarily a nutrient deficient way of eating (obviously), it is that we have come to rely on grains and dairy so much as an "easy way" to eat and the food industry (mostly forced by the gov't) has fortified these foods with vitamins/minerals such as A, D, and folate so we do not become deficient from lack of better alternatives.

If you will not eat veggies and fruits, nuts/seeds, and meat to get these vitamins/minerals then by all means eat fortified grains and dairy. However I really am becoming tired of RDs and nutritionists raising the alarm bells because you decide to get your nutrients from REAL WHOLE FOODS. Do your homework folks, the information is out there. If you are reading this then you already know how to use a computer, work on your Google-fu and start cutting through the garbage dietary advice we are being force fed.

Do not want to believe me? Oh, you need to hear it from an actual science people. Sure, here you go.

Origins and evolution of the western diet: Health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:341-54.

The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. J Am Nutraceut Assoc 2002; 5:15-24

Nutrition and health in agriculturalists and hunter-gatherers.

Hone your new found Google-fu by searching for others, they are plentiful. Grab a healthy snack of some fruit, veggies, or nuts (or even jerky! there are healthy versions) before you do, you may be there awhile.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pork, Apple, Potato Bake

Pork / Apple / Potato Bake

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 - 3 cups sweet potato
  • 4 honey crisp apples
  • sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • drizzle of maple syrup
  • coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with coconut oil
  3. Cube the pork chops, sweet potato, and apple and place in the dish
  4. Melt a couple tablespoons of coconut oil and drizzle it over the mixture
  5. Sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon and nutmeg
  6. Drizzle some maple syrup and then mix the whole thing together
  7. Place in the oven for 30 - 45 minutes

Paleo Spaghetti

Paleo Spaghetti Noodles

1. Take 1 large spaghetti squash and cut in half, remove seeds
2. Place face down in a baking dish and add water until it covers the bottom of the squash
3. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until a knife cuts through easily
4. Let the squash cool and then shred the inside using a fork

Paleo Spaghetti Sauce (aka regular spaghetti suace)

  • 8 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 2 small cans organic tomato paste
  • 1 TB basil
  • 1 TB oregano
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 1 TB chilli powder
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 sweet peppers, any colour
  • 3 - 4 stalks celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large portobello
  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lbs ground 'other' (can use boar, emu, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, whatever)
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  1. Dice the tomatoes and dump into a pot with the olive oil and bring to a boil. Once the tomatoes start to break down into small pieces, add the tomato paste, all the listed spices and the red wine vinegar.
  2. Turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Dice all the vegetables and add to the sauce, simmer for another hour.
  4. Cook the ground meat in a separate pan then combine with the sauce and let the whole thing simmer for awhile. The longer you let it simmer the more flavorful it will be.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Getting Started On Paleo

I am sure this will not come as a surprise to any of you, but I have had some great luck eating Paleo. I have seen improvements in my weight, my sleep, mood, performance (in the gym folks), energy levels and just general well being. I get questions about whether I feel deprived since I do not eat bread, pasta, baked goods or really any processed food and I can honestly say I do not. I really enjoy the food I eat now and I will usually go the extra mile to try and try new Paleo-friendly recipes as often as I can. Truth be told the whole Paleo lifestyle has become second nature to me now and I do not find it hard eating lots of great tasting and healthy food.

However, I will be honest, it was not always this easy. When I began this journey I had no idea what I was doing and I spent a lot of time reading books, blog posts, and whatever I could get my hands on trying to find 'just the right way' to get started. Let me share a little secret about what I found out.

The best way to 'get started' is to find an approach you can stick with. That may sound obvious but I think too many people shoot for perfect (myself included) and then get frustrated when they achieve less and just quite and go back to old ways. The best way to get started is to find some 'low hanging fruit' and get started and then gradually ease your way in. You may not see huge results right off the bat but you can get use to your new eating plan and then gradually start adding and removing foods. If you have great willpower (or motivation) you can go strict right off and try to adapt. Some people can do this, some cannot.

With respect to the above, I got some really good advice today on a simple approach to eating. The advice was 'for every meal you eat, try to get some meat (protein), some veggies or fruit (carbs/nutrients) and then some good fats like nuts, seeds or oils'.  I think if I were new to Paleo that would probably be a pretty easy and flexible plan.

Regardless of the simplicity a lot of people really just want to be told exactly what to eat, how to shop, what and how much exercise to get and so on and so on. Even more, some people like to know a little bit about "why" as much as "how". I think my book recommendation on my Paleo Links page are pretty good at this but most of them are a bit long'ish for some people (300 - 400 pages or so). Some people are looking for more of a long blog post or short book. While I think I could cobble something together I think it would largely pull from a few of those books and I probably would not be so eloquent.

I make no secret that I attribute much of my interest in Paleo to Robb Wolf's book "The Paleo Solution". Robb knows his stuff (former research bio-chemist) and has a great entertaining writing style. I really enjoyed the book and I am sure that I have read the thing cover to cover about a dozen times. At the same time I realize that not everybody has the same passion for reading that I do (have my mother to thank for mine).

Luckily Robb recently released a 60-page 30 day 'Total Body Transformation" eBook based on much of the content of the book and his website/podcast. The book contains information on
  • What is Paleo and how does it work?
  • Eating on Paleo
  • Sample meal plans and shopping lists
  • Exercise
  • Troubleshooting common problems
  • Loads of other resources!
You can read a full description of the eBook here. I think this book is a really good easy way for people to learn about Paleo and get a bit of help starting. I honestly do believe this, so much so that I purchased a copy on day #1 of its release for my parents (who are giving this crazy thing a whirl).

Even if you are not interested in the book, keep tuning into this blog as I plan to write a few more posts in the near future on some tips I have for Paleo living! In the meantime if any of you have questions about Paleo or just generally need some support please feel free to leave a comment on the blog or contact me via my contact page.

I have also placed a link to the eBook in the sidebar to the left for easy access. If you use this link to purchase the book I get a small commission on sales. Just so that you do not think that I am doing this for the money I plan to donate the full proceeds I receive to charity. I thought about this part a bit and have decided that I am going to donate the funds to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research.

For those that do not know, Prader-Willi is a genetic disorder characterized by various traits such as "small hands and feet, abnormal growth and body composition (small stature, very low lean body mass and early onset childhood obesity), hypotonia at birth, insatiable hunger, extreme obesity and intellectual disability". I have a friend whose daughter has this disorder and I really think it does not get enough attention even though it affects 1 in 15,000 births.

    Eating on Paleo

    A common question I get from people is 'if I give up grains, legumes and dairy, what do the heck do I eat?'  After being Paleo for about 3 months now I can tell you the answer is a lot easier now than it was before I started. The problem is that we fall into a bit of a food rut and when you end up taking out most of what you currently eat, the remainder seems kinda small.

    To address this issue a bit and help out anybody considering making the switch, I'm going to try and do two things. First is that I can going to start a list of some of my favorite recipes over here. Some of them will be ones I have found online and others I have found in books that I have bought. Where possible I'll link to the online versions, and maybe I'll try to post the recipes for the rest (after I secure the authors consent of course).  My second task is going to try and write a short series on the types of foods I eat on a Paleo diet, especially breakfast and lunch as these tend to be a bit harder for people to brainstorm once you lose the ability to use a loaf of bread for everything.

    Given that breakfast tends to be the hardest nut to crack, I'll dedicate the rest of this post to my breakfast routine.

    So first up for breakfast, and I do not think anybody will be shocked with this, is eggs! Most mornings I usually start off with a couple of eggs. Sometimes I fry them, sometimes I scramble them, and lots of times I make them into an omelet. I might toss in some onions and peppers, sometimes I'll add spinach, salsa, or avocado as well (not normally at the same time :D) or a variety of other veggies.  If you are worried about your heart health with all these eggs (higher cholesterol) then you may want to read some current research. Not only is cholesterol an important nutrient in the body but low levels of it may actually be bad for you. I've jotted down a few links that I'm compiled over time and included them at the bottom. You can pretty much do a pub med (or google scholar) search on cardiovascular disease and cholesterol (or saturated fat) and find a tonne of research that contradicts modern 'Conventional Wisdom'

    Along with my eggs I'll usually have some sort of meat. Sometimes this is a traditional 'breakfast meat' like bacon (various types and not all from pigs!), ham, or sausage (beef, boar, or pork) but I also like to mix it up and use chicken or salmon, especially in an omelet.

    There are plenty of other Paleo-friendly egg dishes that don't look like eggs :D. Some of my favorites are Oat-Free Oatmeal and Paleo Pancakes. Both of these recipes are from and are actually included in a free cookbook you can get if you sign up for his newsletter. If you google 'Paleo Pancakes' you will likely find a few thousand different interpretations. One note of caution is that most use almond butter, which can be pretty high on omega-6 polyunsaturated fat (a pro-inflammatory fat) as well as pretty calorie dense. I tend to use nut butters and nut flours (common in trying to replicate baked goods that are Paleo friendly) sparingly and as a treat.  Along the same line, there are numerous biscuits made with almond or coconut flour. One of the better ones is this coconut biscuit recipe. I like it because coconut has a better fat profile (mostly saturated fat, which if you again read the modern research, is not the primary cause of heart disease and is only really a large issue if your body is in an overfed state and producing its own saturated fat b/c of too much glucose via carbohydrate) than nut flours.

    Another often forgotten breakfast food is the smoothie! If you are scratching your head wondering how to make a smoothie without milk or yogurt then you are in luck because there are a couple options here. My preferred option is to use coconut MILK. I capitalize this because if you look in the milk aisle for coconut milk (even in natural food section) you actually find coconut BEVERAGE. These are not even remotely close and if you read the ingredient list on the beverage you'll notice a lot of additive chemicals. If you venture into the international aisle or the natural food section of the store you will probably find coconut milk in a can. Now, there are a couple decisions to make at this point with respect to coconut milk. First, if you buy it in a can then you either have to deal with BPA or guar gum. Most canned goods have BPA in the lining and coconut milk is no different. I think the only canned coconut milk I can find with no BPA is from the Superstore natural food aisle and I believe it is called 'Natures Forest' or something like that. However it does have guar gum in it, which is derived from legumes, so it can be problematic if you are on an initial elimination Paleo diet. I have found 1 non-guar coconut milk in Fredericton at Scoop N Save but they are currently out of the full fat option, leaving only light coconut milk (more on this later). They also have a coconut cream in the fridge section which you can turn into coconut milk with a bit of work. You can also make your own coconut milk from fresh coconuts or from non-sweetened non-chemical shredded coconut. Aura foods has a nice shredded coconut but I have not tried to make milk out of it yet. Googling 'How To Make Coconut Milk' will supply enough of a how-to.

    Back to the smoothie. So what I generally do is put a couple of handfuls (not fist full) of frozen fruit in a blender. I love using my 'Magic Bullet' b/c its convenient when you are making these for kids and everybody wants something different. My most common combination is half a banana (not frozen) and a small handful of frozen cherries or mixed berries (current fave is antioxidant blend from costco). Add in some coconut milk at this point. If you are using full-fat I generally keep this to 1/4 can. Coconut milk is pretty fatty and some people find it sends them straight to the bathroom in large quantities. If you are using the light version I usually just cover the berries. After that you simply blend it up and drink it. If you do not have enough liquid then you can add in a bit more milk or water or even some almond milk. I usually try and pair my smoothie with a good piece of protein to keep me satiated through the morning.

    I also tend to add in a bit of whey protein especially about an hour before I go to the gym. This just gives me a bit of protein and carbs to fill my glyogen stores (the energy used by muscles during intense exercise). Whey isn't technically Paleo since it is a dairy protein but I do not find it bothers me so I keep it in.  If you do not like coconut milk you can also try almond milk, although this comes with the same omega-6 warning that nut flours do.

    Another good breakfast side is stir-fried sweet potato hash. If you are just starting out and using Paleo to lose weight, or if you have a metabolic condition, then maybe this one isn't for you. However if you are otherwise pretty health (or if this meal is an hour or two prior to a pretty intense gym session) then a bit of sweet potato (or an occasional regular potato) is a great sidekick to some diced ham or chicken or whatever else. I generally use a tablespoon or so of coconut oil (found in solid form usually in natural food aisle) so that the potatoes crisp up.

    My last bit of breakfast advice would be to stop trying to make breakfast into some special meal. I often 'eat supper' for breakfast, or lunch for that matter. There is no reason why you couldn't sit down and have a steak and salad for breakfast, or a chicken curry for that matter. I like to try and shoot for 3 six-ounce portions of wild-caught fish per week and that usually means fish for breakfast a day or two. So the next time you are tired of eggs and want to change it up a bit, try some leftovers or even cooking a nice big 'supper' meal for breakfast. I guess this goes 'ditto' for snacking, which is another common question people ask. If you are hungry, then eat another small meal instead of 'snacking'. Some people on Paleo snack on nuts and/or jerky. I think either in excessive amounts can be problematic so you are better off using them sparingly (like in emergencies when you can't manage to make a small meal).

    Cholesterol Studies

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Paleo In Pictures

    My Paleo Progress ... In Pictures

    October 2010 (best shape of 2010) ~ 165lbs

    June 2011 (prior to slow-carb) ~ 168lbs

    Today ~ 140lbs

    Paleo 3 Months In

    With all the Paleo blogs and sites on the internet you might ask yourself why I would even bother adding to it. The short answer is that I have made some 'not so subtle' changes (dropped ~ 30lbs) in a short amount of time (4 months) and so people have inquired 'how?' I have had some pretty crazy mind boggling success with Paleo and I'm glad to share what I've learned; so here goes.  The longer story is that Paleo is starting to to get some traction in the media, but the coverage is AWFUL and in most cases COMPLETELY WRONG. Through this blog I hope to help inform people what the Paleo lifestyle actually is so that they can make up their own mind.

    This is my story.

    Three and a half years ago, just before the birth of my daughter, I was in pretty rough shape. My weight had ballooned to 185lbs, which given that I'm only 5'5", is not a good thing. In addition to weight problems I also was lethargic, stressed out, anxious, had insomnia, was constantly hungry, had back pain and neck pain to the point I had to go on meds, and a host of other digestive and psychological issues. Part of my problem was diet, but  the remainder was simply a lack of exercise, or so I thought at the time. Somewhere along the line I decided that enough was enough, and I took up running. I was never a big fan of running but it was something easy I could do with little prep time and therefore I would not have an excuse not to do it.  I started running short distances, then 5K, then 10K, and then finally half-marathons. I trained 3 - 4 times a week and put all my energy into running longer and faster.

    Three years later I was down 15lbs and much healthier. However given that I was running anywhere from 10 to 50km per week you would think that I would have lost more than 15lbs. I was eating a lot better than I had been but I still found that my weight yo-yo'd between 165 - 170+ lbs on a frequent basis. I didn't eat out much (maybe once per week on average), I made my own lunches from 'healthy' ingredients, and still I could not lose weight. If I ate very clean and strict for a couple weeks I would push down toward 165 lbs but then I'd have a 'splurge' weekend and I'd be right back at 170 again.

    Earlier this year my wife decided that she wanted to lose some weight and proceeded to drop a good chunk of weight simply by recording her calories on a website and doing basic caloric restriction. Since she had good luck with it, I decided to give it a whirl. I calculated my base calories and set myself up to lose a pound per week by shaving off 500 calories per day! After 6 weeks I was down a whole 2 lbs and most of that was during the last few weeks where I ran 30K+ each week. Sweet crap something was seriously wrong with this picture.

    At that same time a few co-workers were reading Tim Ferriss'  'Four Hour Body' so I decided to give it a read and see what it could offer. I devoured the book in a weekend and started his 'Slow Carb Diet' on a Sunday night. After 1 week I was down 2 lbs, and after 6 weeks I was down a full 12 lbs to 156lbs.  While I was losing a good chunk of weight I didn't feel much better than before. Part of Tim's plan involves a 'Cheat Day' once a week, which I chose to be Saturday, where you splurge and eat anything you want. I would spend Sunday feeling like utter crap and it would be Wednesday before I started feeling better (and was back down to my Saturday morning weight). I begun to feel that while this diet was working great, it really was not sustainable for the long term.

    I spent about a week reading through the numerous forums and websites that were dedicated to 'The Four Hour Body' book trying to look for a longer term plan. One evening I stumbled upon a blog post by Tim entitled "How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)"; I was intrigued.  The post is worth the read and contain a few excerpts from Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution book. After reading the post I read a few dozen reviews of the book and snagged a copy from the iTunes bookstore. I read through the book in a couple evenings and decided that I would give it a go starting the following week.

    Three months later I'm now down to about 139lbs, almost a full 30lbs lost since May, most of it by following a Paleo lifestyle. In addition to the weight loss I also have a lot more energy, my mood is more stable, I sleep great, and I just generally feel better. If I splurge on the weekend and let loose a bit I don't gain 5lbs and whatever weight I do gain is lost within a matter of days. As a matter of fact I now have to EAT MORE just to MAINTAIN my current weight.

     I have also mostly traded in my running days in for strength training. While I still run periodically, it is mostly sprint intervals or short trail runs. While you are more likely to see me in the gym these days than on the trails running, I do not spend a lot of time there either. I generally do two 30-minute workouts per week. In a few words, my training can be summed up as "lift heavy things and run quickly for short periods". The rest of the week I relax and get a bit of light 'fun' exercise like talking a walk and enjoying the sun or just playing with my kids.

    Eating on Paleo is not really that hard either. There are no special pills or powders or timelines or tracking of your food (unless you want to). I eat REAL WHOLE FOOD that tastes awesome and I don't bother counting calories. The strongest 'supplements' I take are a multi-vitamin (which I'll likely ditch once the bottle is empty), some vitamin D, and a bit of whey protein. The hardest part of Paleo for me was the first couple of weeks while I tried to figure out what the heck I was allowed to eat. Now I'm more or less in a rhythm and enjoy a wide variety of foods and dishes. Part of what I plan to do with this blog is to chronicle a bit of this so that it makes the whole thing easier for the next person.

    The only other difficulty I've had is simply a lack of choice when it comes to shopping. I'm pretty strict (you do not necessarily have to be to see improvements) and strive to eat as clean as possible. This pretty much eliminates much of the food at a traditional grocery story in Fredericton as you will not find a lot of grass fed beef at the superstore or sobeys. The only spot in town that I can find grass fed beer (or other pastured meat) is Real Foods Fredericton. I can't say enough good things about these folks; they are awesome. My only complaint, and its a small one, is that it can be challenging to get there. The store is only open Saturdays from noon until 5pm, and during the week from 10am - 7pm. This is reasonable! However it can still be challenging to get there on any day other than Saturday. If I happen to be out of town on the weekend I usually try to stop by at lunch. Luckily work has a nice big fullsize fridge with a freezer so I can keep everything cold.

    Some pics of me before and after!