Sunday, March 27, 2011

I’ve lost it . . .

. . . Fatty weight, some body fat percentage, an inch off the waist, that is … and more importantly, an addiction to rice in my meals (for this Filipino guy, that’s quite a feat!). It’s rare that you’ll ever hear me speak the words “I’m on a diet,” and, don’t worry, you still won’t (technically)! I work out regularly in the wee hours of the morning. I train/compete at running events throughout the year. Just today I rode my bike for an hour on an all uphill route. I consider myself in pretty good athletic shape, and I believe those who know me personally would agree. Probably because of my active lifestyle, but my metabolism has yet to slow down, as I can still eat various guilty pleasures and not gain weight, not work on a Santa belly, or even worry about counting calories. However, I knew I really should look at what my intake was, and be more aware of my food. This thinking prompted the beginning of one of my most non-scientific of real-life experiments, and just recently… I’ve decided to take it back to the roots of eating and take on the “Caveman Diet,” also referred to as the hunter-gatherer diet, the Paleolithic Diet, or simply paleo. I wouldn’t do this write-up justice if I didn’t credit the coaching/tips/recipes from my friend Erica Goldsmith to this new eating lifestyle that Ruth and I have made a commitment to work on. The almost two years prior to Erica being crowned Miss West Virginia USA 2010 she adopted the paleo lifestyle of eating, and she continues with paleo to date. Not that I have any desire to (or even have a chance of) winning a Miss USA title, but I figured a fellow TRX Training fitness junkie who can keep up with a full schedule, maintain a decent eating regimen, and still have high energy, well, her eating lifestyle just might fit into my similarly unorthodox schedule of activities. As with most dietary approaches, paleo has its critics, especially ones referring to it as a fad diet. Those who know me well know I’m the guy who will shop at Costco for bulk pricing on ribs, steak, pork chops, etc. I’m the guy who will admire the garnish, I mean the vegetables, at restaurant meals and who will leave them on the plate, except to perhaps sample them once in a while, or if Ruth asks me to set a good example to our kids by eating my veggies when our kids are present. So, paleo is a fad diet? I’m not so sure about that, at least not in my situation the past 30 days …and going forward, as this lifestyle is a part of me now. Here’s the skinny on paleo as I see experienced it: there is no strict measurement of food, or a time of day to eat, or a firm pattern of days to eat this or that, or fancy fluids or meals to purchase, or calories to count. Not that there’s anything wrong with those other diets (just my opinion), but we’re talking about a diehard carnivore, so this “unga bunga diet,” seemed right up my alley. I need to add the fact that in May I’m participating in my first OC Marathon (wearing combat boots from The Boot Campaign, in support our troops!). For me such training meant carbs, carbs, and more carbs equated to my energy for training. Erica shared some reference material on “paleo for athletes,” (as my go-to rice, potatoes, pasta, etc., aren't paleo) as I didn’t want my OC Marathon training to falter because my energy stores were low. Sure enough I’ve not complained about lost energy. In fact, I feel as though my energy level has gone up, probably since my body doesn’t have to waste energy burning off processed foods! I also need to add that I almost fell into analysis-paralysis of this lifestyle. It was the last full week of February and, as it sounded right, I told Erica that Ruth and I would start on March 1st. (It was neat that Ruth was going to go paleo with me as well; yay, for spousal support!) As we hit Friday, February 25th, Ruth and I decided that that Saturday we’d begin. Talk about a Filipino guy who eats four servings of starchy white rice (yummmmm) in three meals, and to start paleo on a weekend where temptations are all around? Geez, Louise! Shocking you out of your comfort zone usually works best, right? (Now we’ll make the rest of this just about me as I know females do not disclose their weight loss statistics. Just a smidgen, however: While Ruth didn't have weight loss issues before paleo, she lost weight during this time as well, loves the healthier cuisine/snacks that we eat … and a happy wife is a happy life!) In my first seven days of paleo, I shed six pounds and dropped three percentage points off my body fat percentage. My energy levels didn’t falter (even though I ditched my rice & breads), and I actually felt more energetic during my 5:30 AM workouts. Overall, by the end of this initial 30 days on March 26, I lost 9 pounds, ditched 6.5% body fat percentage, and gained self-awareness in my choice of food ingredients. I’ve lost craving for processed food, and gained more energy to fuel my workouts. Our kids love the "caveman" desserts and snacks (granted we're not forcing anything on them). At this point in their lives, they're growing kids. While Ruth and I have supreme rule over their diet, if they're 70% paleo with us out of their own curiosity, that's better than having 100% grumpy kids who'll find ways to secretly consume ice cream, hot dogs, rice, etc. Remember this eating lifestyle is supposed to make you enjoy life better, physically and mentally. Ruth and I would rather to have open communication with them on their likes, rather than force something on them. I digress ... What I like about this lifestyle is something Erica (and other paleo veterans) reminds me: you can’t be 100% paleo, 100% of the time. I know what I should avoid, and I enjoy what is recommended. I enjoy the results of this lifestyle, and this lifestyle lets me enjoy random non-paleo items, without damaging what I’ve set in motion this past month. The whole purpose was to have a better lifestyle; not for me to suffer (hence why I shun against the term “diet”). How could I have a better lifestyle if at a friend’s surprise luncheon I have to just watch others enjoy what’s served, while I preach about my new lifestyle as I eat a carrot stick? Hypocrite! LOL! One Saturday, a neighbor poured some beer in two steins and walked it over to me one weekend our kids played together. In our conversation of my upcoming races and training, the topic came up about my marathon training, which I briefly described my eating lifestyle as I finished the drink he poured. He felt so guilty that he handed me a beverage that didn’t meet the criteria. I laughed as told him that it was nothing to be bothered with, and this lifestyle gave me leeway. Now his interest was piqued, as we casually spoke about paleo more. Mission accomplished about getting the word out that this is NOT a diet. At home I’ll cook what’s scrumptious (paleo-style) for my family, but I’ll not restrict our kids’ craving for a bowl of ice cream, a batch of starchy steamed rice, or even alter our scheduled Daddy-Son lunches where they get to choose where to eat and talk, without Mommy around. So, again, what that it’s “only” 70 percent of the time that they’re our little caveboys? I’ll take that over 100% of haphazard eating that contributes to obesity. I love that they enjoy my caveman bread, my caveman cookies, etc., and even assist in making them since they prefer to snack on them! I love that they even joke about my caveman lifestyle and the usual quibbles about cavemen not owning iPhones, cavemen not wearing Oakleys, or cavemen not driving cars. Such as how casually Erica introduced this lifestyle to my family, I believe I’ve gotten the message across the next generation in my household just as subtly … and those messages/methods are the most effective ways to gain support. So a note to my friends who now know what my eating lifestyle is these days … PLEASE do not discount me for pot lucks, receptions, picnics, happy hours, etc. I can still throw down with the best when it comes to eating, and I can still whip up delicious food on the grill or in the kitchen! I'll still drink and do shots with you! LOL Just to make a point, the food I ate during these 30 days is not what most would consider “diet food,” and the following are a sample of these easy-to-prepare AND delicious caveman meals … unga bunga
BBQ pork ribs

Chicken, with peaches, almonds and raisins

Curry shrimp, with spinach

Grilled golden pompano w/ sea salt, ground black pepper, with Chinese broccoli

Blackened pork chops, w/ pompano/onion/bell pepper omelet (yes, this was a breakfast)

Steak (black/red peppers) and eggs (sea salt/paprika) (yup, for breakfast)

Cookies: almond meal, honey, cinnamon

Cookies: coconut, chocolate nibs

Caveman Brownies: pear, almond flour

Cookie sheet: almond flour, dark cocoa, raw agave

Oozing chocolate lava cake: dark chocolate, almond butter, almond flour

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I had to include the Oakleys in the pictures. BTW, I'll run out of Oakleys to put in the pictures, before I'll run out of paleo dishes and goodies to make! So now you see that this longtime carnivore (and STILL one!) didn’t have to starve himself the past 30 days. However, this caveman did: enjoy his delicious meals/portions, maintain his energy for the marathon training, learn new recipes along the way, drop some body fat percentage points, and lose & keep off some weight.

In summary ... Things I had to work on:

  • paying more attention to what "alternative" ingredients I could use in my cooking

  • browsing through new recipes and adding new cuisine to my palette

  • controlling myself in cooking ALL the delicious desserts that are paleo-friendly
Things I have found to be positive experiences:

  • maintaining a lower body fat percentage

  • maintaining a lighter body mass (good for running LOL)

  • powering through longer workouts due to increased energy

  • liking the more critical "chef's taste buds," as my taste buds are more aware

  • loving the fact that this is NOT strict when it comes to casual non-paleo eats/drinks

  • enjoying the fact that I still LOVE all the foods I eat

  • continuing to be happy that my family supports paleo (makes for easier kitchen duty)

  • (OK, I'll have to sneak this in here: increased libido, not that there were issues before)

I told Erica that should paleo become a lifestyle for me, I would love to share the paleo lifestyle with at least ten others, in order to continue to spread the word …and some of these ten have already hit me up, so I’m happy that I have intrigued interest along the way! You think you want to eat better choices, manage the weight/body fat statistics, curious about the food I shared above ...or just want to sample my oozing chocolate lava cakes? ...then hit me up! LOL

Life is short, and you should enjoy the fruit of your labor. Why settle to torture yourself over what you can or cannot eat? Opt for a lifestyle, instead of a restriction … and enjoy!



  1. Would you care to share any of these recipes? I would particularly be interested in the Cookies: almond meal, honey, cinnamon recipe. Thanks and good luck on your new lifestyle...

  2. Hi Cattina!

    Those cookies were super easy to prepare:


    2 cups ground almonds (used the Magic Bullet to crush them into almond meal ...and enjoyed every second doing so)

    1/4 cup honey

    1/4 cup water


    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Heat the honey and pour into the almond meal.
    3. Drop the water into the almond meal.
    4. Mix together until you get a batter consistency.
    5. On a cookie sheet, line it with wax paper (or parchment paper).
    6. Drop clumps into your desired size, not making it too thick. The batter will not spread or rise, so what you set is what you'll get.
    7. 10-12 mintues depending on your oven, but watch around the 10 minute mark as they'll burn quickly.
    8. Cool for 2 minutes and pop them off the wax paper ... and enjoy!

  3. Cattina,

    ... Oops, on the cinnamon >>> Sprinkle the cinnamon over the cookie clumps, right before placing them in the oven :-)

  4. Thanks for sharing Reggie! You're always up to something AWESOME!

  5. Thank you, Shannon, for checking out my paleo experience. Ruth and I are enjoying this lifestyle, and are continuing with it! Hope to see you again soon!