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Monday
Apr212014

My No-Fat in Coffee Experiment is Over!

I lasted three weeks drinking black coffee (no coconut oil, no MCT oil, no grass-fed butter). My intention was to sustain a full month, but I couldn’t do it!

My little trial was to see if the significant amount of saturated fat I was consuming in my daily coffee was affecting my bodyfat levels. As best I could, I made no other dietary changes these three weeks. Kept my red wine habit going, plenty of protein and vegetables, starch around workouts, etc.

I’m telling you, my taste buds are angry and want the three weeks back. My Peet’s coffee had less flavor, less body. Every cup was flat, and I didn’t enjoy my coffee like I want to.

One long day last weekend I was out of town, at a CrossFit competition, with only Quest and Rx bars to get me through the day. My breakfast was bacon and eggs, so my saturated fat quota began well, but with no meals prepared for the trip, I envisioned a no-fat 12-14 hours ahead of me. I neglected to bring MCT or coconut oil on the drive; blame my early morning start. 

So I fired up the Starbucks app on my iPhone, located coffee on the route and near my destination, and got back into the fat! Remember, Starbucks uses wonderful, grass-fed Kerry Gold Irish butter. Each Grande Americano I drank had two pats of butter added.

Oh, these coffees tasted wonderful. Smooth and creamy, full of flavor - just as I remembered. The saturated fat in my coffee throughout the day helped get me through a long event, and the 2 1/2 hour drive each way.

So just how much saturated fat did I cut out of my life for three weeks? My MCT oil has 14.2 grams of fat in a tablespoon (128 calories). Kerry Gold butter has 100 calories, 12 grams of fat, in a tablespoon. I’d estimate that in my half dozen or so 12-16 oz cups of coffee or Americano each day, I added 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter (at Starbucks it’s only butter; at home it’s butter and MCT oil). 

I’m pretty careful with how much MCT oil I add; the stuff is expensive. In an average day it’s only a tablespoon total; on a weekend it can be a bit more as I’m drinking all my coffee at home.

My average saturated fat consumption in coffee each day turns out to be about 250-300 calories, or 25-30 grams of fat. So over the course of my three weeks I saved 5500-6000 calories, about 575-600 grams of fat. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? 

Based upon casual mirror examination (no selfies!), and a couple of off-hand comments from others in the gym, I may have stripped a little bit of body fat. Performance in the gym didn’t change; during this three weeks I suffered a couple of nagging injuries (elbow, calf, rotator cuff flare-up), so my workouts changed a bit, but not the intensity nor number of workouts. In my view, I’m utilizing the saturated fat in my coffee as fuel, and protection against inflammation.

Keep the fat in coffee! Enjoy life, enjoy coffee

 

@rxbar, @QuestNutrition, @BPambassadors, @bulletproofexec, @Peets_Tweets, @KerryGoldUSA

Friday
Apr042014

Cutting Back on my Bulletproofing

I’m giving up adding butter and oil to my coffee for the month of April. Black coffee only. Nothing else in the cup.

For more than a year I’ve eagerly added grass-fed butter and coconut  / MCT oil to my coffee. Every cup. Daily. Eight to ten cups. When traveling I educate baristas at Starbucks about dropping one or two Kerry Gold butters in each of my Americanos. Some are grossed out, most are interested and ask pertinent questions.

Dave Asprey and others have firmly convinced me Bulletproof Coffee is a wonderful food in my life. I love the taste and texture. Even my beloved Peet’s coffee doesn’t taste as good to me as it used to, without butter and oil.

I train at a CrossFit gym four times weekly. I workout a couple of times weekly at a globo-gym. My food quality is high; my splurges or “cheats” are few and widely separated by days and weeks of proper “competitive CrossFit Paleo.” In other words, I eat tons of meat, vegetables, rice and potatoes. Little fruit, some dairy. Lots of fat from coconut oil, bacon, and butter. Oh, and I drink red wine. A bit, most evenings.

But I’m not as lean as I’d like to be, nor is my bodyfat where I anticipated it would be in the last six months. I wonder if in the big picture, I’m taking in too many calories. Great, healthy, wonderful calories, but too many?

When summer finally arrives in Wisconsin I’ll ramp up my running track intervals, get in some cycling, and generally become even more active in life. I realize this changes the equation a bit, but nonetheless, this month away from butter and oil in my coffee creates an interesting self-experiment. 

I’ll make no other food or drink changes in April. All will stay the same, other than the significant amount of butter and oil I’m no longer dropping into my coffee cup. I’ll be reporting the results.

@jeremykinnick, @daveasprey, @KerrygoldUSA, @Peets_Tweets

 

Saturday
Feb152014

No Longer Paleo (but just what am I?)

Sometime around now is the third anniversary of my eating Paleo. Whatever that means today, back then I was a hardcore Robb Wolf-Paleo-is-the-best-thing-ever guy. No gluten, no wheat, no dairy.

 

My first year eating this way was filled with reading and research, discovery, feeling better, improved energy, losing bodyfat, and deeper immersion into CrossFit. Vegetables became a big player in my daily life; I’m confident in the past three or so years I’ve stir-fried more broccoli, asparagus, kale and many others veggies than in a couple of decades combined before. Bacon re-entered my life, happily.


Over time I added to my knowledge of food and nutrition. I know enough to realize there’s always so much more to learn. Intense exercise on a very regular basis creates special nutritional needs, my body finally told me. Even though I’ve eaten healthily, in a bodybuilding-weight training kind of way for many years, Strict Paleo let me down early in my second year. There just aren’t enough calories, starches and easily-burnable carbs in strict Paleo to support four-five days per week of CrossFit, plus another one or two traditional weight-training workouts. 

Paleo makes all kinds of sense for most people. If nothing else, those on a Paleo diet or leading the Paleo lifestyle eat very little crap, damn little sugar, and no gluten. I’m good with all this, considering putting no poison into my body an easy position.

 

Fat has steadily become a bigger player in my total calories. I’ve been consuming grass-fed butter and MCT oil in my coffee for more than a year now. Lots of it. Eggs to the tune of two or three dozen weekly. My blood lipid levels, total cholesterol and anything else testable is superior. My calcium heart test result score is zero. Nada. 

Heading into year four, I’ve intensely modified my positions. Life and gym experience has sent me a firm message. Perhaps it’s also age and decades of weight-training and sports taking a toll on me. Paleo remains a framework for my food/fuel consumption, but around my workouts you’ll find a great deal of rice and potatoes. Sweet potatoes and yes, white potatoes! Dairy came back into my life a few months ago, with no apparent harm done. Full-fat cottage cheese, aged white cheese, goat and feta. Great protein and fat sources!

High-quality whey protein is important as well. Supplements are critical in the immediate post-workout window, in my opinion. I use Progenex Recovery and Vitargo for that still-in-the-gym shake. My only insulin spike of the day, hopefully, takes place then. Jam that protein into your muscles and accelerate the rebuilding of your muscles and body.

So I’m no longer Paleo, but Paleo has proven to be critical as a template for healthy eating. Maybe I’m Paleo / Zone. I prefer to think of myself as smart, thinking, eating as much real food as possible, and a healthy man. Yes, a Master’s category CrossFit athlete, but healthy and active for real life first.

Sunday
Jul072013

Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes That Respect the Whole Hog by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCurry and Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley 

 

All things Paleo run through these two books like an electrical current. But, and this is significant, Gather and Beyond Bacon don’t extoll the virtues of exclusively consuming Paleo foods. These authors aren’t the Paleo Police. Sumptuous photography abounds in each big hardcover. Yeah, that’s my lead: Gather and Beyond Bacon are all about food porn! Are you as tired as I am of the stream of new cookbooks excited about this new way of eating called Paleo, or all the “new” gluten-free fake foods filling grocery stores?

Now that I’ve established that Beyond Bacon and Gather are beautiful coffee-table books all about honest-to-goodness-real food, what sets them apart from the cascade of Paleo-food-lifestyle titles appearing on a regular basis? 

Beyond Bacon and Gather are the real gen (Hemingway used to say this). Gather’s Hayley Mason and Bill Staley are prominent, top-tier authors and photographers in the world of real food. Their Make It Paleo stands proudly on the A-list bookcase in my dining room as a must-own cookbook, and I’m gleefully shelving Gather next to it. For anyone who thinks gluten and grain-free food preparation is complex, boring or too expensive, Gather shows the road to variety and flavor (incidentally also traveled by improved health). Something important I receive from Gather is knowledge; recipes are clear and easy-to-follow, as expected. But the insets of history and background and clarification, the anecdotes from Hayley and Bill, complete the package for me.

Gather makes clear how easily fresh, real food prepared simply is elegant and nutritious and easy to pull off. All those vegetables attracting your attention at the Farmer’s Market, or in Whole Foods, won’t be as confusing once you have this book in your hands. If you’re at all like me, on occasion you’ve bought vegetables because they looked so cool, then had to research how to make something with them.

Beyond Bacon is old-school in attitude, fortified with photographs and layouts utilizing the best of modern technology. Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, author of the book’s compelling foreward, is probably the best living example of someone successfully straddling technological eras. This is a guy who’s as funny as a stand-up comedian, gives TED talks, and extolls the virtues of moving chickens around each day. (As an aside, I believe Salatin to be one of the smartest guys around the Paleo or slow food scene, even though he’s quite good at pretending not to be. Salatin reminds me of the original years of Mother Earth News when John Shuttleworth published it. Love the attitude and results and lack of bullshit.)

Beyond Bacon isn’t only for bacon lovers. To truly enjoy this book you gotta have gusto for life, for eating, for preparing simple, hearty dishes made with real foods. Frankly, some of the contents don’t ignite my taste buds whatsoever, but lots of them make me hungry. I won’t be trying Liver Gravy anytime soon, but something simple like Mashed Cauliflower appeals. 

This isn’t a cookbook chock full of recipes cleverly interjecting bacon into each dish. Many have no bacon; but the chapters featuring bacon as a component are amazing. You’ll want to put the book down, gather ingredients, and start cooking! Guaranteed. My first attempt will be Apple Ginger Tenderloin, I think. No bacon in this one, but I don’t care. I can taste it just by reading the recipe and gazing at the photo!

Any book with a chapter titled “Fried Lard Goodness” deserves a place of honor in my home! I’m looking forward to digging deeply into Stacy Toth and Matthew McCurry’s Beyond Bacon.

Both titles are published by the amazing Victory Belt Publishing Co. #Paleo #Gather #BeyondBacon #Stuff I Like 

(order via the Amazon shopping box to the right and I'll receive a few pennies on the dollar from Amazon, helping keep this blog running. thank you)

Tuesday
Apr232013

Why Not Stop Feeding Grain to Beef Cows? 

I love Michael Pollan's writing and attitude. Sure, I eat a hell of a lot more bacon and red meat than he does, but I admire his intelligence, writing skills and ability to generate publicity about the environment and real food. I'm looking forward to reading his new book, Cooked.

However, in an excerpt published today at Daily Beast, from an interview with Rachel Khong in Lucky Peach magazine, Pollan says: 

"But meat has a tremendous carbon footprint: beef in particular because it takes so much grain to get a pound of beef. It takes about 15 pounds of grain to get 1 one pound of beef, and that grain takes tremendous amounts of fossil fuel—in the form of fertilizer, pesticide, farm equipment, processing, and transportation. All told, it takes 55 calories of fossil-fuel energy to get one calorie of beef. The average for processed foods is 10 calories of fossil fuel per calorie of food" - Michael Pollan

Why feed grain to beef cows? There's a reason they are made to consume grass! Of course the carbon footprint of a 100% grain-fed cow is immense. Put them out to pasture on real grassland!!

Michael, I like ya, but there is an alternative. It's called grass-fed beef.

#michaelpollan, #paleo, #grassfedbeef

 

 

pphoto of Michael Pollan by Ken Light