Tag Archives: low carb

Quick and easy short term fat loss

If your goal is to lose fat quickly, stop over-analyzing and cut carbs. It doesn’t matter what the critics say. It doesn’t matter if eating carbs is good or bad. It doesn’t matter if there are other ways that “might” be better. We’re talking purely short term fat loss here.

When you want definite results, you rely on the data you have. And the data we have today says low carb works for short-term fat loss. So for the next 4 weeks, save yourself some mind-space and do the following.

  • Dump all kinds of sugar – honey, dessert, all fruit juice, soda, chocolate etc.
  • Restrict grains to only the meal after working out. Have lentils/beans instead during other meals.
  • Reduce fruit consumption to 1 medium fruit a day. Size? A grape is too small and a jack fruit is too big.
  • Eat 2 cups of vegetables with every meal but stay away from roots and tubers for the most part.
  • Do exactly as said and don’t try to find loop holes or work arounds.

For more, here is some fat loss information overdose.

Is it all in the head?

You fail to see beauty in something, anything, once you understand it. So it the case with paranoia. You stop being afraid of something, anything, once you understand it. This applies to food as much as it applies to God and the devil.

Pretty cool line huh? Who came up with it? I did! And yea I know. I’m pretty awesome like that. Ok now, let’s talk about something you don’t know.

Back when I used to chronically diet…

… I was always on one diet or the other. In other words, there was always some food group I’d not eat. During the good old whole wheat days, I’d eat everything in whole wheat from bread to cereal to roti to naan to lavash bread to pita bread to pasta and hardly eat any fat whatsoever. I’d stay away from ghee like it was demon’s piss, shun cheese like it was illegal and fatty cuts of meat didn’t even exist in my food dictionary!

Then when I learnt more about nutrition and that fats were good and (thought) carbs were the devil, my idea of foodtopia (see what I did? Again, pretty awesome like that!) went from wheat-ville to lowcarb-asylum. I’d eat about 1-1.5lb of fatty meat and 2-3 lb of green veggies everyday in addition to cream and cheese and butter and macadamia nuts. I stayed away from wheat like it would clog up my respiratory tract and bananas were off limits ‘cos they were nothing more than yellow colored candy bars and chose cream over milk ‘cos milk was a carb source!

It’s amazing how things have changed in the last few years after I started doing more self-experimentation and began reading more unbiased literature (as opposed to reading strictly within the whole wheat or paleo or low carb circle, depending on which phase I was on), but here is something interesting.

Let me first say that I used to be the epitome of clean eating. Will power and motivation flowed so seamlessly like swear words out of a hookers mouth. Nothing could break me. I had no temptations and no one could ever convince or lure me into eating something I hadn’t planned on eating unless, of course, I’d already factored it into my ‘eating plan’. But I observed something.

When I did eat strictly low fat (and whole wheat), I’d eat sandwiches everyday and twice a day on many days. Even today, I’m a sandwich maniac and can eat one for every meal for the rest of my life, but living in a region where the best sandwiches are available at Subway, I don’t quite have that urge. Anyways, I remember I’d stand in line to order a sandwich and I’d know exactly what I wanted (whole wheat bread, lean meat, green veggies, mustard, fat free mayo yada yada)… except one thing – should I get the cheese or not? I loved and craved cheese (of course ‘cos I wasn’t “allowed” to eat it) but this question would confuse the shit outa me! I’d stand there in line letting people behind me go ahead ‘cos I’d never be able to make the call. Sometimes I’d get the cheese and sometimes I wouldn’t. When I did get the cheese, I’d love the sandwich but immediately after eating the sandwich, I’d “feel fat”. I’d literally feel like I had gained weight on my lower abdomen/belly area. And you know what guilt does… makes you want to compensate by doing some extra work or eating less for the next few meals. All this for a slice of cheese!

Funnily, when I was deep into low-carb dieting, the exact same scenario would happen when I a cup of rice or eat a banana or eat a meal which is even mildly high in carbs. The “feel fat” thing would pop up in my head which will lead to similar type of compensating.

And the gluten-free days weren’t an exception. Once slice of bread and boom! The next morning I’d feel like I had a “cannonball in my tummy” or like “I’m having trouble breathing well” or like “I’m feeling bloated” or like “I feel fatigued”.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin.

During my low-fat-all-whole-wheat days, I’d eat about 300g of carbs a day most of which was from wheat and didn’t get bombarded by cannonballs or continuously bloat to the point of explosion or feel so fatigued all day I couldn’t work. Heck, I have photos of myself with a prominent 6-pack and remember feeling so awesome I used to workout twice a day 6 days a week – that is 12 fairly intense sessions of physical activity per week with about 6hrs of sleep per day.

During my low carb days, cream, cheese and fatty meat were my main dish, side dish and dessert! My belly didn’t get bigger. Neither did I see the digits on my scale go up or any part of my oh-so-precious 6-pack fade even a little.

I’m more than sure you’ve been through or are going through the same or similar phases. So, you tell me, is it all in the mind? Is fat making you fat or are you just made to think that way? Are carbs fattening or is it that you don’t know any better? Are you truly allergic to gluten or are you just trying hard and finding the symptoms you are told you would experience?

Today, I am in a much better place…

… nutritionally.

Back then, I always was off something. Something was evil. At any point of time, I’d be “off” carbs or fat or gluten or something. Today, I eat everything. While I don’t stuff myself silly with junk food all day everyday, there is literally nothing I am “off” from.

Back then,  I always craved something or the other (probably ‘cos I was off something or the other). Today, I have no cravings whatsoever (definitely ‘cos I know nothing is off limits).

Back then, I was paranoid and, with a lot of focus and diligence, healthy and fit always looking for the next nutritional breakthrough. Today I am free and, with absolutely no conscious effort, healthy, fit and in peace not looking for the next big thing.

The truth is that science isn’t something you believe in. It is a fact. You either know it or you don’t. There is no anxiety in science. There is no guesswork. There is no maybe. There are only equations. You do the experiment (unbiased) and you get (real) results. Nothing more and definitely nothing less.

So are you making the effort to truly understand nutrition via unbiased research and self-experimentation or are you just jumping on and off the fad bus? Do share this post (buttons below) and let’s get this discussion started.

Low fat or high fat? Squat or not? Volume or intensity?

The Devil:

Fruit = Natural vitamins and minerals! Eat as much as you want!

Eating fat will cause heart problems.

Carbs are harmless. Get as much whole grains as you can.

Calorie counting is a must to maintain a healthy weight.

Low carb diets don’t work. They’re a fad!

Vegetables are the most important ingredient.

A lot of centenarians ate only vegetables.

Fasting results in muscle wastage. You should eat 6-8 small meals everyday.

Crossfit sucks!

(Distance) Running is the best exercise there is.

Squatting causes knee problems.

Yoga is just stretching. Lame!

Cardio is the most important part of training.

Never strength train to failure.

Volume training is the only way to get strong and muscular.

The Deep Blue Sea:

Fruit (fructose) is poison. Never ever eat fruit.

Eating mostly fat will save you from everything.

Carbs are the sole cause of heart diseases, obesity and every other disease!

Never count calories! Let hunger dictate how much you eat.

Low carb diets are the only way to stay healthy.

Vegetables are worthless.

A lot of centenarians survived on eggs and fatty meat.

Crossfit is the best training program ever created!

(Distance) Running is detrimental to health.

Squatting can cure cancer. You have to squat 3 days a week!

Fasting is beneficial to health. You should eat only 1-2 times a day.

Yoga is all that is required for anyone to get fit irrespective of his/her goals.

Cardio is unnecessary.

Training to failure is the only way to make strength gains.

Volume training results in joint abuse. Keep the volume low. Intensity FTW.

Somewhere Between:

Fruits are nature’s candy. Eat them in moderation.

Fats are absolutely essential to the body. Eat much but be sure to get enough protein and carbs too.

Carbs are beneficial when consumed based on activity level.

Don’t count calories. Don’t binge eat. Practice portion control.

Overweight? Want to lean out? Try low carb. If it works that’s great, else add in some carbs.

Eat a lot of vegetables but don’t eat only vegetables.

All centenarians ate less, lived active, fasted frequently and did not stress much!

There are things about Crossfit which are exceptional and parts that are plain ridiculous. Choose wisely.

Enjoy running? Go out and run. Hate it? Don’t worry about it.

Can’t squat? Try harder. Still can’t? Hop on the leg press.

Prefer big meals? Eat 1-3 times a day. Prefer small meals? Eat 4-6 times a day.

Yoga is great and is one of the many tools that need to be a part of your fitness toolkit. Practice it often.

Eat clean. Strength train. Do cardio that doesn’t affect recovery.

Work with sub-maximal loads during most phases of the year. Plan your workouts such that you go to failure once every few weeks.

High volume works. Low volume works. Try both. Find what works for you. Train smart.

For the most part, I seem to happily hover around somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea.  Where do you want to chill?

Get your mind right people! Find what works for you. Self-experimentation is what it all comes down to!

Enjoy the weekend!

Peace out.

Healthy pizza? Seriously?

Hells yeah! Why not? Pizza is not evil and salad is not divine. It’s all about the ingredients. Use the right ingredients and anything can be healthy. Here is a vegetarian super low carb-high fat-high protein pizza I made for my yet-to-be (significantly) better half.

Time:

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 3 tbls almond meal
  • 1/2 tbls coconut oil
  • 2 tbls shredded cheese (pepper jack or mozzarella or parmesan works best)
  • dried basil to taste
  • chilli flakes

Note: The base comes to approximately 370 calories with zero net carbs.

Topping:

  • 4 tbls organic tomato basil pasta sauce
  • 1 Orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium red onion cut julienne
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • Handful of organic dried bing cherries
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese

Note: You can put whatever the hell you want as topping. If you need the extra protein, throw in some grilled chicken or ham or whatever sails your boat.

Preparation:

Base:

  1. Beat the eggs together.
  2. Add in all the other ingredients and whisk well.
  3. Pour the mixture on a skillet, drop the heat to low and cover with a lid.
  4. Cook like you would cook a pancake.

Pizza:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  1. Pour pasta sauce on the base and spread evenly.
  2. Add toppings.
  3. Cover with shredded cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 6-8 mins or until all the cheese has melted.

Nutritional Information:

  • Total energy: 500 kcal
  • Fat: 39 grams
  • Protein: 28 grams
  • Net carbs: 10 grams (18 grams total carbs – 8 grams fiber)

Basically there is no limit to the number of different topping combinations you can come up with. Remember the base is basically zero carb and you can up the protein content of this pizza by using proteins (meat, tofu, seafood etc.) as toppings.

Why is this healthy?

  • This pizza is gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, soy-free… I can go on and on but in short this pizza is crap-free.
  • All fats are from egg yolks, coconut oil, almonds and cheese. All awesome sources of fat. No freakin hydrogenated oils or soybean BS oils.
  • High in protein.
  • Super low in carbs. All carbs are from tomatoes, basil, almonds and vegetables used as toppings.
  • Provides 8 grams of fiber which is ~ 33% of your daily requirement of fiber.

Don’t worry about slicing or sharing. It’s just 500 calories… eat the whole damn thing for Christ’s sake!

Peace out.

Alcohol 101

Alcohol addiction (any addiction for that matter) is bad for health. Period.

While some of us drink nonstop to forget some great tragedy in life, most of us drink for fun. This post is for the second case. Chronic drinkers and addicts please go here.

You down a few shots of tequila and in about 30mins… Boom!… you’re smarter than the sober ones, you’re more handsome than your model friend, you’re stronger than the bouncer in the club and you can speak every language there is… including your dog’s. What is this mystery substance that makes you do stuff you normally wouldn’t do to save your life?

The alcohol we refer to when we’re talking about getting hammered is actually Ethanol  (C2H5OH).  It is for all practical purposes a psychoactive drug and it has a depressant effect on the consumer. Depressants decelerate central nervous functions which causes some messages that need to go to the brain to be slowed and/or blocked. This is why you walk funny, speak gibberish and feel like Neo when you turn your head fast.

The Bad:

  • Ethanol inhibits the secretion of vasopressin from the posterior pituitary gland causing severe dehydration when heavy amounts of alcohol are consumed.
  • There’s evidence that alcohol consumption can raise the risk of certain cancers, particularly breast cancer in women and cancer of the head, neck and esophagus in both genders. Read more here.
  • This study says that getting drunk at least once a month puts women at a significantly increased risk of heart attack and I doubt that the verdict is any different for men.

The Good:

  • One study found that men who drank moderate amounts of alcohol three or more times a week were up to 35% less likely to have a heart attack than non-drinkers, and men who increased their alcohol consumption by one drink a day over the 12 years of the study had a 22% lower risk of heart attack.
  • British Heart Foundation says daily intake of 1-2 units of alcohol (2-4 oz of wine) is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease in men over 40 and post menopausal women.

So from a long term health stand point there are both pros and cons to alcohol consumption and it’s hard to say if one overshadows the other.  But, like everything else, alcohol consumption in moderation seems to do more good than bad.

What about from a fat loss/body composition perspective?

First of all, alcohol is wacky in a couple of ways.

  • Alcohol does not belong to carbs or proteins or fats and has 7.1 calories per gram (1 gram of carbs = 4 calories, 1 gram of protein = 4 calories and 1 gram of fat = 9 calories).
  • When you consume alcohol it goes from the stomach to the blood to the liver and gets converted into acetate by enzymes in the liver. Now once the acetate is released into your bloodstream, the body seems to want to burn this for energy instead of burning fat (or carbs).
  • Despite  this, alcohol consumption does not seem to result in increased body weight. Read here for more.

So it’s fairly conclusive that alcohol consumption by itself doesn’t cause fat gain. So what does then?

  • We all know about the ‘beer belly’. What we dont know is that the belly from drinking gallons of beer is mainly due to the monstrous load of carbs from the beer than the alcohol content in the beer.
  • One study shows that alcohol consumption increases appetite. With the increased appetite and compromised common sense due to the psychoactive nature of alcohol we end up with truckloads of french fries and chicken wings in our tummies.
  • Downing multiple cocktails is the equivalent of downing liters of soft drinks and/or fruit juices! We know soft drinks and fruits juices are basically liquid sugar… and we also know sugar causes fat gain. Mixing spirits with soft drinks or other juices have the same net effect.

Obviously, not getting sozzled is the best option for health reasons and to avoid fat gain… but that ain’t gonna happen now is it?! So what’s the solution?

1. Watch the carbs in your choice of alcohol. Choose your liquor wisely. Remember a drinking night will involve 5-10 drinks and the carbs/calories add up!

2. Stay away from cocktails. Tasty but definitely not worth the flab in the mid section.

3. If you’re a fan of hard liquor/spirits, stick to ‘neat’ or ‘on the rocks’. Granted it is a drinking night – still no reason to chug liters of soda!

4. If you’re drinking at a bar stay away from the junk food. Eat before you go to the bar. Bar food blows and you don’t want to pay half your week’s salary for sucky food anyways.

5. If you have to eat something when you drink (and you definitely should if you want to avoid a messed up stomach and a hangover) eat some cheese and drink plenty of water. This will keep you up and about the next morning. Some awesome stuff about hangover cures here.

6. If you’re very serious about your fat loss but equally serious about getting leathered then you have to listen to Martin Berkhan.

Peace.

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