I’ve been slacking hard since the last blog entry (you can access the archives to the right) and I’m not sure I remember how to do this. With gym growth and everything going on the tricky business end, I’ve become a sell out and forgotten about what I’m here for. I am going to make an effort to try and get back into a consistent writing schedule so that if nothing else, you guys have something to read while you’re pretending to work.
There are so many quick hitting food topics that I want to cover that I figured the easiest and laziest way to do it is to just straight up bullet them out in no rhyme, reason or thought.
Just the way that I like it. Let’s get this started.
Gluten. That tricky little a-hole and oft-debated substance in the health industry is causing an uproar on both sides of the debate (if you can call it that).
For starters, let me just say that gluten avoidance is the first scare-trend and bad-guy buzzword I am 150% behind. To quickly put this into context, I was a complete non-believer for a while.
If you know me a little bit you know that I can be stubborn, to put it kindly. I was a skeptic for months and months refusing to believe that this pesky little wheat protein could be that harmful and even hazardous to our health. I read all the research, traded emails with my buddy Matt who to his credit, tried to convince me for a year that it was terrible until one day I just decided that I was going to remove it altogether and see what happened.
Like everything in life you have to try it for yourself before rendering a verdict. Judgement through trial, right?
This was about a year and a half ago that I did this and I can tell you the following things have occured.
- My chronic acid reflux and heartburn that runs in my family has essentially disappeared. I used to be a Zantac three times a week guy and have not purchased a single pack of it in 2011.
- My immune system strength has noticeably increased. Until two weeks I haven’t caught so much as a sniffle when previously I’d be at the doc’s once a year for throat issues.
- And, before we opened the gym and started working 14-15 hour days I had substantially more energy.
Don’t get me wrong, I still eat gluten on the weekends but when I do it noticeably jams me up. I decided to go completely off the rails last week to see what happened to my body and the results were nothing short of shocking.
Bad heartburn, felt like crap and honestly feel like I am coming down with something as I type this.
Is that the result of one week of high gluten intake? Maybe. Maybe not.
This is not hyperbole, this is just honest testament from my own experience. No agenda for me, here. I don’t sell any products.
Suffice it to say I am personally convinced that it’s nasty stuff and am wholeheartedly convinced that any skeptic only remains one because they have never experimented with complete abstinence.
I’ve never called myself a Paleo guy since I eat cheese, enjoy a Saturday burrito and tend to stray on the weekends, but the reality is that the principles we teach at the gym and that I live by on a 90% basis are on par with Paleo prescription.
I am not nearly as fanatical as the rest of the Paleo community but if you are looking to clean up your health, body composition and host of other troubling ailments then all I can suggest to you is to try eating the P360/Paleo way for just a few weeks and see what it does for you.
- Start adding cinnamon to different foods and drinks. Coffee, berries and cream, even chili. It’s one of those wonder spices that helps control insulin sensitivity which moderates healthy body compositon. It also adds taste and perceived sweetness without the inclusion of sugar.
- ‘Big Food’ packaging drives me insane. If I see another fat-free cookie package, gluten-free chocolate lava cake, pure cane sugar (!!!) or protein-enhanced breakfast cereal I’m going Michael Douglas in Falling Down on the grocery store and just go on a slapping spree.
- One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your diet without overhauling foods is to get rid of mass-produced food brands (Lucerne, Tyson, etc.) Not to sound all Occupy Wall Streety on you, but Big Food is a corrupt entity that doesn’t give a rats ass about your health. They care about their margins. The sooner you learn and accept that the healthier you will be. You would be very well served to purchase at local market stores like Henry’s/Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and farmer’s markets. Look for “grass-fed”, “cage-free”, “antibiotic-free”, “wild” and “organic”. Stay away from “farm-raised”, “vegetarian-fed”, “corn-fed” and “whole-wheat” misleadings.
- Fat does not make you fat. Eggs are not bad for your heart. That’s it. Mmk?
- If you use supplements please treat them as just that. If you are replacing whole food meals with protein shakes then you are missing the boat on what food is actually supposed to do for us. No food product supplement will replace whole food macro (protein, fat, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
- In my humble opinion the best supplement available is Fish Oil. Be careful of ingredients as many are watered down and/or made with farmed salmon, or fish like sardines and anchovies. My recommendation is WholeMega 100% Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. Just make sure that whatever you purchase is extracted from wild fish and preferably from salmon.
- Whole food > food product
- I am yet to see or experience a huge problem with small cheese inclusion in my diet. I even tested complete removal and felt no change. I don’t eat a lot of it but I put it on eggs and sometimes veggies because well, veggies taste like veggies. One of the ways I counter the negatives of cheese (lactose) is by buying premium cheeses that are aged, which is a tip I learned from Mark Sisson. I realize what a complete snob I just sounded like but those cheeses have far less lactose in them and are generally a lot less processed. Also, always look for grass-fed cheeses.
- I’ve now mentioned grass-fed a few times and before you go confusing me with a poser who likes fancy buzz words, I’ll tell you the main benefit of grass-fed over corn-fed as succinctly as I can.
Basically, it all boils down to omega profiles among other things. For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on the two most popular omega’s. Omega-3 and Omega-6.
They exist to naturally counter balance each other. One promotes deflammation (omega-3), the other promotes inflammation (omega-6). Both of those are critical processes that we rely upon for survival but the problem is too much of any one of them is very detrimental for our health. We’ve evolved to need and thrive on both but Big Food makes it nearly impossible to keep them within the boundaries we need.
Science has shown the most ideal ratio of omegas needs to be in the range of 2:1 for Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio, however almost all commercially processed dairy, meat and other foods are jam packed with Omega-6s due to the diet the animals feed upon.
Commercial chicken and beef are raised in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) and they fatten up on diets exclusively made from corn and drugs (corn creates heavier animals faster, thus brings them to slaughter quicker and turns over profit at a greater rate then letting them fatten up on grass naturally).
The problem is that corn is naturally high in Omega-6’s which in turn results in beef and chicken that are loaded in 6’s. Over the years, this has skewed the average person to be closer to 20:1 ratio than 2:1 and puts our bodies in a constant state of inflammation (remember, Omega-6’s promote inflammation).
Thanks, Big Food!
When you consider that a lot of modern research is linking inflammation to all of the nastiness that is heart disease, diabetes, childhood obesity and more, you start to understand that getting omega-3’s wherever we can get them is vital for our thriving and survival.
That’s where grass-fed beef and wild seafood come in. The animals in each instance feed on their natural diet of grass and algae, both of which are loaded in omega-3’s which in turn gets precious omega-3s into our system.
So, the morals of today’s blog were:
- Do not under any circumstance blindly trust the government mandated food pyramid if your reason is because “the government says so.”
- Trial on your own is the best research.
- Grass-fed whenever you can.
- Try removing gluten from your diet and testing what happens for yourself.
Agree? Disagree? Drop me a comment with any questions and let’s get some healthy discussion going.