Declaring jihad on fat (Day 22)

Weight rose by 0.3kg to 68.3kg. Body Fat rose 0.9% to 18.1%. Body Water dropped to 56.3% and Body Muscle dropped 0.5% to 42.6%. 

Its time to get serious. I'm declaring jihad on my body fat

Its time to get serious. I'm declaring jihad on my body fat

Can you see how unfair my body is? Can you see what I’m up against? I’ve spent the last three weeks exercising pretty much everyday, restricting what I eat, cutting out no less than eleven types of food. My progress has been painfully slow getting to the leanest I’ve been (yesterday) since this experiment started to reach a body fat of 17.2%. Yet in just one day my Body Fat has gone back to where it was a week ago. In one day my Body Fat has risen almost a whole 1%! That’s it. If my body wants to pick a fight with me, I’m taking it on! No more pussyfooting around. If I have an extreme body that leans towards being a fat bastard then I’m going to take extreme measures to tame it. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go onto a liquid only diet during the day and have only one solid meal in the evening which will be chewed so thoroughly that it’ll pretty much be liquid by the time it gets to my stomach. I’m not sure how long I’m going to do this for. I may lose muscle mass as a result. So be it! This is a war and in war there is always collateral damage. If my muscles are going to have to take a beating, then let it be. It’s a sacrifice I may well have to make.

So to clarify: filtered water; fresh fruit and vegetable juice; smoothies; vegan protein shakes; soups and caffeine-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and artificial sweetener-free hot drinks are all in during the day. After about 8pm I can consume one solid meal and some detox-allowed snacks (e.g. fruit, nuts and seeds). 

I also need to make my new goals crystal clear so that I know when I have won the battle. Before, I wanted to build muscle while burning fat. It seems I was slowly but surely managing to do that. But progress was far too slow as far as I am concerned especially as I’ve managed to undo a week’s worth of work in a single day. 

Body fat percentage

Body fat percentage

So what’s the ideal body fat percentage? This depends on age, sex etc. For a 31 year old male it also depends on who you ask. According to Weight Loss for All the healthy range is 8-19%. According to them I am currently just within the healthy range. 

According to the American Council of Exercise for all men: Obese is 25%+, Average is 18-24%, Fitness is 14-17%, Athletes are 6-13% and essential fat is 1-3%. 

According to the National Institute of Health and World Health Organisation: 0-8% is Underfat, 8-20% is Healthy, 20-25% is Overfat and 25%+ is Obese.

Based on these guidelines I shall aim to achieve a Body Fat of 8%. That’s just over 10% away. I’m not sure how long it will take to get there, nor am I sure how I’m going to achieve it in the long term. But for now I shall attempt to kick start the process by going onto a liquid only diet during the day and have one solid meal in the evening. I could seriously do with a decent blender right now! 

I had no lemons in the flat so I started the day with grape juice. 

Quinoa with oat milk and agave nectar

Quinoa with oat milk and agave nectar

Delicious Oatly oat milk

Delicious Oatly oat milk

For breakfast I had quinoa with oat milk fortified with calcium and vitamins and agave nectar. Oat milk tastes a lot better than soy milk. I only used a little bit of quinoa so my breakfast was soup like. 

Through the day I had tomato juice, decaf coffee, yogi tea and a detox tea. 

Through the later part of the day I snacked on lentil and whole grain basmati rice soup that my wife made for me. 

In the evening my dad and my sister came round to break their fasts. I ate kala chana and mung dal chilka with wholegrain basmati rice with salad. I also treated myself to some fresh Iranian dates (which are terribly addictive) and a Pakistani Anwar Retol mango. 

I also snacked on a handful of mixed nuts. 

Though I hadn’t eaten any solids until the evening, it seems quite probable that I’ve eaten as much as I would in a normal day, just in a shorter space of time. I’ll see tomorrow morning if any good came from this new approach! It’s possible that it hasn’t! 

I didn’t do any exercise today. This is partly due to being busy all day, heavy rain outside and I am partly wanting to see the effects of my new diet on my fat and muscle without exercising.

 

Which bean, pea, pulse, legume or dal has the most protein content? (Day 21)

My weight stayed the same at 68kg. Body Fat dropped 0.1% to 17.2%. Body Water rose to 56.9% and Body Muscle rose by 0.1% to 43.1%.  

I had run out of lemons so I started the day with a glass of fresh grape juice and quinoa, with coconut milk, strawberries and agave nectar.  

For lunch I had red lentils, with whole grain basmati rice.  

It was my day off today so I didn’t do any exercise. I wanted to chill out and therefore stayed in and relaxed.  

Kala chana, salad and vegetable juice

Kala chana, salad and vegetable juice

For my evening meal I had kala chana with salad and vegetable juice (cucumber, beetroot, carrot, celery and a clove of garlic).  

I am an emotional eater

I am an emotional eater

During the evening I snacked on some Iranian dates. I also snacked on Japanese rice crackers and drank some grape juice. After hearing about my grandfather yesterday I responded with a shopping spree of legitimate to almost legitimate foods as a de-stressor. I guess you could say I am an emotional eater. In hindsight it seems, though the Japanese rice crackers were not made of wheat, it is probable that they broke one of my detox rules. They are made of rice flour which I imagine is white rice and high in GI. In fact all three of my snacks this evening were high GI. A price I have no doubt I will have to pay for in the morning…  

Earlier this week I tried to find out which beans, peas, pulses, legumes or dals (daals) contain the highest protein content. I searched all over the world wide web and can now present to you the following exhaustive list (in descending order):  

Pulses

Pulses

Pulses protein per 100g (uncooked / raw):

  1. Soybeans: 36.49g 
  2. Lupini Beans / Lupin Beans: 36.17g
  3. Velvet Beans: 32.4g
  4. Red Lentils / Pink Dal / Masoor Dal: 26.0g
  5. Chana Dal / Bengal Gram: 25.4 g
  6. Broad Beans / Fava Beans / Faba Beans/ Horse Beans: 25.0g
  7. Pinto Beans: 25.0g
  8. Peanuts: 25.0g
  9. Urid Dal / Urad Bean: 24.0g
  10. Adzuki Beans: 24.0g
  11. Hyacinth Beans / Lablab Bean: 23.9g
  12. Moong Dal / Green Gram: 23.86g
  13. Lobhia / Black Eyed Beans / Cowpeas: 23.8g
  14. Red Kidney Beans / Red Beans / Kidney Beans: 23.6g
  15. Moth Beans: 23.6g
  16. Runner Beans / Scarlet Runner Beans: 23.0g
  17. Tur Dal / Red Gram / Pigeon Pea: 22.3g
  18. Black Beans: 21.6g
  19. Bambara Groundnut: 20.8g
  20. Yellow Split Peas / Green Split Peas: 20.0g
  21. Cannellini Beans / Great Northern Beans: 20.0g
  22. Borlotti Beans: 19.0g
  23. Haricot Beans / Navy Beans / White Beans: 18.0g
  24. Blue Boilers: 18.0g
  25. Lima Beans / Butter Beans / Calico Beans: 16.0g
  26. Green Lentils: 14.0g
  27. Brown Lentils: 14.0g
  28. Edamame Beans: 14.0g
  29. Kala Chana / Black Chana: 13.0g
  30. Chana / Garbanzo / Chickpeas: 13.0g
  31. Winged Beans: 12.0g
  32. Green Peas: 5.42g
  33. Moringa Oleifera: 2.5g
  34. Yam Beans: 1.4g

Right at the top of the pulse pyramid for protein is the famous or infamous (depending on your perspective) soybean. I have already written about the potential problems of consuming unfermented soybean products.

Lupins or lupini beans

Lupins or lupini beans

Middle Eastern lupin vendor

Middle Eastern lupin vendor

Up at a very close second is the Lupini bean, or lupin bean or lupins for plural. I hadn’t heard of it until compiling this list. When I looked at images and descriptions of this bean I realised that I had the pleasure of eating this bean outside the shrine of Ruqayya (known in the Indian-Subcontinent as Sakina) the great granddaughter of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in Damascus, Syria. In February earlier this year my dad and I were waiting for my mum to meet us outside the shrine. Outside the main entrance in the bazaar was a street vendor serving these funny yellow looking beans. What we found peculiar was how his mobile vending apparatus doubled-up as a temporary place for customers to eat the produce he was selling. We saw a security official squeezing a lemon wedge onto the bean and then dipping these yellow beans into a brownish powder before squeezing the bean out of its skin into his mouth. It looked very interesting. We had never seen anything like it before. As we love to try and experience the cultures of local people when we travel, we were eager to have a go. We asked the vendor what it was. He said “Tarmuz “or “Tormus” (couldn’t remember what he said until just looking it up online). The powder was brown salt, and it seemed as if the beans were soaked in warm salty/lemony water before being served to us. There was an art to eating it. First you had to squeeze the kernel out of its skin by pinching the skin between your thumb and index finger, rub a wedge of fresh lemon on it then dip it in salt, pop it in your mouth and then discard the skin. It reminds me of the art of drinking Tequila. It was a memorable experience and I would definitely recommend trying it if you happen to be in the Middle East and come across one of these street lupin vendors. 

Red lentils

Red lentils

The highest ranking legume in terms of protein content that is readily available without any controversy in regards to its safety is the red lentil. I shall therefore make a conscious effort to include more red lentils in my diet whilst on this detox to provide me with a vegetarian source of protein.

 

You can’t gain muscle and burn fat at the same time: Myth (Day 20)

Losing fat

Losing fat

I’m pretty much half way through the detox and it’s the leanest I’ve been since starting it. My weight stayed a constant 68kg. My body fat dropped 0.3% to 17.3%. Body Water was up to 56.8% and Body Muscle up 0.2% to 43.0%. Since the start my weight has dropped 1.9kg from 69.9kg to 68kg. My Body fat has dropped 1.5% from 18.8% to 17.3%. My Body Water has increased 1% from 55.8% to 56.8% and my Body Muscle has increased 0.7% from 42.3% to 43.0%. These statistics dispel the myth that in order to gain muscle you must also put on fat. Admittedly my progress has been slow, but my fat percentage has dropped whilst my muscle mass has grown. This proves that theoretically it is possible to do both at the same time. It is probable that my progress can be accelerated by tweaking my exercise regime and diet. I shall have to discover improvements as I go along. 

For breakfast I had a hot lemon juice followed by quinoa, coconut milk, strawberries, raspberries and agave nectar. 

For lunch I had red lentils with whole grain basmati rice. 

Give me a refund

Give me a refund

I went to Argos to return the blender I bought from them on Sunday. On their website it gives the impression it comes with a mill, but upon unpacking I found that it doesn’t. No surprise there from this appalling company. On my way to Argos I received a call from my wife informing me of the sad news of my grandfather passing away. I was almost there so I decided to continue with my journey anyway. Obviously at this stage I was in no fighting mood. When I asked for a refund at Argos, the member of staff called Toni asked me why I wanted to return it. I told her that the Argos website gave the impression it came with a mill when it doesn’t. She looked at my receipt and responded with “Well you viewed it before you bought it.” In normal circumstances I might have responded with “So what are you implying sweetheart? Is it my fault that Argos is mis-selling your products?” But obviously I was not in a mood to let myself be provoked. I wanted a refund quickly and I wanted to get home and be with the family. So I told her that I hadn’t paid attention at the time and expected all parts to be there. (Actually, the reason my receipt showed I had viewed the product is because I wanted to check the user guide to see if it could grind nuts, which it could do with the mill! But I couldn’t be bothered to explain.) I got my refund, returned home and then made my way to my parents home. 

On the way I fancied treating myself and so bought Iranian dates and a carton of 100% pure grape juice made from cold pressed grapes. 

Bats in trees at dusk

Bats in trees at dusk

I got back home earlier than expected and so I went for a stroll around the park with my wife. We walked around the park twice, but without timing how long it took. I got to show her the bats in the park as the sun set. Yes there really are bats in Valentines Park, and I’m not just seeing things. There are so many you can’t miss them. In fact you’d be lucky if they miss you as they fly very low and very fast. 

In the evening I snacked on some mixed nuts while relaxing and watching a movie.

 

Coconut milk and buckwheat (Day 19)

My weight dropped 0.3kg to 68.0kg, however my Body fat rose 0.2% to 17.6%. My Body Water dropped 0.1% to 56.6% and my Body Muscle dropped 0.1% to 42.8%. 

Quinoa, coconut milk, strawberries, raspberries and agave nectar

Quinoa, coconut milk, strawberries, raspberries and agave nectar

For breakfast I had a hot lemon juice followed by quinoa, strawberries, raspberries with coconut milk and agave nectar. 

This was the first time I used coconut milk as an alternative to cow’s milk. Well what can I say? It’s absolutely delicious. It beats soy milk hands down. Not only did it taste really good with my quinoa it also tastes great on its own as a drink. 

Coconut milk

Coconut milk

I looked into the health benefits of coconut and coconut milk. It has anti-viral, antibacterial- and anti-fungal properties capable of fighting things like influenza, ulcers, and athletes foot. It can kill tapeworms and other parasites. The saturated fat in coconut is made from medium-chain fatty acids which the body quickly turns into energy rather than store as body fat. It improves the digestion of nutrients and minerals. Improves insulin secretion, relieves stress on the pancreas and relieves symptoms of pancreatitis. Helps relieve symptoms of diabetes. It is good for the kidneys and urinary system. Coconut oil can be used to heal cuts and sunburns. It is good for the skin and hair and coconut oil is therefore used in skin and hair care products. It can help boost the immune system. The list of the health benefits of coconut is endless

For the taste alone, I know I’m going to come back to using coconut milk a lot more often. 

Buckwheat, channa dal and salad

Buckwheat, channa dal and salad

For lunch I had buckwheat with channa dal and salad. 

Prior to my workout I prepared for it by eating another portion of channa dal and buckwheat just before starting my workout. The protein in buckwheat like quinoa is complete i.e. it contains the eight essential amino-acids in significant amounts. Other benefits of buckwheat include: it is high in fibre; it contains many minerals (phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese); it lowers glucose levels and therefore is good for managing diabetes; and it reduces blood pressure and cholesterol due to it being rich in the flavonoid rutin. It is gluten free and therefore good for celiacs. It tastes like a grain but it’s about 3-4 times the size of a grain of rice. I quite liked it.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat

I made up for missing yesterday’s extended resistance workout by doing them at home today before heading to the park for the rest of my workout. It was a good workout. Other than the chest press, I beat previous repetition records for each exercise. It seems eating buckwheat with channa dal just before the work was a very good idea. It was an exhausting workout and I did my laps in 56 min 22 sec. A relatively fast walk, but nowhere near the record I achieved the day before. I then did a 12 min HIIT session on the cross trainer.

Post workout I had mango and watermelon.

Overall I was pleased with what I achieved today.

 

Shop for it! Don’t Argos it! Boycott Argos NOW! (Day 18)

My weight stayed the same at 68.3kg. My body fat dropped 0.3% to 17.4%. My Body Water rose to 56.7% and Body Muscle rose 0.1% to 42.9%. 

Quinoa, soy milk, straweberries, raspberries and agave nectar

Quinoa, soy milk, straweberries, raspberries and agave nectar

For breakfast I had my usual hot lemon drink followed by quinoa with soy milk, strawberries, raspberries and agave nectar. 

Channa dal, whole grain basmati rice, salad and vegetable juice

Channa dal, whole grain basmati rice, salad and vegetable juice

For lunch I had whole grain Basmati rice with a Channa dal, red kidney beans, corn and green peas curry and salad. This meal was accompanied by a vegetable juice (cucumber, ginger, celery, beetroot and carrot). 

I had intended to do my new additions to my resistance training before heading to the park today (squats, lunges, shoulder press) however I was running out of time and so went to the park for my laps. I got a new record today! 54 min and 30 sec! I then followed this with an 11 min 15 sec HIIT session on the cross trainer. 

Pakistani Anwar Retol mango and watermelon

Pakistani Anwar Retol mango and watermelon

Post workout I treated myself to a high GI treat of Pakistani Anwar Ratol mango and watermelon followed by a glass of soy milk and some peanut butter. 

Kenwood BL450 Blender with mill

Kenwood BL450 Blender with mill

Earlier today I went to Argos to buy myself a blender. After checking a few reviews I decided to go for the Kenwood BL450 Blender. It is rated 4.5 out of 5 on the Argos customer reviews. I asked to view it first as I wanted to check its user manual to see if it could blend/grind nuts. For now I want to be able to make smoothie/protein shakes, but in the long run I want to be able to make the kind of shakes you can buy at Tinseltown. The instruction manual said that you could put nuts in it, particularly in the mill. So I went ahead and bought it. 

False advertising on the Argos website of the Kenwood BL450 Blender shown with mill

False advertising on the Argos website of the Kenwood BL450 Blender shown with mill

When I got home, the Mrs unpacked it, gave it a rinse and left it out to dry. I wanted to make a soy milk and peanut butter shake after my workout. So I sat down and started to read the instructions. As I went through the diagram outlining the different parts, I got to the bit that described the mill. It said, if provided, it looks like such and such. I had all the parts in front of me, and there was no mill. I checked the box, no mention of a mill on the outside of the box. What gave me the idea that it came with a mill? I checked the Argos website. Well see picture with the blender? See that small beaker like thing with a lid on it next to it, that’s the mill that is missing. It was only on my last visit to Argos that I had bought a 2L Aqua Optima Water Filter Jug  thinking it to be 2.4L as it was advertised on the Argos website. After I was treated very rudely by Leytonstone Argos staff, I wrote four letters of complaint. Three to different Argos complaints addresses I found online and one to Strix, the manufacturer of Aqua Optima. Strix  swiftly responded with an apology and a 2.4L Water Filter Jug free of charge courtesy of Strix. Bravo! Now that’s what you call fantastic customer service. They also spoke to Argos and got them to amend the mistake that Argos had made on their website and corrected the error. In response to my THREE letters, Argos has responded with Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Bravo Argos! What a wonderful company you are! (British sarcasm

Aqua Optima by Strix

Aqua Optima by Strix

This review of the Kenwood BL450 Blender on the Argos website mentions how good the mill is (click to enlarge)

This review of the Kenwood BL450 Blender on the Argos website mentions how good the mill is (click to enlarge)

I looked closely at the Argos section promoting the Kenwood BL450 Blender. I went through the reviews and found no less than three reviews specifically mentioning how great the mill was. So was it my mistake to think that the product came with a mill? Clearly the impression the website is giving is that it does come with a mill. Once again I have been duped by Argos into buying a product that does not meet its description on their website. I was outraged. So I thought I’d do the helpful thing and put a review on the Argos website warning other customers that the mill is not supplied with the blender even though the website gives that false impression. So I went on the review section and looked for the link to click on to add my review. I looked everywhere. Nothing. My wife suggested maybe you have to register with the website first and log in. So I created an account, logged in and went to the review section. Still no option to add a review! I Googled: “How do I add a review to the Argos website?” It turns out this is a common query. Apparently the only way you can add a review to the Argos website is when Argos send you an email about two weeks after you’ve bought a product from them. How would they email me without knowing my email address? I don’t recall providing them with an email address upon buying the product. Also it seems even if you do get to write a review, if your review is overly negative they might not include it

It seems I’m not the only one appalled by Argos as a company. According to the impartial Review Centre, at the time of writing, from 2 ratings and 124 reviews Argos has a staggering overall rating of 1.3 out of 5

Shocking! Argos is rated 1.3 out of 5 by Argos customers on the Review Centre website

Shocking! Argos is rated 1.3 out of 5 by Argos customers on the Review Centre website

I personally am fed up of being misled by incorrect information on the Argos website. I’m fed up with the appalling customer service I receive within their stores. It seems their product reviews are not reliable (for example, I’ve not managed to find a single product that has an overall rating of less than 3 on their review site – I doubt this is a coincidence.) I’m astounded that I have received no reply to three separate complaints to Argos when I have taken the time write to them. This company needs to get its act together and stop pissing its customers off! Until they do get their act together I am boycotting them. From now on I shall stop buying any products from them. I’d rather pay another company more money for better customer service then get a cheaper deal at Argos. 

Boycott Argos

Boycott Argos

If you have had similar bad experiences at Argos I encourage you to boycott them too. Shop for it! Don’t Argos it! 

If you have suffered at the hands of Argos business practices there are other proactive steps you can take to encourage change. Share your bad Argos experience with BBC Watchdog, they seemed interested in what I had to say when I contacted them in regards to my dreadful experience with Argos. If enough people contact them with their stories maybe BBC Watchdog will do a feature on Argos which will no doubt force Argos to improve its service. 

Also join the Boycott Argos As They Suck For Quality And Customer Service group on Facebook. Every little helps.

No.

Wait.

That’s Tesco.

You know what I mean.

 

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