Do Calories Count… More or Less: Part 2

sam_scaleCalories, the word conjures a multitude of emotions, confusion for one.

Calories = the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius


I few months back I did a post about Sam Feltman, a British personal trainer who gets his high kicks by turning his body into an experiment in caloric intake.

Sam ate the exact same whole foods every day (fish, steak, fruit veggies, eggs, and nuts… so many nuts). This diet equalled to 5794 calories per day. After 21 days Sam had gained a little over 3 pounds.


This was not belly fat, his waist shrunk by about 1 inch. Adjusting for the caloric surplus Sam should have gained 16.5 pounds.


Around 2000 of those calories came straight from cooked nuts which raises questions about energy accessibility of fiber dense foods. Still, an interesting self experiment, and 2.5 pounds of muscle? That is it?


Sam Feltman has been a busy Brit since then, mostly trying to get well intentioned and overly gimmicky Smash the Fat System in to the media lime light.*


*The diet science seems sound, I just do not think it is productive to use the term ‘bootcamp’ in regards to fitness. When it comes to exercise, moving should be fun.

No fun, no move.

sam_bcMore fun, more move.

Sam has undergone another 21 day calorie experiment. A dramatization of the standard British diet.

“For this next 21 day experiment I will be eating 1 calorie less a day than last time at 5,793 calories a day of cereal, bread, pasta, sugary drinks and chocolate.”

Also a lot of fat free yogurt. Ya know, for the probiotics.

The results are more in line with what the USDA and Soda Companie’s tell me is supposed to happen. Sam packed on 16 pounds and 3.5 inches to his waist…. of fat

sam_1 This can not be called science; it is an unreviewed study of one young man.

Had it been an experiment with a larger group of people, it would have been unethical, because 5,793 calories of processed foods would have yielded a larger group of people.

Real food in, real humans out. Fake food in…. you get the point.

Let’s all eat some almond butter by the spoon full and test this logic.

With cinnamon

and salt.

O wow. I am going to find an apple.

apple-and-almond-butter-420x420_0Count Dracula, not calories.


Current Ferments: When the Gut is in Doubt… Kraut

I have digestive issues, that is all I will say on the matter. Keeping my gut flora well fed is necessity.

That is no reason for it to be a chore.

There is always something new lacto-fermenting on my counter top. My pickling compulsion is an obsession overly serviced by the cornucopia of veggies available in the bay area.

Here is whats pickling this week.


This big jar is working on some watermelon radish slices with a standard blend of pickling spices. The brine started out clear, but by the turned this amazing bloody red by the end of week one. This is week 3.

I doubled the allspice berries, that is lending to its vampiric hue.ferment_kvassThis is a bottle of Beet Kvass, an age old Russian macrobiotic beverage. Simple ferment really. It is the brine left over from pickling purple beets with allspice berries. I put it back on the counter to see if it would get a touch more sparky and less salty.ferment_rutabagaRutabaga root kraut with salt, dill, caraway and juniper berries. I love a good root kraut, but have never used rutabaga.

Time will tell.ferment_mustardgreenTibetan fermented mustard greens, aka Gundru. No salt. The only thing in this jar is 6 heads of turnip greens.

It has been on my counter for 4 months getting more sinester every day. It is so bitter.

That is what is new in old this week. Happy Friday!

And remember, when dabbling in probiotics…

“The main thing is to have a gutsy approach and use your head.” – Julia Childs


Eat Well and Visit your Family


It is Halloween time, and my job as a confectioner has me feeling like a kid.


Leafing through some old childhood photos, I remember being a skeleton, the cowboy year escapes me but I wish I still had a holster. Anyway time to visit my parents in Socal.

The drive down was uneventful, tried to search out Mother Natural Food’s in Los Angeles to explore all things organic and edible.


Screw it, I got lost.

Rolled in to San Diego around 5pm and gave the mother a quick hug hello. Had to rush off to my step mom’s 50 birthday partay.

sd_trip_pallelaCatered by some Spaniard’s and their sumptuous paella platter.

This was my first plate-a-paella and it was… ok. The rice was a little bland, the kind you just push around the plate uninspired, and aside from the occasional green bean there were really no veggies to be found. When cooking slow my experience is this.

Veggies give flavor. So.. where the onions and peppers?

Still visually, what a show. A stunning vessel to try an assortment of interesting sea foods. Clam not my jam, but scallops make me gallop.

sd_trip_cheeseEpic cheese spread to, happy to see my bay area farmer’s market companion Cowgirl Creamery made the cut. More than a bite of cheese turns my head to a mucus balloon.

I exercised restraint and compensated by eating copious amounts of figs, olives, walnuts, and dates. Such self control.

sd_trip_beachSpent the next day with my Mother. Where my plans to sneakily make her eat paleo for the whole day were a success.

A morning walk with the pups at Dog Beach. Where they learned to wade awkwardly.

Swung by the farmer’s market, my old office, to grab some dinner supplies. Then snagged a lunch tray at Urban Plates.

sd_trip_UrbanplatesThis local sourcing organic eatery creates low cost plates by operating like a cafeteria. Think Soupantation with incredible quality and a tad more portion control.

My tray boasted some honey roasted carrots, steamed ono fish, and some salty brussel dream boats pan fried with turkey bacon. The carrots were admitably undercooked but the rest of the plate made up for this and then some. I defy you to get a plate of food like this for $10 at a sit down restaurant.

Caught the matinee of Tom Hank’s new flick, Captain Phillps. My mother and I had the same opinion, the movie was good, but long… to long. 2 1/2 hours of Tom Hank’s being beaten by pirates becomes jarring and uncomfortable.

Mom kept the snacks paleo though… dark chocolate coated macadamia nuts.

sd_trip_burgerAfter so much violence, dinner had to be comfort food. Like most Americans, we are is a burger nuts, so I introduced to the lettuce bun. Topped with caramelized onions a fried egg, creamy Socal avocado and a side of yam fries. Full farmer market’s fare.

sd_trip_coffeeMy last day.

I started off the morning with coffee and a green drink at the Lofty Bean. A café with a steam punk atmosphere and more brewing devices than I knew could be fathomed. One African bean was touted as the worlds best.

$8.50 a cup

I stuck to a traditional drip.

Finally, off to my old employer, Peace Pie’s Raw Vegan Cuisine. A laid back spot where raw vegan decadence doesn’t break the bank.


Easily the best job I held in San Diego. As mentioned early I am a nut for all things burger, including this nut based burger.

sd_trip_raw burger

The Raw Burger, the only veggie burger I reach for, temping, but went with the Mango Curry Wrap instead.

sd_trip_wrapCoconut meat wraps are creating quite the buzz in the gluten free community.


Peace Pie was ahead of the curve by a decade. Subbed kale chips for mango…. awesome call. Epic eatery for vegans’ paleos, and all.

Worried about protein. Stop. Pop a few hard boiled eggs on the way over and don’t skip the cashew cheese cake.


Well met and well fed on this journey, time to get back to the bay.

Sugar and Alec Baldwin: Here’s The Thing


Author of Fat Chance, Dr. Robert Lustig had a great little interview with Alec Baldwin on WNYC’s Here’s The Thing. They discuss how sugar crept into 80% of the food on super market shelves over the past few decades.


Apparently after Alec Baldwin cut out sugar, bread, and pasta, watched his weight melt off like snowman in a yoga class.

Fascinating stuff.

Here’s The Preview


“There is not one biochemical reaction in your body, not one, that requires dietary fructose, not one that requires sugar.  Dietary sugar is completely irrelevant to life.  People say oh, you need sugar to live.  Garbage.”  Dr. Robert Lustig.

Everything in moderation… except high fructose corn syrup, we should really all just avoid that one flat out.

Thai Time Every Tuesday

Having a grand morning. Woke up at 5:30 to the ol’ Sioux alarm clock. Cup of Sleepy time tea before bed will do that.


Got all ambiguous and caught 6 am workout at Grassroots Crossfit. What the heck… I was up.

Push Jerks (5 reps of 2) and some jump rope action. Even hung out to work on some squat cleans.


Nailed it.

The best I have ever manage form wise. These days I am hitting a new record every lift.

Now it’s 8:30. I’m sipping espresso at Actual Café, researching ticket prices to Bangkok and day dreaming about lunch.

I love Thai food.

And planing a trip to South East Asia in the glow of this lovely morning has me feeling a good bit of gratitude for Andy and Cindy’s Farmer’s Market booth.


How fortunate I am to be able to stroll over from my own chocolatey booth at the first pang of hunger and take a seat with the savoury sensation.


Their curries are delicious and their steamed snapper is a triangle of spongy heaven. Still I cannot separate myself for the convenience of moist skewer, bursting forth with curried coconut milk… sigh*vietthaisatay

There is another Thai food restaurant that I hold close to my heart, one that I will divulge in another post. It is truly one of bay area’s best kept secrets.


For now, Andy and Cindy’s satay is my jam.

It is swell to eat well. Keep it ancestral yall.

Tempoyak Pie and the Impotance of Failure: Part 2


Two weeks have pasted since some raw vegan mad science went airy. Happy to report that I and no other eaters fell dead after partaking in my fermented durian pie.

In fact, I have been enlivened

This pie was to odd not to share one more slice.

Enter Kevin and Alex, proprietors of Cultured Pickle Shop. My favourite place to do a work trade for my holiday gift list.

Soon to Feature Their Own Bizarre Foods

Soon to Feature Their Own Bizarre Foods

Kevin got slice last week, and a got back to me. “It was one of the most interesting things I have eaten of late.”

Considering this yet another backwards compliment my reply was apologetic.

But he set me at ease.

“I will take gross and interesting over, tasty and familiar any day. I look forward to trying more of your ferments.”

Culture's Eggplant set to Pickling

Cultured’s Eggplant Set to Pickling


I am creating ferments that were intriguing America’s premier picklers.

I declare fermented durian pie a success, one which I have zero urge to replicate. Lets take some lessons and move on to a more accessible success.

Lemon Cashew Cup: Lessons learned from durian pie

  • Cashews absorb more than water during a soak. No pickle juice this time. The cashews for these tarts got a coconut water bath for sweetness.


  • Agar Agar gave these tarts that lovely firmness… with a quick sauté
  • Garnishes seem to please so I dehydrated some lemon peel for toppers

Their completion coincided with my house mates birthday.

cashewcup_bdayOi’ don’t remind me.

1200 Calories

This is an amazing argument against the fallacy of caloric restriction.

Just eat food.
Eat hearty, lift heavy, and be marry. The your body’s ideal form will follow. What ever form that may be.