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  • Meals are draining me instead of providing energy; aiming to gain weight.

    I'm in the beginner stage of a weight-lifting program to gain weight and add muscle. I have the program and gym schedule down; my diet is lacking.

    I'm a student, so budget is tight. My main diet right now consists of store-bought ground beef, coconut oil, basmati rice, salmon and veggies. I aim to eat liver at least once a week as well. My main meals always include meat (beef or fish), coconut oil for fat and rice for cheap and easy carbs. My energy levels are pretty inconsistent, though; my sleep isn't the issue as I aim for 9 hours of bed-time per night, and for the most part hit that target. My fatigue isn't from sleep-deprivation, but seems to come from my food, although it's hard to pinpoint what the real problem is when your head is constantly foggy and you can practically feel the inflammation (blocked nose, irritable, feeling heavy and drained of energy).

    I've tracked my macros; on most days I get around 50% of my calories from fat (166g), 28% of my calories from carbs (210g) and 22% from protein (160g). My TDEE is about 2500 calories, so I'm eating at least 3000 calories each day. For reference, I'm a 23 y/o male, 5"11, weighing around 65kg. I have no problem actually eating enough calories on a day-to-day basis, but it's really hard to maintain a diet that takes at least three hours out of every day to get under my belt (one hour per meal for cooking, eating and cleaning up after), as well as feeling drained after eating without really knowing why.

    What can I do to improve my diet? Is rice safe to eat in such large quantities on a daily basis? I'm really lean and go to the gym three times a week to lift, but I have no idea about carb tolerances and whatnot. I have no idea if my fatigue stems from too many carbs, too much fat or some other issue. It doesn't always occur, either; sometimes I'm bursting with energy after eating, at other times I feel like I have to put my head down and sleep immediately.

  • #2
    salmon takes 5 minutes to cook and a burger doesn't take much longer, so what is taking you an hour? try batch-cooking veggies and starches so they just need to be reheated if that is the hangup here. occasionally swap out some tinned oysters/mussels/clams for the salmon.

    you may want to try fats other than coconut oil. not everybody does great with it. have you tried potatoes instead of rice??

    since you're trying to build, i'd reduce the fat and up the protein; carbs at this point are likely fine. i'd add eggs and various kinds of offal (in addition to liver), both of which are cheap.

    how do you time your meals with your work-outs?
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    – Ernest Hemingway

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    • #3
      For the post-meal tiredness, you could try eating more small meals or snacks. That goes against paleo CW, but that advice is usually given by and for people trying to lose weight.
      I moved to primalforums.com to escape the spam.

      Comment


      • #4
        Could be a micronutrient deficiency (or several), overtraining, or just stress. If you have healthcare, my first recommendation is to see your doctor. In the meantime, try noodle's advice and consider finding a good source of vitamin D and K. I don't know if the A in liver can cause tiredness, but you still want to balance your fat soluble vitamins. Make sure you're getting enough water and salt.

        +1 for batch cooking. Or at least intentional leftovers.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am also puzzled by your saying it takes you so long to fix meals. I don't enjoy cooking per se, so if something takes longer than 10 minutes to cook I don't eat it. Usually I can cook a meal, eat it, and have everything cleaned up and put away within a half hour or less. Throw a steak in the broiler, while it cooks fix a salad in summer or steamed or sauteed veges in the winter, heat up left over rice or baked potatoes if I am currently eating those, and I have food ready in about 7 minutes.

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          • #6
            What is your eating "style"? Do you sit down and eat slowly (either alone or with friends or family), or do you tend to wolf it down in 3 bites in order to get on with something else? Reason I ask is if I take my time and actually eat and enjoy, I feel good...if I wolf a proper meal down in 10 minutes or so, I feel comatose for hours after.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
              salmon takes 5 minutes to cook and a burger doesn't take much longer, so what is taking you an hour? try batch-cooking veggies and starches so they just need to be reheated if that is the hangup here. occasionally swap out some tinned oysters/mussels/clams for the salmon.

              you may want to try fats other than coconut oil. not everybody does great with it. have you tried potatoes instead of rice??

              since you're trying to build, i'd reduce the fat and up the protein; carbs at this point are likely fine. i'd add eggs and various kinds of offal (in addition to liver), both of which are cheap.

              how do you time your meals with your work-outs?[/SIZE][/FONT]
              The rice takes about 12 minutes to cook once I start simmering it from the boil. I start frying the ground beef 5 minutes into that, because the meat itself takes about 10 minutes to make sure it's thoroughly cooked. The actual cooking overall from start to end takes about 20 minutes altogether for everything. Eating the meal can take another 10-30 minutes depending on how hungry I am and whether I'm feeling tired, then the clean-up after takes another 10 minutes or so (I try to clean up as I cook so there isn't a huge pile of dishes at the end). I'm a slow eater, but I need to try and make my meals more enjoyable.

              The batch cooking is a good idea, I want to buy a rice cooker for this reason so I can have the rice done for all three meals without having to cook it from scratch every time. As for meal timing, I generally set reminders every 5 hours, beginning about an hour after I wake up. I'll have breakfast, give myself about an hour to rest, walk to the gym and workout (travel + workout is never more than two hours), then come home and have lunch, so I think my timing is mostly on point. I have tried potatoes in place of rice, and felt the same afterwards.

              In the meantime, try noodle's advice and consider finding a good source of vitamin D and K. I don't know if the A in liver can cause tiredness, but you still want to balance your fat soluble vitamins. Make sure you're getting enough water and salt.
              I take 5000iu of Vitamin D every morning to back myself up. For vitamin K, I use Kerrygold (grass-fed) butter as a cooking fat for my liver and onions in the week. I may try to use the butter in place of coconut oil a few times to mix it up, actually.

              Usually I can cook a meal, eat it, and have everything cleaned up and put away within a half hour or less. Throw a steak in the broiler, while it cooks fix a salad in summer or steamed or sauteed veges in the winter, heat up left over rice or baked potatoes if I am currently eating those, and I have food ready in about 7 minutes
              It's definitely the rice taking up the most time to prepare. I'll invest in a rice cooker to get that out of the way, it shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes to fix up the meat and vegetables then!

              What is your eating "style"? Do you sit down and eat slowly (either alone or with friends or family), or do you tend to wolf it down in 3 bites in order to get on with something else? Reason I ask is if I take my time and actually eat and enjoy, I feel good...if I wolf a proper meal down in 10 minutes or so, I feel comatose for hours after.
              I practically never rush my meals. I'm considered a pretty slow-eater because of how lax I am. That being said, I'm not exactly 'mindful' when I eat alone compared to eating with friends or family, and I think I know why; my meals are barely meals because of how boring they are, so I distract myself by browsing the net or watching videos on my phone while I eat. This must be slowing me down way more than I realise because I'm not paying attention to what's on my plate. I need to work on making my meals taste better so that I can actually look forward to them instead of dreading them like I do now.

              Any ideas for really basic and easy meals I can fix up? I feel that if I can't even enjoy a meal mentally, then it may be no wonder that I often feel physically flat after.

              Comment


              • #8
                A few seasonings might make the world of difference to your enjoyment.

                Brown some onion and garlic before you add the beef.

                And/or add a pinch of chilli or a sprinkling of dried basil/oregano/thyme. Each will give it a different flavour so you can vary them day to day.

                For added richness stir through a tablespoon full of tomato paste or basil pesto (again, you can alternate these for variety). I have even used an olive tapanade here, but that's probably not a budget item. Or dollop of chutney or chilli sauce if you don't mind a little added sugar.

                10 minutes is not long cooking for your meat to be very tender or tasty. I would add a tin of chopped tomatoes and let it simmer for another half hour. Obviously you can't do this three times a day but if you make a big batch you just need to reheat later.


                Another way to prepare the mince is as meatballs or patties, or a meatloaf. Beat an egg, season (salt, pepper, herbs, spices - just change it up each time) add a finely chopped onion, then mix this all together with the meat and using hands wet with cold water shape into the balls or patties or loaf and bake in the oven. Make plenty and they can be eaten cold any time.


                You seem to have the rice cooking under control, but have you tried microwaving? It is very very simple and once you have the settings right you can do other things while it cooks. I use 2 cups rice, 3 cups water, tsp salt, tsp butter. Microwave on high 20 minutes then fork through to separate the grains and let stand for a few minutes.

                Rice really is boring, but if you add some steamed veges and some sort of sauce (this is the hard part with primal, soy sauce is out, sweet chilli sauce is full of sugar and additives, but you only need a small bit of something to give flavour. Maybe try lemon juice or ginger, use your imagination).

                If you don't eat all the rice at one sitting it is easy to turn it into a rice pudding for another meal, e.g. breakfast. Beat an egg, add some milk, sprinkling of cinnamon or cloves, tiny bit of honey to sweeten. Stir this into the rice and microwave in a mug or small bowl for a couple of minutes.
                Last edited by Annieh; 08-02-2016, 03:00 AM.
                My first journal - http://forum.marksdailyapple.com/for...mal-highlights

                Comment


                • #9
                  Eggs are excellent protein. Here are some ways to use them:

                  Hard boiled as a snack.

                  Scrambled on a bed of fried greens.

                  Omelette loaded with fried onions and mushrooms and capsicums (peppers).

                  Whizzed with banana, vanilla and cocoa then cooked as pancakes or microwave mug cakes. Ask if you want more detailed instructions, plenty people here have tried some variation of these.

                  Stirred through leftover mashed potato and fried as home made hash browns.


                  Eating is much more fun when you enjoy your food. And cooking can become fun as you get better at it.
                  My first journal - http://forum.marksdailyapple.com/for...mal-highlights

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                  • #10
                    When did you start consuming coconut oil? I'm thinking that may be making you feel foggy - it's not uncommon. (as Noodletoy mentioned) I'd back way off or cut it out completely for a week or two and see if it makes a difference. Make sure you're getting plenty of salt, especially if you drink a lot of water.
                    Life is not a matter of having good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.

                    - Robert Louis Stevenson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Instead of new recipes for you to fix at every meal, I'm going to list some options using intentional leftovers so you can spend less time cooking.

                      1-5 MINUTES
                      The BARS (big ass rice salad): leftover rice, tomatoes, leafy herbs, lemon juice, oil
                      + any leftover protein
                      + canned sardines, salmon, or tuna

                      The BAPS (big ass potato salad): leftover potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, vinaigrette
                      + canned sardines, salmon, or tuna
                      + leftover or reheated frozen green beans

                      Leftovers: straight up

                      5-10 MINUTES
                      Fried rice: leftover rice, garlic, ginger, scallions, tamari, eggs
                      + any leftover protein or a fried egg (use the same pan)
                      + frozen peas

                      Raiman (this is how you say ramen in Georgia, really, but in this case it's rice noodle ramen): rice noodles, stock, thinly sliced or leftover chicken, tamari, spinach
                      + leftover veg
                      + leftover protein or a fried egg

                      Simple crock pot meals take very little prep, even including browning in a separate pan which will improve flavor, but then you have to clean it. If you don't already have one, I recommend getting one. You can cook larger quantities of cheaper proteins and make stock to add some more nutrition to your rice.


                      For the tiredness, I'm all out. Wish I could help, but I'm trying to figure out my own tiredness myself.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KG View Post


                        I practically never rush my meals. I'm considered a pretty slow-eater because of how lax I am. That being said, I'm not exactly 'mindful' when I eat alone compared to eating with friends or family, and I think I know why; my meals are barely meals because of how boring they are, so I distract myself by browsing the net or watching videos on my phone while I eat. This must be slowing me down way more than I realise because I'm not paying attention to what's on my plate. I need to work on making my meals taste better so that I can actually look forward to them instead of dreading them like I do now.

                        Any ideas for really basic and easy meals I can fix up? I feel that if I can't even enjoy a meal mentally, then it may be no wonder that I often feel physically flat after.
                        I'm guilty as charged as well, many times I eat slowly but I'm not very mindful.
                        I prepare huge salads with everything minus olives, cheese, and oils and keep them in a large container in the fridge. It stays crisp with a paper towel or two at the bottom (soaks up the moisture.) I cut up zucchini, squash, celery, peppers, onions...basically whatever...and do the same thing with a paper towel and store in the fridge. We buy some really, really awesome bacon from our farmer in large quantities; I thaw it enough to break it apart and freeze it in meal-sized portions. Bacon out of the fridge into the skillet, followed by a shit ton of vegetables that are already washed, cut, and ready. While they're warming up I grab some of my already-made salad. This takes about 10 minutes, 15 if I'm screwing around the kitchen. I don't cook the veg long, because I like it warm with a bit of "crisp" left, which is why I'm not a big crock pot veg person (meat is a different story.)
                        I don't know why, but one of my best friends feel like a million bucks and is (annoyingly) peppy after a big meal of comfort and cooked foods. She can wolf down a large plate of pressure cooked beef, potatoes, cooked practically to mush vegetables with a large amount of butter on top. After she polishes this off, she goes outside and works in the garden for a few hours like she's She-Rah. When I eat like that, I'm passed out in the recliner, dead to the world, for at least an hour or two. If I eat most of my foods raw, or very lightly cooked, I have energy and a "feel good" feeling running through my veins. Different strokes for us. Some foods make me feel heavy, dull and tired; others have the opposite effect. Pay attention to what your body tells you!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OP.... Cool avatar. Samurai champloo in my all time top five. That is all.
                          Last edited by Neckhammer; 08-05-2016, 09:45 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Try reducing fat and adding carbs. Worked well for me. Feel much more energetic and have an overall improved sense of well-being.

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                            • #15
                              Not quite sure why any response includes eating "less" or replacing anything when the OP is aiming to gain weight

                              5'11" and 143lbs (65kg)....yeah. EAT MOAR! Moar fat, moar carbs, just moar! Cook a ton of food and just reheat it through the week. Personally I slow smoke about 10-15lbs of meat nearly every weekend (pork shoulder or brisket usually). That's my meat for nearly a week. I certainly don't cook every single day. I don't have the time for that either! Good meat, few different paleo friendly sauces and a microwave. Thats it. Do the same with your rice. No use only making enough for one meal. Make enough for 3-5 days.

                              I don't do rice often and get plenty of energy from fat personally, but when I want to gain weight some starchy carbs certainly do the trick. So yeah. Pound those tators and rice!
                              Last edited by Neckhammer; 08-05-2016, 11:29 AM.

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