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. Dark chocolate definitely. i have way too much!

    Abby wrote on September 15th, 2010
  2. For a long time I couldn’t decide whether the single greatest accomplishment of the post-agricultural insanity we call civilization was good beer or ice cream. Now at the ripe old age of 57,the verdict is in. If I had to, I could live without beer. My perennial favorite is plain old Hagen Daaz vanilla, which now comes in lovely little 3 oz. cups with a mini-spoon hidden in the lid. Genius!

    lethargist wrote on September 15th, 2010
  3. Crème brûlée. If it’s on the menu at a restaurant, I have to order it. The rest of the vices will come to me and then fade just as quickly.

    Joel wrote on September 15th, 2010
  4. Wine, red wine and too much of it. Had parents over for dinner just before the 30-day challenge and served red wine. Thought, “Oh yeah, I can have a glass or two and still be primal.” Four glasses later I’m thinking, “Good thing this challenge starts tomorrow!” Totally primal since then.

    P.S. Tried the Primal Energy Bar Recipe last night – wow! My vegetarian wife loved them too! Thanks Mark!

    Matt C wrote on September 15th, 2010
  5. soydelicious peanut butter zigzag icecream, omg, makes a bad day just melt away! Best to share it with a friend, but I have to admit, I’ve eaten the whole pint by myself before!!!

    Fit-Kitty wrote on September 15th, 2010
  6. With food, it’s definitely fruit and chocolate. I have a bad sweet tooth. With exercise, I am still having trouble breaking the chronic cardio/lifting 4x per week habit.

    Melanie wrote on September 15th, 2010
  7. probably not an award winner, but balsamic and other carby vinegars. i’ve only been primal since the challenge began on the 7th, but i love all kinds of vinegars and don’t think i would ever stop using any of them. just had some white balsamic drizzled over shrimp sauteed in butter and garlic. yum.

    tracy wrote on September 15th, 2010
  8. I have several 20% choices – they vary from week to week, and month to month.

    My favorites are:-

    85% Dark Chocolate (Green & Black’s) – when I’m feeling more Primal … or Cadbury’s Dairy Milk when I just need milk chocolate.

    Beer – dark, smooth and yummy! Favorite right now is Boddington’s.

    Homemade bread with a thick layer of butter. Love bread, but now I only like the stuff I make. I no longer feel guilty for devouring the butter either :)

    Lasagna – Especially my Mum’s homemade stuff. Yum!

    Victoria wrote on September 15th, 2010
  9. Group dinners. It doesn’t happen a lot, but if there’s an office potluck, or a team pizza party, or a fancy dinner at my parents’ house, chances are I’m going to eat or drink something not strictly Primal. And like it. :) I take the Primal route when there is one though – I even scraped pizza toppings onto my salad & skipped the crust! it was good!!

    Ely wrote on September 15th, 2010
  10. A huge, french-style handselected raw milk cheese platter! That’s the best dessert I can imagine, and I will literally stuff myself with those delicious types of cheese. Luckily, it happens only once in a while 😀

    Yannick wrote on September 15th, 2010
  11. I have a stash of Green & Black’s Dark Organic half-size bars. For “dessert” I break one into squares & slowly nibble each square inbetween sips of a nice red wine (sangiovese, malbec, zin). Nibble, sip, nibble, sip. Better than Calgon…

    Peggy wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • I take that back – that’s more of a “sensible vice” indulgence. I would have to say my best tip out of the wagon has to be Oktoberfest a year ago. I think that took care of 20% for ’09. German bier, pretzels, and zwiebelkuchen (onion pie). I’ve worked out how to make the last “primal”. Had to, it has bacon in it.

      Peggy wrote on September 15th, 2010
  12. This summer I traveled to Minnesota for a family reunion – the only time my generation has been invited. There were over 100 people there and we had a giant barbeque. Almost every one of my older relatives was there, and they all brought something to eat! Pasta salads, potato salads, sweets, breads, you name it. I tried to stay primal with a bratwurst (no bun) and veggies. But soon these little old ladies were asking me why I didn’t like what they made. What’s a Grokette to do? If someone asked me to try something they made, I had a bite of it and told them how delicious it was. This may be the last time I see a lot of these folks and it was worth it to sacrifice my “primalness” to make them happy for an afternoon. By dinner I was right back to my primal ways.

    Jenn wrote on September 15th, 2010
  13. Spending my honeymoon in Italy this past summer was definitely difficult! I tried to stay primal most of the time and allow myself one pizza or pasta dish per day for the two weeks. You only live once!

    Plus, we walked a LOT. It was probably the most primal two weeks in terms of fitness. This balanced out the carb-y intake.

    Melanie wrote on September 15th, 2010
  14. I have the biggest sweet tooth but conventional baked goods (even when homemade) tend to make me ill. The flour I can actually tolerate; it’s the ridiculous amount of sugar that makes me sick. What goes in my 20% now are creme brulees, mousses and flourless chocolate tortes at restaurants (only when I am sure they will be great and not just good) and my mom’s eastern European delicacies, typically light on flour and loaded with nuts, butter and chocolate. Yum! My golden rule is that it has to taste absolutely amazing for it to go into my 20%. A pallid muffin or danish from the coffee shop doesn’t cut it on gastronomic principles alone.

    unchatenfrance wrote on September 15th, 2010
  15. Fresh Plaid Bastard Ale from Grand Lake Brewery. Nothing like indulding on rich beer at altitude after fishing or hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Primal Pete wrote on September 15th, 2010
  16. Chocolate ice cream. It used to be fat free frozen yogurt, but I’ve since learned that it’s best to go for the full fat kind. I try to limit it as much as possible, which isn’t hard now that things are getting cooler here in the Maritimes, but in the summer I have to try very hard! Keeping it out of the house helps!

    Christine wrote on September 15th, 2010
  17. Good ol’ Great British Fish & Chips. A bit of battered cod deep fat fried in vegetable oil. It’s exceptionally rare I have it.. 3-4 times a year.

    matt wrote on September 15th, 2010
  18. Chicken wings. The problem is the sauce. We have a place near my office called Quaker Steak and Lube, and they have some of the best wings I’ve ever tasted. Give me a bucket doused in one of their various sauces and I’m in heaven. And, of course, you can’t have wings without beer :)

    noisyninja wrote on September 15th, 2010
  19. Dark Chocolate Gelato and wine. Sometimes I’ll get the Coconut Milk Ice Cream, but I would rather go to the Gourmet Gelato shop and get a small portion of the best stuff and bliss out into heaven. I also love having a glass or two of wine when I make an exceptionally great dinner or go to a nice restaurant.

    Dagny wrote on September 15th, 2010
  20. Sake. It’s basically brewed rice beer, but it’s oh so smooth. After crushing some amazing sashimi (deliciously raw choice cuts of fish), if a Japanese friend might offer to follow it up with a drink of Sake you MUST drink it. You CANNOT turn this down, it would be like committing a friendship to seppuku (suicide of disembowlment sometimes associated with extreme shame). You then have to follow up each of their drinks with one of your own to maintain honor. Hopefully, you have someone less honorable that will driving you all safely home or have a train within stumbling distance. If you wish to avoid dishonor or drinking multiple SAKE drinks, make sure it’s you that makes the reservations!

    Mike Wootini wrote on September 15th, 2010
  21. Weed.

    in that order, sometimes all at the same time (rarely)

    Me216 wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • !

      Dave, RN wrote on September 15th, 2010
  22. There are few things in life (that don’t involve being in the buff) that bring such simple pleasure: extra dark chocolate and a nice glass of red wine at the end of a long day. ahhh…

    Jen wrote on September 15th, 2010
  23. As kids we used to have a huge sunday morning breakfast with the whole family. Bread straight out of the oven, real butter, all kinds of jams, honey, cheeses, olives, tomato and cucumber slices. My favorites were butter+honey and herbed cream cheese with tomatoes and parsley!

    Last mother’s day we mimicked one of these sunday morning breakfasts with some extra primal options like smoked salmon, leftover roast, raw herring, avocado etc. Enjoyed by those of the family who eat primal and those who don’t!

    But, for old times sake I decided to have two small bits of bread with my old favorites. Just as delicious as I remembered them :)

    Naomi wrote on September 15th, 2010
  24. Every Friday we have “family night” for my 6 year old. Family nights are nights that I let him decide what’s for dinner, and he gets to cook for us entirely by himself, whatever it is. (Ok, I supervise the stove-top work & help grab the ingredients and teach him along the way) No matter how “horrible” the food is, it’s a wonderful family bonding time, and I can’t not eat his food because “it’s not primal” – He doesn’t fully understand although he always watches me cook and I explain reasons for using or not using ingredients. He already knows how to make spaghetti noodles with zucchini, and loves cutting it (with a butter-knife, of course) Anyways, every week he learns something Primal about food, and in the mean time, Saturdays are my intermittent fasting days :-)

    Lyndsey wrote on September 15th, 2010
  25. My least sensible vice that I usually only get bout once every few months is my best friend’s aunt’s Homemade baklava. It’s this delightful flaky pastry with pistachios and honey rolled in, baked, and topped with more pistacios and honey. There is nothing like it! In fact, I had 3 peices just the other day with our mediterranian feast. The feast itself was full of all sorts of primal goodness!

    Becca Ne' wrote on September 15th, 2010
  26. Sushi is decidedly my 20. I am so well recognized by the sushi chefs at my favorite sushi place in Reno (Woo Chon Sushi) know what roll I’m going to order. My favorite rolls (let’s be honest, there are several) include one with tuna and cucumber that is deep-fried, one rolled in coconut, and one topped with their top-secret “yummy” sauce and scallops. I don’t indulge often any more, but I love it when I do.

    Amanda wrote on September 15th, 2010
  27. Anything my kids make, I have a few bites of. How can I be a Mom and not tell them how great their creations are???!!! Most recently, they made a “dream pie” from that Dream whipped topping and instant chocolate pudding -man, oh man was that good. I didn’t dare read the ingredients though :)

    Mikki wrote on September 15th, 2010
  28. Beans. I know it hardly sounds like an indulgence, but I LOVE them. I love them with home-made corn torillas, cabbage, lime juice, onions, peppers, garlic. I get a major carb hangover because I can’t eat just one or two, but I keep stuffing them in my carb-deprived hole. God, I love beans.

    Sarah HI wrote on September 15th, 2010
  29. My 20% is coffee with heavy whipping cream and Lindt 90%.
    I make the coffee with about 3 tablespoons or sometimes more of organic, just ground coffee and brew that in about 1/2-3/4 cup of water. I just make a homemade “teabag” of sorts by putting the coffee in a filter, twisting it up to close the top, then using a pair of hemostates to keep it closed, then put it in the hot water to steep. It’s very strong. Who needs a coffee maker? I then mix that with a half cup of the cream with 3 drops of Stevia. That with 1/5 of a bar of the 90% Lindt is pure heaven!

    Dave, RN wrote on September 15th, 2010
  30. I haven’t been primal long enough to know what my 20% will be, long-term. In the week and a day of PB thus far, it was half a can of Mountain Dew for the first few days to wean myself off caffeine (and it hurt so much to pour the other half down the drain!) and two tortilla chips (compared to my usual basketful plus a dish that’s built on a layer of chips) at a Mexican restaurant.

    Mike wrote on September 15th, 2010
  31. Naan! I cook Indian every now and then, and the yummy, buttery, creamy sauces beg to be mopped up with wonderful naan!
    If not naan, I make tumeric rice to go along with the meal.

    Anne wrote on September 15th, 2010
  32. In the name of health I used to buy the nastiest ice cream. The non-dairy, low-carb, double churned, fat free crap. I used to scarf down quarts of it when I was craving ice cream so badly I could hardly stand it. And with CW in my brain, heaven forbid I even think about coming within a mile of the full fat good stuff.
    Now that I live PB, I do not feel guilty at all in indulging in some full fat, full cream, rich creamy heavenly Ben and Jerry’s. I LOVE the real stuff, but now I only enjoy it about once every other month- and I don’t feel guilty at all.

    Sonia wrote on September 15th, 2010
  33. I’m only on day 8 of my primal journey, but one of my 20% days is going to be my annual tribute to my late grandmother – stewed chicken with dumplings (or pastry bread, as Granny called it), collards, green beans and cornbread. This was the meal she always had waiting for us when we’d come visit, certainly a favorite childhood memory! I even serve the collards in the same bowl she used.

    Lisa Stanton wrote on September 15th, 2010
  34. I tend to stay 100% most the time but I would have to say whey protien would have to be my 20% but even at that I get the lowest carb count I can buy .

    Jason Young wrote on September 15th, 2010
    • Are you human? Whey protein is your only vice? I’m jealous…

      Karyn (Calvin's wife) wrote on September 15th, 2010
  35. My 20 is chocolate ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s that is.

    Sanna wrote on September 15th, 2010
  36. Definitely my Italian grandmother’s homemade lasagna with a bottle of wonderful Italian red wine! It’s certainly not primal, but she uses real, fresh ingredients, and it just melts in your mouth! And I only get to see her once a year. Family reunions are always a challenge, but I’m back on track as soon as I get back home and never feel the worse of it!

    Nellie wrote on September 15th, 2010
  37. Home-made or brand dark chocolate is my most sensible vice. Usually i eat a bar of around 30gr.(sometimes 2 bars) almost every day. Well!! I am from Venezuela so you must understand, we have one of the best cocoa available at very low price.

    Also at any birthday celebration, i usually eat the cake, even i know some hours later i will feel the wheat and sugar spike wreaking havocs in my body, but is a moment to celebrate, so in those days i don’t overthink it and align myself to the 80/20 principle.

    P.S. It feels good to confess jejeje!!

    Jorge wrote on September 15th, 2010
  38. Green Chili. I live in Pueblo Colorado where we have a chili cook-off every year and I live out in the farming area where they grow and roast these Chilies. There is a little family place that makes the BEST green chili in the world and they only use like a cup of flour for 20 something gallons of green chili but there is still flour in it so its in my 20%. I pour it over eggs and bacon or just put in some cheese and eat it like soup.

    Fern wrote on September 15th, 2010
  39. While wondering around a World Market I found a strange and exotic treat. It’s called Mo’s Bacon Bar. While it is Milk Chocolate, who can argue with two of my favorite indulgences??? Chocolate and bacon mixed together in one awesome bar of goodness!!!!!

    Justin wrote on September 15th, 2010
  40. I am very on point during my 80%. I am low carb, paleo and I IF. However, once in a while I fall prey to the Alpine exquisiteness of the divine hazelnut spread otherwise known as “Nutella”…ahh that word is like a warm embrace.

    I usually spread a…um…generous (read, half the jar) amount onto a gluten free waffle or crepe.

    The, I waddle over to the couch, put on the junkiest rom-com I can find, and just dig in. There is nothing like junk TV and junk food….

    Dream Puppy wrote on September 15th, 2010

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