I have had a very, very busy few days, and thus need to apologize to you, my paleolithic friend, for not getting my weekly PQTD podcast done in time! Usually, it’s every Wednesday. But, here it is at last, and better late than never, aye?
Firstly, my excuses: I have been off to our families’ vacation log cabin, deep in the woods of Wisconsin. A truly unique and lovely place, rustic, cool, and peaceful. My brother, who at 63 is one year my junior, has bought the house and land just next door- his land adjoins that of the family cabin land, and this is perfect! We had met there to do work on his land, which included cutting tons of brush, dead trees, weed trees needing removal, mowing and trimming, and more. We spent one solid day doing all of this, and getting both properties into good order, at least so far as the land goes. (If you have never done it, it is amazing how much physical work in involved in keeping up even a rather small parcel of wooded or country land!! Trees are always falling, blocking trails and damaging things (last winter it was our cabin rook and skylight that got smashed), and things just need to be taken care of. And so that is what we did.
I am used to intermittent fasting, and do it regularly: this means having an “eating window”of perhaps 5 or 6 hours, and then fasting the rest of the day. If you have made yourself into a “fat burner”, doing this is completely natural and easy, and actually quite freeing! If you are a neolithic “sugar burner”, as are most modern Americans, you need to snack all day long, mostly on carbs and sugars, just to keep up your blood glucose. This is the first step towards diabesity and degenerative illness…
Now, my brother is a lifelong exerciser, and quite lean and fit. But I have always marveled at how atrocious his diet was- bread, and anything else that falls into his path is fair game! He listens to me on many things, like Inclined Bed Therapy, and Perfectly Paleo types of exercise, but he always insists he is “immune to gluten”.
I noticed that, neither of us ate breakfast that first day, just getting right to work after coffee with heavy cream. We worked steadily, all day long, with heavy physical work. The chain sawing, tree after tree, and then stacking and carrying the logs. Over and over. Really exhausting work, and the heat was unusually hot for this area, since it was in the 90’s and very humid.
At one point, Jeff went into his house and emerged with a small bag of chips, which he consumed. He offered none to me, knowing that I would refuse. We went back to work, until it was all done. We were both utterly exhausted, dripping with sweat and sawdust. Both of us showered, and I put a number of bratwurst onto the grill. Kicking back with a couple of beers, we waited for our first real meal of the day. I ate a lot of brats, as did little brother Jeff, with sauerkraut, mustard, and for Jeff at least: buns! I didn’t like it, but I even toasted them for him…
The next day, I drank a Paleo green smoothie with my coffee, and we both went to work on restoring an old Airstream trailer on the property. We gutted much of the inside, and then tried to clean the decades of dirt and mold off of the outside. I eyed the old water spigot that had not been used in many years, and then decided to try it. Jeff turned on the water in the crawlspace of the cabin, and it gushed out!
Unfortunately, it gushed out of the side of the pipe, not the faucet. We decided to attempt to fix it. We spent hours pulling, prying, wrenching, and pounding at the pipe to get it out of the rubberized hose through which the water ran from the cabin. It was barely above ground, that faucet, and so we spent our time hunched over, in the dirt, and even dug down all around in the rocky soil to try to get that pipe to budge. Nope!
Finally, I took a long log, of roughly 18 feet of so, and using a big rock as a fulcrum, worked it under the faucet, where Jeff held it with his entire body. Pushing with all I have, there was a long, painful pause, and finally- Jeff shot up in the air and to the side, holding the length of freed pipe in his hands! We had done it!
“I’m proud of you two!” said the guy at the hardware store, when we brought in our precious pipe for replacement parts. He wanted to hear how we did it, since he could tell by the age of the pipe how long it had been broken. He really liked the faucet, which was large, brass, and in the shape of a quail!
We got it all put back together, and the rest of the afternoon was a joy of scrubbing off the gunk that covered the shiny skin of that beautiful Airstream trailer! It glowed.
Only then did I realize that we had not eaten that day! I made cottage cheese pancakes, which I have extolled here before- 3 eggs, 1/3 cup cottage cheese, and 1/3 cup rolled or steel cut oats. Try it, and make it a staple! Top with banana slices or berries, whipped cream and maple syrup for a real treat!!
But, knowing Jeff as I did, I doubled the recipe: 6 eggs, 2/3 cup cottage cheese and oats. BLEND for a few seconds til smooth, and then cook in a big, cast iron pan as I did! They are really good, cheap, and taste kind of like crepes, only more nutritious.
I kept making them, and serving them to Jeff. Normally, I make the 3 eggs version for myself, and only eat half, which is 6 pancakes. I save the other six to warm up another day. They are very filling indeed!
I cut Jeff off at 12- I wanted my usual 6, which were all that were left. I believe he would have kept on eating for quite a while, but he looked satisfied. I should mention here that Jeff is much leaner than me, being probably 165 lbs to my 185. He is a runner and tennis player, primarily, where I am more about strength.
There is a little backstory to add here. Next door to our cabin, and right across the road from Jeff’s, is a man named Leonard, who has lived here his whole adult life. He is now 95, and lives alone, having survived a wife. He looks exactly like he did 26 years ago when we built our cabin, when he was 69! Earlier, when Jeff and I were peering down into the faucet hole, wondering how we’d get it out of there, we heard a familiar voice- it was Leonard!
I looked around- there he was, holding himself in the pushup position, looking down where we were looking. He looked at us, since we were all at eye level.
“What you boys need is a lever!” he said. He was right, I got a long log, and the rest of the story you know.
Little things were connecting in my head as this wonderful day went on. Jeff ate bad, neolithic foods, along with good ones, and was quite lean and healthy. I was completely paleo, and our results seemed very similar. Then, I thought of Leonard, who cooked all of his own meals from scratch, things like pot roast, and baked his own bread and pies. He too was very lean, and healthy, especially considering his meals! (Folks in this small town often confuse me as Leonard’s son, since we both have white hair, and similar builds.)
I think I have it figured out- Intermittent Fasting! No one knows why it works like it does, although there are many theories. But it seems to me that, if you have a good, healthy lifestyle, with ample sleep, low stress, lots of physical exertion and outdoor living in nature; and if you also don’t constantly load up your digestive system with constant streams of calories, even good paleo foods, but especially massive amounts of processed snack junk sugars and carbs, you are cleaning most of it out.
As long as you give your body and digestive system a long rest, pretty much on a daily basis, you get a lot more license on what you can eat and have your body tolerate!
I don’t mean go out and eat junk, not at all. Eat Paleo, eat real foods! But be like Jeff, and Leonard- eat food after you work hard, to refuel. Don’t eat all day long, don’t use food as entertainment. See it as a reward, as a feast. Then it can fulfill its proper function: to renew you.