Category Archives: Food
”A few people roll up in monster trucks, but others ride over on their bikes,” [hunting instructor Dylan Eyers] laughed. “That seems to be a new thing.”
Anti-gun and anti-hunting groups are going to have to find a new group to stereotype and demonize, because the growing trend isn’t to the redneck bubbas but rather to the young hipsters that understand:
“Hunting makes sense as part of a DIY foodie lifestyle. There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes from being able to grow or prepare your own food, and you end up with something that tastes great and I know it’s a lot better for me.”
Look at the trends as of late. To think global but act local. To be a locavore. Organic and sustainable farming. Ethical farming. Reactionary to industrial ranching, “pink slime”, ingredient labels you can’t read, and so on.
Folks, that’s what hunting is. (or is supposed to be… yes I’m sure, we all know of some exception).
You don’t get more “free-range organic” than a deer that’s been tromping around the woods all its life, eating acorns and leaves.
There’s a trend of returning to our roots. Yeah, globalism isn’t working out, so while young folk appreciate being connected globally, they’re living more locally and trying to embrace what once was. I mean, it wasn’t too long ago people tended to grow their own food, hunt their own food, make their own clothes — life wasn’t solely obtained at Wal-Mart. So a return to hunting is just a logical next step for folks.
It also speaks to current hunters and gun folk: these people are your future. Please look past their skinny jeans, tattoos, piercings, and other appearances to see they are trying to embrace and learn about something you hold dear. Be loving and open, accepting, understanding, patient, and happily recruit these people into the fold by teaching and sharing your passion. You know… bring us together.
Why is it so burdensome to obtain raw milk?
I like Sand Creek Farm. They run a top-notch operation with delicious milk. But if I want their milk, I have to drive 2 hours to get it. Here in Texas, that’s the only way I can get it. Oh sure, they come into Austin fairly often and could deliver it or have some other sort of distribution, like at the local farmer’s market or maybe a private person has their home as a drop-point, like we can do with our vegetables from Johnson’s Backyard Garden. So if we can do this with our veggies, why not milk?
Why deny the small farmer a way to support their farm and their family?
Why deny the willing consumer a way to get the products they want? Or if not deny, make it such a burden to obtain?
So why is raw milk so denied?
I reckon it’s to “keep us safe”. Fine, if that’s what it is to be… and not large mass dairy farmers trying to use legislative muscle to protect their turf. But raw milk in and of itself is fine; usually problems arise in the processing, such as if the milking machinery or bottling process was unsanitary. How long would a family farm stay in business if they held themselves to low standards of sanitation and product quality? How long would it be until the lawsuits drowned them if someone became sick or died? It’s very much in the best interest of the farmer to make a high-quality and safe product. In fact, building such a reputation only serves to build the business too.
Funny thing, that.
BTW, why raw milk in the first place? The current nutritional zeitgeist is to be as “close to nature” as possible; zero to little processing, as straight-up as you can get it. Thus raw milk. Yes, I was very wary at first, but gallons later and boy if it’s not good. And you know what’s best?
I can drink it, and I don’t turn into a farty mess. They’re still not sure what exactly is behind this, but people eating raw milk and raw cheeses and other raw dairy products just don’t have the… uh… intolerance problems… that you get from processed dairy.
I support 83(R) HB 46. No it’s not perfect, but it’s a start.
I’ve been doing the Carb Back-Loading thing for what? 3 weeks now?
It’s not horrible. It’s tough in some respects, awesome in others.
I think overall it’s pretty awesome because I don’t have to make radical changes to my life and diet, but yet it is still a big change with a lot of required discipline.
It’s great because I don’t feel weak. I don’t feel drained in the gym. I can go in, hit the weights hard. No feelings of tired or just being out of gas. But this took me a little bit to realize that I do need to eat more carbs than I think. Can’t go overboard, but it’s more than the “restricted carb” type diet mentality that pervades every other type of dietary plan out there.
It’s great because I can join in with the family. The other night Wife couldn’t make dinner so I just ordered pizza. I ate with gusto (it was the night before a workout; recall I am on the adjusted CBL program due to morning workouts), and I didn’t care much. I didn’t bloat and overly stuff myself, but I didn’t fear it or think I had to eat just 1 slice… or maybe just scrape off toppings… or maybe let the family eat pizza and I scrounged around to find something else to eat that “fit my diet”. No, this was great. Great to just eat with the family, be part of the whole experience instead of being the “one off”. It’s also nice on the mind and soul because there’s not this deprivation.
But that said, there is deprivation. There isn’t much breakfast eating any more, tho sometimes on off days I might have a late breakfast with the family. I do need to come up with better lunch options, especially in the veggie department. And man… for me… a guy with a big sweet tooth… it gets hard. Oh sure, I’ll have my ice cream before bed. But sometimes during the day I like to have a Jolly Rancher. Or have a Mexican Coke (i.e. sugar, not HFCS) since I’m fortunate the day job stocks those in the fridge. But alas, no. And that gets to you. When everything is savory. When you can’t just satisfy the sweet tooth. It gets hard. You know better, you push through it, but it still wears on you.
So I’m trying a few things with artificial sweeteners. Like some sucralose; because all the bitterness of the whey and casein, sometimes you just need something to counter the bitter. Or that maybe I’ll have a Coke Zero at work. I found this Crystal Light Pure stuff (with Truvia) which isn’t half-bad. I generally stay away from artificial sweeteners, but right now I’m trying to transition. I know it’s best, long term, for me to just ween myself off. But that’s the thing: ween. Cold turkey is just going to risk failure, and all the CBL changes as it is are tough enough. I have noticed the Coke Zero seems to give me headaches, and I have no idea if the bout of diarrhea I’m presently dealing with is because of these things or something else. I just don’t know. I am not going overboard, but things are there. I do need to do more reading on these. I think the best rule really is to have none of it at all: natural or bust. But if I’m going to, what could I have? It seems pure sucralose can be OK (be mindful, because things like Splenda and even Equal’s version bind to maltodextrin) and also pure Stevia (I just read that Truvia is kinda sorta Stevia but isn’t, and is bad). Well, we’ll see. Overall they aren’t horrible things to have, but they could stall progress amongst other side-effects. So… I just need to learn to ween myself off it all, tho if I’m going to have something, aim for sucralose (only) or Stevia. Thing is, read the ingredients list sometimes for “sugar free” stuff. Almost impossible to escape acesulfame potassium and/or aspartame.
All the caffeine kinda wears on me too. There are days I can tell it’s driving me too much. Since I got the caffeine anhydrous powder/capsules from TrueNutrition, I needed to pare back since those hit faster. I’m trying to take the low-end of the scale in any of the CBL recommendations. So that generally means 200mg at a time. I do find it works nicely, and makes a good pre-workout. All that other pre-workout shit is “meh”. Just take some caffeine and roll on. But keeping my doses down to the minimums, given you take a bunch throughout the day, seems to wear on me better.
Hydrolysates. Holy shit! These are gross. Ever blow up a balloon and get that powder and rubber in your mouth? Imagine that, times 100, then chase it with a burnt tire. That’s what they taste like. Everything I read said they are “bitter”. That’s a lie. This is beyond bitter to fucking gross. I tried mixing a couple ripe bananas with it. Even throwing in dextrose. It might reduce the horrible taste, but it’s still there. I believe the recipe calls for 10-15 grams. I go for 10g, seems to help a little bit (vs. 15). Look, I am going to trust Kiefer here about taking these, but I cannot wait until I don’t need to take these any more. Bleah.
Coconut oil? It’s solid at current room temperatures, so I just swallow a spoonful straight up. If I drank coffee I’d probably mix it in. And yes, I’m going to see if I can keep doing CBL without coffee because if the main purpose of this is appetite suppression, I’ll live without coffee. I just am not a coffee person. But taking a spoonful of the coconut oil is kinda weird. Tastes fine, just a glob of it is a funny texture in my mouth.
Hard to say at this point.
My weight is holding steady around 235#. But I (and Wife) notice that there doesn’t appear to be as much flab around my middle – the muffin-top is shrinking. I’ve also noticed more muscle in my arms and chest and such; evident when I’m crossing my arms, or putting on a shirt. You really can’t go by scale weight. Looking in the mirror tho, at how clothes are fitting, etc.. I think things are slowly getting there. I reckon if this all goes right and well, it may take me 6 months before I’m where I’d like to be, but that’s alright as long as I get there. Plus if it’s 6 months, that’s time for things to become habit and “the way it is” which improves chances of long-term success, instead of a crash diet.
So far, so good.
So I’m doing the Carb Back-Loading thing.
I’ve only begun so it’s going to be weeks or months before I can really say much about it. But here’s what I can say right now.
Wow. There’s a lot of caffeine on this program. I’m not anti-caffeine, but I also have tried to minimize it in my life just because I haven’t had reason to ingest it. Plus if I wanted the “alertness” affects to really take hold when I need them, better in my mind to not build up a tolerance so that if I’m driving late and need a “5 hour energy shot” to get me through, it’ll work out.
So I’m just taking some caffeine pills to help out, per Kiefer’s dosing. I should note part of my (extra) reasoning for this is because I train in the morning, and caffeine becomes a necessary part of that approach. But when I dose, well.. first few days I tried the higher-end of the range, and found that as the day wore on I got really… out of whack. So now I’m trying to lower-end of his suggested ranges and we’ll see how that goes. Perhaps over time I might have to increase the dose, but I can do that then because obviously I presently don’t have the tolerance for it (thought I did, I was wrong).
BTW, I have been using some caffeine pills/tablets that I bought at Walgreens. I just put in an order with TrueNutrition.com and am getting caffeine anhydrous in 200mg capsules. The powder should work better (given what Kiefer recommends) and this is FAR cheaper — Walgreens was 100 count 200mg tablets for about $10; TN is 120 count 200mg capsules for $3.50.
Because I work out in the morning, I have to change protocol a little bit. But it seems only a slight change, which is fine. I haven’t noticed a horrible feel or change in stuff in terms of going into workouts with an empty stomach. I’ve played with this on and off for many many months, trying to generally err on an empty(er) stomach. First, too much food and I’d just feel bad. So try something light, a little sugar, maybe a pre-workout like TN’s Buzz Saw. But now, it’s nothing… well, just some caffeine. Not feeling any adverse effects, but it seems to require that I do in fact ensure a good loading the night before, which is fine.
So far, so good.
The fish oil we get tends to vary depending where and when Wife grocery shops. I’m going to ask her to stop and buy only on Meg-3 based brands. Not too hard, given Meg-3 sources to folks like Wal-Mart/Sams, Costco, and so on.
But hey… I contacted TrueNutrition and asked, and their fish oil is Meg-3. Again, it’s a price issue. Their fish oil softgels are 1000 count for $25, whereas anything I buy in the store is a LOT less quantity for a lot more money. I think the Sams “Simply Right” runs like $20 for 150 or so. Again, TN wins on quality AND price.
Yeah I know… this is reading like a shill for TrueNutrition. I’m not on their payroll, just 1. satisfied customer, 2. it’s simple math, folks.
Medium-Chain Triglycerides are a part of CBL, so coconut oil it is. I had no idea coconut oil was solid at room temperature.
But it tastes really nice. Like a subtle buttery coconut. It’s kinda neat.
One thing I’m doing to help consume it is to use a metal measuring spoon. Run warm water over the spoon, then scoop the oil out of the jar – the warm spoon helps to scoop oil into and release oil out of the spoon. Since I’m not putting the oil into coffee, just mixing with my water and whey, I’ll heat it up in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt/liquefy it, then drink up. It’s really not bad at all. I know there are liquid MCT’s out there, but this is kinda fun for now.
I’d like to look into full-fat coconut milk too. But here I’m a bit at the mercy of Wife’s grocery shopping.
I think one of the cool things about this is that it’s actually fitting into my general life better than any other plan I’ve worked with in the past. In my case, it’s a combination of just my personal life but more so my family life.
Before, anything I attempted would really impact the rest of the family. If we went out to dinner, Dad’s needs had to be taken into account. If Wife was cooking dinner, what did Dad need. When grocery shopping, what does Dad need? etc.. There was a lot of special-casing on Dad. And while I’d often tell Wife to just make whatever and I would make due since I was the exception, still, it wasn’t always enjoyable and often became difficult to manage. It’d just be another factor in the failure.
But with CBL, this looks like it could work out and blend better.
First, most of the “meals” from waking up until dinner aren’t that much of meals (at least, given my early morning workout approach). I do a lot of supplementation, whey and shakes, caffeine, simple snacks like almonds, and so on. My lunch? In a lot of respects, it’s not much different than what I’ve been taking to work already. Yeah sure, maybe not taking leftovers so much now, but it’s fairly straightforward: about 8 oz of “plain meat” and then a bunch of fibrous veggies. That’s really simple to make, to assemble when I’m trying to get out the door, and so on. In fact, one thing I can try to get better about might be something like grilling 3-4# of chicken breasts on Sunday and then I’ve got lunch meat for the week. Couple that with some bagged salads or whatever fun might come in our weekly CSA veggie box, maybe something different from time to time, but overall, there we go. Simple.
The better part comes with dinner. Now Dad doesn’t need to be special-cased so much. The other night Wife made home-made pizza (make the crust dough herself, etc.). Sure she piled on the meaty toppings special for me, but she was able to make pizza instead of me saying “no, can’t have it”. Dad can just eat with everyone else. It’s really wonderful and fits so much better into the household.
So CBL has this going for it. It isn’t so much “work” to make it go, and it fits better into the rhythm of the household. Chances are better.
I’ve got a bunch of questions about CBL. Biggest of which is the ratios. I mean, if I’m reading the “amount of carbs” to get table correctly, am I really supposed to take in 800g of carbs!?!? Holy crap that seems crazy. I hope I’m reading things wrong. There’s a forum specifically for this stuff, and I’ve registered but am still waiting on activation.
There are numerous “shakes” that one is to take during CBL to make things go, since CBL is all about manipulation of insulin levels. So I’m working on my shopping list from TrueNutrition.com for things like leucine, hydrolysates, etc.. Right now I’m keeping it fairly simple, e.g. using whey isolate for all the protein needs. So we’ll see what difference things make once I can follow the formulas precisely.
I’ve only been doing CBL for a little while now, so the jury is still out.
So far, it’s alright. Yes, the mornings can be a little tough. I still need to experiment to see what I can do about improving on hunger. Even eating well at lunch and having some sort of afternoon snack… it’s hard to get through to evening. Every day gets a little better, but it’s still hard. I’ll get there tho. Really, this has a fair chance of success given how it does work pretty well into the lifestyle.
Time will tell.
I have a gas grill.
It’s a Weber Genesis E-330. It’s pretty cool.
I’ve actually had it for a few months (it was a birthday present from my Mom. Thanx, Mom!). The thing is, I really don’t like nor want a gas grill. I prefer fire, charcoal, wood. But with all the droughts and burn bans we have in Central Texas (with no sign of it getting better), I just do not feel right about burning. Sure they say it’s legal and fine to do, but I see how embers escape. I see how they can easily drift through the air, carrying and landing far away. You can be all the careful you want, but shit happens. I just don’t want to risk it.
But gas? I can do that. It’ll work.
It took me a lot of looking and researching, and in the end I didn’t want the Weber because I thought it too costly for a first gas grill… but I realized that anything less just wouldn’t leave me satisfied. That they don’t get hot enough, that they burn out within a couple years, one shortcoming or another.
So far tho, it’s been a lot of fun.
I love the heavy cast-iron grates. I love how it gets wicked hot in there. I love searing venison steaks or beef steaks. A nice little technique of the hot “sear zone” side is cranked up but the right half of the grill is on medium. Then a simple routine of hot zone side 1, flip, then move to warm zone, flip. Each zone/flip for a couple minutes depending how thick the meat is. Works out quite nice.
I even did beer can chicken this past weekend. First time in my life for doing that. Yes I know, I’m horribly remiss. I’ve wanted to do it numerous times, but didn’t for some reason or other. Finally got to doing it, and it turned out great.
Yes, I love the steady heat. Yes I love how hot it gets. Yes I love how little waste of fuel there is. Yes I love the quick start up, and the easy clean up. Yes I love the steady and easily controllable heat. It’s really got a lot of pluses.
But I really hate the lack of smoke. Yes Hank Hill… taste the meat, not the heat. But damnit, I like the heat!
I’ve tried putting wood chips into the foil pouch and putting that onto the “favor-izer” bars… but it doesn’t work unless the burners are cranked up, which wasn’t possible if I wanted to get the right temperature for the chicken.
Maybe there’s a better way… maybe there’s another way. If you have suggestions, I’m all ears.
While a gas grill is not my first choice, I have to admit it’s growing on me.
It’s been a week now. Yeah… I decided to just dive in. Why bother waiting?
I’m trying to find something I can stick with, because that’s the hardest part. Really, I can stick with almost anything with sufficient motivation. But what seems to make a difference this time around is data. First, having numbers up front, thanx to something like Scooby’s calorie calculator. Second, keeping track of things somewhere, like here on this blog.
Having the numbers up front is what’s making things interesting. If I know I can have x grams of carbs and y grams of protein and that’s that… boy, it sure changes your perception of portions. And yes, you need to measure it all out. I’ve had a kitchen scale for a while now and boy that’s handy. But also simple measuring cups and spoons. Really tho, using grams for everything is about the best and easiest way. Plus calorieking.com has such a great interface for being able to calculate on the fly. Good stuff there. And yes, I do this. I try to figure out every meal.
It’s kinda tough. You can’t just measure out meat and say “there’s protein” because what if I’m having brown rice? That’s got enough protein in it to matter. I’ve been using Daipoong brown rice (hey, it’s the Korean in me), and 1 cup of cooked is about 50g of carbs but also 5g of protein… and when I have to measure things out, that 5g matters. In fact to show how much it matters, I went back to Scooby’s calculator. I re-entered my calculations from before, then I adjusted it from “moderate exercise” to “light exercise”. It dropped down 300 calories per day, and each meal dropped 5g protein, 5g carbs, 2g fat. Not much, but you can see how 5g can add up over the course of a day!
But the real interesting thing is watching portion sizes. I thought “oh, this is how much rice to have”, but no… 1 cup of cooked rice on your plate looks pretty huge. Then I pack an afternoon snack of some dried fruit, and a portion size to give me 55g of carbs there ends up looking like a handful… something that would have been “one bite” for me in the past. Geez. Enlightening.
What’s been kinda cool tho is noticing my energy levels feel pretty solid. I don’t feel drained for my workouts or for just getting around in a day, which is great. I do fear in the past I just wasn’t steady enough at bringing in energy vs. my output, so I’d underconsume thinking it was right levels, then my body would scream from being depleted and I’d gorge and get no where. So this is all very good. I did wonder about it in yesterday’s deadlift workout… is the reduction in diet affecting me? Is that why I didn’t get 8 reps and only got 6? Perhaps. I also gave blood a couple days prior, which could still have a mild effect. Hard to really say what’s involved here… it’s only been a week of eating this way.
And in that week, I haven’t seen much affect on the scale. I’m not sure why. Could it be a muscle vs. fat issue? That is, the scale won’t tell me if I’ve both gained a wee bit of muscle and lost a wee bit of fat. Or maybe I just found a static intake. I did wonder that because when I see what I am ingesting for carbs, maybe I am taking in enough but now just spread over 5 meals instead of 3? I don’t know. I probably should have measured my complete food intake prior to this for a baseline.
So given all of that, I am adjusting my intake slightly. Instead of aiming for 55g of carb/protein per meal, I’m aiming for 50g. I do want to keep it at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Again, I expect my strength work will either stall or decline some, but I’d like to minimize it. Workouts will continue forward on this 2x/week BBB-style plan, still increasing weights and moving ahead as normal. I figure when I stall due to diet, I’ll stall and I’ll know it, meantime why not just forge head?
I haven’t been making regular postings about my TrueNutrition.com whey experience.
I’ll just say this.
I cannot do the artificial flavored whey. The Luscious Peach, the Wild Berry, whatever… all the artificially flavored stuff is just way too sweet. Candy sweet, kid cereal sweet. It’s just hard for me to take. Part of me really loves it, and wants to keep loving it, but it’s just not doing it for me.
I just ordered 10# of unsweet chocolate whey isolate cold filtered. Yes, unsweet, and then I’ll add a teaspoon or two of raw sugar to it. It’s not enough to make it candy-sweet, but enough to take the edge off it. That should work for me.
I like it better too. I’m getting pure isolate (i.e. more agreeable with the digestive tract), and the price is quite competitive with other brands like say Optimum Nutrition’s 100%, which has a lot of whey concentrate and other things. I have noticed to keep costs down True Nutrition is pretty no-frills, but that’s fine… I’m not buying packaging or marketing.
So here’s where things end in my exploration… at least, for now.
So yesterday I started fiddling with my workout and I’m happy about it. My legs are sore this morning and I haven’t felt that in ages.
The next part to bring in line is diet. I have been thinking about carb cycling since it seems all the rage and makes a lot of sense. The difference I’m attempting this time around? Doing the math. I want to calculate out the numbers, the macros, the ratios, everything, and make myself strictly follow them.
So I started doing numbers.
I started looking at the numbers that would come from Shelby Starnes’s take. At my current bodyweight of 240#, it would work out to:
Medium & Low Days
Gee… that sure seems like a lot of carbs on the high days, but isn’t that the point? It’s a lot more protein than I figured, a lot less fat too.
Now if I start looking at Christian Thibaudeau’s take:
Calories per day: 3680 (moderate activity level)
but I want to lose weight, so shave 20% and that’s 2834 kcal/day.
Carb: 375g (high), 300g (med), 225g (low)
Somehow that seemed more reasonable and straightforward.
But then I started doing the math to break things down per meal. Plus I looked at the way they wanted you to ingest. Basically with 6 meals a day and front-loading the carbs in the morning, especially true since I work out in the morning.
The one that floored me? With Thibaudeau’s recommendation to get 50% of your carbs post-workout, that means on my high day I go and lift then come home and have to ingest 187.5 grams of carbs. How in the hell am I supposed to do that? That’s like 14 apples, 3.5 cups of uncooked oatmeal… how am I to eat that without vomiting? or resorting to something ugly like eating fast food? Maybe there’s a way, but I just can’t see trying to do this without wretching.
As I’ve been reading, this guy “Scooby” keeps coming up. I read some of his stuff, and one interesting thing is he says carb cycling is not for someone like me. He says for someone in my boat, it’s better to just curb portions, jack up the workload, drink water. Which frankly all makes sense to me. I plugged into his calculator various values. Granted, a lot of it starts out the same as Thibaudeau’s because they use the same basis upon BMR. I pick a macro ratio of 40/40/20, and get some basic results. It comes out to getting about 40-50g of protein and 40-50g carbs per meal. Fat just keep minimal and it’ll work out.
And gee… that seems so much simpler. But fundamentally the same thing. The only difference is I’m not gorging myself like Takeru Kobayashi, everything is spread out; and that every day is the same instead of having high/medium/low days.
I’ve been down this road before and failed. After enough time my body screams at me and off the wagon I go. And that’s part of why carb cycling appealed to me, because there was a chance to recharge and acknowledgement of that need. But another difference from before vs. now is here I’m wanting to really measure things out and work to stick to it. And who knows… maybe I’ll adjust macros some so I get a little more carbs. Or maybe I have a “high day”. I don’t know.
But really, one key factor I need, apart from numbers, is simplicity. If it’s too complicated I’m not going to be able to stick with it. Not just because of myself, but I need Wife’s support in this as she’s the primary food preparer and deliverer. If I can say something simple like “40-50g each of protein and carbs per meal” then that greatly facilitates life for her and thus her ability to support me. That’s vital.
This is all stuff I started working, reading, calculating, and thinking on just in the past 12 hours… so it’s all still fresh in my head and no firm choices made. But this may be where I’m going. Time to let it simmer.
I don’t talk much on diet because well.. it’s the toughest part of fitness things for me. There’s no question it’s where I struggle, it’s where I fail. But I have noticed bringing things to light here, keeping logs, for whatever reason it helps me keep more on track. So, let’s try it with diet. I won’t keep logs like I do for the lifting or the dry fire, but I will try to mention it more and be more up-front about it when and where it’s relevant.
I’m not fat, but I carry more fat than I care for. I’ve got a gut and frankly I hate it. I’m 6’3″, weigh 235-240# depending on the day. Semi-recent picture of me here (scroll to the end). If I got down to 200, I’d be feeling and looking much better. But I also cannot track pure weight because weight is made up of fat, muscle, bone, organs, water, etc.. I am working to build muscle, so my weight is going up from muscle growth. I also refuse to follow BMI because it’s a bullshit measure. Really in the end it’s about body composition and the ratio of tissues, and I just want less fat (and more muscle). So while I might target a weight, while I might track weight changes per week, it’s more about composition. I will need to take pictures every week, but well… I am not sure I’ll share them.
My general goal is to keep myself healthy. I grant that I will die someday. So much of what people strive to do is find ways to recapture youth and avoid death. I acknowledge the futility of that, and just want to ensure I can enjoy the life I have while I have it. I know I’ll never be an elite powerlifter, I’ll never total 2000#, but that’s fine with me. If I can be strong enough, mobile enough, and continue to function as well as I can, that’s all I’m wanting and is the general goal that directs me.
So with that in mind, my initial milestone was to get off my butt. I had to give up martial arts for numerous reasons, but sitting on my butt wasn’t welcome. Returning to lifting started out more along the bodybuilding routines that I did as a teenager, but thankfully I got sick and in that downtime discovered Rippetoe and Wendler and it’s been a great year. My goal then became to build strength. Sure build muscle, but I really wanted to be strong because you can have muscles and not be strong but if you’re strong you’re going to also have muscles. But even if I didn’t have sexy bulging muscles, that’s fine… it’s more important to be strong as that’s far more useful.
But in getting bigger you well… you get bigger. I’ve built strength, I’ve built muscle, but I’ve also put on fat. You just have to eat a lot to get big, and that can lead to eating more than needed and thus you pack on fat with the muscles. Typical bodybuilder routine was to have “bulking” and “cutting” cycles, where you’d lift heavy and eat like crazy for some months to pack on the pounds, then you’d cut back on food and bump up the cardio to shed the fat. A constant cycle of binge and purge, if you will. But it tended to work. However that sort of thing is just… painful. I’m just not cut out for it. It’s simple. I love food way too much.
See… I recall watching a video on Rich Gaspari. Back when I was a teenager, Rich was my bodybuilding idol. In this video I watched Rich having a family dinner, but he was dedicated to his bodybuilding lifestyle and eating something different from everyone else. Then there was something about his breakfast, and I don’t recall the whole concoction, but it was rather bland and well.. functional. It certainly was the right thing for his lifestyle and greater goals, but there was no pleasure nor fun in that food, from my point of view. When I look at the typical bodybuilder diet plans of chicken breasts and rice, that’s fine for a day or two, but 3 months of that shit would drive me mad. I respect those guys for what they do, but I can’t do that (I’ve got different goals in life). I love food. Not that I love eating crappy food, I just know the wonderful things out there in the world and I wish to enjoy them. It’s like that opening scene in the Pixar movie “Ratatouille” where Remy is talking about one flavor, then another, but put them together and it’s sensational… that’s what I like. Compounding things, Wife is an awesome cook.
Backing up a bit, before I went back to the gym I tried shedding some of the fat through simple diet changes. A friend of mine had pretty good success following this “Up Day, Down Day” diet. I tried it and actually lost some good weight and got myself to 212. But you can see in the 1.5 years since falling off that wagon I put 30# on. I know a fair portion of that is muscle, but there’s no question flab came with it. It was tough doing that diet because of the denial, but it worked alright. And when you start to think about the logic behind why it works well… it leads me to think about… carb cycling.
As I’ve been researching stuff on lifting, of course you come across diet issues. These days the two big dietary plans (ignoring “bloat”) seem to be things from John Kiefer, like Carb Nite and Carb Backloading, and then Carb Cycling from guys like Shelby Starnes. It’s all about playing with carb (and other macronutrient) levels, when you take them, and how much you take of them. Given how I was able to deal with Up Day Down Day, plus given all that I’ve learned and much that’s changed in my diet since then (e.g. how we get the weekly veggie box from a local farmer) well.. I wonder if Carb Cycling could work for me.
The trouble is… numbers.
Here’s how it would work out for me, at my present 240# bodyweight
Protein: 240g – 300g
Carbs: 480g – 720g
Fat: as little as possible
Low & Moderate Days
Protein: 300g – 360g
Carbs: 120g – 360g
Fat: 36g – 84g
BMR: 2237 kcals/day, base but I’d cycle between 1.2 (off days) and 1.6 (work days) so 2685 kcals on off days and 3580 kcals on work days. BUT since I want to lose weight, that becomes 2148 off and 2864 work. Using those then, macros calculate out to:
Low & Moderate
Carbs: 225g – 300g (low – mod)
So you can see, there’s a lot of variation here. Some overlap, some general agreement, but gee… what to follow? What to do?
To quote Vinnie Barbarino, “I’m so confused!”
I’m not starting this in earnest yet. I still have at least 2 more Wendler cycles to go through because I want to get my bench press to 225#. But I am going to continue reading and trying to figure things. Plus I can start trying to do a few useful things. First, I’ve been very good about measuring/weighing my protein consumption but not my carbs. Today when getting my dinner I scooped my brown rice into a measuring cup to see what 1 cup of cooked rice actually looked like (more than I thought!). I can work on measuring and seeing what I really am eating, what am I actually consuming and how carbs calculate out so I can get a handle on things. I can also see about carbs before noon, only. That seems to be a constant no matter what flavor I follow, so let’s see what I can do there.
If I could drop 40#, that’d be awesome and a great bit of progress, but that’s merely a guide because again it’s more about composition than numbers. I reckon that could take me up to 6 months, and that’s going to require a metric ton of dedication. I do hope I can do it. I hope Wife can tolerate and support me through it. But I may only try running this for 2-3 months and then reevaluate. We’ll see.
Wish me luck.
This is their chocolate flavor using stevia as a natural sweetener.
In a word? No.
Actually I need more words: Hell No.
The first time I tried it, I had a scoop of the unsweetened chocolate, so I mixed that with 1 scoop of this stuff. The first thing I noticed? Different colors. The unsweet was a darker brown, this stevia-chocolate was rather light in color.
“Oh Dear God No!”
It was horrid. The mix of that cardboard flavor of the unsweet and this… odd flavor from the stevia.
I tried the stevia-chocolate again in water (all stevia-chocolate this time), and then in some skimmed raw milk (which is about the same as a 2%). While it got a little more palatable each time I tried it, it still is… weird.
I don’t know how to describe it, you just have to try it. The sweet isn’t what I expected. We all know what sugar sweet is like. Honey sweet. And even HFCS sweet. Most sweets try to chase the sweet of sugar, especially artificial sweeteners. This stevia? the taste is nothing like a sugar sweet. It’s sweet, very sweet, wicked sweet… but it’s some sort of different sweet.
I did work to finish the pound that I purchased. It did get a little better, it wasn’t as ugly tasting to drink, but it still left this weird taste in my mouth, a weird aftertaste, and that never went away and never became pleasant to me. I gave it as fair a shot as I could give it.
I won’t totally write off stevia yet, because maybe it’s this particular batch or this particular mix. Maybe it’ll taste better in other products. But I will say I’m in no rush to try it again. If I go the rest of my life never having stevia again, I’m OK with that.
I know some people are all happy about stevia. I’ve spoken with a few people and they are crazy about the stuff. Well, they can have it.