Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hernia; Greek Goddess of Abdominal Pain

About three weeks ago, I noticed a small lump the size of a pea, just above my belly button. It was squishy, and would get smaller when pressed, or when I lay down on my back. I also noticed that the area would hurt when doing lifts, especially deads and squats.

A google search of my symptoms turned up only one kind of result...dum dum dum; a hernia. I've been gaining weight and steadily packing on the plates at the gym, putting up some good PBs and am in no way interested in getting cut open and taken out for who knows how long. Whats more, I'm a wimp. I don't mind pain, but I'm scared of blood, needles, nurses, hot nurses, doctors, evil or otherwise. The entire atmosphere of a hospital practically vibrates with fear. Nope, I don't like it one bit.

That night, I saw my regular GP, and my uninformed suspicion was confirmed. He also told me that they always require surgery, and only get worse, especially in you're active. The following day, I checked to make sure my insurance would cover me, made an appointment to see a specialist at Raffles Hospital for that Saturday, and on the recommendation of the GP, stopped weights and BJJ.

Saturday, I saw the specialist, re-confirmed my suspicion and made an appointment for surgery the following Saturday, which was, as I type this, yesterday.

I did the usual pre-op stuff. No food or drink 12 hours before surgery, show up 3 hours ahead - they like you nice and bored before they slice you open, and wait, wait, then wait some more.

Finally, I was instructed to lay on a gurney and was wheeled up to the surgery level, where I waited once again. Eventually I am moved into the operating room, which resembles, by no coincidence I'm sure, an alien abduction. I don't think I was anally probed...

The process, similar for everybody about to get surgically enhanced I'm sure, runs as follows. Firstly, they put a pain killer in your drip which makes you nice and toasty high, like killer weed and three shots of vodka on an empty stomach. It's actually pretty good. The nurses kept asking me if I was ok, and I kept saying "ya, this stuff is great." Not to put too fine a point on it, but that wasn't exactly the most mind altering pharmaceutical I've ever taken, you know, when I was young and invincible and longing to expand my consciousness.

The surgeon was running late, so I tried to flirt with the nurses through the thick wall of opiates that were dry-humping my brain, and all things considered, I think I did pretty well. Then the doctor arrives, and suddenly I've got a breathing mask being shoved over my face.

This probably won't relate to Singaporeans, but for those who grew up in less prohibitive nations, you know that first time you ever take drugs? Not like cigarettes or booze or even pot, but a real drug, something that changes your perception in fundamental ways. For a while, you think it's not working, nothing's happening, you must be one of those rare individuals who are immune. I guess you just can't get hi...oh lord, you're really high.

That's what this was like. One moment I'm breathing in cold, dry air, thinking come on, work already, the next minute my head is sucked backwards into darkness, and then rocketed forward again into light. "Hello sir, it's all over, are you all right?"

I tried answering, but my lips were now made of melting ice cream, so I gave a thumbs-up, and was wheeled back to my room. I could see my wonderful wife walking along behind me, my stomach hurt, and that was that.

The day after surgery, I'm feeling pretty good. It hurts to bend at the waste or use my stomach muscles to do anything other than breath, but getting around, once I'm vertical, isn't too bad. The worst problem is probably the constipation caused by the pain killers, which don't actually stop pain, but apparently put the kibosh on shitting. Great!

I'm living on pumpkin soup, sweet potatoes and protein shakes, but I'm alive mothah fuckahs! I'm alive!

Mr. Paleoporean

Monday, February 18, 2013

For Shame!

Ok, so I'm a terrible, lazy person, undeserving of even an atom of mercy, if mercy came in atoms, which I supposed it doesn't. I haven't updated this blog for one hell of a long time. I'm not positive if anyone is even reading it; the one exception being my parents. None the less, due to overwhelming guilt and self loathing, here I am, updating. Are you happy now?

Recently, and by recently I mean for about a month and a half, I've been attempting to practice intermittent fasting. To explain why, I'd have to back up a bit.
About five months ago, while training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, I partially tore my right anterior meniscus; the inside portion of a figure 8 shaped ligament in between the knee joint. An MRI also revealed that I had cartilage erosion on the inside back of my right knee cap. The long and short of it is that it hurt like hell. I could barely walk for weeks, limped out of bed every morning, and couldn't train BJJ or do any kind of cardio for over three months.

I decided that I'd take the opportunity to switch from HIIT style training to heavy weights. Although I couldn't run, or even walk quickly, I could squat and deadlift, albiet slowly, since they don't involve lateral motion, and do upper body lifts a plenty. So, that's what I did. To make all this moving of heavy metal effective, I ate like food was going out of business - still paleo, but in roughly double the amounts I'd usually take in. Specifically, I upped my carb and fat intake big time. Two to three sweet potatoes a day, full fat cream in my coffee, dark chocolate along with protein shakes post work-out. The results were, I got bigger. I went from 61kg to 74.5kg during those three and a half months. Most of it was muscle. Sadly, some of it was fat. 

Which brings me to intermittent fasting, or IF as it's known by those in the know. Thanks to posts on various paleo blogs, as well as the influence of the Hodge Twins, I thought I'd try intermittent fasting myself. If you don't know what that is, it's just fitting your meals into a shorter time frame. I chose the largest eating window, an 8/16 split, eating regular meals from 12:00-8:00 pm and fasting the rest of the 16 hours. Tighter splits such as 6/18, 4/20 and full 24 (done perhaps twice a week) are also common. I matched this with a whole 30, but to be honest, I cheated with coffee and some dark chocolate pretty often. As I said in the first paragraph, I'm terrible.

Proponents claim it allows greater usage of body fat for energy, release of testosterone and HGH, improved metabolism of blood sugar, and generally much more efficient fat loss matched with greater maintenance of muscle tissue than would be possible under a traditional 6-8 small meals a day, calorie restriction plus cardio fat loss approach.

I've tried the old calories in/calories out way of losing fat, and always felt drained, lost strength and felt sort of strung out, especially after workouts. Don't get me wrong, cutting calories works. But, it sucks. With IF, I've lost 10kg, while increasing in strength, hitting several PBs on deadlifts, squats and bench, and maintained or increased slightly on everything else. My abs, which had sadly disappeared during my bulking phase, have started to come back, and I feel less lethargic than when I was eating from morning to night to get the recommended grams of protein in.

If you'd like to try it, be aware that IF is not entirely pain free. It takes about 3 weeks to adjust, and I was starving at the tail end of my fasting period every day. Your body is used to getting food at certain times, whether it needs it or not, so be prepared for some gurgling stomach and heartburn. Have some almond butter or similar fat and protein rich food handy, and have a small spoonful if you're really going...nuts. Drink twice as much water as you normally would, and take some green tea or coffee to get yourself going in the morning.

Overall, I'd say IF works for fat loss, especially that stubborn fat us mid/late 30's guys start to build up around the mid-section that just won't take the hint and get lost, no matter how much you stare at it in the mirror while glaring angrily and stamping your foot.
Mr. Paleoporean

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Whole 30. Day 4. What? 26 more days to go???

As the title suggests, I am currently on the Whole 30 and into the 4th day. I curse at how quickly 1st Oct came and now, time just seems to crrrrraaaawwwwlllllllll... Is there any word to describe movement slower than crawl? Maybe 'drag'. As expected, I am getting sick of the home-cooked meals and water. I hate drinking water and as much as I avoided other carbonated drinks, Coke Zero and milk were previously my comfort beverages. How about herbal tea, you may suggest. What is herbal tea without splenda? It is just as good as drinking plain water what! There was an entry on Whole9 blog, which couldn't have come in a better time, about quenching one's thirst whole9 style. Basically, it was about flavouring water with fruits and herbs. Let me tell you what I think. It still tastes like fucking water!  

I also found planning my meals stressful. Unless it is prawn noodles soup or mee pok, I can never eat the same food for 2 consecutive meals! So I tried to variate my proteins; chicken breast on Monday, sirloin on Tuesday, chicken breat (again!!!) on Wednesday and salmon today (Thursday), but here's the next headache: what sort of flavours? This week, I've used the same herb mix in all my meals and consumed enough garlic that my fart smell LIKE garlic. I am so sick of it. I hardly have time to watch any TV in the evenings. After work, it'd be a quick trip to the supermarket, followed by 2 hours in the kitchen preparing for dinner and lunch the following day. By 10pm, I was so exhausted cooking, I didn't even feel like hitting the shower. Of course I did, eventually. 

So if you ask me, how do I generally feel after eating so clean for 4 days? I FEEL LIKE SHIT! I am not feeling any different, I don't feel great, not even good. In fact my lower tummy is bulging out even more, compared to last week. You may think I'm hypocritical as I posted photos of my meals religiously on Instagram, however, what Instagram doesn't depict is my actual feelings of misery. It was a way to remain motivated and upbeat, but I'm not sure how long that will last.

I want my noodles, coke zero, milk and Greek yoghurt back!!! 

-Mrs Paleoporean

Friday, September 21, 2012

Some Updates

Its being slightly more than a month since the last entry on our blog and in case you're wondering, this blog is not dead, just that the writers are lazy. Plain simple reason. In any case, I thought I should give an update for the (<10) faithful readers out there. 

Trip to Siem Reap

Pau and I had a great time in Siem Reap! Of course, we visited Angkor Wat and spent 6 hours walking around and sweating away like pigs! Basically, Angkor Wat translates to 'City of Temples', in all honesty, all the temples look similar to one another, just that each was built by a different king. Our guide was awesome and provided us in great detail the history of each temple, its purpose, etc. He also knew the best spots for photographs and enthusiastically volunteered to take photographs for us, even when deemed unnecessary! I was very glad that my workouts on elliptical machine paid off as we had to climb really steep steps to reach the highest point of some temples. It made me wonder how the King used to climb the same blardy steps to pray every single day centuries ago!
On one of the evenings, we joined a food tour to sample Khmer street food and if you are a follower of Pau (@miket75) and myself (@glinrt) on instagram, you'd have known that we ate insects! Let me tell you, it wasn't easy trying to convince myself to put a cricket in my mouth. In spite of it being cooked and heavily seasoned, the cricket still looked like a blardy cricket, eyes, body, wings, legs and all. My mouth also started to develop a bitter taste, all thanks to my crazy imagination of cricket brain and juice spurting out. So, while cricket number one and I were still eye-balling each other, Pau had gamely moved on from crickets to water beetles to silkworm larva and was ready to chow down on a giant grasshopper. WTF?! I mean, this angmoh nom-ed on these insects with so much gusto that he drew the attention a group of Chinese-Indonesian family, also in Siem Reap for holiday. They were clearly very entertained by this bug-eating white man that they kept filming him eat! After he gamely finished the grasshopper (which they kindly offered), they offered him the ultimate insect, which he had to say No and drew the line. Cockroach, sized like the madagascar hissing cockroach. My goodness, that monstrosity was so disgusting, it made the cricket number one looked like candy. Hence after much deliberation and countless 'I am sorry for eating you cricket', I finally ate him. The cricket was crunchy in texture, tasted like soy sauce and left a fishy aftertaste. It wasn't so bad and I actually liked it, so much that I finished crickets number 1-30 in less than 10 minutes. Yum yum! 
Since we are on the topic of eating, you might be wondering how was it like eating paleo in Siem Reap? Let me tell you, it was a big fucking paleofail. Khmer food is rather similar to Thai food, minus the spicy and plus loads more sugar! Almost all the dishes are sweet, including the thai curry and even a simple stir-fry of pork and mushroom, which tasted very weird in my opinion. The hotel we stayed at served super delicious french toasts during breakfast and was difficult to not order. Also, the mojito and baileys banana shake from the hotel's bar were also to-die-for, 1/4 in price of typical cocktails in Singapore, but 4 times the alcohol content, how to not paleofail?


I am proud to say, I am still moving my ass 4 times a week, 3 if I am feeling lazy. Typically at the gym, I would run 5K on the treadmill in <30 minutes and spend 10 minutes on the elliptical. These days, I am training to strengthen my heart by running faster in a shorter time and spending 20 minutes on the elliptical. By doing so, I also hope to improve on my stamina, which I believe will be beneficial towards pole. This term, I am taking 2 classes: the prep advance and advance pole grooves and all together 3 dance routines! If this doesn't require stamina, I don't know what does. 


Ok, this I am not that proud to say. I am back to eating more carbs than usual :( and only gotten worst now that a buddy of ours is staying with us as he is here for a 6 months contract work. I mean, this guy really really loves food and have no qualms about eating anything, as long as it makes him happy. Some evenings, he brings home all these local hawker food which I avoided the past year like plague and only to wither in willpower as I smell and see him chow down with great satisafaction. You have no idea how many paleofails I've had since he arrived. Don't get me wrong, I am not blaming him. I know I am weak, unmotivated and lack the willpower. Hence, to compensate for the paleofails, I have decided to do the Whole 30 in October 2012! Initially, I was deciding between this and Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge. Their fundamental concept is similar, however, the difference is, the PB 21-Day Challenge allows for moderate intake of alcohol (red wine), dark chocolate (at least 75% I reckon) and dairy (Greek Yoghurt and full-fat milk). I find the term 'moderate' rather subjective and a little risky, in a sense that it is quite easy steer off course and lose discipline. Therefore, after much thought, I decided to go hardcore with Whole 30. I will definitely write about the process here, so do watch out for truck loads of whining and self-loathing next month. 

That's all for today. 

-Mrs Paleoporean

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


My apologies for not writing in a long time. My chemicals arrived and I could no longer afford the luxury of sitting at my desk, updating this blog. However, I will admit that my motivation to eat clean/ paleo is dwindling. 

2 months ago, I was eating well, eating right and working out 3-4 times a week and the hard work paid off! I received many compliments about my weight loss, I was visiting the bathroom regularly. This month, however, is a complete wreck! I am sick of eating the salad at my favourite paleo-friendly place, the taste of raw broccoli sickened my stomach. I am back to consuming rice/noodles during lunch. I ate too much desserts: mochi balls (last friday!), chocolate molten cake (last saturday!!), bubble tea with pearls (last sunday!!!), chocolates (almost daily at work!!!!!!!!!!!). 


I don't understand, why/how did I lose the motivation so quickly. It's like my mind went out of control and I could no longer suppress the sugary cravings. 


-Mrs Paleoporean

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sous Vide of Sorrow

August in Singapore doesn’t mean as much as in the west. Equatorial living means that it’s hot and muggy, with humidity in the 80+ percentile, just like every other month in the tropics. What August does bring is two critical events in the Paleoporean household; the anniversary of our wedding, and Mrs. Paleoporean’s birthday.
Being that I tend to fall flat in terms of gift giving – I can never think of anything good enough, Mrs. P has simple but very specific tastes, and since we spend so much time together outside of work, sneaking off to get something incognito is a huge undertaking, I was determined this birthday to really knock her on her ass with the unadulterated power of a truly amazing gift.
Enter the Sous Vide Supreme Demi. If you aren’t aware of sous vide cooking, it is a method of preparing food where you vacuum seal said food, usually meat, in specially made plastic bags, then submerging them in a moderately hot, temperature controlled water bath for up to 48 hours. Long story slightly less long, you don’t break down the proteins, and the food comes out perfectly, evenly, majestically delicious. Complex flavours explode in your mouth like gastronomical fireworks.
Mrs. P has been drooling over the luxurious look of food porn worthy steak, chops, chicken and other sous vide-able animal parts for many, many months. We’ve visited local suppliers to gaze at the machine, ogled lustfully at the various sous vide paraphernalia with all the longing of hormone stricken teenagers and discussed the options a multitude of times. Unfortunatly, as with all things in Singapore, that shit is freaking expensive. In Canada, a basic model Sous Vide Supreme Demi will run you around $400.00CND. In Singapore, they cost in excess of $1000.00SGD.
Thinking I’d be a smarty-pants, I carefully sourced a Canadian supplier that would ship to Singapore, enlisted my always helpful mother to use her credit card as they wouldn’t accept my local Citibank card, and used the fastest, and therefore most expensive shipping option. I was so excited I almost pee’d my pants! Ok, not really, but I was looking forward to actually, finally surprising my wife with something she actually wants.
Finally, the day arrived. UPS delivered it to our place, and I opened it up in front of Mrs. P, a bit early for her birthday, but what the hell. She laughed, she cried, she jumped up and down. At last, I’d done something right! She was all smiles that entire evening, and I have never felt more accomplished in my gift giving endeavours.
The following evening, we decided to try that bad boy out. I carefully read through the instructions, found a socket adaptor, plugged it in, turned it on and…snap; a puff of smoke and the smell of melting wires, and the most expensive appliance I have ever purchased, the most expensive thing I’ve ever purchased outside of vehicles, was fucking dead.
I had read, somewhere, a long time ago before I actually arrived in Singapore, that they use a different, most importantly higher, voltage here, and that using western appliances requires a separate transformer to protect against the stronger signal, but it’s been several years, and I had totally forgotten about it. Fuck did I ever just fuck up.
The last few days have been beset with an almost constant stomach ache, deep feelings of regret, and calls back and forth to essentially useless local repair shops who have never heard of the sous vide and have no idea how to fix it. The manufacturers of Sous Vide Supreme have offered no help, and told me to just purchase another one, no surprise there I guess. The two local suppliers, who price gouge with abandon on such items, refuse to touch it, since I didn’t buy it in their store – fuck you very much Totts and Sia Huat for being completely useless.
Now I’m stuck hoping and praying that the original supplier, the very gracious Golda’s Kitchen Supplies in Canada will allow me to return the item for repair, charging whatever fee they feel like charging me.
Sometimes life fucks you, and sometimes you fuck yourself. Right now, I’m getting a bit of both, and I assure you it is not a comfortable sensation.
Mr. Paleoporean

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Licence to Ill

I haven’t been to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu this week at all, and only managed to drag my ass through two pretty hellish gym workouts. I missed a day of work, but was hardly working during the rest of the week. The reason for my atypical truancy, you might ask? Food poisoning I would reply, if you asked. Alternatively; it could have been irritable bowel syndrome on an epic scale, or stomach flu maybe? Who the hell knows? Doctors certainly don’t.

I have always had what people describe as a "weak stomach". Triggered by spicy food, oily food, fatty food, not-fatty food, high-carb or low-carb, dairy, but not all dairy; sometimes, or not. Basically any food outside of whatever has become my standard diet at the time transforms my intestines into an acidic washing machine, turning countless dinners out with friends into an embarrassingly hurried drive home. I explain politely that I’m just not feeling well, or tired, and make a mad dash to my toilet, where I will be spending the next several hours, or days, depending on the intensity of the coming storm.

Since committing to eating paleo about 6 months ago, I have felt a genuine reduction in the number of ‘episodes’ I’ve experienced, which is saying a lot for an ang moh in Singapore. I try to eat like the locals as much as one can while standing Gandalf-like against the Balrog of rice, beans, dairy and sugar infesting so much of the regional cuisine, and with Mrs. Paleoporean as my guide and food guru, happily dig into sting ray and pig’s liver, but drawing the line at shark’s fin since I’m not an evil bastard that hates the earth and all its creatures.

Besides cutting too many nights short, the ball and chain of my digestive tract has made me terrified to travel. Who doesn’t love to jet off to some exotic locale, full of sand, surf and a lax attitude towards public health? Well, call me Mr. Spontaneous, as long as I can spend countless hours of research time ensuring there are western style restaurants, with western standards of cleanliness, toilet facilities that aren’t based around a fly infested hole in the ground, and well stocked pharmacies. I can pack my own food, right?

I’d like to end this post with some tips to help prevent food poisoning, but I think it’s all pretty obvious, and most would be related to buying fresh and cooking your own food, which wouldn’t have helped me in this case anyway.

Clearly the specter of my weak stomach is alive and kicking, and this week, that motherfucker kicked me right in the gut.