Monthly Archives: April 2013

Further, in defense of fats

I keep posting to folks suggesting that they add some good fats. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to do that, here’s something I wrote on Lose It, in the Whole30 challenge. Whole30 is like paleo boot camp. It is a naturally low-carb high-fat plan.

I like really big salads with lots of olive oil and some salt. For more fats goodness I will often add an avocado. I also like veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower with lots of butter (clarified of course). Slivered almonds are great on salads or on green beans (more butter of course). I usually will have macadamia nuts by themselves, they are really rich.

Lots of paleo folks will say to use lean meats and add some good fats. I think this is because most of our meats are corn-fed and that means the fat from those meats has high omega-6 and not much omega-3. But, I think that is fine-tuning a bit too much… if you can get beef fat or pork fat (or even bacon fat or duck fat) those are excellent for cooking… sweat some onions in bacon fat and then use it to braise some spinach or whatever veggies you have around.

Boiled eggs are also great on salads.  I don’t think I’ve ever had an egg-white omelete and I don’t intend to start now.

Speaking of eggs, if you like mayo, you can whip up your own sugar-free mayo in the food processor (or even using a stick blender) which turns olive oil into a whole different dressing. Use that on salads or just toss your eggs or tuna with it for an egg-salad or tuna-salad, even chicken salad… wrap those in a lettuce leaf.

If you’re not “strict” (or perhaps, after your Whole30 is over) you have a few more options. Real butter (clarified or not) as well as heavy cream for your coffee and some cheeses (no lite or low-fat though please). If you like lattes, try a “breve latte” which is made with half and half instead of milk.

This message brought to you by the Good Fats Advisory Council.

Enough calories? Too much? What’s the right amount?

A common bit of diet advice is that you have to eat enough calories, and that you shouldn’t go below your budget too far (or below your BMR or Base Metabolic Rate).  But, this is one of the big differences between low carb and low fat diets.

If you eat low-fat and high-carb, you are basically alternating between spiking up your blood sugar, burning it off, letting it come back down, and then starving your body of necessary resources until the next feeding time. That dance is a happy blend of sugar/starch feeding, treadmill cardio burning, being hungry but distracting/denying it, then eating again, in small quantities so as to get back into starvation mode again quickly.

The low-carb high-fat method doesn’t require you to be hungry, and you don’t have to eat 6 times a day, 2 or 3 times (or even 0 or 1, see Intermittent Fasting) are just fine because you are running on fats, either the fats you ate today or the fats you ate years ago and stored. The important point here is that for low-carb dieters, we very rarely get really hungry, and if we are hungry at all, we eat. There is no denying or distracting necessary. And even if you overeat at one meal, the only side effect is that you’ll be less hungry or go longer until your next meal, so it is both forgiving and self-regulating. (Throw in ketosis as “bonus points” – that translates to extra fat converted to calories that can often end up in urine, just peeing out calories. )

So, once you are fat-adapted and you are truly able to trust your hunger signals, then you can use your own hunger as your guide and you don’t have to worry about the lower-limits… those are the safety rails put there for the benefit of those who depend on denying hunger signals for their plans to succeed… If you are not sure whether your hunger signals are working, try fasting a bit to test them :)

Finally the great thing about low-carb is that you don’t have to jump in the deep end. You can get most of the benefits of not being hungry as often, being able to eat when you’re hungry, etc… just by cutting some of the carbs. 100 grams is a reasonable middle-step. You won’t get into ketosis, so no bonus points, but you’ll probably notice that you’re more in control, your plans just work better, and you may even be happier. Then, you can decide if you want to go lower, or keep it there for a while. This seems to be a turning point for a lot of people… it is hard for 2-4 weeks and then gets easier, within 6 or 8 weeks people usually find it’s so much easier than what they were doing before, they won’t go back.

More great information here:  The Context of Calories on Mark’s Daily Apple.

Whole30 plan — It Starts With Food

What is Whole30?

Whole30 is a paleo diet without the caveman. It is based on the book, “It Starts With Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  It’s a 30 day body detox, transforming journey to better eating and health.  A great description is here: (Whole30 description)  The short version: Eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, good fats. Don’t eat sugar, grains, dairy and legumes.

What happens after the 30 days?

The Whole30 take on things is that we don’t necessarily want to eat this strictly for the rest of our lives, but we’re building a solid base and a safe place to come back to, if we get in trouble. It is probably the strictest interpretation of paleo out there, which makes it great for re-learning and adapting. But a lot of paleo folks do fine with adding some dairy back in or relaxing some of the other rules, and maybe having occasional treat days where we get to have our pancakes or pasta.

I think if you follow the Whole30 plan closely for 30 days, it won’t be the diet you want to keep the rest of your life, but you will have a much better idea what you want to try or adjust next. You can adjust the plan to add some foods that make you happy (like cream and cheese for me) or you can adjust the amounts to give more carbs, less carbs, more protein, or whatever.

Is Whole30 a low-carb plan?

It’s a naturally low-carb plan but not zero-carb… even within whole30 rules you can overdo it on sweet potatoes or fruit and not lose. You can track carbs pretty closely and have fruits only occasionally to keep carbs quite low, but perhaps after reaching your goal you might add more fruits back in. Even if you’re not trying to be low-carb and not trying to reach ketosis, you will probably get most of the benefits anyway, like not being hungry, and being better able to self-regulate by paying attention to those hunger signals when they come up. You can also fine-tune the plan depending on how active you are, whether you are building strength, etc.


Top 11 Biggest Lies of Mainstream Nutrition

I love this article… it is a great summary of why everything we think we know about weight loss is wrong.  Plus, it has links to real, honest scientific research.

Some of the biggest lies:
Lie 5. Low-Fat Foods Are Good For You
Lie 9. Low Carb Diets Are Dangerous
Lie 11. High Fat Foods Will Make You Fat

I was also pleased to see that most of the “life lessons” I have learned along the way (in the last 2 years anyway) are actually listed here :)

Any thoughts about it? Anything you really disagree with?

I’ve started a new blog

I decided to create a new WordPress blog for myself at  I’m hoping to use it to express some thoughts which don’t fit nicely in a Facebook or Tweet format.

I’ll try to make sure things are mirrored to Facebook, LiveJournal, etc. I will likely still be reading Facebook every day, and probably visiting Twitter and LiveJournal on a regular basis. Continue reading