Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eat Food - follow up post

It's been less than a week from when I posted my "Eat Food" post and since then, I have engaged in quite a few great conversations on nutrition.  So, I decided to write up another post to touch on a couple points I either did not mention, or, did not elaborate on.

Why did my Paleo challenge NOT work for me?

I have a few theories on this one, and pretty much all of them lead into some of the other points I plan to make on this post.  So, if some things get repeated, it just means it is a point that should be paid attention to.  I think my 7 week attempt at Paleo did not work because of two things: first, I feel good when I consume grains in my diet.  The few times I have neglected grains, I have always returned to them and promptly felt better and stronger.  Second, I think I forgot to replenish the foods I was not allowed to eat with foods I could eat.  What I mean by this is that when I took all grains and legumes out of my diet plan, I did not make a strong enough effort to up my veggie intake.  I ended up consuming more nuts and olives, increasing my fat intake, and more meat, but I really did not get adequate carbohydrates through vegetables like I should have.  I think that when I do something like this again (and believe me, I am always trying out new things) I will make a point of focusing more on what I truly NEED to ADD to my plan if I am to take things out.

As I talked about in the last post, I think that Paleo did, in fact, do something great for me: it made me a better "chooser".  What I mean by this is that when I was not allowed to eat specific foods, I was forced to pick and choose very carefully when I shopped and made my meals.  Now, coming off that restrictive plan, I am able to focus so much more clearly on my choices.  It made me a more intelligent food consumer.

And finally, it made me realize just how important it is to do this sort of thing throughout ones life.  Everyone's body will always go through changes, and because of this, the body will constantly demand different fueling methods.  If you stick to a meal plan your whole life, it is the same as sticking to a single workout plan your whole life.  Restrict different things on a somewhat regular basis to make sure that your body can still process those things in a efficient manner.  I found that this time around, I really may have some sort of gluten issue, I really need to avoid shell fish like crazy, and sugar in concentrated form makes me feel worse than drinking too many beers.

Why do I NOT eat dairy and red meat?

Well, because every time I eat either of them, I feel like crap.  There is no scientific reason as to why do do this, but I can throw a bunch of studies and article your way if you so desire (full well knowing there are just as many articles and studies contradicting the ones that I find).  I have attempted over the past 10 years to mix both of these substances back into my diet, and each and every time I end up having horrible stomach pains, and sometimes worse.  So, clearly diary and red meat do not sit very well with the body I have.  The conclusion I come to at this time, simply: do not eat them.

Sooo... what's your main point buddy?

Well, it's pretty straight forward actually.  A commenter mentioned I should check out a Mat Lalonde seminar, so I did a little reading and found out that Mat is an incredibly well written, well educated CrossFitter and nutrition expert.  What he has to say, well, I would highly recommend anyone out there check out his stuff.  If you read this particular article, one that I feel is a perfect one to read if you want to get started on Paleo, you will notice his comments on vitamin intake.  He was of the belief that vitamins we're not only pointless, but potentially bad for you, until he read a great article convincing him otherwise.  This right here is my point people.

There is a never ending collection of information out there, proving anything and everything under the sun.  Paleo followers will throw their studies and articles at you, so will Zone followers and South Beach followers.  Hell, I do this same thing.  The stuff that I believe in, the stuff that works for me, I find supportive research to strengthen my argument.  Now, this does not mean I expect everyone to do exactly what I say.  I hope that they take my advice, do a bit of research on their own, then make the decision that ultimately is most effective to THEM.

Here's the plan:

1.  Restrict something from your meal plan, red meat, grains, just gluten, dairy, so on so forth.  If you feel like it, restrict a few of them at the same time (IE: Paleo).

2.  Give it at least four weeks.  If you think you an make drastic changes in your physical and mental make up in just one or two weeks, you are most likely wrong.

3.  Research the thing you are restricting.  Find scientific studies and articles that support the consumption of that food, and support the restriction of that food.  Use this information to support your decision on whether or not you add it to your diet.

4.  Re-introduce that something back into your plan (just one something if you restricted multiple substances).  Do not go right back into consuming tons of it.  If it is gluten you have restricted, bring a slice of bread in the first day, perhaps a sandwich of sorts to the second or third.  If you cleanse your body of something, it should not take very much of it to inspire a reaction in your body.

5.  Take tons of notes, and pay very close attention to how you feel when re-introducing your body to something.

6.  If it makes you feel good (this can mean so many things to different people, but to me, it means sleeping well, having energy throughout the day, and constantly seeing gains in my workouts), that probably means it is good for you.  If it makes you feel bad, it is probably bad.

7.  Do this in some way, shape or form the rest of your life.  Just like you do with exercise, with philosophies, with work, with everything.

I will be posting so much more on food, and I look forward to more comments, arguments and questions!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

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