27 Rules for Diets

Just to be clear, I don’t follow these rules.  Not even close.  It’s just a list I’ve compiled over years of researching different diets.  Most of it is based on a paleo approach to eating.  I strive to follow as many of these rules as I can, but I find it impossible.

  1. No calories from beverages (except occasional alcohol)
  2. No added sugar in any form – refined, corn syrup (especially HFCS), etc.
  3. 3 to 6 meals per day
  4. Drink at least 4 liters of water per day
  5. Favor green tea over coffee
  6. Avoid artificial sweeteners, colorings, preservatives, flavor enhancers (MSG)
  7. No grains, especially gluten grains (No corn, rice, wheat, soy, etc)
  8. No legumes (peanuts, beans)
  9. Eat lean meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables
  10. Don’t add salt to food
  11. Eat nothing deep fried
  12. Do not eat white potatoes (occasional sweet potatoes are okay)
  13. Avoid dairy products
  14. Avoid anything packaged in a box, wrapped in plastic, or found in the center of a grocery store (Factory food)
  15. When consuming sugar (fructose) it must be accompanied with fiber (Eat a carrot, don’t drink carrot juice)
  16. Favor low Glycemic Load (not Index) fruits and vegetables
  17. Do not eat trans fats
  18. 5-A-Day the color way (Blue/Purple, White, Red, Green, Yellow/Orange)
  19. Favor locally grown, fresh, organic produce.  Grow your own if possible.
  20. Balance diet toward alkalinity
  21. Eat lean protein within 1 hour of exercise
  22. Avoid starchy fruits and vegetables such as bananas
  23. Use fresh herbs and spices daily
  24. Avoid dried fruits, due to the sugar concentration
  25. Eat raw foods every day
  26. Avoid “Reduced Fat” or “Lite” foods, as fat is replaced with sugar.
  27. Process and cook food minimally

The 2% Rule

In order to make this process a little easier I implemented the “2% Rule” on dairy products.  I’ve been using this rule ever since I stopped eating High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I’ve blogged elsewhere about HFCS, but maybe I’ll dig that up and repost it here.  Anyway, the rule is I’m okay with eating a product if there is a banned ingredient (in this case dairy) listed in the ingredient list after the phrase “contains less than 2% of the following:”  This just makes it a little easier on me because occasionally I’m going to eat prepackaged foods, and chances are they will contain something from my growing list of banned foods.  Ultimately I’d like to get away from factory foods altogether, but I’m a long way off from accomplishing that.  I need a giant garden, and I need to spend more time hunting.  Short entry today, that’s all I have to say.

Day 2 Dairy Free

This is starting to get a little easier, as I’m learning where the crafty food makers are hiding milk. Once or twice yesterday I pulled something out of the pantry only to return it after reading the ingredients.  One in particular was a Zone bar with some sort of whey product in it.  That’s just as well since Zone bars are full of all sorts of chemicals I can’t pronounce.  Generally the only paleo-friendly food bars I’m aware of are Larabars.  Their formula is pretty simple – mash fruit and nuts.  I could do that with primitive tools.

The main problems I’m running into trying to remove dairy from my diet are  1) I like butter 2) I like cheese and 3) milk derivatives are in all sorts of cooked products, especially baked goods.

Butter was an easy problem to solve, at least temporarily.  I purchased Earth Balance vegan butter.  It’s just a whipped oil blend, and it tastes just like butter.  The beauty is that you can use it just as you would butter – including baking.  The oils are non-hydrogenated, so there’s no trans fats.  I bought with Whipped variety, which comes in a tub like margarine, but I see a similar product is also available in sticks.  This product is not consistent with the paleo diet, but right now my focus is on eliminating dairy, not following paleo.  Ultimately I will attempt to limit my use of butter or butter substitutes. Baby steps.

I’ve made no attempt to replace cheese.  I think I’m kind of a cheese snob, and I’m not interested in any sort of vegan fake cheese product.  My plan for eliminating cheese is simple – I’m just not eating cheese.  This isn’t really very difficult because for the most part you can see when there’s cheese in something.  Okay, so the crab rangoons caught me off guard the other night, but that was my first attempt!  And I had made it all the way to dinner before I stumbled.  Anyway, if anyone wants some cheese there’s a ton in my refrigerator.

With milk I did take the fake soy vegan route.  I don’t drink milk (gross), I just cook with it.  Maybe over time I’ll figure out how to eliminate milk from recipes or just change what I eat, but for now I thought I’d try cooking with soy milk.  I went with Silk. I picked Silk mostly because of the packaging.  If I buy a gallon of milk I’ll end up throwing away half of it.  Slik was available in a 1 quart shelf stable package, which I put in the refrigerator.

Last night I tried baking with the fake butter and the fake milk for the first time.  I made a variation of Spoon Bread inspired by the Virginia Diner.  It is not vegan because it contains eggs.  Eggs are good paleo food.

I’m not much for recipes (even when baking) – I just mix stuff together and add heat, but this is basically how I made it – Combine 2 cups fake milk, 1 cup water, 1 cup cornmeal, 2 tb fake butter, 1 ts salt, 1 tb sugar in a pot and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Beat 3 eggs with a hand mixer at medium speed. Temper the eggs with some of the cornmeal mixture, then mix it all together.  Fold in 1 cup of corn. Pour into a greased 1-1/2 quart casserole and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes at 350.

If you’ve never had spoon bread you should keep in mind this is not the same thing as corn bread.  You have to eat this with a spoon.

Going Dairy Free

My first complete dairy free day is finally behind me. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of months, but for some reason couldn’t get myself motivated. I was in the grocery store the other day and picked up some vegan butter, and I guess that pushed me over the top.

Okay, if I publish this somewhere and people who know me read it for some reason, they’ll probably be a little freaked out at this point, so let me clear this up right now – I am not vegan, I am not vegetarian, and I still like women. I’m a hunter and a meat eater. Some background on why I’m not eating dairy: As many of you already know, I’ve been interested in the paleo diet for a couple of years now. The details of paleo diet are a little beyond the scope of this entry, but it’s mostly about eating meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, and nuts. We’ll condense the rules of the paleo down to two easy tests – before you eat something, ask 1) if I went outside seeking food could I obtain this with only primitive tools? And 2) is this safe to eat in it’s raw state (meaning, is it non-poisonous when raw, not does it contain parasites. Chicken passes this test. Potatoes do not.) Now, these rules are oversimplifications, but when you understand the finer points of paleo eating these become good guidelines. Most modern paleo eaters do not consider dairy to be acceptable.

On at least two separate occasions I’ve attempted to follow the paleo diet strictly. Once I think it lasted a couple of weeks, and that was the more successful attempt. I haven’t lost hope that someday I might be able to follow a paleo eating schedule, I’ve just come to realize that I need a new approach – slowly phasing out the unacceptable foods. To be clear, I don’t plan on ever following the paleo diet 100% – which is to say I won’t ever do it 100% of the time, and I won’t follow 100% of the rules. Dairy and soy will likely always play at least a small part in my diet.

And so I begin again the transition to a more paleo type diet. I decided to begin with dairy products because recently I’ve noticed they make me feel like crap. Every time I eat ice cream or something really cheesy I end up feeling very congested. I get a build up of pressure in my head I would normally associate with a cold. It’s gone by the next morning.

Yesterday was my first complete dairy free day. It should have been the day before yesterday, but I accidentally ate some crab rangoons with dinner. Even yesterday I was tempted to put the whole thing off another day so I could eat some creamed spinach. Man, this is going to be hard.

My favorite part of not eating dairy is going to the super market and buying vegan butter, soy milk, steaks, and bacon.

My initial goal is to stay off the dairy for 1 month. I may occasionally update some sort of journal, but that seems unlikely.

Gluten is next on the hit list.

For when I need more than 140 characters.