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Going Paleo

Making good choices when it comes to food hasn’t been a “me thing” for the past thirty-something years. It’s not that I always made the worste choices, just they were tough to call good. The results are not supprising, I’m on the husky side and suffer heartburn (read – overweight and erosive esophagitis).

Last year my wife and I did a stint on the “Whole 30” program and saw positive results. In fact they were so good I stopped taking my over-the-counter antacids. A few months go by, food habits regress and I end up in the E.R. with a wicked case of GERD. Needless to say, this was less than fun. Since then I’ve been prescribed pills and submitted to a number of tests to make sure they are working.

While I’m a fan of modern medicine it bugs me that I need pills to take care of self-induced suffering. So Mary and I decided to hit Whole 30 again in March – and I hit it hard. Sure enough, all my symptoms went away and I started loosing some weight as well.

At this point it’s probably worth describing “Whole 30”. In short it’s an “eat your meats, fruits, and veggies” plan, stated a bit negatively its no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no sweeteners (including stuff like honey). It might sound draconian but when you look at a plate of “Whole 30” food it’s hard not to see how it’s good for you – like I said it’s meat, fruit, and veggies. Since most convience food doesn’t follow these rules it requires more cooking; so our family is now in the habit of meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking every day.

The goal is to eat following these “strict” rules for 30 days, then slowly try other things to see what makes your body unhappy (e.g. add back soy and don’t feel good then keep it off your diet; add back whole grains and feel fine then keep them). For me though this qualitative change in diet wasn’t so much about finding those one or two modern foods that throw my body off; it was a change in attitude. My diet should revolve around these obiviously health choices because the results speak for themselves – no heartburn symptoms and several pounds lost. So after our thirty days I made the choice to switch over to eating “Paleo” which is a recent diet trend in the same vein as “Whole 30”.

The most obvious differences between the two is that “Paleo” permits natural sweeteners (maple syrup and honey) but says no to things like white potatoes. At their core though they are both about making quality choices rather than quanity choices. I find that to be one of the chief things that make this stick for me. Being able to to say there is a yes and no bucket and then playing by the rules means less brain power for me than any counting strategy. 

So a few cookbooks and three months later and still no heartburn and I’m down about twenty pounds. I don’t want to speak too soon, but so far every temptation (donuts at work, free pizza or beer) looses out when I look back at my success. So heres to three more months, then six more, then twelve… And hopefully a few more pounds lost.

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Writing for Success

If you are reading this then you might have noticed there is almost an eight year gap between posts.

Sorry.

Not to you, but to myself. I had started this because I had a cute name for a blog and thought it would be worth sharing my post-collegiate thoughts with the world. Looking back at that motivation it’s clear that it wouldn’t last, which is sad because like many things (e.g. diet and exercise) it would have been so much better for me to have made it a good habit over the last eight years.

I work at Amazon.com, and there we pride ourselves on communication via N-pagers. Got a neat idea? Write 2 pages about it. Got a complicated system you want to build? Write 6 pages about it. The past few years has included many of these papers for me (not to mention emails).

This bit of my story makes me realize how right Jeff Atwood is when in comes to writing. Communication is important, writing is an important way to do that, so practice!

While the work writing allows me to be creative and is often in narrative format, I would like to one day write something in the realm of fiction. I think the only way to ensure I’ll get there is to practice.

So sorry for skipping eight years at writing gym. I’m hoping to bring this blog back, not because the world needs to know my “deep” thoughts, but because I want to practice writing in hopes of becoming a better writer.