I’ve received a few requests asking me what foods I eat and which ones I avoid. I slapped a date on this post, because I expect it to change over time. Although I don’t expect major changes, there will be minor adjustments from time to time.
What I Eat
- Pastured organic meat.
- Clean seafood.
- All non-starchy vegetables, often organic.
- Palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, lard, tallow, ghee
- Yogurt (plain, organic and full fat)
- Coffee and Tea
- Dark Chocolate (73% and higher)
- Fruit occasionally and when in season, not daily.
What I Don’t Eat
- Vegetable oil
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Factory Farm meat
- Dirty seafood
- Starchy veggies
- Grains – no bread, no gluten, no pasta
- Processed food
- Soy products
- Any food from China.
- All caloric beverages except Kombucha (fermented tea).
- Sweet potatoes on days I lift weights.
- Milk when it inside a recipe or the rare macchiato.
- Quinoa and other non-gluten grains on days I lift weights.
- Ice cream is my chosen special treat. (Haagen-Dazs 5)
Trying to Eliminate from Diet
- Most nuts, unless soaked.
- Beans, unless sprouted.
- Regular oatmeal as it can contain gluten. Irish / Steel Cut is a better option.
- I am using the Italian definition of macchiato, not that poison drink that *$ peddles.
- In Seattle is easy to locate sources of high quality meat. I use Thundering Hooves. There are several more.
- Keeping track of clean seafood is getting harder, so I tend to consume more pastured meat than seafood these days.
- I may try red wine later this year. Not really motivated at this time.
- I’m not 100% perfect on the lists above, but I am in high 90s. 🙂
UPDATE (March 22): Added lard, tallow, ghee, vegetable oil and dark chocolate to post.
Mar 20, 2010 — 3:46 pm
I think you and I are reading from most of the same playbook these days, MAS. After reading Taubes it’s impossible not to eschew the carbs. And so much of the paleo narrative and science is just too hard to resist.
I still haven’t given up the evening cocktail or two but it hasn’t stopped me from dropping 20 pounds over the last 3 months. I’m right about where I want to be. I’m still liking oatmeal for breakfast a couple days a week…in part because it does good things for the digestion. I’m also really liking dark chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s for my treat.
Oddly enough it’s harder than it should be to find good grass-fed beef around Columbus. We just bought a small freezer for the basement and are planning to fill it soon.
Mar 20, 2010 — 7:31 pm
Two-thumbs-up for the Haagen-Dazs 5 (vanilla bean). Saw it here first!
Mar 21, 2010 — 9:00 am
@sheri – I haven’t tried Vanilla bean yet. I love the Mint and Coffee flavors too much!
@dhammy – Thanks for reminding me about TJ dark chocolate. I need to add that to the YES list. About a year ago I went to a chocolate event where the speaker talked about how quality chocolate is made. It sounded so much like coffee that I had to become a fan!
Mar 21, 2010 — 9:04 am
@dhammy – I forgot to add –> Congrats on the 20# weight loss!
Mar 21, 2010 — 10:57 am
re: ■Any food from China.
Does this include tea? I’ve never seen any tea anywhere that doesn’t come from China.
Mar 21, 2010 — 11:04 am
Quick question. Why do you limit your foods? Are you training for something in particular or is it to act as a preventative measure against diseease?
It seems impossible to eat only those foods unless you always eat at home or within a very limited area. And is it more expensive to eat like that?; I realize you pay for what you eat now or pay heavily in health care later.
Mar 21, 2010 — 11:06 am
From what I understand, a lot of China tea is high mountain or grown in Taiwan. A friend of mine just returned from a buying trip to Taiwan and did not experience the pollution problem we see in the “cancer village” photos Reuters ran recently.
Outside of China, you can tea from India, Kenya, Japan and Korea. The India and Kenya tends to be black tea, which I don’t prefer. Korea is too hard and expensive to get. Japanese Sencha is one of my favorites and is available in many places.
Mar 21, 2010 — 11:21 am
No, I am not training for anything. I want to be stronger, leaner, healthier, etc. I enjoy cooking, so I am in control of my food. It was a very gradual process.
Even though I buy higher quality food, I save money because I prepare almost all my meals.
Eggs are cheap. Cooking stews in a Crock-Pot is easy and cheap. Same is true with curries. I eat more like the poor people of Thailand and not the poor people of New Orleans.
Mar 21, 2010 — 12:16 pm
You have strangely inspired me to start eating better. I plan on starting anyday now…. LOL. Thanks for this particular post. I am writing down the above items to buy today.
Thing is I know I feel better when I eat better but yet I succumb to eating McDonalds, soda, etc. I am lean too; mainly because I don’t eat a lot.
I realized 10 years ago that intermittent fasting was the way to go. Past your growing years you just don’t need to eat a lot of food. Adults often reward themselves with food because it would be odd to go out and but yourself a barbie or matchbox car like you did when you were a kid. Food is a quick fix.
I don’t understand where people find the time to eat let alone the money to buy vast quantities of food. Just the number of bowel movements a day is enough to deter me from ever getting big. One-tentht of a fat woman’s day is spent in a stinky room (her bathroom).
I think I am the only person in the world who watches Americas biggest Loser! as a comedy show (Seriously – at my gym they play it with no sound and it is on par with silent films by Buster Keaton and Oliver&Hardy. )
I think my goal is one of vanity personally, guys like Clooney and Cruise look good because of their diet along with genetics. Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. The ability to date younger women must be pretty awesome.
My hint to you: get good sunscreen and wear it everyday. anyways thanks.
Mar 22, 2010 — 9:30 am
I see the Biggest Loser as a tragedy. It repeats the lie to millions of Americans that fat loss is a pure calories in/calories out formula and ignores the hormonal aspect.
Mar 22, 2010 — 10:16 am
The Core problem is that people want their cake and to eat it too. Secondly, life events are built around food as a reward system. Thirdly, the healthy food is inaccessible/priced too high.
The Biggest Loser only gives people what they want to see. If you someone sweat profusely; you equate that with work and work (in this country at least) means you deserve a reward for your efforts. The reward is temporary weight-loss without the long term benefits!
Several years ago I read an article on caloric restriction and secondly I read somewhere that I think Britney Spears commented that her diet was restricted to 1000 calories a day but yet she felt full eating only healthy foods (recommended by her dietician). I changed my diet and learned to not eat due to time of day/reward. I immediately got leaner and have kept off 80% of it.
For shows like the biggest loser, they train those folks like for a triathalon when it doesn’t fit in with any part of their day-to-day lives, social class, food preferences etc. But hey they lose the weight and it looks good for TV (until they get a new crop of losers).
Mar 22, 2010 — 11:42 am
I totally agree with the “food as a reward” mentality. Understanding the difference between physical hunger and psychological hunger is so important.
I’m going to do a post soon on why overweight people shouldn’t train like they are prepping for a triathlon.
Mar 23, 2010 — 4:13 pm
No alcohol? Ouch not sure that being lean is worth it! More for me I guess… 😀
Another program which you would probably enjoy is Jamie Olivers Food Revolution. He is trying to change how America eats by rejecting processed foods and pushing natural food (he’s actually called the “naked chef” not because he doesn’t wear clothes but because he uses natural ingredients).
For the Biggest Loser I still think it’s a worthwhile thing. While it might be accurate that simple “sweat” won’t equal long term weight loss surely there must be value in the message. I can’t imagine any one who is over 300 pounds who one day restricts their caloric intake and increases their exercise won’t lose weight. The important thing that this program is doing is getting people talking about food and exercise which has to be a hell of lot more relevant than whatever dress Kim Kardashian happens to be wearing to whatever awards event is going on. Are they doing the wrong types of exercises (or too much)? Maybe. But I would suggest that them burning 3000-4000 calories a day, while limiting their intake to 1000-1100 calories a day, is a good thing. If nothing else it trains them that maybe 5-6 big, calorically heavy meals a day is a bad thing.
Mar 23, 2010 — 8:28 pm
“But I would suggest that them burning 3000-4000 calories a day, while limiting their intake to 1000-1100 calories a day, is a good thing. ”
I disagree on both levels. Exercise does little to burn fat. Diet is everything. Severe caloric restriction has a huge long term fail rate. Reducing insulin should be the primary goal. Increase the fat. Satiety will occur and fat loss will be accelerated, plus a whole host of other benefits.
Excessive exercise will trigger massive carb cravings. Carbs will spike insulin. Not good.
Mar 24, 2010 — 12:48 pm
Check out this article on Yahoo today (http://health.yahoo.com/featured/91/exercise-can-help-prevent-weight-gain-but-it-won-t-be-easy)
MAS and I are right.
Will intense exercise help you to lose weight and feel rewarded for your herculean efforts? Yes!; however an interesting sentence in above-referenced article is “… exercise on its own, with no attention paid to calories, is unlikely to carve away excess weight or prevent gain. (Even people training for a marathon can gain weight; it’s far easier to eat than to burn off what you eat.)”
Fatties on treadmills in a just world would work fantastically. However, their bodies especially are not designed for that intensity over the long-term (and will adapt to activity).
What the Biggest Loser is teaching those folks (and viewers) is that sweating and huffing that is entertaining on TV will give you the long-term results/life-change you so desperately seek. I mean everytime I have seen that show some fatty is crying. The trainers on the show probably know better too…but they are in on the scheme.
Foremost, the intensity the Biggest Loser offers is not sustainable over the long-term (unless you are a dedicated athelete…but even then…). The Biggest Loser is an irresponsible show.
A local nutritionist in any of the contestants neighborhoods probably could help them more than the show.
Mar 24, 2010 — 4:40 pm
I’ve had great results from following The Kind Diet (http://www.thekinddietbook.com/uof/thekinddietbook/ps/). I packed on over 20 lbs in ’05 after my dad died, just from stress-eating, and it was a couple years before I decided to do something about it. Bad, I know =/ I also walk and … still do yoga (I think I read here once that you think yoga is kinda silly … but I really like it!) 🙂 I don’t especially want to go “raw” so haven’t tried that, but trying the vegan life has been pretty rewarding. The weight loss and extra energy are pretty cool, and the cholesterol was way down at my last doctor’s visit 🙂
Jillian on The Biggest Loser used to be a “fatty” and is constantly telling them that if she could lose all that weight and maintain a sculptured body, so can they (they just have to REALLY want it). But, yeah … she works out hard for a living. That’s what she does. Most people don’t, so I agree with Thomas about it being an irresponsible show.
Mar 24, 2010 — 4:57 pm
I think Yoga is great. Not for fat loss, but for encouraging a wide range of movement. I wish I had the patience for it. 😉
Jillian is a classic case of survivorship bias. We see how she stuck with it and became fit. We don’t see the hundreds of others that put in equal effort, got poor results and quit. As a result we assume that what she did is correct, when in reality the data doesn’t support the “go big or go home” strategy.
Mar 26, 2010 — 12:19 pm
Hey Sheri, Thanks for the recommendation on the “kind diet”, animal cruelty may be my biggest pet peeve (pun intended) and the kind diet seems to address that.
Bill Maher said on Larry King the problem with health care in this country is “the FOOD!!!!”. People are being fed like cows because it is cheap (for them and for the producer). And then these big fatties go cry on TV. In the US, obesity accounts for over 10% of health related expenses DIRECTLY. I am sure the figure of the indirect costs would be another 10%.
This is a problem that needs to be nipped in the bud. Although abuse, familial issues, self-esteem, genetics, etc. account for the majority of obesity related cases hopefully the big, scary government (sarcastic) will take initiative in securing better food sources for all. I read Obama has a gotten a pledge from Russia to reduce nukes by 25% today. Hopefully, he can do something about the food quality/production.
It is odd that 500 years ago being overweight meant that you were wealthy, and now it is a probable sign that you are poor (and lacking a formal education as well). I didn’t finish college due to financial circumstances, but have noticed that college-educated people are not only better off financially but are thinner and their wives are prettier.
I feel like I should visit high schools and say “hey guys, go to college and educate yourself; if you don’t you will end up like me and 10 years later you will be surrounded by ugly fat chicks!” because it is the truth.
I don’t mean to use the term “fatty” too derogatorily. One of the problems is that overweight people rarely address the real underlying issue of their obesity and without this realization subsequently fail to follow any long term solutions. Just ponder the input costs of food to even get that fat!
Thanks MAS, I like many of the same things you do and you are smarter than me so I appreciate your efforts.
Mar 26, 2010 — 8:23 pm
Thomas – thanks for the comment.
I’m not that smart. I’m just skeptical when too many people believe the same thing and the results don’t turn out as expected.
I was with a mixed group of friends here in Seattle recently. Of the 10, I was the only one without a Masters or PHD. I was also the only one debt free. The glass is still half full. 🙂
Mar 27, 2010 — 1:26 pm
Well, I think you may be on to something with the sugar-free diet. Just read that Steve Nash (the basketball player) was skeptical but some doctor from India told him to cut the sugar out of his diet. He did and said the difference is startling. More energy, more stamina than younger players, no sickness, better muscle recovery, etc. He said it is hard to do because so much is sugared but you become better at it over time.
Apr 5, 2010 — 2:34 pm
Tell me about rice. We eat lots of organic brown rice and brown rice pasta. Of course, feeding small children requires more carbs… so I don’t think I’ll take it out of the kiddos diets – but what about me? And, do you think kids shouldn’t eat grains? Also, do you eat pasteurized cheese or raw milk cheese? I’ve read that raw is superior.
Apr 5, 2010 — 5:12 pm
Caprice – I am not a fan of rice or pasta. It spikes insulin and is nutrient robbing. Once I dropped the rice, bread and pasta, my energy spiked and my waist size decreased.
I have not investigated diets for children, but I suspect they would be far better off without grains. Kids eating grains is a relatively new concept in human evolution. Kids would probably be better off eating a diet higher in healthy fats.
Personally I can handle cheese. Some people can’t. Sucks to be them. I love raw cheese. Had some today. I do avoid milk though.
Apr 7, 2010 — 9:44 pm
Been trying to eat what you eat but at a standstill. I see the items on my grocery list but don’t know how to put them together because it seems I am missing items.
For example, how do you eat meat? the only way I know how is on a sandwich (so I use bread). I have been making peanutbutter sandwiches.
Salads I get, but other than that how do you eat vegetables do you put your cheese on the veg. And by eggs do you mean ommelletes? I dunno sortof confused? I am enquiring because it seems like the items you listed are ingredients to a recipe rather than actual food.
I don’t know how to put them together. If you would kindly elaborate, I would be grateful. like a literal sample daily menu plan. thanks.
p.s. cut meat out of my diet for a few days already feel better.
Apr 8, 2010 — 7:57 am
You may just need a good cookbook for ideas.
I am a fan of stews, curries and the stir fry. Only I don’t bother with rice, noodles or potatoes.
In a future post I will elaborate with more details. For now, take the positive attitude of fixing a few meals a week instead of trying to eat perfect. Slow gradual change will make the journey more enjoyable and lasting.
Apr 8, 2010 — 12:51 pm
Today at Starbucks got a free frappucino because person before me didn’t want it. I drank like a fourth of it and realized how sugary it was after not having sugar for about a week. I threw the rest out.
Hopefully, I can wean myself totally off of any cravings for sugar. Looking forward and hungrily to your future post.
Apr 23, 2012 — 3:31 pm
Bondurant: “college-educated people are not only better off financially but are thinner and their wives are prettier”
What an INCREDIBLY SEXIST comment!
Guess what, a great many of us college- (and grad-school) educated “people” are WOMEN. In fact, today, college in the US now more closely mirrors the fact that over 50% of the population is female. I have more formal education than my husband (he’s doing just fine thanks, as a Silicon Valley engineer). I am just amazed how some men still think of us as appendages or prizes for the only beings who count as “people.”
The hateful comment about “fat chicks” was also offensive (even to me, a petite woman with perfect BMI).
– signed, a more-than-college-educated PERSON who has no interest in owning a trophy wife.