Less Stress, More Calories

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September 15, 2015

With some of the stress gone today, my hunger came back and I ate more food. I think my body needed it because, according to my FitBit Aria Smart Scale, my weight dropped to 157 lb. This is not good.

I need to manage stress better–I need to get to the gym! As always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

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Food: February 27, 2015

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Finally Friday

Finally it’s Friday–I’m ready for the weekend. Today is a workout day, so I followed the normal routine: keto test (in ketosis), record weight and body fat % (using FitBit Aria), take daily 5g creatine dose, drop daughter at bus stop, head to gym, down Celsius energy drink and BCAAs on the way, and then lift weights!

I stayed fairly close to my version of Primal/Paleo eating and kept my eating inside an eight-hour intermittent fasting window. Lunch featured baked spaghetti squash with organic meat sauce with cheese–yum!

spaghetti-squash

I hope to catch up on some sleep this weekend as I had a couple of short nights the week. I hope your upcoming weekend is great and, as always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

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Food: February 18, 2015

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A New Dish

paleo-pear-ginger-porkchopsIt’s hump day–halfway through the work week. I woke up early today and in a great mood since Wednesday morning is a gym morning! :) Handling both kids this week makes life a bit hectic…let me give you a little taste of my morning:

  • 4:50am – Drive son to swim practice and return home
  • 6:00am- Drive daughter to bus stop and head to YMCA
  • 6:45am – Drive son from YMCA to school and head back to YMCA
  • 7:15am – WORKOUT!!!!! :)

My choice for pre-workout BCAAs.


I followed my normal routine by first testing to verify my body is still in a ketogenic state, which was positive and then I weigh myself using my FitBit Aria Smart Scale (to collect weight and body fat statistics for this blog). Take my dauly 5g dose of creatine and then, while driving to the gym to workout, I drank my pre-workout caffeine boost, a can of orange Celsius, and my BCAAs (I drink half right before lifting and the other half while lifting).

I love cooking with Ghee!

Following my normal intermittent fasting routine, I ate bacon, eggs, and a green smoothy (my Vitamix rocks!)  about 1pm. I cooked a new dish for dinner, Paleo Pear-Ginger Pork Chops, made in the slow cooker–delicious! As a side dish I sauteed zucchini and yellow squash with garlic in Grassfed Organic Ghee seasoned with cracked pepper and sea salt.  I have the most success following my version of Primal/Paleo when I cook and eat at home.

I hope you are powering through the work week, getting your workouts in and, as always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

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Food: February 9, 2015

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Back On Track

At the start of this new work week I have managed to get back to eating my version of Primal/Paleo after the past few days of (somewhat) going off the dietary rails. I woke up in a great mood, ready to hit the gym. My daily ketosis test showed my body in a ketogentic state which I is good since I’ve managed to add a few pounds of body fat (so now I have some extra fuel I need to burn off).

What is really cool about this little n=1 blog experiment is I’ve figured out how to shed those few pounds relatively quickly and without effort. Notice I said “effort”–it takes discipline on my part! The key is pretty simple for me, just eat the right food consistently, stay in ketosis, and the fat will burn off.

Let’s put the above theory to the test this week–I’m going to attempt to follow my preferred eating pattern and stay away from sugar, grains and processed food. Let’s see what the FitBit Aria Smart Scale shows my weight and body fat %  in a week.

2-9-2015-weeklyThis will be should be interesting because I will be traveling for work for a couple of days this week! Stay tuned to see how this challenge turns out and, as always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

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Food: February 2, 2015

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Back In The Saddle

The Super Bowl indulgence is over and today I’m back in the nutritional saddle again. Woke up in a great mood and, even though I slept through a great football game, getting a full night’s sleep certainly helps! I saw on the national TV news last night that new sleep standards have been released, once again bringing awareness to the importance to getting ZZZZZZs.  As you know, I track my sleep with the FitBit One tracker and monitoring my sleep has been extremely helpful!

Another key for me, along with sleep, is consistency and routine and, thankfully, today I followed my normal Monday ritual:

  • Record my weight/body fat using my FitBit Aria Smart Scale
  • Use my Ketonix Breath Analyzer to check for ketosis (positive)
  • Take my daily 5g dose of creatine
  • Drop my daughter at bus stop
  • While driving to the gym drink a can of Celsius and pre-workout BCAAs
  • Lift weights!

I also kept my intermittent fasting ritual by eating my first meal at noonish and my second and last meal at about 7pm.

Here’s to kicking off the work week in a positive fashion and, as always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

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2-2-2015-weekly

Saturated Fat & Cholesterol, Not My Enemy

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big-breakfastIf I asked you what causes heart disease, the leading cause of death (according to the CDC), what would your answer be? I’d be willing to bet many would say something along the lines of, “artery clogging cholesterol.” Five years ago that would have been my answer too because that’s what has been pounded into my head pretty much my whole adult life. If I asked you what causes this “artery clogging cholesterol?” I would guess many would blame dietary fat–specifically saturated fat.

That message certainly made sense to me and here’s why. What do butter, tallow, and lard all have in common? These saturated fats are solids at room temperature. The heart surgeons, flooded with bypass patients, show videos of blocked arteries and it’s easy for me to believe that eatingclogged-artery too much fat, especially this solid, sticky saturated substance, would cling to artery walls, eventually harden, inevitably creating a blockage and then a heart attack. In fact, you hear the doctor blaming the patient in the video linked above blaming the fat in the burger and the “butter fat” in the cheese and the ice cream/milkshake for clogging the poor guy’s artery. Pretty convincing, eh?

Our so called experts were so convinced that saturated fat caused obesity and heart disease that in 1977 the low-fat diet was recommended to all Americans. This was the precise time that Americans began suffering from the obesity epidemic. Hmmmm, coincidence? french-friesThe war on saturated fat even forced McDonald’s to switch from using beef tallow to make their fries to vegetable oil in the 90s.

Now, 40+ years later, our population is fatter and sicker than ever! None of this made any sense which is why, after much research and self experimentation, I made the switch to my version of a Primal/Paleo diet. As a result I eat butter, bacon, and homemade french fries fried in 100% grass-fed beef tallow (just like the McDonald’s fries from my youth :) ). I’ll admit that going directly against conventional wisdom was a concern, especially after all those years of being told saturated fat is bad.

deadlift-featuredWell, I no longer have those fears and here’s why. My waist size is the same as it was in high school. According to my FitBit Aria Smart Scale, my body fat % is around 11% give or take. I am in the best shape of my life at 50 years of age and lifting the heavier weights than in my 20s! I’m no expert, so don’t go by me, this is a great article on cholesterol by Chris Kresser if you are interested.

But what about my heart? Eating all that fat–especially saturated fat–shouldn’t my cholesterol numbers must be through the roof? We’ve been warned to keep that total number below 200 or you get to take a pill daily, right? My research leads me to believe cholesterol is a good thing, given the right mix of HDL, the so called good kind, and LDL, the alleged bad kind. This blog is all about transparency, so here are the lipid results from my latest blood work taken on December 23, 2014 as part of my annual physical.

lab-12-23-2014As you can see, my total cholesterol (TC) is 170, the “good” or HDL number is 59 (the recommended level is >39), and my triglycerides are 43 (well below the high number of 149). My VLDL, which stands for Very Low Density Lipoprotein (these are the tiny particles that are very bad because, usually due to inflammation, can stick to the artery walls and create blockage), is 9, nice and low in the range of 5 – 40. Here is another good article on how to interpret cholesterol numbers.

I would bet many physicians look primarily at the metrics above, but my research, like this article from Mercola.com, leads me to look at a couple of ratios to better understand my lab results. The first, is the HDL:TC ratio which is calculated by dividing HDL by TC and then multiplying by 100. Dr. Mercola states in the article:  ”

Generally the HDL ratio should be above 25 and preferably in the 30s. If it is in the 40s, that nearly guarantees immunity from heart disease. Whereas if it is below 15, and certainly below 10, a heart attack is inevitable.

Let’s see if I will live based on my latest lab results! :) My ratio is 59/170 or .34, then multiply by 100 to get 34. Looks like I’m not “guaranteed immunity from heart disease,” but I think I’ll probably live.

Similarly, the Triglyceride:HDL ratio, according to Dr. Mercola, should be below 2.0 (and the lower the better). So, 43/170 comes out to .25–again, I’m pleased with those results.

Clearly a diet high in saturated fat, while avoiding trans fats and industrial seed oils, like vegetable oil, hasn’t resulted in terrible cholesterol numbers, so what does? My theory is excess bad carbohydrates–refined sugar, grains, and processed food–is what drives up VLDL and, when combined with systemic inflammation and oxidation (also caused by bad carbs) is a recipe for arterial damage and potential heart disease.

man-on-wheel

The junk food loop?

I’m not a lunatic about consuming fat–if you look at my food diary you probably see I eat lots of fat at times and not so much other times. Hopefully I’ve learned to listen to what my body needs and feed it what it’s hungry for.

I also use fat consumption as a tool–when I get cravings for “bad” food (and believe me, I battle this all the time), I try to fight them off by eating “good” fat. Many times I succumb to the cravings and eat garbage and this, more often than not, leads to more hunger and then more junk food–a bad loop to get caught in. However, when I use fat to combat cravings I feel satisfied and can better avoid the junk food loop.

Incidentally, the biggest objection I get from people when I describe my dietary habits is consuming saturated fat. Given our country’s low-fat nutritional history, I completely understand that fear. I’m not an expert or a medical professional, but my n=1 experiment shows that my high(er) saturated fat, low carb diet works for me and I have the lab results to prove it. But, everyone is different! Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on saturated fat and cholesterol and, as always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

Food: January 27, 2015

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Blackened Grouper, Yum!

blackened-grouperI need to eat more quality fish! First, it tastes so good. :) Second, eating fish appears to be pretty health since it contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. My lunch today featured a beautiful, blackened grouper with a baked potato (butter and sour cream), broccoli (topped with real butter), and a side salad. This is a perfect meal for my version of a Primal/Paleo diet. You’ll notice I’m clearly not strict Paleo as I enjoy some dairy and, especially when I’m working out, don’t shy away from white potatoes. I listen to my body and sometimes I just feel better when I mix in some starchy carbs.

I stayed with the intermittent fasting plan eating the above a bit after noon, and then had leftover chili for dinner. I kept the estimated carb count at 118g, well below my goal of keeping my carbohydrate intake below 200g. As a result, my morning ketosis test has been positive for almost a week now. The further benefit is almost effortless weight control (as measured daily with my FitBit Aria Smart Scale).

Here’s to eating more fish and, as always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym…

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Food: January 22, 2015

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Clean Eating Erases Weight Gain?

Another day of relatively clean eating with a low (estimated) carbohydrate intake at about 66g–check out the normalization of my weight (see chart at the bottom of this post). At a high level, my weight shot up to 162 lb. after a high-carb, bad-carb weekend and, after four days of clean eating, I have normalized back to around 158 (according to my FitBit Aria Smart Scale). As I mentioned earlier this week this big swing probably includes a bunch of water weight gain/lose but there is also some body fat gain/lose there too. I can tell because of the way my clothes fit! :) The point is, kind of like the current stock market seems to be somewhat driven by oil prices, my weight seems to driven by high/bad carbohydrate consumption. I love the n=1 experiment!

I started today with my normal 5g dose of creatine as well as a healthy dose of caffeine via drinking my preferred, all-natural energy beverage, Celsius. I also stayed with my intermittent fasting routine eating my first meal at noon and my final meal just before 8pm. In general my food choices followed my version of Primal/Paleo which is reflected in the low estimated carbohydrate consumption.

Here’s to clean eating and getting results! As always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

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Food: January 19, 2015

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Getting Back On Track

If you’ve been following along you know I ate an entire pizza on Sunday. Was it worth it? NO! :) Here’s why:

  1. My body was thrown out of ketosis.
  2. I felt bloated and my weight shot up (see chart below).
  3. I experienced a food hangover of sorts.

I think the most important item in the list above is losing my ketogenic state because my preference is burning ketones as my primary fuel source as opposed to blood glucose (sugar).

Regarding #2, I generally don’t care what the scales say–I’ve focused on numbers because of this blog (I use the FitBit Aria smart scale). I do believe when I eat too many bad carbs, my body retains fluid–I don’t believe I actually gained two to three pounds–which shows up on the scales. I also believe, however, that when I have high blood glucose levels my body goes into calorie storage mode (as opposed to burning my own body fat for fuel).

The third point is huge for me as, similar to a hangover due to excessive drinking, feeling mentally and physically bad because of overdoing it with food can serve as a deterrent and actually helps prevent me from repeating this bad behavior. Have you ever uttered the words, “I will never drink tequila again!” Very similar to my thought today, “I will never eat an entire pizza again!” 😀

Today I got much closer to my my version of Primal/Paleo eating and I’m feeling better already. Thanks for suffering through my ups and downs as we are all in this together and, as always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

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Food: December 19, 2014

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I’m Ready To Relax

It’s Friday and, after three days on the road, I’m ready for the weekend and some relaxation. Today I am back on schedule and was able to get my Friday workout in. This means a normal start to the day:

  • Ketosis test – body in a ketogenic state, check.
  • Record my weight and bf% (using my FitBit Aria scale), check.
  • Take my daily 5g dose of creatine, check.
  • Drop daughter off at bus stop, check.
  • Head to YMCA to lift, check.
  • Fire up mind and body for workout with a can of Celsius, check.
  • Drink my pre-workout BCAAs, check.
  • Foam roll and stretch, check.
  • Turn on beast mode and kill it in the gym! Check. :)

Speaking of foam rolling, just a few hours left to enter the drawing to win a free foam roller in the Holiday Foam Roller Giveaway, enter now!

After a very busy workday, I took my son to swim practice and walked a five mile loop near the YMCA. By the end of the day, my FitBit One tracker showed I walked just over 10 miles today! Once again, I think walking is soooo underrated!

I looking forward to the weekend and downtime–as always…

Be smart in the kitchen and a beast in the gym!

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