Saturday, 9 July 2016

Post 14: 1 Week Diet Plan (plus an announcement!)

Hi Guys,

This post is kind of a big deal, something I know you’ve all been waiting for. Today we’re going to be looking at a week long diet and exercise plan for someone getting started with the Cowlean style of eating. This post is going to be your anchor, in a sea of competing information sources. It’s going to take you out for a nice seafood dinner, but then it will call you again. I’m hoping that by the end of this post you’ll be so excited you’ll be burgundy in the face...

It's time to stop being the size of an old, old, wooden ship...

There’s lots to work through, and an announcement to come first, so let’s get to it!


So, in the past few weeks you might have noticed (I hope that you’ve noticed!) that the blog has gone from being a weekly publication to a bi-weekly publication.

Things are about to change for a little while… Instead of there being a mid-week post here, I’m going to be trialling 2 mid-week posts on Medium (a social media website for bloggers), on Monday and Wednesday, which are going to focus on my own journey and some diet psychology and conceptual stuff. It will be an opportunity to get my thoughts down on paper (on screen?...), and get them out to you guys in an unadulterated form. Sometimes I think that half the battle is psychology, so by giving you a window into my thoughts, I hope you’ll benefit.

This trial will go on for 4 weeks, at which point I’ll have a look to see if I want to continue or revert back to the current format, but don’t worry for one second! Content on Medium is free to access and doesn’t require a signup, and you’ll actually be getting more content! Win-win, if I say so myself!

This site will still be getting long form and in-depth posts each week as per usual, with the Medium entries being quick reads. The first post on Medium is going to be released on Monday, and I’ll make sure that there are links posted here and on social media so you can access it easily. Here's the link to the latest post.

Now, let’s get this show on the road!

Starting Words

Everybody’s different. Everybody’s similar. We could give the same advice to everyone, and 80% of it would be effective. 20% of your advice needs to be specific to the individual. Now it’s time to meet Anne.

Anne’s Story

Anne is a middle aged woman in her 50s. She’s always eaten healthily (she thought), but over time her weight slowly increased, and it took more time exercising and fewer calories to maintain her weight. Her health has never been an issue, so she’s never been forced into any large scale changes. However, she really wants to lose those 10 lbs that she’s put on in the last 10 years so that she feels as good as she used to, and to fit into a pair trousers she sorely misses wearing, and has kept all this time.

Anne’s problem is that she needs to work smarter, rather than harder. I think this applies to many aspects of people’s lives: they bang and bang on a locked door and can’t worked out why it won’t budge. All the while there’s an open door right next to it, but they never noticed it.

100 calories of bullshit more like...
Anne’s always accepted the conventional wisdom in health and nutrition: so far it’s just been high carb low fat diets interspersed with 100 calorie snack-packs. She’s never really tested any other methods, just used more extreme versions of what she was doing already. She’s right in wanting to lose the 10 lbs and feel as good as she used to, because age truly is no excuse, and she can do so by eating a diet that she was designed to eat, which supports and nourishes her body.

Anne’s Plan

  • Primarily this is a low carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet, with lots of fibre. We shouldn’t be scared of healthy fats, and we should have an appropriate level of carbs for our daily activity. For most of us (myself, the pro desk-jockey, included), it’s not actually that much.
  • Anne should purchase organic meat, wild caught fish, and organic fruit and vegetables wherever possible to lower inflammation and increase bioavailability (i.e. uptake of nutrients, minerals and vitamins). It is also better for the environment and protects soil fertility.
  • This plan works in tandem with a strong sleep schedule (information here), which aids in rest, recovery, and fat loss. No sleep, no gains!
  • Her workouts should comprise of a maximum of 30 minutes high intensity interval training (HIIT) followed by weights and resistance machines. Exercise is an acute stressor: your body reacts, adapts, and improves. If you perform it for too long without sufficient recovery, it becomes a chronic stressor i.e. debilitating.

Note on portions:
  • Veg: a large handful
  • Meat: a palm sized portion
  • Fish: a palm sized portion or a tin
  • Fruit: a small handful
  • Safe starches: a medium handful or in the case of rice: 40g dry

Note on snacks:
  • The aim of the game is to not need them, by eating enough at every meal
  • However, it’s best to eat when you’re truly hungry (not just craving), so if she finds herself in this situation a small handful of raw nuts or some very dark chocolate would suffice

Anne’s week long plan consists of loads of non-inflammatory, nutrient dense, whole foods, which will make her feel great and help her to achieve her aim. The meal plans are simple, but can be spiced up in many ways by a combination of  herbs and spices (huh huh…). I personally love to make the dip which is included in Wednesday’s meal: just combine a little of your chosen vegetables with some butter and EVOO and blend. This has threefold benefit: a) it’s delicious, b) you get the fat burning effects of the blended butter, and c) nutrients and vitamins become more bioavailable when consumed with fats.

Meal Plan

Monday: Energise
Breakfast - 1 fried egg, 1 slice of nitrate free bacon
Lunch - 1 avocado, 2 portions of veg, green tea salmon
Dinner - 1 portion of safe starch, 2 portions of veg with grass-fed butter melted on top, 1 portion of meat

Tuesday: Workout (Exercise - fasted if possible. If not, she should remove the safe starch from lunch time)
Breakfast - Fasting
Lunch - 1 portion of safe starch, 2 portions of veg, 1 portion of fish (e.g. mackerel, tuna, sardines, etc.), dressed in EVOO
Dinner - 1 portion of safe starch, 2 portions of veg, 1 portion of meat, 1 avocado
Dessert - 1 portion of fruit (see here for which fruits are best to eat)

Wednesday: Rest
Breakfast - an avocado, an egg
Lunch - BIG Salad with 2 portions of veg, 1 portion of fish, 1 egg
Dinner - 1 portion of safe starch, 2 portions of veg, 1 portion of meat, blend a small amount of the veg with some grass-fed butter for a tasty dip

Here's an example meal you can make very easily, and includes one of the blended butter/veg dips

Thursday: Intermediate Fat Burn
Breakfast - Fasting
Lunch - 1 avocado, 1 portion of fish, 2 portions of veg, dressed with EVOO
Dinner - 2 eggs, 1 slice of bacon, 1 portion of meat, 3 portions of veg roasted with some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme for an indulgent meal

Friday: Restock
Breakfast - 1 portion of fish
Lunch - 3 portions of veg, 1 egg, 1 portion of meat, 1 portion of safe starch (this can be prepared as a one pot meal i.e. with the egg cooked over the top like here)
Dinner - 1 safe starch, 1 portion of fish, 3 veg

Saturday: Expert Fat Burn (Exercise post-breakfast - after you’ve had the coffee you’ll be ready to conquer the world)
Breakfast - Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting (10g butter blended with a fresh coffee) (information here)
Lunch - 1 portion meat, 3 veg, an avocado
Dinner -  BIG salad (incl. 2 veg), 1 fish, 1 avocado

Sunday: Recover
Breakfast - 1 bacon, 1 egg, 2 veg
Lunch - BIG salad (incl. 3 veg), 1 fish, 1 avocado
Dinner - BIG salad (incl. 3 veg), 1 meat, 1/2 portion of safe starch


I've structured Anne’s week to have ups and downs in calories and fat burning effects: I think this is the best way forward considering her age, gender, and aims. In effect, we will always be keeping her body guessing! She’s fasting on two days of the week: Tuesday and Thursday, and bulletproof fasting on Saturday. On Tuesday she should focus on having a solid workout, followed by some food for recovery. On Thursday she focuses on getting high quality proteins and fats to keep her in fat-burning mode. On Saturday we go all out with the fat burning tactics (HIIT and BIF), and make sure she stays in that zone all day. Sunday is designed for sleep and recovery, and after her indulgent breakfast she can focus on getting her body a tonne of nutrients and minerals, while putting minimal strain on the digestive system.


The takeaway today isn’t quite the same as usual. We haven’t got a tidy list of 3 strategies (it’s funny how that happens nearly every week doesn’t it?...). Instead we’ve put together all of the lessons we’ve learned recently and combined them into an effective eating plan. Take a look at the above and notice the following ideas present: quality of sleep, macronutrient breakdown, fasting, fruit, and cravings. In conclusion, today’s takeaway must be the following:

Go back to my old posts and combine the knowledge with your own, and what’s available on the internet. Health, fitness and wellness are all one part of one huge holistic concept. Come up with a week long plan of your own, and get started!


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