Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
15 Sep

Contest: What’s Your 20?

UPDATE: This contest is closed. Visit the 30 Day Challenge Contest Page to find out which contests are still open, and to view winners.

The Prize:

It’s Sensible Vice time…

Chocolate. The Malibu farmers’ market sets up shop about a half block from my office every Sunday, and one of the regular, irresistible booths is Choco Vivo. Organic, fair trade, fermented less than 3 days – this is chocolate for people who like cacao, not chocolate for people who like candy bars. Winner receives an assortment of 100%, 85%, 75%, raw nibs, and the cherry, almond, peppercorn blend. For those outside the LaLa Land farmers’ market circuit, you can find ChocoVivo here.

Coconut Juice. Today’s second sensible vice comes with or without pulp (or with a hint of lime). In the pursuit of all things coconut, the winner will receive two mixed cases of coconut juice, courtesy of Amy & Brian Naturals. That’s over a gallon and a half of liquid. For all the athletes out there trying to bridge the gap between ideal Primal living and endurance training, this is good stuff for the days when you clock the extra mileage. And to clarify, coconut juice and coconut water are the same thing.

Miracle Fruit. Say what, now? No, it won’t cause rapid weight loss. No, it won’t cure cancer. No, it won’t make the Giants fumble on the last down of the game. But it will make a lemon taste like candy, a Guinness taste like a chocolate milk shake, and a blueberry taste like God pouring heaven’s manna down your throat. It’s a fruit that plays a delightful game of chaos with your taste buds. And ThinkGeek, the folks who donated the Homo Sapiens kitchen tool last year, are offering up a packet of miracle fruit this year.

The Contest:

For those unfamiliar with the 80/20 rule, I’ll discuss it in depth later today, but in brief: if you align your life with the Primal Blueprint principles 80% of the time, consider yourself on course. While you should strive to be Primal 100% of the time, 20% happens. And today it’s time to share 20% stories…

So, what’s your 20? Mine is beer. And I’m not talking about Bud Light Lime. I like a beer dark enough to make motor oil jealous. An no, beer is not made from meat and veggies. Despite Michelob Ultra’s ad campaign, beer will not improve your performance time. It’s made from wheat and barley. My 20 is an Old Viscosity Ale from Port Brewing Company. While I very rarely imbibe, I never have regrets when I do.

Now it’s time to tell me yours. Today’s contest isn’t designed to celebrate the bad or knock all the beginners off the Primal wagon. It should serve as a reminder that even the most Primal of us have unPrimal moments, and that when we do, we shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed about those moments. We should simply recognize them for what they are – that 20% – and keep on striving to live Primal the next day. So share your moment. Your best (or worst) 20% moment. Do so in 150 words or less in the comments section of this post.

We’re not just picking a winner at random this time. The Worker Bees and I will pick our favorite moments and then hold a poll next Sunday where you’ll pick the winner. A good moment is one that either shows excellent use of sensible vices, or a moment that exemplifies how you can pick yourself up and keep going Primal after a moment (or crazy night) of vices that are anything but sensible.

The Deadline:

September 16, 9:00 am. Only one day!

Who is Eligible:

As with most of the other perishable prizes, this stuff ain’t crossing borders. A substitute prize of equal value will be offered to an international winner. Sorry, Swedish readers. Next year I’ll have a Swedish prize just for Swedes.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. loukoumades (deep fried pastry soaked with honey sugar syrup) and frappe (instant coffee, cream, ice) while sitting in a cafe overlooking the mediterranean

    h wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • Beer .. I have a local beer place that has 500 bottles and 40 taps of the most wonderful micro-brew beers . . I even have a loyalty card. Good think fat helps with hangovers . . . . .

      Russell wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • You know, I just had some loukoumades the other day. First outright cheat in a while. Excellent choice.

      Shawn wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • My husband is in the Marine Corps and he ends up being gone a lot because of that. So when he’s home and we finally get a chance to just go out and spend time together with our 10 month old baby, we like to go to a nice restaurant and have an excellent primal appetizer (we love insalata caprese and/or beef tartar), primal dinner (usually a salad with a grilled chicken breast or steak and sauteed veggies) and then we splurge on a dessert. My husband loves creme brulee, so we split one once in a while. Definitely not primal, but it’s so worth it to share that dessert together and enjoy the moment with our son. The next day I get back on the wagon like nothing happened and I make sure to get an hour of low-level cardio and chase my son around for a while to get in some good play time. He’s just now learning to wrestle, so we have fun rolling around together.

      Amanda wrote on September 15th, 2010
  2. I love food! I love chocolate! I love bread and pizza and hamburgers and bacon and donuts, etc, etc! But I have found that I can do without all of those things except beer and chocolate. I do limit myself to only occasional pieces of 85% cacao, but the beer is much harder. I have gone from drinking beer 4+ nights a week to maybe one, and gone from 4+ beers a night to maybe 2. I, like Mark, do not go for the weak light beers, but the deliciousness of an IPA or wheat beer. I overindulged in crappy food for many, many years, so the fact that I do CrossFit 5 days a week and eat primal makes me feel really good about being me. I will enjoy the occasional beer and chocolate… as long as it stays in check. :) ~Karyn

    Karyn (Calvin's wife) wrote on September 15th, 2010
  3. cheesecake. i sometimes will cure my urge by making the primal version, but once in a blue moon i head over to the local joint and have a CW slice. i then vibrate into another dimension thanks to the sugar overload.

    batty wrote on September 15th, 2010
  4. Cheese. I was a vegan for three years, so when I started eating cheese again it was as if every type of cheese I hated before then turned into manna from heaven. I’d been tricking myself into thinking soy cheese was of comparable flavor and texture. I don’t eat cheese every day and avoid eating it in massive quantities, but when I do it’s like being in a York Peppermint Patty commercial without the corn syrup.

    Jackson wrote on September 15th, 2010
  5. My 20% is coffee and dark, dark chocolate. I’ll have a square of an 85% dark bar every now and then, and I have to have coffee every morning (psychological habit, but it’s not going away). If dairy is considered part of the 20%, then that too – hard cheese is a dietary staple for me, but I try to limit it, and I have a touch of cream in my coffee every morning.

    Griff wrote on September 15th, 2010
  6. Double Chocolate Stout….this stuff is so thick and tasty that I only have it every couple months. If you like really dark beer then this is the one to try. It was once described to me as chocolate milk for adults ;)

    Chipdogwa wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • Amen! Young’s is THE best beer I’ve ever had! I actually have some in my fridge right now waiting for my next craving to hit. :)

      Becca Ne' wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • Oh, the Double Chocolate Stout…made me smile just reading this post. I like it just a little bit cooler than room temperature. It really is fantastic.

      73Kristin wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • +1 on that. I love the Double Chocolate, but have you had Buried Hatchet Stout by Southern Star Brewing company? Oi. We have ONE bar around here that carries it and it is well worth going out of the way for. Mmm. Now I want some beer.

      Jordan wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • Try making a drink with half double chocolate stout and half framboise. Oh my goodness!

      Kara wrote on September 15th, 2010
      • Young’s is absolutly one of my favs….Another great one, but sometimes harder to find is Rogue Choc stout

        Jason wrote on September 15th, 2010
  7. Sourdough. I make my own sourdough, and once a week or so, I’ll have a bread day. That and tarts and pies. I just love to bake– it’s one of my greatest pleasures in life. So I’m a 6-day a week primal person :).

    rebecca wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • (and anyway, numerous studies have shown that white sourdough bread has a negligible effect on blood sugar levels :D)

      rebecca wrote on September 15th, 2010
      • OMG…I was just going to write that Sourdough was also my favourite vice! My goal this fall was to make my owner starter. I love the delicate crunch of the crust, the tangy sponge and beautiful texture. It’s even better toasted. My favourite is to use it as the base for bruschetta with my home grown heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil out of the garden. mmmmm….now i want some!

        Janine wrote on September 15th, 2010
      • I totally LOVE sourdough! I was also going to list that as my favourite vice :-) I love the crunchy crust, the delectable aroma and tanginess of the crumb and love it even better toasted! In my mind, nothing beat my sourdough bruschetta: a generous piece of toasted sourdough with olive oil brushed on, topped with my chopped heirloom tomatoes, garlic, fresh garden basil and sprinkling of sea salt. Mmmm…food nirvana…

        Janine wrote on September 15th, 2010
        • sorry for the double post..thought it hadn’t gone through!

          Janine wrote on September 15th, 2010
  8. Call me sentimental or just old fashioned, but my 20% includes family birthday cake. While I will keep my pieces as small as possible, and my family is only 4 people, I cannot imagine passing the “wish of good health” that the cake is thought to symbolize.

    Steve wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • I agree with you Steve. Birthday cake is too important. It sets the whole celebration mood (so everyone has to partake) and makes the upcoming year SWEET.

      OneGoal wrote on September 16th, 2010
  9. I’m sure this will be a popular choice – Chocolate. Rich, dark chocolate. Whole foods has a whole wall of different kinds! I’m big on the dark chocolate covered goji berries or dark chocolate with almonds or hazelnuts.

    That and a good stout from the local microbrewery of course!

    Sarah Due wrote on September 15th, 2010
  10. My 20? A big bowl of high quality vanilla bean ice cream, smothered in warm crunchy peanut butter & thinly sliced bananas. Let the ice cream melt a bit & mix it altogether… incredible. I’ve given up a lot, but there’s no way I can give this up.

    Sarah wrote on September 15th, 2010
  11. There’s a restaurant near me called Fedora’s, and my favorite way to break a 24 hour fast is to go there and order their “Steak and Bleu Sandwich.” London broil, fried onions, bleu cheese on a homemade roll, served with sweet potato fries and ranch dressing instead of ketchup. Finish it off with their M&M Chocolate Cookie. Perfect.

    Jim Arkus wrote on September 15th, 2010
  12. Jif Peanut butter! I know, I know, legume and lectins and trans fats and sugar and all that, but I just don’t care! :) I have a tablespoon smeared on some good dark chocolate a couple times a week and finish with a happy grin and no guilt. I’m trying almond butters, but so far I’d rather have the nasty old Jif. Also- Sushi. LOVE sushi!!! My only grain weakness, I absolutely adore it and we go out for sushi like once a week. -Val

    Val wrote on September 15th, 2010
  13. It wasn’t very sensible, but I had 3 pieces of wedding cake Saturday night, mostly for the frosting. The occasional celebration cake is about the only sweet I eat.

    John wrote on September 15th, 2010
  14. The Super Deluxe Carnitas Burrito *with* the basket of corn chips from the taqueria around the corner.

    Sometimes my hubby and I spend all of Sunday morning riding our bikes around and then doing some heavy-duty gardening. Nuthin’ hits the spot after that like a burrito and chips.

    dragonmamma wrote on September 15th, 2010
  15. Anniversary vacation with my wife in Porland, ME at Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub. We tried the litany of beers and a mead (my first mead ever!) along with the best damn slice of chocolate cake ever: Dark Chocolate Black Fly Stout. The next morning was Primal as usual.

    Jason wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • omg I LOVE that place!!! black fly is fantastic!!! good choice Jason :)

      Michelle wrote on September 15th, 2010
      • Every time we go back to Portland we’ll be sure to visit Gritty’s!

        Jason wrote on September 15th, 2010
        • I’m a Mainer myself…I love gritty’s…Bull Feeney’s is another great one in the old port

          Jason wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • mmm… mead! looking forward to warm mead this fall!

      Karyn (Calvin's wife) wrote on September 15th, 2010
  16. From MDA comment rules: “So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal.” Well, it’s my 20%, Minnesota Style. It’s particularly egregious when I slap pan-fried SPAM between 2 slices of white bread slathered with Miracle Whip. One SPAM Sammich = 2 meals lost to IF.

    Jack wrote on September 15th, 2010
  17. Coconut milk mango icecream – it’s made with agave so just another form of sugar but it’s a clean and fruity taste

    Karen wrote on September 15th, 2010
  18. My guilty pleasure is almonds covered in dark chocolate and rolled in coco powder. mmmmmm! I swear they cure PMS.

    Bobbi wrote on September 15th, 2010
  19. My 20% is nice dark chocolate. Interestingly, I’ve learned some very important lessons on my PB journey.
    1) It’s OK to have chocolate occasionally if I want some – not need some or desire some, but WANT some. A conscious decision instead of an uncontrolled impulse. 2) Quality over quantity. It is a treat, and as such, I savor it. Not wolf it down, but truly enjoy it more than I ever did when I was simply throwing it into that hole under my nose.

    Agatsu wrote on September 15th, 2010
  20. Right now, I’m studying Rome, so temptation is all around me. Pizza, bread, cheese, non-Priaml food is everywhere! However, gelato and cheese are my 20% nemesis! You cannot walk by a gelato shop and not want to try some! I limit to about one time a week but it is still tough to pass it up. Cheese on the other hand is tougher. I love mazarella and other hard cheeses too much to pass them up. I probably have some kind of cheese every other day…

    Sean wrote on September 15th, 2010
  21. M&Ms…started with regular ones, realized the supreme joy in Peanut M&Ms, heard about so had to try peanut butter M&Ms, bought into the good advertising for Pretzel M&M (not disappointed…least primal M&Ms though)…most recently, heard rumors of Coconut M&Ms–looking forward to that! It is a step in the primal direction!

    Eric wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • Peanut M&ms for me too. They are delicious.

      Barefoot Paul wrote on September 15th, 2010
      • Funny, I used to love Peanut M&M’s.

        They’re too sweet now. My sensitivity to sugar is very high. 72% cacao chocolate is plenty sweet tasting. I’m usually at 85%.

        Matt Lentzner wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • We had coconut M&M’s in Hawaii in April. They are fantastic! Like a teeny tiny Mounds bar.

      Kelly wrote on September 16th, 2010
      • Dark chocolate M&M’s (in a purple bag) – mmmmm

        Rebecca wrote on September 17th, 2010
  22. My worst vice is office birthday treats. They always seem to be at the front of my bay, and the birthdays always seem to clump together. Once I have 1 cookie, its hard to keep my energy up throughout the day without another.

    I also enjoy beer, but I don’t feel guilty about that.

    Geoff Klein wrote on September 15th, 2010
  23. Oh… and good bourbon. :-)

    Agatsu wrote on September 15th, 2010
  24. Mine is hot dogs, and when I say hot dogs, I mean hot dogs done right: cheddar cheese, ketchup, mustard, relish, and diced onions, served on a toasted bun along side an ice cold Coke. I have this for lunch probably once every other week.

    Matt wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • Have you ever tried Applegate Farms 100% Grass Fed Beef Hot Dogs? They are awesome and are completely primal. Grass fed beef with a few spices – nothing else!

      Primal Toad wrote on September 15th, 2010
      • i LOVE their dogs! they are a staple in our house!

        kelly alice. wrote on September 16th, 2010
  25. My 20% have to go to a classic dish from Northern Sweden where I live. It is called “Palt” and is made out of potatoes and white wheat flower. Potatoes are grinded and blended with the flower and then formed to apple-sized balls and then cooked. Sounds crazy, but it is really tasty. You eat it with lingonberries and lots of butter.

    Tobias Åkeblom wrote on September 15th, 2010
  26. I’m only a week into going Primal, but my 20% is closer to being 1%. I’ve kept a full embrace of the PB tenants, except….

    Yesterday I was buying a pair of Vibram shoes at a shop called Zombie Runner. Quirky, excellent running shop that contains of all things, a coffee bar. At this coffee bar I bought one square of dark chocolate, a piece of Poco Dolce Aztec Chilli.

    A perfect balance of bittersweet chocolate, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, ground chiles, and grey sea salt. All natural, San Francisco based, and the best chocolate I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t regret it for a second.

    Christopher wrote on September 15th, 2010
  27. Italian Ice…Our 20% moment arose recently while walking on the boardwalk during a visit to Myrtle Beach SC. The scene was beautiful, but the newly refurbished boardwalk was doing it’s best impression of a solar oven! The designers had done their part by providing NO shade over the available seating, and our friends had commented on the Italian Ice shop on the way to the beach…all signs pointed to a friendly pause in the cool storefront, eating a high-fructose, artifically-colored and flavored ICE BOMB! With our knowledge of the 80/20 rule we were able to enjoy the moment and also (hopefully) convince our friends that our new lifestyle does not mean NO FUN.

    skeedaddy wrote on September 15th, 2010
  28. My husband and I eloped to Vegas on our second date. Most folks didn’t think we’d last a year, much less six. So when our anniversary rolls around, it’s time to celebrate and embrace the 20%. This year we ate at our favorite restaurant that sources all products locally. While the main courses were pretty primal, we enjoyed several glasses of red wine and to cap it off: Krispy Kreme doughnut bread pudding for dessert. Any Southerner worth their salt has a deep appreciation for Krispy Kremes, even if the primal Southerners are able to pass by the “Hot Donuts Now” sign most of the time. It was a great way to polish off an otherwise healthy meal and usher in another great year of marriage.

    kennelmom wrote on September 15th, 2010
  29. While 1 glass of red wine is okay, 2-1/2 glasses is not a good thing. I have had 2-1/2 glasses twice in the past month while eating primally. The first time, I was tipsy but okay. However after the second time, I felt tipsy, then bad in a weird way. This must be a sign that my body is healing!

    Connie wrote on September 15th, 2010
  30. Ice Cream. No doubt about it. My favorite kind is Peanut Butter Cup – chocolate ice cream with the peanut butter swirls in it. Aside from the cream… it’s just not primal.

    I have found some Coconut Milk ice cream that’s a tad more expensive, but obviously is made with something a bit more primal. They even have Peanut Butter Cup flavored… not that that helps anything much with the peanuts in it. Wonder if anyone’s ever thought about a Almond Butter Cup Coconut Milk ice cream… then it’d just be the sugar that isn’t so great for you.

    Jamie Fellrath wrote on September 15th, 2010
  31. Once in a while, my husband and I indulge in pure, guilt-free relaxation. Here’s the plan: we rent a stack of dvds, gather the snack foods, take the mattress off the bed, drag it into the living room, and don’t move for an entire day into the next. It started when our daughter was newborn and the three of us snuggled for an entire weekend. Now that we’ve gone primal, we’ve happily adapted what we consider snack food. The typical spread looks like this: a couple of 24″ long strips of beef jerky from the farmer’s market, our favorite aged Amish cheddar, assorted fruit, toasted walnuts and almonds, a tomato and arugula salad with oregano and drowning in lemon juice (the longer it sits the better), a bottle of wine and a bar of Green and Black’s 85% dark chocolate. Now our daughter is 3 and we send her to Grandma’s so we’re able to get a little exercise ;)

    Sandra wrote on September 15th, 2010
  32. I’m actually with you on the beer thing, in fact, I make my own beer and am quite involved in the craft beer and brewing communities. Port Old Viscosity is delicious! I had the honor of pouring (and tasting) a barrel-aged version of that beer at a festival a year or so ago. Yum! Giving up beer (mostly) is the hardest part about going primal for me.

    Aside from beer, my other vice is dark chocolate (especially when it has sea salt in it). My absolute favorite place to buy chocolate from is Vosges: http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/. Their products are amazing! I learned about them several years ago and have indulged on special occasions ever since.

    sarah wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • My husband home brews, and he made the most delicious Imperial IPA several months ago that put several pounds on both of us. IT WAS SCRUMPTIOUS! OUR love for beer has not been very encouraging…

      Karyn (Calvin's wife) wrote on September 15th, 2010
  33. If we’re interpreting 80/20 as calorie percentage, I splurge about 3% on a near daily basis with really dark chocolate. When I know that I have that to look forward to, the much more dangerous temptations (cookies, pastries, etc.) don’t creep up. 7% comes from cheese as a garnish: mostly parmesan and feta, but I’ve also been known to eat smoked salmon on cucumber slices with a dab of herbed goat cheese. The remaining 10% comes from greek yogurt, which I love. Might wean myself off of it eventually, but for now I’m really enjoying it.

    When I go out to eat or prepare a particularly refined meal, I definitely indulge in some good wine to go with it. Admittedly, I don’t even count this as a real indulgence and don’t feel the slightest twinge of guilt given the touted health benefits of the occasional glass of red wine.

    Mademoiselle wrote on September 15th, 2010
  34. Oh man..my baddest 20 was when I went to Ireland. I lived a whole week on REAL scones w/ butter & jam, black tea w/ milk & sugar for breakfast, Guinness or Hard Cider for lunch & lamb stew & countless Guinness (Guinnessi?) for dinner. No regrets, it was perfect. Each bite tasted like I WANTED it to! :) On a regular basis I have a weakness for chocolate. I mix 2 (lol, maaaaaaybeeee more) TBspn cocoa powder with coconut milk to make a “runny truffle” and mix with thawed berries…mmmmm!

    Michelle wrote on September 15th, 2010
  35. any cheese, red wine, and 85% chocolate… on occasion all 3 in one night. and of course there’s ice cream, cheesecake and brownies. they’re primal, homemade, and with soooo little honey, but i know i’m cheating because they still taste so great. too great.

    kelly q wrote on September 15th, 2010
  36. I had a recent plunge down the 20% road at my daughters’ birthday party. Two slices of pizza, a slice of chocolate ice-cream cake, two delicious pale-ales, and a mini Kit-Kat from the piñata. It took a week to recover. I went way beyond hormesis!

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on September 15th, 2010
  37. I have to say, home-made ice cream is the one sensible vice that will never leave my list of occasional indulgences! Hell, considering the taste and the relatively benign ingredients, why would I WANT it to?!

    Since embarking on my PB journey close to a year ago, I’ve managed to source unpasteurized, grass fed cream and milk from a very passionate, local farmer. This, along with a touch of honey, pastured egg yolks, vanilla extract, and celtic sea salt makes for one fairly healthy, and most importantly, delicious sensible vice. Care to scoop it into a bowl with some peaches and blueberries? Congratulations! You’ve just bought yourself a ticket to heaven on Earth! Life is short so you might as well enjoy the ride.

    Oh, and Grok on! ;)

    Funkadelic Flash wrote on September 15th, 2010
  38. Coconut Juice and Dark Chocolate are a big part of my “20%”. Coconut Juice really is a great recovery drink after metcon training. I find now after going Primal(over a year) that I am not emotionally attached to food, so I have no guilt when I occasionally indulge in treats. I tend to still avoid gluten at all costs, but occasionally around holidays I will have some of my grandmother’s brownies,ice cream, or things like that. Thanks Mark for helping me figure out this eating thing :)

    Miykael wrote on September 15th, 2010
  39. I like O’Brien hash browns cooked in olive oil 2-3 breakfasts a week, along with a couple of eggs. I also plan on enjoying family birthday celebrations – pound cake with buttercream frosting and a side of homemade vanilla ice cream. There are only three of us, so not a lot of indulgence there.

    Deb wrote on September 15th, 2010
  40. Bread from a local bakery (preferably with garlic or cheese baked in) and olive oil. The smell of the bread as it warms in the oven, the crunch as you tear off a piece, the soft center that soaks up olive oil and is left glistening. Of course, this is all had with a glass or 3 of good red wine! But I think the best part is sharing it with my husband, laughing and enjoying good conversation, just the two of us.

    Erin wrote on September 15th, 2010

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