Fat Kid Suit


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Rambling Radiation and Macro Thinking

Back from a crazy weekend in Tijuana (TJ stories coming soon!) to the sometimes myopic world I inhabit.

Just before crossing the border for a weekend of drinking in Mexico I attended one of the world’s largest natural foods conventions dubbed “Expo West.”  Hundreds of thousands of square feet in Anaheim California were covered with pretty girls hawking “natural” cosmetics, pills, chocolate, gluten-free products, beer, and even pet food.  The Expo is a place fraught with myopia and attention to the fragments and macro-elements of nutrition.  The words “whole foods” are used frequently, but few foods can actually be found in their whole form.  You will not see any bananas, tomatoes, mangoes, or spinach.  But there are lots of extracts and powders containing these “miracle” foods.

The labeling on most of the products is testament to marketing genius.  One companies Teas are labeled exclusively with the disorder or ailment you are hoping to treat–the variety of tea is found only in the small print.  Imagine walking up to a display rack full of tea packets and choosing “long life tea” or “asthma no more tea” or “stop crapping my pants tea.”  At one very reputable company’s booth I found a pill bottle simply labeled “Beautiful Legs.”  Beneath the product shelf, you guessed right, a poster of some beautiful legs.

 

Now available in a capsule.

While it was heartening to see so many companies trying to craft minimally processed foods devoid of GMOs, chemicals, crap fillers like gluten, and unneeded animal products, I could not escape the feeling that I was in the midst of so many snake oil sellers.

The fiber pushers especially confound me.  Yogurt that will make you poop?  Water containing fiber.  Pills with fiber.  People do realize that if they just eat some fruit and greens they have this whole issue covered, right?

 

This banner was in the mens room...

When I was walking around and looking at all the new stuff I couldn’t help but be impressed with all the ingenuity.  But it felt like I was in a mega store for astronauts who would need all these products because while journeying through space they wouldn’t be able to enjoy something as simple as an apple.

Or maybe these products will save us.  The web is full of speculation about radiation poisoning here on the west coast as a result of jet stream carried fallout.  The nutrition gurus are cashing in on split-cell chlorella pills and anything containing loads of iodine.  I’ve already taken all the free samples I was given at Expo West of each…

Part of the Exclusion Zone--Or the Zone of Alienation surrounding Cherynobyl


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Shocker: I’ve lost 19 pounds since Valentine’s Day by avoiding Industrial Food!

I want to share where I am at with my efforts to walk away from Industrial food.

An Inner Debate

On Feb 9 I listened in as Daniel Vitalis and David Wolfe participated in Kevin Gianni’s “Great Health Debate.”  Click to read my review of the event and see why it immediately motivated me to make some serious changes in my life.

That was only 3 1/2 weeks ago–just before Valentines Day.  Since then I have honored my commitment to avoid meat, dairy, GMOs, processed foods, refined sugar, coffee, and I’ve eliminated all gluten from my diet.  The result?

I Break the News

I FEEL GREAT and I HAVE LOST 19 LBS in just 25 DAYS!

I wasn’t expecting these kind of results.  When I went to weigh myself today I thought the scale would tell me I had  lost around 10-12 LBS.   The reason I am surprised is because I have been unable to exercise due to injury.

100% Raw VS My New Approach

This level of weight loss is almost identical to the results I had when I did my 100% raw food challenge.  Even the starting and ending weights are within a few pounds! Here you can see full body Before & After pics taken during my first 30 days raw. However, this time around I am only eating about 1/3  of my calories in raw form (uncooked fruits n’ veggies).

Cooked Carbs

I was concerned that my increased intake of cooked carbohydrate like potatoes, carrots, beans, brown rice pasta, and organic corn tortillas; might even result in weight gain.  When I did 100% raw I gave up ALL alcohol.  The past 3 1/2 weeks I have enjoyed red wine and even cocktails made with only fresh ingredients.

Fat Phobia

The other difference between how I eat now VS when I ate only raw food for 60 days–is my fat intake. While I have not been fat phobic in any way, I am eating way less fat than when I did 100% raw and was eating a ton of nuts, nut creams, nut butters, and 1-2 avocados a day. I don’t include nuts in my diet every day now.  I eat a half an avocado every other day or so.  I cook sparingly with olive oil and try to instead use it in it’s uncooked form in salads or pesto. I do eat a few eggs each week.

So What Exactly DO I Eat Now?

If you are curious to read more about what I HAVE been eating, and even see some pics, check out my daily food log called What I Ate Today.

The only current “Before & After” pics I have kinda suck, but I will include them here because I think you can see a dramatic difference in my fat face.  My apologies, the first pic is creepy.

 

Scary Valentine photo taken Feb 12 256 LBS

Same hat, looking a little more Grapes Of Wrath, less than 3 weeks later, Mar 7--237 LBS


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People are kinda creeped by what I am keeping in my fridge

If you have read FAT KID SUIT lately you know that I recently started over.  One year is plenty of time to get in amazing shape.  Unfortunately it is also more than enough time to completely fall apart and double in size.

This past Saturday was the first time in a year I went to the local Farmer’s Market with the intention of buying almost ALL of my food for the week there.  I forgot just how different shopping for a true plant-based diet is…

 

When you truly buy enough plant calories, there is little room in the fridge for anything else!

Let me give you a tour of the fridge, which friends and family have called everything from “Gross!” to “Insane!”

Top Shelf

  • Hidden from view are amazing local dates and a couple jars of raw almond butter.
  • Tangerines
  • Apples (several varieties)
  • Snap Peas
  • Local Eggs
  • Red and Gold raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Three colors of bell peppers
  • Red cabbage
  • Oranges

Middle Shelf

  • In what used to be the “cheese” drawer is cucumber, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Hidden from view under that drawer is a huge bag of oranges, and a big bag of tangelos for juicing.
  • Sitting in water is celery and three types of carrots.

Bottom “Crisper” Drawers

  • The bottom is mostly greens.  Kale, spinach, mache, arugula, cilantro…bags and bags of greens!

In addition to the what is in the fridge we keep several bunches of bananas and a couple bottles of wine on the counter  at all times.  Next to the fridge are some little “dry” pantry shelves…

 

Basic staples I am using a lot of since changing the way I eat back to plant-based and including some cooked vegetables.

Some of the stuff on these shelves are left overs from different things I’ve tried and am no longer really doing.  For instance the powdered greens and greens in pill form.  As you can see from the fridge pics the focus is on fresh.

Why not 100% raw?

I am not wanting to do 100% raw right now.  By not pushing for 100% I am eating less nuts and almost no raw specialty foods.  In addition to the calories I get from raw fruits, veggies, and small quantities of raw nuts and oils–I get calories from simple cooked meals that are comprised of potatoes and other cooked vegetables, tomato sauces, and delicious fresh pesto.  I limit myself to having a few servings of whole grains and eggs each week.  The cans you see are cat food, which since October have been the only meat in the house…

In just a few weeks I have gotten off the coffee ride, am drinking a lot less hard liquor, and no beer.  Done are the nightly pizzas, the garlic bread, french fries, and junk sweets.  And guess what?  The out of control and disgusting acid reflux, which had reached a level where I couldn’t even lay flat to sleep, is 100% gone.  I am exercising almost every day now, and feel compelled to do so.  I will weigh myself soon, but from what I can see in the mirror I have already dropped a lot of toxic weight.  All thanks to avoiding industrial food and doing my best to choose the most nutrient rich foods I can eat.

 


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Back On The Wild Wagon Ride Into Uncertainty

 

What Surprised Me About THE GREAT HEALTH DEBATE
Kevin Gianni

The Great Health Debate hosted by Kevin Gianni was more enlightening than I anticipated.

The “debate” didn’t really follow a debate format. It was actually a series of  interviews with various nutritional heavies.  While there were some interesting ideas presented, I can’t say it necessarily taught me a lot in regards to nutrition.

In fact the “experts” conflicting data was in many ways more confusing than clarifying…

But in an odd way, listening to so many gurus and so much info in one concentrated week freed me! I now see this diet world and all its associated conflict for what is–further evidence that life is unknowable and full of seeming contradiction. It seems that many want to hear stated something that can’t be–unassailable truth. It just doesn’t exist for diet, or anything else.

That realization–more like something I forgot again–was the extra push I needed to crawl back in the red Radio Flyer I tumbled out of a year ago, and really start living again. Whether you are hurrying by mirrors denying the degree of ill health you are in, self medicating your unhappiness with booze and pills, or even denying the sometimes scary awareness of just how uncertain all things are–denial is a powerful thing.

My Favorite Part Of The Debate

I especially enjoyed the perspectives shared on the evening David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis were interviewed by Kevin Gianni.

A quick note: I think these two interviews illustrate what a shame it is that the debate wasn’t a true verbal exchange between the participants.  Much is lost when there isn’t a direct interchange, and I believe Kevin is not only an awesome interviewer but also an excellent moderator more than capable of keeping the discussions, and even arguments, on track.

Wolfe

Why I especially enjoyed Wolfe and Vitalis had less to do with their nutritional insights than their incredible openness and general take on life. Both refused  to talk about people, food, and nutrition in a simplified reductionist light; a path they both admit to once being on.

Vitalis

 

Both men–regardless of how you feel about their advice–strike me as individuals who find things out for themselves, and then share their experience more than their opinions.

As I said in yesterdays post RE opinions, this experential approach to life, which is less about judgement and knowing than direct experience appeals to me. Coming to any table vested in winning an argument means you are not really their to share info or listen to what others have to say.

What Now?

Immediately following the interviews with both David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis I felt inspired to begin yet again on my very personal journey toward healthful eating.  I also felt empowered to do this in small ways, to do it without labels, and without subscribing to any particular guru’s unique approach.

For me that has meant being blatantly honest about which foods I know intuitively after 37 years on the planet do nothing for me nutritionally and in some cases cause harm to my organism.

At my current very low level of personal health and well-being it is clear to me the following  foods have to be eliminated from my diet:

  • All commercial dairy products and all cow dairy regardless of its source.
  • All gluten, all processed grains in any form other than whole, and very little if any of those.
  • Refined sugar in its myriad disguises.
  • Factory farmed anything.
  • Artificial anything.
  • Genetically Modified produce grown with pesticides.
  • Coffee.  Probably the most difficult to give up on this list, but a food that I have a long negative history with.
  • All foods cooked or fried in oil.
  • Added salt.

 

What Does That Leave TO Eat?

A lot actually.  The issue in some ways may actually be less about what to eat, than where to eat it, and where it came from?

During the debate there was a ton of discussion about what humans did or didn’t eat 10,000 years ago.  Most of this was centered around whether humans did, and whether we currently should, eat meat.  This being the primary item debated struck me as strange and limiting.

 

When 'To Eat or Not To Eat?' was the food question of the day...

While Kevin Gianni was extremely fair with all  participants, not once did I hear him try and sway the debates, it was obvious that the debates were the brainchild of a non meat eater, because every question was eventually reduced to one, “should we or shouldn’t we eat meat?”  Not an irrelevant question, and definitely juicy with controversy, but still a question that invariably limited the scope and depth of a discussion about health.

Who Should We Really Be Arguing With?

I can’t help but feel, and here I am proffering my opinion, which I am trying to do less of, that a true debate about health in our time would center much more on the merits of industrialized food VS non-industrial local sources of food.

Healthy meat VS unhealthy.  Healthy vegetables VS unhealthy.  Yes there will always be room to debate percentages and quantities of macro-nutrients.  There will always be a philosophical debate about  killing or using animals for food. But the carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, and fruitarians are all in the same boat when it comes to the industrialization of our food to the point that it barely resembles food. Have you walked through a modern supermarket lately?  It is frightening.

"cheese" puffs and pepsi

AISLE 9 - Corn Syrup - Aspartame - Phosphoric Acid

Look back at my hit list of foods I want to eliminate from my life.  It is essentially a  list of industrial food.

For me to avoid the foods on that list, it would be difficult to eat in most restaurants, and impossible to eat in many.  For me to source quality fruit, vegetables, eggs, whole grains and meat (if I choose to eat meat again in the future) would require finding a source other than the giant corporate markets.

 

 

 

Mono-crop agriculture and factory farms are the same thing.  A very bad response to ever growing numbers of humans who aren’t prepared psychologically, politically, and technologically to feed the next generation.   Mad Science and greed have taken only 40-50 years to bring us humans down to a frightening level of disease and ill health. Obviously there are healthy people who eat meat.  Obviously there are healthy people who eat no meat.  To argue otherwise is asinine.

 

While we argue (in an arguably entertaining fashion) about how much if any of our diets should come from animals, the state of all of our food is worsening.  Our options are lessening.  Our inherent right to grow food and share it with each other is being stripped away; perhaps irreversibly.

Maybe “You are what you eat” has less to do with which kingdom it came from than whether or not what you eat–plant or animal–was healthy before you ate it?

Will we start arguing with the companies and governments who are ruining our food supply?  Can we channel some of  the energy we use debating food philosophy and branded versions of health into effective change both in our back yards and through legislation?  Because somewhere in our current debate is a form of denial about the real elephant in the room.  And that can’t be healthy.

Either way, thanks Kevin Gianni for doing something!  You obviously worked extremely hard on this project, and in my own way, I benefited greatly from it. The last several days I have taken some concrete steps to better my health, which I will be sharing soon.

Cheers!


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My blog has a whole new look, now if I could just get one.

Fat Kid has a new Suit

I’ve changed a lot since I began writing Fat Kid Suit almost a year and a half ago, and it’s time for this ungrateful blog to grow and change some too.  Hello, it’s 2011.

For starters you’ll be reading about more than just raw food.  But don’t worry, I’m fat again.  So expect me to muster the courage to give raw another go with requisite candid field reports and embarrassing photos.

Food, Sex, and Self-Loathing

Having said that (props to Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld), my new tag line is “Food, Sex, and Self-Loathing.”

Self Loathing Sculpture (click image to see artist page)

The tag line should also include the word “writing” in there somewhere, but maybe self-loathing sorta covers that?  Several projects, including an unfinished screenplay that hates me for lacking drive and focus, need finishing.  And doing that is going to take energy.  Which I don’t have.  So welcome to perhaps the first ever blog that explores the correlation of  creative ups & downs with what goes in my mouth.

Some posts I may or may not write:
  • I’m getting sick of opinions, especially mine.  I want to share with you my recent attempts at going opinion-less.
  • Here I am again.  Fat, out of shape, and fairly disgusted with myself.  What am I going to do about it?
  • Low Fat Raw Vegan, AKA the “80-10-10 Diet.”  Can I really just eat fruit?!
  • Why cooked vegan just doesn’t work–for me.
  • Channeling your desire for food back into what it really is, a desire for “Sexy Time!”
  • Stories about Tijuana.
  • Pictures of our adopted children, I mean chickens.  Why something as seemingly ridiculous as a farm animal shelter makes more sense than I thought it did.
  • Why it’s not called “Red Wine Dick” and other things that suck about whiskey.

Feedback Needed

If you are considering a serious go at raw foods please let me know!  It doesn’t matter if you are considering a one week raw juice fast, or a longer commitment to vital eating, I am desperately seeking camaraderie and moral support!  I’d also love to feature some other raw stories here.

I’m not sure why, but I am having an extremely tough time motivating myself to take my health seriously.  I really miss the energy and overall good feeling I had when I ate raw.  If you are in a similar place, let’s talk.

Thanks for checking out the new and improved Fat Kid Suit!


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Detritus and other life dilemmas.

You have no idea how much I hate to share this…I am so fucking fat and out of shape…AGAIN!

Like a twelve-stepper wrestling with step one, can I admit at least to myself that I have a serious problem?

Yes, I think so.  This is my type-written admission to me, and to what I imagine, disgusted (or at least disgruntled) readers of this blog.  Let me buy the bar a round of apologies, and toast you all with “To a life larger than it is small!”  And “New beginnings!”

If there is anyone still out there who cares, I will be blogging once again about my relationship with food (still not sure if I’m the abused or the abuser), and a bunch of other stuff you may find interesting.  Much has happened since my last posts and many of my viewpoints have changed, some drastically.  I also now have a mustache.

mustache

Years ago, maybe when I was twelve or thirteen, a science teacher lectured about detritus.  I learned that decomposition is the rule rather than the exception in life.  My English lit teacher tried to tell us the same thing somewhere in her “Man VS. Nature” lectures.  And I suppose a lot of the crap I was taught at church was just a response to the fears associated with the overriding erosive nature of  life.

detritus

 

I think it’s just this year  though that I finally  get it.  Detritus.  And for some reason my increased awareness of all things decomposing is motivating me to create.

I want to create.  Even if what I create can’t be lasting.

 

 


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Another go at Raw Foods-Who wants to join me?

What a wild ride this “personal transformation” thing has been!  Seriously crazy loco whipsaw carnival grade action that would make Ray Bradbury tingle…

One of the coolest things has been all the people reading the blog, cheering me on, and experimenting with raw foods themselves.  Thank you.

If you are new to this blog, let me bring you up to speed with a quick re-cap:

A personal “State of the Union.”

  • Just before Halloween ’09 I was deep down in the “pits.”  Drinking over 100 alcoholic beverages a week, eating with abandon, and totally sedentary; I was an emotional & physical wreck.
  • Life was terrible sleepless nights brought on by acid reflux and painfully debilitating symptoms from the beginnings of an inguinal hernia.
  • My sedation had also aggravated a serious motorcycle shoulder injury from the past–and my left arm dislocated sometimes just taking off my shirt.
  • Overall, I was feeling as despondent as my liver must have felt.

Grasping at Curly Straws

  • A few years ago, I had experimented with raw food eating, and had easily lost weight while experiencing insane energy and even outright euphoria.  I wondered if I could rescue my body from the abuse I was submitting it to, and somehow get out of the oppressive depression that had become my norm, just by eating raw…
  • I set my mind to a 60 day “challenge.”  The plan was to go cold-turkey on cooked food, alcohol, and caffeine.  I knew it was going to be an extremely rough transition and that I needed some kind of external accountability to stick to it.  So I started this blog–Fat Kid Suit–to both “keep me honest” and chronicle the experience.
  • In just 60 days I lost 34 lbs, my troubling acid reflux disappeared, and I literally was a different person–so much so that the local paper asked if they could feature my story!
  • One of the conditions I set for myself when committing to 100% raw for 2 months was that I didn’t have to exercise if I didn’t want to.  I knew that just changing my diet so severely was going to be enough of a battle–so I left the exercise resolutions totally out of it.  I figured that eventually I’d WANT to work out.  And that’s exactly what happened…

Epic Fail on a New Challenge

  • So after completing 60 days raw, I set my mind to a new challenge, “90 straight days of exercise.”  I decided that during this challenge, I’d focus on fitness more than diet, and continue to eat a lot of raw foods, but allow myself cooked meals made with natural ingredients (hormone/antibiotic/containment free meat & dairy, organic veggies/potatoes/and grains, etc.).
  • The results of the first 30 days were interesting, I only lost a few pounds, despite doing some form of intense exercise EVERY day.  All that hiking, biking, push-ups, and Bikram Yoga was building muscle and I felt REALLY good, but I was frequently bloated and “puffy.”  I’d lost that lean & mean feeling I was getting from raw food…or more specifically from NOT eating cooked foods…
  • Then disaster struck.  About half-way through the 90 day challenge the hernia symptoms came back (very painful & involving my right nut–aaargh).  Unfortunately, the only way to cope is to STOP all exercise and straining, apply a lot of ice to the affected areas, and pretty much lay down for days
  • My work (bartending) also really exacerbates the symptoms–my job involves TONS of lifting, straining, stooping, squatting, and twisting at a near reckless pace.
  • Needless to say my “90 day Natural Fitness Challenge” was over.

Now What?

The last month has been a massive bummer.  Coming to terms with my physical situation, suddenly going from very active to not at all, and doing that very human thing we call drowning our sorrows, has meant gaining a few pounds and finding myself sorta depressed again for the first time in months.

I have just come too far to give up now and I am forcing myself to look at the bright side of things and figure out a way to continue forward, even if at a reduced speed.

Living in a place with such fab weather makes staying “up” a LOT easier.  While many of you must wait several more months for summer, it’s already come to Palm Springs California.  We had the customary “bad” month of lower temps and showers, and now the weather has “popped” and it’s 70 degrees in the morning, and 80 degrees or higher in the afternoons.  The skies are crystal clear, with truly breathtaking vistas from the desert floor looking up at snow frosted mountain peaks.

I’ve decided to take advantage of the heat.  Eating raw feels so natural when it’s hot and sunny.  My focus this time around isn’t going to just be the scale.  I want to heal from the inside out, and hopefully avoid surgery.

If I didn’t have the limitations from the hernia and was able to do more resistance training; my ideal weight would be between 200 and 205 pounds.  But, since all I can do right now is take long walks, my goal is 190 to 195 pounds ( a less muscular version of me).  I’m guessing it will take 6-8 weeks of eating 100% raw to lose the remaining weight.

My feeling is that even if I do end up needing surgery, I will be so much happier to have dropped that weight BEFORE, and know that I will have an even speedier recovery.  I’m also going to do my best to slowly build my core abdominal strength back up (something that’s a lot easier to do without an extra 20 pounds of gut).

A Simpler, Streamlined Approach To Raw Eating…

Tomorrow I will post my new–super simplified–approach to raw!  A simple streamlined menu with a shopping list that doesn’t require ANY complicated meal prep.  If you have been wanting to try raw out for yourself, you may find this approach to be a great way to go for it!

simple as that