Hello there! Happy July. I've barely had a moment to do anything but tweet and follow the latest posts, but I did find this paper from January that I had meant to blog about - I believe Jamie sent it to me, and he did write about it… but it is interesting enough for a second look to be sure. I'll have a blog up on that one tomorrow.
Before that, though, I'd like to point your compasses to a couple of things. First off, Chris Armstrong of The Celiac Handbook approached me after reading my Wheat and Schizophrenia post over at Psychology Today. Turns out that Chris himself basically follows a primal/paleo lifestyle, and he developed the website Primal Docs in order to create a resource for people to find physicians (typically MDs or DOs) who would support and understand that lifestyle. You'll notice I'm one of the doctors over there, along with John Biffra and a growing group of very healthy-looking folks! I have to say it does disturb me that so many doctors seem to be struggling with metabolic syndrome these days. If doctors can't keep themselves healthy with all that supposed discipline and knowledge, how is it that everyone else can? And sure, doctors are only human, and perhaps it is good for a doctor to be a patient every now and again, but on the other hand, I wouldn't go to a mechanic whose car is always broken down.
Secondly, beginning yesterday I started a stricter little stint of paleo eating called the Whole30. The plan was designed by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig of Whole9Life, and in full disclosure they did send me a complimentary copy of their handbook, though they did not ask me to follow the program or mention them on my blog. The Whole30 is a bit different than my typical routine because there is to be no cheating, no added sugars, no sugarfree gum, no sugar substitutes (which I don't use except for the occasional Diet Coke. I know. I know. I'm addicted. I can stop drinking it for long periods, but I still crave it for some reason, and I would actually drink regular Coke instead, except that it is so sweet I can't stand it… so...) no alcohol, no white rice or white potatoes, and no dairy of any kind.
In my ordinary day-to-day eating I don't consider wine or dark chocolate a "cheat," white potatoes and white rice I consider perfectly fine though a bit less nutrient dense calorie per calorie than other foods, and I will regularly partake of some high-fat dairy (maybe some yogurt or heavy cream once a week, cheese once or twice a week, and pasture butter on a near daily basis). Also, every once in a while I will cook some things with raw honey or real maple syrup and I don't give it a second thought. Once a month I have some honey in my tea, even. Otherwise, I'll eat just about anything (such as a couple of slices of pizza, ice cream, bbq ribs from a restaurant, a miniature snickers bar from my daughters' halloween stash, mexican food complete with refried beans and a *few* corn chips, some restaurant french fries, even a cookie) maybe once every couple of weeks. What Mark Sisson would consider the "20%" I suppose, though it wouldn't equal nearly 20% of my diet if you don't count the white rice and potatoes or dark chocolate - I've had Mexican food probably twice this year so far, BBQ ribs twice, pizza (my most common cheat) once a month - you get the idea.
And in the past, maintaining my normal weight was a constant battle of exercising and accounting for macronutrients and scarfing down low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese… any night out at a restaurant or extra ice cream or whatever would have to be meticulously made up for, or my weight would creep up. Ever since switching to the paleo lifestyle (including IF), as long as I stick to it the majority of the time, I've been able to eat whatever I want (every now and again), decrease the amount of time spent exercising, and my weight doesn't budge. Which is nice. It takes all the worry out of eating, and some of the naughtiness out of cheating. I don't cheat because I'm craving (except the Diet Coke, which is the only cheat I'm ashamed of…), I cheat because Mexican Food can taste good, especially if you don't eat it all the time.
The first three months of paleo I was very strict with my plan, which was also dairy-free, alcohol free, and entirely gluten-free. While doing that plan, I stumbled upon the Primal Blueprint and what then was PaNu and Whole Health Source and did a lot more of my own investigating, which led me to my blog, of course, and eventually reading Perfect Health Diet. Thus developed my day to day eating, which is sort of a cross between PB and PHD, and right now I only supplement with a multimineral in the morning and magnesium at night.
I haven't been super-strict since July of last year, which is also when I stopped losing weight, I think. So in combination with CrossFit I wanted to see if I could get a bit leaner, and the support of the Whole30 twitter crowd seemed like a good way to do it. I feel good for the most part - maybe I will even feel better. Who knows. And while I don't think a tiny bit of casein in pasture butter or a tiny bit of honey in my tea or a glass of wine or white rice and white potatoes are major problems, the idea of the Whole30 is to banish any sugar cravings (which I don't think I have - unless that is part of the Diet Coke monster - though it is not just the aspartame, as I don't crave Diet Pepsi or those weird diet iced teas and Diet Dr. Pepper I gave up years and years ago because gives me a sugar crash, weirdly enough - it's just Diet Coke. Very strange. What do they put in that stuff?), and to have your diet consist entirely of very nutrient-dense foods. While moderate alcohol and white potatoes and white rice are fairly innocuous, they do reduce the nutrient density of the day.
Right now I'm in the middle of Day 2, and have a bunch of veggies and high quality protein at the ready, and will be substituting sweet potatoes and squash and probably a second daily serving of fruit for the white potatoes and rice, and coconut oil and olive oil for my usual butter. I'm not gonna lie - because I don't want to cook two separate meals all the time, and I like to get K2 into the kids, I'll be using pasture ghee from time to time, and I'm going to consider that Whole30 compliant too. This bit is a little deviation from Dallas and Melissa's advice - It's just 30 days, just do what we say and don't tweak. But I'm fairly certain that will be my only deviation. A lovely chilled glass of pinot grigio (and the fizz from the Diet Coke, I suppose) has been replaced with San Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water and lime. It's inexpensive, has some minerals, and I always feel very sophisticated drinking it.
I do have a vacation planned in a few weeks - and that will be the hardest week of the Whole30, I'm sure. Well, we will see how it goes!