Paleo Anniversary

It’s one full year this very day since Trog Dad and I made the life-changing decision to go Paleo.

The choice was simple. We could either:-

a) succumb to the ravages of middle age and accept that we were getting a bit podgy around the middle, OR

b) put up a fight.

We chose B.

paleo crossfit

Summer 2011

January 2012

January 2012

We had already been introduced to a Crossfit gym. It was hard core but addictive. We were feeling the difference in our muscle tone and strength, but wanted to see a more dramatic difference.

I can remember Trog Dad saying to me, “Let’s plan it properly and start in a couple of weeks. It’s such a big change.” I, impetutous as ever, suggested that that was a losing mentality, so we started. Right there and then. Best. Decision. Ever.

The enormous packets of rice and pasta which we had purchased that very week are still sitting in our pantry to this day, virtually untouched.

December 2012

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December 2012

I am pretty sure that most of our friends thought we were a little bit mental, partly experiencing a mid life crisis, and entirely unlikely to  last very long. But we’ve managed to navigate Christmas, rack up a significant number of PBs at the gym, engage our kids into the Paleo family, oh…and lose a lot of weight.

We are still very much a work in progress. At 51 and 46 respectively, these things take time, but it is a one way journey and we aren’t looking back.

Banana and Walnut Heaven

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that I have harboured a lifelong hatred for bananas. And I am talking deep, in-bred disgust for the heinous stinky things. But I LOVE this recipe, so it can’t be bad!!

I made mine in these tiny little mini loaf tins that I bought, mainly because they are cute and I wanted to dirty them up, but you could use a large loaf tin.

paleo crossfit

You will need:
1 1/4 cups ground almonds
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cornflour (or arrowroot if you have it)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp flax seed flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
3 ripe bananas
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Line your loaf tin with baking parchment & pre-heat oven to about 170 degrees.
Mash up the bananas in a large bowl until good and mushy.
Add the other wet ingredients and give it a good whipping to mix thoroughly.
In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the nuts) to ensure each is properly distributed throughout.
Add the dry to the wet and mix well.

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Finally, stir in the chopped nuts and add the mix to your loaf tin(s). I filled 3 mini tins.
I cooked mine for about 25 minutes, but for a larger tin I’d extend this to about 50 minutes. Keep checking them and take them out when you think they are ready, with a nice firm top and a clean skewer test.
Then smear liberally with organic butter and keep the kids away…

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Sweet Treats #backonthepaleowagon

almond butter nibbles 2Having fallen spectacularly off the Paleo wagon around  mid December (Advocaat mating season – ignore at your peril), yesterday seemed like a good moment to fasten the wheels back on and try to wean myself off the sugar.

Not feeling brave enough to go entirely cold turkey (pardon the Christmas pun), I looked to my trusty cupboard full of nuts (no jokes please) in an attempt to inspire myself.

Eventually I came up with these. Super quick, super simple and apparently almost all gone. No actual cooking required.

I shall call them ‘Almond Butter Bites’. *Hallelujah*

Here’s how to manufacture some for yourself.

You will need:-

One whole small jar (about 200g) of almond or other nut butter

A tablespoon of your flour of choice. I used flaxseed flour (‘cos I had some and I was desperate to use it) but I reckon ground almond would taste just as yummy, if not even better

1/2 to one teaspoon of vanilla essence (to your taste)

A bar (approx 100-150g) of darkest dark chocolate. I used 90% cocoa solids Lindtt Excellence (mmmmmmmmmmmmm)

A pinch of sea salt

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To make the little balls of salty goodness:-

Put the almond butter, vanilla, salt and the flaxseed flour into a bowl and mix well together.

Break up the chocolate and melt over a pan of boiling water until completely smooth.

Roll the dry mixture (should be quite a dry dough) into balls – any size you like, depending on how cavernous a mouth you have (I made about 20-odd from this mix) and place them into little paper cases or onto a sheet of baking paper.

When your chocolate is melted, drop the balls one by one into it, turn them to coat with slick, velvety blackness, and then scoop straight out and plop them into their paper cases.

Leave for a few minutes (fridge is fine) until the chocolate is set hard, then hide them from your husband immediately.

I am now firmly reinstalled atop my Paleo wagon. Bring on the 2013 body fat challenge!!

Confession time…

In April I started ‘eating clean’  (such a wonderful phrase that suggests I used to eat dirt!). By that I mean I started eating a Paleo Diet. No Bread, Rice, Sugar etc, and it has been going pretty well having manged to shed more than two stone so far, but about 2 weeks ago it all seemed to have gone a bit pear-shaped!

I tend to weigh myself far too often, curious about how much my weight fluctuates during a week/day… Did you know for example that I lose an average of 3lb overnight? I must be a very restless sleeper cos I’m sure I dont lose that much during an average WOD!.

Anyway, I have been losing typically 1lb a week fairly consistently and was very happy with that as eventually I will get to where I want to be, and I am clearly putting on muscle from my Cross fit sessions. However, about 2 weeks ago, I suddenly put on 4lb! WTF I thought, how the shitting hell has that happened? Who the fuck has spiked my food? Four weeks effort down the tubes!

I was to say the least slightly apoplectic (always wanted to use that word) and ready to throw in the towel. May be I just needed a big poo? I really couldn’t understand what had gone wrong or what had changed – at least that was my story at the time …

I can now confess that I knew exactly what had gone wrong. In a single week I had fallen off the Paleo track twice.

The first time was staying in a hotel in Bromley. I was eating in my room and ordered steak and salad and was very clear that I didn’t want chips – It duly arrived without chips, but with a fucking huge bread roll!

There was no mention of the roll in the description so maybe the chef had thought he was doing me a favour, or was secretly trying to de-rail my Paleo efforts. Whatever, I wasn’t tempted. I ate the steak and salad, and left the role on the tray where it stayed, just in the corner of my eye…

I should have put it outside the room but I didn’t.

Over the next two hours it stared at me. I’m sure at one point it spoke to me.

“eat me, you know you want to”

“I don’t” (yes, I am now talking to a bread roll)

“Eat me, no one will know”

“I don’t want to eat you”

“Is it because you can’t”

“No, I just don’t want to eat you”

“Are you scared of what might happen”

“No, of course not… but I am curious…”

The rest is a blur, but I was suddenly surrounded by crumbs and empty butter wrappers with a butter stained knife in my hands. ” Oh shit, WTF have I done?”

Of course, all I had done was eaten a (very large) bread roll, but I was expecting my stomach to expand uncontrollably and then explode, rather like the scene from Alien. It didn’t, although I did feel uncomfortable and burp a lot (and I mean a lot) probably more to do with the speed at which I had consumed the offending roll, rather than its effect on my stomach.

This event was swiftly followed by another conversation two days later, but this time with a large sausage roll meant for George after he had finished playing Rugby (there were two, so he didn’t go without). Similar outcome, but this time sat in my car surrounded by pastry crumbs…

The net result of these two events? – I assume the inflammation we read so much about from gluten and the additional weight gain. Proof or coincidence I don’t know, but me and gluten are now no longer speaking to each other!

There is a line…

Along the Paleo journey I have been introduced to some interesting new (and healthy) food options, all of which I have been assured are “good for you”, and most of which are nice. But there have been the occasional “you want me to eat/drink what?” moments

On the good side…

I must give a big shout to my still favourite snack from The Naked Ape (http://www.thenakedape.co.uk). these are absolutely fantastic and have saved me on numerous occasions from having to eat crap – I always keep a couple in my case for emergencies. They wont fill you up, but they will keep you going for a few hours when your surrounded by sandwich shops!

I am also (probably not completely a good thing) becoming addicted to very dark chocolate – at least 80% cocoa, and have been amazed by how much difference there is in flavour depending on the origin – I think I am well on my way to becoming a chocolate snob/bore

Coconut – who knew? Me and Mrs Trog are on three a week (shared) and had a mild panic this week when Morrison’s didn’t have any on display. We were saved from having to write a ‘strongly worded letter’ by a very helpful man who got us three from ‘out the back’. (I always offer to open them so I can have the milk…)

My latest discovery in the ‘good things’ list is the ‘bulletproof coffee’. I did hear about these some time ago, but I dismissed them as somewhat fanatical in nature – they really do sound horrible when you read how to make one, and you will wonder why spoil a good cup of coffee? However, I was very wrong – they are delicious and easy to make, and can easily get you through a morning if you have no time for a decent breakfast!

On the bad side…

There is however, and should be, a line that no man be asked to cross. It is a good rule in life that nothing green should be drunk. Take Crème de Menthe for example – do you know anyone that has survived a Crème de Menthe hangover? – exactly, always fatal. So when I returned from holiday to see instructor Pete drinking a green liquid, I had to demand WTF is that? I was offered a taste… I tried it… it tasted like green stuff. I have green stuff growing on the flat roof of my kitchen. I can see it from the bathroom and have often wondered what it is and how I could get rid of it. I have NEVER wondered what it would taste like scraped off and blended into a green drink!… but now I know… it tastes like shit.

Now I am sure you can send off for a DVD on just how good for you this green stuff is, and I am sure they will say it is soooooo good that it is more than worth the £40 it is going to set you back. However, I think we are drifting too far away from the caveman here and into Neanderthal territory

I will not be partaking of the green stuff… EVER… unless of course the DVD says it makes your penis bigger, in which case £40 is a bargain!

Body update – eating fat, to lose fat

paleo crossfit

Waiting for passing strangers to give me sugar cubes, Summer 2011

Today I weighed in at 11 stones & 10lbs. That’s now a total weightloss of 13lbs.

Waist 32″, Hips (at widest round bum) 41″, thigh 24″, Neck 13.5″. Can’t vouch for the accuracy of these as I could only find a metal builder’s tape measure, but let’s just say that my clothes are MUCH looser than they were 4 months ago.

On my last update I weighed 12 stones dead. Since then I’ve been on a two week holiday and had a couple of regrettable wine related incidents, so I am pretty happy with that. Still eating 100% ‘clean’.

Here’s a pictorial progress chart. No prizes for noticing that my hair seems to be shrinking at an even faster rate than my body is diminishing……

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April body shape. Work to be done here.

Trog Dad is like a teenager again. He’s now lost well over 2 stones and is wearing shirts that have been sat in the closet for almost as long as the years I have known him. (Still going grey though, mwa ha ha). The two Trog kids are both also looking leaner. Trog Baby may only be 5 years old, but is built like a brick shit-house. Trog Teen is developing a beautiful lithe shape, with broadening shoulders and zero puppy fat. Lock up your daughters, ladies, the Trog boys are on their way…..

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June 2012 body shape. Shrinkage evident.

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July 2012 body shape.

I was watching a programme on TV last night about two guys who were chefs, trying to lose weight. I found it a very frustrating watch. Their favourite meal was English breakfast – bacon, sausages, eggs, the works. They decided to try to make a ‘low fat’ version of the dish. I watched them as they took a pair of scissors and cut the fat off their bacon, sprayed the frying pan in sunflower oil (!) and poached their eggs instead of frying them. I wanted to scream “Nooooooo!”

I found myself wondering whether I was holding a secret that belonged to a tiny club of the world’s lucky few, or whether I was completely deluded about the benefits of Paleo. Is it me?

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August 2012 body shape. Looking better.

The most noticeable difference in the traditional dieting methods I was witnessing on TV and the Paleo lifestyle we’ve adopted was the fact that both guys were struggling with cravings. Preparing a steak sandwich for his son almost tipped one of them over the precipice, and they were constantly salivating at the idea of pies, bread and roast potatoes. Trog Dad and I, sat in front of the TV, exchanged a glance and both observed, “Wow, we don’t get any of that hunger stuff any more.”

Hell, something’s working here.

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We three.

Just 1lb of fat…

When I made my first trip to Crossfit I weighed in at 18st 10lb, the highest I have ever been, with a desire to be 15st (last achieved about 25 years ago!)

The lightest I have ever been as a fully grown man was 12st 13lb at 22, with time spent playing squash or working out most days.

Like most men I guess, my ability to loose weight quickly when I was young made me complacent, and see any weight gain as a ‘temporary’ thing that could be easily sorted by a couple of weeks exercise and a few less burgers…

As I got older I was starting to recognise the extra effort required each time, but work/ambition seemed to provide enough excuses to ignore the issues, and before I could say ‘”Christ, I’m 30″, I was up to 16st… by 40 this was 17st … and by 50, we hit the jackpot at 18st 10lb.

This week I weighed in at 16st 11lb, still a long way from my target of 15st, but just 1lb away from nailing my second stone. As you can see from the graph the loss has been steady at about 1lb a week which got me to thinking – just what does 1lb of fat look like and what effort is required to shift the little bugger!  The simple answer is 3500 calories or a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day (I know this is an over simplification…)

The Paleo diet is certainly working – because of injury and holiday I have been out of the gym for 4 weeks, but still maintaining my weight loss. The exercise is certainly increasing my metabolism and helping with tone (Frank even said I was developing a waist today… I do worry about him). I had thought by now it might start getting harder, but so far I am still on a steady 1lb a week.

It would be nice to be at 15st before Christmas so I may have to start turning up the exercise dial!