Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Eat Bacon, Don't Jog: A Somewhat Rambling Review

When I decided that I needed to stop eating the kids' bagels and pop tarts and start keeping an eye on what I ate again, I bought a copy of Grant Petersen's Eat Bacon, Don't Jog: Get Strong. Get Lean. No Bullshit. I know Grant Petersen primarily as the owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works.  In 2001, I purchased a bicycle he designed, and I'm still happily riding it to work every day.  (That's another story.)

Grant has also long championed low carb eating.  He's carried Gary Taubes's books on the Rivendell website, and he has written on the subject occasionally.  His book follows the format of his previous book Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike.  It's a collection of short chapters conveying a range of information.

Unfortunately, I ordered the Kindle version.  I have a bit of a don't-like-much/hate relationship with Kindle.  Occasionally, I think it's great because there's less clutter, not trees were harmed, no pollution from shipping the book, and so on.  But you can't flip through your books.  Eat Bacon, Don't Jog is primarily a book for browsing.  I don't think it took me very long to read through it, (though I skipped a lot of the details about exercising), but I like looking back through it.  I always need a little reminder from day to day, to stay on course.  For me getting off course looks like a piece of toast now and then, followed by a bagel now and then, followed by a bagel or toast every morning, sandwiches for lunch, a few M&Ms from the vending machine, too much sweet fruit at night - I am clearly not an orthorexic.  I've noticed an increase of articles on orthorexia recently, and it is some food for thought.  I might tackle the subject at a greater extent later, but I see problems with it.  It seems to demonize some healthy eating habits.  For example, the linked article asks the question "Do you assign moral qualities to foods?"  For example, do you think sugar is evil?  Well, sugar is one of the unhealthy things we put into our bodies.  Sometimes it helps change habits to assign moral qualities to foods.  I guess it becomes a problem when it becomes obsessive.  If I am offered food at someone's house, I'll eat it.  I fully plan to have some pie on my birthday.  (I hate cake).  It's good to keep Mark Sisson's 80/20 rule in mind.

Back to Grant's book:  He covers all the bases.  He goes through the insulin response, the fact fat doesn't make you fat, carbs make you fat.  He talks a lot about foods he likes.  I appreciate that, and I very much appreciate that he suggests eating habits that don't involve obscure ingredients found only at $84 an ounce from specialty stores found only in neighboring big cities.  He is a big fan of canned fish, and his book has compelled me to eat more sardines, or rather, eat sardines at all.  I don't think I've eaten a sardine in my life before this past month.  Generally, I don't like canned food, but what the hell.  I might as well try canned fish for a while.  Sardines do fill me up.  I can eat a can of sardines around lunch time, and I'm really not hungry until the next day.  I am still uncertain as to whether I actually like them.  The first few cans seemed kind of nasty to me, but I've grown used to them.  I'm also not sure if I like canned oysters.  I kinda do.  I also kinda find them repulsive.  Grant's blog for the book covers a lot of the food he eats.  It all seems fairly simple.  I really love the cookbook Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.  However, many of the recipes involve multiple steps, odd things like Rapadura, (which is basically sugar.  I'm not sure what it's doing in there), or starting with beef or chicken stock which takes beginning your recipe days before.  Dumping a can of sardines into some scrambled eggs with a few brussel sprouts is much easier.

He also has some great chapters on exercise, including exercises with kettlebells.  It's on my list to buy some, but it may be a while.  I admit I skimmed the exercise chapters.  I don't have a way to block my feet, so I haven't been able to try Janda situps.  I am trying to keep my arms a little closer to my body when I do pushups.  I'm still not too excited by exercise.

He moves toward the end of the book with chapters on physiology - all short and understandable.  He makes a case for blood sugar testing, which I might get around to trying.  There are also tests for ketone bodies.  Grant is arguing for a ketogenic diet, where you power your body from ketone bodies made from your body fat rather than from sugars broken down from your food.  I don't believe paleo and primal diets are necessarily trying to be ketogenic.  It makes some sense, and I'm trying to keep my carb intake under about 50 grams, but I can't say exactly whether I am succeeding.  I don't really measure.  My main downfall, right now, is probably the big bowl of nuts that sits on the table next to my desk.  I try not to eat too many.  A quarter cup of nuts has about 7 grams of carbs.  I hope I'm not eating two cups of nuts while I go about my daily work, but who knows?  (The nuts are part of a weekly catered event.  They bring in a lot of them, and they simply aren't eaten at the event, so we have them available in the office)

I do have a few bones to pick with Eat Bacon, Don't Jog.  I make my own yogurt.  Grant makes the claim that Greek yogurt is the only way to go because it lacks more of the sugar-containing whey.  (That's as in the natural sugars in milk, not extra added sugar).  I checked the labels on yogurt the last time I was at the store, and the Greek yogurt contained 15 grams of carbs per cup, and the plain yogurt contained 17 grams of carbs per cup.  That does not seem like enough of a difference to me to demonize my homemade yogurt.  I also make my own kefir.  I've cut down on how much I drink, but I'm not cutting it out completely.  I've kept that little kefir SCOBY going for years.

He also makes the claim that eating vegetables such as kale is OK because they don't cause harm.  I think theres enough evidence that vegetables - non-sugary, non-starchy vegetables - promote health.  I personally would talk up the positive aspects of kale a bit more.  However, I like kale.  I'm not so certain Grant does.  Maybe it's possible to live off sardines.  I'm not here to judge.

Overall, I love the book.  I hope to get a physical copy so I can actually flip through it.  At that point, when I can have a physical book next to me at my desk, maybe I can offer more than this rambling review.  It's just too frustrating to try to scroll around the Kindle trying to find the information I want to write about.

1 comment:

  1. Good review. I like your 80/20 style. I'm convinced by own blood tests that carbs in the form of grains, fruit juices, etc are the basis of high triglycerides and high cholesterol. Good points about kale and yogurt and being human.