Unprocessed Food Diet (Again)

Photo by adactio via flickr
I’m back on my Unprocessed Food Diet (UFD). I had been maintaining my weight under 190 for a while, but over the past year, my eating habits deteriorated. My once a week cheat days on the slow carb diet became cheat weekends. Then I started eating badly all the time. It finally got to the point where I was eating fast food again daily, and my weight was going up every week. Add the holidays to the equation and well, I had to change things.

A few weeks ago, I started a fitness boot camp at my gym. As has sometimes happened in the past, over the first couple of weeks, my eating habits actually got worse and this Monday, I peaked at 198.8, at least 25 pounds over where I’d like to be. So I decided to put myself back on the UFD and continue working out. Continue reading “Unprocessed Food Diet (Again)”

Unprocessed Food Diet – More Info

A while back, I came up with the idea of the Unprocessed Food Diet (UFD). I had read The End of Overeating by David Kessler, and came to the conclusion that eating a diet free of processed foods would cause me to lose weight. I took it further though. I prepared my food in a way that was completely opposite of how chain restaurants do. I cooked single whole ingredients very simply and added no salt, no seasonings, no sauces nor other flavorings. Also, I didn’t mix things together. I might have a meal with several items, but I would eat them separately.

I did lose weight, about 20 pounds over two and half months. Continue reading “Unprocessed Food Diet – More Info”


So I have moved back to Chicago. I’m renting a nice one bedroom condo. It’s definitely the nicest apartment I’ve ever had. It has central air and a washer/dryer in the unit. I feel almost spoiled now. I think it would be hard to go back to most of the closets I rented in Chicago and New York.

You might ask, why am I here? I’m here to get better. I feel out of shape as a performer. As an actor, I never really nailed down any particular process. I’d get a script, memorize it, go to rehearsal, try to absorb the blocking and direction, and try to figure out the best way to say my lines. It’s not a great process and it doesn’t seem to take advantage of all that early training which encouraged me to work off my partner. So the first priority was to find a studio, go back to class and figure out a process–a real process that starts with a script and ends with a full, dynamic, grounded and improvisational performance.

Continue reading “Better”

The Unprocessed Food Diet – the first month

About a month ago, I changed my eating habits quite drastically. This is an update on how it’s going.

First off, I’m mostly over my cravings. I no longer feel like I did when I was quitting smoking. In the first week, I was a bit obsessed with food, and I never felt satiated. Now, I’m feeling much more in balance and less obsessed. If there is a sugary treat in front of me, I do find it hard to resist, but if none is around, I’m not thinking about it. Continue reading “The Unprocessed Food Diet – the first month”

The Unprocessed Food Diet – The first two weeks

What is the unprocessed food diet? It’s pretty simple. Follow these guidelines when preparing food for yourself.

  1. Eat unprocessed, whole foods like meat, eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruit. Buy it fresh when possible, but frozen is fine too.
  2. Cook foods simply without adding oil, spices, sugar, salt or anything else.
  3. Do not mix foods together.
  4. Eat smaller portions than you are used to.
  5. Eat as often as you like, and as much as you like overall–no need to count calories.
  6. Eat as many of your meals like this as you can, and especially avoid chain restaurant meals and processed foods from the supermarket.

Here are some sample recipes: Continue reading “The Unprocessed Food Diet – The first two weeks”

You should unprocess your food

I just finished The End of Overeating by David Kessler, former head of the FDA in the first Bush and Clinton administrations. In it he argues that the primary driver of our current obesity epidemic is the ubiquitous availability of large portions of hyperpalatable foods. What are hyperpalatable foods? Open a Chili’s menu or visit your local Panda Express or Cinnabon and you will see plenty of examples. These are highly processed foods with layers of suger, simple carbs, fats, salts and flavoring designed to be irresistible to consumers. They are foods that we crave, that we have become accustomed to eating in huge portions, that are dense in calories and often have strong flavors. The food and restaurant industries have become very good at making foods that we want to eat and the result has been millions of people essentially addicted to fattening foods.

For anyone old enough to remember when a Quarter Pounder was the biggest hamburger available at a fast food restaurant, this won’t really feel like news. We’ve watched the food industry evolve over the last 30 years first hand. Portions have grown, foods have become more indulgent, more flavorful, with more textures. Comfort food is everywhere, and eating it feels great, at least it does for the two minutes it takes to shovel it down our throats. What might seem like news is the extent to which the food industry knows and understands what they are doing. Continue reading “You should unprocess your food”

Shangri-la Diet Take II

About two years ago, I tried a novel way of losing weight, drinking oil. It worked well, allowing me to lose about 40 pounds over about nine months (from 218 to 178 pounds). But then I stalled a bit and couldn’t get below 175. After reading some books on various topics related to food, health and weight, I decided to try a low carb approach. At first that worked well, too. At one point I hit 163 pounds, less than 10 pounds from my goal weight. But over time, I gained that weight back and for a while I was stuck around 175.

This spring, things started to go downhill, I gained about 10 pounds in a couple of months, due largely to an increasing amount of fast food and beer. I decided that I can’t give back all the gains that I had made. I started running in July, and slowly I made progress. Over the weeks, I’ve been able to run longer distances and my walks are now pretty brisk and long. I was getting a little fitter, but I wasn’t losing any weight.

It was time to give SLD another shot, to see if I could take off the 10-15 pounds I’d recently gained and to see if it could get me any closer to my goal weight of 155. So last week I decided to do the following:
Continue reading “Shangri-la Diet Take II”

Are Kids Fat Because They Are Lazy?

The conventional wisdom is that is more obesity in kids these days because they exercise less. If this is true, then you would expect that adding exercise into the routine of school kids would help the problem. However, research just presented at a recent Canadian Paediatric Society conference suggests that it doesn’t:

Harris said researchers looked at 13 trials of six months to three years duration in which pre- and post-BMI measurements were taken.

In studies involving nearly 10,000 children, primarily in elementary schools, none demonstrated a reduction in BMI with those who were assigned to the most phys-ed time, compared to those who didn’t have as much.

“School-based physical activity interventions do not improve BMI although they may have other beneficial health effects,” he said. “There are improvements to bone mineral density, aerobic capacity, reduced blood pressure and increased flexibility,” he added.

Continue reading “Are Kids Fat Because They Are Lazy?”

Cholestorol, Triglycerides, and a Mostly Meat Diet

Three months ago, I made the switch to a low carb diet. I had two goals, one was to continue losing weight. The other was to improve my health and reduce my risk of heart disease. After reading a number of things, most recently Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, I wanted to try a diet with very little carbohydrates and almost no sugar at all. I started a diet of mostly meat, eggs, cheese and vegetables (plus nuts and berries).

I have lost some more weight, another 10 pounds since I started. But I was also interested in the effect it would have on cholesterol and triglycerides. I hoped that it would lower my triglycerides, raise my HDL cholesterol and not raise my LDL cholesterol too much. Fortunately, I had my lipid profile done last December so I could compare. Here were the numbers then (the normal range is within brackets[]):

Triglyceride (mg/dl): 112 [40-160]
Cholesterol (mg/dl): 153 [<200]
HDL (mg/dl): 31 [29-67]
LDL (mg/dl): 100 [<130]
TC/HDL ratio: 4.94 [<5]

Not a terrible profile by conventional standards. Everything is within normal ranges. Still, HDL is a little low and the ratio is just within normal range. And even though the triglycerides aren’t bad, there is plenty of room to push that lower.

So after three months of meat, eggs, cheese, veggies and nuts, what is my lipid profile now?

Continue reading “Cholestorol, Triglycerides, and a Mostly Meat Diet”