Paleo Update: One Month In

by Frost on February 2, 2011

A paradox of eating healthier is that you quickly become more susceptible to the ill effects of eating garbage. I learned this lesson over the past couple of days.

I joined some friends at a ski resort for the weekend. I spent 48 hours pumping beer, waffles, sandwiches, and pasta into my gut, while sleeping ~4-5 hours a night and skiing hard all day.

Most “normal” people would go through a weekend like that and feel crappy on Monday. Their bodies are used to gluten, lectins, insulin spikes, and the entire slate of metabolic syndrome symptoms.

But my body has grown accustomed to meat, animal fats and vegetables. It accepts no substitutes. So while I felt fine throughout the week, Sunday night found me a weak, tired, shivering mess. Monday morning, I had no energy, couldn’t concentrate, and could barely keep food down. Yesterday I was still a bit off, and only today do I feel human again.

Unfortunately, this is the routine that I’ve adopted: Eat well and exercise all week, then slack off for the weekend. Obviously I need to change this.

Overall though, I consider the past month a success. I’ve lived and eaten healthier than 95% of the people I pass on the street, learned a shit-ton about health and nutrition, and I feel stronger, leaner, faster, and more energetic than I did before. I’ve also proselytized the Paleo lifestyle semi-successfully to a few important people in my life, and that feels good.

Going forward, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, but kick it up a notch:

– Stop weekend lapses in self-control
– Switch to grass-fed beef
– More yoga, heavier lifting
– Better sleep
– Less boozing

I’m also going to be conducting a few experiments:

– Naturally increasing my testosterone levels
– Avoiding unnatural light after 8pm
– Tanning to stimulate vitamin D production (and to stay FRESH)

So stay tuned for the results.

*

In case you’re a new reader, here is a primer on what I’m doing. If you want to learn more about Paleo eating and alternative health, start with Panu, Mark’s Daily Apple, and Gary Taubes.

If you’re bored as shit right now because you don’t care about health and just want to read about Game and Men’s Rights issues, check out this post by Assanova on the role of testosterone in creating “naturals” and read OneSTDV’s great series on vegetarianism as a form of anti-masculinity here, here and here.

Comments, questions and advice are all encouraged, especially if you have personal experiences to share.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

CEM February 7, 2011 at 8:35 am

My diet, when at home: Lots of salads. Eggs, meat, tuna. Snacking: nuts, strawberries. Some fruit.

When eating out: Fish or meat, with sides of salads or greens. If with friends and have fast food I just grab the parts I want, like the patty and not the bun. Or some of the topping off a pizza. Works for me. I feel a lot less hungry these days, too.

Also: Sushi without the rice. Steak tartare. Carpaccio.

I can honestly say that I am Paleo because of your posts on this, Frost. Feeling a lot better, too, because of it.
Oh, and yes, we do out drinking (quite a bit) on average three nights a week. That is my only cheat from the paleo diet. So your post of booze couldn’t have come at a better time!

Exercise is somewhat limited as of yet (daily walks, daily intercourse). Would playing wii count? Or dancing at the club?

finndistan February 7, 2011 at 4:18 am

Been following the paleo for two years now.

Got no problem with weight, no problem with sickness, and feel 10 years younger, oh and could carry a flag on my dick in the stormy weather given I am aroused by a young nubile woman. Sorry, 30 year olds do not do it for this caveman.

Weekends are also my problem, especially in winter. Given the Godforsaken darkness and the heavy alcohol culture in the north it takes a lot of will power to keep away from boozing yourself into oblivion.

Eating clean all the time, sometimes I end up in some friends’ dinner party and eat what is offered. without fail, the next day I either crap my insides out, or feel like I was hit by a Volvo truck.

What helps is a nice overdose of vitamin D, especially in case of being hit by a truck, and nowadays I am experimenting with Apple Cider Vinegar, one table spoon in a glass of water, upon waking. Have found that this eases the side effects.

About the weekend thing. Knowing you perform better when not drunk helps stop the binging, but also what helps is going clear. gin soda, votka soda, even tequila soda. No shots, no cocktails, no mixers, no beer, no sparkling wine.

Red wine is also good, gives you a nice buzz, you can drink it even if it warms up to a piss, and if you do not mix, the next day passes easy.

What I also find interesting is the pronounced effect of the crappy food that people eat day in day out without showing apparent symptoms, except catching flu every flu season, and catching flu in every other season that is not the flu season.

Oh, and another good way to reset the body is a day of fast. Lot of water, no food. Let the body heal and enjoy a good steak at the breaking of the fast.

Frost February 6, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Thanks for the comments, fellow cave people.

Keoni (Dave?), I envy your willpower. I usually need at least one full day per week to let go, both for reasons of sanity and food availability. The longer I go however, the greater the difference I feel after eating a big neolithic meal or two, so maybe it will get easier…

Albert, I’m a big proponent of IF. I guess I haven’t mentioned it yet. Frequently, my weekly schedule is to eat close to perfectly Monday to Thursday, fast from Thurs. night until 5pm, then binge until Saturday PM. Or, Sunday PM if I go out drinking,= or if I’m at the ski hill.

Joseph, I find the desire to cheat has been decreasing rapidly since I’ve gone paleo. Tonight, I ate a hamburger bun and felt sick for 15 minutes after. Not much desire to repeat the experience.

CEM, really glad that I’ve helped you out. What’s your diet/exercise routine like?

CEM February 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Keep blogging on this, please. I had heard about Paleo before I read about it. I even considered the diet for myself for a while, but never got around to actually starting it.

However, then you started blogging on your own start with Paleo. I finally I could relate to it in a personal way. This was when I got serious and began it for myself, too.

I am already fitter and feeling better. All because of you pushing me in the right direction with your posts. I will keep it up and hope that you will, too.

Joseph Dantes February 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

You’re right. Hypersensitivity. Chasing the dragon.

You. Must. Not. Cheat.

It’s a lesson we all learn… the hard way.

Albert February 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

perhaps there are two other factors here that many paleo’s dont think about

1.) vegetables contain salicylates and most paleos will increase their vegetable consumption greatly compared to their previous diet. Now while vegetables have their good properties if someone is salicylate sensitive this can be problematic.

2.) Not enough carbohydrates. While most everyone will benefit from a controlled carbohydrate intake not all do well on Very Low Carb, many can have digestive trouble on VLC. of course paleo diets are Not VLC per se (but rather covers a spectrum from eskimo’s to Kitawans) but many do automatically presume that just because a lowered carb intake makes them feel batter a zero carb intake must be even more so. I myself did this mistake when starting paleo eating but i am convinced that VLC is not necessarily good for everyone.

Read about Zero carb dangers av http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?cat=105

Nowadays I am even more resistant to the ocassional crap food binges and by my n=1 experience i attribute this to two changes i have made in my diet
a.) Increasing my intake of starchy carbs to the range 0f 50-150 carbs a day, depending on excercise levels, with the ocassional zero carb day thrown in
b.) IF (Intermittent fasting)

Especially IF seems to have given my liver a much better capacity to handle the ocassional alcohol binge, meanwhile eating sweet/white potato or other sources of starch seems to have made my digestion more stable.

Keoni Galt February 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

This is why I really like Mark Sisson’s 80/20 principle, and why I have my own variation of it. While mark preaches 80% of the time, the 20% won’t derail your progress, I take it a step further and when I do indulge in my 20%, I make sure it’s only about 20% of my total meal. There are times where you almost have no choice, since the only available foods are neo-lithing grain-based crap. Than you either have to starve or do the best you can. That’s when I use the 80/20 principle for portions. For example, if I have some spaghetti and meatballs, I’ll eat all the meatballs and only enough spaghetti to get the majority of the meat sauce. The rest of the pasta, I just toss. Another way might be to eat the toppings off of the pizza and ditching the crust.

Where I you, I would have probably indulged a bit on some of the “non-paleo” foods, but still focused on the protiens/fats/veggies. Maybe one waffle while focusing more on the breakfast meat, etc. When I do indulge like this, I find the bad effects to be minimal…if even noticeable.

I too find that a major carb binge will leave me feeling run down and lethargic…but eating a small portion of it – 20% compared to the 80% of the paleo foods seems to be a good compromise.

On the other hand – I find that having a weekend like yours is also a good reminder as to why you started following the paleo diet in the first place, and gives you a new, stronger resolve to stick to it in the future, no?

jules February 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

God you’re totally right, i find myself in the same situation scarfing pizza and pasta on the weekends. I do find the whole grass-fed, wholly organic thing too much though that may be a result of my north indian upbringing.

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