Friday, June 27, 2008

Why do I eat this way?

In the comments recently, Chris ( asked me how I came to eat this way. I promised I would write about it some, so here it goes. Hope you enjoy and if not, no worries I'll also have a meal picture up for your enjoyment ;-)

When I was young, around 7 years old, I started "cooking". My parents never minded me puttering around especially because I would set the table for breakfast and even make menus on a Sunday morning. Now at that time my cooking skills consisted of toasting bread and making eggs. But when you prepare it with enjoyment and love, it just tastes better. At least that's what my mom told me. By age 9-10 I started making dinner sometimes, even came up with a recipe of dover sole with cream and grapes. I also started baking. Mostly Dutch butter cake, known as "boterkoek". I learned that from my grandpa who loved to bake. During the next years, I spent a LOT of time with my grand parents. when my parents were away on business travel, I would stay them. I was always there every Friday afternoon after school as we always ate Friday night dinner at my grandparents. I would help grandma cook or just keep her company in the kitchen.

My grandma who was born in France and didn't come to Holland until her mid-20's, was a great cook! In hindsight what must have made a lasting impression on me, was that she made everything from scratch. Back then probably that was a lot more normal than now. But I got to observe and help.

Getting involved in sports ( I was a soccer and judo/aikido fanatic) the cooking times slowly went away. At age 16 I heard about something called "vegetarian". I was very intrigued by it, and feeling sorry for the animals I hopped on the bandwagon. Secretly, my biggest motivation was the fact tha per the "experts" all the strongest animals in the world were vegetarian. I thought it might help me get really strong and big. It lasted for approx. a year. I believe I consumed more bread that year then anyone in the country ;-).
Over the next years I developed a sugar kick that was something to behold. Eating dutch licorice all day and easily eating 3,4,5 candy bars a day. My 22 birthday present from my parents was a warehouse size box of KitKats (my favorite back then). Shortly thereafter I bought this little book called "The Sugar Blues" by Gloria Swanson.

I sat in utter amazement almost paralysis on my couch and re-read it 3 times.
WHAT????? the food you eat affects you?????
This little book had such and impact on me that I immediately cut out ALL sugar. Threw away the box of kitkats, no more 3 spoons of sugar in my coffee. This started a search for more information. I delved back into my martial arts and went to school part time for acupuncture and massage. I read everything I could get my hands on and over the years ate; partially macrobiotic, vegan, vegetarian, raw, etc etc etc. Then, out of pure frustration and information overload, I started eating "normally" again. The one constant was that I pretty much stayed away from sugar..... candy that is. I ate lots and lots of rice and bread and whole wheat pasta, believing that it was the "healthy" way to eat.
About 6 years ago, I started lifting weights. Once again, I started reading....A LOT! and tried putting into practice all the "advice" out there. Downing protein shakes, eating 6 times a day, you know all the good stuff ;-) Then I came upon this guy in the gym, in his mid 70's. He was in GREAT shape and had an unorthodox work out regimen. I never saw him in the gym for more then 30 minutes, as he usually arrived after me and left before me. I ended up having nice talks with him and he told me that he owed his great shape to only eating "real food" and never working out too much and a general happy attitude. Intriguing to say the least. I was somewhat on this path I realized. I'm always happy, I eat pretty good (loads of chicken breasts and veggies), maybe I need to work out a little less. Then, as always in life, with perfect timing an old friend of mine, who has always led me to good books and info, says to me "You're into working out and eating right? You need to check out this guy Art Devany" I did that 3 years ago and the rest is history.

I followed the recommended sources of information , reading Cordain, and again everything else I could get my hands on. It was like getting confirmation of knowledge that I knew deep inside myself. Real's so simple really.

So as you can see from the blog, this is how I eat now. Is it true Paleo? Perhaps not, as I do eat butter and cheese and some other items not truly paleo. But overall, everything is real food and my love of cooking has returned with a passion. I try to make these "real-foods" as tasty as possible. Because I do strongly believe that eating is one of life's pleasures. Lastly my humble opinion; eating this way will help you with every aspect of your life. We only have one body, we need to take care of it. Don't leave it up to the doctors, they are here to sew you back together after you've been in a car wreck.
Anywho; back to food ;-)

I called this my "Cerk chicken". My version of Jerk chicken.
The C stands for curry.
Here's the marinade;
red curry paste, coconut oil, garlic, cilantro, lime juice.
Marinate chicken thighs over night, grill and enjoy.

Mix well in the ziploc and then squeeze to get out all the air out. Let the chicken come to room temp. before putting on the grill.

A delicious dinner of Cerk chicken, with a watercress and romaine salad with cucumber dressing. Some cucumber dressing on the side for dipping the chicken. If you have not had watercress recently, GO GET SOME! It has quite an interesting history. Let me know if you need the recipe for the cucumber dressing recipe; it's easy and quick.

Make it a great day, I got to go make break-fast.


sarena said...

Hey thanks for sharing that! ALways interesting to hear how others discover their personal path to wellness and simplicity. Funny isnt it, this is what nature created. WHy mess with it??

Would love the cucumber dressing recipe. Oh and I love me some watercress too.

Yeah me, off to Oly camp next weeks for a few days!!

AL said...

Great post Marc. I really enjoy your blog.

Sugar Blues was actually written by Gloria Swanson's husband, William Dufty I believe. Great book!

Naomi said...

Thanks for sharing Marc! Quite a journey :) You know, I think we need some pics of you!

Marc said...

Thank you ;-)
Cucumber dressing;
1 cucumber, 1/4 cup onion, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup cilantro. Puree together, then add some rice vinegar to taste and a splash of olive oil. Of course you can add sea salt if you like.

THANK YOU. I really like to hear people enjoy the blog. Thanks for reading. And you're right!!! The author is Wlliam Duffy I forgot about that. I don't have the book anymore, but I clearly remember his picture. Great book, way ahead of it's time.

aaaargghghhhhh now that's scary!
I'll think about it.

Chris said...


thanks for this write up. It is interesting to see how you got here and great to pick up on your passion for this.

Keep up with the good work!


Lemur said...

Nice post, it was interesting to read how you came to be this way. I had actually wondered before, since you seem to do everything right & have it all down.

I'll have to try the Cerk Chicken, my husband will *love* it.

Marc said...

Thank you Chris.
I'm curious how bad you got your behind handed to you in that combat ready class? Did you hang in there pretty good?

I do everything right at home ;-)
Last night I had some indian food at a new indian restaurant in town.
I couldn't resist having a little bit of rice to mix with all the yummy sauce and spinach.
You will be amazed with the Cerk chicken. It's SO tasty. Let me know.


the adventurer said...

everyone is on a journey... thanks for sharing part of yours.

Chris said...

Surprisingly I coped Ok with the Combat Ready class. It is the fitness class for the Krav Maga club in Edinburgh. I've not done any martial arts, so the hardest thing I found was the work on pads, simply coordinating my arms and legs, punching and kicking. Really enjoyed it though.

Marc said...

Krav Maga is pretty good stuff.
I'll never forget how much my thoughts about "martial arts" chnaged when a japanese teacher told; "don't ever forget that a frail old grandma, can pull a trigger"

Will you be going regularly?


Jeff said...

Hey Marc,

Great story. Like you, it was Art Devany that changed my life. I stumbled across his blog after reading Nassim Taleb's books and seeing a link/comment on his website about Art. I read his essay and changed my life at that very moment. Never looked back and never will. My wife, kids, parents, a brother, and a few friends are all better for it as they "wen't Paleo" and improved their health and appearance drastically.

This blog is fantastic. keep up the great work. I am getting seriously inspired about the recipes.