Monday, 30 May 2011

sodium metabisulfite

Q: what is that?
A: wikipedia says it "It is used as a preservative and antioxidant in food and is also known as E223"

There's so many coconut milk brands on the market I don;t know which one to go for. I've being buying young coconuts online from Thai Foods Market for 600 yen a pop and I thought I'd get some other items to get up to 10,000 and get free delivery. Their Chaokoh coconut milk is 400 yen, so I checked in the local supermarket and their Chef's Choice coconut milk was much cheaper. So then I started thinking that some coconut milks are better than others. Some coconut milks like Chef's choice contain sodium metabisulfite, other's contain other antioxidants, preservatives and thickeners. Coconut milk can separate in the can into oily cream and water so most brands put in a thickener like guar gum. It's harmless apparently.

So which coconut milk is better? Well, none of the above. The main ingredient of coconut milks and creams is water. If the fat content is 17%, it is called "coconut milk." If the fat content is 24%, it is called "coconut cream." But most of what you are purchasing is water. Coconut cream and coconut milk costs about the same so why buy coconut milk when you can buy cream and add water?

I can find kara coconut cream in the supermarket near my house so I think I'll use that from now on. It still contains a "GM-free stabilizer" and a high percentage of water, but it's better value for money. Other Coconut Creams

In a perfect world however, I would buy coconut cream concentrate. 
It's got no water in it and all it is is coconut, no thickeners, preservatives or antioxidants. I've only seen it online at Tropical Traditions, but I think it might work out cheaper in the long run if I order it in.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

mint sauce

Home made mint sauce. Loads of leaves in a blender with white wine vinegar.

Used to make this stuff back in Durham for the Sunday roast but with sugar in too. I love vinegar so I don't miss the sugar making this sauce Paleo. There's a jar of thick stuff in the fridge to spoon onto lamb and a bottle of mint vinegar dressing too. Beats the shit out of Paul Newman's low fat high fructose corn syrup laced thousand island.


I don't fancy taking any supplements for Prebiotics and Probiotics. I read there's a natural way to upkeep your gut flora; by eating home-made sauerkraut. Sounds so frickin' easy it's rediculous. Chop up a red cabbage and a white cabbage, cover with salt and bang in a big pot with a plate and a weight on top for a week then serve.

 Here's what it looks like so far:

And a googled image of what I hope to achieve with this.

I'll update in a week on progress.


What a disaster!
After a week of the sauerkraut mix sitting in the kitchen I came home last night and could smell something weird. I lifted the top off the container and was hit with a HORRIBLE smell of rotten cabbage. There were flies moving around and I saw some maggots crawling up the inside of the container. FAILURE!
Why did it fail?
I think it was due to the plate with the weight on not being flush with the container. Fermentation will failed because of too much exposure to air and oxygen which prevented proper fermentation of the sauerkraut from taking place. With such a wide gap around the plate and a cloth loosely draped over the top it was essential wide open to the elements.
The thing was full of water so the salt did it's job though.

I'm going to buy a more professional kit and try again. Something like this.
Or I could try the crock method again. Here's a good link for that.

Q: Should the plate on top of the cabbage form an airtight seal?


Here's a great link to lots of Paleo Salad dressings

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Q: What is kefir and where do I get it?

A kefir grain, yesterday
Kefir is like this mysterious grain that somebody created back in the middle ages in Arabia. Nobody knows how the first grain was made, but since then it has been grown, broken, passed around and grown more until now kefir is used to make kefir yoghurt and milk all over the world.

Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.

It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, the elderly and people experiencing chronic fatigue and digestive disorders.

You can get "keffir yoghurt" in Nissin World Delicatessen. I haven't checked out National Azabu for their yoghurt offerings yet, but I was surprised to see this today so I bought a couple.

I couldn't wait so I sat in the park on the way home and chugged one of them. It might have been the "20% off" sticker on the tub, but as soon as I got back to the office it was pants down and a case of chutney-bot.

So what does the Japanese say?

"Kefir yoghurt contains live yeast so expels gas. Not to worry though, because this container is capped off with a strong aluminium seal. Take care when opening because little bits might spit out."

Kinds of gut friendly bacteria in kefir is written in this post about probiotics.

Nothing important written there then.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Three Day Apple Detox

Pronounced "Makkori" in Japanese.
(Not to be confused with "Mokkori" which is slang for  "cock")
After a night out at the offal restaurant with numerous bowls of makgeolli I decided a detox was in order.

Rules of Detox
Eat only apples and drink only water for 3 days, record affects.

Supposed Benefits
Flushing of poisonous metals from eating meat and fish from the body by the healing powers of apples.

Alkalinity of apples restores balance in the body from all the acid contained in high protein foods.

128 yen each in Waseda Maruetsu
Apple pectin is helpful dietary fiber in maintaining good digestive health. Fruits rich in apple pectin include the peach, apple, currant, and plum. Protopectin, present in unripe fruits, is converted to pectin as the fruit ripens. Pectin forms a colloidal solution in water and gels on cooling. When fruits are cooked with the correct amount of sugar, and when the acidity is optimum and the amount of pectin present is sufficient, jams and jellies can be made. In overripe fruits, the pectin becomes pectic acid, which does not form jelly with sugar solutions.
120 yen each in Toranomon's greengrocer

An indigestible, soluble fiber, apple pectin is a general intestinal regulator that is used in many medicinal preparations, especially as an anti-diarrhea agent. Our ancestors believed the old proverb an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Today, nutritional scientists research for evidences that verify how apples are good for our health. Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber, which is effective in lowering cholesterol levels.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that apple pectin also acts as an antioxidant against the damaging portion of cholesterol in the blood stream. Many researchers suggest that people who eat fatty foods should, if possible, wash down this food with apple juice rather than the usual drink. Researchers have found that raw apples are the richest of fruits in pectin, with the jonagold variety of apple leading other varieties.

It has been established that a diet rich in apple pectin may help protect against certain diseases. Research in Japan supports that apple pectin can also decrease the chances of colon cancer. Apple pectin helps maintain intestinal balance by cleansing the intestinal tract with its soluble and insoluble fibers. Apple pectin tends to increase acidity in the large intestines and is advocated for those suffering from ulcer or colitis and for regulating blood pressure. Pectin is also effective in causing regressions in and preventing gallstones. There is also evidence that the regular use of apple pectin may lessen the severity of diabetes.

Maruetsu must be getting sick
of me buying all their apples
Body gets to take it easy for 3 days.

Intestines get a clean-out and can absorb more nutrients post-detox.

No Protein, my body needs protein so I will be straight back to my high-meat Paleo diet as soon as this experiment is over.
No Gym, it's pointless going to the gym during these 3 days because my recovering muscles will have no protein to synthesise.
Loss of gut flora? Not sure if this happens or not, but will be sure to start back with lots of leafy greens. (Detox guides recommend bacteria rich yoghurt but that's not Paleo)

5 Day Lead-up Nutrition (Super Strict Paleo)
Raw fish, apples,
Simple meat and veg bento lunches,
3 nights of roast chicken with roast veggies and no gravy.
Hard boiled eggs,
Baked sweet potatoes,
Green Tea

morning snack
Day 1
1 apple for breakfast
3 apples for lunch
1 apple for afternoon snack
6 apples for dinne
Total: 11 apples

Started the day at 74.5kg
Thought I was going to eat 8 apples for lunch, surprised I could only manage 3.
I'm noticing some farting in the afternoon, usually don't have that.
I had SIX bowel movements, all of them spongy brown poos.

Nutritional Ratios of a Fuji Apple;
all carbs and a little protein
Day 2
2 apples for breakfast
2 apples for morning snack
3 apples for lunch
1 apple for afternoon snack
6 apples for dinner
Total: 14 apples
Started the day at 73.5kg
Woke up and had a huge bowel movement, one big long brown poo, followed by "sundance" apple strudel.
Skin noticeably smoother.
Thinking one day/one metabolic cycle could be enough for this detox. Perhaps 3 days are recommended for people with metabolic syndrome who need the full 72 hours for their digestive tract to empty.
Am aware that the 1kg weight loss is just the contents of my digestive tract and that it will be put back on once I start eating normally again. Still, it's good to see a good end to food and start to apple and know that from now on the apple is just cleaning the tubes and not pushing stuff through.
Walked home from work.
More "sundance" before bed.
Expecting no further weight loss in tomorrow's weigh in.
Nutritional Values of Day 2 eating 14 fuji apples. Seriously low on Protein and fiber is off the chart.
desk lunch

Day 3
2 apples for breakfast
4 apples for lunch
1 apple for afternoon snack
6 apples for dinner
Total: 13 apples

Last Day at the Toranomon Fruit Seller;
"We have cherries just arrived in today"
"No thanks, just the apples please"
Started the day with a "sundance" poo and weighed in at 73.1kg.
Feeling about the same as day 2.
Still keeping away from exercise other than walking and cycling.
Finished the detox with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. (Would coconut oil have done the trick I wonder?)
Day 4
Help gut-flora recovery with, breakfast of spinach and scrambled eggs fried in coconut oil with black pepper.
Morning gym session strength check of Max Rep backsquat and Max Rep frontsquat:
Backsquat was weak at 5kg less than last week, some muscle mass loss?
Frontsquat was stronger at BW.
Second breakfast of sashimi and sweet potato.
Big Ass Salad for lunch (Spinach leaves, avocado, shrimp, grilled chicken, red onion, balsamic vinegar)
Tonsoku ramen for dinner.

Started the day at 73.0kg
Expecting the weight to gravitate back up once I fill my intestines with normal food again.
Important to get the calorie count up to 20% over maintenance today after 3 days of only about 1000 calories per day on apples. Shouldn't be too hard as I'll be eating out tonight.

Eating 38.5 apples over 4 days really makes you pee!
I was surprised to see yellow pee again on day 4 after getting used to the clear stuff.
I noticed skin getting better and better over the days which made me want to continue the detox. I am glad to be stopping though, for 2 reasons:
1) Fear of addiction to fiber: Apples are loaded with fiber and if the gut starts relying on that then gut bacteria will become redundant and when the fiber it taken away again the gut could have trouble processing stuff for a while until flora is built up again. I don't to get into a vicious fiber menace cycle like I've read about on the net.
2) I think I lost strength: Living on carbs in the form of fructose and fiber is no way to run the ship. It's great to knock out all possible harmful ingredients from the diet to give the body a rest and feed though some pectin for gut cleaning, but if I can't go to the gym and eat big protein rich post workout meals then I'm just going to undo hard work in the form of a reduction in lean body mass. Half of the 2kg I lost was put back on by resuming normal eating, the rest I put down to both muscle loss (from gluconeogenesis) and fat loss (from calorie cycling). Also if I'm going to eat carbs then I want to eat carbs that replenish muscle glycogen and fructose only replenishes liver glycogen. Once the liver is full then I'm storing it as fat.

Still, it was fun eating fruit for a change. I can see the attraction of the fruitarian lifestyle but it's just not nutritionally sound. I'm back on Paleo now and looking forward to eating some mega-roasts and doing more off the wall home-cooking :-)

My insides have been cleansed through 3 days of apple eating, and am eager to see if I notice them absorbing more nutrients than usual in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

IDS Waximaize

Taking carbs for insuling spiking to increase the movement of nutrients to the muscle post workout? Restore muscle glycogen faster? What are carb supplements all about?

Blurb from
Waximaize is a modified starch, a very unique complex carbohydrate capable of changing your physique!* Waximaize is absorbed lightning fast into the bloodstream by 'bypassing' digestion in the stomach.* Once in the bloodstream Waximaize potentially makes you look leaner by pulling subcutaneous water (water from just under the skin!) into the blood, supporting blood volume!* Training with Waximaize brings new meaning to the word 'pump'.* With overloaded glycogen stores and amplified blood volume, Waximaize may overtake you in minutes!*
Waximaize is a corn based modified starch with unique properties in the human body. While most complex carbohydrates from normal food sources remain in the stomach to be digested, broken down into shorter carbohydrate sugar chains before entering the bloodstream, Waximaize with its unusually high engineered molecular weight 'Drops' through the stomach faster!* Because of this, Waximaize remains a complex or long chain carbohydrate as it enters the small intestine for absorption.* In addition to this, Waximaize has a very low Osmolarity which allows it to quickly and effortlessly cross into the bloodstream intact.*

So should I be taking this pre-workout or during or post? The label says all three but then I've seen whey protein labels telling the consumer to drink a scoop with every meal and pre and post workout.
What is the difference between Maximaize and Maltodextrin? The above question could also be what is the difference between Amylopectin and Maltodextrin. Because that's all Waximaize is, the second ingredient after that is "Artificial Flavours". 
Here's a great article by Gary F. Zolla about a his experience with trying different carbs around working out. He asked the same question that I have. Why spend money on expensive chemicals when you can put carbs into your body post workout quickly and easily by drinking a load of fruit juice. After reading that I understand that fructose is no good post workout and the body needs somethig that restores glycogen better like dextrose or maltodextrin. 
Many lifters who use Waximaize stack it with protein in a post workout shake in order to spike insulin and shove protein into muscles while restoring muscle glycogen. I don't understand all the fuss about restoring muscle or liver glycogen after working out. I just accept it because that's what we are taught to do. Is it so important? WHy not just have a carrot instead of dumping 40g of Amylopectin directly into the bloodstream?

Let's have a quick look at the affects: 
Stage 1. Once in the bloodstream Waximaize draws subcutaneous water (Water trapped just under the skin) into the bloodstream, quickly supporting optimal blood volume.*
So then this is for post/during workouts. If I want blood volume then I'd rather take a supplement designed to do that like Superpump250.
Stage 2. This increased blood volume may cause visible veins to appear in the limbs to carry the increased blood volume to muscles.* This vascularity adds to the appearance of a leaner physique.
So this is a nitric oxide/blood doping supplement? I was under the impression that this product is basically pure glycogen. Does glycogen give you garden hose veins and roadmap vascularity? I don't think so.
Stage 3. This increased blood volume delivers Waximaize to waiting muscles, overloading glycogen stores for a 'full' feeling.*
Yeah okay it gets glycogen to the muscles so it might help growth post workout if stacked with protein.

Should you have a big meal pre-workout? I heard body-builders suck on oranges pre-workout too. What about the benefits of fasted training. By consuming carbs pre and during workouts am I compromising HG production?
I decided against taking this pre or during my workout because I don;t want to change my fasted training style.
I finished training and drank Waximaize followed by Champion Nutrition Whey, followed by 500g of smoked salmon and a boiled pumpkin salad - stuffed!
Waximaize tasted like chalk, can't remember if it was "grapey" or not. It's so far off Paleo I'll not buy it again.
I can't help thinking that food provides a good enough insulin spike to shuttle the whey protein immediately post workout to the muscles. Also regular artificial insulin spiking can't be good for IFers with a goal of keeping insulin levels low. Raise the insulin, use it to move protein into the muscle over a long period, then lower the insulin again during fasting sounds more sensible than spiking insulin to shove fast proteins into the muscle then crash.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar Whey

Chocolate flavour. Tasted good, a little bit thin. Not nearly as good as Champion Nutrition's taste. Would be an okay substitute though.

Taken after Chins and Dips.

Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

When I switched to coconut oil for nearly all cooking back in Feb the only source I could find was Nissin World Delicatessen's Omega Nutrition Coconut Oil. It's over 2,000 yen for a small tub and I wasn't convinced that it was the best item on Omega Nutritions product list. I looked at their website and they have all sorts of 'virgin' or 'organic' products and this product that I bought was not listed.

2 tubs of this stuff later and my Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil arrived from It cost 1,400 yen, you get more and the first thing I noticed is that it smells like coconut! (Omega Nutrition Coconut Oil has no smell). When it's in the pan as well, there's a coconut smell going on. I love coconut so I love this.

On the whole very pleased with the purchase. It's just a shame shipping takes so long to get to Japan.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

NO Shotgun

It was either the NO Shotgun or my absent mindedness, but after 2 warm-up sets of back-squats I loaded up with bar and squatted what I thought I was max weight and squatted it okay. I looked at the bar and though, "silly me, that's 10kg too little", I put 10kg more on and couldn't get below parallel without failing.

"Why am I weaker than last week" I thought, then I added up the weights again and realised I'd failed on 10kg over this week's target. I had actually attempted 15kg more than last week! Dropped it down 5kg and was able to get 4 reps with a 10kg increase on last week.

If I can up the weight by 2-5kg each week then I leave the gym happy, a 10kg jump is a lot of improvement. I put it down to 3 possible factors:

1) The squat rack in the gym has adjustable metal bars with rubber on top so you can really go to failure without rolling the barbell off your back and crashing it onto the floor. That's something I'm reluctant to do even at crossfit.

2) Absent mindedness made me realise I'm not lifting close enough to max.

3) NO Shotgun.

Cherry tastes almost as good as the NO Synthesize Fruit Punch. And you get 20 odd grams of protein in it.

Straight after drinking gives a feeling of breathlessness.

My legs feel like they've had a hell of a workout 1 day later. More than I've felt after squatting at crossfit.

Monday, 9 May 2011

NO Synthesize

NO Synthesize tastes great.

I drank it after Overhead Press and Bench. 
Not sure if it aided my recovery more than the roast lamb I had with it or not. Feeling stiffness in the chest and shoulders one day later.

It whips up into a foam and tastes great though.
Plus you're getting 20g of protein in a scoop Straight after drinking gives a feeling of breathlessness.