Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Second Week


It's goddamn beautiful outside. Autumn weather is sinking into my town, and the air is smoldering with nostalgia for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Fall is my favorite season; I feel like I've come home. I'm going to do a proper second week write-up even though I don't have any pictures or weight numbers to put up.

The Good:

*College is back. I'm a Theater major and I spend 30 hours a week with the same twenty people, and every one of them has told me how much I've changed over the summer. It's a great feeling.

*I still love food, so hard. I've been hitting up booths at the local farmer's markets for meat. I like to make conversation, ask about the farm, and have them recommend cuts to me since I'm a newb at anything more complex than chicken breast. I feel like it's expanding me.

*All my dietary/energy/physical changes are compounded on top of a TON of emotional fancy actor person work that I've been doing over the summer. Metaphysical, introspective bullshit to open up a more emotional, expressive, fluid side to myself. I'm enjoying life immensely right now.

*I am discovering my love for cooking all over again. It is one of the most peaceful, rewarding things I know.

*Oh hot damn, look at those calves.

The Bad:

*Old habits die hard. I'm still running numbers in my head and programming out my food/exercise in advance. I haven't been able to turn it off yet.

*I've only half succeeded in letting go of my over training issues. Still pushing myself pretty hard most days; I couldn't resist an hour long bike in the hills cardio session earlier this week. I did throw in some lulls and bursts of speed to keep it varied, and I really enjoyed the outdoors, so I'm considering it play/sprints.

*Binged this week, twice. Saturday I binged so super hard. It was 4000-5000 calories. OF COURSE I then deprived myself and went on IF for 18 hours, then didn't eat enough, so I binged AGAIN on Monday after ten hours of stressful class and not enough food. Lesson: It's called a cycle for a reason. I need to eat more!

Here we go with week three!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Binge Recovery


*Binged my face off yesterday. Binged. My. Face. OFF. 4000+ calories.

*Felt atrocious. Absurdly full for the next ten hours. I ate nothing else, went to bed.

*Woke up and dragged my tired butt to the gym for some strength training.

*Came home from my workout and broke my ( 18 hours! ) fast with some bacon and eggs.

*Spent the next few hours on my feet doing errands.


I made stirfry from leftover steak and veggies.

*Spent the entire afternoon reorganizing my kitchen. It's actually a practical workspace now.

*I am stressed. I wanted to eat something rich and delicious. I made this:

Acorn squash with butter and cinnamon.
Berries and whipping cream.

*I could not figure out how to whip the heavy whipping cream. Next time.

*Going to work. Going to have some veggies and a big meatball from Whole Foods later on.

How's that for a recovery? I still feel bloated and pudgy from it, but I'll go for a bike ride tomorrow morning and probably get back to feeling great. This is still -way- better than it was back in my days of sugar/bread binges.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dear Coconut Juice:

Dear Coconut Juice,

What the fuck, Coconut Juice? Why do you have 0g of fat? Fat is exactly what I want in my Coconut Juice.

Lovingly yours,

Binged. My. Face. Off.

I ( hopefully ) just finished my first huge bingeout since going Primal. I'm almost two weeks in, and I've been doing great. My hunger signals are so much clearer than they used to be, my energy levels are stable, and I haven't really overeaten at all.

This morning I woke up, had two eggs, two pieces of bacon, and a small amount of leftover salad from last night. A few hours later I went out, had coffee, and went for a short hike.

I was planning to get home and have apple/almond butter then wait a few hours and have dinner, but I just spent the last HOUR putting things into my mouth. Apple, walnuts, trail mix, goat cheese, yogurt, cauliflower mashed potatoes with cheese, HALF A JAR OF ALMOND BUTTER, eggs, bacon, dried apple, leftover greens in the fridge, and a raw food powerbar. 3000-4000 calories at least.

Sheesh, what a bummer. I don't feel so guilty as I did in my days of carb and sugar binges, but I'd still rather not have eaten a square foot of food. As a recovery attempt I'll be doing an IF from now until tomorrow morning, 18 hoursish.

Personal highpoint of the binge? When I took a few pieces of dried apple and smeared them along the pan to pick up bacon grease and butter.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fig and Bacon Afternoon Indulgence

My figs were going to go bad if I didn't use them today, so I whipped up this appetizer.

Marinated Figs with Goat Cheese and Bacon:

*Halve some figs.

*Pour a small amount of balsamic vinegar on each fig and let sit for about fifteen minutes.

*Spread them on a baking sheet with the cut side up, and using your finger make a small dent in each piece.

*Fill that dent with cheese. I used a soft Chèvre from Trader Joes.

*Meat that fig up! If you're classy use prosciutto; I only had bacon to work with.

*Put the figs in your oven on the broil setting; cook them until delicious. ( I overdid mine... )

I should not be allowed near a broiler. I don't think I have ever successfully used my broiler. Even a bit overcooked they still came out tasty.

Meet Ricardo

Last week, a few days after I went Primal, I bought a cast iron skillet.

As soon as I felt him in my hand a love began to blossom, and it became clear that he needed a name. Ricardo. Ricardo, my cast iron skillet.

Ricardo and I set out in a flurry of buffalo, bacon, eggs, salmon, and burgers. He's a youngster and quickly took to any grease I fed him. I've spent hours cooking, talking, pampering, and oiling him down. Ricardo is more well cared for than any pet I've ever owned.

But no! This very day I've noticed something off in my beloved Ricardo! He seems to be going through a puberty of sorts, and like many parents, I just don't have the answers. Is he getting stronger and growing, or is he getting a rash? My heart goes out to poor, confused Ricardo, and as a single parent I must turn to others for help.

His uniform sheen is gone, replaced by a worrying array of patterns and colors of various gleam! Please, help me understand what's happening to my dear boy:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tom Ka Gai. Thai Soup Adventures!

Whole Foods sells delicious roast chickens. Relatively cheap roast chickens if I pick at them over the course of a week for snacking and salad use. It's become a very helpful staple in my fridge, but at the end of the week I'm left with this torn through pile of meat and bones.

It wouldn't be very Grok like to toss that heap in the trash, so I rolled out my crackpot and made what turned out to be some very good chicken stock. That's step one. I still needed something to -do- with that delicious chickenwater.

Enter Tom Ka Gai, a tasty Thai soup that's simple to make, but a bitch to track down the ingredients for if you live in California. For the first time I had to venture into an asian market! ( Dun dun DUNNN. ) (( It was a cute store, actually. )) Eventually I tracked down my galanga and kaffir leaves and set out to begin.

Add Image
The gathered ingredients


Saddest story in the world. Immediately I found that I had only half the chicken stock that the recipe calls for. After a moment of sulking I continued forward with my soup, halving everything as best I could.

I managed to make quite a mess in the kitchen. All that neatly organized stuff that you see above got lost in a hustle of slicing, dicing, and poor timing, but I managed to clean as I went. By the time the soup was done I'd actually covered my tracks enough to avoid clean up and go straight into eating.

Before pulling it off the stove I took a sip and was...disappointed. I've had this soup in Thai restaurants before, and I was not up to par. I think I might have taken on a recipe a bit outside of my skill level; I need more time practicing with simple stirfry and meat before I go onto the big, compound meal stuff.


Not even half as bad as I thought it was. I went back for seconds. It didn't come out great, but it managed to hit "good." I can always shoot for improvement next time.


I want to feel like a chef. I want to pull simmering, delicious sauces off the stove and wow myself with masterful weavings of heat and spice. Does it come merely through practice or are there better steps I can take to boost my skill? I want the knowledge and feel for food that lets me not only cook recipes up well, but gives me instinct enough to devise my own! Any tips or suggestions for someone looking to get better?

Tubes, blood, bone, and bits.

Oh my.
This squicked me a bit.


I bought two chicken breasts on the bone because it was cheaper at Whole Foods. I'm not accustomed to seeing it, but if I'm going to get all hardcore carnivorous I'd better get my innocence good and ruined now. Chicken looks so neat and tidy when it's stripped down to prepared breasts, but that's not how meat really is.

Cooking it up right now to use in my Tom Ka Gai! Updates on my Thai soup adventures later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The First Week

Tuesday is such an awkward day. Starting next week I'll use Monday as my marker points. It's a bit off, but so am I.

Primal Blueprint: WEEK ONE

Weight - 159.8lbs
Bodyfat - Dunno yet! I'll start gathering info like this soon.
Mood - Energized and excited.

I've thrown myself into the Primal lifestyle. Total determination, full embrace of it's tenants. I was already in a place of all natural, healthy food and lots of exercise so the changes weren't too drastic, and I'm a highly adaptable person. I don't really waver or feel temptation once I've set my mind to something which has been an incredible boon in this endeavor.

I've made three major shifts to my life this week:

*I've stopped my overtraining, chronic cardio. No more hour and a half sessions of elevated heart rate in some vague objective of better shape. It seems SO OBVIOUS in hindsight that I was in a toxic cycle of binging on food, withholding, overtraining, then binging again.

*On the subject of binging, I have entirely cut out grains. Good riddance. I was relying way too heavily on the outside energy of carbs; now I eat tons of fat and protein which works like an engine in my body supplying me stable energy at all times. No more huge ups and downs, no more exhaustion, no more pushing myself too hard and eating 4000 calories of grains in binge recovery fits.

*I am loading up on the fats. I still have to remind myself to reach for the half and half instead of the nonfat; it's so against the mob mentality of the world to go for the fattier food, but I like it. My family is concerned for my long term health, people think I'm crazy, but it feels -so- right to pour that butter and bacon grease on top of my broccoli.

These three changes have left me feeling fantastic. I've had my points over the last week where I've had too much fruit or starch and felt bloated, I've had those moments where I look in the mirror and sigh. The negative thoughts are few and far between, and against the contrast of how good I feel every second of the rest of my day it's easy to shrug off those self defeatist thoughts when they come. Besides, most of the time when I feel bad it's because I haven't eaten enough, I haven't eaten enough fat/meat, or I've pushed myself too hard with training.

Boiling down everything I've learned in this first week:

*I'm going to work on letting go of the thinking that tells me things like "you need to go swim laps tonight because you've only worked out once today."

*Most days this week I haven't eaten enough. When I have eaten enough, it's still too much emphasis on the ( healthy veggie ) carbs. I'm going to let myself eat more, and what I'm going to eat more of is protein, fat, and oils.

*I love food. I love food so hard. I feel like this week has expanded an already strong passion for the culinary. I'm cooking complex dishes every day and constantly seeking out new taste experiences.


I wish I'd had the foresight to take pictures and gather stats before I set out on the PB, but C'est la vie. I already feel leaner, healthier, like years of stubborn bloat has been stripped away from my body. Through the course of this process I'll attempt to post objective photos despite my body issues and compulsion to post more flattering ones. I'm not happy about the photos, but I haven't ever been very happy with photos. I've avoided them for a few months at least. While not matching with the my dumb, perfectionist desires, I can see definite improvement in the last few weeks.

Yes, the only full length mirror of convenience is in my sister's room. Yes, this means these photos may sometimes have Jonas Brothers type backgrounds. Enjoy.

That's it for this week! I'll have another thorough update on this Primal experiment come Monday, next time with hopefully less self sabotaging thoughts in the photo section.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The first slip.

I am all about the plate of scrambled eggs in front of me right now. Eggs, egg whites, butter, fine cheddar cheese, and bits of turkey. It's my post workout fatty meal, and every bite is making love to my tongue.

I "Primal" binged this morning and felt like crap until a few hours ago. I tried making some almond flour and pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, which, gluten or not, set me off on a quest to put things in my mouth. Bits of half completed almond butter balls, yogurt, a nectarine, two bags of dried cheesy kale, and a powerbar later I felt bloated and awful. All this food was Primal, but it was carbs.

I took that bad energy to the gym and channeled into an intense workout, now I'm here in front of my computer with eggs and a better outlook. In hindsight there was not nearly enough of the all important fats and proteins in my morning meal, and all the choices I made were less than idea foods that should be used sparingly and not compounded on top of one another. In the spirit of moving forward I'm taking this lesson, processing it for next time, and forgiving myself for not being perfect.

Mmm. Eggs.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today's Food - 2010/09/12

I do not EVER want to go back to that place of tallying every aspect of the calories I eat. It's a terrible habit that only results in constant lows and highs from minute fluctuations in daily intake. I try to detach from that sort of thinking and focus on the broad picture.

However, going into the Primal Blueprint I feel like I'm due for a day of observation. With or without intent I do still keep a general running number in my head every day, an estimate of what I'm eating, and every once in a while it's good to give that calculator a check-up. I'll be recalibrating today by keeping as exact an account as I can. This will also serve to give me a sense of how well I can hit the Primal guidelines by estimation, and what areas I should pay focus to. Much of what I eat comes without handy nutrition labels so this is about as good a summary as I can manage.

Today's Food:

1 cup organic, nonfat yogurt.
120 calories/0g fat/17g carbs/14g protein

1 nectarine
60 calories/0.4g fat/14.3g carbs/1.4g protein

Went out for a bit, got coffee, biked around town.

4 slices of bacon
120 calories/6g fat/0g carbs/8g protein

2 eggs
160 calories/10g fat/2g carbs/14g protein

1tbsp butter
100 calories/11g fat/0g carbs/0g protein

Biked to work

Leftover stirfry eggplant/onion/squash from last night, estimated.
300 calories/20g fat/20g carbs/2g protein ( from the olive oil )

1/4th of an acorn squash
50 calories/0g fat/12g carbs/1g protein

3 slices of turkey
50 calories/1g fat/3g carbs/10g protein

Biked home from work, then went out and did Tabata sprints.

170g beef patty
400 calories/30g fat/0g carbs/31.6g protein

Salad greens - 30 calories/0g fat/8g carbs/4g protein
1/4th an avocado - 60 calories/1g fat/3g carbs/0.5g protein
5 cherry tomatoes - 20 calories/0g fat/4g carbs/1g protein
Various sliced veggies - 50 calories/0g fat/10g carbs/0g protein
Feta cheese - 80 calories/7g fat/1g carbs/5g protein
7 sun dried tomatoes in oil - 40 calories/3g fat/3g carbs/1g protein
1 chicken thigh - 135 calories/9g fat/0g carbs/14g protein
1tbsp olive oil - 120 calories/14g fat/0g carbs/0g protein

And through the course of the day, two small cups of iced coffee with half and half.
80 calories/6g fat/2g carbs/2g protein

Daily Total:
Calories - 1975
Fat - 118g
Carbs - 99g
Protein - 110g

21 year old male
5'6" height
Very active

All and all I'm pleased. If today is anything to judge by, then I can hit the Primal mark fairly well when left up to my own devices.
Looking back on the day a couple things jump out at me. I am just barely riding the line of ideal carb intake at 99g. If the window is 50-100g of carbs a day, then it might be a good idea to ease back just a bit and take in more fat and protein instead.
I wonder if I actually ate enough today? Even if it's just barely, under 2000 calories is probably a low total. I felt fatigued at some points of the day, and I definitely did not have full energy for my sprints. Can anyone looking over these numbers offer some tips and nudges in the right direction?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wherein the Narrator Introduces Himself

Hello my Primal brothers and sisters! I'm so excited about the changes I've been making to my life in the course of the last week, and I can't wait to really dig into them with some posts. I'm only five days into this experiment, and the difference I'm feeling in everything is incredible. I'm holding off on the good stuff until I hit the week one bench point, just to allow for fluctuation, observation, and the possibility of that whole Placebo Effect thing.

Today's post is an informal introduction. An about myself post of where I've been, where I'm at, and where I'm going:

*The name is Chris, and I'm a 21 year old, theater student living in the south part of the San Francisco Bay Area. ( Wayyy south, Silicon Valley actually. )

*I believe in intellectual thought tempered by, but not ruled by, the empirical. I'm a firm atheist and skeptic. I insist that the world around us is astounding enough as is without having to layer on some higher being.

*I'm an actor in training. I'm currently studying in a two year Theater Conservatory program and loving every second of it. It's not enough to satisfy me though. I aspire to be a modern day Renascence man, and some of my other passions include good food, cooking, exercise, the outdoors, gardening, music, literature, and studies of the mind.

*I'm gay, as much as you can qualify anyone as being anything. It's easier to say homosexual than it is to lay out a long ramble about the fluidity and nuances of human sexuality. I am not "flaming" in any sense, though I'm often theatrical. My sexuality is an aspect of who I am, but I would consider myself weak if it was the defining characteristic.

*Four years ago I was small, doughy kid in class who went home every day to play video games, get no exercise, and stuff myself full of pizza rolls, diet soda, and frozen food in obscene quantities.

*In the years since there's been a gradual and ever escalating transformation into total health food NUT. I learned to like, then love, the taste of vegetables. I completely cut out all artificial food from my diet. I became open minded and went out of my way to try new tastes. But, I was still heavily based in the carb camp.

*The drive and will that brought me from an unhealthy kid, to a health conscious young adult took it's toll. Up until this week I was constantly pushing myself to the edge with overtraining cardio sessions. I would get hungry and BINGE OUT on whole wheat crackers, peanut butter, all natural desserts, powerbars, anything "healthy" I could get my starved little mits on. Believe me when I say BINGE. Some people have a cookie and think they've been bad, but that's not the case here; I would down 4000 calories in a sitting and still be ready for another jar of Almond Butter. Ashamed by these massive slips I'd immediately begin "fixing" the problem by withholding and pushing myself even harder. Of course, this cycle just pushed my body to overcompensate by binging again.

*About a week ago I had reached my limit. I realized that something was wrong with my lifestyle when I tried to take a day of rest for my body and instead went on a three hour hike in the blazing sun, followed by sprints. Scouring the internet on the subject of over training I stumbled upon Mark's Primal Blueprint site. I set about reading and everything I saw resonated with me like nothing else ever has. I'm not a diet person; I'm a lifestyle person. I don't believe in focusing on the minute details, cleansing, or fad diets. I'm into the broad sense, big picture, food is food is food type of mentality, and I could see that Mark thought the same way.

I think that's enough bullet points for now. While writing this up I've finished off a heaping breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs. I feel energized, full, and I'm off to spend my day roaming around Berkeley with friends. Ciao!

Friday, September 10, 2010

How it Begins

This blog came out of my decision to try out the Primal Blueprint, and in part it details that ongoing process.

More importantly this is a blog about LIVING. I'll include any and all things that fall under that heading.

Expect to see:
*Rambling posts detailing my steps into the Primal way of life.

*New Recipes that I've tried out or made up myself. Examinations of food.

*Breakdowns of hikes, trips, films, books, local restaurants, markets, music, anything I feel like going into detail on.

*Opinions and experiences.