The unbearable guilt! The cumulative effects of a very non-Paleo month had left me feeling and looking a little flabby (186 lbs, 19% body fat), so a series of wildly drastic get-fit-quick plans rushed through my head. Work out three times a day! Sprints every morning! No carbs! No liquor! All easier said than done. The one idea that *did* seem doable this week was a 24+ hour fast. I had an overnight shift at the hospital Tuesday night, and walking around fueled by only coffee and tea makes the night go a lot easier than wandering the halls hoovering one brownie after another (and trust me, they are readily available, especially at 1-2am).
What do we know about fasting? Well, it works. It’s usually labeled as a ‘good stressor’, meaning that if everything else in your life is in check (sleeping well, not overtraining, not emotionally taxed), the occasional fast burns fat by increasing the size and frequency of growth hormone surges for days afterward. Also, not eating carbs for at least 18 hours helps you deplete your liver’s glycogen stores (your back-up sugar source), and once that’s done, you’re burning fat at exponentially higher levels, the longer you go into the fast. It also gives your body a chance to recycle proteins in important cells like white blood cells, keeping them fresh and ready to fight infections. There are a lot of advantages to the occasional fast, if you’re willing to go through with it.
The Hubie Brown Second Person Caveman Approach: You are living 80,000 years ago. You just ate the last chunk of mammoth meat you had, and there isn’t any food in sight. You get in a good sleep, but now you know it’s time to forage for more food. You walk for a few miles, find some shade, take a nap to recharge your batteries, and repeat. It’s been a day, and still no food. Maybe you find a couple of errant berries on the ground and nibble on them. You walk some more, and you find a tree with some fruits on it. You have to climb it, of course. So, still hungry, you scale the tree, grab the fruit, and chow down. A half-hour of wandering later, you happen upon a rabbit, and you fling a well-aimed rock at it, killing it. You start a quick fire, roast up the meat, and gorge. You were very hungry.
Modern day. How did it go? Well, my last food Monday night (a handful of almonds) was at around 11:30pm. I slept at midnight and woke up at 9:30, making sure I got some good sleep before I entered into this. I walked to work, walked some more, took a 1-hour nap in my little office sleeping-bag nook, drank some coffee, and tried to keep my mind off of food. I read, I watched a lot of TV, and fielded phone calls from the emergency room (my actual *job* for the night). I had some hunger pangs, but I found that coffee or ice water were equally good at suppressing them for 1-2 hours.
I slept from 12:30-6:30 that night, walked home, and slept some more (until 11:30). My original plan was to keep the fast going until I finished my workout for the day, but I caved and had a chicken Caesar salad at around noon. The gym was… taxing. Weighted pullups for 3 sets (5x30lb, 6x10lb, 7xBW), shoulder press for 3 sets (8x110lb, 10x95lb, 8x85lb). I was GASSED on those last two sets, and super-hungry. I downed a protein shake with half a can of coconut milk, took a cold shower, and started to work on dinner. One of these days, I’ll get better about taking photos, but I made a killer Paleo Shepherd’s Pie:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pound ground meat (I used buffalo)
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp sea salt (maybe more)
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
pinches of cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and set aside a casserole dish. Grease up the sides with coconut oil or bacon grease. In one pot, boil the diced sweet potatoes. When they’re fork tender, drain them and mash them with cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp coconut oil, and 1/2 can coconut milk.
In another pot, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil and saute 1 chopped onion until the onions get mushy. Add 1/2 tsp salt, chopped rosemary, and the meat. Brown it until it’s relatively free of water. After it’s done browning, you can mix in a spoon or two of almond flour or coconut flour, or an egg, in order to bind the meat and soak up some of the moisture.
Layer the meat on the bottom of the dish, then layer the sweet potatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil, Heat in the oven until the potatoes are slightly browned on the surface. Deeee-lish. So filling.
Nutritional info as described (per serving; 4 servings): 28g fat, 25g protein, 25g carb (452 calories).
Next time: the NEW and IMPROVED Paleo Challenge (starting Sunday! or maybe Monday!)