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Why Grains Will Kill You (Mindmap)

27 Oct

"Grain Will Kill You" Mindmap

In Paleo Diet, you have to avoid all forms of grains, this includes:

  • Barley (barley soup, barley bread, and all processed foods made with barley)
  • Corn (corn on the cob, corn tortillas, corn chips, corn starch, corn syrup)
  • Oats (steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and all processed foods made with oats)
  • Rice (brown rice, white rice, top ramen, rice noodles, bas mati rice, rice cakes, Rice flour (all processed foods made with rice)
  • Rye (rye bread, rye crackers, and all processed foods made with rye)
  • Sorghum
  • Wheat
    (bread, rolls, muffins, noodles, crackers, cookies, cake, doughnuts,
    pancakes, waffles, pasta, spaghetti, lasagna, wheat tortillas, pizza,
    pita bread, flat bread, and all processed foods made with wheat or wheat flour)
  • Wild rice

They come with good reasons too. The intricacies are too long and the correlations too much to be written as an article. So based on Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution and Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint, I came up with a mindmap summarizing and explaining all the bad things that grains do to you. You can download it as a .pdf here. Sorry if the text is small, zoom away.


Cholestrol 101: Eat less carbohydrate, more healthy fats to avoid a heart attack.

27 Oct

Whenever I try to convince a friend to take up Paleo Diet, I always get accusations like “But all that meat’s going to jack up your cholesterol, and then you’re gonna die from stroke!” I wish replying to that is as easy as shoving a good serving of beef and bacon to their mouth, but we are a civilized society, and I’ll let the scientific findings speak for themselves. But the truth is never simple, and as such this article will be long in order to be comprehensive.

It is understood in the scientific world now that fats do not make you fat, carbohydrates do. But we shall only focus “Cholesterol” in this article. For this purpose I shall refer you to the cholestrol explanation in Primal Blueprint p. 73-80.
First of all, if your doctor is suggesting that you avoid red meat to lower your cholesterol, how is that working out for you? If you lower red meat and saturated fat intake but yet maintains a high carbohydrate diet, chances are if anything your cholesterol will keep rising. At some point it reaches a certain threshold and your physician decides to prescribe you medications to suppress it, but even with that comes some other risks – as we will discuss below.

The whole conventional wisdom that eating fat will cause high cholesterol, ergo heart diseases can be refuted by many research studies available today. The most notable one mentioned by Mark Sisson is the Framingham Heart Disease Study. This particular research studied eating habits of 15,000 participants in Framingham, MA over 3 generations (started 1948). The conclusions of these studies are:

  • There is no correlation between dietary cholesterol intake and blood cholesterol levels.
  • Residents who ate the most cholesterol, saturated fat, and total calories actually weighed the least and were the most physically active.

Much reexamination and research has been conducted following the study above, and it is clear now that heart disease is caused by excessive oxidation and inflammation of a certain type of cholesterol that constitutes a small fraction of the mostly beneficial stuff in our bloodstream.

Continue reading

How To Stay Paleo in the Office – Food Ideas for the Cubicle Dwellers

16 Oct

Here’s a couple of meal ideas for you office warriors. You’ll need an office lounge area with a refrigerator and a microwave. If your office has no fridge, no fear. You can still bag everything in a cold pack bag.

1. Bag of almonds, walnuts, macadenia, macademia, trail mix. (F)
This is the standard thing to munch on whenever you get a hunger pang. I prefer almonds, and 5pcs usually do the fix for me. Great to store inside your office drawer since it’ll last 1-2months locked fresh in a ziplock, which is sort of like forever in Paleo food world. Get a pound of nuts and store them in a ziplock bag, and munch away whenever you need it. Way better than getting a snicker bar and soda from the office vending machine.

2. Cold bacon (F)
Easy stuff. Fry/bake a pound, and store in a tupperware. Last for 3 days in the fridge, cooked. Eat it for lunch or snacks. Dip it in guacamole or salsa for variety.

3. Avocados (F)

Eat half an avocado for lunch, the other half for tomorrow’s lunch. Tricky business, you’ll have to keep the other half completely sealed in a tupperware so that it won’t go dark (oxidized) the next day.

4. Deli Meat (P)
This might be a more expensive choice knowing that most goes for $8/lb or more. But it’s convenient, and much easier to portion out (than a slab of steak or salmon fillet). If you do go with this, pick the low sodium, no nitrate variety. You get what you pay for. Same deal, can be packaged inside ziplock, have it with your carrots, celery sticks and avocados.

5. Cottage Cheese (P)
Personal Experience: I did a whole week of diet based mostly on an apple, Deli meat and cottage cheese for snacks. Yup, finished a huge tub of cottage cheese from Traders’s Joe. I hated the taste of cottage cheese, it’s bland. But you pick your poison. Do know that this is not as protein dense as say, any form of meat, fowl or seafood.

6. Carrots, baby tomatoes, celeries (C)
Same deal, bag ’em and munch ’em!

7. Fruits (C)
If you’re not too worried about fructose content and weight loss, go ahead and have some fruits. Apples, citrus, berries, melons are good convenient choices.

8. Yogurt (C)
Not paleo by any measure. I don’t know why you’d need to eat this, but the ladies can’t get off this one. Choose full-fat variations.

9. Packaged cooked meat (P)
Trader Joe has 12oz. packages of chicken and sliced beef cooked in various flavors, eg. Lemon, herbs and garlic, salt. Just microwave and serve. Note the short expiry date.

10. Protein powder (P)
Quick protein source for those of you too busy for lunch. Perfect for lunch if you’re the type that sneak out to work out during lunch break, that means you’re doing both post-workout nutrition AND lunch. Bam!

11. Hard boiled eggs (P/F)
Boil some eggs in the morning while you shower. Bag them up, share with colleagues, store them for days in the office fridge.

12. Sausages (P/F)
Go for the apple smoked sausages. Grill before work, you can eat it by itself, with a bowl of salad or wrap it with a huge lettuce head, protein-style!

Or if you’re in the mood for bribing your colleagues to believe how awesome this eating lifestyle is, bring a whole feast of Avocado Deviled Eggs, Sweet Potato Fries, Paleo Pizza, and then hit their sweet tooth with Paleo Cookies. Here’s some links to the recipes:

Nutty Cookies (totally Paleo!)

Sweet Potato Fries (most delicious way of making it, I hear)

Delicious Multi-purpose dry rub, and another way you can make sweet potatoes

Fat Guacamole Devils (I make mine with Indonesian Hot sauce Dua belibis, creamy and spicy)

Review: If you’re not losing enough weight… What went wrong?

16 Oct

I found 2 good articles sharing reasons why some of you are are not getting optimal results. I dug up these articles since it has been a month of body composition plateau for me and I thought I should share some of the favorites that I found in these articles.

From 17 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight – Mark’s Daily Apple:

#1 You think you are eating healthy, but you aren’t

Does your diet consist of a massive amount of “products”? Low-carb or not, you want to eatreal food. Flagons of diet soda, plates of pure fiber in the shape of noodles, and loaves of 1g net carb “bread” do not a Primal eating plan make. You’re just feeding an addiction and consuming empty calories – sound familiar? Disregard the labels and look inside for what you know to be true: this crap isn’t food, and you shouldn’t be eating it. It’s about way more than just low-carb.

This one holds true back in the day when I haven’t done enough reading. Dairy, chocolate soy for post-workout, too much peanut sauce. Also, I speculated for a long time that I’m allergic to fish, but only came to confirming it this week.

#13 You are full of excuses

If you find yourself having mini self-contained internal arguments throughout the day (and you lose), or (even worse) lying to yourself about what you’re eating and doing, you’re probably also full of excuses. Read this, maybe twice, then follow up with this.

#15 You are not getting enough sleep

Chronic levels of sleep deprivation cause the release of cortisol, our old fat-storing friend. The biggest spike in (fat-burning, anabolic) growth hormone plasma levels occurs in deep sleep. And a recent sleep study showed that truncated sleep patterns are linked to weight gain. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

From Primal Body|Primal Mind:
4) Believing that exercise can “make up for” unhealthy eating habits.

I could go on with this one for hours. It’s an extremely common misconception and one that allows far too many people to rationalize extremely unhealthy dietary habits. Exercise does not determine your biochemistry—diet does. It’s true that exercise (properly done) has many important health benefits. It can help improve, for instance, insulin sensitivity. This will not, however, somehow magically compensate for eating that stack of pancakes for breakfast. Although it is possible to burn off the sugar (with anaerobic exercise) it is NOT possible to burn off the insulin. Trans-fats, too, will NOT melt away and evaporate on the treadmill or stationary bike at the gym after you ate those French fries for lunch. Exercise is an ADJUNCT to a healthy diet…NOT a substitute.

For more detailed lists, hit up the original links:
17 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight – Mark’s Daily Apple

Top 10 Worst Nutritional & Dietary Mistakes people make – Primal Body|Primal Mind
Additional: Reason #11 and #12 – Performance Paleo

Life after (being on, but yet to step away from) Paleo

13 Oct

In the spirit if continual success after this 6 weeks challenge, let me share random observations I’ve made about myself since starting this thing called “Paleo”. Rather they’re my haphazard mind vomit about my experiences with Crossfit and Paleo in general.

– I had to go out and shop for smaller clothes so that I don’t like I’m constantly shrinking in my own clothing. These days size M is too big, some stores S don’t cut it either… And well, there’s no way you can find size XS men’s in America. I settled with undershirts.

– For the first time ever in my life, I got myself a Levi’s Slim Straight fit. Before this I could only fit into baggy jeans because of my huge thighs and bottom. Now my thighs and bottom is still big (heavy squats FTW) but there’s less flab and more muscle, and I can fit 2 sizes smaller

– I started sizing people in a way only NEO from Matrix could understand. I could guess people’s height and weight with accuracy (good for men better for women), and I can even guess their bodyfat % to ± 2%. How’s that for a pick up line ladies? 😉

– I became very judge-y. I get very critical with what people are eating and when I see people workout in the gym or how the PTs are teaching. Whenever I observe something I ask what that person is doing right or wrong. Sadly with most commercial gyms and traditional diet I do see more wrong than right.

– I became better at listening to my body. If I’m hungry, I’ll eat. If I woke up feeling lethargic, I knew I didn’t have enough deep rest, and true enough my workout the same afternoon isn’t as optimal.

– The other day I started a conversation with someone in the gym. He was going on about how soy lowers cancer. I wanted to interject but that’s 15min I’m taking away from my workout time. So I kept quiet =D

– Today another guy was so adamant on getting me off my barbell and do my squats on a squat machine instead. I thanked him politely saying I prefer the midline stabilization and balance barbell brings into it, but he argued about risk of injury and how it’s heavy on the joints. So I pretended like I need to pick up a call.

– I wonder how may guys in the commercial gym can get so muscular doing wrist curls with a 5lb dumbbell.

– I see the ladies with personal trainers, being instructed to do inclined treadmill brisk walk, crunches and lunges with dumbbells lighter than an American Idol microphone. I sincerely hope for their progress that something abruptly happen and somehow they’re doing Paleo and Crossfit, then maybe they’ll lose their love handles within 2 months instead of having to pay for PTs for the rest of their lives with minimal progress.

– I started out Zoning with a kitchen scale… Now I use my eye and stomach to guess my portions, to great effects!

In summary, this is the most progress I’ve come  so far in terms of health and fitness. Hell, if I combine all 23 years of my life and compare that to the last 6 months, I haven’t learn as much or has gotten this much progress. If only I knew its this simple. Really. Seriously. I’m ecstatic knowing that I might live to 90 years old, will still look good in a swimsuit for many decades, won’t have my memory rot out from parkinson’s, have osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid or other diseases people conventionally blame on “growing old”. I’m getting closer to immortality on top of feeling great about life, isn’t that awesome?

fun article to read – eating paleo in a non-paleo world

12 Oct

One More Week!!

5 Oct

Don’t Give Up! You only have 1 more week! This Sunday, 10/10 will be your last day. I see a huge slowdown on the food log posts, but I’m confident that even though you are not posting what you eat, you are still making good choices. Just as a reminder, good choices are, meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. What about milk, cheese, butter? If your goal is to lose weight, stay off it, if you want to maintain your weight, get stronger or just change your diet to a healthier diet, then you can take it but in moderation. But don’t quit! Incorporate a cheat once a week if it helps for you. If you have come up to a point where cheating is no fun anymore, then resist the temptation. Stay off the crack! Crack = carbs and sugar.

Here’s my food log summary for the past week:
One cheat day (after the cert test, for semi celebration): 1 sushi roll (rice=cheat) -> I really regretted this
Breakfast: 3 bacon, 2 eggs, 1-2 cups of fruits, 18 nuts, fish oil
Lunch: 5 oz meat (pork/steak), 2 blocks of veggies mix (cucumber, tomato, lettuce), nuts or avocado, fish oil
Dinner: 5 oz meat (pork/steak), 2 blocks of veggies/sweet potato, nuts or avocado, fish oil

Who’s up for a Closing party on Sunday 10/10?
Please post restaurant/food suggestions on comments.

For you who are unsure what bacon is good, and why it is good, here’s a quick guide to bacon from Mark Sisson.

Do you want to Lose Weight??

30 Sep

I probably should have posted this earlier but the truth to the matter is just today I was able to go through Robb Wolf’s new website and found this great Quick Start Guide. It’s short, simplified and easy to follow. If you have not seen any changes in your body or on the way you feel, re-evaluate what you’re been eating and compare it with the guide.


  1. 4-8 oz of lean protein every meal
  2. 3-4 meals per day
  3. Eat no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates in a day
  4. Limit fruit to 1 serving.
  5. Limit nuts to 1-2 oz
  6. Beverages are coffee, tea, minearal water. Unsweetened, this includes stevia

Easy enough right? Are you ready to commit? Follow the Paleo Solution’s Quick Start Guide and let’s start losing some weight and feeling great.

A Case Study: Hendra’s bodyweight for the past 3.5 Months

19 Sep

Today I’m gonna share with you all some encouraging data. What you see above is 4 months worth of data on my daily bodyweight, lean body mass and body fat mass measured and calculated based on my BIA scale. Who’d be so vain and anal to clock in his weight everyday for 4 months? I AM! But fellas I do it all in the name of science and empirical data.

I started eating Paleo with weight loss as a goal. When I first started, I wanted to have solid information to base my weekly modifications on. Am I losing enough weight? Am I losing too much muscle mass? How was I to make an educated modification of my diet without having a clue of how the previous portions of meals was affecting me?

So I created a spreadsheet that includes my food block planning, my food log, my weights and my body measurements. I weighed myself every morning (stark naked and on an empty bladder, before drinking or eating anything) and I plot it into a graph. I had a target of losing a pound of fat a week. Now I know that BIA scales are not the most accurate devices, and I wouldn’t take the lean and fat mass calculations seriously. They only serve only to show a pattern of continuous weight loss. Gradual weight loss should be simple and easy. I actually came in close to my goal, losing 0.42Kg/week compared to my initial 1Lb/week… So far.

For a more accurate reading, I actually took a water displacement body fat measurement, which is the safest, cheapest, and most accurate way of measuring your exact lean mass, body fat and total mass. I came in at 139lb bodyweight and 15.3lb bodyfat (11% bodyfat, compared to BIA’s 18% bodyfat at the time. You can see BIA body scale has a wide margin of error, so I only take the total bodyweight reading seriously).

Now I’m not advocating that you do the same. What I have done takes a lot of time, may have been unnecessary, and could have a margin of error between day to day. But clearly eating Paleo lifestyle has worked very well for me. In fact the last time I have a body composition like this was back when I was 16 years old (I’m 23 years old now). But if weight loss is your goal (or building muscle), it helps keeping you motivated knowing that you are “getting there”. I would measure myself every Sunday, for example.

You guys spoke about taking before/after pictures… Well do it NOW for a more accurate “Before”. I’m not encouraging full-fledged vanity and obsession, but a little concrete data might be the motivational push you need for the next 3 weeks. 🙂

Repost: The Benefits of Saturated Fats

16 Sep

This is a repost from CrossFit One World‘s post about Carnitas and the benefits of saturated fat. Saturated Fat has gotten a lot of bad rep in today’s news and practically all around. But in truth, it has a lot of benefits compared to its bad effects that people are so afraid about. There should be a delicious picture of Carnitas here but I’ll let you check that out on the original post. If you ever want to get a good reading on random shit and rants about CrossFit related stuff, be sure to read CrossFit One World’s blog. They’re my favorite.

Excerpt from “The Benefits of Saturated Fats”
The much-maligned saturated fats which Americans are trying to avoid are not the cause of our modern diseases. In fact, they play many important roles in the body chemistry:

  • Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.
  • They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated. (38)
  • They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. (39) They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol. (40)
  • They enhance the immune system. (41)
  • They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids.
  • Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats. (42)
  • Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. (43) The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
  • Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.

The scientific evidence, honestly evaluated, does not support the assertion that “artery-clogging” saturated fats cause heart disease. (44) Actually, evaluation of the fat in artery clogs reveals that only about 26% is saturated. The rest is unsaturated, of which more than half is polyunsaturated. (45)

More good reading on saturated fat:

“The Importance of Saturated Fats for Biological Functions”

“Saturated Fat Prevents Coronary Heart Disease? An American Parodox”

“Saturated Fat- The Misunderstood Nutrient”

In the last article, a good reason to to eat grass fed and organic meats and eggs:

“If you are eating high quality fats, such as pasture fed, non-medicated, organic eggs, dairy, poultry, and meat, you are doing your body good. If you are eating conventionally raised poultry and meat, it is a good idea to cut off the fat, as the medications, hormones and pesticides consumed by the animal will be concentrated in the fat, which will in turn be concentrated in your fat.”

PS: This statement in bold above surprised me a bit because I thought any fat was good, so I’ve been eating a lot of fatty meat (from Safeway). But it looks like it depends on how the meat is being raised as well. Grass-fed is way to pricey for me, so I will continue to get my meats from Safeway and Costco but will eat the fatty part in moderation. Or you can try Whole Foods and follow Hendra’s tips and suggestions on his post.