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  • Best circumstances to cheat

    So I've been primal for a little while now. I'm not super strict, but I have cut out grains and consume fruit, yams, booze etc sparingly. It's definitely light years ahead of how I used to eat, which was basically a burrito/pizza/beer diet. I'm feeling better (I've never known this level of appetite control) and although I don't own a scale, I think I'm looking better too.
    Anyway, my question arises because I've gotten to the point where I think I could occasionally enjoy some of my old favorite foods and not have it totally derail my progress. I know it isn't ideal, but I'd like to go out for pizza and beer every now and then (like, say once or twice a month). I'm wondering what are the best circumstances in which to do this. Would it be ideal, from a metabolic standpoint, to do this after fasting until dinner, maybe after a particularly strenuous day of exercise, or just at the end of a normal day of primal eating? Are there any tricks out there for mitigating the damage done by the occasional grain/liquid grain binge?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    cheers,
    Sean

  • #2
    The biggest trick is not to see it as some huge catastrophe and feel guilty about wanting to enjoy a pizza and beer. Have it and then back to usual eating.
    If you know you are going out in evening either fast until dinner or eat mostly protein and veg for breakfast and lunch then have your pizza and beer in the evening. If fasting makes you over-eat the pizza later then just protein and veg meals during the day may suit you better. Do a really good glycogen-depleting weights session the day of the pizza session. After your pizza session the next day fast as long as you can - until lunch-time or dinner whatever suits or afterwards have a few lower carb days. Its up to you to make it work if you want to include pizza and beer in your lifestyle.
    Last edited by Sue; 01-12-2011, 05:24 PM.

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    • #3
      personally, i think the best time to cheat is when it's worth it. this isn't a diet where you need to measure every single move you make and deprive yourself of food. if kicking back once in a while and eating pizza and beer with friends is going to make you enjoy life, i say have at it...just don't make it a regular thing.

      metabolically, i would say eat light on a day like that, and focus on fasting the next day. your leptin levels will be through the roof after a cheat like that, so doing a fast and low carb eating the next day may in fact help fat loss.
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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      • #4
        Thanks. I think I'm good on the mental aspects; I don't see it as a huge catastrophe, just something that I shouldn't do too often. That's a good recommendation on the hard weight session, I was thinking of maybe a long bike ride, but weights seem to make more sense in that it depletes glycogen but might not cause me to eat excessively.

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        • #5
          Rob, I hear what your saying about not worrying too much about every little thing. But I actually enjoy the planning and tweaking and definitely like the idea of indulging in the smartest way. It actually makes it less stressful for me, not more.

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          • #6
            I need someone to help with out with the name here (maybe Robb Wolf?), but one of the paleo bloggers has a "cheat night" once a month where he goes out for pizza and donuts etc. He eats cinnamon beforehand, as it has been shown to block insulin response to carbohydrates (these studies are often done with subjects who are diabetic). I don't have any information readily available, but perhaps it's worth looking into.
            "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain

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            • #7
              Tim Ferris talks about the cinnamon on his pastries.

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              • #8
                I don't think it's all that useful to overthing "timing your cheats" - unless you are just interested academically, in which case there is probably a super complex answer somewhere. Just "make a conscious less-than-optimal food choice" when you think it's worth it, and not out of laziness or cravings. That's pretty simple. That stuff is a lot more about psychology than it is about nutrition imhop.
                If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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                • #9
                  I've been Primal since August and knew that I would need to cheat periodically in order to maintain. it always hurts but is always worth it for me, at least.
                  I took the advice of the nutritionist at my gym who is zone/paleo. She suggested one cheat meal every 2 weeks so that's what I do. Appetizer, drinks, dinner, dessert - the whole 9 yards. And then the next meal, back to 100% Primal. Time goes so fast during those 2 weeks so it's plenty to satisfy the cravings and I continue to lose weight/feel great despite my massive indulgences.
                  I feel like if I didn't have a set day, I would let myself cheat more often and this gives me something to look forward to.

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                  • #10
                    Beer isn't terrible, although I personally avoid grain alcohol. As for pizza, I'd say get thin crust, unless that would really spoil it for you, and don't eat the outside crusts. It would be better if you found a cheat that you liked just as well and didn't involve wheat.

                    If a once or twice a month pizza cheat helps you stay on primal, do it.
                    Ancestral Health Info

                    I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

                    Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by a_morgan24 View Post
                      I've been Primal since August and knew that I would need to cheat periodically in order to maintain. it always hurts but is always worth it for me, at least.
                      I took the advice of the nutritionist at my gym who is zone/paleo. She suggested one cheat meal every 2 weeks so that's what I do. Appetizer, drinks, dinner, dessert - the whole 9 yards. And then the next meal, back to 100% Primal. Time goes so fast during those 2 weeks so it's plenty to satisfy the cravings and I continue to lose weight/feel great despite my massive indulgences.
                      I feel like if I didn't have a set day, I would let myself cheat more often and this gives me something to look forward to.
                      But that whole attitude suggests you'd rather be eating a different way and only do this because you have to for your health. I definitely don't feel that way. I had a delicious breakfast / lunch of beef and eggs with sour cream, and I'm glad that I don't feel at all guilty about all the fat in it.
                      One suggestion would be to study up on cooking and make yourself some PB friendly foods that are totally delicious, that a lot of people wouldn't eat regularly because of the fat content.
                      If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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                      • #12
                        @ tfarny, you are totally right. I do enjoy the 'dark side' sometimes more than the Primal foods and I am doing it for my health rather than being just fully commited to the lifestyle. Not that I don't want to be; I just haven't gotten there.
                        I do absolutely enjoy Primal meals, cook a lot of delicious food and eat very well but sometimes, I crave the junk still and so my '2 week cheat' helps me keep that in check. I certainly wish that I never had the urge to cheat or splurge but I just haven't gotten to that point. For me, it's ok though because I still stick with a 100% primal diet less those 2 meals/month and don't foresee that ending anytime soon.

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                        • #13
                          I cheated the other day when I forgot to order something the right way. The menu said "BBQ Roasted Chicken" and I forgot to ask for no sauce thinking it might simply be a rotisserie chicken. Well, when I got it the thing was drowning in sugary, starchy BBQ sauce. I didn't want to send it back so just took as much sauce off as I could and ate it.

                          I have also been to restuarants where even if you don't order dessert , they will sometimes give you something on the house. A lot of diner's have a diet burger which is a bunless burger served with cottage cheese so I ordered it for takeout and when I opened the bag they threw in a piece of cake and cookies I didn't even order!! Like they were trying to unload the desserts for that day on me! Well, I ate it .

                          After being at a plateau for months I'm trying to go by the Whole 30 "not one bite" mantra now which is why I'm such a - dare I say it - ORTHOREXIC!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rocknroll View Post
                            I need someone to help with out with the name here (maybe Robb Wolf?), but one of the paleo bloggers has a "cheat night" once a month where he goes out for pizza and donuts etc. He eats cinnamon beforehand, as it has been shown to block insulin response to carbohydrates (these studies are often done with subjects who are diabetic). I don't have any information readily available, but perhaps it's worth looking into.
                            I thought Robb Wolf's approach to cheating was all FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AVOID GLUTEN!!!!? The longer I avoid pizza, the less I want it. I can't say the same for corn chips and salsa or ice cream.

                            Really, just do what works for you. If planning a beer and pizza night once or twice a week keeps you happy and helps keep you primal the rest of the time, go for it. So far as mitigating the damage, it depends on what kind of damage you're worried about. If it's fat loss/appetite management, there have been plenty of good suggestions already. If you're concerned about gluten/inflammation damage...not much will help with that. Coconut cream to help heal the gut maybe?

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                            • #15
                              Do some research and see if you can find any places near you that do gluten free pizza or burgers! When I eat something that isn't strictly PB, I ensure that it's gluten free... less pain afterward! We're lucky in Australia to have a (some?) burger chains that do grass-fed beef and gluten-free buns. I also have a pizza place near me that does gluten-free pizza and pasta, which is awesome.

                              But I never think of it as cheating... I just see it as reasonable. It's amazing how little desire I have to binge eat this way. Whatever you do, don't let guilt consume you... just go with it, and move on.

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