Monthly Archives: October 2012

Introducing Intermittent Feast

*Warning — this is a LONG post geared towards those who are looking for a streamlined approach to my nutrition philosophy.  It is going to stay up as a tab on the site, so you can always access it for reference easily.  No pictures, no fluff, no bullsh*t.  Just straight up education on this one.

I-Feast

Gung fu is based on simplicity; all techniques are stripped down to their essential purpose without wastage or ornamentation, and everything becomes the straightest, most logical simplicity of common sense.  Being wise in gung fu does not mean adding more but being able to remove sophistication and ornamentation and be simply simple — like a sculptor building a statue not by adding, but by hacking away the unessential so that the truth will be revealed unobstructed…The height of cultivation is really nothing special. It is merely simplicity, the ability to express the utmost with the minimum. – Bruce Lee

Give me 10 minutes of your time, and I can get you going in the right direction.  Here is a comprehensive guide to my nutritional approach.

I.  WHAT IS THE INTERMITTENT FEAST?

A dietary approach that combines principles from Caveman Nutrition Theory with Modern Sports Nutrition Science in order to accomplish your two main goals:  improve overall health and ruthlessly slash body fat.  You don’t have to live and look like a goblin, or join a cult with an aura of mysticism, in order to improve bio-markers of health.  Nor do you have to destroy your health, give up your career and social life, live in the kitchen, or be obsessively controlled by your diet to look good at Da Beach.

II.  I-FEAST OVERVIEW

THE CAVEMAN TEMPLATE

“Caveman Nutrition” is a simple educational tool you can easily remember and apply, and should serve as the base foundation of your diet.  If it was around in caveman times, you can eat it.  If man made it, don’t eat it. If you can cut its head off or pluck it from the ground, it’s probably good to go.  If it’s neon blue and comes in a bag or box, or is a Pop Tart, it’s probably not great.

Moving away from modern Y2K eating by cutting out processed, man-made foods (including self proclaimed “health” foods, Miyaki proclaimed bullsh*t foods); and returning to our evolutionary pasts by eating real, natural foods (wild animals and plants) will take you 90% of the way in achieving your goals.  It cuts through over-complication, confusion, misinformation, and slick marketing, and gives you a simple base template you can follow.

THE FAST & FEAST DIET STRUCTURE

Choosing the appropriate meal frequency and food distribution pattern — FOR YOU — is about making your plan as realistic and functional as possible.  There is no one Right Way.  Multiple approaches can work.  Modern fitness approaches (eat 6 small meals every 2 hours, starve at night, wanting to gnaw off your significant other’s arm, etc.) can work great, as many professional fitness athletes have proven, and often write about in the magazines.  I have followed such plans myself with great results.   But these plans are impractical for most in the real world, and are based more on spandex tradition rather than scientific necessity.  There are equally effective alternatives.

Human beings evolved on a fasting and feeding cycle.  We spent the majority of our existence fasting or eating lighter during the day while actively tracking, hunting, and gathering our food.  We spent the evening relaxing and feasting on the majority, if not all, of our daily food intake.  Following this type of structure is an easier plan to stick to for most people, because it goes with our natural instincts and social patterns.

THE ATHLETE’S MODIFICATION

If you are an athlete or regular exerciser that has higher-level performance or physique goals, and engages in high-intensity, anaerobic-based training (strength training, sprint sports, bar hopping, etc.), you should add back in a select few starchy carbohydrates to support the unique physiological, metabolic, and hormonal demands of this modern activity.  Caveman ate to survive, not to build a beach physique or perform like a World Champ.

III.  HOW TO INTERMITTENT FEAST

STEP #1 – HUNT FOR ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS

Make unprocessed, wild, hormone-free, anti-biotic free, natural animal proteins the foundation of your diet.

They provide the essential amino acids we need for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, the essential fatty acids and “good” fats we need for normal functioning and natural hormone production, and vitamins and minerals (B-vitamins, zinc, selenium, iron, etc.).

STEP #2 – GATHER MICRONUTRIENTS & PHYTONUTRIENTS

Make non-starchy vegetables and whole fruits (melons are my favorite, get it?), the second foundation of your diet.

They provide natural fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals (vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc.), and disease-fighting phytonutrients.

STEP #3 – GATHER ENERGY NUTRIENTS

Animals and plants provide us with the essential nutrients and micronutrients we need for survival.  Everything else is about providing us with the energy we need to fuel our daily activities.

For added energy nutrients, eat whole food fats or low fructose, gluten-free, natural starch foods.

A. The Paleo Diet

This is a good template for sedentary, obese, insulin resistant, type II diabetic populations:  animal proteins, vegetables, whole fruit, and whole food fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut).

B.  The Traditional Japanese Village Diet

This is a good template for athletes and regular exercisers, which is basically a Paleo-style Diet with the re-introduction of some rice and root vegetables to support anaerobic training.  The Irish Farmer’s Diet (meat and potatoes), Okinawans (pork, vegetables, and sweet potatoes), and Kitavans (fish, fruit, and root vegetables) are other good examples and templates.

STEP #4 — INTERMITTENT FEAST

Fast or eat lighter during the day, feast on the majority of your calories and energy nutrients at night.

A. Physiology

This structure controls insulin/blood sugar levels and maximizes fat burning hormones and cellular factors during the day (growth hormone, cAMP), while simultaneously improving nutrient partitioning and maximizing muscle building hormones and cellular factors at night (insulin, mTOR).

B. Psychology

Our brains work on a sacrifice/reward pattern.  Most people find it relatively easy to cut calories and make better food choices during the day, as long as they know they can eat a larger meal at night, and get to end the day satiated and satisfied (at least in the kitchen, the bedroom is your own responsibility).  This is way more effective than large lunches that lead to rebound hypoglycemia and energy crashes, and tiny dinners that lead to starvation-induced, junk food binges.

C.  Anecdotal

Instinctually, socially, and in business settings, this is one of the easiest plans to follow.  You are no longer a slave to your diet.  Thus adherence and success rates are very high amongst a wide variety of demographics.

IV. SEDENTARY I-FEAST TEMPLATE

*BREAKFAST

Water, black coffee, plain tea

LUNCH

**4-8oz lean protein

non-starchy vegetables

1 piece whole fruit and/or 1-2 servings of whole food fats (nuts, avocado, coconut)

DINNER

*4-16 oz lean protein

non-starchy vegetables

1-2 servings whole food fats

1 piece whole fruit for dessert.

*I like to pair the intermittent feast with a version of intermittent fasting (skip breakfast and eat all of your calories at lunch and dinner.  Thanks to Ori Hofmekler and Martin Berkhan).  But I also hate dogma and systems.  If for whatever reason you feel better with breakfast — I think that’s mostly placebo effect and being tied to tradition — but nonetheless, I think you should do what works best for you.  Just keep sugar and refined starch out of your breakfast.  Eat a light protein-only breakfast, a whole fruit snack, or something similar to the suggested lunch.  But my “gun to your head and tell me what to do for optimal results” stance is to skip breakfast.

**Serving sizes based on body weight.

Cheat once a week at dinner, probably on the weekend for social reasons, for psychological relief, and for long-term sustainability of your plan.

V. ATHLETE/REGULAR EXERCISER I-FEAST TEMPLATE

*BREAKFAST

Water, black coffee, plain tea

LUNCH

**4-8oz lean protein

non-starchy vegetables

1 piece whole fruit and/or 1-2 servings of whole food fats (nuts, avocado, coconut)

DINNER

**8-16 oz lean protein

non-starchy vegetables

***natural starch foods (root vegetables or rice)

*See what I said about breakfast above.

**Serving sizes based on body weight.

***Serving sizes based on body weight, activity levels, individual metabolic factors, and physique goals.

VI. I-FEAST SUMMARY

I wish I could tell you it is more complicated than that, but I don’t believe that it is.  Eat lighter while “hunting” during the day, feast on real foods at night.  Sleep tight.

Athletes may need detailed numbers (calories and macronutrients), nutrient timing parameters, and advanced calorie and carb cycling protocols to attain higher-level physique goals.  We will cover this in more detail in future posts.

VII.  WHAT TO CUT

I believe the true value of a caveman or ancestral approach to nutrition is what it cuts from the average person’s diet (concentrated fructose including high fructose corn syrup and table sugar, trans fats, high n-6 vegetable oils, etc.), rather than a religious-like dogmatic adherence to one specific macronutrient distribution pattern regardless of individual activity levels, metabolic condition, or goals.

There are cultural diets that are very low carb and high in protein and fat (Inuit), and cultural diets that are relatively low fat and very high carb (Okinawan, Kitavan).  The commonality amongst them, which is the true key to their immaculate health and low body fat percentages, is what they are NOT eating.

Modern refined, processed, packaged, man-made foods, including self-proclaimed “health foods”

The over-consumption of refined foods — foods that are not aligned with our genetic make-up — is a root cause of many of our modern diseases: cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and the man boob & muffin top epidemic.

Most of us know that crap is crap.  And on that note, organic crap is still crap regardless of the marketing tagline (organic sugar, cookies, muffins, etc.).

In addition, many of the foods we’ve been raised to believe are “health” foods, are really not that great for us (whole grains, pro-biotic yogurts, snack bars, etc.).

A.  Level I – Foods to Cut.

  • Concentrated sources of fructose (high fructose corn syrup and sugar) have been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, and elevated triglycerides.  That does NOT mean whole fruit, which does contain natural fructose, but in relatively small amounts.  It means refined crap.
  • Transfats (in packaged and processed foods) have been linked to belly fat, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
  • High Omega-6 oils (vegetable oils, fried foods) lead to whole body inflammation, aggravate autoimmune diseases, increase risk of cardiovascular disease, decrease insulin sensitivity.
  • Gluten (in wheat and processed foods) can lead to chronic fatigue, impaired immune system functioning, cortisol elevation, water retention, bloating, and abdominal pain.

* These are foods I would say most nutritionists and coaches, regardless of camp or system, would agree should be minimized in the diet.

B.  Level II — Foods to Cut

  • Phytic acid (in whole grain cereals and breads) can cause digestive stress, inhibit the absorption of minerals, and may adversely affect protein digestibility.
  • Lectins (in wheat and legumes) can damage the digestive tract, compromise the immune system, and may adversely affect protein digestibility and amino acid availability.
  • Dairy allergy or sensitivity can lead to mucous production, histamine production, digestive stress, cortisol elevation, stubborn fat, water retention, acne, overall inflammation, and has been linked to diabetes.

* These foods are more debatable, with coaches, camps, and systems on both sides of the fence.  Many will include some of the above foods in their diets and are just fine — from both a cosmetic and health standpoint.  Many believe that cutting out one, or all of these foods, was the true key to their success.

If you are struggling with your health or body weight, my advice is to test and assess in the real world.  Cut out these foods for a few weeks, and see how you look and feel.  Add them back in and see how you look and feel.  In an era of mysticism and blindly clinging to dogma and gurus, this advice brings back some simple dietary common sense. 

Beyond science and theory or systems, the real world results FOR YOU provide the real world answers FOR YOU.  My experience, and that of a large percentage of my clients, has led me to my current hypothesis that these foods should be excluded from the diet as well, for ideal results.

VIII. APPLICATION

If you get healthier and ripped on this plan, you are female, and want to walk around with just a leaf covering your goods as a thank you to me, I’m cool with that.  If you’re a dude, that’s really not a thank you to me, but hey, feel free to swing away man.

Either way, please go out and tell the world our story.

IX. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You have more questions?  What are you, The Riddler?  Just kidding.  Here are some common ones.

1. Hey, aren’t animal proteins bad for us?

No.  Commercially raised, hormone and anti-biotic injected meats and processed crap like bologna may be.  But how can the wild animal proteins we evolved on, that provide us with the essential nutrients we need for survival, and have been eating for hundreds of thousands of years, suddenly be poison?

Cordain et al.  2002.  The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets:  meat-based, yet non-atherogenic.  Eur J Clin Nutr Mar;56 Suppl 1:S42-52.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11965522

2. Are refined foods really that bad for us?  Is that just a scare tactic?

Listen, we can all joke around about how bad we eat and how we need to lose some weight, but the reality is we’re killing ourselves slowly.  We’re eating foods that aren’t aligned with our genes, and it is having disastrous effects.  So no, I don’t think you should sh*tload, crapload, just fit your diet to your calories/macros, or whatever else you crazy kids are calling it these days.  Take it from someone who has worked with clients of all ages, and former athletes who have jacked themselves up with uninformed, extreme methods.  Its the cumulative effects of your diet over a lifetime that matter, not any 10-week time frame.  But I’ll let you be the judge.

O’Keefe et al.  2004. Cardiovascular disease resulting from a diet and lifestyle at odds with our Paleolithic genome: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer.  Mayo Clin Proc 2004 Jan;79(1):101-8.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14708953

3.  Won’t eating a big meal with carbs at night make me store fat?

Fitness hogwash.  Eating at night doesn’t make you fat.  Eating too much/too many calories makes you fat.  If you’ve eaten large and/or frequent meals throughout the day, and then eat another large dinner on top of that, chances are you will overshoot your daily calorie needs and gain fat.  It’s the total food intake not the distribution that is the problem.  If you eat lighter during the day and are active, chances are you enter dinner in a relatively large calorie deficit with depleted energy reserves, and even a large meal with a significant amount of carbohydrates will be used to restore energy reserves first, before spilling over into fat stores.  You need to look at this recommended diet structure as an entire big picture (fast AND feast), not at isolated topics.

Sofer et al.  2011.  Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner.  Obesity (Silver Spring) Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print].  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21475137

4. Isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Not really, but again you have to look at this diet structure as a whole.  If you eat a big meal the night before, you will have plenty of energy reserves stored to fuel your body and brain throughout the next morning.  If you are starving yourself at night, then yes, maybe breakfast becomes more important.

And besides, the body naturally wakes up in a fat burning, energy production mode.  Eating food, particularly sugar and refined carbohydrate-loaded breakfast foods, gives your body an immediate fuel source, and shuts down those prime fat burning hours. By skipping breakfast, you prolong the amount of time your body is burning stored energy reserves as its primary fuel source, thus optimizing your ability to maximally burn body fat.

That’s why I believe in pairing the intermittent feast with intermittent fasting.  They work together in perfect harmony.

Martin et al.  2000. Is advice for breakfast consumption justified? Results from a short-term dietary and metabolic experiment in young healthy men. Br J Nutr. 2000 Sep;84(3):337-44.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10967612

Samra et al.  1996. Effects of morning rise in cortisol concentration on regulation of lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue. AJP – Endo December 1, 1996 vol. 271 no. 6 E996-E1002.  http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/271/6/E996.abstract

5. Shouldn’t everyone, everywhere be eating a low carb diet?

Not necessarily.  Low carb diets are great for certain demographics — sedentary, obese, insulin resistant, etc. — thus they should be the default status for probably 70% of our population.

However, exercise creates a unique metabolic environment, an altered physiological state, and changes the way your body processes nutrients both during activity and for up to 48 hours after completion of a training session.  If you exercise intensely 3 or more days a week, than your body is virtually in a recovery mode 100% of the time.  It is in an altered physiological state beyond pure resting conditions 100% of the time, thus its nutritional needs are completely different than sedentary populations.

And low-carb diets combined with consistent high intensity activity can have a lot of metabolic, hormonal, and physiological drawbacks including impaired thyroid production, low testosterone and sex drive, decreases in metabolic rate, muscle loss, skinny-fat syndrome, insomnia, depression, irritability, and general foul mood.

What good is a six-pack if you have a lifeless noodle hanging between your legs (or whatever the female equivalent would be), and then you’re a big d*ck to everyone else around you because of it?

Baba et al.  1999.  High protein vs high carbohydrate hypoenergetic diet for the treatment of obese hyperinsulinemic subjects.  Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord Nov;23(11):1202-6.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10578211

Kimber et al.  2003.  Skeletal muscle fat and carbohydrate metabolism during recovery from glycogen-depleting exercise in humans.  J Physiol May 1;548(Pt 3):919-27.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12651914

McCoy et al.  1996.  Skeletal muscle GLUT-4 and postexercise muscle glycogen storage in humans.  J Appl Physiol Feb;80(2):411-5.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8929577

6. Don’t I need to eat 6 small meals a day to get ripped?

You can, and that works well too, but it is not necessary, and it’s not practical for most. Numerous scientific studies have shown that if you control for food choices and total calories, meal frequency is irrelevant in terms of body composition change, metabolic rate, and the thermic effect of food.  That’s really just a fancy way of saying that despite what you’ve heard in the fitness industry (that clings to dogmatic systems), you can get equally good fat loss results eating 6, 3, or even just 1 main meal a day.

Since that’s the case, you can build your diet plan around your lifestyle, natural tendencies, career demands, time and food availability, calorie needs, digestive tolerance, etc. You can make the diet fit your life as opposed to the other way around.  Free at last…

There is more than one way to skin a cat, or more appropriately, peel off body fat.  I promote the fast and feast structure simply because I think it is the easiest plan to follow, not because I think it is the only plan that works, and not because I really give a damn about cavemen.

Cameron et al.  2010.  Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet.  Br J Nutr Apr;103(8):1098-101.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/943985

Verboeket-van de Venne et al.  1993.  Freqeuncy of feeding, weight reduction and energy metabolism.  Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord Jan;17(1):31-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8383639

7. This sounds like a fad diet, is this a fad diet?

Yes it is, and I’m totally trying to scam you into buying Intermittent Feast snack packs.  Wait, I don’t sell those.  I believe in real food over packaged crap…

I think traditional nutrition advice is the fad, influenced by the refined foods industries, geared towards selling you a bunch of boxed breakfast cereals, “low calorie” snack bars, refined oils, and other bullsh*t that you don’t really need.  But I’m kind of a hippie like that.

How could basing your diet on the food choices and eating structure of our evolutionary past be considered anything other than common sense, unbiased truth?

But I’ll let you decide.  Try it their way and see how you do.  Try it my way and see how you do.  Either way, if you reach your goals, we’ll both be happy regardless.

5 Simple Food Choice Tips

A. WHAT TO DO – SUMMARY

1. Use Paleo/Caveman/Evolutionary Nutrition as the foundation of your diet, and the first thing you think of when making food choices.  If it was around in caveman times you can eat it.  If man made it, don’t eat it.  If you can cut its head off or pluck it from the ground, it’s probably good to go.  If it’s neon blue and comes in a bag or box, it’s probably not great.

How far we’ve come, yet how far we’ve fallen.

2. Choose REAL foods (animals and plants) over REFINED foods (pretty much everything else).  Ditch the muffins to ditch the muffin top.

3. Choose NATURE’S foods (animals and plants) over self-proclaimed, processed & packaged “HEALTH” foods (refined oils, whole grain cereals and breads, 100 calorie snack bars, pro-biotic yogurts, health bars, etc.), except for poisonous mushrooms, which you should probably leave alone.

4. If you are an athlete or regular exerciser (especially strength training or any other high-intensity activity), you may want to add back in some starchy carbohydrates to support the physiological and metabolic demands of anaerobic exercise (muscle glycogen restoration, inhibiting protein breakdown/catabolic activity/muscle loss).  Drive a Ferrari around, and you need to fill up the gas tank.  If your Shaggin’ Station Wagon has been sitting in the garage, probably not so much.

5. A carb-based, traditional Japanese Village-style diet is a good template for active strength trainers/anaerobic athletes — basically a Caveman Diet plus some rice and root vegetables.  The Irish Farmer’s Diet (meat and potatoes), Okinawans (pork and sweet potatoes) and Kitavans (fish and root vegetables) are other good examples.

B. WHY YOU SHOULD DO IT — BULLETS

Bullet points seemed to0 geeky for me, so we’ll call them BULLETS.

PROVIDES A SIMPLE EDUCATIONAL TEMPLATE

  • The Caveman theme is a simple theme to remember and practically apply, thus it is a great educational tool for everyone: from advanced athletes who have been information overloaded by the fitness industry, all the way down to the complete beginner that doesn’t know (or care) much about nutrition, and needs a simple approach to get started.
  • Forget about mainstream media and marketing hype, and even scientific debate, and think about your physical appearance and health logically for a second.  Mass food refining has only been around for a tiny fragment of our existence.  We evolved on more natural diets.  So what kinds of foods do you really think are better for us — apples or Apple Jacks?

CUTS THROUGH THE DIET INDUSTRY BULLSH*T

  • The Caveman theme cuts through all of the nutrition myths and bias standards that are out there, which are highly influenced by the refined foods and supplement industries.  It places logic and common sense above all of the bullsh*t that is being marketed and sold to you.  We were lean and healthy long before magic fat burning pills, miracle detox cleanses, “health” foods, etc.  The foods we evolved on are much better for us than the foods we make.
  • Gets you to follow science and logic rather than gurus.  “But this authority or trainer said ‘x’ is good for me?” “But this celebrity or pro athlete is sponsored by ‘y’ company and says I need ‘z’ to be fit like them”.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.  Phone a caveman friend to make sure.
  • It gives you the tough love truth.  Listen to what you WANT to hear for entertainment purposes or to “feel” like you are doing something healthy/good for yourself, even though you actually are NOT.  Listen to what you NEED to hear if you want a simple plan to start getting stuff done, and seeing real world results. The Caveman gives you that kick in the a$$ we all need from time to time.  You can keep spinning your wheels or you can start moving forward.
  • It calls bullsh*t on much of the “health” industry that preys on uniformed consumers.  Organic crap is still crap.  Gluten-free crap is still crap.  Organic, gluten-free cookies are still cookies, and are not that great for your health or body composition goals.  The Caveman can show you the true Way.  Wild salmon and spinach are gluten free as well.

crap is still crap, regardless of any marketing tag lines

MAY JUST SAVE YOUR LIFE

  • There are numerous real life, epidimiological studies of how when individuals from specific cultures  (Pima Indians, Inuit Tribes, Native Japanese, etc.) switch from their ancestral/traditional diets to a diet that resembles the modern American diet (highly refined foods), body fat skyrockets and biomarkers of health plummet.
  • I don’t want to use the fear-monger/scare tactic here, but its the truth, moving back to a more ancestral way of eating may just save you and your family’s life.  With modern Y2K eating, here are some scary stats: 2/3 of the U.S. adult population is overweight, 1/3 are obese, childhood obesity is at an all-time high, 26% of U.S. adults over 20 years of age, and 36% of adults over age 60 (over 57 million) have pre-diabetes, statisticians estimate that the number of people worldwide with diabetes will increase from 175 million in the year 2000 to 353 million in 2030, man boobs and muffin tops have reached epidemic proportions.

MERGES HEALTH ENHANCEMENT WITH PHYSIQUE ENHANCEMENT

  • It ensures a HEALTHY and sustainable approach to losing fat and changing your physique. There are many crash dieters who will follow uninformed plans based on fake diet foods, which leads to nutritional deficiencies and sets themselves up for huge weight rebounds and subsequent yo-yo’ing.
  • There are many athletes that look great on the outside, but are train wrecks internally. They are extremely unhealthy and dealing with side effects such as sleep disturbances, depression, elevated disease risk factors (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar), metabolic damage, digestive disorders, and a lack of natural hormonal production/control as a result of performance enhancing drug usage, recreational drug usage, pharmaceutical drugs to combat medical symptoms, and poor food choices.  That’s not hardcore or tough my friends.  That’s just plain stupid.
  • If total calories are controlled, you can lose body fat eating Skittles and Ho-Ho’s, but what is that doing to your internal health?  As the late, great Serge Nubret once said, “Every sickness comes from food.”
  • I’m a vain piece of crap, so I, more than anyone, get that it is dropping fat and building a physique that turns heads, makes the opposite sex lust, blush, or stumble, etc., that really motivates us.  Health concerns seem meaningless when you are about to star in your own gun show or thong song.
  • But it is the health impacts of food that matter most in the long run, and should lie at the core of any worthwhile dietary approach. Who cares if you can look good at the beach if you are too sick to get there, or too depressed to enjoy it while you’re there? At the same time, I don’t care if I make it to 120 years old if I have to live and look like a goblin to do so.
  • “But I’ve eaten crap every night for the last 10 weeks and look good, and my biomarkers of health are OK?” Dude, talk to me in 10 years.  Take it from someone who has worked with clients of all ages, and former competitors with metabolic and hormonal damage — its the cumulative effects of our dietary habits over a lifetime that matter, not any 10-week time frame.
  • These goals, however, do NOT have to be mutually exclusive; as many uninformed athletes or non-athletic scientists would have you believe.  Its not an either or situation.  You can improve your health and improve your physique at the same time.  The food choices we make can merge those two goals together.

IS A LONG-TERM APPROACH VS. A QUICK FIX

  • Any plan can work for the short-term when motivation is high — say for an upcoming athletic event; or just for beach season or updating your Facebook page.
  • However, it is virtually impossible to stay in the relative calorie deficit necessary for fat loss, at least for any meaningful length of time, if you are making poor food choices. You can’t cut calories while eating crap and expect to stay the course.
  • This is where point systems or other calorie counting diets fail.  You’re not going to be able to stay on a diet plan for long eating low calorie lasagna, fudge cake, or “snack packs”.  Fake foods like this are just empty calories with no functional nutrients.  They have no effects on satiety or the hormones that regulate appetite and energy intake.  You will feel constantly hungry, deprived, and miserable dieting on these foods.  In other words, you will constantly feel like you are DIEting.

The Zombie Diet is not an optimal plan

  • That’s why people yo-yo on and off these plans.  They are not sustainable.  And it’s not because YOU went off the diet.  It’s because THE DIET was not sustainable in the first place
  • It’s easier to stay “faithful” to your fat loss plan when it emphasizes real, whole, natural melons (or nuts), I mean food. As an experiment, I’ve had female clients struggle to net 1200 calories a day and male clients 2000 calories a day when they cut out all refined foods (including oils), and ate only real foods.
  • It is much easier to stay in the calorie deficit necessary for fat loss, while still giving your body all of the essential nutrients and micronutrients it needs, indefinitely, IF you are emphasizing real foods.  Which means you can maintain a year-round fit physique, low body fat percentage, look awesome, AND have great health and vitality.  No more yo-yo’ing.

C. HOW TO DO IT – PRACTICAL APPLICATION

WHAT TO EAT

1. Eat low calorie, nutrient dense, real, natural, high satiety foods.  Eliminate high calorie, nutrient poor/empty calorie, packaged, refined, low satiety foods.

2. Eat wild, hormone/anti-biotic free, unprocessed, natural animal proteins.  They provide us with:  essential amino acids (for tissue maintenance – including lean muscle mass), essential fatty acids (for normal cellular and hormone production), vitamins and minerals (like B-vitamins, zinc, iron, etc.), and “good fats” (50% of the fat in beef is mononunsaturated).

3. Eat a variety of plant foods (fruits and vegetables).  They provide us with: fiber, different vitamins and minerals (A, C, calcium, potassium, etc.), natural antioxidants, and disease-fighting phytonutrients.

*That’s all you really need for survival and normal functioning.  The rest of what you take in is all about energy production.  And the human body is very adaptive.  It can use either carbs or fats as its primary fuel source.

4. I feel whole food fats are a better primary fuel source for certain demographics (sedentary, insulin resistant, diabetic, obese) = fat from animal protein foods, avocado, coconut, and nuts.

5. I feel carbohydrates (natural starches) are a better primary fuel source for other demographics (athletes and regular exercisers) = yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and rice.

If you found this post useful, please share it below.  I promise to give you a virtual high-5 or hug in return.  Anything more will have to OK’d by my wife.