Thursday, January 12, 2012


FILLERS:  What is a filler?


1. a person or thing that fills: a filler for pies; a filler of orders.
2. a thing or substance used to fill  a gap, cavity, or the like.
3. a substance used to fill  cracks, pores, etc., in a surface before painting or varnishing.
4. a liquid, paste, or the like used to coat a surface or to give solidity, bulk, etc., to a substance, as paper or a chemical powder.
5. Journalism . material, considered of secondary importance, used to fill  out a column or page.

My definition of a "filler":  something one eats to FEEL full, but has no nutritional content on it's own (many times is fortified with nutrients).

Lately, I've been using the word "filler" a LOT.  Why?  Cause I live in Japan.  Huh??  Well, when I went Primal/Paleo, I had just returned from a visit to the states and was pumped with the bug of eating well.  It's now been 6 months since I went Primal and I have determined that, at times, living in Japan, I succumb to eat these fillers to, yes, feel full.  Let's think about our way of eating as a primalist or paleolithic eater.  We eat good sized quantities of meat (nope, not the silly 'deck of cards = 4 ounces of beef' size, but REAL sizes of 8 - 12 ounces of beef!!) that fill up 1/2 of our plate.  We then eat veggies to fill the other side, whether in a salad, a single veggie, or a mixture of great veggies cooked in all their yummy goodness.  However, in Japan... here's what I know.  Beef, fish, pork, etc. is expensive.  Not a little expensive... like our $5/pound angus beef sirloin in the freezer, but the 1200 to 1500 yen per kilo costs for the Japanese!  (today the exchange rate is 76 yen to 1 dollar, so we tend to wrongly round up to 100 yen = 1.00 dollar)  

With expenses like that, its a no wonder that the meat is NOT the highlight of the meal over here... that would be rice.  So... want beef curry?  You'll get half a plate of rice and half a plate of brown sauce with perhaps 3 small chunks of beef in it.  Yep, you'd eat the 'filler', too.  In that meal, the filler is white rice.  

BUT RICE IS A .... *gasp* GRAIN!!!  Yep, it is.  Being primal I stay away from grains to include rice and corn, however if the ONLY thing you have to eat consists of 3 puny pieces of meat... you'll eat the rice.  It's kinda funny when people ask me why I'll eat the white rice and NOT the 'healthy' brown rice now (no, the Japanese do not typically eat or serve brown rice, these are Americans asking me).  I attempt to give the talk of how the husk is indigestible and get quizzical looks as they say "BUT, We're TOLD that BROWN RICE WITH THE OUTSIDE IS FULL OF FIBER AND IT'S GOOD FOR YOU!!!"  As I typically do, I counter with a Mark Sisson piece:  
I mean, even the most ardent zero-carber would have to admit that brown rice sports an impressive nutrient profile (to clarify, that’s 100g raw; 100g cooked is far less impressive). But most of it is bound up with phytic acid and mostly useless to humans. Rats and other rodents produce phytase, which breaks down phytic acid and releases the bound minerals, but until we engineer rat-human hybrids, we’re not enjoying the full potential of brown rice.  Read more:
Also, I look to Mark Sisson to make myself feel a little better about cheating on myself with the white rice...
Rice is a grain that happens to be not so awful in certain circumstances – on the occasional dinner plate of a lean, insulin-sensitive individual; after a glycogen-depleting workout; underneath a massive slab of yellowtail prepared specially by a sushi-chef in appreciation of your enthusiasm for his creations. It’s a cheat that almost isn’t, that neither necessitates eventual pangs of guilt nor causes – for most people – pangs of gastric distress.  Read more:
However, it STALLS weight loss!  (THAT'S why I haven't lost any weight since my college kid's been visiting!!)  WHY??  'Cause it's a filler that is primarily made up of carbs... uh, sugar.  That's why!

Now, the beef (so to speak) that I have with the Standard American Diet (SAD) is that it is FULL of fillers... MORE so than the Japanese diet!  Fillers like:  potatoes, bread, rice, quinoa, noodles or other pasta, grits, etc.  Think of anything you put on your plate that is not meat or veggies.  NO potatoes don't count as a veggie!!  They are a starch, which is pure carbohydrate with little redeeming qualities.  Can you use that as your cheat?  Sure... just won't lose weight eating them.  Nor will you reduce your blood sugar or insulin resistance.   My eyes keep straying back to the quinoa... yeah, as much as we like it... it's a carb and increases blood sugar and increases fat storage similar to wheat and other grains.  Can you 'cheat' with it?  Sure, again, if you don't need to lose weight or have insulin resistance... etc.  So, think about 'fillers'... why use them?  If you want to feel full... eat the meat, which has protein and fat in it that will, in turn, release your body's leptin and signal your brain that you are FULL.  Win-win situation.

Doesn't help me when I'm out on the economy here in Japan!!  So, I cheat.  Not with ANYTHING that contains gluten or wheat.  Wheat Belly and my finding out I'm gluten sensitive has cured me of ever wanting to eat bread or 'real' pasta again.  But, rice... that little white grain, will be my only cheat. 

So, what does one, who is hungry do after eating out the day prior?  No, not starve oneself nor fast for a day (though the occasional fast is actually good for you!), but eat "normal" as a primal/Paleo person should.  Get out your plate, cut it in 1/2 and fill one half with meat, the other with veggies and don't allow any cheats that day.  The realization that I could 'cheat' one day and go back to my "DIET" (ha!!  Hate that word... it's a LIFESTYLE, baby!!) the next was an "Ah-ha" moment for me.  So... I'll use rice to not feel those 'hunger pangs' when we're out.  But at home?  Nope, no rice.  Will I 'cheat' with corn?  Not a chance, that's too genetically modified for me to ever eat again... but that's another story. 

Why am I rambling?  Where are the photos??!!  OK... here's some recent meals on outings.  You'll see I try to be good:

Meal at top of Mt Takao: rice triangles, a bowl of miso soup and some chicken sticks (around $12)

Yakiniku: small pieces of meat, small salad and bimbop: veggies and rice (around $20)... not all that meat is mine :( 

Main dish at culture group: fish and eggplant wrapped greenery
Primal Meals:
Now for recent Primal meals.  The first one is an omage to Paleo Pasta.  OMG!!  This stuff is great... not just the "I haven't had Pasta in 6 months so anything is good" type of good, but GOOD!!!  The one I made is spinach pasta and I cooked up some left over turkey breast in my homemade spaghetti sauce, topped with fresh peas and some parmesean cheese.  It was nummy!!! 

 The second dinner was a steak night... cooked up some New York strips on the grill and boiled artichokes.  We eat artichokes by peeling off the leaves, dipping the end in butter and pulling the meat off between our teeth... yeah, this meal made even the hubby feel like a caveman!  :)  Needless to say, I also cooked up some mushrooms and onions in butter and a touch of clarified bacon grease.  Oh, Lordy that was good!! 


  1. Hey, you used to write great, but the last several posts have been kinda boringกK I miss your great writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!
    Canvys 17 Inch Canvys Chassis Mount LCD Offers Rugged Construction Superior Image Quality

    1. Thanks for the 'wake up call'!! In looking back through the blog, I'm thinking you liked my blogs that dealt more with the substance of eating Primally... how it affects the body. And, I think you like my rants a little less so... so, I'll get back to the substance.