Paleo – my story

I try to take care of myself by eating really well, avoiding sugar and soda and junk. It gives me an edge. If i didn’t have that goddamn latte I wanted for three months, than I deserve to win the goddamn race.
-Missy Giove

I woke up on one of this autumn’s mornings and while still lying in bed suddenly realized that it has been a while since my last 70-ish scale readout and if I finally really was to start a new biking season trimmed, taut and terrific I had to take part in the four weeks of paleo eating challenge. 🙂

Not true at all though, because fundamentally, the main reason behind the idea to take part in the challenge was my long time paleo-scepticism. Not that I have ever doubted in paleo reasoning, I thought it rather not feasible for a modern busy family man and sport enthusiast like I was.
But since I have always prefered the kind of food that paleo recommends and has nevertheless been obviously practicing paleo sporadically subconsciously till now anyway and it was an off-season, I decided it is now time to give it a try. Personally.

I knew the principles of paleo eating are simple and found them later all well described on multiple web resources. Here are just two of them: Resource 1, Resource 2. I was planning to follow them loosely during the challenge but still close enough to not be called a cardinal cheater.

The only two huge exceptions I was going to make to them was drinking whey in the morning and eating the whole corn bread roll on Fridays. The Friday’s bread roll was a part of tradition I didn’t wont to break with and the whey worked fine for my digestion, so obviously I didn’t want to break with that habit too.

And being honest and all I also have to admit that I was planning to have five out of seven lunches per week in the cantina, where I could of course choose the kind of food I’ll eat but won’t be able to choose the way it is prepared in. But that’s the tax I was ready to pay to civilisation and handiness I guess. You can call me a cheater for being practical if you want, but even with my best intentions I can see no savannah around here anymore.

Subject’s entry details: H – 185 cm, TBM – 85.7 kg, FBM – 17.2 kg, bb.circum. – 92 cm
Subject’s daily energy requirements (estimate of) [1, p. 38]: 2450 Cal

The summary of the 1st week
Daily particularities and detailed menus for the 1st week are listed below.

11. 10.
bB: 1 cup whey, 1 piece garlic
B: 2 eggs scrambled with spices, 3 sweet tomatoes, 1/4 cup cashew nuts, herbal tea
Sn: 1 cup black coffee
L: 2 slices roasted pork, 1 bowl salad (cabbage raw, sweet carrots boiled, arugula, 1tbs olive oil, 1tbs mixed seeds)
Sn: 1 grapefruit, 1 small piece dark chocolate, herbal tea
D: 1 large can tuna drained, 1 cup sauerkraut, 1/4 cup cashew nuts, 30 grape berries
Sn: 10 slices pork dried sausage, 1/2 cup whey
A quick 1 hour stroll.

12. 10.
bB: 1 cup whey, 1 piece garlic
B: omelette (1 egg, a few raisins, 1/4 cup almonds ground), herbal tea with 1/2tsp honey, 1 cup apple juice homemade
Sn: 1 cup black coffee
L: 2 links bratwurst, 1 cup sauerkraut cooked, 1 bowl salad (beetroot cooked, cauliflower boiled, sweet carrots boiled, arugula, 1tbs olive oil, 1tbs mixed seeds)
Sn: 1 orange, herbal tea
D: 1 large can tuna drained, 1/4 cup cashew nuts, 1 small piece dark chocolate, 1 cup apple juice homemade
Sn: 1 banana, 1 parsemon, 10 slice pork dried sausage, herbal tea
A quick 3/4 hour stroll.

13. 10.
bB: 1 cup whey, 1 piece garlic
B: 1 grapefruit, 1 banana, 1/4 cup almonds, 1 cup apple juice homemade
Sn: 1 cup black coffee
L: 1 slice low-fat pork roasted, cooked vegetables (brocoli, carrots, cauliflower), 1 bowl salad (green salad, brocoli, Brussel sprout, 1tbs olive oil, 1tbs mixed seeds)
Sn: 10 slice pork dried sausage, 1tbs horseradish, 2 cups orange juice, herbal tea
D: 100 g salmon cooked, 1/4 cup almond nuts, 1 cup apple juice homemade
Sn: 1/4 banana, a few raisins.
Sn: A walnut with 1/4tsp of honey.
A quick 3/4 hour stroll.
First cravings for non-paleo food encountered. Quenched them with a walnut and some honey.

14. 10.
bB: 1 cup whey, 1 piece garlic
B: omelette (1 egg, a few raisins, 1/4 cup almonds ground), 1/2 cup orange juice homemade, 6 chestnuts cooked
Sn: 1 cup black coffee, 4 slice pork dried sausage, 1tbs horseradish
L: 7 slices ham, 1 bowl salad (arugula, Brussel sprout, tomatoes, cabbage raw, 1tbs olive oil, 1tbs mixed seeds)
Sn: 1 grapefruit, herbal tea
D: 86 g sardines, 1/4 cup cashew, 10 chestnuts
Sn: 1 banana, 10 slice pork dried sausage, a few raisins and nuts
A 3/4 hour of e-z xc running (6:30/km).

15. 10.
bB: 1 cup whey, 1 piece garlic
B: 150g grilled turkey steak, 30 grape berries, 1/4 cup cashew
Sn: 1 cup black coffee, 1 whole corn bread roll
L: 100g grilled cuttlefish, 1 bowl salad (beetroot, 1tbs olive oil, 1tbs mixed seeds)
Sn: 1 grapefruit, herbal tea
Sn: 1 banana, 1/4 cashew, a few raisins
D: 150g grilled turkey steak, 30 grape berries, 1 zucchini, 10 chestnuts
A 3/4 hour of e-z xc riding.

16. 10.
bB: 1 cup whey, 1 piece garlic
B: 80 g sardines, 30 grape berries, 1/4 cup cashew
Sn: 1 cup black coffee
L: 200g rabbit casserole, 1/4 cup cashew, 1 bowl salad (green)
Sn: 30 grape berries, 20 chestnuts, 1 banana
D: 10 slices pork dried sausage, 1 parsemon, a few raisins
A 3/4 hour of e-z xc running (6:30/km). Feeling fresh and vivid.

17. 10.
bB: 1 cup whey, 1 piece garlic
B: 2 eggs scrabbled, 30 grape berries, 1/4 cup cashew, 1 cup beetroot juice
Sn: 1 cup black coffee, a few dried apricots
L: 120g grilled salmon, 2 cups cauliflower and buckwheat soup, 1/4 cup cashew, 1 pear
Sn: 1 parsemon, herbal tea
D: 80g tuna, 10 slices pork dried sausage
A 1.75 hours of scrambling with 700m of elevation gain/loss. Tired and hungry. Sore throat – an illness lurking?

I admit I did the ought-not-to-do thing and counted the calories and checked the composition of the stuff I ate during the first week of paleo challenge. Luckily so, because even if I did it just to get a hang of it more than from any other reason at the beginning, I finally ended up with a perfect tool to analyse some effects of the challenge I didn’t expect.
I gathered all data regarding the food on the Caloriecounter.

A summarised daily consumptions of the first week of dieting are presented in the spreadsheets. I would like to point out that the tables are not dead accurate in their calculations since they served me primarily as a guidance in my daily food planing.

Roughly speaking around 1900 ± 10% Cal was consumed daily during the first week, with percentage composition of around 25% protein, 35% fats and 40% carbs on average, compared to 20, 25 and 55% recommended by more traditional diets.

I have lost 2.7 kg of body weight in the first week (TBM 83 kg, FBM 15.3 kg)! 😦 Of which 2 kg represent a fat tissue if my balance’s fat sensor is correct! Now I did plan to deprive my body for approx. 500 Cals daily to lose some weight (there was some fat to go, judged from my physique) and give my sport performance an additional edge and on the other hand take some strain off my wounded knee when running or walking, but didn’t plan for that much of a loss per week!

Obviously a few (unstructured) trainings I did during the past week even at moderate load and of short duration required higher caloric intake than I have estimated? I will try to balance the deficit out with adding some additional amount of calories on my menu in the following week.
I would also have to be extremely careful with my caloric intake prediction for the last 2 weeks of dieting when the Preparation phase would kick in with some weightlifting and increased aerobic activity.

The summary of the 2nd week
I have been dieting for two weeks now and I’m finally getting used to the new type of food I’m now eating. I’ve had some episodes of carbo cravings still, but not as strong as those encountered during the first week. Ate some sweet cake on N.jka birthday though, becoming the collateral damage of the occasion. 🙂

Exiting now from Trans zone leaner than I have entered it – with TBM 82.9 kg and FBM 14.4 kg – to hit the first two weeks of Prep phase ready and set for some of this season’s initial weights crankin’ and blood pumpin’.

The summary of the 3rd week
Went back to TBM 85.7 kg and FBM 15.9 kg in the past week without any particular reason!?
Prep phase trainings played out smoothly during the past week though and perhaps a sudden and unexpected increase in TBM is simply a matter of consequential increased body glycogen production and storage.
One week of paleo challenge to go.

The summary of the 4th week
I am finishing the paleo challenge with TBM 85.2 kg and FBM 16 kg.
Not much of a change, is it? Well, surprised, disappointed?

I must say, I have no special feelings about the diet, really. I wanted an experiment, and I got one and at that point in my life I also already know, that life is like a box of chocolates. But nevertheless, there is a simple question emerging after all I experienced during an existing trial: Was it worth it? I mean eating all that proteins day after day was not that mind-simple. There were many times I would prefer eating carbos instead or just not eat at all because of being bored to death with paleo choices. Now I think we all should listen to our bodies more and less to all the hypes. And get body-and-mind-educated even before that.
Or as Dee Dee would put it: Glad to see you go. But it might work for someone, I can not say.

Resources
[1] – The complete guide to food for sports performance, Dr. Luise Burke, Allen & Unwin 1995

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