Plant Paleo Update at 42 Years Old
Today’s my 42nd birthday, so I figured I’d share a bit about how this old geezer’s doing. My birthday also marks 9-½ months of practicing The Plant Paleo Diet. I won’t rehash my entire history in this article, though. To learn more about how I went from life-long obesity to where I am now, check out my previous body comp update.
In that last update—almost 6 months ago—I weighed 163 lbs. This morning, I weighed in at 161 lbs. So, it’s safe to say I’ve been in a fairly stable energy balance with Plant Paleo. My lowest measured weight in the last 6 months was 157 lbs and my highest was 163 lbs.
When it comes to food, I’ve fallen into a consistent eating pattern. It looks something like this:
First meal at 10:30 or 11 a.m.
In the last six months, I’ve learned there are a lot of ways to make steel cut oats and a cornucopia of mushrooms and vegetables. That’s my typical breakfast, but variety is still the spice of life. So, sometimes we prepare it as a curry. Sometimes we’ll mix it with other sauces. Occasionally, I’ll throw an egg on top. And once in a while, I’ll skip the veggies and shrooms and just mix in nuts and berries with a touch of maple syrup.
Wait! Oats aren’t Paleo?! If you’re not familiar with my stance yet, read Plant Paleo Part 2 when you get the chance. More evidence keeps coming in, so I added a Further Reading section at the bottom where I can list new studies and articles, like the recent findings indicating oat consumption in the Paleolithic era. You can hear my take on Latest in Paleo 142: Paleolithic Porridge. Incidentally, the cave in question is less than 150km from the town where both my parents were born.
Back when I was on more standard versions of Paleo, I rarely ate between meals. Nowadays, it’s common, and I choose fruit, carrots, raw or cooked vegetables, roasted nuts, seeds, baked potatoes, etc. These are simple, whole foods that are filling, fiber-rich, and can provide a way to get more variety in the diet.
On Plant Paleo, it’s difficult to overeat during meals. In fact, squeezing all of my caloric and nutrient needs into two meals is pretty tough, so the mid-day snacks are helpful. Three squares would work, too, but I don’t like eating in the early morning.
Evening meal at around 7:00 p.m.
Dinner varies, but it always includes a very large salad. Sometimes, it’s just a large salad…and when that’s the case, it usually includes a small amount of a whole grain (like wild rice or barley), legumes, mixed vegetables, some avocado, etc.
I’ve also started drinking a glass of red wine with dinner. Typically an inexpensive Malbec, which has a full, rustic, earthy, smoky flavor. We get ours at Costco, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, and they’re all under $10/bottle—even at Whole Paycheck. Red wine has been shown in many studies to positively affect the microbiome. A few times a month, I’ll have a kombucha.
Amy and I usually get a chance to chill out together after our 4-year old goes to bed. Recently, we’ve been enjoying the crap out of 6 Feet Under. HBO rarely disappoints, right? But, I digress. This is about the food…
At night, I’ll I enjoy some good dark chocolate with about an hour of storytelling…I mean, TV.
Cheats…for lack of a better word
I rarely eat anything that doesn’t fit into The Plant Paleo Diet as outlined on this site. But I don’t deprive myself, either. For example, if we’re out at a Farmer’s Market or out visiting Seattle, I may have a small piece of a bakery item or a gelato. Or not.
If someone offers me a taste of something that actually looks good, I’m happy to have a bite. At this point in my life and my relationship with food, I don’t worry about the slippery slope, anymore. I can take a bite of anything without feeling like I have to eat…it..ALL. NOM!
The other day, we were in Tacoma and we picked up some Legendary Donuts. What a name. I chose a lemon-coconut. Well, 1/4 of a doughnut is the perfect serving size for me, so the thing lasted nearly a week. I would have to force myself to eat a bigger portion than that…way, way too sweet. My palate is just not used to it. Nor would I want it to be.
Again, this is rare. The poison is in the dose. I mention this because I don’t want to give off the impression that my diet is completely rigid, when in fact it has lifted nearly all of my food restrictions and it’s quite flexible, encouraging mindful choices.
In addition to being full-on with Plant Paleo in 2015, we also became YMCA members this year. It’s a great gym with everything you can imagine: weights, machines, classes, an indoor track, swimming pools, a rock wall, racket ball courts, personal trainers, kettle bells, mats…you name it.
All I use is the track.
There was maybe a month or so early on when I was enjoying the weights, but it got old fast, and I switched back to body-weight exercises. I basically go when the girls or Amy have a class, walk around the track and listen to my audio books. Even though I don’t use all of their facilities, I still love the place. It has a great vibe, the people are awesome, and it really helps me keep the kids active and socializing.
My “workout” routine consists of
- walking every day that I possibly can, minimum 2 hilly miles
- body-weight routines consisting of standard body weight exercises, two 10- to 15-minute sets a few times a week
- occasional hard work around the house: shoveling tons of rock, chopping wood, carrying wood, digging fence posts, loading and unloading a ton of heating pellets, etc.
- occasional Yoga (I haven’t had much time for it recently)
That’s it. And without question, the walking is the most important. I feel it positively affects my body composition, my health, and my mental well-being. Besides, my dog Juno loses her mind when I miss a day with her. And without walks, I’d never find time to listen to podcasts and books.
Although my body weight has stayed pretty much the same over the last 6 months, my body composition has noticeably improved. I feel absolutely fantastic, too. Energy levels and endurance have been at all-time highs. And I even gave up coffee.
The only time I feel fatigued is from computer work, and that’s 40 hours a week. Minimum. Usually more.
Seriously, I can work in the garden, hike for hours, dig, or haul heavy stuff around…and I feel fine. No real soreness to speak of. But, sit in front of a computer for a couple of hours, and I feel stiff for a few steps when I get up. I have to stretch my back. Standing and squatting aren’t much better.
That’s it. 42 years old. I don’t know if what I’ve been up to is The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything…but it’s been working out all right! I’m feeling very fortunate.