Pretty interesting email I got, with permission to publish. I thought you might find this interesting. Now, I suppose I might could go off and declare for evermore that eating low protein and high carbohydrate in the form of rice starch is a no-no, but I won’t. We’re all individuals. That said, I know what I’m sticking with. It’s long, but there’s no real good way to edit it down without missing critical pieces.
My name is Tommy and I recently stumbled across your blog. I say stumbled because you know how these things go. You search for something and it leads you here and there and next thing you know you’re on a new path. Anyway, in the few posts I’ve read I found your blog interesting. I loved the term “agnostic” in relation to viewing some of this stuff. I find myself in a slightly different position than many I see on these blogs and agnostic is a good term for me.
I have never had a weight problem at anytime in my life. If anything I always thought I was too thin. I’m 53 and have trained in martial arts since I was 11. I became serious in 1980 and my fitness and training became religious along with my diet. My father had his first heart attack at age 49 and number 3 killed him at 65. I ate well and worked out regularly to avoid this. I am 5’10 and weighed in at around 175 lbs in the 80’s and 90’s. I had labs done yearly and always remained “the healthy guy.” Later in my training career I got into weight training (sort of power lifting) along with my martial arts and bulked up to 220.
Somewhere around age 47 I thought I felt too bulky for my martial arts so in 6 months I was back down to around 183. Later I got into full contact fighting/MMA and 183-185 lbs was a good weight for me. I was in great shape, eating good and still fighting at age 52. Eating good was more or less the conventional wisdom view. Little red meat, lots of chicken, I ate lots of rice (brown mostly but definitely lots of white rice especially since I ate a lot of Chinese food ….a good portion of it steamed). No sweets or cake, no soda not even diet. I was doing good. But I also drank skimmed milk and ate “healthy” processed foods (I say that sarcastically.). In May or June of 09 I had my yearly bloodwork and my LDL was 109 and HDL 65. Triglycerides were 87 and my CRP was below 4. As always my doctor said I was perfect and would live forever. He chuckled as always and said I was doing real good.
That October I had a heart attack!!! What the fuck? Everyone was shocked and I heard more than one person (my younger overweight brother was one) say if it happened to Tommy then I’m doomed. Turns out I had some plaque that burst and caused a clot and I also had another 40-60% blockage at the bottom of my heat somewhere. I got an angioplasty for the collapsed artery and the other blockage they left alone. Plaque? Go figure. I was already eating good….now what? So I started really watching my food intake and at the beginning followed the American Heart Association guidelines. Yea great. I was eating graham crackers and wheat thins, low fat everything and all the rest….you know the drill. Bullshit. Meanwhile I was researching. I’m never satisfied with anything and tend to keep moving. Why did this happen to me and will it happen again? I needed answers. I came across Micheal Pollans “Food Rules” and “In defense of food” and that started me on my way. From there I learned about others out there like Gary Taubes. I learned about how poor the meat, fish and fowl are in this country and gave up all of it (I was also reading Jack Lallane’s “ Live young Forever”) and became a vegetarian temporarily. This had nothing to do with vegetarianism itself but more a transition station/rest point until I could figure out how to get better meat and fish.
In the meantime I had already begun following advice from Pollan and I gave up anything that came in a package with a label. No ingredients. Eventually, through more research I came across Dr. Micheal Eades and from there Mark Sisson and then Dr. William Davis, then Matt Stone, and on and on. From all of that I learned a great deal. I found a farm about 2 miles from me that is small and owned by a couple who are very into the environment as well as animals. The wife is a veterinarian and they treat the animals humanely. The chickens are all running outside eating bugs and whatever and the cows wander the fields right there as well as come in for milking where you can see (and touch) them right behind the counter. They have visits and petting for kids. I buy my eggs, chicken, ground beef and raw milk there. So now my food list consists of pastured meats, milk and eggs, Organic (mostly) fruits and vegetables. Organic Dried beans. Sweet potatoes, Organic rolled oats, organic brown rice, organic quinoa, organic flax seed which I grind. Raw almond and walnuts, organic Tempeh, Kifir, Greek yogurt, no salt cottage cheese, Raisins, sardines, coconut oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar (no other ingredients). Raw honey, and occasional wild caught Alaskan salmon. I also buy casein protein powder from The Protein Factory….pure no other ingredients. I eat no wheat or wheat products, bred etc….at all…
Anything I eat as meals comes from the above and I buy the same shit every week and cook the same every week. I know for many this is boring but I have done this for years even in my old ways of eating. Believe me I can eat allot and I love to eat. No matter how I eat….all carbs or all fiber or all meat or all meat and fiber….any way I eat, I am always hungry again soon after leaving the table and at most an hour and a half later. My metabolism is high and I burn it fast. So the only thing I eat that is packaged or has a label are the raisins…but the only ingredients are raisins, the cottage cheese, (nothing in there but milk) Yogurt, kifir and tempeh and oils. I have no sugar at all or anything that contains it. Not even a little ketchup. (I have a teaspoon or a little more of the raw honey in my 8 oz coffee in the am. and one I the afternoon). I soak my beans as well as all my grains. I soak my grains in warm water in a jar with an acid medium (kifir). I even soak my oats. I tried eating more low carb but I’m too hungry all the time and I lose too much weight especially after a workout. I went from 185 to 166 even with the rice and quinoa and I was fighting to not lose. It won’t come back. I added more chicken/beef/eggs. More sweet potatoes, more rice etc to the point it became ridiculous. I was eating 2 sweet potatoes per week and upped it to 3. I would have the potato not instead of but in addition to 2 or 2.5 cups of brown rice with ¾ cup of beans veggies and chicken. If I happened to be on my feet a lot that day due to work I’d lose weight! Fuck…I hate being so thin. But I guess there are worse things. I’m not fighting anymore (obviously) so I guess it doesn’t matter. I don’t even have to look scary anymore lol.
The past week I’m looking into cutting back on some of the carbs again….just a little. I don’t track this stuff but every now and again out of curiosity I take a peek. I was around 40% carbs but recently moved up to about 50. That’s because of my weight loss and trying to get weight back on. I upped my portion sizes. Didn’t work. I was closing in on 4000 cals per day. (around 3700). I was around 50% carbs, 20% pro and 30% fat. Most of my carbs come from veggies, fruit rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes. I have banana mid morning with my raw milk and protein powder and a few almonds, an apple mid day with a handful of walnuts and either 3 or 4 strawberries or an orange around 730 pm. Those are my snacks. My beakfast is ½ cup oats, handful raising, ground flax, 1/2cup cottage cheese, an egg. Lunch, quinoa and either tempeh or sardines and a big salad, raw broc. (coconut oil and balsamic). Dinner brown rice, beans some weeks, chicken or ground beef (grass fed/pastured) veggies. Twice per week a sweet potato included to the above dinner. Same everyday. I know….boring right. Lol.
Why am I writing all this, and I apologize, I know it’s long. Well, in the little bit I read of your blog I think you may feel as I do. Again I bring up agnostic. I don’t care who wins, whether it’s low fat or high, high carb or low etc etc. I just want to do whatever is healthy “for me.” I have no other interest in a particular way. I’m not looking to be a follower of a way; rather I want to take the information from all ways and the make my own way based on what works from me. I am very interested in Paleo and it makes a lot of sense. However I have also viewed a lot of the recipes and what people are eating and to be honest it looks too expensive to me. Getting pastured/grass fed meat/chicken/eggs costs me a lot and I refuse to eat anything else. Wild caught salmon is very expensive. I see Paleo types eating more of this stuff than I do for sure. I eat the amounts I eat because I couldn’t afford to buy more! I couldn’t eat that stuff for lunch as well as dinner!
Anyway the best middle ground I’ve found was a cross between Weston price/Sears and Paleo. I don’t have a weight problem so some Rice and tubers aren’t hurting me nor beans. My goals aren’t weight related and what I eat seems to work for me (too well because I keep losing weight). More me than diet. My goals are heart health and reversing my CAD. I like your blog because you seem to hold a relaxed view of all this. Many other places are extreme and almost haters of the other side. I find it funny looking at it objectively. Today, you can lose weight and drop your cholesterol anyway you like. Apparently, if you believe the comments on the various blogs, it all works miracles. The low carbers swear their labs all came down or normalized as well as their weight, mood, joint aches, pimples, sleep disorders and you name it. The high carbers claim the same. The vegetarians…again…the same. Low fat? No more cholesterol and similar claims. Could it be just cutting out all the crap just works? Who knows. Doesn’t matter….I remain middle of the road as always, in all my life endeavors. It is ingrained in me from being a fighter and my philosophy on fighting strategy. I apply it to life. I never lean too far in any direction. I remain mobile and knowledgeable in various approaches.
I recently watched an interview done by Dr Oz (looked old…maybe around the time of Gary Taubes wall st journal article?) that pitted Taubes against Ornish and some other snotty old woman. I was so wanting Taubes to cream them but was surprised when (at least to me) he lost miserably. If I didn’t have other knowledge and looked at it completely objectively I would have believed the low fat gurus. Taubes seemed stumped when asked for studies and concrete evidence only complaining that there was none because no one is willing to believe it is worth the research. We need definitive proof. The FDA is still reluctant to approve coconut oil…bastards. Anyway….I’ll stop here. This long boring email is just me giving you my history so you know where I’m coming from. Just in case I decide to comment on your blog. I comment on only two. Dr. Davis….but never get any good health responses and Matt Stones. Matt only because some things I find interesting. But as far as what he does, it’s too far in another direction for me and again…I’m not overweight. And he is into Ray Peat and such….I’m not. But it’s another view and everything is helpful to me. I look at all sides. Because of my situation I find I am a little off the path when it comes to these blogs and comments. Most people find vast improvements because they are seeking weight loss. I am already good in that regard. I also find myself standing up while watching T.V. for no reason other than I don’t know what to do with my energy. That’s just me. My diet? I don’t know, maybe just me…doesn’t matter. It is why I can’t gain weight.
When I was lifting and fighting I could gain (or lose) at will but this was because I would eat things that I refuse to now. Especially bread and pasta. So when I comment on a blog it is only a feeling out for me. A probing for info on “health.” On keeping my labs good and reversing plaque. My labs a few weeks ago changed to LDL 74, HDL 46, Tigs 43. I’m on a statin but I believe my low trigs are my doing. I want better numbers (even though they are meaningless)…higher HDL. I’m working on it. I’m trying to be at least Paleo-ish…lol. But I find that if I workout/train (yes. I’m back to training….not fighting, but training hard…just a little less) and don’t eat rice or sweet potato I lose too much weight and can’t get it back.
So now you know a lot about me. Sorry for the length but your blog struck me and I like it. I just want you to know who I am and where I’m coming from. There are many ways….I’m sure you agree. The principles are what matter. Put them together in a way that works for you. I teach the same thing to my fighters. Learn the technique then forget it. Everyone can’t look or perform the same. You’re not me nor does your body move like mine or are your limbs as long or short. Learn the technique and its principles, then apply it to “your” body; then forget the technique. Come the fight you can’t be thinking about “performing” in exact movements.
One last note. After my last blood work my doctor again said I was perfect. He also said “I don’t know why you even bother coming here!” Now that is scary…isn’t it? After all he always said that…..even before I had my heart attack. Now I listen to “me.”
Alright, I have a lot of ideas about Tommy’s approach, but how about you?