Way Overdue: Paleo Catsup Edition

Last time, I told you I’d be flying blind. After two weeks of camping and traveling and flying by the seat of my pants, I can confirm what that gets… wrecked.

Check out the logs below. Maybe they sound decent from a paleo perspective, but dietarily I’ve been a wreck. Way too many calories to actually lean out. Poor adherence the “no fruit and nuts” goal, which is basically “cheating” in this scheme and results in high counts and a bad track record on the “less than 50g carb daily” goal.

All of it results in me not sliding around too much on the “weight”, but certainly not gaining incredible benefits on this diet plan. Which is unsurprising. A True Believer in Paleo would tell you I’m not getting benefits because I’m not doinitrite, and I’d have to concede that they’re right.

So what to do about it? Learn. I’m getting these numbers for the first time just now – same time you’re seeing them, basically – as I tabulate from the menu logs I’ve been keeping for the past two weeks. I’m seeing patterns and weak points, learning where the plan breaks down, and learning to avoid those danger spots. Stories are embedded below, in the day-to-day recaps.

One of my main takeaways though is noticing that I eat better when it’s planned out. When I was camping and had packed a cooler with all my food, I ate great and I got leaner. When I came back and was foraging in my house and at work, that’s when stuff went off the rails.

Another evident theme: not going to bed makes for bad dietary adherence, too. I eat to stay awake, and that’s a terrible trade – something I don’t need (more calories) exchanged for something I do (more sleep)? Bad trade.

The next two weeks don’t get any easier. After a camping trip the previous weekend, a big wedding (and Pride Boston) this weekend, I’m traveling the next 2 weekends for family weddings in Iowa and Maryland… followed by another 4-5 days in the woods, this time in Vermont, before heading out to LA. The next weekend I get in Massachusetts looks like July 23, with a chance that I might be in town on July 11. Wow, summer is packed already!

Fortunately, this experiment only runs til June 29. Unfortunately, due to poor adherence these past two weeks I may just decide to extend it in pursuit of rigor and purity…

6/2/10, Wednesday

Pepperoni (280/2/24/12)
Sashimi, 2.5oz (70/0/1/15)
Almonds (185/2/16/6)
Steak, 8oz (400/0/18/60)
Asparagus and Broccoli: (90/6/0/9)
Extra Lean Ham cold cuts (360/6/9/48)
Steak, 8oz (400/0/18/60)
Packed Ham cold cuts (125/0/4/27)
Totals: 1910 cals, 16g carb, 90g fat, 237g protein.

– another day at the office. Yes, one serving of almonds – there’s that “midday cheat” sneaking up on me. Gotta stay vigilant… Note my heavy use of packaged cold cuts: they’re easy to keep on hand and snack on anytime I get hungry. If I keep them around, they’re MUCH better for me than reaching for nuts or any other snack.

Thursday, 6/3/10

Steak, 8oz (400/0/18/60) (Yes, NY Strip sirloin for breakfast. Oh, yes.)
Grilled Chicken Breast, 12oz (560/0/12/108)
“GoRaw” Vegan Chips (130/11/7/4)
Steak, 8oz (400/0/18/60)
Mixed Steamed Veggies (90/6/4/4)
Totals: 1580 cals, 17g carb, 59g fat, 236g protein.

– Long day today, on the road a lot and running around getting ready for my camping trip. Didn’t get around to eating very much… but I ended up with a well-stocked cooler for the trip at least!

As for the “GoRaw” Vegan chips – they’re still paleo, and pretty close to my “meats and veggies” plan, but very processed. I mostly ate a handful as a curiosity. Consider my curiosity satisfied: they had an odd sweetness that I eventually identified as carbs. Ha. Not a great flavor or texture, but if you’re dying for something crispy-ish you could do worse than try these.

Friday, 6/4/10

4 eggs (400/2/30/26)
Ham cold cuts (210/0/2/45)
1/2# Shrimp (175/0/0/43)
Turkey cold cuts (210/0/2/45)
Salad – mixed greens (20/1/0/2)
NY Strip, 16 oz (800/0/36/120)
Salad – mixed greens w/Vinegar (20/1/0/2)
Totals: 1835 cals, 4g carb, 70g fat, 283g protein.

– First full day of camping. I’ve got a cooler and a griddle and a grill. Salad is courtesy the kitchen, everything else comes out of my case. Oh, and by the way, it’s very satisfying to know I’m going to eat my way through 4 1-pound NY Strips this week: each one is well over an inch thick. Nice cuts. Thanks, Costco!

Saturday, 6/5/10

2 eggs (200/1/15/13)
sausage patty (230/1/22/7)
8oz chicken (370/0/8/72)
8oz beef strips (500/0/22/75)
salad (20/1/0/2)
8oz shrimp (175/0/0/43)
16 oz NY Strip (800/0/36/120)
1 larabar (180/19/10/4)
1 shot whiskey (95/0/0/0)
1 glass red wine (125/0/0/0)
Totals: 2695 cals, 22g carb, 113g fat, 336g protein.

– long day of camping and teaching and classes. Late night. Not enough sleep. This recipe generally equals more calories than is good for me, just to keep me alert and moving.

Sunday, 6/6/10

small lettuce head (20/1/0/2)
4 eggs (400/2/30/26)
4 strips bacon (160/0/14/8)
4 pcs canadian bacon (140/2/5/19)
8oz shrimp (175/0/0/43)
salad (20/1/0/2)
16 oz NY Strip (800/0/36/120)
salad (20/1/0/2)
2 larabars (360/38/20/8)
2 glasses red wine (250/0/0/0)
2 shots whiskey (190/0/0/0)
Totals: 2535 cals, 45g carb, 105g fat, 230g protein.

– So this was a really long day. again, Staying up late means eating more to keep me up and alert. This is a choice I make instead of going to bed when my body tells me to.

Also, by this point in the weekend everyone knows that I’m the man with the shrimp and the massive steaks. This is mildly envy-producing.

Monday, 6/7/10

4 eggs (400/2/30/26)
turkey cold cuts (210/0/2/45)
10 oz NY Strip (500/0/23/75)
broccoli (75/6/0/9)
10 oz NY Strip (500/0/23/75)
broccoli (75/6/0/9) (Yes, I ate this twice in a day. Hungry.)
cheat alert
bag almonds (185/2/16/6)
bag pistachios (340/12/26/12)
bag trail mix (700/70/39/18)
fruit cup (50/10/0/0)
2 Clif-C Bars (260/38/8/4)
Totals: 3295 cals. 146g carbs (ow), 167g fat, 279g protein

– What happened here? This is that cheat day I talked about. Huge calories, a lot of carbs. Still paleo, but technically a “cheat” given my current regime/plan/commitment.

I didn’t feel too bad about it… which, as it turns out, led to some continued slippage. See the next day, for example.

Tuesday, 6/8/10

8oz Shrimp (175/0/0/43)
cheat alert
Almond Butter, 6 servings. (1200/12/96/42)
Cobb Salad (480/3/29/43)
4oz Ostrich (130/0/3/28)
12 oz Sirloin (600/0/30/90)
Salad (20/1/0/2)
Totals: 2605 cals. 16g carbs, 161g fat, 248g protein

– On Tuesday, still in the aftermath/recovery from camping… and holy cow did I cheat hard. Absentmindedly chewed through a third of a jar of Almond Butter. That’s just NOT good – not mindful eating, at the very least. Not aligned with my intentions, either. Poor choice, given what I state as my goal.

I’ll write a bit more another time about the panic reaction that I go through when I realize (after the fact) that I’ve made some pretty poorly-aligned and less-than-conscious choices. It’s not pretty. And, I’m getting better every time at reducing future occurances, and better handling those times when I slip.

Unsurprisingly, it’s all about the love.

Wednesday, 6/9/10

24oz shrimp. Yes, 1.5#. (525/0/0/129)
shrimp omelette (200/0/0/47)
almond butter (600/6/48/21)
10oz NY Strip Sirloin (500/0/14/75)
Broccoli (75/6/0/9)
spinach (20/1/0/0)
Turkey (600/0/5/140)
mushrooms (20/3/0/2)
Totals: 2540 cals. 16g carbs, 67g fat, 423g protein

– Wednesday wasn’t a very creative day. In an attempt to crank back down on the nuts/seeds, I simplified. Just kept going back to the bag of shrimp over and over every time I got hungry. It works, kinda – though I did smash another pile of almond butter at two points throughout the day.

I rationalized this by saying I was “scaling back”, but that’s horseshit. The fact is I love almonds and I haven’t been eating enough salt to satisfy my body’s cravings. So, it’s time to eat more salt/potassium, take my multivitamins, and quit eating food when all I want is something salty.

Thursday, 6/10/10

2 chicken sausages (140/0/5/22)
10oz NY Strip Sirloin (500/0/23/75)
6oz Steak (300/0/15/45)
Salad (40/2/0/4)
applesauce (60/13/0/0)
Grapes (120/32/0/2)
12 oz lean burgers (600/0/26/90)
Totals: 1760 cals. 47g carbs, 69g fat, 238g protein

– Pre-cooked Chicken Sausage is the new protein bar. Finally, I’m off the almonds. Unfortunately, I’m back on the fruit. Damn you Costco and your affordable bulk produce. On the other hand, I now have a giant pack of filet mignons with my name on them. Om nom nom…

Friday, 6/11/10

Pistachios (170/6/13/6)
Ham Package (525/0/21/94)
Salad (20/1/0/2)
Steak 12 oz (600/0/30/90)
Salad (20/1/0/2)
Blueberries (160/32/0/2)
Grapes (120/32/0/2)
Ham cold cuts (210/0/2/45)
Totals: 1825 cals, 72g carb (ouch), 66g fat, 243g protein.

Saturday, 6/12/10

Egg white omelette (100/2/0/20)
Shrimp (400/0/6/84)
Sauce (35/9/0/0)
12 oz steak (600/0/27/90)
Broccoli (75/6/0/9)
Macadamia Nuts (600/3/64/7)
Chicken Tandoor (450/0/30/45)
Chicken Saag (600/15/26/57)
Scotch (95/0/0/0)
Totals: 2955 cals, 35g carb, 153g fat, 312g protein.

– This was a day on the run. Eggs first thing in the morning, then shrimp at the gym after invasion. Eric P gave me shit about the sauce – which has honey and molasses – but it’s still under my carb targets. After the Pride Parade, back home for a quick sirloin and broccoli, then a wedding rehearsal dinner where I made the best of Indian food. Only major problem: Those Damn Nuts, in this case a bag of macadamias that was floating around the wedding rehearsal. Sigh. I gotta knock that off if I want to get leaner.

Sunday, 6/13/10

Egg white omelette 100/2/0/20
Ham pack (500/0/10/90)
Shrimp (300/0/5/63)
Sauce (35/9/0/0)
12oz lean burgers (600/0/26/90)
3 glasses red wine (360/0/0/0)
Larabar mini (90/9/5/2)
Clif-C Bar (130/19/4/2)
Salad (60/3/0/6)
pistachios (340/12/26/12)
beef jerky (180/6/7/24)
coco-water (120/30/0/0)
blueberries (160/32/0/2)
almonds (185/2/16/6)
ham steak (180/4/4/30)
Totals: 3340 cals, 128g carb (wha!?!?), 128g fat, 347g protein.

– This was a day so long it almost needs two days of description. Best Wedding Ever, for my friends Roger and Ellen. I was a groomsman, so I was there early and stayed late to clean up. Sadly, no food served (just hors d’oeurves and salad) so that meant I chugged along on what energy I could bring and stash in the green-room. Many performances (and too many carbs) later, a late night snack of almonds kept me up for the final stretch.

Could I have done without? Sure, if I had left and gone to bed. But once again, these are the choices we make – and I’m willing to give up a few days progress for this celebration.

Now, back to buckling down.

Monday, 6/14/10

8 oz lean burgers (400/0/18/60)
12 oz grilled chicken (560/0/12/108)
salad (20/1/0/2)
ham pack (500/0/10/90)
Can of Crabmeat (100/1/1/22)
almonds (185/2/16/6)
blueberries (160/32/0/2)
shrimp (400/0/6/84)
sauce (35/8/0/0)
2 Mahi-Mahi burgers (240/0/10/36)
salad (20/1/0/2)
Totals: 2620 cals, 45g carb, 73g fat, 412g protein.

– Better, but not good enough. The last of the fruit is now out of the house, and the almonds… well, I just gotta say “no”. Hard, but not impossible.

On the upside, I tried some Mahi Mahi burgers I found in the frozen case at Whole Foods markets…. and DAMN, they’re good. Pan fried, straight from the freezer – and I used some fish oil in the pan to keep them from sticking. Holy cow, that’s some tasty food. I can see myself eating a LOT of these in the near future. They’ve got some traces of non-paleo ingredients (tapioca dextrin in “Grill Flavor”, a bit of potato extract) but none of the big bad stuff (gluten/dairy/soy).

Tuesday, 6/15/10

Smoked Salmon (200/4/8/26)
Ham steak (350/10/7/60)
2 Mahi Mahi Burgers (240/0/10/36)
16oz shrimp (350/0/0/86)
sauce (35/8/0/0)
16 oz filet mignon (800/0/36/120)
salad (20/1/0/2)
8oz mexico bay scallops (sauteed in fish oil) (200/4/0/34)
Totals: 2195 cals, 27g carb, 61g fat, 364g protein.

– Spartan. I’m back on the wagon. See you again soon – sooner than two weeks, at least.

6 thoughts on “Way Overdue: Paleo Catsup Edition”

  1. Post 3-strength-cycle with unrestricted calories, paleo-ish results note coming soon. I’m happy with the results.

    I’m curious what your workout regimen is and what your primary fitness goals are. The programming might be able to use a little tweaking as well. Mine’s pretty easy- bigger, stronger, faster 🙂

  2. Christina Nikitopoulos

    Hey JT,
    I think some fruits & veggies should be incorporated back in. I know they have carbs, but they have health benefits too. And, might be a great alternative for some other things that you are trying to avoid.

    Here’s a link from the Harvard School of Public Health on eating processed meats. I’m not saying to cut them out, but, it’s just something to think about. I know it’s so easy to have them on hand.

    I love those Costco steaks too! Fabulous!
    Have a good weekend.

  3. Hey JT,

    Yeah, like above, are you sure that this meat-heavy diet is long-term sustainable? It seems like we need the stuff in fruits and veggies – and multivitamins don’t always get absorbed as well as the real stuff.
    What’s salad 20cals, is that lettuce or a mixture of stuff? 🙂
    Stay strong and all the best!


  4. JT,

    Congratulations! I know that is a weird statement after you have admitted WHOLE HOG about your cheats…but you know what, you ARE doing it. So, stop beating yourself up (unless you like it), make better choices tomorrow, stop buying almonds (give the rest away to friends or birds) and get more SLEEP! (doctor’s orders)

    I am impressed with your dedication and honesty. You can get through the next two action packed weekends. I know it!


    ~ life is not a dress rehearsal

  5. Tanya: yep, usually a mix of spinach or just a bunch of lettuces. I don’t get too fancy with salads.

    I’m taking a multivitamin to help me stay current and healthy, with awareness that my food choices aren’t all that balanced at the moment.

    Krystyn: thank you so much. I really appreciate your support and comments!

    Re: Sustainability – personally, I think there’s a wide variety of what is sustainable for a diet. We are survival machines. Inuit diets consist of exclusively fish and caribou. They get by. There’s tribes that get by on bugs and grains, too.

    I think there’s room in the world for everyone to try a whole lot of different things and choose whatever works best *for them*. There’s no need for “should” to enter into it, in my opinion.

  6. Please inform me it labored suitable? I dont need to sumit it once more if i will not need to! Both the web site glitced out or i am an idiot, the 2nd option doesnt shock me lol. thanks for a fantastic blog!

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