March 2009

I just watched a little video Dr. Dan put up on At Darwin’s Table about digestion. It’s funny because I just did a little research on digestion recently. A co-worker looked at my big bowl of salmon and sardines, which had about 55 g of protein, and said

“You know, your body can only absorb 15 g of protein in a sitting”,

to which I quickly replied “B.S!” I felt compelled to show him proof anyway, just for his own benefit (and mine).  A little digging found that animal protein (meat) is absorbed at a rate of 10-15 grams per hour. Since it takes around 4 hours or so for food to pass through the small intestine, my meal was broken down just fine! It is amazing how much misinformation gets passed by word of mouth, and how much gets blindly accepted in an age where accurate information is only a click away.

Note: I’m still feeling under the weather.  I haven’t eaten anything but a small bowl of chicken broth and green tea in the past 37 hours.  I was hoping a fast would knock this sucker out before it gained momentum, but while I don’t really feel worse, I don’t feel much better either.  I’m going to skip the weights today and eat some light meals.  Tomorrow I should be sleeping in my own bed, so that should help.  Until next time!


Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post. I should be a bit more regular once I hit dry land again!  I’ve been tracking my food, so I should have some caloric and macro-nutrient breakdowns when my web access isn’t so restricted.

Just wanted to relate my experience yesterday during my workout.  I have modified the workout from Gym Junkies a little, turning the whole thing into a superset.  Yesterday’s workout for example was Dumbbell squats (30# ea x 8 reps) straight to bench press (#13 on the weight stack, don’t know how much weight, but it’s challenging without blowing any blood vessels) x 8, then lat pulldowns (same weight) x 8 reps.  Rest 1 min in between rounds.  I usually knock out five rounds in just under 15 minutes, which leaves me out of breath and fatigued in a good way.  Yesterday I was hurting on the third round, and on the fourth I could barely hold the dumbbells at my shoulders for the squats.  I struggled through (even had to reduce the weight for bench and lat pulls), and called it quits after that round.

Now there are other factors here, namely the ships rocking makes every movement harder.  Sometimes the weight gets real heavy on the left, sometimes the right… It’s a constant, fatiguing balancing act.  I’ve also been working out every other day, a total of five workouts in nine days.  Despite this I am sure the biggest reason is that I have followed a very strict ketogenic diet out here.  I have only eaten fish, meat, dairy, olives, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Throw in the fasts I did as well and it’s easy to see that I am finally depleted of glycogen.  My muscles don’t feel sore as if I’ve been overtraining, and they shouldn’t since I’ve actually only done a total of an hour and 15 minutes worth of actual weight training!  Now begins the real business of fat burning.  I was tempted to eat a few more carbs after yesterday to support the training, but then I reminded myself that the weight training was the tool, not the goal.  The weights are there to remind my body to hold on to my lean mass as I shift deeper into fat-burning mode.  It is really hard to shake the “get bigger muscles” mentality that had a hold of me for so long.

So I will rest tonight and hit the weights again tomorrow.  I think the combination of cold dry recycled air, a woeful lack of sunlight, and several sick crewmembers, have conspired to give me a sore throat and mild (so far) sinus infection.  So I’m not real hungry and may just stick to green tea with lemon for the night.  Go immune system!

No kiddies, it’s not the latest fitness craze – it’s what happens when you are on a boat that is constantly rocking back and forth.  Just a rock of a few degrees side to side can produce some profound soreness in the stabilizer muscles.  You really notice it in your ankles, calves, knees, sides, and lower back.  Every motion of the boat forces your muscles to contract to keep you in your customary upright position, and all those little contractions really add up after a few days.  Even while you sleep, your body is fighting to keep you from rolling out of bed!  Not a bad way to burn a few extra calories.

So that said, my back was very stiff this evening when I got up.  I remedied it with a quick set of 20 Hindu push-ups and some very short planks.  The added motion of the boat made a 30 second front plank feel like absolute torture, and I limited the sides to only 15 seconds for fear of injuring myself!  As far as food, I am fasting today, drinking only green tea and water.  I set myself up nicely, though, having gorged myself on fat and protein last night.

Here’s the continuation of my foods eaten and activity:


11:00 pm – 1 can of Beach Cliff Sardines, drained


1:00 am – 6 oz. canned salmon, spanish olives, 1/3 cup guacamole

5:00 am – 1.5 cups ground beef w/ taco seasoning, 1 oz. shredded cheddar

10:30 pm – Workout A from Gym (I did workout B the other day, but mislabeled it as A)

11:00 pm – 2 cups shredded roasted chicken, drippings poured over it


2:00 am – 6 oz. canned salmon, 2 cans sardines, about 5 tbsp olive oil, all mashed up ( I wasn’t really hungry, but I wanted to get plenty of protein and fat in me)

7:00 am- 2 boiled eggs, 6 pork sausages (good ones with a skin casing), 4 strips of bacon

As you can see, yesterday was a heavy eating day!  I’m not even remotely hungry this evening.  I plan to go at least until 7 am, but if I’m not starving I may just go to bed.  We’ll see!

Being on this ship is all about avoiding temptation.  There are candy, cakes, cream puffs, ice cream, chips, delicious little bowls of ramen noodles (the good kind most folks will only find at an Asian market)…. you name it, we got it.  Yet amazingly I have so much more willpower than if, say, I was home and my wife had bought me a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  I think it’s because we only see each other  on this ship every few months, so changes in peoples appearance are very noticeable.  A lot of these guys knew me when I was at 260 pounds (118 kilos) and they always comment on how amazed they are that I not only lost 70 lbs, but have kept it off for so long.  Others I know have lost, but promptly gained it back and more.  That is the magic of a paleo lifestyle.  It is a long term, livable solution to weight troubles.  I don’t ever preach to anyone here, but some have tried to kick the carbs after seeing my results.  And maybe it’s the fact that I’ve always kind of been on the fringes that gives me just a little pleasure in being an individual – the one guy quietly snacking on some olives with balsamic vinegar while everyone else dives into the pastries.  Brushing my teeth next to a guy who looks like I did a couple years back is a powerful reminder of how far I’ve come, and how important it is to stay the course.

I’m working nights, so my meals are kind or reversed – leftover dinner for breakfast, breakfast before bed. Yesterday went like this:

  • Black coffee – 3 cups (at least)
  • 10:30 pm – Workout A from the Gym Junkies blog
  • 11:30 pm – 12 meatballs (no pasta) with 2 slices of provolone melted on top
  • 2:00 am – 6 oz. wild salmon, 6 Spanish olives, 2-3 tbsp olive oil (didn’t measure, just poured)
  • 5:30 am – 1/2 cup scrambled eggs, 3 oz. spiral cut ham, 2 slices bacon with about 2 tbsp ketchup

I only ended up sleeping about seven hours, but I was very rested.  I got up and went to the outside deck to catch a couple hours of sunlight (yay vitamin D!).  After the sun set I headed inside for a quick circuit of 30 pushups, 20 bodyweight squats, 20 pushups, 15 squats, 1 minute front plank, and side planks of 30 seconds each.  Breakfast was a big bowl of fajita chicken with bell peppers smothered in about 1/3 cup of Wholly Guacamole (the only kind I will eat if my wife doesn’t make it fresh) and 2 tbsp salsa.  No coffee this morning, only green tea.

Until next time!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, things have been busy!

Last week I ended up fasting for 5 straight days!  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I could barely eat as it was – only had a small bowl of chicken soup in the evening.  Thursday I felt a lot better, so it was ribeye steak with cauliflower and carrots for dinner.  Friday was another all-day fast with a nice piece of salmon.  Saturday I spent the afternoon snacking on whatever I could get my hands on, then Outback for an Ahi tuna steak with a baked potato (I know..).  Sunday was eggs for breakfast and tri-tip roast and pork chops for dinner.  I must admit that giving up dairy just isn’t happening.  I can live without the other stuff, but nothing beats a hunk of cheese when I’m hungry.  One day I may be able to purge it from my diet, but today is not that day.

I am currently out at sea for my job.  Given the nature of the comms out here I may be lucky to post once a week.  If I can do more I will.  I’m looking forward to doing some long fasts while I’m out here.  I’ll be lifting weights every other day, eating clean, and (here’s the best part) getting a lot more sleep.  This should give me some good results by the time I get home!

It’s now been a week since i started the Lent Challenge. I must admit that the week did NOT go all that well. I started strong, ate crap on Sunday, and spent Monday and Tuesday in bed sick (coincidence?). I did lose a pound, though. I’m fasting today and will hit the weights as well. This week will be better, dang it!

No, I’m not talking about scraping moldy bread for penicillin,  I’m talking good old-fashioned chicken soup.

The whole family is sick, and to be honest, I didn’t want to eat anything at all yesterday.  Unfortunately I am one of those poor souls cursed with a wife so beautiful that it is impossible to deny her anything, so when she asked in her sickliest voice, “Could you please make your chicken soup?”, I had no choice but to drag myself to the store for a whole chicken and some celery.

This recipe is made in a pressure cooker and is really easy.  The hardest part is not eating all the chicken as you shred it!  Here we go:


1 Whole Chicken, 4-5 lbs, quartered (I had the butcher at the market quarter it for me)

Filtered water

2 tbsp kosher salt (I use Hawaiian sea salt)

2 cups celery, chopped

1-2 cups carrots, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

*Optional –

minced celery leaves, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, store-bought chicken broth


(I’m not going to tell you how to use your cooker, as they can vary)

Place quarterd chicken in cooker (giblets and all).

Add salt and filtered water up to the max-fill line on your cooker.  Add bay leaf now.

Seal and bring cooker up to pressure (15 pounds).

Once pressure is reached, turn heat down to maintain pressure and set timer for 50 minutes.

Reduce pressure and pour chicken and broth through a strainer or colander.  Put broth back in pressure cooker.

Add veggies to broth, and top water back up to max-fill line (I had a carton of broth in the cupboard so I used that as well).  Seal and cook for 10 minutes (after pressure reached).

While veggies cook, debone the chicken.  It will be hot!  I give the dog all the skin and organs, though i suppose you could puree the organs in some broth and add it back if you like.  Shred it up as fine as you like, I tear into it with my hands.

After veggies are done, add chicken back in and simmer for a few minutes to reheat the chicken.

There you go! Fast and easy, and canned soup will never be good enough again!  I add a little bit of habenero sauce to my bowl for a serious sinus flush!

Got any good sick-day recipes? Link them in the comments!

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