Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weight issues...

A post dedicated to my mate René and all the other fat bitches out there (yeah, he really is a bit of a bitch).

Conversation:
Me:    "Oh, so you're on a diet again."
René: "Yeah, I really really need to lose some weight."
Me:    "Don't you mean slim down or take some inches off your waist or something? I mean you're not competing in a sport where you have to fit into some weight category, there's no magic sign over your head announcing your current weight to the world. Nobody has to know what you weigh!"
René: "I don't care. I just want to weigh 70 kilos."
Me:    "Gaargh..."


I've been thinking about this conversation, mulling it over, and trying to figure out why I thought René was such a stupid bastard (maybe I should have added arrogant to the title of this blog). 
Whiners will point out that losing weight has become short-hand for reducing body fat. True, but the language is distracting and moves focus to the scales (fuck, I do it myself except that I think about gaining weight as a proxy for bulk/muscle. I hate myself) rather than actual useful goals that might make you happier/"better". 
Let me put it in even more words - when you make a dietary change like my friend you need to track the parameters of your goals before and after the intervention. And you need to identify your goals and consider whether they actually represent what you want to achieve. Now René expressed that he wants to weigh 70 kilos. I know him well enough to know that what he means by that is that he wants to return to his weight (plus a little bit I think) before he ballooned. So a much better starting point would be for the little skank to look through his stash of old compromising pictures of himself and find one that shows enough skin and what he wants to work towards and then take a picture once every week or fortnight in the same pose to track body composition changes. If he lets the scales guide him then he could lose 10 pounds of muscle and 0 pounds of fat and still think that it's going in the right direction. Which it wouldn't be - he would be moving in completely the wrong direction and his body would probably force him to quit once it had killed as much muscle as possible without killing him. Another goal that could be complementary to getting approximately his old body back could be reducing his body fat. Unfortunately most methods (caliper, electronic body fat meter) are downright unreliable for an absolute measurement or expensive and time consuming (DEXA, submersion). Luckily, waist measurement correlates very nicely with body fat (as long as it's over the abs level) so he could get a relative measure of body fat with simply a tape measure. Improvements in posture will of course reflect in a waist measurement but since the primary goal is returning to old looks (and not to reduce buoyancy) this is not a problem.

Other goals that might have people stepping on the scales:
Reversing diabetes (a better way of tracking the goal would be to regularly examine glucose sensitivity - or alternatively a waist measurement).
Physical ability (e.g. if you can't walk around town without getting winded and achy then select a distance from your home to walk and time it regularly). 
Getting rid of knee pain (does your knee hurt? No? Success!).
Improving at your sport, etc. There are heaps of things where people judge the success of their dietary intervention on the numbers on the scales despite that number not actually reflecting anything that's important to them in their life.
The thing about vanity is that if you are even just a little vain, you are way harder on yourself than anyone else is. If someone actually are harder on you than you are on yourself (and you really are vain) then it probably has more to do with them being complete cunts than anything else.

tl;dr Ditch your scales (unless you need to fit in a weight category for sports), carefully set your goals before starting a dietary intervention (for paleo I suggest a long list of every single thing that ails you right down to combination skin but set a very high standard for saying that there's an improvement), find a way to monitor your goals (or monitor a strong proxy but make sure it can't misled you).

Extra reading: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2012/09/11/tuesday-10-excellent-body-image-advice/ and http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/06/22/attention-scale-addicts-part-2/ and http://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/nue8c/6_month_progress_weightlifting_female/

Penny Arcade

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Brekky - part 6

18/8 Sweet potato hash pancake again
So coffee with mate before gym, past work on the way to gym, etc... Long story short I did have a small banana at 10 am but breakfast was really at 14.45. Oops.
Anyway, made the sweet potato thing again with mushrooms, spring onions, and 5 eggs. Spiced with baharat and drippings. Ate 3 bananas while it was cooking and probably something more (cherry tomatoes? No, I was out). It was not as nice as the previous time. Mushrooms definitely don't belong in there and I think the hash needs longer in the pan to really caramelise if you want that treat-quality. It was still good though (that means that I demolished it in seconds).

19/8 Dinner leftovers
Made some tuna-tomato crap the evening before and ate the rest of it for breakfast. Lots of onions, celery sticks, bell peppers, herbes de provence and chilli in there.
Ate some cherry tomatoes later in the day and they were remarkably sweet.

20/8 Fried eggs and an apple
I overslept (bad Bastard!) and didn't have any emergency meals (bad Bastard!). I ended up with 4 eggs fried in fat and mushroom powder. Mushroom powder is amazing but it fucking sucks for eggs.
Luckily I had prepared lunch the evening before and the two portoburglos really hit the spot. One portoburglo: Bottom bun a raw portobello mushrom, then 200g spiced home-minced beef (garlic powder, mushroom powder, baharat), half a bell pepper, about a quarter of a head of lettuce in individual leaves as the top bun. It makes a fairly big eat and two of them is very filling but oh so good. Could have used some sauce but I couldn't be bothered.

21/8 Sweet potato hash pancake and bananas
I'm sensing a pattern... Overslept (or rather woke up and fell asleep again). Ate half on the way to work, went to the gym after morning tea break, then ate the rest and my lunch.

22/8 Fry-up
Cherry tomatoes, lots of mushrooms, 1 strip back bacon, 3 eggs. Not really inspired.

23/8 Breakfast with my dad
My dad is visiting so I tried to make something a bit nicer. Sweet potato hash, a few fried cherry tomatoes, baby asparagus, sliced yellow bell pepper, 2 Debbie & Andrew Harrowgate sausages (yeah yeah, too much omega-6, whatever) and a strip of bacon.
He whined about not having any bread and was worried that the lack of bread (white wheat bread) would hurt his digestion. He's my dad and he has heaps of health issues - I shouldn't be judging him about his lifetime of bad food choices.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I am the OMEGA

I'm lying LOL I'm not really God.

"Why should I restrict my omega-6 intake? Aren't they essential fatty acids?"

Good questions! Where do you get all these great questions from?

Two reasons:

tl;dr omega-6s are converted into pro-inflammatory hormones and omega-3s are converted into anti-inflammatory hormones - one of the omega-6s, linoleic acid (18:2 ω-6), also inhibits the critical step in converting the omega-3 we get from plants, α-linolenic acid (18:3 ω-3), into the useful omega-3s, eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5 ω-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6 ω-3).

Eicosanoid production

Eicosanoids and nonclassical eicosanoids are short-range hormones and neurotransmitters derived from the omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsatured essential fatty acids (be a bit wary of those wikipedia articles though since they are written by eicosanoid experts who probably have an interest in as many diseases as possible being implicated in eicosanoid signalling). Now the word 'essential' is a bit of a misnomer. Essential means that something is required in our diet because we've lost the ability to synthesize it ourselves. But the reason we've lost the ability to synthesize it ourselves is because that essential nutrient is plentiful in our diet - or at least has been plentiful in the last millions of years.
Anyway, to get back to the subject at hand, eicosanoids are fat soluble hormones and neurotransmitters of short range which means they are good for localized actions like injury. Say you cut yourself with a dirty, rusty blade. That gives you pain, blood coagulation, increased blood flow through vasodilation, swelling, mobilization of immune systems, fight of infection, and then later tissue repair, reduction of swelling and pain, shutdown of immune systems, and finally vasoconstriction so the red mark disappears and you are left with normal looking skin. These are all good things. They are part of the healing process. And eicosanoid signalling is involved in all those steps.
Now, the signalling molecules derived from the different essential fatty acids have similar themes:
Omega-6s are generally involved in up-regulating inflammatory responses (the first bit of your stab wound) and omega-3s are generally less inflamming, anti-inflammation, or resolving inflammation (the second part of your stab wound).
Both parts are needed to be healthy but neither of them should be overdone. There's a number of drugs that interact with this signalling system. Aspirin is probably the most common drug in the world and it throws a spanner in the works right at the beginning at the eicosanoid production so it reduces pain and inflammation but also decreases blood clotting making things like bleeding ulcers a greater risk.
What happens though is that industrial man eats too many omega-6 fatty acids and sometimes too few omega-3s. Which diseases are associated with increased signalling from omega-6 derived eicosanoids? Auto-immune diseases, gastrointestinal inflammatory disease, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis (which is why aspirin works against cardiovascular disease), allergies. In addition it could easily be involved in type-1 diabetes since that is an autoimmune disease for which the number afflicted is rising. Not to mention that endocannabinoids are synthesized from an omega-6 fatty acid and endocannabinoids increase appetite - you don't want to be fat, now do you? Or even worse, hungry.

Polyunsaturated fatty acid interconversion

While humans like other mammals aren't able to make these essential fatty acids on our own we can luckily convert the various forms (cats though can't go from the linolenic / linoleic acid to the EPA / AA which makes them obligate carnivores).
So at the top are the two common plant sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, ALA and LA. These can then be elongated and desaturated to fatty acids that are more important in animals. Cleverly, since they are quite similar only one enzyme is needed per two kinds of fatty acids. This however also means that the fatty acids compete for the enzymes needed so if there's a lot of LA only little ALA will be turned into SDA by Δ6 desaturase. Bummer. The ALA to SDA conversion is supposed to be quite poor in humans but I'm not sure if that's when measuring on humans with a reasonable intake of LA.
In addition to the eicosanoid system polyunsaturated fatty acids are important to the composition of cell membranes (the "skin" of a cell) and in particular DHA is important for the membranes of neurons.

"Okay, if omega-3s are anti-inflammatory can't I just eat a shit-load of fish oil and not care about any of this fucking science-stuff?"

Well, you can eat anything you want but if you want to be healthy then you need to consider whether there's too much omega-6 in your diet.
Omega-3 derived eicosanoids aren't directly antagonistic to omega-6 derived eicosanoids but actually more cooperative. One instigates and the other cleans up. And some omega-3 derived eicosanoids are actually pro-inflammatory. Fucked, isn't it?

So let's have a look at where we find omega-6s and respectively ALA and EPA/DHA.

Omega-6 sources ranked by concentration:

1) Plant seeds (concentrated in seed oils of course). Plant seed examples are: grains, beans, peas, corn, rice, nuts, quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat (disclaimer: some nuts are actually low in omega-6 and others like rice have almost no fat). Yes, this includes flax seed, sunflower seeds (very high LA actually), sesame seeds, etc. If you've read my blog you know that I love sesame seeds and sprinkle them on lots of stuff. I don't make sesame bread though. Or any other kind of "paleo" non-grain bread.
2) Animal fat from animals raised on plant seeds. If it doesn't say grass-fed, pastured, organic (what are the feeding rules for organic meat?), or wild on the package then the animal feed will have had a very large seed component.
3) Generally in plants and animals. You are unlikely to become deficient unless you eat a very monotonous, very low fat diet. If you are really really worried that you aren't getting enough LA then eat some olives / olive oil, walnuts, and almonds. There. That won't be enough to hurt you.

EPA/DHA sources ranked by concentration: 

1) Eyes. Okay, I don't think there's much fat in an eyeball but there are buttloads of DHA in eyes - highest in the retina where it's 20-25%.
2) Braaaaaaaaaaaains. 5-10% DHA in mammalian brains.
3) Fish / fish eggs.
4) Algae, poultry, eggs, dairy. Not preferred sources in my opinion but there's a little bit there. Not much in the animal sources though and like the eyes and brains you aren't going to be eating much algae.

ALA sources ranked by concentration: 

1) Leafy greens. Specifically the green photosynthetic organelles contain heaps of ALA.
2) Some plant seeds (that are also high in LA) like flax, chia, kiwi seeds, etc are very high in ALA. Some legumes like rapeseed and soy also has fairly high ALA content but it is usually processed away because it reduces shelf life.
3) Meat and dairy from grass-fed animals. The ALA from the grass ends up in the animal. And double up on bonus because that also means that the animal ate fewer plant seeds and thus has lower LA.

See a pattern? What diet is high on seeds and low on leafy greens, fish, and braaaains? And what diet is low on seeds and high on leafy greens and grassfed beef? (Yeah, I don't want brains either)

If you answered "Industrial diet bad, paleo diet good" then I salute you for reading to the end of this ridiculously long post!

PS I never had any problems with autoimmune issues but I was raised low fat and ate even lower than the rest of my family since I don't like cheese. I figure the low fat upbringing is probably the cause of my autistic traits (autism is a very serious disease and I'm not making light of it but just pointing out that on a autism spectrum scale I would probably have been placed on the NVLD end, instead of out in the sun playing with the other kids).
PPS Mom, I totally don't blame you for the lack of fat in my childhood and I respect acknowledge that you don't want to eat paleo (that bread and cheese addiction that the world seems to have is good fuel for a blog post however) but please only buy organic dairy (especially butter, cheese, and cream but then you may as well buy the rest organic) and only use butter / ghee or coconut oil for frying and cooking and save the olive and coldpressed rapeseed oil for dressings. Oh, and for Christ sake either make ice cream yourself or buy something that's actually made from dairy. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Brekky - part 5

14/8 4 egg omelet + avo
Scrambled up an omelet with baharat and Nomnom Paleo's Magical Mushroom Powder (it's in her iPad app but it's basically a mix with ground dried mushrooms and a-ma-zing!). That and an avocado, dunked it in a box and ate it at work after a sucky workout.
And I was really temperamental for some reason. Weird.

15/8 3 egg omelet + lettuce and cucumber
Very uninspired - almost the same as 14th.

16/8 Sweet potato hash pancake frittata
Gym morning so the evening before I made some hash (spiced with ras el hanout and lamb drippings), took it off the heat, cracked 3 eggs into it, mixed thoroughly and fried it some more. Most delicious bloody thing ever. Think this might go in the treats category. Also had like 2 bananas.

17/8 Big ass smoked salmon salad
Went out for dinner on the 16th (and not having beer was really really annoying and anti-social) so had to make both lunch and breakfast. Just made a BASSS out of a head of lettuce, 2/3 of a cucumber, 2 avocados, 250 g smoked salmon trimmings (told you I was cheap), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper. Split it and added gomashio to the stuff I ate for breakfast (I always get sesame seeds in all my teeth and really don't think that's a charming look for work so I don't use it for lunch stuff).

Americans: lamb drippings is when you make a lamb roast and then stuff drips into the roasting tin. Most times you will have to add some water to dissolve it again. Of course you could just use it in a sauce to go with the lamb or mix it with some veggies and serve but I find (at least when I do a slow cooked roast) that there's plenty of umami for a long time so I pour it through a fine-mesh sieve and pop it in the fridge. I remove the fat that congeals on top before use. And then I just use it as a stock or spice. When it's cold it gelatinizes but when heated it melts nicely.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Whinge: "But why does it have to be so extreme?"

So that's what my mum whines every time I try to convince her to try out paleo for a month. And then she follows it up with something about how she really should be cooking more paleo recipes because they are really delicious.
So now I'll attempt to explain why you should be completely 100% strict for a month.

If I just grab some email from a co-worker who is doing the Whole30 with me in August (from an email exchange about whether he was hungry and what he could eat for breakfast before going to work):
"Hi Bastard, 

   Had eggs with spring onions and tomato for breakfast, that was alright, wifey made meatballs, Spanish omelette and lots of cauliflower for dinner, so she really is supportive !  I must admit I had a glass of coke after cycling - probably not allowed ...? 

See you tomorrow"

"Bad co-worker!"

"Hi Bastard,

   Half kidding, did not really feel hungry, but just this sort of feeling that I have not eaten the right stuff, never mind, far too often, I skipped lunch, and that certainly is not healthy !"

"The coke is worse than skipping lunch. And skipping lunch is worse than skipping breakfast.
I'm trying to accomplish several things here.
First of all to convince your body that it is okay to burn fat for energy and make glucose from protein. When carbohydrate intake is high the body turns down the fat metabolism as far as possible to make sure that the carbohydrate is burnt off as efficiently as possible. Moderate to low carbohydrate intake should fix that. The lingering feeling of not having eaten the right stuff is because your body is using all the available fuel - this will change.
I am also trying to change your experience of food. You know how if you are working with beta-mercaptoethanol you don't notice the smell anymore after a bit of time? The same happens with taste only it takes much longer to desensitise the tastebuds (and equally long to resensitise them). You've probably mostly seen this is in real life from how some people want shitloads of salt on their food - while that amount of salt actually makes the food inedible to other people. The idea is that if we resensitise your tastebuds in this regard more things will taste sweet - specifically real food will taste sweeter.
The second thing about your experience of food that I want to change is more nebulous. It's called food reward. Basically your dopamine system fires to reward you for taking in calories. So you get reward for high concentrations of carbohydrates and fat (protein seems more to trigger the "I'm full" response) and for sweet tastes (and salty too I think). Taking drugs is a shortcut to the dopamine system. For all neuro-things the body adjusts based on the input. So if you take lots of drugs the reward system becomes less sensitive and you need more drugs to feel reward - and food becomes less rewarding as well. I want you to eat things with a lower built-in reward for a month so that you receive a greater feeling of satisfaction from real food.
And because of the way LTP (long-term potentiation) and LTD (long-term depression) works then you undo all the not-drinking-coke work you did yesterday when you drink it today.

Does all this make sense? Let me know if there is anything that seems counter-intuitive or just plain wrong.

/bastard

PS Spanish omelette? Potatoes..? And be careful with the eggs. Not because they are bad for you but because you could get really really sick of them in which case this won't be a success experience for you."

"Potatoes, some of your books say they are ok, but the opinion seems divided?"

"I think only Paleo Comfort Foods are okay with them. I know that they don't work for me (skin issue) and I know that people eat too many of them (back to the too many carbs problem). My suggestion is to use sweet potatoes instead and only for things like after your bike ride."

So while some things could probably improve if you just ate "less bad" there are neurological, immunological, and food sensitivity effects where it simply doesn't work. In addition it makes it a lot harder since you will more easily slip into old habits if you don't make dramatic change.
You might be able to fix the problems with your omega-6 to omega-3 balance by reducing intake of omega-6 foods and you might get your carbohydrate intake down and in the long run stabilise your blood sugar and energy levels but it would be very slow going and a host of other problems with your diet could still fuck you over and you would be upset about all the work you did without getting a big payoff.

Let's use my issues with potatoes as an example. If I eat chips or crisps (American: fries or chips) I get acne after 2-6 days. So there are pimples and more come later and they take time to go away as well so the turnover time till the consequences of my food choice is gone is in the range of several weeks. When I was a teen I definitely never went several weeks without crisps/chips. So I didn't make the connection until a year or two after I had moved away from home. I was too cheap to buy crisps because they weren't healthy but when I lived with my parents they were always there. To be honest though some other things also seems to have set me off (to this day I am grateful that there is Accutane) but nothing as reliable as the chips and crisps (even does today when I'm in my thirties but not as severely - had chips/fries on my ski holidays this year and got my zits). And no - they don't cause acne because people touch their face with grease on their fingers. Now I only discovered this because I went months and months without these things and then (randomly because other people bought them for parties) reintroduced them. And the bloody thing is that I discovered recently that I have the same issue with non-deep fried potatoes but with regard to red bumps on my bum! Evil potatoes.

tl;dr Know how a wound takes time to heal? A wound might not kill you but if you don't stop inflicting them on yourself for a long time they won't all be healed at the same time.

Now with regard to the neurological reasons for why you need to be 100% compliant for at least a month you should read this piece on behavioural psychology: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/07/07/extinction-burst/

PS I'll get to why skipping lunch is worse than skipping breakfast some other day.

PPS My co-worker had managed to convince himself that because fruits were allowed, juice must be allowed (even though it figures squarely on the Don't-list), and because there's the same amount of sugar in juice as there is in Coke then Coke must be okay. And when I pressed him more he said that he only had diluted juice. But no matter how much I pressed him he wouldn't answer my question about whether he had diluted Coke.

Brekky - part 4

Oy, this blogging is a lotta work.

10/8 Got up late - emergency meal
Ate 3 hardboiled eggs (that I had boiled in advanced), one green bell pepper, and an avocado (laziest approach to avos is to cut them in eighths and remove the peel). Liberal sprinkling with gomashio. In fact it was almost black with sesame. Made me think about how gomashio looks a bit like rat poo.

11/8 Lamb and sweet potato hash
Gym morning. Of course the gym didn't open until 9 so I wasn't there until it was past 10. Oops. Breakfast at about noon. While the hash was frying I defrosted some lamb from last weekend and snacked a little bit. Like a couple of small handfuls almonds, a couple of handfuls cherry tomatoes and 3 bananas. I cut up the lamb and fried it when the hash was done. It was glorious.
Saved the lamb fat for making dinner. In case you think all this grating sweet potatoes for hash is waaaay to much work then I agree. I just took 1-1.2 kg and grated 'em in the food processor - stored them in a plastic box in the fridge. And while I was at it I grated carrots as well. Do the carrots first.

12/8 Sausage salad
2 leftover sausages, half a head of lettuce, a red bell pepper, big handful cherry tomatoes. Started eating but found it a bit boring so added olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

13/8 Whatever there was
4 fried eggs and an avocado. Smothered in gomashio of course. The exciting thing is that the eggs weren't fried in goose fat! I finally ran out and was forced to get around to making ghee! I don't know why I'm using this many exclamation marks! I'm not excited in real life!

Americans: A kg is... you know what, fuck that. Convert it yourself. Or learn some fucking metric like the rest of the world.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Emergency!

Meals!

I challenge you to make some emergency meals. And I'm going to make it easy for you as well. If you don't like that you can make it hard for yourself and have other emergency meals.

In the refridgerator: 3-6 hardboiled eggs. Mark them with a felt tip pen so you know that they aren't raw. Otherwise they just become divorce argument fodder. If you have no lunch you could throw them in a bag with some raw veggies. Same for breakfast. Or if you think a meal looks like it could use a bit more protein you can just throw some peeled eggs in there.

In the freezer: A box with frozen leftovers. Enough for an entire meal. Just so you can always just throw something in the microwave and eat.

In the car: A bag of nuts. Remember that this is an emergency meal. Don't eat them just because you are feeling a little snackish. Also, things that are not a bag of nuts: a bag of peanuts, a bag of salted nuts, a bag of "yoghurt" covered nuts, a bag of dried cranberries, a bag of raisins etc. Unsalted macademias, hasselnuts, cashews, almonds are your friends.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Brekky - part 3

ZOMG I'm like writing something every day.

6/8 Fail
I was really stuffed Sunday evening after demolishing a bit more than half a lamb shoulder through the day and really couldn't motivate myself to make a proper breakfast =( Monday morning was workout time so I ended up taking 10g BCAA before and after the gym and then eating my lunch early (11 am). I am wondering now if BCAA before working out is actually a bad idea - they are insulinogenic so it might reduce the glucose released from the liver... On the other hand if glycogen stores are low-low it might not matter.
Lunch was the same as dinner Sunday evening. 3 slices of lamb shoulder diced and fried in goose fat and a teaspoon of Bart Spices baharat, with sliced mushrooms, half a tenderheart cabbage, pork stock, and balsamic vinegar. Yes, I try to eat at least half a head of things you buy in heads ('cept iceberg - useless) every day in addition to the other vegetables I eat. It is not a lot. It just takes up a fair amount of room in the fridge.

7/8 Couple of carrots and some fry-up
Ate a couple of raw carrots with a fry-up consisting of cherry tomatoes, muchrooms, a small onion, 2 slices bacon, 3 eggs.
"Devil man! You said no bacon!" Yes, I said no bacon and I did it for a very specific reason. This:
Credit unknown, unfortunately.
Bacon is more salt and fat than protein. As such you (and I) should only eat bacon from pastured pigs, processed by an actual butcher rather than a factory, and you should treat it as an occasional condiment to your protein of choice. It the pig was raised in a factory farm then the fat isn't much different from drinking generic vegetable oil to be honest (think soy, corn etc.) and if it was processed in a factory it has most likely gotten the full dose of preservatives that the law allows. So stay away from bacon or you end up in the bacon trap. It's cheap and tasty but 1) it's not a good source of protein 2) it will fuck with your digestion 3) it a big source of omega-6 fatty acids.

8/8 Yay, guests!
I had friends visit me from home so a great excuse to cook heaps of delicious food. So we had... lemme see... 2 Debbie & Andrew's Harrowgate sausages, a slice of bacon, sweet potato hash (spiced with Nom Nom Paleo's Magical Mushroom Powder, Bart Spices baharat, and garlic powder), and a veggie fry-up of cherry tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper strips, and asparagus tips. Yum yum yum.

9/8 Dammit
So a gym morning but I had neither made lunch or breakfast the evening before so I pushed gym to around 11 am and went to work first. But not until having breakfast and making some lunch.
So for breakfast I fried up some leftover slow cooked pork from when my guests were here and fried a sliced eggplant in baharat on fairly high heat. So the eggplant wasn't cooked through but was spicy and cooked on one side and mostly raw but hot on the other. Yum. I also snacked a small handful almonds and some blueberries while cooking.
And the lunch was of course more pork but with a sweet potato hash. And banana and apple afterwards. Yes, I eat a lot.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Brekky - part 2

The breakfast chronicles continue:

2/8 More of that Mexican thing with Asian crossover
So for breakfast I made the same thing as 1/8 but with 3 eggs instead of four. And because it I went to the gym in the morning I made breakfast the evening before and added sweet potato hash (one sweet potato = ~200g). I used this recipe from Nomnom Paleo but replaced all the spices except garlic powder with Nomnom's Magical Mushroom Powder (from her iPad app) and gomashio. It was amazing.
The rest of the day was less amazing. I drank tea at work without milk. It's pretty awful tea. I really want milk. And protein shakes with milk. Made it home just as it began to rain. Then realised that I had forgotten my house keys at the office. Got the idea that I should go past Tesco and buy a Nak'd bar for comfort but then realised that it has dried fruit and no dried fruit allowed... Got wet.

3/8 Fried eggs with salad
More fucking eggs! I'm a bit low on protein in the fridge but going to the farm shop on Saturday. Okay, I fried up three eggs in goose fat and half a teaspoon of baharat from Bart Spices. Ate it with a salad made from lettuce, sliced mushroom, grated swede, and gomashio. The rest of my salad became my lunch after I added 1 avocado, 2 tins tuna, balsamic vinegar, basil olive oil, and ground pepper. Actually I added the avo and tuna to my lunchbox first, heaped as much salad on top as I could fit and then ate the rest of the salad for breakfast but that just reads awkwardly.
Someone brought in homemade profiteroles to work today. They were sculpted into the form of a shit-snowman (loooong story) but I still really really really wanted one.

4/8 Fry up - no eggs =)
Saturday! Basically I threw some stuff in a pan. In the following order: goose fat, a red chopped red onion, a handful cherry tomatoes, 4 sliced mushrooms, a chopped red bell pepper, 2 leftover Debbie and Andrew's Harrowgate sausages, 2 tablespoons pork stock (I need to use the last since I'm making a new pork roast soon and the last time it made about 3/4 litre strong stock), 1 tablespoon tomato paste, a squeeze chilli sauce. It was freakin' ambrosia. Maybe a bit heavy on the salt because of the stock. Should have made do with one tablespoon.

5/8 Kinda boring - superjuicy lamb with some celery
So I made some slow cooked lamb overnight in the oven. 12 hours at 90-95 Celsius. Lovingly rubbed with a mixture of rosemary, herbes de Provence, fennel seeds, olive oil, and tomato paste and wrapped around some cloves of garlic. Placed on top of two halved onions in a roasting tray and covered first with some baking paper and then tin foil. Foil to keep water in and baking paper to avoid having the tin foil touching the meat - otherwise the foil can stick to the roast or become dissolved by salt. Ate a couple of slices with some celery sticks.
Kinda wanted to have a wander into town and have a latte today =(

Americans! A Nak'd bar is the UK version of a Larabar, a swede is a turnip (okay, now my office mates are claiming, respectively, that mine was a turnip because it wasn't orange enough or that there is no such thing as a swede and that it's a turnip - all I know it that said swede on the wrapping), 3/4 litre is 3 cups, 90-95C is 200F.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sometimes I hate science...

So ScienceNOW reported on a study that showed some interesting differences and similarities between shark teeth and our teeth. From the study conclusion:
"Although fluoroapatite has a higher hardness compared to hydroxyapatite, the shark teeth enameloid (fluoroapatite) was not harder than the enamel of human teeth (hydroxyapatite)."
and
"The fact that sharks use fluoroapatite as tooth biomineral instead of hydroxyapatite which is used by mammals does not lead by a higher hardness of the shark teeth and must have a different, but hitherto unknown, reason."
They also show that the mineral fluoroapatite is much harder than both kinds of tooth but more brittle (in correspondance with what we already knew).

So my question is this: does this mean that we are better off with hydroxyapatite enamal than fluoroapatite? There's fluor in toothpaste (sometimes in drinking water) to give us fluoroapatite enamal but is this not preferable when we aren't eating a diet with lots of sugar?
I'm so confused.

UPDATE: Okay, according to Wiki-p the fluoridation status of teeth doesn't mean anything for caries but fluoride in saliva and plaque do. And the ability of fluoride to decrease tooth decay was first discovered in areas where the natural fluoride content of the water was high.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Brekky!

So apparently eating something in the morning that isn't toast and cereal is hard. I will try to help. I often skip breakfast but since I am doing Whole30 for the month of August (not something I do lightly - last time was 2-3 years ago) and Dallas and Melissa say in their book to eat breakfast meal 1 I will. And I'll publish my brekkies on the blog to inspire others.

1/8 Mexican inspired eggs:
4 eggs, half eggplant, celery stalk, some Japanese spice mix with chili, ginger, and sesame, goose fat. Fresh coriander and half a lime.
Quartered and sliced eggplant, sliced celery, 1/2 cm slices. Fried in goose fat with the spices on high heat, transfered to a plate. Heat off, pan on a cold heater. More goose fat. Cracked eggs into pan, stirred them together for scrambling. Back on the hot heater, set to high, scrambled away. When it was done I threw it on top of the veggies and threw some chopped coriander on and squished the lime to drizzle juice over.

PS For the Americans: 1/8 means first of August, coriander is cilantro, and 1/2 cm is 1/5 inch.