The Return of the Lipids

*Disclaimer* This is an example of one person’s eating/exercise plan. This does not in any way mean it is what everyone should do. Pay attention to your own body’s requirements and do what works for you.

Sail your own ship.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are William’s lipid panel results, as promised.

Nov 2011:  “We were eating “healthy” cereals such as Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats etc., oatmeal for breakfasts.  Snacks consisted of 90 cal Fiber One bars and snacks, Wheat Thins, Diet Coke/Pepsi, Coke Zero, BREADS!!!! Lunch was Subway sandwiches or some other type of food that we thought was “healthy”. Canned soups that we thought were “healthy” (low sodium, heart healthy labels etc). Dinner was pasta at times, whole wheat to make it “healthier”, rice. We were eating veggies etc and consuming alcohol” Cholesterol 172, HDL 46, LDL 111, Triglycerides 76, Ratio 3.73 (<5)

After a little over 5 months eating a Paleo diet: “We now have upped our protein intake dramatically and cut back on the carbs such as fruits etc. We are working out more often now, three times a week with weights, and still getting in some cardio at times.We still take vitamins such as men’s/women’s multi-vitamin, Vit C, Vit D, Omega 3 fish Oil and we just incorporated BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) to help with muscle building and repair (we asked Robb Wolf and got his blessing).”   Cholesterol 174, HDL 46, LDL 113.6, Triglycerides 72  Ratio 3.78 (<5).

For the full story, go to Paleo, Paleo, Wherefore Art Thou, My Paleo

Also, let me be clear that we are not überPaleo. As a friend of mine once said: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

If you keep your head down and follow the rules too closely, you will miss the chance to look up and see the bird perched in your rigging.


Plowhorses R Us

In describing my family I would say that we are not fast but we are persistent. This seems to be the theme in most aspects of life; willing to do the work and slog through the hard parts to reach the finish line. We are not flashy “first finishers” but we do finish. We are the workhorses in the background. Yes, think Clydesdales.


Or Friesians, depending on what kind of hair day it is.


In keeping with this slow but steady/don’t flame out early motif, I seem to have passed on the metabolism that would keep us alive if there was some horrific food shortage. When I was in high school I used to say that if I had been a concentration camp survivor I would have come out with decent weight on me; my body uses every freakin’ calorie as if it were the last. I think it uses some of them twice to tell you the truth. And growing up with Twiggy exemplifying the coveted “look” made it interesting; athletic girls and women were not the norm and I thank heaven for Title IX! When I tell younger women about girls’ basketball rules “back then” they stare in disbelief….then laugh hysterically…makes me feel as old as a suffragette, it does. But that’s another story.

Add into this metabolic mix Rebecca‘s meds, some treated depression (Lexapro and a good therapist have been a godsend for her) and all the stuff that has gone down in the last few years and she struggles with her weight more than any of us. She is living proof of how junk food and inactivity messes with both physical and mental health. This last year has been spent recovering and she has made great progress. Part of her therapy has been running.

I think running to run is a reward in itself but it is more fun when there is a goal in mind. To this end Rebecca and I decided to do the Norfolk Freedom Run 5K. The run supports the Wounded Warrior Project so it was a double bonus! A training plan was made and when the day arrived, cold and clear, she was ready!

Norfolk Freedom 5K 2012

We met William and Kate and some friends of theirs at the start; it was good medicine to be around so many runners. Learning how the timing chips worked (not so very well this year), looking at the map route and being “up for the race” were energizing. Stretching, chatting, hanging with the big dogs…..yep, that was us.

The gun finally went off and we beeped across the timing mat. There were runners in costume (it’s really hard to laugh and run at the same time) and the new scenery made the miles slip behind us in a pretty painless fashion. Along the river, around the USS Wisconsin, through the Pagoda grounds (where someone crashed and burned and medical support came quickly….that provided us a brief adrenaline rush) and soon we were at the finish. Done. Her first real 5K, completed in style.


The medals were bonus and although we took them off when we got home, we proudly wore the shirts the rest of the day. It was one of those beautiful Virginia autumn days so  we took Chewy and Crown and walked the Noland Trail 5 mile loop. Just like the turtles on the logs we luxuriated in the soft air, stunning colors and sunshine. All too soon we finished the loop; we tossed our manes and headed back to the barn.

Goin' home

Paleo, Paleo, wherefore art thou, my Paleo?

Holy cats it seems like I’ve been gone from here for forever!

I had my website hardened to keep all of us safe from the bad guys on the web (Danny Dawes at SiteLock rocks!) and when I resumed writing it just wasn’t coming together nicely. Or at all, for that matter. I finally slowed down enough to hear the Muse whispering in my ear; she said I was screwing it up and to start over.

Detail of painting The Muses Urania and Calliope by Simon Vouet.

Back in August, after a disastrous expedition into Vegan-ism (I know, I know, there are people who do fine with a Vegan diet…..we are not those people), my son William and his wife Kate began buying real meats, veggies, fruits and fats (as opposed to “un-real” ie; cheezwhiz) and whipping them into some very tasty meals. Grains, dairy and alcohol were generally avoided and of course this was coupled with a cardio & strength exercise program. What has been the result of William and Kate’s adventure with what is commonly called The Paleo Diet?

Down approx 20 lbs
17% from 55% body fat
Lost 5-6 inches on waist
PRT (military fitness) scores significantly improved

Down approx 30 lbs
17% from 56% body fat
Lost 6-8 inches on waist
Shirt size went from XXL to L.
Significant muscle definition

Endurance has improved for both resulting in each of us running three half-marathons last year and William running at least one road race every month in 2012. We sleep better and have more energy for our dogs Chewy and Crown, our friends and each other. We are more aware of where our food comes from and what we are eating. 

And what is happening to cholesterol and triglycerides on this eating plan, you ask? Well, dear reader, here are Kate’s lipids; William’s to follow when they are drawn next week.

Cholesterol: 257 (target 199), Triglycerides: 54 (<149), HDL: 86 (40-60), LDL: 160 (target 125), CRP: <0.1 (<1.0), Ratio 3:1 (<5:1). This was Kate’s first lipid panel so there are no numbers to compare.  Insert sad face here.

William and Kate introduced Sarah and Jared to Paleo and we all started trading recipes. Rebecca often spends a couple of days with me each week so she was able to sample them and we would make extra to send home with her. I have a couple of favorite websites now; PaleOMG (I pre-ordered her cookbook), and for the science part of this plus more culinary delights; Loren Cordain, PhD and Robb Wolf. Yes, there are even more but I am just getting started so will add to this list as I test drive them. Cooking is fun again!

Society has been on the low fat/no fat band wagon for quite a few years now and the “obesity epidemic” is worse than ever. The cereal aisle is bigger than the produce section in some stores and there are more drugs on the market for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol than there were a few years ago. Plus all these 5 hour energy/monster/high octane drinks so we can say awake to function….really, people?

Somethin’ just ain’t right here.

Rebecca and I are doing decently with exercise. However, I could stand to lose ten pounds and my lunch-lady arms (no offense to lunch ladies but I do not want to channel Mrs. Hofstedder from the third grade) and I would like to finish my eighteen hour days in a less ragged fashion. Rebecca needs to lose some weight, too, and an energy boost for her would be bonus. More about that in the next installment.

Therefore….the Wholam Paleo Diet Clinical Trial with an “n of 2″ commences! We have nothing to lose but weight, inches and fatigue!