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Results of a healthy diet experiment and cost

post #1 of 261
Thread Starter 
I've been on what I consider a healthy lifestyle (new year's resolution) since Jan 1st. When I started out I resolved to keep track of results and expenses. The idea: 1) Only "whole" foods. Fresh seafood and beef. Fresh vegetables and fruits. 2) No processed or prepared foods. No high fructose corn syrup. No artificial flavors. 3) Everything prepared fresh daily. Minimal cooking oil if necessary and then only olive oil. No leftovers. Nothing frozen. 4) No added salt. Flavor from fresh herbs and spices. 5) No farmed fish. Only wild caught fish. Organic foods where possible especially when conventional variety is notorious for being pesticide laden, etc. 6) No supplements. All nutrition comes from carefully selected foods. Meet caloric intake needed for muscle growth with adequate protein from consuming fish and lean meats. Focus on eating the "world's healthiest foods." Today's example: Breakfast: Fresh papaya blended with lemon, kefir, and skim milk Fresh ground cinnamon stick into french pressed coffee Hard boiled extra large organic brown egg Lunch: Grilled Chilean Sea Bass. Crushed pepper, lemon juice, shallots, chopped garlic, fresh basil, rosemary, dill. Dinner: 3/4lb Prime filet, fresh ground pepper and pureed blackberries and raspberries into "sauce", sliced raw heirloom tomato, blanched head of broccoli Snacks: Strawberries throughout the day. This is a function of Whole Foods now selling a 4lb tub for $8. I drink approx 1-1.5 gallons of water a day. Exercise: I run 5 miles every other day I go on 15-20 mile hikes once or twice a week I kayak or bike several hours a week I do a general variation of the 5x5 program. My weights went up on this diet. Results via professional measurement: I am 6'2". Genetic mesomorph. I began at 180lbs and 10% body fat. (1/1/2010) I am now 159lbs and 5.7% body fat. (4/15/2010) I have visible striations and a well defined "eight pack." My back looks like something in a magazine (sorry for lack of a better description.) The muscles ripple when I move. I can stick my thumb between my abs. My lifts have gone up in the gym but not greatly. I would not say that I am particularly strong. For example, on bench I can currently do 205x5 with good form. I would like to be able to rep 225 but doubt I will get there without eating a lot more calories. Costs: Determined via credit cards records into Excel. Cost on average was $32.70/day for myself. As of now I have spent $3466 on food at grocery stores, farmers and seafood markets YTD not including eating out on occasion and having people over. I've found cooking at least twice a day and going for food every day to be time consuming but rewarding. I have developed interesting relationships with local merchants. Thoughts: I plan to continue. I feel the "healthiest" I have ever felt in my life. Also, looking in the mirror is very rewarding. I am somewhat amazed by the amount of definition I have obtained. It is hard to describe, but I feel very light on my feet. I have never been this light but muscled before. Feels good. I can make things that I find delicious without using any salt or added fats. I previously did not own any non stick cookware but now find it to be necessary. I had expensive stainless and copper pieces that I bought for appearance and have now given away. After cooking twice a day for months I've come to the conclusion that "high end" cookware is bullshit and a waste of money. Check out the Ikea Favorit line. The 11" frying pan is better than anything All Clad makes for a fraction of the cost. I bought a bunch of "healthy" cookbooks initially. Things came out tasting quite bland. I then adapted the healthy methods to say, Alfred Portale's Gotham Cookbook. Great improvement. Highly recommend his books. I can make a healthy shrimp risotto variety that tastes very close to what I've had at Gotham. A great way to make fish is to cut off a foot long aluminum foil sheet. Cut lemon into thin slices and reserve juice. Use lemon slices as platform. Put fish on top of platform. Add cracked pepper and fresh herbs. Fold aluminum foil around fish to make pouch. Add lemon juice. Close pouch. Cook in a hot pan. The lemon juice will effectively steam the fish. The lemon slices suspend the fish and thus negate the use of any oil. The result is delicious, the fish falls off the fork, and there is probably no healthier way to cook it. This is my go to quick lunch prep for King Salmon, Sea Bass, and Halibut.
post #2 of 261
-seems like your eating by paleo guidelines -pretty pricey diet -unless your bones weigh nothing, you physique probably doesn't look too "healthy" to most ppl congrats on the leanness though that's really impressive
post #3 of 261
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Jsquxe View Post
-seems like your eating by paleo guidelines -pretty pricey diet -unless your bones weigh nothing, you physique probably doesn't look too "healthy" to most ppl congrats on the leanness though that's really impressive
Thanks. I've heard of the paleo diet but decided rather than try to "follow" a particular diet, to just keep it simple. Fresh whole foods prepared daily with minimal added fat and salt. Shocking how much salt is in everyday foods. I made unsalted vegetable stock the other day, then used it to make risotto with foie gras. Satisfied all tenants. That's probably not a staple of the paleo diet. I was spending about double per diem before starting on the diet. I had not eaten a meal at home in at least a year.
post #4 of 261
yeah risotto isn't very paleo-friendly i guess 32/day isn't too bad if you're working and making money but for students its pretty pricey
post #5 of 261
Thanks for the fish / foil trick. I like it because it won't splatter. How long and how hot?

You'd break the bank if you were trying to bulk. Are you hungry?
post #6 of 261
$900 a month for food is way too much.

I bet I eat just as clean as you and I spend a fraction of that.
post #7 of 261
Originally Posted by db_ggmm View Post
Thanks for the fish / foil trick. I like it because it won't splatter. How long and how hot?

You'd break the bank if you were trying to bulk. Are you hungry?

Dude claims sub 6% BF - if thats even close to true he's got to be hungry

Also, not sure I would call this a healthy diet - at least not if you think giving the body what is needs to maintain itself is healthy. According the OP's changes in body comp, he has lost 12lbs of LBM and 8lbs of fat on this diet. I don't think 149lbs of LBM is healthy at 6'2".
post #8 of 261
You're right, dumb question.

He's probably not counting, but I'm under the impression to get to 6% bf one would be eating like 1400 calories / day - and he's spending $33 / day. That's insane. Makes me curious what my $ / day is.
post #9 of 261
Agreed that $900/mo. is ridiculous. You could easily achieve the same results with half that budget, imo. Probably a consequence of going to butchers and fishmongers instead of looking for deals at the grocery store. Same goes for organic (which, iirc, has been proven to be no more healthy than regular produce).

That being said, I appreciate the discipline and work that went into your approach. We are almost the same height/weight and there is no way I am at 5.7% BF. Congratulations on your results. I hope you don't dress like an iGent because you're going to need a whole new wardrobe.
post #10 of 261
Congrats on your success!
post #11 of 261
Congratulations man, keep it up.
post #12 of 261
How do you weigh 160 at 6'2" with 5.7% bodyfat doesn't that make you ridiculously skinny? Some real solid results though, I don't think I could cut that hard and I definitely don't have the time to cook 2 meals a day. =(
post #13 of 261
So starches are off limits? Jeez.
post #14 of 261
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments. Surprisingly, I am not "skinny." I see serious runners that are my height and a fraction of my size. My clothes are the same size. The difference is, where there was fat, there is now muscle. The effect is relatively extreme in places. For examples, I can see the individual muscles, gaps, and striations that comprise my shoulders. I am not sure I agree with those that said they could have gone cheaper and gotten the same food quality/health. Here is a cost breakdown: USDA Prime Filet Mignon 1/2 lb @ 29.99/lb = $15 Wild Alaskan King Salmon 1/2 lb @ 19.99/lb = $10 Head of broccoli @ 2.99/lb = $5 1.5lb Heirloom Tomato @ 4.99/lb = $7.50 That's $37.50, just for basic ingredients for the day. Obviously this could be done far cheaper at the same venues but the ingredient quality would not be comparable. Add to that the fact that I keep a section of my kitchen stocked with mangos, papayas, bananas, peaches, apples, pears, and pineapples because I enjoy fresh fruit and the average daily cost seems pretty reasonable. The local butcher's price is $39.99/lb. for USDA prime. He looks to be about 100 years old and knows everything about beef. This seems to me the be the equivalent of going to a artisan clothing maker. He always cuts it fresh and spends 10 minutes trimming the piece to perfection. He now sells me at choice price ($29.99) since he claims he appreciates the fact that I appreciate him and what he does. Whole Foods sells USDA prime for cheaper ($29.99), but will not cut fresh on demand and the results are often mediocre. Of course there are cheaper cuts of meat that I still enjoy, but a filet thrown on a smoking hot cast iron skillet until just rare is pretty close to heaven.
post #15 of 261
Wow, that's pretty badass.

FYI, the pouch-fish cooking method is called en papillote and is traditionally done in parchment paper, but is a great cooking method. When you pop that lid and all the aroma comes out
Do you have any before/after pics? no homo.

Also, if you want to add flavor (and save money) don't buy the filet. Just get a ribeye or sirloin. Much better flavor. Then again that adds more fat, but still..
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