Monday, September 1, 2014

No Chocolate Experiment

I spent the month of August sans chocolate.  This was a self imposed deprivation motivated by the fact that I was eating "too much" of it.  By "too much," I mean after lunch and supper I was justifying the consumption of a little dark chocolate.  Many days I would enjoy a small piece (1/4-1/2 oz) after lunch at work, or perhaps have a few chocolate covered espresso beans from Caribou with my snack; or as my snack.  Then, once I got home many nights I found myself having a square or two of Lindt 85% dark chocolate with a spoonful of almond butter or cream cheese on top.  Then another spoonful or two of AB or CC would find its way into my mouth via the spoon.

Why all this chocolate I asked myself?  I knew why...I wasn't packing enough for lunch, and many days I would neglect to bring a large enough afternoon snack or supper.  I often work from 12-8pm and eat lunch at 11 and supper at 4pm, on those days I don't snack, except for when I get home and I don't think I'm hungry, but really...I am. Thus the almond butter and chocolate mini feast by the fridge.  On days when I work 10-6, I do eat a snack around 4 so that by supper at 7pm I'm not HANGRY!

I knew this was getting to be a bad habit.  Instead I took a month off from chocolate.  This forced me to bring more food to work.  Common additions to the lunchbox included: hard boiled eggs, an apple, almonds, deli meat, sugar snap peas, olives, and/or leftover chicken.  There were days when I still didn't pack quite enough, and would end up eating 1/2 a protein bar at work.  Yes, only half.  As I mentioned in my previous post, protein bars typically come packed with added fiber that does a number on my digestive system.  Most of them don't even taste that good; talk about an un-satisfying snack.

The month of no chocolate wasn't that bad.  I discovered that if I actually ate enough at my meals, I didn't crave it.  AMAZING.  (said sarcastically)  There were several nights when I did get home, and all I really wanted was my chocolate and AB.  Instead I settled for yogurt and flaked coconut or an almond flour muffin with butter and jam, or leftovers from whatever Ryan cooked for supper.  The hardest moment was last week when Ryan made oatmeal monster cookies for his co-workers and I came home to a house smelling of fresh baked cookies.  Uhhhh, and they were still warm!  Alas, I finally had a bite of one today.  Fresh from the freezer, it was delicious.

I still love chocolate, and may or may-not go back to eating it daily.  But now I realize that if I'm eating it because I'm legitimately hungry, I need to go in search of some real food.  Be it more protein, fat, or on days I work out, starchy carbs.

What is your trigger food?  Is there a food that is holding you back from reaching your health goals?
Chips?  Crackers?  Wine?  French Fries?  Cheese?  Peanut butter?  Beer?  Coffee?  Ice Cream?
Ask yourself why you crave it, and when you crave it?  Could you give it up for a week, how about a month...or two?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Protein Powder Farts

If you read my first post of 2014, you know that I have my mind set on squatting 180# for 1 rep by the end of the year.  A few months ago I hit 160# for about 3-4 reps.  Since then, I've joined a kettle bell class 2x week, and am continuing to lift 1-2x week.  Therefore...I took a month or two off from really focusing on my squat, but am back at it now with a 5X5 of 155# this morning.
taking a breather between sets.
The point of that ramble is to say that I've had to really focus on increasing my protein intake (approximately 120g/day) to support my strength gains.  In the past I've used protein powders (whey and soy) during my internship in 2008, later from 2009-2011 Ryan and I were big fans of the Whole Foods 365 whey protein powder.  The past several years we switched over to Optimum Nutrition's natural whey and Nutrikey by NWW.  However, after changing my diet to include a lot less processed carbs, beans, and yogurt I found this past spring that I was getting really really really gassy again.  Typically in the middle of the afternoon.
Protein Stash.
After a while I was able to correlate it to the days when I drank a post workout whey protein shake or smoothie.  I checked the ingredients on both the ON and NK powders and figured it could be the flavoring or stevia, so I switched to the NK unflavored whey protein, nope same problem.  Hmmm.... apparently I've got a serious issue with dairy (which I'm still in denial about).  Next I bought the Jay Robb egg-white protein powder, and it seemed that things were a bit better.  Except that just like before, if I drank it more than 2 days in a row, serious bloating and gas would ensue.  This wouldn't be a huge problem, except that being bloated and gassy while sitting in a small office with a client for 1-2 hours is not fun.  I even tried Vega One, a vegan protein powder and that was the worst of all.

So there went my post workout and occasional mid-afternoon snack.  :-(   Over the past two years I've also figured out that I have a very hard time digesting fiber, added fiber in particular.  So switching to a protein bar, even a high quality one such as Quest, Paleo, or Jay Robb which contain inulin, an indigestible fiber are not an option.

Lets be honest, protein powders are convenient, but for some people they just aren't a good option.  I am one of those people.  During several google searches, I only came up with a few poor explanations as to why these powders cause intestinal distress.

1. You're drinking Whey Protein Concentrate which contains more lactose than the isolate form.  If you are lactose intolerant, that might be an easy swap.

2. You're protein powder contains weird thickeners or fibers which are fermenting in your gut and making you gassy.

3. You're drinking casein protein powder not whey.  Casein protein gels in the stomach, slowing digestion.  It can be much more difficult for some people to digest, and it's the protein most people are sensitive too.  Which is why a lot of people can tolerate whey protein, but not actual dairy products that contain casein (cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese).

4. You have a dairy sensitivity! Sorry, but other than switching to egg white protein, or Pure Paleo Protein which is made from beef, or Pure Pea protein, you're out of options.  Better go eat some real food.

Why does the unflavored egg white protein powder also gives me gas? I'm not sure, especially since eating actual eggs doesn't have any effect on me.  I don't recommend rice protein powders because they are high in carbohydrates.  And I'm not a fan of hemp protein powder since it is notoriously hard to digest.

So if you're like me, you're going to have to JERF: Just Eat Real Food.  (Thank you Sean Croxton for that acronym).  Below are a few post workout meals to help you re-fuel.  You want to focus on protein and carbs, you're meals shouldn't be high in fat which will slow the absorption of the other nutrients.

Salmon Patties and Sauteed Greens
Turkey, Veggie, wild rice soup
4+ oz Deli meat + small fruit and maybe a few nuts
Chicken and mashed sweet potato
Reduced fat yogurt topped with homemade granola and fruit
Turkey burger topped with sauteed greens and onions
Ground beef Hash with root vegetables
Tuna steak + steamed veggies
SUSHI!!!
Oatmeal + leftover pork chop
Wrap + Salmon Salad
If carb backloading or carb-nighting...pie and low fat ice cream  :-)  Or cereal.

This is the best info I could find on protein powder intollerance

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Port A Potty

Ryan and I recently had our upstairs bathroom semi-remodeled.  The driving factor was the dripping bathtub faucet and cracked grout between the tile.  Not to mention that the tile was pink.  Thank you 1960s.  Needless to say, we've had bathrooms on the brain for a while, which leads me into today's post.
Bathroom Demolition
Wether you call it a latrine, port-a-john, port-a-potty, Mr. P. Potty, or any other name, no one likes using them.  Perhaps they are better than "pop'n a squat" in the woods; which I have done my fair share of.  But only because you don't risk peeing on your shoes, or getting as wet if it's raining.  While camping the other week I made a list of why latrines suck, and it's more than just the smell.

1. You can't check your hydration status.  All that blue dye means I can't see what color my pee is.  After a day of hiking it's nice to know if it's dark yellow (dehydrated) or very light yellow (hydrated), or clear (over-hydrated).  Thankfully, some camp grounds/state parks have flush toilettes and once or twice a day you might try and visit them in order to check.

2. What shape is your poo?  Unless there is a giant pile of other people's TP and fecal matter for your poo to land on, you don't know if what you just pooped is a nice long normal BM or not.

3. Splash point.  Again, if there isn't a TP pile and you go number 2, you may be in for a wet surprise.  Which is gross since it's not just water... nuff said.

4.  They can be far away from your tent site, which means a long chilly walk in the middle of the night.  Lucky for us, they were only 2 spots up from our site.

5. If you drop anything in it (camera, sunglasses, head-lamp, flash light, wallet, phone...) you don't want it back.

6. People who are on the shorter side (< 5' 4"), will not be able to place their feet flat on the floor of the port-a-john when they sit on the seat.  Not a big issue for going numero uno.  However, achieving the perfect 90 degree angle or better yet, squatting position for going numero dos is pretty much impossible.  That is unless you balance on your sitz bones with your feet up on the door of the john.  Now I know you've got some funny images in your brain.  Guess I'll just have to purchase a squatty potty for our next camping trip, or home use.

7. Oh yhea...in the summer, they stink.

Sorry if that's TMI, but you know it's all true.