diet check in 10192016

This is a check in on my current diet and some upcoming tweaks.

My deadlift workout kicked my ass last night and left me feeling destroyed this morning. I am going to adjust my macros on deadlift day accordingly.

Here is the current macro plan:

Meal Plan Protein Carbs Fats Calories
Rest Days 210 40 127 2003
Training Days 196 133 93 1998
Deadlift Days 194 217 65 2056

I will see if this gives me more energy come deadlift day. I will tweak this as we go.



The Raw Milk Deception

I wanted to touch on the idea of raw milk. As I am returning to fitness, I am starting to look at old resources that I used to reference as I plan my diet and determine what foods to eat and what to avoid.

Now, I have always loved milk. When I was 19 and started lifting weights for the first time, I followed a GOMAD (Gallon Of Milk A Day) approach while squatting 3x per week and I felt great and went from 112# to 185# in just a few years.

While I used pasteurized, whole milk from the grocery store, I always wondered about something talked about on health boards: raw milk.

This was in 2008-2009. I was a college student and fresh out of college and didn’t have much money, so driving to upstate New York or out of state just to get milk was insane. Now, however, raw milk seems to be one of those trendy health foods and is a little more available. I just need to get to a farm and buy it.

I did a little research and decided to share my findings on my blog, to save someone else the work. Just keep in mind, I am not a doctor or dietician so what follows are my opinions.

As you can tell from the blog title, its not looking good for the raw milk argument.

What is Pasteurization?

First, a little bit of background. Pasteurization is simply heating milk (or juice) in order to kill food borne illnesses, such as listeria, E. Coli, etc. In fact, before pasteurization, 25% of food borne illnesses came from milk. Since pasteurization began in 1938, less than 1% of food borne illnesses come from milk.

Note, this is different than homogenization. When milk is homogenized, the milk is agitated and then filtered so that the milk fat does not separate out to the top.

Pretty simple. This is really no different than cooking on a stove or boiling water to kill bacteria.

Health Benefits

Proponents of raw milk note that pasteurization hurts the nutrition of the milk. They claim that raw milk contains probiotics, “better” protein, more vitamins, etc. Let’s take a look:

First, raw milk is not probiotic:

While raw milk is widely promoted by producers as a probiotic, there are no studies showing that it meets the definition of a probiotic. In fact, raw milk produced using good hygiene should have hardly any bacteria in it at all. Milk from a healthy animal (or human) is sterile when it leaves the mammary gland. As the milk moves through the skin/teat canal, it may pick up small numbers of bacteria from the skin (not enough to be a probiotic). Once the milk is outside the animal, any other bacteria or viruses that get into the milk would have to come from the environment (feces, flies, dust, equipment). Bacteria from the environment, especially feces and flies, are not likely to be probiotic, and may even be pathogenic.

Now, if you want the benefits of probiotics, you don’t have to rely on raw milk for that. You can simply consume fermented foods (sour pickles, kimchi, yogurt, etc) without risk of illness from raw milk (we’ll get to that later).

Additionally, there is no evidence that pasteurization affects milk in a significant way. While some enzymes are denatured, these enzymes are not known to be beneficial to humans. Vitamin C is lost during the heating process, but you should be getting Vitamin C from other sources any way, as a serving of raw milk only provides 4% of the daily value of Vitamin C.

What is significant, however, is Vitamin D or lack thereof. If you consume milk from the grocery store, it is fortified with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is really, really important and most people are deficient in it. Raw milk is not fortified with Vitamin D, which hurts calcium absorption. 

Food Safety

This is a huge concern for me. After all, if you get food poisoning, it means you are going to lose a lot of strength. Oh, and you might die, too. In fact, the CDC warns strongly against consuming raw milk.

On, there are two reports on food safety to look at. You can find them here:

These tables contain outbreak, illness and death information from 1998 to 2013 and use data from the CDC. Here are the numbers, side by side:

Pasteurized Raw
Outbreaks 31 136
Illnesses (total) 2840 2468
Deaths (total) 10 2
Fluid Illnesses 2200 1803
Fluid Deaths 3 0
Cheese Illnesses 604 608
Cheese Deaths 6 2


You might look at this and say “Well, not much difference. It seems like there are more raw outbreaks, but fewer people got sick and fewer died.” However, the CDC notes that only 1% of all milk sales in the United States are raw. 

I found per capita consumption for cheese and milk in a downloadable Excel file on the US Department of Agriculture’s website, here.

Now, accounting for actual volumes of cheese and milk consumed, your chance of getting sick from either source is very low. Using the 99%/1% split from the CDC, between 1998 and 2013, Americans consumed 862,298,731,800 pounds of pasteurized milk and 8,710,088,200 pounds of raw milk. Per pound of milk you consume, you are looking at an illness rate of:

  • .00000033% for pasteurized milk
  • .00002833% for raw milk
  • .000000407% for pasteurized cheese
  • .000040569% for raw cheese

While this might seem low, each glass of milk you consume is a roll of the dice here.

This higher rate of illness is why more than half of the outbreaks caused by milk are caused by raw milk, despite accounting for only 1% of total milk consumption:



Raw milk is simply not worth the risk. You are much more likely to become sick from raw milk than you are from pasteurized milk and there are no benefits from raw milk that you can’t get from pasteurized milk or from somewhere else.

In fact, you are probably best off drinking pasteurized milk from grass fed cows. This gives you a better quality of fat and vitamins.

However, it seems like raw milk advocates are harping on one of the biggest myths about diet and fitness out there on the internet; that there is one miracle food that if you just start eating, you’ll be healthy. Raw milk isn’t the silver bullet you are looking for.

Beef Chili


This is the first post where I will share recipes that I use in my cooking. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am keeping it fairly low carb with carbs around my workouts, and I am generally keeping it paleo (though my theory on paleo might differ from others, which I’ll save for a later blog).

This recipe for chili is great. It is easy to prep, tastes good, and can be portioned out to eat as a quick snack or meal throughout the week. It’s filled with things that are good for you:

  • Grass fed beef is loaded with protein, healthy fats, and Vitamin E
  • A healthy amount of garlic and onions contains oodles of antioxidants
  • Jalapenos and dried chiles are loaded with vitamins, capsaicin (which helps fight inflammation), boost immunity, help control fat, and basically everything else good in the world
  • Tomatoes, which improve heart health and bone health
  • Homemade bone broth, which helps your joints and comes packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Mushrooms, which improve your immune system while lowering estrogen
  • Lastly, the bacon and beef give you some cholesterol, which is actually good for you and is highly anabolic

It is spicy, but not too spicy. It is a good way to hide vegetables or things you might not otherwise want to eat. Case in point; the mushrooms are perfect for someone like me, who doesn’t like the texture of mushrooms, but wants to get them in somehow. You will want to pick a mushroom with a meaty flavor, so it enhances the flavor of the dish.

It is easy to modify: add offal if you’d like, or use a different kind of meat, or adjust the amount of chili powder you want to use. This is a dish that is prime for experimentation.

It is great on top of a starchy carb or on its own.


Beef Chili

  • 1 tblspoon olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 jalapenos, seeds removed and diced
  • 16 oz diced tomatoes
  • 2# grass fed ground beef
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 4 oz uncured bacon, cubed
  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth
  • 2 tblspoons chili powder
  • 1 tblspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipolte powder
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Rinse and dry mushrooms and then chop them finely in a food processor. Set aside.
  2. In a dutch oven over medium heat, add oil and bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy, then remove the bacon
  3. Saute the onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the dutch oven and saute in the olive oil/bacon fat mixture until cooked through. As you saute, use the edge of your spoon to scrape up any brown bits that may have stuck to the dutch oven
  4. Add the ground beef to the pan and toss to combine with the onion, garlic, and mushroom mixture. Break the meat up with your spoon so it evenly browns throughout the dutch oven
  5. Once browned, toss in the reserved bacon, chili powder, ancho chili powder, chipolte powder, sea salt and pepper. Mix the seasonings in using your spoon so the meat is evenly seasoned throughout
  6. Stir in tomatoes and chicken broth
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for at least 1.5 hours, uncovered. Stir occasionally, being sure to scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the dutch oven

Let me know what you think.

A Note About Diet

I wanted to jot down a brief outline of my diet to continue to hold myself accountable.

I am largely inspired by Jamie Lewis’s Apex Predator diet, that you can find in four parts, here, here, here and here. This guys website is VERY NSFW. Additionally, since I have had my DNA typed as being almost entirely from Northern Europe (Anglo-Saxon, Celts, Viking, and Normans), I look to follow similar diets, and so you can read about the traditional Irish diet here.

Here are some rules I am following:

  • Complex carbs in the morning and around workouts only
  • Heavy on animal protein, aiming for 2 grams of protein per pound of LBM
  • Choose a variety of meats and cuts. My ancestors didn’t eat chicken breast at every meal, and neither will I. I mix in chicken, pork, beef, and game meat. For cut variation, for beef, I will have skirt steak, ribeye, NY strip, hanger, brisket, shortribs, etc. For pork, I’ll do ribs (both kinds), chops, shoulder, belly, etc.
  • Eat a lot of fish. Fatty fish and shellfish in particular
  • Offal is good. Eat as much as you can.
  • Dairy is good, but since I am trying to lean out, I don’t want too much lactose. Right now, I’m eating skyr (Icelandic yogurt) and cheese (particularly different kinds of Irish cheese that have no sugar in them)
  • Starches are potatoes, sweet potatoes, and oats. On a smaller scale, root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, onions, etc) too.
  • Veggies are a requirement. I am doing a good deal of broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage and lettuce. Fruits like berries are good too, but due to a lot of fructose, I am trying to keep it to around workouts and to a minimum. I’ve found throwing a big pile of veggies in the blender and drinking them makes it easier to get my veggies
  • Heavily season everything for extra health benefits. For example, Cayenne contains vitamin A, B6, C, E, Niacin, Calcium, and other minerals and has several health benefits and garlic is loaded with vitamins and minerals and comes with several health benefits as well
  • Supplement with fish oil, protein, and creatine. In my training past, I had some joint problems (knee and elbow), so I’m also taking glucosamine