Paleo on the Fly

OK, so I’m much more creative in the gym than in the kitchen, but I don’t exactly starve, either.  Most times I don’t plan my meals so much as I throw them together at the last minute; maintaining a strict Paleo household saves me from doing something (eating something) stupid.  I guess my point with these food post is to show that one needen’t be a master chef — or even a decent chef — to thrive in the Paleo world.  That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate finely crafted meals — I love Meesus TTP’s knocked-out creations! — but left to my own devises, I eat pretty damn basic.  It boils down to this: after a long work day, I just don’t have all that much free time, and the free time I do have, I choose to spend on the bike, in the gym, or engaged in Vibram-shod “play”.

Anyway, here we go –

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Got a couple of shots here of a brunch I made of sweet potato, bacon and grass-fed beef sausage.  The other meal you see here carries the sweet potato theme forward by roasting some chicken quarters over a bed of sliced sweet potatoes.  On the side, we have some boiled beets, the greens of which I’ll saute tonight and have along side some pork chops.  The white plate contains a “salad” of apricot, walnuts, crumbled bleu cheese and vinaigrette.

By the way, If you haven’t done so, make sure you check-out Jimmy Moore’s interview with Dr. Robert Lustig of Sugar: the Bitter Truth fame.  It’s a fantastic, informative, and fast-paced nutritional and biochemical romp.  Grab a notebook, check out Jimmy’s show, and come on back in a couple of days to check-out my take on the good doctor’s message.

Re-Thinking the Pre-Game Meal

“I think people don’t place a high enough value on how much they are nurtured by doing whatever it is that totally absorbs them.”

Jean Shinoda Bolen

In case you might have missed it, TTP reader/commenter Dexter had this to say in relation to CNS priming:

“…Could it be that IF is a CNS stimulator? That IF creates an actual threat to the organism? I find that when I exercise at the end of a 36 hr fast, I usually achieve that zone of invincibility…that zone where reps at higher and higher weights come effortlessly…”

Absolutely.  In fact, a Paleo athlete would be much better off going into a competition in the fasted state; 18 to 24 hours fasted, I believe, would be optimal.  Of course, this is just my opinion, and is not substantiated by any evidence whatsoever — outside of my own, that is.  My experiences and results with my own demanding workouts while in a fasted state, are sufficient enough to serve as positive n=1 evidence of this notion’s efficacy.  So much so, in fact, that I’d have no qualms whatsoever in advising a properly adjusted athlete to do the same.  Properly adjusted is key here, though.  The athlete must be fully adapted to the Paleo lifestyle for this method to be effective.  I think we all know what the results would be otherwise.  Bonk city, severe cramping, the shakes/trembles, debilitating weakness, nausea; the list goes on.  Contrast this to the added boost the Paleo athlete would garner from the added CNS stimulation/adrenaline rush, not to mention the added energy available from the body’s not having to deal with digestion issues, and the edge of not having to deal with that “fullness” in the gut.  The team-building ritual should be that of the post-game feast — a nice fatted calf offered up in a “spoils-of-victory” fashion (i.e., the post-hunt feast).  Unfortunately, though, this scenario is a long, long way off.  To wit (from the NAU Football Blog, 10/3/09):

“…The players have their pre-game meal on campus. Today’s menu was rice, stir fry, lasagna, and breadsticks. After this each position will meet and then the game countdown begins…”  (emphasis mine).

I don’t offer this up as a slam against anybody’s program, but simply to illustrate a point.  Eating a pre-game meal of this fashion is the only way possible to survive if an athlete is a sugar burner.  I ate the same manner of pre-game meal myself back in the day(admittedly, this was back in the dark ages).  What I’d love to see, though,  is a few of these kids make the transition to a full-on Paleo lifestyle, and reap all the performance enhancement that comes part-and-parcel with primal eating patterns.  Their success and stellar results from doing so would have the Paleo way spread unabated through the collegiate and professional ranks.  Really, it is just a matter of time before an already successful athlete takes the leap of faith.  That almighty sought-after edge is there to be had; and no anti-doping agency has yet to put the Paleo lifestyle on any banned substance list…yet.

In health,


120 Grams of Sugar? Oh My!

“We are less hurt by the contempt of fools than by the lukewarm approval of men of intelligence.”

Luc de Clapiers de Vanvenargues

So I’m waiting patently in a Raleigh Starbucks last night for the the cute (in a Suicide Girl kind of a way) barista to whip up my tall red-eye and, being the curious, fidgety sort that I am (and from all outward appearances, probably not needing the said red-eye), found myself thumbing through a Starbucks Nutrition By The Cup fact sheet.  Interesting, to say the least; and, well, scary as all hell, too.

Now, I love a good cup of strong-as-black-iron joe as good as the next guy, and, to be perfectly honest, I confess to having done more than my part to keep the Starbucks enterprise afloat during these turbulent financial times — this in no way diminishes the fact, though, that it’s common knowledge within the Paleo community to steer clear of the sweet stuff (in all forms — food and drink) while supporting your favorite corner purveyor of delectable caffeine.   And while most will readily identify sweet foods as being an item to steer clear of, the froo-froo drinks oftentimes escape the same level of scrutiny. Now, I’m a plain and simple red-eye kinda guy myself, so I don’t give these concoctions much more thought than damn, those things have got to pack a pretty hefty carb wallop — until last night, and waiting for the cute barista to work her magic, and my perusing of the Nutrition By The Cup fact sheet.  And what I found was — hot holy-damn, Batman.

And holy hot-damn in more ways than just this egregious example.  Wow, make that bad boy a venti with whipped cream, and you’re hammering down a whopping 120 grams of sugar in one, single pop.  120 grams! Just to write that makes my pancreas quiver with over-exertion.

Now, I don’t consider Starbucks to necessarily be part of the problem of American (and world-wide, really) obesity, but some of the company’s product offerings certainly are a reflection of that underlying problem.  Now maybe that’s a lame distinction, but let’s face it: we can blame these companies all we want for what they offer, but the true, underlying problem here rests solely on society’s shoulders.  Companies more so respond to consumer demand than do they create the same.  At least, that’s the case theoretically, and within an enlightened, educated and engaged society.  And therein lay another (and possibly the more substantial??) part of the problem — a collective, societal apathy towards true, inner health — which translates into lack of education, enlightenment, and engagement.  It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.  And one that’s apparently pretty damn tough for some to break free of.  The pursuit of health, though, is no different than any other worthwhile pursuit; the first step to success is mental — first and foremost, you gotta want it.  Really, really want it.  All else will surely follow.  And I don’t want to slide into a theological discussion here, but I also see this as a spiritual issue; the body being the vessel of the spirit and soul.

What to Eat?  The Essentials —

Sarah, aka Paleo_princess, offered up a question/musing to the “Twitterverse” the other day that got me thinking about how I go about making my own food choices.  What thinking process, or mental template, do I employ so as to make my day-to-day food consumption decisions?  Anyone who’s ever “dieted” (note: the lack of having to “diet” and, therefore, not being consumed by all that the word “diet” insinuates, is the yang to the Paleo Way’s yin of what is actually consumed.  The Paleo Way is a lifestyle more so than a conventional “diet”, and this is the essence behind its success) knows that the war is ultimately lost in the myriad of small, day-to-day skirmishes; that is to say, “diet” meets its death by a thousand bad meal choices.

So here’s my macro-nutrient “hierarchy”, so to speak; my mental template against which I hold all meal choices throughout the day.  And this, truly, is the extent of it:

  1. Meat/organs/eggs, and/or good fats.  In a pinch, raw (if at all possible) nuts
  2. Raw dairy
  3. Veggies/salad and the like.  Occasionally, a small sweet potato
  4. (and a way distant 4 at that) fruit

If #1 or #2 is unavailable, I will not eat.  Simple as that.  Now, am I’m what would be considered “textbook” Paleo?  Absolutely not.  And if consumption of raw dairy gets me booted from Paleo island, so be it.  I tolerate and respond well to raw dairy, and so I include it (albeit sparingly) in my diet.  The thing, folks, is this: in much the same way that genetics are the “guardrails” and not necessarily the “railroad tracks” of one’s ultimate phenotypical expression, there is a fairly wide “zone” of proper human diet.  About the only “universals of avoidance”, that is, things well outside of everyone’s “guardrails”, are simple carbohydrates, grains, legumes, sugar and hydrogenated fats.  I’d say that raw dairy teeters on the rails, and as to which side it ultimately falls is an individual tolerance issue.  And know this, too — there is no biological need for carbohydrates — the body does quite well in the total absence of carbs,via protein and fat (ketone) utilization.  I think of veggies and fruit as taste and texture variety, and little more than that.

In health,


A Couple of Interesting Links

“Ira furor brevis est. Anger is a short madness.”


Carl Lanore, of Super Human Radio, hosted an interesting interview recently with Dr. Antoine Roux of the University of Montreal.  The discussion centered around Dr. Roux’s involvement in a study which identified sugar consumption — or, more specifically, glucose signaling — as a factor in accelerated aging.  It’s an interesting discussion, even if Dr. Roux is difficult to understand at times.  God bless him, though — I can only imagine how an interview with moi, in French, would come off 🙂

And here’s an article from Science Daily covering the same territory.  Yet another reason to lay off the sugar, and refined, packaged foods, in general.

And if simple table sugar muck’s-up your inter-workings like no one’s business, how ’bout the evil that High Fructose Corn Syrup can lay upon you?  We all know to stay the hell away from HFCS, but just in case you need a little more prompting or “reasons why”, check out this T-Nation article by Dr. Lonnie Lowery.

Have a wonderful, safe and very Paleo weekend!

In Health,