Today was a good day. No training, and no real movement aside from house cleaning. Dinner, however, was spectacular. We don't have a fume hood above our range and the house smokes up at the slightest sear of a steak. When the fire alarm goes off, the fire department is notified and a fire truck rolls up to the house. This has happened roughly 5 times in the past year and it is embarrassing and terribly annoying. To get deliciously seared steaks without grilling in the back yard, I had to turn to sous vide...
Drop the steak in a warm water bath. I use 130 F for rare/medium rare. I like my beef bright red and bloody.
The meat will be cooked to medium rare perfection, but the outside still needs to be seared. Otherwise it tastes like boiled mutton. For this, you can use a 500 F skillet, but that would just smoke up the house and put me back at square one. So, I turn to my friend the propane torch. You have to sear the meat sometime. Some people advocate searing before the meat goes in the bath, but at this point the meat is either refrigerator cold or room temperature. I find it takes longer to get the meat up to Maillard temperatures when I torch before the bath. Others advocate searing after the bath right before plating. However, I find the meat can cool down a bit while I'm searing it and is lukewarm by the time it hits the plate. Thus, I take it out of the bath, sear, and throw it back in. First, pat it dry and torch:
This smells delicious. Here's a picture of the steak I had tonight with only one side torched. You can really see the difference.
Here's the meat back in the bath, just sitting at 130 F. At this point, it could sit for hours (theoretically) though too long and you must worry about bacteria growth. I let it sit there for about an hour while I vacuumed the house and my girlfriend cooked her tofu stir fry.
And here is the steak all finished! It comes out of the bath, onto a paper towel so I can dry it, and I like to hit it once more with the torch to make sure the outside is nice and hot. Then you can plate it up on the plate you remembered to warm in the oven.
Torch, torch, torch. It's especially awesome because you can stick the torch in all the nooks and crannies and on the sides. It's tough to sear these areas with a grill! It usually takes me ~5 minutes of torch time before I'm satisfied with the browning of the steak.
Four eggs, sunny side up. I like to cook these over low-medium heat. I get some butter nice and foamy, toss the eggs in, cover, and let rest for 3-4 minutes. This leaves the yolks nice and runny.
Here's all the food plated! Time to eat! The SO's tofu stir fry is in the background. I tried a nibble of the tofu and found the texture unappealing, but it tasted nice and smoky. I don't think I'll be going vegan any time soon.
The magic of sous vide. The lighting in this photo is damnably awful, but if you look closely you can see the most perfectly medium rare steak. The outside is browned and seared, there's no gray gradient on the perimeter, and the meat is dark red from top to bottom. This is by far the best way to cook thick steaks to a perfect temperature and still get a perfectly seared outside. In the past, I have worked two water baths simultaneously to cook my own steak rare/medium rare and a guest's steak medium. They both came out perfectly - an easy feat when you can just let the seared steaks sit in the water bath indefinitely until you're ready to plate. This allows one to make sauce, cook side dishes, and have the meat nice and hot when it hits the plate. I imagine I'll be perfecting my sous vide technique over these next few weeks...
Cant see the photos yet, but I am drooling at your description. Funny that the words, "tofu stir fry" didn't elicit the same reaction.
So on April 1st, I weighed 182.6 lbs. Last Monday, I weighed 178.2 which means I lost roughly a pound a week through April using sensible nutrition and weight training. I consider this to be a good long-term fat loss rate. This morning I'm 172.0. That’s 6.2 pounds in one week. Of course, this can’t all be fat loss, but I think a lot of it is. Two things happened last week: 1) I fasted for 44 hours and 2) I began easing into the steak and eggs diet on about Wednesday. Between Wednesday and Sunday I had very few carbs – mostly yogurt, berries, and non-starchy vegetables. I had a few dates and some dark chocolate here and there, but nothing to speak of. (Though Friday is an exception - that was a massive carb day). But I also didn’t have too much fat since I was gobbling down some chicken breasts and lean ham I had lying around so that I could start steak and eggs in earnest without letting good meat spoil. I think I actually had a very, very massive calorie deficit last week.
So Monday: my weight is 178.2. I consider this to be a “true” weight. I hadn’t been fasting, I hadn’t been restricting any nutrient, and the circumstances of my Monday morning were just like every other Monday morning. I had a nice big post-workout supper at 7:00 PM and then didn’t eat again until Wednesday evening at 6:00 PM, roughly 48 hours or, as pklopp explained in his IF post, about 44 hours in the post-absorptive state. Just prior to my Wednesday evening meal, I was at 174 lbs, which I expected. That meal was glorious – I had almost an entire loaf of bread, 12 oz. of chicken breasts, mountains of refried beans and broccoli, and a simply gigantic bowl of homemade Greek yogurt with a heaping of frozen blueberries, honey, walnuts, and chia seed. It might have been 3 solid pounds of food. Oh, and 3 local beers, too. After the meal, I was 180.2 – 6.2 lbs of food and water. Awesome.
You’ll notice that this meal was very low fat. The only sources of fat were in the yogurt and walnuts, and the bits of oil I used to sauté the broccoli. While this meal was huge, it wasn’t particularly calorie dense. Just really high protein and fiber. The next morning (Thursday) I was only 175.2 lbs. This is 3.0 lbs under my “true weight.” I figured I’d rebound back up to 177-178 in a day or two, but my weight actually kept going down. By then I was eating mostly protein and fat so I surmised that it was all water weight and depleted glycogen. After all, I bike to work 5 days per week and lift at comical intensity levels. Well, Friday morning I’m 173.2 lbs and my girl and I know we’re starting extreme diets the next day. So we have a (reasonable and prudent) last hurrah. After squats and chins, it’s frozen yogurt, bread, cheese, beans, fruit, and lots of other things. I don’t count calories anymore, but I had been for years so I’m a really good estimator. I think I ate almost 3,000 calories and roughly 300 grams carbs. I was sort of afraid of the scale the next morning, but at least it would be nice to be back to “true” weight.
Saturday morning, post-binge: 172.8. Saturday is steak and eggs (and liver). Basically zero carbs except for the glycogen in the beef liver and one glass of wine. Sunday morning: 173.2. Sunday: just steak and eggs. Zero carbs. This morning: 172.0. I wonder if this is my “true” weight now. I surly couldn’t have lost 6.2 lbs of fat and lean body mass in one week? Or could I… I’ve rigorously calculated my TDEE using both Katch-McArdle and Harris-Benedict, and the average is 2,400 calories. So between Monday weighing sessions I expended 16,800 calories. My confident calorie estimates for the intervening days:
Monday: 1,600 calories
Tuesday: 0 calories
Wednesday: 2,550 calories
Thursday: 1,490 calories
Friday: 3,000 calories
Saturday: 1,480 calories
Sunday: 1,550 calories
This comes to 11,620 calories, or a … 5,180 calorie deficit. That’s 1.48 lbs of fat. So, I guess we can’t explain it away with math. In any case. It’ll be interesting to see how my weight varies both this week during strict steak and eggs and after next Saturday’s carb up. There’s an anecdotal fat loss phenomenon in the fitness communities known as the “whoosh,” in which no change is seen on the scale for a few weeks while fat is being continually lost. Then, one day, whoosh! The weight is gone! Maybe this is what happened. Maybe I’m underestimating my TDEE. Maybe I’m overestimating my calorie intake (though I very much doubt that). Oh well. I look WAY better in the mirror now than I did 5 weeks ago, and I have the photos to prove it. I’ll post before and after photos at the end of this steak and eggs challenge. Thanks for reading!
Way to go! Love the whoooooosh. Can't wait to see the photos!
I didn't have a particularly photogenic dinner, so I opted to photograph my barbell instead. That's 350 lbs, which I deadlifted 5 times for a personal best. This is after three days of no carbs. So much for the importance of pre-workout carbs.
Dinner was a 22 oz. package of the Costco grass-fed ground beef with 5 fried eggs on top. Afterwards I tried some bulletproof coffee for the first time. I used grass-fed, organic unsalted butter from a local farm and my own beans, which I roast with a hacked popcorn machine. I was a little underwhelmed. I felt like the butter masked the nose of the coffee, and I got a bit of an upset stomach after drinking 3 tablespoons of butter in 16 oz. coffee. I suppose one must ease into it. If I made my coffee from lesser beans, I could see adding butter for a smoother, richer taste. But as is, I'll stick with my homeroasted coffee :)
In general, I feel amazing. Lots of energy, mild hunger levels. excellent workouts, and straightforward dieting. It's so easy to diet when you can only have 3 different foods. I envy my girlfriend's salads and the general variety she is afforded, but I must say I love watching the scale go down every day.
Hilarious side-note: we went to MOM's Organic Market this evening (for my heavy cream and butter) and she picked up a package of vegan gluten-free Mexican shredded "cheese," as she misses normal cheese. We agree that its the worst thing we've ever tasted. Here are the ingredients, read straight off the back of the package: "Water, Canola Oil, Cornstarch, Vegetable Glycerin, Arrowroot Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Pea Protein, Salt, Natural Vegan Flavors, Rice Maltodextrin, Lactic Acid (non-dairy), Sunflower Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Yeast Extract, Annatto (color), Powdered Cellulose added to prevent caking." You know, now that I typed that out, I realize it could be a list of ingredients for gluten-free cheese balls or something if the water were further down the list. She tasted it first (cold, out of the package) and audibly gagged. She said it was the worst thing she'd ever tasted. I tried some, expecting something like a rubber matrix. It was so much worse than that. I swear I wasn't being melodramatic when I turned around and retched into the sink. The "cheese" turned to a powder in my mouth and the taste was something like crushed acetaminophen. We think it might taste better once it's heated and melted (if it does indeed melt), but man. What a disaster.
Ok so the "whoosh," if there is such a thing, continued today. Yesterday nothing changed with my diet (steak + eggs + butter) and I plunged from 172.0 to 170.8, which is the lowest I've been in 12 months. I say nothing changed with my diet to support the idea this wasn't water weight. How odd. It's rest day (though I did get friggin' soaked on my bike ride in this morning in a Maryland spring monsoon) and I plan on a [I]massive[/I] steak and egg dinner. Can't wait!
We'll see how tomorrow's weigh-in goes. Normally I weigh myself only once weekly, but it's wild watching the scale numbers plummet. I figure it's fat and water because my workout yesterday was incredible.
Is your wife losing any weight?
Deadlift 350 lbs 5 reps! That is impressive. Congrats. I'm finding that my strength has gone up as well, which is surprising considering the lack of carbs. Our protein numbers are pretty high, yesterday I had over 200 gms so I guess that's a contributing factor but it seems there is something about this diet that supports weight training, building muscle and ramping up metabolic rates.
[QUOTE=little vase;1182937]Is your wife losing any weight?[/QUOTE]
She weighs herself weekly rather than daily, so I'm not sure. She must be though, she's eating so little. Everyday she has a medium sized salad with no meat and no real added fats. Just veggies and beans maybe a bit of oil.
[QUOTE=canuck416;1182952]Deadlift 350 lbs 5 reps! That is impressive. Congrats. I'm finding that my strength has gone up as well, which is surprising considering the lack of carbs. Our protein numbers are pretty high, yesterday I had over 200 gms so I guess that's a contributing factor but it seems there is something about this diet that supports weight training, building muscle and ramping up metabolic rates.[/QUOTE]
Large amounts of amino acids can induce muscle protein synthesis (MPS) on their own, which is impressive since they're also the main substrate. However, I'm not sure anything about the diet has too much of an influence on metabolic rate. Most of your metabolic rate is determined by either genetics or your lean body mass. Your metabolism [I]does[/I] slow down during dieting, but I've read that it's on the order of 50-150 kcal/day which is not really enough to make or break a diet. The idea that one can have a significant on his or her metabolism by dieting is mostly myth. Yes, eating "thermogenic" foods like cinnamon or hot peppers technically "stimulate" the metabolism much as caffeine does. But it's not, in my opinion, going to have a major long-term effect anyway.
The body is amazing at regulating itself. In a healthy person things like your BMR, blood glucose, and temperature never really change too much. You can effect a small reduction in BMR by long-term dieting (this effect becomes larger when one becomes very lean), but on a day-to-day basis food doesn't have a very big effect on metabolic rate.
Edit: I will say, however, that this diet is something else. On day 4 I have boundless energy, minimal hunger, and great sleep. The scale keeps plunging downward for some reason, but I hesitate to think I'm losing lean mass. It's probably just all my glycogen stores being depleted. But maybe there's something magical about this diet. I know beef, saturated fats, and CLA all have positive effects on testosterone. Perhaps there is some super anabolic phenomenon going on. We'll see!