food journal 008

I stopped eating about 11:00 pm on Tuesday. On Wednesday…

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011.

Yeah. I ignored my food journal all day on Wednesday, and have left the recording of what I ate until now, Thursday morning. Even though this post is published on Wednesday, I am actually writing it Thursday morning.

One of the benefits/challenges of keeping a food journal is that it requires you to focus more on what you are eating. This is necessary just so that you can remember it later to write it down! Now, in my experience, if you persist in keeping the journal for a month or two, that extra act of attention eventually pays dividends, the most important of which is a more conscious way of eating.

I am not there yet in this most recent round of journalling. Remembering my food intake from yesterday is going to be a bit difficult. It was classic Baldwin: pretty solid all day long, then, I willfully broke the rules I had laid out for myself at night. Two days in a row of breaking the rules of intermittent fasting… not cool. Time to reset and review.

It was a much higher carb day, and a day in which I didn’t worry too much about the “rules.” I should have, since I basically discarded them at nighttime.

Morning: up pretty early with the kids (like 5:45 am). Not having maintained my fast from Tuesday, I didn’t worry about getting an early start on food. I ate breakfast early (by about 7:00 am). 3 egg whites and 2 whole eggs, scrambled in butter. Sausage patty, cantaloupe. Coffee w/ half-half.

Snacks during the morning until lunchtime: bites of strawberry. Bites of crap the kids were eating: from yogurt covered raisins, to strawberries, to cheddar cheese, to beef jerkey.

Lunchtime: two chicken apple sausages and roasted zuchini and green cauliflower w/ olive oil and salt (leftovers from Tuesday dinner).

Afternoon: went to a coffee shop to work, had coffee w/ espresso and half/half.

Dinnertime: I made ground beef enchilladas, with my favorite cheating grain based food, corn tortillas. Corn tortillas, local grass fed ground beef, red onion, zucchnini, tomato, enchillada sauce, mexican cheese, and white rice on the side. I ate a large plate of it and felt stuffed. I had sparkling water with dinner.

After dinner: kid bedtime came quickly, it seemed. It was 8:00 pm already and I still felt like eating. I didn’t worry too much about starting my fasting window… maybe I should have.

From 8:00 pm to 10:30 pm I had: at least two LARGE scoops of my homemade strawberry icecream, some chocolate, and a large number of these small, funky, frosting covered organic star cookies that we brought from Asheville. Oops. These should be doubly off-limits to me: they are basically animal crackers, made with wheat flour and sugar, of course, covered with a light candy frosting that is mainly sugar, and comes in various flavors: cinnamon, chocolate, raspberry yogurt, peanut butter, etc.

I won’t try to calculate my caloric intake or anything. But it seems appropriate to record my body weight at this time.

Thursday AM: 192.8 lbs

This tells me that, whatever else may be the case, although I seem generally unable to stick to the rules of my own nutritional “plan warpath,” so far I have not undone my larger intention, which is to reign in unwanted weight gain and lose some pounds.

The only thing is that I know I will get better results if I can stick closer to the plan.

food journal 007

The fast from day six, with which Tuesday started, was going to be longer than normal anyway, to help me overcome jet-lag more quickly, by resetting my eating clock to west-coast time. But it grew extra prolonged as I refrained from eating, thinking that I would be eating breakfast out.

By 8:00 am it was 15 hours with no food… excepting that double whiskey the night before which protocol had demanded. And still I waited. From 8:00 to 9:00 am I had a few very small nibbles of the kids’ berries and cantalope. I drank a few cups of coffee w/ whole milk.

Later, breakfast got cancelled. We ran an errand at the bank, and went through a Starbucks drive-through. I had a red-eye with half and half, and a few bites of Italian dry salami we picked up at the supermarket on our way to the beach.

Around noon we arrived at our final destination and I psychologically broke my fast, at last trying to put together a decent and completely ready-to-eat meal from the eclectic selection of foodstuffs we brought with us, while unpacking and trying to get the kids settled in. I got into some 0% fat Greek yogurt (18g pro, 7g cho, 100 calories), I had some slices of nitrate free ham. I ate a few strawberries and blueberries.

At the Cannon Beach farmer’s market that afternoon, we intended to buy some real food. A stand was serving smoked beef chili, with a tomato-chili-onion sauce and no beans, hallelujah!  Pure Texas awesomeness. We all had some. I had mine with fresh white onions, cheddar cheese, and pickled jalapeno slices.

Shopping after eating, I loaded us up with meat, veggies, fresh strawberries, and greens. Came home and threw down some cooking.

For dinner I ate some chicken apple sausage by Zenner (one and change), ate some local ground beef from OK Ranch mixed with canned tomatoes (maybe 8 oz?), and some grilled and roasted local zucchini and green cauliflower with olive oil and salt.

Obviously a low carb day. But I feel pretty darn good, I gotta say. And, I will make up for it pretty soon here with some ice cream, either today or tomorrow, and definitely, tonight, more strawberries.

While I was making dinner I threw together some strawberry custard ice cream batter from a quart of half and half, 3 egg yolks, some confectioner’s sugar, and a bunch of those strawberries mashed up and pureed. That is chilling for tomorrow.

There is ice cream in the fridge. Will I refrain from eating it tonight? I think that may be another question for protocol.

Around about 8:00 pm: I ate about 15 strawberries. Awesome, soft-ripe-sweet real Oregon strawberries from the farm.

Around about 10:00 pm: I broke down! I was reading, and I started to feel super hungry. I had two slices of pepper jack cheese, one more chicken apple sausage, and two scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream. “Oops!” I regret not maintaining the fasting window, but it felt like it had to be done. And there is always tomorrow.

food journal 006

Began to eat bites of stuff I was preparing only at 8 am, breakfast at 9 am.

Coffee w/ heavy cream

3 eggs fried in butter
4 oz sweet potato fried in bacon grease
3 strips bacon
1 patty of sausage
2 cups cooked kale

Nothing much until close to lunch time, then, while shopping, bites of stuff I was getting for the kids: small quantities: one peanut butter pretzel (just to taste it), couple handfuls of cashews, a couple of slices of dried mango.

Then the lunch hour workout.

During our drive to Charlotte I was pretty hungry, but snacked only a little on beef jerky, dried mango and cashews.

In the Charlotte airport we had dinner at Carolina pit BBQ; I had beef brisket with some BBQ sauce, one small hush puppy, a mess o greens (about a cup and a half), broccoli slaw, a fried pickle, and two glasses of unsweet ice tea.

Knowing I would likely fast for 15 hours until 8 am PST on tuesday, I felt like a milkshake. I waited in line for a gelato. But in the end I didn’t have time. I found a muscle milk brand protein shake (20g pro, 10g cho, 7g fat, 180 calories); I would never normally choose something like this, since I can make my own shakes from more wholesome ingredients, but except for the outrageous airport concession stand price, I figured it was almost harmless. It matched my cravings more or less, and will tide me over until AM.


Long hours passed. Waking up the kids and moving them from the airport to grandparents condo at the equivalent of one am EST, that was crazy. Then putting them back to bed at their three am.

My dad’s offer of whiskey, at the dining room table, I did not refuse. It was probably a double.

my monday conditioning

Yes, I did some conditioning work today, even as the clock ticks away counting down to our trip to Oregon.

Monday, round about 1:00 pm, from my home.


20 double unders. Brief mobility work.


25 burpees

walk to course start

800 meter run (1/2 mile run)

walking cool down, 2 min

25 burpees

walk to course start

800 meter run

This was all completed in about 15 minutes. It took me 10 minutes to get off the floor when it was over. It was hot outside, and I am DRENCHED in sweat.

going hungry

Some Thoughts on the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

What little I understand of this subject is derived from my own research in the medical literature and also from I.F. gurus like Martin Berkhan and Brad Pilon.

When I am being good, I maintain a pretty mellow practice of intermittent fasting. I try to enter a fasted state every day. I shoot for only 12 hours of fasting (as a minimum) and benefit psychologically from imposing the discipline on myself. I also think I benefit physiologically.

Twelve hours is considered pretty short in the IF world, and with good reason, since the body can take a pretty long time to finish digesting its last meal, and eighteen hours is considered a real fast for medical purposes (e.g. blood test).

But I choose a shorter fasting period in an effort to try to get some of the many benefits of fasting while minimizing CNS stress. Occasionally I go longer … up to 18 hours. But this is pretty rare for me.

Why Fasting?

Basically, fasting is desirable because it gives the body a rest from digesting food.

Here’s what happens after you eat. After your last meal, first the stomach empties, followed by the small intestine. And so the bloodstream gets filled with energy sources and building blocks: glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids. Hormones like insulin help your body store and utilize these macronutrients. And then gradually, this new stuff gets used up, and finally, the external input of nutrients stops flowing completely. You’ve completed digesting.

To judge by the eating habits of Americans, some people never reach this state of digestive idle. That is too bad, because here, in a state of pre-prandial expectation, the body comes alive. Some people mistake this feeling for hunger, but I think of it as an expression of pure bodily energy.

A fasting body still needs energy. But there is plenty of energy stored in our bodies. When it’s not digesting new sources of food, the body gets energy from stored fatty acids (i.e. your body fat) and from stored glucose, which has been kept in the body as glycogen. (You can also make fresh glucose from free amino acids; to do so, the body breaks down proteins from its own tissues to free up amino acids, and then it synthesizes them into glucose in the liver; this is called gluconeogenesis.)

During the first 12-16 hours of the fast, mainly for supplying glucose to the brain, but also for refeuling the muscles, hormones like glucagon can maintain your blood sugar levels by dipping into the liver’s stores of glycogen. At the same time, if you exert yourself, muscles can draw on stored glycogen as well.

But after a while, these stored sources of glucose get used up too. At this point your body continues to get about half its energy needs from fat, but it turns to amino acids for more glucose.

If you train close to the end of the fasting window, many people recommend using BCAAs to compensate for this effect (just one of their many benefits).

When you allow your body to enter a fasting state regularly, by using intermittent fasting, you do your body many favors. First, for the liver. Somewhere between 12-18 hours of fasting, you empty the liver of its stored glycogen. Regularly doing this will protect you from fatty liver disease. An empty liver means that the next batch of carbs (especially fructose) you eat will go towards replenishing your immediate energy stores instead of being stored as less accessible and less useful fat. Add fasted training to this routine (working out in the morning before breakfast) and you also deplete muscle glycogen stores, giving your body yet another place to store any carbs you might eat other than existing fat deposits (like your love handles or butt).

By eating this way you are protecting your insulin sensitivity, and allowing yourself to maintain a lower body fat ratio. When the body is fasting, secretion of new insulin is either no longer necessary, or insulin is secreted only in very small amounts. To me it seems likely, or even obvious, that the epidemic of insulin resistance in America is due largely to the fact that that people never give their bodies any extended time in a state where the body just doesn’t need insulin. And it seems plausible that insulin sensitivity could even be restored by eating this way.

Eating this way could also make you thinner, as in, less wrapped up in fat. During any fast, the body gets half of its energy from stored fats. The whole period of the fast, your body is taking fatty acids back out of the adipose tissue. You can manipulate this fasting state for even greater fat loss; for instance if you do longer, lower intensity work (like walking), that tends to draw heavily on stored fat for muscular energy.

While fasting you also give the pancreas and other digestive organs and glands a rest from pumping out their juices. You allow the stomach and intestine to contract to a normal size. You allow the large intestines to prepare to evacuate.

In longer fasts, fasts that go past the point of glycogen depletion, people have even claimed that the body breaks down its broken, diseased, and damaged tissues first when converting tissues to free amino acids. If that is true, then healing could be promoted by fasting. Fasting has been associated with healing forever; perhaps this idea explains the connection.

In intermittent fasting, if you stop eating after the dinner hour the day before, by morning the body begins to react in the sympathetic nervous system. Excitatory hormones begin to stimulate you towards work (and food naturally). This corresponds well with the daily upsurge of cortisol … it all helps get you moving in the morning. It is a mild stressor but a part of a healthy daily cycle. Obviously, if you prolong the fast on towards and past 24 hours, the stress on the body increases dramatically; this result is adaptive. Just think of our hunter-gatherer ancestors for whom a day that ended without finding food was certainly more stressful than a day of abundance.

In short, there is reason to believe that intermittent fasting promotes health, vigor, leanness, hormonal balance, regularity in the diurnal cycle, and energy.

food journal 005

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Coffee w/ heavy cream… and skipped breakfast, except I did have some grapes.

Around 8:00 am I did about a 20 minute walk pushing the stroller with James. Beautiful day.

Weight in mid-morning: 194.5 lbs

About 11:30 pm: a big tablespoon of peanut butter and some bites of sausage.

About 12:00 pm: 4 eggs fried in butter, sausage patty, 1.5 cups cooked kale lightly dressed in sesame oil, balsamic and tamari, 3 oz. japanese sweet potato, couple of oz. of watermelon.

Coffee w/ cream

Coffee w/ cream

Was feeling hungry by the late afternoon but was at the pool with the family. Lena is really learning to swim!

For dinner, about 6:00 pm: Greenlife hot bar: 2 BBQ chicken thighs skin fat and all… I even got a tailbone! I love chicken fat. Yes I am aware that it is probably the least desirable of animal fats, health wise (too much omega-6 polyunsaturated fat). Chicken fat. Yes. And along with 2 cups zuchini, and a moderate serving of roasted sweet potato and roasted potato.

While putting kids to bed: few tablespoons of almond butter. Last calories about 7:30 pm.

This food was consumed in an 8 hour window, which corresponds to 16 hour fasts. But it followed only a 12 hour fast, and will probably be followed by only a 12-14 hour fast.

Weight at 9:00 pm: 194.5 lbs

Awesome Sunday. We are leaving for Oregon tomorrow. So stoked.

food journal 004

Saturday June 25th 2011

Woke up bloated and distended from Friday night’s binge eating session.

Breakfast (about 8:00 am): 3 scrambled eggs, 5 strips of bacon. Coffee w/ heavy cream.

Morning coffee (about 11:00 am): coffee w/ half half

No lunch, alas. At work from 12:30 to 3:30

Sparkling water in the afternoon. At the pool, then at a park, with the kids.

By about 6:30 pm, dinner of:

1/2 cup white rice, cup of sauteed spinach, 10 oz leftover lamb shoulder chop, about 4 oz. shrimp in butter sauce
glass of white wine


1/2 cup “Half Baked” Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, handfull of almonds, some chocolate covered ginger.
1 shot of whiskey

Later, snacking well past the close of my window…

2 shots of whiskey
more chocolate covered ginger
1 large beef hot dog
large chunk of cheddar cheese
2 sheets of salted Nori
some grapes

Yes, again, with the eating after 8:00 pm. I lost another battle, but the purpose of the food journal is not to chronicle my success. It is to continuously refocus me on the goal. So, there it is.

food journal 003

In a war, you can’t expect to win every battle. And so, perhaps it will not shock readers to learn that I lost the battle of Friday. Actually, it was worse than losing a battle. My troops completely surrendered and burned an effigy of their general. But I will return… with renewed resolve. After I finish digesting whatever remains in my bloated innards.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pre-Workout (5:30 am): 14g BCAA (2 scoops Purple Wraath brand in water)

Post-workout (7:30 am): coffee w/ cream and cocoa powder

Post-workout (8:00 am): scrambled egg, 2 slices bacon, 1 sausage patty, couple of oz. of roasted sweet and roasted white potatoes

Post-breakfast: about 8 oz. chocolate milk (Homestead Creamery, the bomb).

Early lunch (11:15 am): 1 apple, 6 oz. leftover chopped shoulder of lamb… very fatty! delicious, coffee w/ cream.

Friday afternoon (4:00 pm): pint of BEER baby.

Friday afternoon (5:30-8:00 pm): two more pints of Beer at Highland breweing company. And a bag of potato chips.

There was no catering at Highland Friday evening, so my dinner plans fell through. Getting a buzz on with such a low number of calories under my belt turned out to be dangerous. First I rationalized taking the bag of potato chips from the kids.

Still not having had dinner, at 8:30 I went to the store and got take out from the deli case and hot bar.

Dinner (about 9:00 pm): pulled pork, potato, broccoli, 8 pc. salmon sushi roll, shot of whiskey.

After dinner: my willpower collapsed. I ate and snacked on many things. Very hard to quantify exactly, but here’s what I noticed and am recording. Another shot of whiskey. Some pieces of chocolate from the remains of a bar I found. Three or four handfulls of chocolate covered ginger. A large glass of chocolate milk (finishing off the jar). An oversized all beef hot dog. Slices of cheddar cheese. Several ounces of almonds.

I kept eating up until 11:00 pm, so I broke the first rule of the warpath pretty badly. The alcohol was allowed (since it was Friday) but it clearly impacted by capacity for rationalization and was therefore detrimental to my overall purpose. A reminder! my purpose is … to eat only good foods, only on purpose and only within a defined and controlled daily window of time.

Cheating and Slack

I have learned from prior experience that you have to cut yourself, or rather, I have to cut myself, a lot of slack. Without slack, it’s either madness or giving up.

You can’t cheat on your nutritional principles unless you have some. And vice versa.

So the problem with dieting isn’t cheating, it’s how a dieter behaves in the aftermath of the inevitable cheating.

friday OHS pr … again

I got up so early, so very very early, hoping to have enough time to execute an ambitious workout plan at Asheville Strength and Conditioning, but for some reason, I just didn’t have time. I did, however, attain another sick PR, redeeming the entire week, and earning me some chocolate milk even in the midst of plan warpath.

So, 5:30 am at ASC:

Warm-Up: 400 meter run. 20 double unders (1 every 4-6 singles). Mobility. A couple of shoulder, upper body, and squat calisthenics… nothing major.

Deadlift: 10 x 45 / 5 x 135 / 3 x 5 x 210. Volume: 3,150.

Squat: 5 x 135 / 3 x 5 x 165. Volume: 2,445.

Overhead Squat: 5 x 120 / 3 x 135 (PR) / 1 x 145 / f x 155 / 3 x 155 (PR). Volume: 1,615. This was intended to be a new 1 RM PR at 155, but obviously, I exceeded my own expectations. Once I’d done it once, why stop?? I was so elated after this I just felt like drinking a quart of chocolate milk.

Snatch: 1 x 95 / 1 x 105 / f x 115 / f x 115 / power snatch x 115 / 1 x 115 (PR tie) … and that was all I had time for! This snatch session totally sucked. SUCKED.

Press: 4 x 45 / 5 x 65.

I was forced by lack of time to skip the conditioning work I had planned. Oh well! Tomorrow am!

food journal 002

Thursday 23 Jun 2011

After 8:00 am:

Coffee w/ half half and coffee w/ heavy cream
2 eggs fried
sauteed spinach (about 1 cup)
fritter of ripe banana, coconut flour, egg & butter
2 pieces of sausage
2 strips of bacon

Around 12:00 pm:
bite of leftover pancake
1/2 leftover sausage
spoon full of almond butter
coffee and heavy cream

Around 1:00 pm:
two hamburger patties and white rice w/ organic local BBQ sauce
coffee w/ heavy cream

Yes there is sugar in the BBQ sauce and… no I didn’t have any veggies. Gotta think about that.

Around 2:00 pm:
bites of an all beef uncured hot dog
sip of chocolate milk

— this little non-meal had to do with me trying to get my son to eat food.

coffee w/ half-half

Around 5:30 pm

unsweet ice tea

Around 6:30 pm
— dinner from Earth Fare hot bar —
tilapia (1 filet, maybe 2.5 oz)
awesome prime rib roast beef (large chunk, probably 10 oz)
collard greens
mashed potatoes