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. A few days after completed the August Primal Challenge conducted by some primal Twitter folks, I went to the farmer’s market. My friend who raises beef (I bought a 1/4 cow from her back in February) was eating a bag of fresh-popped maple popcorn made by another vendor. She offered me a handful. At first I declined; my cravings for sweet foods had nearly disappeared during the month of August after having no added sugars or grains at all. Then I thought “What the heck, I’m between challenges at the moment” and tried some. It was all over. I bought a “small” bag (which was huge) and ate most of it while driving home. My tummy did not appreciate it! I’ll stick to dark chocolate and the occasional ice cream from now on.

    Annika wrote on September 16th, 2010
  2. After a couple weeks of being primal at school and indulging in some typical indulgences, my favorite 20% is going home to my mom’s home-cooked Indian food. In my book, no indulgence beats a hot plate of tandoori chicken, fried chana (chick peas) and garlic naan (like a garlic chapati but very easy to chew). Then we finish off with some bhaat daal (rice mixed in a lentil soup) and a sweet small desert called gulab jamun. Since I’m not home that often anymore, it makes those indulgences even rarer and more rewarding. I often try to recreate those dishes in a primal way but I’m no master Indian chef (yet).

    Partha wrote on September 16th, 2010
  3. I’m from New Mexico so when I splurge it’s on green chilie cheese burger with fresh roasted New Mexican green chilie’s. It’s heaven in a toasted bun! I wash it down with a Mirror Pond pale ale and promise to be 100% for the next week :)

    Edie wrote on September 16th, 2010
  4. On a regular basis, it is definitely dark chocolate, 85% or higher. I also do eat dairy; I love cheese and plain yogurt. Apple slices with brie cheese are amazing, as is cheddar cheese with pickles.
    On a not so often basis, I like to have miso soup and sushi occasionally when I go out for Japanese food with friends.

    Jenny Gahtan wrote on September 16th, 2010
  5. My 20 is rice. I indulge on it here and there when I’m craving Korean food and I whip up an old korean dish from my childhood. Having grown up eating traditional korean cooked meals everyday, has had some lasting impressions on my taste buds. I got intense cravings for it if I go a month without korean food. Most korean food is best accompanied by rice. You need that sticky chewy consistency to go along the spicy stews, pickled veggies or salty veggies and meats… Cauliflower rice just doesn’t work with korean food. I usually try to time it on days of heavy lifting and refeed on carbs and usually have an intermittent fasting session the day after and get on with life…

    Christian Chun wrote on September 16th, 2010
  6. due to the nature of my job and volunteer work, I often attend banquets and other events where I have no control over the menu… even so, I can usually pick an choose from the food presented and eat primal… however, my vice at these events is a glass of Glenlivet on the rocks

    Marti wrote on September 16th, 2010
  7. Whipped cream with cinnamon and vanilla, frozen mixed berries, and a piece of dark chocolate.

    Ryan wrote on September 16th, 2010
  8. Next week I’m heading up to see my grandmother in northern Québec. She won’t understand my primal ways, (I doubt she knows what a carb is) and I rarely get to see her. I have the utmost respect and love for her and would hate to refuse anything she makes (not to mention she makes the tastiest of foods with limited funds (I really need to learn how to stretch a buck and these depression-era elders are masters at it!). She’ll use juice from the pickle jar to make a salad dressing and half a pound of butter for… everything!

    So, I imagine my 20% (ahem ??%) will be filled with sugar pie (a Quebec staple – brown sugar melted in evaporated milk… in a pie – not primal at ALL), poutine (fries, gravy and cheese CURDS), pea soup, maple baked beans, and lots of mashed potatoes)).

    Being new to primal, I am afraid it will reverse all the work I have been doing to change my gene expression (day 3 of a splitting headache due to sugar withdrawals no doubt and weight remains stagnant) but I feel she has less time than I left on this earth and I can’t bear to sadden her in anyway. I will definitely cook HER dinner one night and on my night, we’ll eat primal.

    Outside of that, I think my 20% vices are rich chocolate ice cream or gelato and great tasting beer (Trappist tripel or quadrupel beers are my favorite) as are Guinness and Kilkenny.

    Veronique wrote on September 16th, 2010
  9. Most of the time, if I take “20%”, it’s in the form of borderline foods like dark chocolate, Greek yogurt, good cheese, better whiskey, or too much almond butter.

    A couple times a year, though, I dive off the wagon with gusto: Pepperoni pizza, beer, and moose tracks ice cream! Planned, executed, enjoyed, penalized by bloating and acne…and right back on track. Yee haw!

    BarbeyGirl wrote on September 16th, 2010
  10. My office is usually packed with primal no no’s, yesterday was huge chocolate chip cookies, and rather than give in to those I helped myself to a cup of coffee with heavy cream and raw cane sugar.

    Amarie84 wrote on September 16th, 2010
  11. Ice cream, definitely. While I love chocolate, I can walk by it without a problem. But if there’s ice cream in the freezer — the premium stuff, with its low overrun and rich, creamy goodness — I’m like a bloodhound sniffing out an escaped convict.

    And while there are coconut-milk-made infusions these days that are totally yummsville, it’s the Haagen-Dazs/Ben & Jerry varieties that still call to me the loudest — Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Cup, Willie Nelson’s Peach Cobbler, Snickerdoodle Cookie — my 20% list reads like a high-glycemic rap sheet of the worst offenders… but it’s the kind of lineup you love to hate to love.

    Adam Kayce wrote on September 16th, 2010
    • I’ll second that. I can’t keep it in the house.

      BTW, it’s pretty funny that ‘convict.’ is directly under your pic.

      Mike wrote on September 16th, 2010
  12. Tuesday nights I meet up with a group of guys and roleplay (D&D etc.) Everyweek there are mountains of cakes, biscuits, doughnuts etc. I usually buy myself a bar of Green & Blacks 85% and binge on the whole thing instead. But one week I decided to contribute and so made flax seed brownies with chunks of dark chocolate and walnuts. The whole tub was demolished within seconds.


    James Steele II wrote on September 16th, 2010
  13. Five Guys Burgers and Fries is my 20. I like to load up the burger with virtually every ingredient they have. If I’m with someone else I’ll take a few of their fries since they give you enough to feed an army. I’ll wash it all down with unsweetened ice tea with lemon. If they had an In-and-Out Burger in Colorado I would divide my time between the two. They both have the best hamburgers in the world!

    Dave wrote on September 16th, 2010
  14. I am just getting started on this primal thing so I’m still finding my way. I don’t know how my eating habits will break down once I’ve through the adjustment period, but I can tell you that sushi, tiramisu, and creme brulee are likely to tempt me. Fortunately, these things should be infrequent temptations. I know that I will regularly enjoy small amounts of the sensible vices.

    I sense that the real 20% indulgences will be in conjunction with social occasions. It will be interesting to see how it all develops. For now, I am loving eating primal and I’m not finding myself drawn to non-primal foods. Here’s to that lasting!

    Halcyone wrote on September 16th, 2010
  15. Washington State. Now Washington isn’t inherently non-primal, but my cousin Jogie’s cooking is. A comfort food cook of EPIC proportions – she spends her free time baking monster cookies, snicker doodles (don’t look these recipes up, you WILL fall into the dark side), and blueberry pies in *anticipation* of having guests over. I went for a week last month and had to make excuses to get out of the house so I could follow a reverse-o 20/80 rule!

    Now I’m back in California and falling into my occasional vice like sugar. Damn my sweet-tooth.

    Brent wrote on September 16th, 2010
  16. I love, love, love to dip 85% dark chocolate in peanut butter. When it’s raining, I’ll open up my window, sit back, close my eyes, and just let it melt in my mouth for as long as possible.

    Laura wrote on September 16th, 2010
  17. Scotch. I’m a bartender, this makes things a bit difficult. My 20% is alcohol in general, but I keep it now to a few scotch and sodas and don’t worry about it. I eat well and I’m more active then the average grok or grokette, its not killing me.

    Daniel Sisson wrote on September 16th, 2010
  18. Red wine and dark chocolate…it’s actually possible to make a meal out of those two 20% items (at least in my house)!

    Becky wrote on September 16th, 2010
  19. Dessert, although I usually try to keep it within primal guidelines. Take any and all berries you can find, some chopped rhubarb and fill a 9×13. Take 1/3 cup agave over that and lightly sprinkle with arrowroot flour. Make a crumb topping of butter, nut flours, coconut flour and copped nuts with 1 T. honey to glue it. Bake until hot and bubbly!

    Echo wrote on September 16th, 2010
  20. I can’t say no to a crispy, almond croissant and a rich, creamy cappuccino with sunshine.

    Pauline wrote on September 16th, 2010
  21. Chocolate leches pie-cake. It’s essentially a cross between chocolate pie a rum drenced Devil’s food cake, and tres leches cake. Devil’s food cake, chocolate mousse pudding, tres leches cakes, chocolate mousse pudding, Devil’s cake… done 9 times over, all the way down, and then frosted with chocolate ganache and topped with a pile of whipped cream. It’s heavenly and 6 million kinds of bad for you.

    naiadknight wrote on September 16th, 2010
  22. My 20 is:
    – Dark chocolate or Capuccino ice cream one or twice every other week
    – A dinner now and then at a nice Michelin-star restaurant (we love eating out, but we chose to go less often but to much better places)
    – A small (really small– I don’t liek it that much, it’s just because of the convention) piece of birthday cake at family birthday parties

    Oscar wrote on September 16th, 2010
  23. My 20 varies with the season. In late August to mid-September, my heirloom tomatoes are ripening. I pull out the sourdough starter (most of the year I make bread for those family members who aren’t primal) and make a rustic sourdough loaf. Slather some mayo on two slices, place a sliced Brandywine tomato, salt and pepper, and some fresh-picked arugula on top. If I have it, some thin shavings of an Italian, sheep’s milk pecorino, but its just as good without. Heaven, and summer, in a sandwich.

    Scott Hanson wrote on September 16th, 2010
  24. Flour tortillas. Hey, I’m in Houston, TX. There’s really no way to avoid it sometimes.

    greg wrote on September 16th, 2010
  25. Sushi! Yea, i know i can do sashimi (no rice), but it’s just not the same, and i looove the special rolls. I have 3 girlfriends, and we go out together for sushi on our girls’ nite out. We dish and complain and support each other. Totally worth it for my 20.

    Dani wrote on September 16th, 2010
  26. While this puts me in danger of writing bad poetry, mine is wine.

    I am a wine enthusiast, and because wine comes from a grape, I don’t really think of it as a vice. Grapes contain sugars, acids, tannins, juice, pulp, and minerals. Often, yeast and beet or cane sugar may be added, and perhaps some sulfur dioxide. Wine is nature’s juice meant for moderate adult consumption.

    The only issue with my “20” portion of my 80-20 is that I drink wine almost every evening, so it’s akin to a “20” on steroids. Whoops.

    Do I consider this to be a sign of decadence? Not at all! I do better than 80-20 elsewhere, and I almost never eat desserts/sweets/treats and whatnot. As a female nearing 50, I mainatin a steady 110 lbs. and 12% bodyfat, with gobs of energy, so my love of wine has no ill effects on my person and performance.

    Karen DeCoster wrote on September 16th, 2010
  27. I spent all summer perfecting the art of baking a perfect Margherita Pizza. At the same time I discovered and started becoming Primal. I knew right then from the start, I can give up the sandwiches and the rice and the pasta, but I’ll never give up my thin crust pizza. Never.

    dave wrote on September 16th, 2010
  28. I know that 70% and up dark chocolate is kinda like a religious standard around here (grin) but my primal defection of choice is a disk (maybe two) of Taza Chocolate Mexicano Cinnamon.
    It’s only 50%, but it’s stone-ground the old-fashioned way WITH the cinnamon and sugar – and NOTHING else – so you get a slightly grainy blend of deliciousness that has spoiled me for the ultra-creamy smoothness of most other chocolates. And if I ever get tired of cinnamon, there’s yerba mate, salted almond, chili … um, I think I have to go to the store now – see ya!

    Chris B wrote on September 16th, 2010
  29. Mashed Potatoes
    Bacon Mashed Potatoes
    Bacon-Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

    Did I mention mashed potatoes?

    Damon wrote on September 16th, 2010
  30. MY 20 % IS……… A Box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch(in my stomach in an hour or so) …!

    Ritesh Dhupar wrote on September 16th, 2010
  31. I know that the contest is done, but I think an interesting 20% that I know I indulge in, and I imagine many other people on here indulge in too, is exercise. Crossfit, weightlifting (my sport), and other competitive athletic pursuits aren’t primal, but they sure are great for the mind and body.

    Glenn McElfresh wrote on September 17th, 2010
  32. Boy, I’m sorry I missed this contest.

    I went 100% primal for my first few months just to make sure I was totally on board. Now I don’t worry at all about having the occasional non primal treat. Nothing new here, though; dark chocolate and beer. I eat a little dark chocolate every day with no ill effects whatsoever. I used to drink a lot of beer and thought I could never give it up, but I did, and actually lost my taste for it for awhile. I recently began having an occasional good IPA again and now I can really savor them.

    I do still sometimes long for chips, but so far, have not fallen of the primal wagon for them.

    Primal Onahill wrote on September 20th, 2010
  33. mostly chocolate and i guess a litle more then 20 is goat cheese, feta cheese, mozerella cheese…

    some of my favorite candy/fast food are BEN & JERRY´S, COCA COLA, REAL GOURMET ITALIAN PIZZA, PANCAKES WITH ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE SAUCE maybe jam, A BIG FAT BACON CHEESE BURGER WITH salty FRIES + COKE icecubes… yeah well thats the stuff haha … i guess theres 20ies enough for a year rigth there 😉

    but primal have lots of stuff im still exited about since converting from some cind of low to semi fat, high protein, medium carbs and lots of whoooole grain diet

    BACON, BEEF, HEAVY CREAM, and so on :)

    Sebastian wrote on July 11th, 2011

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