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Archive for June, 2011

Turkey Burgers

I have not posted any recipes for a long time as I am not the cook in my family. My wife recently came up with a really good recipe for homemade turkey burgers.  They are easy to make and perfect for making in bulk and throwing in the freezer.

  • 1kg ground turkey (makes 12 patties)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch green onions OR 1/2 a red onion OR 5 shallots
  • 1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce OR 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parchment paper cut into 12, 6×6 inch squares.

Blend all ingredients (except the turkey!) in a mini food processor until finely chopped.

Place ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add chopped ingredients to turkey. Massage mixture with fingers/hands until evenly mixed. Mixture
should be more sticky and less clumpy.

Divide mixture into 4 quarters. Divide each quarter into thirds. This is to ensure patties are all the same size. Should make 12 patties.

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Getting “Buy-In” From The People Around You

If you are single and live on your own I apologize as this post does not really apply to you.

Getting to 100% compliance requires the people around you to be on board as well. Whether it is Paleo or Slow Carb or any other way of eating that is different then what you are currently doing.

In my house I do little shopping or cooking, I do make breakfast a lot these days but that is only 1/3 of the meals. My amazing wife is home on maternity leave with our now 8 month old son. She is a foodie, loves to cook and is a very good cook. She also pretty good when it comes to nutrition, even though that is traditional government food agency nutrition. Now that I have learned what real nutrition is getting her to buy in to that has been tough but I have been successful.  Without her help I would not have has the fat loss success that I have had.  Here are some things that you can do to get the people around you to buy in.

  1. Do some cooking. If you are not the person that normally cooks, take some initiative and cook dinner a few times a week. Make grain free meals that taste good so everyone around you can see how good it they can be.  Brian at http://www.4hourbodyzone.com/ posted a whole article on this here.
  2. Do some grocery shopping. Grab some non traditional food items to cook with, coconut milk, almond flour, sweet potatoes, etc. When people ask it gives you an opportunity to explain what you are doing.
  3. Give them something quick and easy to read. Showing examples of people that have “cured” aliments or lost a lot of weight can be encouraging. If the person is technical and likes to geek out on the science send them some more technical articles. If they like books I recommend Sarah Fragoso’s book “Everyday Paleo“.  It is an very easy read and contains a short summary and lots of practical info and recipes.
  4. Here are some good resources from whole9life
    http://whole9life.com/2009/08/how-to-win-friends-and-influence-paleo/
    http://whole9life.com/2010/05/the-paleo-pitch/

Do you have a spouse that has bought in and helped you as much as mine has?  Leave a comment and let us know how you did it.

Slow Carb Diet Stalling

As an active participant at http://www.4hbtalk.com and an ex participant at 4hourpeople (not sure why I got kicked off still), I see many people complaining that the Slow Carb diet doesn’t work for them, or they expected 20lbs in 30 days like Tim said but aren’t seeing it.  As a person that had success with the Slow Carb diet and used it to evolve into intermittent fasting and Paleo I have made suggestions many times and would like to sum them all up for everyone.

You don’t need the beans

As I have learned from Robb Wolf via his book and podcast, beans are not an idea form of carbohydrates although they do have a low glycemic index (GI) and quite a few nutrients.  I can not count how many times I have linked to the blog by J.D. Moyer and his post about beans, it is a very thorough discussion on the pros and cons of beans. Another good breakdown of beans is on the whole9life blog The Legume Manifesto.   I won’t repeat what he says and it is worth the read for anyone doing the SCD.  One thing that he didn’t seem to compare was bean to root and tubers like yams and sweet potatoes.  This is what Robb Wolf pushes as his choice of carb, mainly for post workout.  Yams and sweet potatoes have a GI similar to lentils and kidney beans, and are lower in anti nutrient like lectin and phytic acid.  I prefer them and highly recommend them (and other roots and tubers like taro, squash etc) in place of legumes to everyone.

For those really want to lose the weight fast, are more sedentary and don’t need the carbs as much I would recommend cutting out carb sources completely unless needed.  This would be more of a ketogenic diet but will work very well.

Sleep, Over Training and Cortisol

For those of you that listen to Robb Wolf’s podcast know how important cortisol is to fat loss.  If you don’t get enough sleep, have any stress, or are over training then you probably have a cortisol issue.  There are many things you can do to fix this walk, relax, mediate, acupuncture, socialize, go to bed early, etc.  This is easier said then done for a lot of people, me included.

Intermittent Fasting

To some people this may seem a bit extreme, but after you do it you realize how easy and effective it is.  I would only recommend this to people that are not having success or would like to lose weight a bit faster, and do not like eating breakfast.  I realize that this goes against Tim’s dogma of “30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up” but I have not been able to find any science that backs up that theory, and personally had really good success with skipping breakfast.  I did this everyday for 3 months, not that I am not trying to lose weight I have stopped and eat a small breakfast with lots of fat and protein.  If you are interested in intermittent fasting look at http://www.leangains.com/

Increase Veggies and Eat them first

This one goes hand in hand with cutting out legumes.  Eating fiberour veggies can be very filling, I found a trick on a blog to eat the fiberous veggies first and eat lots, have a big glass of room tempurature water, then wait 10-15 mins to eat the rest of your meal.  This works well because you get full off the veggies but it usually takes 20 minutes or so for you leptin response and your brain to realize you are full.  This is why we are told to eat slow, why people that eat fast tend to over eat, and why liquid meals are not good for fat loss.

Increase Your H20

I have not been able to find any good science to back this up, but I have good personal experience and so has most people that I have talked to when they increase their water intake to 3-4 liters (~1 Gallon) or more a day.  I found this was necessary when intermittent fasting to deal with some hunger pangs, which got less and less as time went on.

Eat Lots of Fat but Make Sure it is Balanced

Fat is good, this is a common misconception and if you need some science to back that up read anything by Gary Taubes.  The thing with fat is that Omega 3 fat and Omega 6 fat need to have between a 1:1 or a 1:2 ratio.  Modern North American diets are more like 1:10 and this causes inflammation.  This is why Omega3 supplements are being heavily marketed now but instead of compensating with Omega3 why not lower your Omega6 fats?  The SCD is pretty good for that, Paleo even better.  Most people recommend at least 3 servings of fish  per week and some Omega3 supplementation.  I don’t recall this being talked about in the 4 Hour Body much but it an important part of fat loss.

Insulin Response From Protein Shakes

I became addicted to protein shakes.  I did not realize this until I tried quitting them for a week and do veggies only.  Shakes are highly marketed and a lot of false info and half truths are in the media about them because of this.  Most shakes are loaded with artificial sweeteners and other junk that may be good for gaining weight and muscle but terrible for losing fat.  If you are trying to lose fat I highly recommend avoiding them, if you really need it find an unsweetened one or a Paleo friendly one like Primal Fuel.  If I recall, I think Tim mentions the negative affects of shakes when he discusses liquid calories.

No Grains on Cheat Day and Only Cheat If Needed

I believe cheat days are good when you are starting to transition your eating habits, they were for me.  I had one epic cheat day about a month into the SCD where I went to two birthday parties in one day.  I felt like shit for the next 2-3 days.  From then on my cheat days were very small and turned into cheat meals, then cheat snacks.  I recently listened to an old podcast of Robb Wolf’s where Matt Lalonde was a guest, he took exception to Tim’s idea of a cheat day and that there no physiologically value to it.  My recommendations if you need to cheat is:

  1. Have as much fruit as you want
  2. Have some full fat high quality dairy
  3. Avoid grains ie flour, baked goods etc
  4. Have lots of high quailty extra dark (85%) chocolate
  5. Have some alcohol gluten free beer, wine or hard liquor
  6. Try to slowly transition your sugar intake down to a very small amount

Got any other tips that worked for you? Leave a comment and let me know.

Is there a diet better than the slow carb diet part 2

Its not just about Fat Loss

I while ago I posted and article about intermittent fasting after I found Martin Berkhan’s site http://www.leangains.com/.  To me (and some other smart people) intermittent fasting is great for fat loss but also has many other benefits to health and longevity.

A couple months ago I re-read this guest post by Robb Wolf on Tim’s blog about the Paleo Diet.  I had read it the first time it was published as well, but I was not eating good then and it didn’t really impact me for some reason.  I then went out a bought Robb’s book The Paleo Solution.  This book may have change my life, as well as my friends and families life, way more than the 4-Hour Body did (but the 4 Hour Body did lead me to Robb Wolf).

Since then I have became the Paleo guy in the 4HB Talk Forum, and preaching the Paleo way to anyone that I think would listen online and offline.  I even did a speech about it at my Toastmasters club.

Its about more than just fat loss

Since I have already crushed my goal for fat loss I needed another motivator to eat healthy.  The affects that grains, dairy and even legumes cause on our bodies is enough motivation for me to not eat them, or eat them in very limited qualities.  Here are some direct benifits that I have noticed since going full Paleo:

  1. No more acne
  2. No more body odor (so my wife tells me)
  3. No more breathing/asthma problems
  4. Crazy fast recovery from injuries
  5. Hair staring to grow back on my head
  6. Even more fat loss
  7. Crazy amounts of energy
  8. No more digestion issues
  9. No more joint/arthritis issues

These seem to be common benefits that most people get from eating Paleo.  For any one that is sick with any type of auto-immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus this diet is a must.

What is the difference between Paleo and Slow Carb?

There are actually very few differences between Paleo and SCD.  Some people thing that Tim developed SCD from the Paleo diet, but because SCD is a Low Glycemic index diet, I think it is more directly from that.

  1. No legumes (beans, lentils)
    Legumes are full of nutrients and high in fiber, but they also contain lectins which are an anti-nutrient and can cause health issues.  Read JD Moyer’s article for a good view on Legumes.
  2. No cheat days
    Some people live for cheat day, I was not one of them.  When you ingest lectins and other anti-nutrient from grains, legumes and dairy it take over 15 days to completely repair your intestinal wall.
  3. Fruit and dark chocolate are allowed
    These foods are the only way that I have been able to eat this way and still enjoy it.  Fruit should be eaten in moderation, and usually coincide with a pre or post workout meal.  Dark chocolate fondue is my Paleo cheat day that sometimes happens too often.

As you can see the differences are minimal.  I don’t miss any flour products or baked goods at all, I do over indulge in fruit sometimes.  I do highly recommend this to anybody that is having success with the slow carb diet as I think you will have even more success with this way of eating.

Here are some additional resource that I have found very useful.

As usual let me know if you have any question, success stories, or comments.

How Exercise Does and Does not Affect Fat Loss

A commonly debated topic is how much exercise affects fat loss.  Most media implies that it is the main factor for fat loss so people will buy more products and gym memberships.  A recent article in Time magazine states that it “Won’t Make You Thin“.  Because I feel there is no black and white answer to this most of this post will be my opinion (as most are) with some data to back it up.  If you disagree please leave a comment I would love to discuss it.

What I think

  • Everyone responds to exercise differently.
  • A deficit in energy is required.
  • Most affect is indirect
  • Exercise matters enough that it should be customized based on your body type

Everyone responds to exercise differently

This is a pretty obvious one, and the main reason I think many of the studies are not credible.  The FTO gene is thought to be related to that ability for people to gain fat.  It is also speculated that genetics can affect your insulin sensitivity, which is a huge part of fat loss (and gain) which Gary Taubes discusses in his 2 books.

A deficit in energy is required

This is basic physics as we know it today, you need to expend more energy than you take in.  I am a firm believer though that our current measurement for a “calorie” is very skewed, and not a good measure of energy.  There is a reason that endurance athletes can, and need to, eat such a huge amount.  But for a normal person that sits on our ass 8-10 hours a day instead of moving for 8-10 hours a day, like me, this is not an option.  It also could be detrimental to your health to train as endurance athletes do.

Most affect is indirect

In this article Lyle McDonald makes some good points that I agree with.

for many people, the simple fact of doing some sort of exercise on a given day makes it more likely for them to stick to their diet

This is two fold for me.  I want to exercise because I eat well, and I want to eat well because I exercise, talk about motivation.  Other articles I have read state the opposite like this one Time magazine.  While I do think that some people may want to reward them selves after a work out, I am willing to be that these people are not educated on what to eat.  Will you get hungrier the more you workout, probably, but if you eat the right things instead of the wrong things this is a moot point.

Exercise matters enough that it should be customized based on your body type

To answer the title of the post, yes I think exercise does matter and will accelerate fat loss.  While any exercise will help with fat loss, as I have wrote before, some exercise is better than others.  Exercises to gain strength and increase muscle mass have been shown to be superior for fat loss and this has worked very well for me.  I think CrossFit style training is probably one of the best examples for this as it combines metabolic training and strength training with olympic style lifts.  I have recently started doing http://www.maxcapacitytraining.com/ which is only a body weight program so it is more metabolic training and a little bit of strength training, I will add some weights to it as I go and try to increase my strength and muscle mass.  I am at day 2 but will report later on on how well it has worked for me.

What type of exercise do you do?

Let me know in the comments what you workout entails?  How much has it helped you?  Does it motivate you?