Friday, June 3, 2011

Paleo Experiment

Today, I skipped my morning Bran Flakes and raisins in lieu of a small omelet - two eggs, with ground meat, carrots and raisins fried in a big pad of butter.  The same thing I had for dinner last night (just leftovers).  I wanted to see how my appetite would be affected.  Would I feel satiated all morning (as the paleo proponents say), or would I be reaching for my mid-morning snack as usual.  I normally follow my cereal with a banana.  I usually have no problem eating this since my hunger is legendary in the morning.  Today, however, I looked at the banana and felt strangely guilty that I had no desire whatsoever to take in the nutrition-filled fruit.  I basically forced myselft to eat it with the thought that if I don't eat fruit, I'm going to get rickets or some vitamin deficiency.

I was diagnosed with IBS years ago and told that I needed to up my fibre and stop drinking milk.  So, I've been fairly strict for most of my adult life by eating whole grains - cereal with soy milk first thing and then another serving of oatmeal or whole wheat toast a few hours later.  I was actually smug about it when the news reporters would bellow how most people aren't eating enough whole grains.  Well, according to them, my bowels should be as healthy as an ox.  While I have to say that the whole grains seem to help somewhat, after close to ten years of eating loads of them almost every day my bowels are far from what I'd call normal.

So, back to my appetite this morning.  By 9:30, it was obvious something was wrong.  I had no desire to pull out my yogurt, bread or anything.  I kept waiting for the hunger signals to start, but my stomach just sat quietly in my gut happy as a clam.  10:30...11:00 AM (I usually start thinking about lunch) 11:30...12:00...(I should be in serious hunger mode by now.) 12:30 passed and I still didn't feel hungry.  Something must be wrong.  I am known as the guy who always eats.  I went downstairs to the fridge just because I was getting nervous.  This must have been the first morning that I worked straight through in years.  I've had a more productive morning.

I warmed up my chicken more because I felt like I should, not because I was hungry.  There was no way I could down the pork chop.  I put the chunks of meat on the plate beside my salad.  I plowed through the salad while picking at my chicken.   I felt so full but looked down at my plate to see I was only half-way through.  I could have put it back in the fridge, but is that safe with chicken?  So, I begrudgingly finished it.  Normally, I eat as much for lunch as some people eat for dinner.

My wife and I have been cutting back the carbs for about five months now.  Instead of rice or pasta 3-5 times per week, we have been eating squash, sweet potatoes and salads.  We've dropped the grain, rice, potatoes or bread as a main part of the dinner dishes to about 2 times per week.  It's difficult with an active family - T-ball, soccer, 2 parents working - but we've done what we can.  People have noticed.  Friends have asked me if I have lost weight.  My wife looks better than she ever has.

The results seem great.  However, we can't be sure whether it is the diet, or the exercise.  As Gary Taubes believes, exercise has no affect on weight-loss.  The problem with my experiment is that we both added more exercise to our lives - I started playing hockey, she started a spinning class.  So, is it the diet or the exercise that has caused our weight-loss?  Luckily for you, I have been afflicted with an unrelated condition that will likely make it impossible for me to exercise or any strenuous activity for probably 4 weeks.  I have recorded my weight using a Wii Fit balance board.  I will provide some pictures of the graphics on the Wii.  If exercise has anything to do with my weight loss, then the next four weeks should be enough to reverse it.  If I continue to eat my basically low-carb diet and lose weight, then that would suggest that my diet is the main factor.  It will be difficult to log all of my food, but I'll do what I can to give a basic idea of what I eat on a daily basis.  Also, I'll continue to eat cereal sometimes to because that is what I've eaten most mornings (when I don't think to boil eggs the morning before) while I've been playing hockey.

Note:  I am not under any delusions that this is scientific.  However, I don't live in a laboratory.  This is a test in real life with a real-life family. For the record, I had 4 frozen breaded fish fillets, a little bit of pre-packaged risoto mix and some fried  zucchini for dinner.  Fridays and T-ball nights are the nights we allow ourselves some pre-packaged, simple meals or take-out because we're don't really have time or energy to cook our regular style of meals.

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