Monthly Archives: June 2012

Cooking

Not exactly the kind of Bad Cook I was looking for, but I’ll take it.

I am not a good cook. I get VERY frustrated with the complexity of putting together meals. I can tear a PC apart, rip into a car’s engine and electronics, wire a building for phone and network… but putting a meal together is not my strong suit. Luckily, my wife does about 99% of the cooking. It’s nearly overwhelming because I’m making food for my wife and son as well as myself. It’s one of the few things that REALLY stresses me out. There are certain things with food prep that I’m not used to… like the proper way to handle meat and keeping your area clean and having all the stuff you need out before you start. And then there’s making sure that everything finishes cooking at the same time so I don’t have cold food that needs to be reheated.

As for people who LOVE to cook… what the hell is the matter with you!? Seriously, how do people do this for a living? That being said, I’m not bad at cooking meat. However, my grille hates it. I have this piece of crap that someone left at my house for storage and then they eventually went out and bought a new one leaving me with this garbage (Sorry Kris…). It’s got nasty hot spots, tons of cold spots and is almost impossible to keep at an even temp. It’s an open flame propane grille so when grease comes off the meat, it starts little fires here and there.

To quote Arthur Dent: “What the HELL is THAT!?”

My kitchen, on the other hand, is all new equipment (thanks to me selling my old Audi S6) but is VERY narrow. It’s not the place for two people to work. There’s not a lot of counter space either so prepping food requires it to be nearly spotless prior to work and even then it’s still tight. My wife is able to work around it… I am not. We also have a lot of gadgets too: a stand mixer (no idea how that works), a dehydrator (just got it, haven’t played with it yet), a really nice blender (ooo, I know how to use that one) and a few other things in which I have no idea how to use them or what they’re for. The meals I tend to make are simple. I like simple though, so that works for me. I THINK my wife likes simple. If she doesn’t she never complains about it. I’m lucky that my wife either really likes my cooking (when I do it right) or she’s just a fantastic liar. I tend to be more critical of my own creations than she does. One thing she does correct me on (thankfully) is proper and safe food handling.

The final problem we tend to have as a family is thawing our dinner ahead of time. We have had more than a few ‘fast nights’ simply because we forgot to thaw the meat in time…

One thing this program has done for us is cut down our restaurant visits. We had a HUGE budget for restaurants. We were well into a thoousand dollars a month on food with about half or more of that going to restaurants. Right now, as we try to find the best way to get the food we need for the best price, we’re still up in the near thousand range for groceries. I’m hoping that with some better preparation and more research we can stick to a $500-600/mo budget for food.

Today’s questions:

How do you stick to your budget?
Where do you shop for budget meals and supplies?
Were you a good cook before going Paleo?
If not, how did you cope with prepping your own food and what simple meals did you initially rely on?

Thursday weigh in – 277lbs.

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The first 20 and the next 20.

Today I am officially down 20lbs since starting this. 20lbs in less than a month is pretty impressive. I still have the energy to do this, I’m finding. I’ really sticking to the plan more so than I’ve ever stuck to a plan before. Even when given some serious challenges for foods, I’ve stuck to it. The people I work with are constantly surprised to see how close I stick to the plan. This was evident on Sunday during our breakfast when we all went out and I gave the waiter a hard time about trying to get something that wasn’t “Homefries and toast” with my omelette.

There were a few issues on my move weekend in terms of food though. One day, the movers ate our breakfast before we got there and I had to go find breakfast elsewhere. My boss suggested I just “Eat some cereal” and I told her that I can’t or I’ll get sick. I found this nice little place called Mike and Patty’s a few blocks down that serves organic eggs. I ordered their Bacon and Egg Fancy sandwich without the bagel/muffin. They offered ANOTHER egg in exchange. Yes please. You want to give me ANOTHER egg… because I don’t want the bread? Ok, sucker.

We had PF Changs one night and the only thing that I could even remotely get near was the Beef and Broccoli… but I think it was seasoned or stirred with soy sauce and I was pretty sick to my stomach for a few days. And then yesterday with the Mexican Debacle… I’m starting to look into foods to bring or places to go when I need a paleo meal at work.

Tuesday Weigh in – 277lbs (-20lbs)

Mexican food. A tale of woe

Today was Boloco. Boloco makes burritos and we buy them as such. Unfortunately that means rice and beans mashed right into the burritos and meat. I tore into two to try and extract the meat but ended up throwing both away with nothing to eat. I ended up with a salad with some guacamole and salsa.
It was a sad day for me. I LOVE Mexican food and I love Boloco. With no alternatives I left hungry.
I need to start finding food to bring with me to work. What foods do you like to bring with you? Do you keep an emergency pack of food on you?
I need to start making lean jerky to have on me I think.

The 80 hour work week and DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

I mentioned Tuesday about my 80+hour work week this week. That means work will be providing me breakfast, lunch and dinner for 4 solid days (Thursday through Sunday 12+hours a day). Last time we had weekend work it was nothing but sandwiches, burritos and bagels. I decided to finally let the people in charge of food know that I know have DIETARY REQUIREMENTS. I felt like kind of a douche, but I just simply said “I can’t have grains anymore.” They said they’d handle it as long as I didn’t mind occasionally tearing apart a sandwich. As it’s not a gluten allergy, I figured that’s fine for now.

I’m not looking forward to working 4 12+ hour days in a row. It’s deeply stressing me out. I’m not working out because one of our team is already injured and not participating in this work and if I were to hurt my back or legs, I’d be in deep trouble too. The work consists of moving our offices into a new consolidated space. That equates to moving about 40 desks a day for 4 straight days. So, I HOPE that all this work and lack of eating will get me down into the 270s.

This guy by MONDAY! *grunt*

I’m pretty much scheduled to go in on Thursday and come home on Sunday and stay at a local hotel, which obviously takes me away from my family for the weekend. Luckily, my job doesn’t require this very often of me so for that, I’m appreciative. Here’s to hoping for 4 days of good choices and lots of picking  up heavy things and putting them down.

See everyone on Monday or Tuesday. Don’t forget to check my facebook page for little updates.

Thursday Weigh in – 281lbs

There’s really nothing in Italian food to recover

Tuesday’s food was provided by an Italian place. I knew this one was going to be difficult and it was. The chicken was breaded as was the eggplant. Pasta is out. Salad covered in croutons. So, after picking all the croutons out of my salad and then flicking all the rice off the fish, I had an edible lunch. Italian food seems to be the anti-paleo almost 100% of the time. Pizza, pasta, chicken parm, salads covered in bread and delicious rolls. It’s pretty much the worst thing I’ve dealt with so far. Even after finishing what I had, I was still legitimately hungry. I’m starting to think about carrying some food to work, but I really like to travel very light on my walks.

Fun side note: had a fun embarrassing moment on Monday night. I’ve got a pair of shorts that I JUST bought and are already too big for me. I was going to bring my kid upstairs to sleep and about 2 steps into it, they fell RIGHT off. Gonna need to buy more belts.

Wednesday Weigh In – 282lbs

To post or not to post?

I’m at that point where I’m debating quality over quantity. I take my writing relatively seriously, but I also know that when you start a blog, you need to keep the user roped in for the first few weeks. I’m at that point where I either push something out with little to no thought (like a facebook update… which I also do at facebook.com/primalfatso) or I miss a day, potentially start to lose my audience and then come back harder the next day.

I still want more readers, but not at the sake of a loss of quality posts. The truth is, I’ve not got much to discuss today. I’ve got an 85+hour work week ahead of me and I’m focusing on preparing for that. When I get home, I’m trying to spend as much time with my family before this marathon of work starting on Thursday.

So, please bear with me. I’m going to try to pre-write a bit of material to go out on a schedule but eventually I’m going to fall into the 2-3 posts a week sooner rather than later.

Tuesday weigh in – 283lbs

80/20 OR Cheating… and Zits?

I promised myself I’d stay on track for 30 days… I didn’t quite make it the whole way. Yesterday for father’s day, my family and I went out for frozen yogurt. This new place called Orange Leaf opened up so we bought one (giant) cup of it and shared it between the 3 of us. It was really good. We got all the fruit flavored ones and then added fruit and nut toppings to it. The neat thing about Orange Leaf is that you pay by the ounce and not by the cup size, so we loaded up on real fruit. I didn’t feel terrible after eating it and it was a nice treat. It luckily didn’t ruin my weight loss goals as I ended up down 2lbs since the day before.

I love you, I HATE YOU, I love you, I HATE YOU
Let’s just be friends.

Then there’s the cheese. The primal diet says that you can partake OCCASIONALLY in hard, raw milk cheeses. I’m not 100% sure what I got was raw milk cheese, but it is very hard. It’s the Whole Foods Robusto (which I think is a heavily aged and smoked gouda). It’s not cheap either, but it’s damn good and you only need a tiny cube of it. I think next time I’ll just get the much cheaper Raw Milk Smoked Gouda to compare. I love this cheese though. It’s got a bit of a crunch to it.

Beyond those two cheats I did have a cup of black tea with lemon out of a K-cup… so that’s probably not totally kosher. I’m sure the lemon wasn’t ‘real’.

On the brief topic of Whole Foods and grass fed beef… I find it very hard to find grass fed in even the poshest of butcheries. After coming up empty at the Meat House in Beverly, I went to Whole Foods where I know I would spend a large percentage of my recent paycheck. They ended up having some good, cheap tri-tips that were grass fed and not an arm and a leg. However… I think i set a new high score at that register for me: $224. Motherf… I digress. One other thing I became aware of was ‘grass-fed, grain-finished’. I had never heard of this before and after some simple searching I found this to mean “conventional”. One butchery I called said “Yes, we have grass fed beef that is grain finished.” I was like, “Oh, that’s good, thanks.” Then I started googling. Sure enough that could mean ‘grass fed once’ or it could mean grass fed until brought to slaughter. I’m planning on taking my meat business to North Hollow Farm starting next week. The price per pound is cheap, but it costs a bit to ship. I think once I get it all in order it’ll still be cheaper than getting it at Whole Foods or as my wife (and I think everyone else on the internet) likes to say: WHOLE PAYCHECK *nyuk nyuk nyuk*. Yeah, it’s not cheap…

On to the next thing. Because after discussing food, I know you want to hear about zits. If you don’t… then stop here. If you do, read on:

Monday Weigh in – 280lbs (-17lbs)

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Three week update OR I sure do feel better

So, it’s been about 3 weeks since I started this change. I try to avoid calling it a diet because diet seems so ‘temporary’. I really feel that going forward I could be 100% on this way of eating for the rest of my life without any issues. When the idea of grain comes up, I just try to put it in the same category that I put shellfish: this will KILL me. I try to make it as if it is an allergen. I’ve not eaten shellfish EVER. I’ve successfully avoided it all my life and I think I can put grain in that same category.

Sleep with one eye open? Nah, I’m out straight, thanks.

The changes I’ve felt in this short amount of time are amazing. My energy is consistent throughout the day. Where before I’d have waves of energy followed by droughts, now I’m consistent from rising and when 10pm rolls around, I’m done. I’m sleeping better too. Almost too good. I’ve missed a lot of TV due to passing out on the couch. I wouldn’t call it exhaustion, just ‘immediate sleepytime’. Even when I’ve been waking up at 5am, I’m still ready to go.

My concentration seems to be pretty good too. I could probably take a bit more time to look at it, but I’ve definitely felt a bit more motivated than I have in recent time. I’ve been taking the stairs more, I’ve been doing some fasting here and there when a good food choice is not available. I do need to get back on track with the 21 day challenge though. I still haven’t gone through my Primal WOW. I’m planning on going out to do it at lunch despite still feeling a bit embarrassed about the whole bunny hopping in the Boston Public Garden…

I’m at a bit of a plateau again. I’m starting to doubt the accuracy of my scale when it showed 282lbs… I’ve had this idea of simply calling my scale the WIS or Wildly Inaccurate Scale. Today, the WIS said I weighed 283. So, nearly back to -15, if that was even a true reading in the first place. The WIS really throws me off sometimes though. If I move it a half inch to the right or left after a weigh in, the weight could be +/- 2-3lbs.

I will say, I need to find a way to supercharge my weight loss so that I’m losing at least 3-4lbs a week CONSISTENTLY.

Now, onto challenges and cheats. We had a company party last week. We stuck to the plan pretty well. The one thing we may have overdone was the red wine. Now, the book says you can enjoy a glass of red wine occasionally. What they don’t say is if that glass is the one you pour the wine into or the one that wine comes out of… I may have had the latter. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I demolished a bottle that night in short order. Luckily I cut myself off early enough to sober up 4 hours later. So… while not ‘technically’ a cheat… I’m totally admitting that I cheated on volume. I think we learned our lesson though. Wine hits a bit harder than you expect. I was glad to not have a hangover the next day though.

I had my quiche again today. This time I cut the crusts off on one plate and put the final product on another, reducing the intake of any crumbs. I’d say I avoided 99.9% of them. I cut deep into the quiche this time, discarding some perfectly usable egg and bacon to avoid the grain intake. I think it worked well. The problem is the cheese on it. As I said before, I’m trying to avoid dairy as much as possible with the exception of goat cheese on salads and the baked in cheese on my quiche. I’m going to start looking into bringing my own eggs to work, but we have no stove and I HATE microwave eggs. Also, I don’t think egg-beaters will cut it. I assume there’s some kind of unnatural processing going on there. I’m thinking of making my own quiche at home and bringing it in. Beyond that, I’m trying real hard to stay on plan and I think I’m doing a good job about it right now. I do wish the weight was falling off as well as it did in the first week, but I’ll have to try harder to eat less and workout more. Sounds familiar. Just need to get on it.

Friday weigh in – 283lbs

Rest day for writing

So I don’t blow all my material right away, I’ve decided to give my brain a day off from writing. I’ll probably do this a few times a month before settling into a more steady stream of posts (either two or three times a week). I also had to be into work early and I’ll be home late so there’s really no good time for writing today and I’ve run out of pre-written stuff.

It was not a rest day or a cheat day for paleo though. I had a salad with some turkey and chicken for lunch, a cup of berries and walked up 20 stories of stairs and down 8.

Thursday weigh in – 284lbs

Working out OR What the hell did I do to my legs yesterday?

Oh, my precious Boston Superstars, how do I love thee? Y U MAKE FOOT HURT!?

I’m not much of a runner, though I’m at a point in my life which I actually do enjoy getting up to stride and moving quickly. My problem has always been my running technique. For years, I would run on a treadmill only to develop massive shin splints, heel and knee pain. What I began to realize recently is that running on a treadmill was actually causing me to run poorly.

A few years ago I started developing a nasty case of plantar faciitis. This was directly attributed to wearing loose shoes that I never tied tightly (Adidas Superstars [Shelltoes]) and my new found interest in walking to the train every day. The pain was awful. I was practically hobbled for a few months. Things would eventually loosen up on my walk, but then once getting to the train or work and sitting down made the pain come back two fold. Around that time, a friend of mine pointed me to a sale on Vibram FiveFinger KSOs (which I later found out to be fakes) and I ordered a set. Once I slapped them on and started walking in them, the pain slowly disappeared. I really enjoyed walking in them, and despite being a set of knockoffs (though really exquisite knockoffs) they held up amazing. I was walking miles in them. I also learned how to avoid heel strikes when running and support more of my running weight with my hips, knees and ankles as opposed to just my feet. At that point I started looking into getting a proper set of trainers. I had always been an Adidas fanboy, but their running shoes were a bit gaudy and expensive, so I decided to go try our local boys over at Saucony. I purchased my first set of Sauconys that day after taking them for a bit of a test drive. With my new found gait, they felt amazing. I felt like I could bound along all day, if it weren’t for my poor stamina. I wore those shoes to the bone and went out and bought another set just a few months ago (Saucony Excursion TR4).

I started jogging around the area and here and there and was surprised to not feel all the same pains I used to. Then, I started waking up early to go into work to jog on the treadmill and suddenly, the shin splits started acting up again. Very quickly I noticed that my nice, long strides that I was used to was turning into a near stutter step on the treadmill. I couldn’t find the room on the treadmill to run the way I needed. I need a treadmill that is wider and has better speed control. Very frequently I found myself running to the bars and holding on to keep from over running it… I never felt comfortable with my hands off the bars as I felt like I was going to fall off. It was a strange dance of jogging and balancing and my knees and shins were paying dearly for it. I tried running this way a few times and each time I ended up in the same painful place, but I pushed myself to finish the run anyway. Luckily, the pain subsided quickly and I was able to go about my day. I think I’m going to start running outside more instead or if I’m doing some gym workouts, to use another machine like the elliptical or a stationary bike.

Screw you, pull-up-see-through-muscle man… Those highlighted muscles apparently aren’t part of my anatomy.

Now, I’ve been doing the 21 day challenge as closely as I can manage. We don’t have a pull up bar at home and the pull up bar at work I’m physically incapable of doing more than 5 reps without gassing out (even with 110lbs of assist weight). Instead, I’m doing lat pull downs, which is very similar to the motion of doing a pull up. I started off with 50lbs per arm and I’m doing 25 reps and not dying a horrible death. The 50 sets of squats are no problem… at least while I’m doing them. I woke up the next morning and it felt like someone was whacking my legs with sledgehammers. I pushed through it and went about my day and my workouts. I had to do sprints that day. 10 seconds, full out for 6 reps. I made good distance, but my lung capacity required a bit of cool down time between a pair of sprints. I finished it and didn’t feel destroyed. Pushups are a bit of a problem. I do knee pushups now, but I used to be able to do regular ones. I’ll take what I can get. Then there’s the planking. The simplest thing I’ve ever seen that turns you into an odd trembling mess of goo. I actually like these because when I’m done I just have to fall onto my face and relax.

I’ve been doubling up on some of the exercises in an attempt to catch up to my wife, who started it a few days before me. Right now I’m waiting on the ‘Primal WOW’ event. It’s pouring rain out and this can’t be done in the confines of my gym. It also can’t be 100% completed outside either as the regular world doesn’t have a pull up bar. This is the kind of exercise that must have developed at Muscle Beach in California where people can go for a sprint and then yank themselves up on pull up bars in succession. This well thought out torture consists of 20 pushups, sprint 40-80meters (how the hell do I gauge that?), rest for 30-60 seconds (read: vomit), 1 set of pull ups (damn you), then BUNNY HOP for 20-40 meters (Seriously?), rest for 30-60s (read: take in the laughter of the crowd that just watched a grown ass fat man HOP for 20 meters), 1 set of squats (yeah, I won’t need my legs tomorrow), sprint 40-80 meters (Why, god!?) and then PLANK until you pass out. Then if you’re the master of your domain… get up and sprint 80 meters… and then finish it with 40 meters of hopping. Now, as much fun as I’m having describing this workout, I’m actually looking forward to doing it (Fat, Lazy Subconcious – Who is this man and what did he do with my Cheez Its?). The plan was to do it today, but with the rain inundating my workout area, I may have to pull the excuse card. My indoor gym doesn’t have 40 meters of bunny hop space and I don’t think the downstairs tenants would appreciate what they would interpret as the sounds of jackhammers on their ceiling.

After this Primal WOW is done, the majority of the rest of the workouts are pretty simple, except for Day 15. Can someone tell me what the HELL a backslide arches/Spidermans are? They explain it with words in the book but I’m befuddled. Also, more bunny hopping AND stair running! Yay!

Speaking of stairs, one of the ‘exercises’ we’re supposed to be doing is eschewing the use of the elevator. I’m doing this to a point. My office is on the 20th floor with our offices also taking the 16th and 17th floors. While I’d love to just jump right in and walk up 20 flights of stairs, I think I’d legitimately have a heart attack. So I started off by going to the 8th floor and walking from there. Round about the 16th floor, I felt like I was going to pass out from the heat and dryness in this stairwell, so I detoured into our 16th floor office to get a glass of water and then back up to 20. I had survived. But there was certainly a moment around the 14th that I started thinking “If I die here, no one will find me for like an hour because NO ONE here takes the stairs.” I’m working my way up to doing the 20 story walk though. Maybe next month.

Wednesday weigh in – 284lbs (what the crap…)