Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Days 6 & 7: The Final Blur to Victory

Well, by now you know I made it, but I haven't spelled out how it happened yet, so here goes. This weekend was both the last 2 days of my week of meat, and also the time for a recreation of this year's Microsoft Puzzle Hunt. The event was fantastic in many ways, among them was the fact that it largely kept me distracted from the fact I had serious dietary restrictions...

Saturday I woke up early because I had to be at event headquarters (which also happened to be my workplace) by 10 am. I was in a hurry, so I forgot to bring any meat snacks with me. I was worried that I might have problems, but this is because I forgot that there were always take-out lunches provided at work on the weekends. I was reminded of this when lunch arrived. The problem was, it came in the form of bbq pork sandwiches (among other things). I ended up sharing my meal with another teammate. I got the pork (sans bbq sauce, of course), he got the bun, the sauce, the side salad, and the container of beans. Here is a picture of the whole ensemble before it was disassembled:

After lunch, I went back to work on the puzzles and forgot about food for awhile, though I did continue my normal steady intake of water, as I did all week, and what I believe now to be the top reason for my success. When dinner came, I was a little disappointed. Sure there was plenty of food, but the only meat product there was was drenched in sauces. I tried a tiny bit after scraping off the sauces from one piece, but after tasting it, I realized it was just too saturated with the sauce, and that it wasn't in the spirit of the contest for me to eat meat with so much non-meat content. So I went hungry until Kiki saved the day. Later that night she agreed to stop by the store, buy me some snacks, and deliver them to the event. This included a full roasted chicken (which I ate immediately when she arrived), and an assortment of meat snacks similar to those that we bought early last week, of which I showed a picture of on this very blog. The roasted chicken I quickly devoured is below -- you'll notice that I was so hungry I took a bite before I was able to get the camera out for the picture.

It turned out that the chicken was my last actual meal of the week. The game lasted 26 hours, finishing around noon on Sunday. I snacked on pepperonis and ate another carton of sliced turkey while finishing up the game, but when I got home I was completely drained from not having sleep. Originally I expected to be counting down the minutes to midnight, with a giant feast of pizza waiting for me on the other side. Instead, I went down for a nap at 2 pm on Sunday afternoon, and didn't wake up until 9:30 am Monday morning...

So that's it!! I made it. It can be done. I think there were three key things that made it possible for me to achieve this. One, the fact that I've been on the Atkins diet in some form for almost 2 years has surely acclimated my body to eating more than the normal dosage of meat products. Two, the fact that I'm able to get great variety, quality, and quantity of meat for nearly every meal at work is a huge advantage. Three, I drank TONS of water, which definitely helped digestion in general.

So now there is only one more thing to wait for... the money to show up in my Paypal account. Sorry Sean, but thanks for the memorable adventure!!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Quick Update

Sorry for no posts over the weekend. I was gaming all weekend, got home around noon on Sunday, and fell asleep shortly thereafter, sleeping until this morning. I'll put a full account of the weekend up tonight, but if you are wondering -- I made it!!!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Day 5: Narcolepsy

It had to happen sooner or later. Today I thought I might have hit the wall. Here is what happened...

I had to go into work a little early today (well, 10 am, which is early to me, at least), and then because of interviews and meetings, I didn't get to eat anything until about 1:30. Kiki also joined me for lunch today, which was very cool, since she rarely gets to enjoy the fantastic cuisine I get for 9 meals a week. Anyhow, I was starving by the time lunch came around, and they were serving salmon, which is one of my favorites, so I took the opportunity to stuff myself. All told I had 3 pieces of salmon, 2 chicken breasts and a giant hot dog, all shown below. I should say that I really only had 1 3/4 chicken breasts, because I was so full I actually couldn't finish the second one. This also marked a particularly noteworthy moment in which Kiki actually finished my meal for me, for the first time ever. Don't worry, I still have an insurmountable lead in the "who finishes who's meal" category in this marriage.

About 30 minutes after lunch, I started feeling my body shutting down into a massive food coma. Normally, this is when I'd grab a Rockstar and get a nice energy boost, but of course that wasn't in the cards for me on this day. I could hardly keep my eyes open, so I got up and walked around to find a couch somewhere I could lay down and take a short nap, but everywhere I went there were people. So I went back to my desk and tried to carry on. At one point shortly thereafter, I got up to talk to a coworker, and while talking to him, I suddenly felt like I was going to fall asleep standing up. I went and grabbed a bottle of water, used the restroom, rested in the restroom, and tried to continue working once more. Time was moving very slowly, but it kept moving forward, as time usually does, and before I knew it everything was fine again. It was about 6 pm when I realized I had toughed it out, and I was back in the groove.

I didn't get hungry for dinner until around 8 pm, but I had some more work I wanted to finish, so I casually devoured most of an entire bag of beef jerky. By the end of the bag, I was thinking it'd be ok if I didn't have beef jerky for a few months. Or at least not that kind. I got home at 9:30, and I was hungry again, but I lack both the ingredients and desire to create a real meal, so I ate half a bag of pepperoni, a whole carton of lunch meat turkey*, some chicken, and an incredibly nasty tasting beef stick. Boy, doesn't that sound appetizing?

So that brings me up until now... The next few meals are surely going to be the hardest for a couple reasons. One, I'll be away from home this weekend (doing an overnight puzzle hunt), so I'll have to bring and prepare the meals myself. Two, I'm five plus days into the week of meat! I'm going to make it, though. I have come this far, two more days is just a formality, really. Plus, I actually realize now that the tiredness spell I had today was more likely because I only had 4.5 hours of sleep last night, not because of the meat diet. Ha!

*Side note: At lunch today, one of my coworkers thought it was impossible to go an entire week eating nothing but lunch meat turkey, because of the fact it is almost all protein and very little fat. In fact, he felt so strongly about this that he thought he could go longer eating nothing at all than I could go eating only turkey. Maybe there will be a sequel to Week of Meat...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Day 4: Turning the Corner

So today it was supposed to get harder as I passed the halfway point. Somehow it didn't. Maybe I'm really just born to live this way. I even feel strangely healthy doing this, but I guess that is more due to the copious amounts of live-giving water that I'm drinking and not the massive amounts of dead flesh. Oh, wait, there was something. How should I say this... ok I'll just say it. Much of the day, I had a nagging pain in my left testicle, kinda like how it feels about 5 minutes after you've been kicked there. Not sure if this is even relevant to my diet, but man was it irritating. Seriously. For hours. I had visions of it getting worse and worse as I continued on my quest this week, and how I'd struggle with the tradeoff of losing the bet versus the agonizing pain. Fortunately now the pain is gone. If it comes back, you might hear about it tomorrow, but if not, lets just all pretend like it never happened and I didn't mention it on here. OK, now that that's out of the way, let's discuss my meals for the day.

Lunch was amazing, probably in the Top 5 meals I've ever had at work. I had a heaping portion of corned beef (it was served with cabbage in honor of St. Patty's Day, but I had to leave that of course) and a tender and juicy New York skirt steak. Both were so fantastic, I had to go back for a full-portion plate of seconds. You can see them both here.

Fortunately, I remembered to bring my bag of beef jerky to work with me today, so I happily gnawed on flesh while I typed away at my workstation. Then for dinner, I had the not-so-common combination of veal medallions, braised rabbit, and grilled sea bass. I wondered how many people have ever had that combination of foods in the same sitting before. I challenge anyone reading this to give it a shot, they actually go pretty good together. Especially if you are on an all meat diet.

This evening, just before writing this up, I enjoyed a feast of a half bag of sliced pepperoni. It was delicious.

Sean, are you getting nervous? This is easy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Day 3: So far, so good

If you are tuning in today to read that I've finally taken a turn for the worse and I can no longer continue, you came to the wrong place. I've surprised even myself that it seems this diet has so far not really hurt me too much. I've noticed two things. One is, I seem to have a little less energy than normal. The other is that my disposition seems a little less happy then usual. Otherwise, I feel fine. Go figure.

Let me walk you through the day. My first moment of shock was felt when I was halfway to work and realized that I forgot to bring any of the snacks I had bought the night before. Sadly, I couldn't turn back because I was actually going to work in a rush because I had been called in to fix some unanticipated problems. Because of this same rush, I ended up almost missing lunch entirely, but I did manage to grab a plate of Chinese short ribs in the nick of time, shown here. It turned out that it looks like a lot more than it really is once you take out the bones, and as hungry as I was, I gnawed every bit of flesh off of each bone.

By dinner time, I was in less of a rush, so I sat down properly and had a fantastic pork chop and some excellent red snapper. Still hungry, I went back for another pork chop. Here they are:

I'm beginning to feel sorry for the people that I eat with regularly, because they invariably get to re-hear the story told of my escapades with the week of meat with every new person that sits down. Maybe I'll have to start avoiding people that don't already know...

Anyhow, eventually I went home, excited to finally be able to take a crack at the feast of meaty snacks I had bought the night before. I promptly plowed through half a bag of beef jerky and an entire package of turkey lunchmeat in about 15 minutes. They both tasted fantastic. I think yesterday when I was complaining about strange tastes, I was just imagining things. I'm beginning to think that I'm actually going to be able to do this.

Snack Time!

I was hungry and found that our house had nothing in the way of meaty snacks, so I convinced Kristen to take a break from studying from her finals to join me on a run to the supermarket to buy some suitable snack foods to have around the house and to take to work with me. Rather than describe the results of this escapade, I'll just let the following picture do the job.

By the way, I haven't yet started eating the pork rinds. I'm still waiting for a ruling from the powers-that-be (Sean) whether or not this is a legal snack food.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Day 2: In the Groove

Well, another day down, and I gotta say, this isn't so bad yet. For lunch, I had a pork steak, a chicken breast, a hot dog, and a sausage. Plus, the requisite water of course. This was actually my favorite meal of the week so far. I sat with a different set of people at lunch this time, and again had to explain why I was taking a picture of my food and why it was all meat. When I started this, I wasn't sure how many people I'd tell about it, but it does seem to be a good conversation starter. Here is my lunch:

At dinner, I had a heaping plate of tri tip, and some great prosciutto-stuffed chicken. I then followed that up with some shredded fish that is normally reserved as a burrito ingredient. This was actually the first meal that I actually thought I might be getting a little sick of meat, but I got over it and realized I love meat! There were a couple of bites that seemed a little different tasting, and I wasn't sure whether it was my changing body chemistry or that the bite just was a little different. Time will tell, I suppose. And of course, here is my dinner:

The hardest part today was continuing to drink nothing but water, but Chris says this will only help my cause, so maybe it is a good thing. I'm also beginning to realize that I drink a lot at work more to occupy myself than because I'm thirsty, and that I can drink water a lot faster than I can drink Diet Rockstar. Also probably a good thing.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Day 1: Kickoff

So today was the first day of the Week of Meat. Sean joined me for lunch at work -- I don't usually eat breakfast -- and I had my first meal. It consisted of a nice heaping assortment of burrito contents: carnitas, carne asada, and roasted chicken. I usually eat this with plenty of guacamole, salsa, lettuce, and cheese, but not today. The only thing I got to go with it was water. The meal turned out to be a little more dry than I had hoped, but it wasn't bad. Here are some pictures of Sean and I with my first meal of the week. Note the ample amounts of carbs on Sean's plate:

and a close-up of the meal itself:

After lunch, and throughout the day, I was tempted to go get a nice flavorful beverage. I'd walk over to the break area, reach for something tasty, and then remember I could only have water. I probably drank about 8 bottles of water today, more than I usually drink in a week.

For dinner, I had some great fish along with some more of the same chicken that I had at lunch. I also had the pleasure of explaining to a bunch of my coworkers what I was doing and why I had to run back to my office to grab my camera just so I could take a picture of my meal. They were amused. When I finished that plate of fish and chicken, I was still hungry, so I got a second plate, this time with another pile of carne asada, same as what I had for lunch. It was pretty good, but I can already tell it is going to get old if I don't mix in some more variety. Here are some pics of my dinner:

So today went pretty well, except that at this point, I have very little energy. I'm not sure whether it is because of my all-meat diet or because I just worked for 12 hours without a significant break, but in either case, I'm going to call it a day. I'll know in the morning whether I've already gone too far with this. I'll probably have a midnight hot dog before bed tonight, though! I guess I can say so far, so good.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Last hurrah

Just a few minutes to go before I start on this journey, and I figured I should finish with something that I won't be able to eat for a while, a nice big bowl of Campbell's Chunky Vegetable Soup. Note the time on the stove, it is just before midnight...


This past weekend, I went on a ski trip with a bunch of friends. Well, it was technically a ski trip, but I didn't actually ski, so one might debate what kind of trip it actually was for me. Anyhow, we had steak the last night, and I ate a lot. My friend Sean mentioned that a couple years ago, he and Chris (another friend of mine) had tried to do a "Week of Meat" in which they ate nothing but meat and drank nothing but water. Neither could make it past day four. So, needless to say, my week starts tonight at midnight, money is at stake, and this is the story.