Almost two weeks have past since I started following The New Evolution Diet. The month will be over before we know it. Not much different to report so I’ll keep this post short.
I installed the new router and added the new printer to the network yesterday. I’m realizing how ridiculous our technology situation has become. We have seven laptop tops and there are only five of us living here. Add the DVD player that can stream Netflix and Pandora, a Wii, and an XBox 360, five smartphones, and an iPad and it becomes a day long effort to upgrade the network and get everyone set up to use the new printer/scanner.
Breakfast: Two scrambled eggs, three pieces of bacon, and a small bowl of blueberries and strawberries.
Afternoon snack: A pretty good sized apple.
Dinner: Mongolian Beef. Asian cuisine is my favorite. I could eat it every day and not get tired of it. I found this fantastic recipe for Mongolian Beef and with a few modifications was able to make it Paleo friendly.
Dessert: Two squares of dark chocolate.
Ultrathione Health Pack, Omega-3 fish oil.
Hitting the Big Iron.
Normally I prefer body weight exercises. You can do them anywhere. But on day 11, it was time to hit the Olympic weights.
So yesterday I headed down to the basement for a good old fashioned barbell workout. I warmed up with a Grok Hang, followed by a Grok Squat, each lasting 30 seconds. I then did another Grok Hang and Grok Squat for good measure. Next I loaded some weight on to my bench, set the timer for 30 minutes and got started.
Based on some strength training guidelines in The New Evolution Diet, I started with Leg Extensions. I did one set of 15 reps with 95 lbs. I then added 20 lbs. and did another set of 8 reps. I then added another 20 lbs and did one more set of 4 reps. It had been awhile since I had done leg extensions and I wasn’t sure which weight to start with. In retrospect I could have started with a higher weight and went up from there. Still I felt the burn and will increase the weight next time.
Next came Leg Curls. I loaded 80 lbs on the bench and did 15 reps. I then added 20 lbs. and tried for 8 reps. I couldn’t complete a rep with full range of motion after 6 reps. I rested for about 10 seconds and did another 2 reps. Then I added 10 lbs. and cranked out 4 reps.
Moving on, I loaded 70 lbs. on to a 45 lb. barbell and did 15 Bench Presses. I then added 20 lbs. and did 8 more reps. I then added 20 lbs. and did 4 more reps. At this point I should point out the pace of these reps. I focused on raising the weight in about two seconds and lowering the weight in about 5 seconds. This is more challenging than the typical 2/2 cadence so starting with less weight is a good idea.
Next up, The Squat. I unloaded the barbell, repositioned it on the rack, and added two 45 lb. plates. My goal was to make sure I squated past parallel with good form, again with a slow 5 second lowering, followed by a 2 second lift. After doing 15 reps I added 20 lbs. and did another 8 reps. After adding another 20 lbs. I did a last set of 4 reps, again focusing on good form and proper pace.
When I finished I looked at the timer and saw that I had about 5 minutes left. Possibly time to squeeze in three sets of Deadlifts. After adjusting the weights I started with 135 lbs. and did 15 reps. Deadlifts are hard and proper form is important so that you don’t hurt your back. I added 20 lbs. and started my second set. I quickly realized that it was too much, so I took 10 lbs. off and finished my set of 8. At that point the timer went off and I called it quits.
Total workout time, including warm up: 32 minutes
For most of the exercises I can start with a higher weight next time. I may have been over-cautious but I didn’t want to injure myself or be sore the next day.
Lunch: Two hard boiled eggs, some turkey breast, and strawberries and blueberries.
Afternoon snack: Half a tablespoon of coconut butter and two squares of dark chocolate.
Dinner: Fish tacos. Mahi mahi, avocados, jalapenos, red onions and lime juice all mixed together. These are delicious! I did allow myself to eat one with a low carb tortilla, and after everyone else had their fill I ate the rest of the mix from the bowl.
Dessert: A tablespoon of coconut butter and two squares of dark chocolate. OK, I may be going overboard on this, but I finally read the label on the coconut butter and learned that you had to heat it up above 80 degrees to melt it. Below that temperature it is in a solid form.
Ultrathione Health Pack, BCAA (1 tbsp).
My sister, who likes to tweak me now and then about my Primal zeal, sent me a link to an article that sounds like it was written by a publicist for the National Association of Wheat Growers, or maybe someone at Kellog’s.
The title of the article was Carbohydrates: Your Diet’s Fuel, and it was written by Diana Rodriguez, a freelance writer who apparently has experience writing health-related news and feature stories, according to her bio on the EverydayHealth website.In case you aren’t willing to take her words as gospel, the article was “medically reviewed” (whatever that is) by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH. According to her bio she doesn’t seem to have anymore training or specialization in nutrition than Ms. Rodriguez (or myself for that matter).
The subheading to the article states:
Many fad diets give carbohydrates a bad rap, leading you to believe that they’re the cause of unwanted weight gain. But carbs are an essential part of a healthy diet.
So right off the bat they label low-carb diets “fad diets”. Hmm. If you look at the history of dieting over the past 150 years you’ll see that low-fat, calorie restricted diets have been prescribed for about 40 years or so, and didn’t really take off until the 1970s. What we now call low-carb dieting was the typically prescribed way to lose weight, going all the way back to William Banting who published his Letter on Corpulence in 1863. In what became a best seller he described how he successfully lost weight by avoiding sugar, startch, beer, milk and butter, and instead feasting on meat, greens, fruit and dry wine.
Next comes the Appeal to Authority:
Before you feast on chicken and boycott carbs, take a closer look at the U.S. Food Pyramid. Carbohydrates are highlighted as an important part of a healthy diet, and not banned by any means. Your body needs a wide variety of foods to function and stay healthy.
The US first started publishing its Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980 and has been updating them every five years since. Those of you old enough to remember the controversy when the four food groups were replaced with the food pyramid are probably old enough to remember when seeing extremely obese people was a rarity.
The following chart shows the growth in overweight and obesity from the early 1960s to 2004. With the exception of the Overweight, but not obese (20-74 years of age) line, all of the lines start trending upwards fairly dramatically from 1980 onwards.
As I’ve said elsewhere, correlation does not prove causation, but it should give us a starting point on where to start looking for the source of the problem. More importantly, you certainly can’t point to the Food Pyramid (revised a few times since it first came out) as an authoritative source of advice on healthy eating.
But that isn’t the worst of the article. It goes on to quote Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD as saying:
“Carbohydrate is one of the macronutrients that we need, primarily for energy. While fats and protein are also necessary for energy, they’re more of a long-term fuel source, while carbohydrates fulfill the body’s most immediate energy needs. It’s your body’s first source of energy - that’s what it likes to use.”
Well yes, it is your body’s first source of energy and therein lies the problem. The primary reason someone goes on a diet is presumably to lose weight. We are unhappy with the excess adipose tissue in our body. So why would we not want to make that unwanted fat our primary source of fuel? Why would we want to consume carbohydrates only to see our body use them for fuel instead of the fat? Talk about the First Law of Thermodynamics! How are we going to transform that energy trapped in our fat cells if we are primarily burning carbohydrates for fuel?
The other problem with the above statement is that carbohydrates are not a macronutrient that we need. This has been shown time and again. If you don’t eat any fat or protein, eventually (fairly soon) you will die. However your body can survive on zero carbohydrates. Two cultures that not only survived, but thrived on a no carbohydrate diet are the Inuits and the Maasai.
How is this possible? Through a process called gluconeogenesis, the liver is able to convert fat to glucose. This process ONLY takes place if carbohydrates are not present to be converted into fuel. I’ve oversimplified the process a bit in the interest of brevity but if you want a more detailed explanation of how it works, click here.
The article then goes on to explain the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs require more work and take longer for your body to break down. So this is the reason we are encouraged to consume “wholesome” whole grains? If anything it is a good reason to avoid them. By breaking down slowly they give your bloodstream a more consistent level of energy. Oops, the fat is trapped once again because the body doesn’t need it for fuel.
Meyerowitz recommends getting between 50 and 60 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates. Let’s say that you are 48 year old male, who is 6 feet tall, weigh 200 lbs, are sedentary and want to lose 2 lbs a week. According to a calculator I found online (it comes with an ad for Jillian Michaels so you know it must be good!) your daily calorie intake should be 1,276 calories. Yeah right! OK you don’t want to starve, so if you decide to moderately exercise 3-5 days a week you can increase your calorie intake to 1,940 per day. I’ll set aside the eat less, exercise more argument for now but why not exercise 3-5 days a week and consume 1,276 calories? You’ll lose weight in no time right?
Since a gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories, and 970 of the calories you consume (1,940 divided by 2 for 50%) should be from carbs, you need to consume 242.5 grams of carbs per day. If you decide to go with the 60% guideline it looks like this: 1,164 calories from carbs or 291 grams. Since low-carb experts like Atkins and the Eades recommend no more than 100 grams of carbs per day it looks like your body is going to have plenty of carbohydrates for fuel. Unfortunately weight loss is going to be minimal, if it occurs at all, following the article’s recommendations.
The article then lists the best carbohydrate sources for your body:
- Whole grains like barley, bulgur, buckwheat, quinoa, and oats
- Whole-wheat and other whole-grain breads
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans, lentils, and dried peas
- Whole-grain cereals like 100 percent bran
Strangely enough, the article then goes on to say:
At the same time, you should also avoid loading up on complex carbohydrates or making them your primary source of calories. A diet too rich in even complex carbohydrates - or in any food - packs more calories into your body, which eventually leads to weight gain.
Huh? Weren’t we just told to get 50-60 percent of our calories from carbohydrates? Does not the author, or the medical reviewer see the cognitive dissonance in that statement?
It concludes with the words chubby, carb-addicted dieters long to hear:
Complex carbohydrates are good for you, so don’t look at a bowl of hearty whole-wheat pasta or brown rice as a bad thing or a big diet no-no. Instead consider it a source of healthy fuel that your body needs to maintain consistent energy.
Just don’t expect to lose any weight and don’t be surprised if you gain weight following this article’s advice.
Now I want to let you in on a little secret. If you train your body to use fat for fuel it will maintain consistent energy. No need to eat every 2-3 hours to “keep the metabolism stoked”. A lot of people give up on low-carb diets after a few days to a week because they begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms. Carb addiction is real (and not just in your head) and it can take a few days for your body to create the necessary enzymes to adequately switch over to using fat for fuel. During that time you may suffer from low energy levels, headaches, and fuzzy thinking. It’s been referred to as The Low Carb Flu and you can find strategies to deal with it here. You may also experience uncontrollable cravings for carbohydrates. If your brain senses that glucose levels are getting low, it will do anything it can to get you to eat some carbohydrates to get those levels back up to where it wants them. The brain will die pretty quickly without glucose, its only form of fuel. A great way to curb those cravings is to take a tablespoon of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA), which will get converted by the liver into enough (but no more) glucose to satisfy the brain. You can find BCAA in any health food store.
OK, so it was just a poorly written article on some mediocre industry sponsored website. Did it really warrant such a rebuttal? Maybe not but since you can find similar advice all over the Internet and in mainstream newspapers and magazines, and even on TV, it seemed like a good opportunity to refudiate some conventional wisdom and explain why carbs are not necessary.
This doesn’t mean that I advocate a zero carb diet. Carbs are found in delicious foods like fruits and vegetables and variety is the spice of life. They can make eating more enjoyable. But if you are trying to lose weight, or maintain your weight the job will be a lot easier if you limit your carbohydrate intake. Below 100 grams per day is best for weight loss (50 grams or lower for best results), and below 150 grams per day to maintain your weight at its present level.
Day 10 on The New Evolution Diet. In search of Coconut Butter.*
Nothing formal again today. I contemplated a strength training workout but decided to give myself an extra rest day so that I would be ready to hit the big iron on Friday. Kathy and I did spend some time doing some modern foraging. A trip to Sprouts Farmers Market for food and Vitamin Cottage (in search of coconut butter) resulted in a side trip to OfficeMax. I wanted to get a new wireless router because our Belkin sucks. Everyone complains about it dropping out. Well, the router was selected and then we looked at some cordless phone handsets as our Unidens also suck. After making our purchase I remembered my daughter’s request for a color printer for school projects. So over to the printers we went. The next thing I knew I was walking out the door with a router, new phones, and an Epson Stylus NX625. Cha-ching!
Breakfast: Too engrossed in my work to cook breakfast, I threw together a Primal Fuel Double Chocolate shake, using water instead of almond milk. As an aside, it is important to read labels. I try to avoid soy, and foolishly thought that almond milk would just contain almonds and water. Silly me. The Blue Diamond brand includes more than that, in addition to some unpronounceable ingredients it also includes soy lecithin. I’m switching to coconut milk for my shakes.
Lunch: Again I didn’t want to take too much time away from work. I just cut up some turkey breast, had half a ham steak, some blueberries, and a medium size apple.
Dinner: At Sprouts they had rotisserie chickens on sale for $4.99. Kathy was making chicken noodle soup for my daughter (can’t get her to forgo the noodles!) so we picked up two. One for the soup, the other for dinner. I also had a small salad with raw red peppers, kalamata olives, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Bedtime snack: Two small squares of dark chocolate (85% cocoa) and a 1/2 tbsp of coconut butter. Tasted like a Mounds candy bar!
Ultrathione Health Pack, Omega-3 fish oil (3 g), D-Ribose (1 tsp), BCAA (1 tbsp), Melatonin (3 mg).
*Coconut butter. During dinner with Gary Taubes on Wednesday he mentioned that he he mentioned that he had been eating about 1 tbsp of coconut butter before going to bed and that it was helping him sleep through the night. Before taking it he said that we would often wake up at 2-3 am and have trouble falling back to sleep, sometimes taking an hour or more. Well I suffer from the same problem. I’ve tried sleeping pills, melatonin, no artificial light an hour before bedtime, all with little to moderate success. I’m willing to try anything to get a good night’s sleep. It could be a placebo effect but I did sleep better, although I woke up sneezing a couple of times (something that rarely happens). It isn’t a cold (I’m fine today) so I suspect allergies. Hopefully I’m not allergic to coconut butter. It tastes so good!
As I discussed in part 1 of this two part series, Gary Taubes paid a visit to Denver on Tuesday February 9th to promote his new book Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It.
Of course the purpose of an event like this is to pique interest in the subject and get people to buy the book, but Gary is passionate about this topic and wants to educate as many people as possible. He did a good job, in my opinion, of presenting his case in a little under an hour but that didn’t leave time for questions or discussion and there were quite a few attendees (myself included) who wanted both. So while signing books he tried to answer questions and discuss the topic with the remaining audience. Of the approximately 40 attendees (not bad on a frosty eight degrees Fahrenheit night in Denver), about a dozen stayed after getting their book signed to talk with him. Here are some of the questions and topics discussed (Note: this is a paraphrasing of the questions and answers to the best of my recollection):
Q: If grains are bad for us, why can so many Asians eat rice and suffer no ill effects?
A: According to a Chinese researcher Gary mentioned (I didn’t catch his name), a large percentage of the population in China and other Southeast Asian countries are peasants surviving on rations that are barely enough to keep them alive. That is why China is experiencing such a huge migration of people from rural areas to its cities as people look for a better life. It was also mentioned that Type II diabetes is on the rise in China and India. India especially faces a crisis with its large vegetarian population.
Q: A nutritionist (an enlightened one!) said that she was working with clients to develop meal plans that were low-carb, but that she was facing resistance from them because of the stigma attached to the term low-carb (deemed faddish) and doctors opposing low-carb diets as unsafe.
A: A better term might be Paleo and to focus on the whole foods aspect of the diet compared to processed food.
Q: What do you (Gary) think of The China Study?
A: Gary tried to be diplomatic but eventually came out and said that if T. Colin Campbell had been a physicist he would have been exposed as a fraud (ala the Cold Fusion “scientists”) for the shoddy work and cherry picking of the data that he did for his book. He then suggested that people take a look at Denise Minger’s deconstruction of The China Study to see what he meant. But the bottom line is that since it was an observational study it could not prove causality. This was a big point he wanted to get across. Observational studies cannot prove anything. They can show correlations that can be used to develop hypotheses which might then be tested in proper clinical trials. The scientific malpractice is visible right at the top of The China Study’s website: “The science is clear. The results are unmistakable”. Uh, no they’re not.
Q: Have you sent a copy of your book to Michelle Obama? (OK, this was my question)
A: He is working on an open letter to Michelle Obama but he didn’t know when it would be done.
Q: (Another from me) While reading Good Calories Bad Calories I noticed a lot of parallels between the actions of researchers in nutrition with what was taking place in the science of climate change (the Climategate scandal was at its peak at the time I read that book). Have you considered turning your attention to the science of climate change?
A: His next project is an article (and possibly a book) about sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). He did say that he picked up a Michael Crichton book about the science of climate change and while reading it on a plane said to himself “where have I heard this story before?”. Gary later said that unlike the low-fat dietary advice which is actually harmful, he doesn’t see limiting greenhouse gas emissions as a harmful thing. (Note: Gary didn’t mention the name of the book but I believe he was referring to State of Fear.)
And with that the store was closed and the remaining attendees needed to purchase their books before the cash registers shut down. As we were walking out Gary asked if anyone wanted to get something to eat. There were about seven of us remaining and of course we all wanted the chance to continue the conversation with him. Well all of us, except one. Kathy, my wife, being the good sport had come along with me, even though it isn’t a topic that is of as much interest to her.* I bribed her with the promise of a glass of wine (we had already eaten). The restaurant next to the bookstore had a private room with a table for eight. Perfect!
The other attendees consisted of a dentist (researching the sugar industry), two family practice doctors, a software developer interested in low-carb dieting, and, of all things, a vegetarian!
I’m sure we were all interested in what Gary would order for dinner. He practiced what he preached and ordered a steak with seasonal greens, a horseradish crème fraiche and a vodka martini with a twist of lime.
The conversation took many twists and turns. I asked the two doctors present how much nutrition training they had received in medical school. They responded: “none”. Neither felt that was necessarily a bad thing because they would have been taught the conventional wisdom low-fat, low-cholesterol diet mantras. I found their answer enlightening because so many people rely on their doctor’s dietary advice and most of them don’t know anything more about nutrition than the average layperson. The vegetarian told us that he had followed a vegetarian diet for over twenty years and had been diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago. This might come as a surprise to a lot of people who believe that a vegetarian diet can protect you from diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
We talked about grain fed vs. grass fed, Omega-3 vs. Omega-6, Paleo, etc. Gary didn’t seem convinced that these issues were as important as the issue of carbohydrates vs. fat. As he mentioned, studies have shown that eating grass fed beef and limiting Omega-6 intake, avoiding vegetable oils, etc. might add three months to your life, but at the end of your life, not while you are on your honeymoon. So instead of dying at the age of 78 in February you might die in May. Obviously those of us following a Paleo/Primal lifestyle believe that avoiding those products will lead to better health now and have our own anecdotal evidence to convince us but he would like to see more evidence from studies.
One very important topic we discussed was sugar and high fructose corn syrup. As I mentioned he is working on an article for The New York Times Magazine about the impact of sugar and HFCS on our health. He told us about two very prominent cancer researchers that avoid sugar at all cost due to what they’ve discovered about its role in cancer. As for HFCS, it is functionally and metabolically the same as sugar, so the corn growers are right in that regard. But that doesn’t mean its safe, certainly not in large quantities.
After two hours of discussion and debate the evening finally drew to a close. We paid our bills and headed out into the deep freeze. Gary would be heading back home to Berkley on Thursday hopefully to get some much needed rest. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet him and listen to him in person. His goal with the book is to get more people in the medical community to discover what he has learned and start to challenge the conventional wisdom. Progress is being made, but as we’ve seen with the USDA’s latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans (hint: they want us to eat less), there is still a lot of work to do.
*During the car ride home Kathy admitted that she enjoyed the evening and found the discussion interesting. Like me she has seen good results from a low-carb diet and is now reading our signed copy of Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It.
Last night (February 9th) Gary Taubes came to Denver to give a talk about his new book, Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It at The Tattered Cover bookstore. The talk began at 7:30 pm and Gary was surprised to find out he only had 45 minutes to try and convince the audience that everything they had been told about why we get fat is wrong, and then explain the real reason based on his research of the research. The store closed at 9:00 pm and of course they wanted him to sign (and sell) copies of his book. He managed to give a pretty convincing presentation in a little under an hour and then sign books while answering questions.
I liken Why We Get Fat to the Cliff Notes version of his previous book Good Calories Bad Calories. That book was over 500 pages in length and was more academic. While I was fascinated by the book, it took me nearly two months to complete. As he said in his talk last night, it involved five years of research and during that time he assembled the entire library of overweight and obesity research from the past 100+ years. I doubt there is anyone else in the world who has researched this subject as thoroughly as Gary. The bottom line. Nearly all the advice we receive today about health and nutrition is based on poorly conducted science research, indeed if any research was done at all. Much of the advice grew out of hypotheses that were never clinically tested, and much of it was based on epidemiological (observation) studies that cannot prove causation.
Good Calories Bad Calories really provided an insight to the world of nutrition research. While I had been following a low carb, Primal diet for about a year before I started reading the book, and had gotten good results, somewhere in the back of my mind I wondered why the conventional wisdom surrounding nutrition remained solidly focused on low-fat and calorie restriction. Surely the vast majority of experts couldn’t have gotten it so wrong. Gary’s books provide a very convincing argument that they did (and continue to do so).
Many mainstream nutrition experts consider Gary to be a “quack” (even though he isn’t a doctor) and dismiss his arguments without offering rebuttal. But a review of his biography shows that he is an award winning science writer with degrees in scientific and engineering disciplines from Harvard and Stanford. Before turning his focus to the science of nutrition he wrote many critically acclaimed articles and books on the subjects of physics and the fiasco of Cold Fusion. As they say in the investing world “Past performance does not guarantee future results”, and I don’t want to commit the fallacy of Appeal to Authority, but his track record prior to beginning research into the field of nutrition was pretty solid so there’s little reason to doubt his motives or work ethic in the study of this field.
During his talk last night he debunked two of the “in vogue” reasons for the obesity epidemic. The first, that we are a rich society with access to unlimited calories was easily refuted with example after example of impoverished societies (the Pima Indians, Jamaicans, and people living in the slums of Sao Paulo) that suffered high rates of obesity and malnutrition. The most poignant example was of the obese mothers showing up at clinics with their thin, malnourished children. If it really is all about calories then this calls into question everything we think we know about maternal instincts. Are these mothers really starving their children while overeating themselves?
The other theory, that we live in a “toxic environment” of cheeseburgers, soft drinks, and other junk food and minimal physical activity. Taubes debunked that theory with examples of numerous populations that experienced levels of obesity similar to those in the US and Europe. These groups had no prosperity and few, if any, of the ingredients that make up the toxic environment. These poor societies had no labor-saving devices and no shift towards less physically demanding work yet still had high levels of obesity.
So what then is the cause of the obesity crisis? It can be distilled down to one word: Carbohydrates. Over-consumption of carbohydrates, and how our body tries to deal with it (release of insulin, a fat storing hormone) is the elephant in the room that researchers have been trying to ignore for over 40 years. Since he was running out of time he wasn’t able to elaborate beyond giving a few examples of research conducted in Germany, Hungary, and Austria prior to World War II that implicated carbohydrates. Interestingly that could be a key reason carbohydrates role in obesity has been mainly ignored by researchers. As Taubes noted, after World War II, no one was interested in any research coming out of Germany.
Taubes also spoke briefly about the role hormones play in how our bodies store fat and explained that while exercise offers many health benefits, weight loss isn’t one of them. At this point the mostly receptive crowd began showing some dissent. Many people are still convinced that exercise plays a crucial role in weight loss even though there is no clinical evidence to support that belief. Gary’s contention is that exercise makes you hungry (who hasn’t worked up an appetite?) so that you end up eating more when you exercise than when you don’t. Again, he isn’t discouraging exercise, just emphasizing that it is not an effective weight loss tool.
During his talk he also brought up the subject of calories in vs. calories out, or The First Law of Thermodynamics. He related a funny story of being lectured on the laws of thermodynamics (remember he has a degree in Applied Physics from Harvard) by Jillian Michaels, celebrity trainer from The Biggest Loser, on Larry King Live (you can watch part 1 here and part 2 here). He said that he was so taken aback that he was left speechless. Gary says he has never disputed the first law of thermodynamics (he claims it applies everywhere in the universe) but that people who cite it as the reason calories in vs. calories out explains obesity neglect to mention causality. A great analogy he gave that shows the illogic in the argument was that it was like saying Bill Gates is the richest man in the world because he saves more money than he spends. In Good Calories Bad Calories he likens it to saying that people are alcoholics because they over-drink. Neither explanation tells you why.
At that point he had to stop so that the books could be signed. He was gracious enough to try and answer questions and carry on discussions with the people who remained while he signed the books. Even though I already owned a copy of the Kindle version of the book on my iPad, I showed my support by purchasing a signed copy of the hardcover edition.
In part 2 of this column I’ll discuss some of the questions asked by the audience along with his answers. I’ll also talk about what happened after the book signing ended.
A short and sweet entry today. But I’m going to make up for it with a couple of other blog posts. The first will cover Gary Taubes’ presentation at The Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver last night. The second will discuss why carbs are NOT an essential part of a healthy diet.
But back to The New Evolution Diet results of day 9.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. In fact I took a nap during lunch. No shoveling (or snow blowing). Well I did take the dog for a walk in below freezing weather. Fortunately the sun was shining and it didn’t feel that bad, but I was pretty well bundled up. The dog seemed to love it, though she was having trouble finding a place to do her “business” since there is so much snow piled up now.
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (2), half a ham steak, a handful of blueberries, and a cup of tea.
Lunch: Leftover Double-Pork Stuffed Chicken Breasts.
Afternoon snack: A Primal Fuel Double Chocolate Shake.
Dinner: Thai food! Since we had to drive in to Denver to see Gary Taubes presentation we decided to have dinner downtown. Tommy’s Thai Restaurant on Colfax. Unassuming place but the food was great. I had Tom Kha Gai (Chicken coconut soup with galangal, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms and onions) followed by Royal Chicken (roasted curry stir-fried with chicken, onions, bell peppers, carrots, and cashews). The rice was served on the side of the plate and was very easy to avoid. Cashews are to be avoided on the NED, but there weren’t too many and I was able to avoid most of them.
Multivitamin, Omega-3 fish oil (3 g), D-Ribose (2 g), BCAA (6 g). My Ultrathione Health Packs arrived on Wednesday and I’m going to start using them on Thursday. They contain Glutathione, ascorbic acid, and some other vitamins. I’ll stop taking the multivitamin while I’m using these.
Primal Poker anyone?
Week two of The New Evolution Diet started off with an epic workout. Mark Sisson posted a new Workout Of the Week (WOW) on Monday and I just had to try it. Yes I know yesterday I said I would focus more on barbell and dumbbell training this week, but I couldn’t resist this challenge.
How it works:
Take a deck of cards and shuffle them. Assign an exercise to each suit. Here’s what I came up with:
Hearts – Push-Ups
Diamonds – Pull-Ups
Clubs – Kettle Bell Swings
Spades – Plank
Now turn a card over and the value of that card determines how many reps you have to do. For Plank, it determines how many seconds you have to hold plank position (a great abs exercise). This workout can be modified to make it harder or easier. For example I decided to do double the number of push-ups and kettle bell swings. So if I got a 5 of hearts I would do 10 push-ups. For plank, I multiplied the card’s value by 6 to get the number of seconds required. As for pull-ups, I just did face value. Sounds easy right? Well there are 52 cards in a deck and the goal is to complete the workout as quickly as possible.
Oh, and just to make it more interesting, face cards are worth 10, and Aces are worth 12. To increase the difficulty I made a rule that for push-ups, all face cards and the Ace had to be done in decline position. Things were going pretty well until I realized that I was nearly half way through the deck and I hadn’t drawn a Club yet. Then they hit, seven Clubs cards in a row. 3-6-7-A-K-2-Q! Remember I had to do double the card values. Effectively 86 swings using a 40 pound kettle bell. The next card was the Ace of Hearts. Similar things happened with Diamonds. I had the Ace of Diamonds (12 pull-ups) followed by the 2 of Spades (12 seconds of Plank), followed by the King of Diamonds (10 more pull-ups)!
It took me almost an hour to get through the workout, averaging a little over 1 minute per exercise. I took breaks when needed, particularly during the kettle bell swing marathon.
192 Kettle Bell Swings
9 Minutes and 36 seconds of Plank
Breakfast: Nothing (Intermittent Fast)
Lunch: Nothing (Intermittent Fast)
Afternoon snack: Nothing (Intermittent Fast)
Dinner: Pork Tenderloin cooked in the Sous Vide, then pan seared, a romaine lettuce salad with roasted red peppers, olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.1/2 a medium organic Fuji apple with cinnamon and all spice sprinkled on it.
Dessert: Two squares of 85% cocoa organic dark chocolate.
D-Ribose (1 g), BCAA (3 g), Melatonin (3 mg)
Note on Fasting:
I completed my first 24 hour fast. Ironically I didn’t even intend to fast on Tuesday, it just happened. Between the workout, work, and clearing my driveway I found myself looking at 2 pm and realizing I hadn’t eaten anything since 6:30 pm the night before. I decided to see if I could make it another 4 hours. By 5 pm I was starting to feel hunger, but by keeping busy I was able to ignore it. The food tasted delicious!
Monday wrapped up week one of The New Evolution Diet. Here are the results:
Starting weight: 192.6 lbs (87.36 kg)
After week 1: 188.2 lbs (85.37 kg)
Difference: -4.4 lbs (2 kg)
Starting Height: 6’ 1/2” (1.85 m)
Height after Week 1: 6” 1/2” (1.85 m)
(No surprise but I’m glad I didn’t shrink)
Starting Body Mass Index (BMI): 26.1
BMI after week 1: 25.5
Starting Waist Measurement: 34” (86.36 cm)
Waist after Week 1: 33.5” (85.09 cm)
Difference: -.5” (1.27 cm)
Hips: 39” (99.6 cm)
Hips after Week 1: 39” (99.6 cm)
Starting Waist to Hip Ratio: 0.87
Waist to Hip Ratio after Week 1: 0.86
Starting Chest Measurement: 41” (104.14 cm)
Chest Measurement after Week 1: 41” (104.14 cm)
Starting Right Bicep Measurement: 15” (38.1 cm)
Right Bicep Measurement after Week 1: 15” (38.1 cm)
Starting Left Bicep Measurement: 14.75” (37.46 cm)
Left Bicep Measurement after Week 1: 14.75” (37.46 cm)
Starting Right Thigh Measurement: 22” (55.88 cm)
Right Thigh Measurement after Week 1: 22.75” (57.78 cm)
Difference: +.75” (1.90 cm)
Starting Left Thigh Measurement: 21.75” (55.24 cm)
Left Thigh Measurement after Week 1: 22.75” (57.78 cm)
Difference: +1” (2.54 cm)
Fairly decent results. I suspect that some of that was water weight as my waist size didn’t decrease a whole lot. Still 1/2” in a week is not a bad result. I was surprised by the increase in my thigh measurements. Admittedly I had been neglecting the lower body in my workouts in January (all upper body and core exercises) but I wouldn’t expect the squats and lunges, or bicycle sprinting to increase it that much.
As for the diet itself, it wasn’t that difficult to follow. I don’t miss dairy, except for sometimes having cheese would be nice. No cravings though. I also don’t miss grains or cereal. Often I think they are go to foods because they are ready to eat. When you are hungry it is just easy to pour a bowl of cereal, add some milk and eat. With some exceptions, Paleo food usually requires more preparation.
As for the fasting, that has been really easy. I think it would be a lot harder for someone who ate a high carbohydrate diet because you don’t feel full as long with carbs than you do with protein and fat.
BCAA has helped eliminate the few cravings I’ve had for carbs. That one tip was worth the price of the book alone. I think a lot of people trying low carb diets get derailed by the cravings and the energy ebb that sometimes accompanies the start of a low carb diet as your body switches from using carbs for fuel to using fat.
In terms of exercise, this is an area where I think I’ve strayed the most in terms of the guidelines. My workouts have lasted a little longer than recommended, but are far from being marathon sessions. I also prefer body weight exercises like push ups and pull ups. I do have dumbbells, and a weight rack with a bench and a barbell, so I’m going to focus on using those more in week two. Also, the weather has not been cooperative in terms of temperature so I haven’t been walking as much as I would like. The forecast for the rest of this week is good though so I’ll make an effort to get outside more. With all this snow, sprinting is out of the question.
Let’s hope that week two brings as good a result, if not better, as week one.