food journal 050-052

Concerning my diet on Aug. 11th, 12th, and 13th, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I could and should refer to this three day stretch as “Days of Gluten,” since, as it happens, I ate a gluten-filled meal for dinner each of the days.

On each of these days I ate very low carb from breakfast until dinner or after dinner. But then, went a bit haywire with dinner. But Thursday and Friday nights I did not snack after dinner, or did not eat significant quantities of anything. And all three days I ate low calorie enough during the day, or skipped lunch, with the result that I experienced real, stomach growling, gut churning hunger at some point on each day.

On all three days I had eggs and breakfast meats for breakfast, with either a little bit of fruit, or no carbs. I had very small lunches, low calories, also low carb. But Thursday dinner was a big fat 1/2 pound cheeseburger with some fries from Cook Out. Friday was pizza and beer at Asheville Pizza and Brewery downtown. Saturday I had spaghetti with a lovely buffalo meat garden veggie sauce. And later Saturday night I ate dessert.

Weigh in on Saturday: 192.0 lbs.

food journal 27-32

This entry covers Tuesday July 19th to Sunday, July 24th. Most of this week constituted a real vacation for me. After the visit from Danny, Anya, and family, during which we were (I was) only pretty bad, we had Ben, Deb, and family in town… and I was really bad. Vacation style eating, more of the same from my previous entry.

Usually, the day started slow. There were a few, but not a lot of big breakfasts and lunches… nor was there a lot of daytime snacking. Usually my days’ eating was focused on big dinners followed by dessert, and then nighttime binging. Several of them gave me nighttime belly aches that continued into the morning. One of them (I believe it was Friday, July 23rd, day 30 of the food journal) constituted a total gluten binge, involving wheat products at meals, snacks, and a shit-ton of pizza for dinner, followed by cookies and graham crackers into the night. I continued to eat things I normally wouldn’t through the weekend.

By Sunday July 24th (day 32), I woke up with a second day in a row of serious heartburn. The scale (which “must be” broken) claimed that I was around 199.4 lbs. Holy crap! And I felt terrible and bloated. I felt like I was at the bottom of a hole… emotionally… training wise… and physiologically. I almost didn’t eat any breakfast (coffee and a single scrambled egg). Yet I knew the day would not be friendly to good eating. I was going to have early lunch at a cafeteria in the “retirement village” where my grandmother lives, in Astoria, OR. Having checked out the menu on a previous visit, I knew what to expect. My expectations were not disappointed. “Fried” chicken, powdered mashed potatoes (a product I actually like), boiled carrots, olive drab steamed broccoli. At least I skipped the gravy and “rice pudding.” I ate a massive plate… too much. After returning to Arch Cape, I drank seltzer water and worked out. I started to feel better. (But there are other emotional issues there!) It was a beautiful afternoon. I decided to have a post workout beer… which may have been the healthiest food choice I made all day! I also ate leftover pulled pork (from dinner on Wednesday, I think). At that point, we realized that we didn’t really have proper groceries to make a healthy dinner. We decided, against normal policy at our place, to take our small children “out” to dinner. We ended up at a fish and chip house. I decided not to spend $22 on healthy grilled fish and steamed veggies. For half the price, I had deep fried battered cod and french fries. And heck, I even dipped it in cheap tartar sauce and “homemade” cocktail sauce (manifestly tomato ketchup with horseradish). I did not overeat. And I waited for the bloating, the discomfort, the heartburn, to return. It did not. I stayed away from the kitchen, then, until I was reading in the evening, well after kid bedtime. I finished off the day with a little bit of Rye, a bit of apple, a bit of dried papaya, dried mango, and a few chocolate chips. Compared with the previous week, this was incredibly moderate. I stopped all food intake around 10:30 pm.

For the next few days I know, or rather I feel, that I am going to be back on track. I will probably take a complete break from alcohol and sugars and will certainly return to a gluten free eating pattern. I may even go back to light intermittent fasting. Merely because eating that way makes me feel better, emotionally and physically. But I also know, from documenting my (ch)eating over the past 32 days in this journal, not to expect that things will sort themselves out on my own.

During this period I had some seriously, seriously embarrassing food days. Days that reminded me that my problem with food is really this two-edged issue of psychological compulsiveness and addiction. If I pour my energy into “healthy” eating, I can eat like a champion. But I rightly feel (and get reminded by more sane friends like Brian and Andrew) that this mode is ridiculous and leads to unhealthy “eating disorder” type behaviors. On the other hand, it seems as though I am incapable of eating like a “normal” person. In the absence of self-imposed fascistic controls on my diet, I become the cookie monster.

I don’t have the answer to this issue at the moment. I’d like to be a “food normal” … but really, I’m actually not. So I’ll be thinking about how to address this issue… compulsive behavior around food and diet… in the near future.

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Friday July 8th 2011

Lousy sleep and only 11 hours of fasting under my belt when I ate breakfast at 8:30 am:

Coffee w/ half half
3 eggs fried in butter
Leftover kale greens made w/ onion, olive oil and salt
Fried leftover russet potato (a couple of oz)
Sausage patties (maybe 3 oz)
Two small gluten free pancakes
Apple cinnamon syrup (homemade)

Later: coffee w/ half half
Couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter
Couple of strawberries

After workout at 2:00 pm:
1 beer

2 rockfish tacos: rockfish, lime butter, sour cream, pico de gallo, corn tortillas
corn chips, strawberries, more sour cream and pico de gallo
1 gluten free chocolate chip cookie

… very satisfying post-workout eating …

iced coffee w/ half and half; shot of Kahlua in dere

for dinner, about 6:00 pm:
sweet potatoes, several oz
lacinato kale, about a cup
broccoli, about 1/2 cup
10 oz steak
shot of whiskey

post dinner snackage… it’s Friday and the folks are back in town… I kept nibbling for a while… while finishing a novel in an easy chair. Didn’t stop eating until about 11:00 pm.

shot of vodka, shot of whiskey
almonds and chocolate chips
vanilla ice cream and strawberries
cheddar cheese and salami

Definitely a cheat day!

food journal 009

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Been pretty good today, so far… not counting the refined grain products in my lunch.

Coffee w/ half and half before breakfast

Breakfast about 8:30 am: 3 egg and sausage omelette fried in butter, cantaloupe

Coffee w/ half and half while grading.

Lunch about 12:30 pm: large cod fish and chip “taco” (medium sized flour tortilla, salsa, cole slaw and cabbage, deep fried battered cod)

Second lunch about 1:30 pm: medium sized serving of leftover beef/zucchini enchillada (corn tortilla, tomato, sauce, onion, zucchini, grass fed ground beef, butter, enchillada sauce, 4 cheese mix)

Sparkling water

Coffee w/ half and half… and more grading.

I had missed a glorious day at the beach while working on finishing up summer school classes. But I finished grading and filing grades, and that was done. To celebrate that, and the arrival of my parents, and the early arrival of the sun on this fourth of july weekend, I had a whiskey.

Everything went very well through dinner. For dinner, it was carrots, potatoes, green cauliflower, stewed beef shank and marrow bone, and mushrooms sauteéd with bacon. And a beer.

After dinner, I had more of my homemade strawberry ice cream; good flavor, terrible ice cream texture. I also had the last few of those star cookies I mentioned yesterday. And some chocolate truffles. And a little more whiskey.

Things were ok for a while, but my sister and her kids arrived sometime around 10:00 pm. She brought bags of food which I unpacked. Among the items: gluten free almond cookies, chocolate chip cookies, coconut cookies, and many other goodies. I had another glass of whiskey. And various cookies. And raspberries, and cheese. And more chocolate. And truly, I lost track of what I ate, or how many times I went back to the kitchen counter. Basically, I went on a binge. I stayed up too late, ate too much, drank too much, and

Not sure what happened to my inner nutritional warrior. He sure wasn’t with me last night. I guess that, like me, he… is on vacation?

What can I learn from Thursday? I notice a pretty clear pattern in my behavior, which is that you get a couple of drinks in me, bring on the night, and I start to forget things that seem much more important to me in the morning. Things like, getting enough sleep, or healthy eating (e.g. avoiding sweets, keeping a daily fast).

Given the realities of the upcoming family holiday weekend… a beach house, ample stocks of booze and food, and my normally more relaxed attitude towards these things on Fridays and Saturdays, I can guess I won’t return to intermittent fasting until Sunday. That’s ok. It really is.

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 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.

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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.

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