Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I didn’t do too well getting into the photo I know hehe

I went out for a farewell dinner last night with my old workmates as I’m leaving Argentina soon. I decided to take some photos of the food/evening…

The girls I worked with have seen me go through weight loss and weight gain for the last year and a half; most of us were “dieting” the whole time I worked. When I quit my job I was about 1 month into my Primal lifestyle; the girls saw the changes it wrought and consequently they were all dying to know what I was doing to lose the extra fat. However, when I told them that I no longer eat wheat (and very little sugar) they didn’t really want to know about it lol. It’s amazing how ingrained in our culture wheat is (pun intended).

I ordered a steak with salad (cabbage and hard boiled egg) on the side and added in some cashew nuts and walnuts which I brought from home lol. I couldn’t eat the whole steak – it was massive! I also splurged later and ate some lemon ice-cream. Good thing I’m going to buy myself an ice-cream maker when I get back home to NZ! I can’t wait to try out recipes and post them on here – bring on Summer :D.

My workmates ordered spaghetti or chicken with fried potatoes (yummy trans fat).

Has anyone else come across this situation where people want to know how to lose the extra fat but when you tell them that you no longer eat wheat or other sugars then they’re not so keen? How does one go about explaining the Primal lifestyle food choices? I just read this free e-book from Health Habits the other day and I think it does quite a good job of explaining the Paleoers. I also know that Mark’s Daily Apple has a pdf /e-book that you can print off (will try and find the link to it to put on here) to show people who are interested in the Primal lifestyle. But what if you’re not walking around with those printed off… what do you tell people?


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Ketosis update

mmmmm bacon… one of my favourite (ketogenic) snacks

Well, I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for the last 4 days…

The first day left me feeling tired and without energy but I haven’t had a problem for the last 3 days. I think I’d already sufficiently reduced the amount of carbs I ingest on a daily basis for the sudden change to affect me much. I must admit that I was taken by surprise by the amount of carbs that avocados and most kinds of nuts have! I tend(ed) to think of those foods as being sources of fat primarily. Fortunately, I see that the fibre content is enough to bring me down to 20 grams of carbs daily or thereabouts :).

August 16

August 17

August 18

August 19

I didn’t really measure every food – I guesstimated – so the total calories may in fact be more or less. I’m never sure how many calories I should ingest on a daily basis; the amounts over the last 4 days vary from 1200 to 1700. Every time I search online for the calories I should ingest given my height, weight, and activity level, the answers are anywhere from 1200 to 1600. When I was consuming a diet high in carbohydrates I would try and keep it down around 1300 calories per day (I surely ate more than that though lol) and I stayed skinny fat eating that amount.  If anyone knows for sure how many calories a 165cm female who weighs 50kg and exercises 5 days a week should consume then please let me know!

So how am I feeling after consuming less carbohydrates? Really good. I’ve lost a bit of fat off my tummy and my abs are even more defined, I feel tighter (and less bloated), and I’m not thinking about food as much because I feel more satiated. I think it’s showing on the outside too – just yesterday my bf said to me “you’re looking really healthy”. He couldn’t define what it was that was different (boys! lol) but I imagine the higher fat content in my diet is contributing to healthier skin and hair etc. There are other possible variables contributing to that change, I know, but everything has been fairly constant for me for the last couple of weeks so I’m inclined to put any physical changes down to diet.

I’m going to continue this way for the rest of the week and then see if if I want to continue for another week. I’m going to add more nuts back into my diet as the fibre makes a different in the total carbs they have. I also have a hankering for steak and fries so I’m going to try making turnip fries as I see they have a really low carb content (and a reasonably good nutritional profile). Oh… and I have to admit that I ate a bit of dark chocolate everyday which I haven’t included in the totals (maximum 4 grams of 70%) :D.

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No Reservations

After my workout this morning, I sat down on the couch to drink my protein shake and turned on the tv. I switched to the Travel and Living channel and they were showing a re-reun of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. I really enjoy this show; Anthony’s humour, the places he visits, the foods he tries… everything. This morning’s show was from the Philippines; he visited different villages/cities and tried the local cuisine. The part of this episode that really caught my attention was when they ate goat in 5 different ways.

I don’t remember all of the meals that they ate, but I’m referring to the ones that he had with Augusto (for those of you who have seen it). All if the meals were along the same vein (pun intended) but the two I remember most were:
1) a kind of soup/broth with goat’s heart, guts, and bile (amongst other bits and pieces). You could see bits of chopped aorta floating on top amongst green patches of bile…
2) the whole head of a goat: Anthony and Augusto picked out the eyes, tongue, brain, and flesh to eat.
I couldn’t help thinking “this is such primal food!!! Kudos to Anthony” lol. But… I don’t know if I could ever bring myself to eat it. Silly western culture stigmas that I have – I aim to get over them.

I also noticed that everyone was so slim. Granted, there were chubby people but I didn’t see anyone obese on the show. It got me wondering about the incidence of cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc. etc. etc. in the philippines (and similar countries) so I did a quick google search and had a look at the information available on WHO Global Infobase and NationMaster.

For some reason or other, I couldn’t upload the images from these links to this post so please click on the links to see a world distribution map of obesity for males and for females. These images show that obesity (and being overweight) is far less epidemic in countries like the Philipines. Granted the observations I make from this data are from correlations only but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to infer what could be behind it. As Mark Sisson often says 80% of your body composition is determined by how you eat. The remaining 20% is a combination of genetics and exercise (see point 6).

I didn’t find any information on heart disease and cancer for the Philippines (I also didn’t try very hard) but from the information I could obtain about global cancer and heart disease statistics, the Philippines didn’t even rank in the top 20. New Zealand, Australia, and the United States were doing very well for themselves… New Zealand in particular I ashamed to admit.

Anyhoo, all of this just reinforces my belief that the Primal way of life is what works if we want to be healthy, fit, and (generally) disease-free. Just out of curiosty, has anyone tried any of the delectable delicacies one can find in the asian countries? Any recommendations?

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Since my post on body fat and the comments left by reader, Ben, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Ketosis. I’ve never attempted it properly – I tend to eat a lot of fruit which I understand is kind of hindering my fat loss. So I’ve decided to really give it a go for the next couple of weeks to a month. I don’t have a lot to lose so if I’ve lost enough after two weeks I’ll stop prohibiting so many carbs.

On that note, I wanted to share some of the articles I have been reading on Ketosis.

The first is by Dr. Michael Eades. I admit that after only being Paleo for 3 months, I still battle a little with the idea that eating more fat is better for me than eating fruit for example (damn you Conventional Wisdom). This article has really helped me understand the whole process by which fat, protein, and carbohydrates are used by the body for energy and helps steel my resolve against CV I guess you could say :).

The second link is to a website which has a low-carb meal plan for 30 days. The only sweetener I use is Stevia so I would substitute that in any recipe that calls for Splenda or sugar etc.

The third is a link to Mark’s Daily Apple which explains Ketosis in more layman’s terms. It also talks about why “generally” consuming between 100 and 150 grams of carbohydrates per day is ideal in evolutionary terms.

I think dinner tonight will be chicken in a creamy curry sauce wrapped in nori sushi (and maybe with a little melted cheese on top).

Enjoy the links! I’ll keep posting on how well this is working for me.

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Going barefoot

One of the things you’ll read about a lot in the Primal/Paleo lifestyle is the idea of going barefoot.

There are numerous reasons for going barefoot but the one I wish to address today is the impact going barefoot has on running. I’ve never really liked running long distance. I had lots of problems with my achilles when I was younger and I also never really saw the appeal in running because I found it to be so, well, boring.  I’m not the only one who has problems with getting injured though it seems – approximately 60-80% of runners become injured every year. That’s a heck of a lot and it makes me wonder what we’re doing wrong while we run? I came across this problem and its answer about a month ago thanks to Richard Nikoley. He posted a video on his blog from Terra Plana that demonstrates what we are doing wrong while we run. Basically our major problem is that we run heel-toe when we should be running on the balls of our feet. Do you remember running barefoot? Do you remember ever putting your heel down first while you ran? Of course you didn’t. It’s only because of the expensive running shoes that we buy ourselves that we are “able” to do it. However, we’re obviously not that able because 60-80% of us get injured every year…

Sometimes I find it a little frustrating that a lot of the things I learn about the Primal/Paleo lifestyle are completely against Conventional Wisdom. I don’t mean that I don’t like what I have learnt in these last 3 months – in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s difficult for me is the part where I try and explain my lifestyle choices to people. I actually tend to just avoid it because some of the ideas behind it seem so radical to them… that and they don’t want to give up their vices :). Just yesterday I was sitting outside enjoying the sunshine in the plaza next to my apartment building. A family of three were also there having a lovely time. The daughter, who was maybe around 4 years old, was running circles around the plaza… on the balls of her feet. I didn’t notice this until her father called out to her and said “no, you’re not running correctly. You have to put your heel down first and then the balls of your feet” and proceeded to give her a demonstration. I cringed inwardly and almost got up and said something… I was *this* close to it lol. But it wasn’t my business to interfere in their lives so I just observed. His little girl paid him no heed (yay); she was too happy just playing and doing her own thing :).

There are, of course, safety issues with going barefoot (eg broken glass, sharp stones) so there are companies who have developed shoes that allow you to move as though you were wearing nothing. The most common of these kinds of shoes that you will hear about on Primal/Paleo blogs are the Vibram Five Fingers. They are odd looking, I’ll give you that. I am used to the sight of them now and I’m not too worried if people will look at me strangely. I haven’t bought myself a pair yet, though, because I’m moving back home to New Zealand in 1.5 months and I don’t want to have to carry back more things than are necessary. I shall be sure to post about them when I finally order myself some later this year :). In the meantime, who has already has Vibram Five Fingers? Do you find them comfortable? How have they affected your walking/running etc.?

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Two interesting studies

Apologies for the lack of post yesterday – I had computer issues. Not to fear, though, as I will be making two posts today :D.

I wanted to share with you two posts from other blogs that I read. They are about studies which go against Conventional Wisdom (CW) and support the primal/paleo way of life. Well one of them does at least, the other is highly interesting on its own purely because of the implications it poses.

So without further ado, saturated fat is not linked with Cardiovascular disease from Whole Health Source.

Uh, but that’s not what my doctor (CW) says! I hear your protests and I would have said the same myself 6 months ago. I don’t expect you to believe me without any evidence either so let me put it to you this way: do you believe that all the information about health circling around out there is pure and untainted by pharmaceutical companies or the agriculture industry? Just to name a couple of examples…

One needs to think critically and then research why we are told certain things about our health. Pry into the motives of these wisdoms and make sure you always check both sides of the argument.

The idea that saturated fat is bad for you came from a researcher, by the name of Ancel Keys, who researched the rate of cardiovascular disease and fat consumption in 22 different countries. He published the results and withdrew conclusions from only 7 countries, however! If you’ve ever studied statistics you’ll know just how many issues there are with this. For those who haven’t, I’ll point out the two major ones.

1) Even if you get a linear line between the data you measured, you cannot infer that one causes the other (or vice versa) because “Correlation is not Causation”.

2) Obviously picking only some of the countries that best support your hypothesis (less than 1/3 of the data) is not exactly a fair representation of the data. In fact, there was no correlation between heart disease and fat consumption in the data collected by Ancel Keys.

There are many, many excellent articles and posts on this problem. I won’t go into details on this post so if you’d like to know a little more then I recommend this one from (you guessed it) Mark’s Daily Apple. One of the great things about Mark’s Daily Apple is that you will always find links to the published studies i.e. there is always scientific evidence backing up the claims made.

Oh, I’ve just remembered this brilliant video from Barry Groves. I found is on the Conditioning Research blog. It’s about fat consumption in animals (namely humans). What really stood out to me was the percentage of fat in the diet of all animals. The slides used in the video can be seen on the youtube video below. It goes through each one rather quickly so you might need to pause them to take in all the information. If the slides alone don’t make sense then Barry Groves explains it well in this video.

The second study I wish to share with you all is related to cancer; this one came to my attention via fellow Kiwi, Primal Muse. Studies have already proven that glucose feeds cancer cells and, now, it has been proven that fructose is also a fuel for cancer. The Standard American Diet (SAD) contains a lot of foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as it is a cheaper alternative to sugar for making food sweeter.

I find this last study particularly interesting in terms of cancer prevention and treatment. I’m making a supposition here, but I don’t think it’s radical to assume that by avoiding foods high in fructose (especially HFCS) that we could avoid some cancers forming in the first place. I am not suggesting that by avoiding HFCS entirely that we will never get cancer – cancer has many different origins – but it’s worth keeping in mind that fructose (and glucose) is a fuel for cancer cells…

I would love to hear your thoughts on both studies mentioned above.

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Primal Earth

Since I started living primally, I’ve been trying more and more of the suggestions found in articles on Mark’s Daily Apple.

One of the suggestions I have just started incorporating into my life is the use of (now lack of) cosmetic products on my skin. I admit it – I was a product queen. I only bought the best cosmeceutical brands (i.e. Dermalogica). About a month ago I decided to forgo the expensive products and try taking care of my skin naturally. I started using a flannel and coconut oil soap to take off my makeup and then hydrating my skin with almond oil (I would use coconut oil but I can’t get my hands on it). I haven’t had a problem with breakouts, dry skin, flaky skin; my skin is the same as it was before (perhaps better). I think that we are trying to solve chemical problems with chemical solutions.

The reason for writing about this is because I have just found that a New Zealand company (yay) make organic skin products: they are called Primal Earth (great name if I do say so myself :D). Kiwis can buy their products in NZ supermarkets… however… I’ve always had the belief that if you can get something in the supermarket that’s not on the outer aisles then it can’t be good for you. Perhaps in this case I stand to be corrected. Actually, I think it’s great that organic products will be so freely available. By the way, this is not a “girls only” post as the Primal Earth products are for both genders. Well, with the exception of the shave products. I don’t know any girl who has gone so primal she might need them…

For those wishing to purchase Primal Earth products from overseas, I believe the Woolworths supermarkets featured in the where to buy section have online shopping. Or try emailing Primal Earth directly to see if they will ship overseas enquiry@primalearth.org.

I would love to hear from anyone who has tried the Primal Earth products out :).

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