Category Archives: diet

Are you really THAT hungry?

feed-me

[Sorry, but the assumption I’m making is that you are on a computer or mobile device and have the means for at least a little food on a regular basis. I honestly feel for those who are really starving.]

First, you should remember the Rule of 3’s for Survival. In the most extreme situations, you can SURVIVE for more than:

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

I highlight the last one because you aren’t going to starve if you miss lunch!!!

As a society, we thrive on tradition, on rituals, on status quo. We are raised to do things a certain way and freak out if we have to think out of the box. I recently saw this when someone didn’t receive a fork to eat something when they could have easily used their fingers. If we always get 3 squares a day, then that’s what we expect.

The truth is, we all carry a decent amount of body fat. I heard on a podcast the other day that Rich Froning, the Fittest Man on the Planet, was at 11.2% bodyfat. I’ve had a goal of getting under 10%, so now I don’t feel so bad about myself. When I wrestled in school, I was at 5% bodyfat, which I think is very unsafe. Even bodybuilders will struggle when they get at their leanest. Its what they do to win, but most would rather have a cheeseburger.

The book I was reading said that most animals perform best when they are hungry. There are physiological reasons for this that you can read about. Elite performance occurs in a hungry state. It is when you are most focused to perform…because you have to. After a Lion feeds to the point of satiation, a.k.a. not hungry anymore, they are fairly docile creatures. Gazelles and Kudus will walk around them without fear knowing they just fed.

When I teach or take a yoga class, I prefer to do it on an empty stomach. I’ve found doing rigorous activity that includes a lot of forward folds and twists works better when you don’t have a full belly. Runners, weightlifters, and other exercisers know this is true as well. My nephews learned the hard way what happens if you eat before going to football practice in the Arizona heat. Bad results!!

So, long story short. Without realizing it, we perform best in sports on an empty stomach. Its possibly true for work and home life as well. When I used to eat a big breakfast or lunch every day, I would be sluggish for a few hours afterward from having FBS (Full Belly Syndrome). I would say my productivity dropped by at least 50%.

Side note: It is idiotic when dieticians and so-called experts say eating food boosts metabolism. What it boosts are enzymes needed for digestion. That’s it. And there is no such thing as thermogenic foods. Eating food doesn’t burn fat. Don’t let anyone tell you differently!

So, as a Warrior Diet advocate, I rarely eat until dinner time. I seem to function better, I’m more efficient since I don’t need a lunch break, and I don’t seem very hungry most of the time. I know I’m not going to die if I miss a meal. And I fuel myself with as many calories as I want later in the day. Its a MYTH that if you eat late at night it will make you fat and you’ll not sleep well. Its the opposite. I’m digesting when I am inactive. And I sleep very well since all the blood is rushing to my stomach and bowels for digestion. Then, the next morning, I’m not hungry. I drink some coffee and enjoy my day. And I don’t eat sugar or carbs, at least until dinner, so I don’t have insulin spikes. Every time insulin rises, you feel even more hungry. Instead, hormones make me feel satiated and I burn fat throughout the day. I use my own body fat instead of using sugar intake for energy. Its a Win-Win situation!

 

 

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Type that Body!

body shape

We are all genetically prone to inherit traits from our parents. Our body shape is one of these characteristics. What type of shape are you?

  • Pear, hourglass, bowling pin, triangle, …
  • Endomorph, ectomorph, mesomorph
  • Tall, short, thin, round

And can we break from these shapes? Its not easy to do. In sports, work, and life, I always say “rely on your strengths.” If we focus only on what we perceive or people tell us are our weaknesses, we’ll only live a bleak life of inadequacy.

As a Native American, I was born to have a big barrel chest. Unfortunately, this goes along with visceral belly fat and thin limbs (aka skinny legs). If I were a bodybuilder, this means  I don’t have to do a lot to stimulate my pecs and upper back. But the core of my work should focus on heavy squats, lots of abdominal work, and I can’t neglect things like biceps curls & triceps extensions.

In my 20’s, I always had six-pack abs. But its a battle of the bulge now. All I can do is stay persistent. I can’t get disheartened by lack of progress. Embrace who you are. If you have something special that your parents gave you, then why not flaunt it. But don’t worry about things that you can’t easily change.

Makes Friends With Fat

skin-treatment-with-coconut-oil

What are fats?
Fats fall into a group of macromolecules in the lipid family. They include fats, oils, and various other long chain carbon molecules.

Are people afraid of fat in their diet?
Why yes! This is because they don’t understand fat metabolism. They see people who are obese and celebrities talk about dangers of fat. The truth is that fat isn’t converted into fat when digested. Most of the fat we can’t use passes through our system. Fat bellies associated with obesity is caused from eating sugar. Excess sugars are stored as fat in our bodies. Eat a pound of sugar a day and you’ll definitely get fat. Eat a pound of fat and you’ll sit on the potty more.

What do fats do for us?
Look up charts for membranes. Membranes are phospholipid layers that make up our skin, nails, hair, and every cell and organ of our bodies. You need fat to make skin healthy, and I’m not just talking about rubbing it on your bodies. Fat also makes needed sterols, like testosterone, progesterone, growth hormones, and other important functional molecules. These sterols play a huge role in immunity.

What kind of fats do we need?
We would like to focus on Omega-3 fats that come from fish, tree nuts, and other useful sources. However, there are essential Omega-6 fats that are important too. What we’d like to reduce are the Omega-6’s from corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. Nearly every processed food has these sources in it when you read the labels. And guess what, margarine is the worst form of fat that was ever man-created. Pigs won’t even eat it. What we do want to increase in our diets are coconut oil, nut seed oils, and fish oil. Overall, I wouldn’t fear oils. And if you still think fat is evil, pick the lesser of two evils. Pick sugars to get rid of from your life. They are the main culprit that leads to type-2 diabetes, glycemic maladies, obesity, fatty liver disease, and a whole host of other problems. And yes, starches (pastries, potatoes, pasta,…) break down into sugars.

What is ketosis?
When your body doesn’t have enough glucose in the blood, it shifts to burning fats instead. Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder or endurance athlete with less than 8% bodyfat, believe me, you always have enough fat to live off of for many days. Every time you eat sugar, your insulin spikes and makes you feel like you need more. This leads to the feeling of hunger. Conversely, when you eat fat, it stimulates glucagon providing glucose to the bloodstream by burning fat in adipose tissue. It also triggers satiety hormones that give the feeling of satiation, or fullness. For most healthy people, or even obese people, ketosis can be used in positive ways to burn fat for energy.

How do I make fat a daily reality for me?
When you wake up, your insulin is at its lowest. The last thing you want to do is eat sugars or starches that kick it into gear again. That includes cereal, milk, bagels, donuts, pastries, Pop Tarts, and all that other fun stuff to eat. What I do is grab a cup of coffee or two for a little boost of energy. Since fats and oils are nutrient dense, you don’t need a lot. So I put a teaspoon of coconut oil in my coffee. This provides long-term energy, satisfies hunger hormones, and allows you to be productive (make my lips moist too, hehe!). Any time you need a little energy, eat a little fat. If you can afford walnuts, pecans, or other tree nuts, it provides very healthy fats. Eat some cashews or peanuts in a bind (these aren’t Paleo and have some issues). Non-sugared, natural peanut butter or nut butter works too. Since I’m cheap and I acknowledge a risk/benefit reward, I often eat peanuts. Beware of flaxseed oil since it doesn’t have a long shelf life and goes rancid quickly. If it isn’t fresh off the plant, it may already be useless to you. Eat plenty of fat with meals. I use bacon fat to season most of my cooking. It makes everything taste wonderful. And eat a good helping of fish every week provided you are mindful of biological magnification from heavy metals and such. A late night treat like peanut butter on apples is amazing! Apples rank high on the satiation index so it curbs hunger. The fat in the peanut butter will keep you happy all night long!

Caution: The conspiracy theorist in me says to be wary of government agencies like the FDA and USDA. Our government subsidizes grain production and imposes tariffs for imports. For good reason, it wants our grain production to have favor. So it also influences food & drug recommendations, like “have a bran muffin a day”. Many of our dieticians follow FDA guidelines for everything. Remember, there is an ulterior motive in this goal. It is all inter-connected.

Can I use fats & oils for non-dietary purposes?
Absolutely. My massage therapists use a coconut oil blend with essential oils that is amazing! I can’t say enough for essential oils. That is a whole other topic you need to study. Oils of cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, … have so many health benefits. We have a diffuser running in our house whenever we are home. It is great for alternative, holistic medicine that gets you away from drug use. Its a natural drug!! You know oil and water don’t mix. But guess what? Oils and oils do pretty well together. Rubbing oils onto lipid membranes of skin, hair, nails, etc… can give marvelous results.

Want to have glowing skin, a strong immune system, and to become less fat! Eat FAT!

Cha-cha-cha-Changes!

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Changes come slowly.

In the past week, I have had 3 people who told me that I looked more trim. They couldn’t put their finger on what it was, but there was something different. And it was good.

To be honest, I ate really badly a couple weeks ago so I haven’t stepped on the scale in a while. I’ve been working out harder than normal, mostly adding CrossFit back into my life to a greater extent. When I was measuring, both my body weight and my body fat were stable. But I felt very different. I felt really good. And I’ve been sore a lot, so I know I’ve been doing the work.

Sometimes there are intangibles about how we look. Sure, maybe we have restructured our physiques. But people can also see confidence, a glow to your skin, joy in your face, and walking with pride. Since my rhomboids and lats are always sore from pull-ups and Olympic weightlifting, I open my chest more and my arms spread wide. I can’t help it. But I’m sure that plays a role too.

Don’t worry if body weight or fat doesn’t change analytically. Its more about how you feel. And if you feel good, you are definitely going to look good. Do the work and be patient. The work never lies.

Gluttony

feast

I had software training all last week. And to be polite, I went to lunch with the trainer 4 out of the 5 days he was here. He’s a Southern boy who likes his food. In that respect, we are two peas in a pod. I really love food!

Now, I’m not just talking about fond of eating. One day we went to a BBQ place and we both had the Smokehouse 2 combo. That’s a half-slab of ribs, two other meats, two sides, cornbread, and a drink. Yeah, we snarfed that down without a problem. And I barely ate a salad that night. But this guy, he went to a steakhouse for dinner and had a 24 ounce sirloin, baked potato skin and all, salad, and a dessert. He can really put down some food.

The honest truth is that I could do the exact same thing if I wanted to. But I know my gall bladder, possible gout symptoms, and hereditary type-2 diabetes would set in rather quickly.

I was doing so well. I told myself I wouldn’t be in the 190’s ever again. So I haven’t stepped on the scales for a week. What I don’t know won’t hurt me. I am back on the Warrior Diet again, which is a superfluous term for what I normally do. I live off of my bodyfat throughout the day. If I feel the least bit hungry, I try to eat a little fat and protein to provide energy but not cause an insulin spike. Then I eat a big meal for dinner. I lose bodyfat quickly and body weight slowly with this diet. I essentially eat the same calories, but I’m burning fat all day.

So this week will be a good test of my diet since I was such a glutton last week.

Swimming Upstream with Diets

bears fishing

Podcasts often make me go introspective to my daily habits. The topic du jour was diets. So here goes. (quick read? — scroll down for tips)

My body type is a mesomorph. Since I was young, I could eat whatever I wanted and still have a six-pack. I was super active and weight was never a problem. However, this also means I never learned how to eat. My grandpa lived to be 89 years old, yet he smoked, drank, and ate very poorly. When we had chili at his house, it came wrapped in butcher paper like a brick of fat. It melted in the pan as you cooked it. A slab of Colby cheese and a sleeve of crackers often accompanied it. And I loved it. I thought I had genes like his, so I could get away with eating poorly.

I think for most of us, our 30’s is when your metabolism starts to go into conservation mode. I was a Senior Army Drill Sergeant at 32 years old when I started to fall back in a run. What the heck? I was a runner and a pretty good one at that. I gained 10 pounds and it wasn’t coming off. Even when I became an ultramarathoner in my 40’s, I pretty much maintained weight and didn’t lose much. But the key that was missing was diet. I still ate like a horse.

Fast forward to years later. My ultramarathon days were starting to come to an end. I began doing CrossFit and made lots of changes in my life. But I didn’t change my diet. Not long before, my wife had her gall bladder removed. So I suppose I was next. After my diagnosis, the doctors were ready to schedule an appointment with the surgeon. I’m like “wait a minute, let’s think about this first”. I mean, I’m a scientist myself. There has to be a better way. I started doing some research and found that gall bladder disease is mostly a side effect of gluttony. It can be connected with a host of other issues from diabetes to gout to liver disease. My research led to a gastroenterologist back in the 1950’s who put together a diet with many names. It was the Diabetes Diet, Alzheimer’s Diet, Parkinson’s Diet, … In effect, they were all autoimmune diseases where autoregulation is halted. Come to find out, it is also the basis for the Paleo Diet.

So despite my mantra of “exercise all you can so you can eat what you want”, I needed to change. I went cold turkey and jumped on the Paleo bandwagon. We stripped the cupboards bare of all processed food, especially flour, pasta, and other starches. The same with sugars. Within two weeks, I was free of the painful heart-attack like symptoms that I suffered from my gall bladder. My blood lipids were completely back to normal and I was losing weight and bodyfat. It was amazing what it did for my life.

Since those days, I’ve moderated my views and overlapped other concepts into my life. I am still mostly Paleo since I pay for it when I go back to the Dark Side. I used to be the bonehead at the party who was vocal about what I “wasn’t” eating and would preach all the facts about the bad foods that were there. I’m more sociable now. I’ll graze on fun foods knowing that I’ll eat clean 98% of the time. During the work week, I’m essentially a Warrior Diet advocate. Here are some ideas that I abide by:

  • Breakfast consists of coffee with a half-teaspoon of creatine and a tablespoon of coconut oil which provides energy and muscle cell hypertrophy. I’m not very hungry anyway in the morning because of what I eat before bed.
  • I skip lunch but may snack on a protein bar, a spoonful of peanut butter, or maybe a protein shake to keep my energy, prevent muscle catabolism, and maintain low insulin levels for fat burning.
  • I usually do Olympic lifting in the morning, yoga over lunch, and a CrossFit WOD with bodybuilding after work. Then I eat dinner.
  • Dinner is the largest meal of the day. Caveman drag food home to cook and eat! I get my daily dose of calories at this time. Although, I’m usually not starving because I haven’t faced insulin spikes from what the FDA and others would recommend with small meals throughout the day. It is balanced with lots of protein, fat, and veggies.
  • Currently, my pre-bedtime ritual is to take Progenex Cocoon. It has amino acids like tryptophan to help you sleep. It also has other proteins that aids muscle building and recovery. I take creatine with this too. Your highest levels of testosterone and other growth hormones occur as you sleep. Your cortisol levels drop and serotonin increases. So you do some fat burning as well as opposed to fat storage. Your fat is being used to make new cells and aid in hormone building (which are made of fats).

So far so good. I still enjoy a few cheats along the way. I’m not perfect. If I get really hungry or if I know I am teaching an intense yoga class or hot yoga, I’ll eat lunch or a snack hours before. I still stick to a mostly Warrior/Paleo styled diet and it seems to work for me. The bonus of not planning breakfast or lunch is I never worry about what I’m going to eat. And I can really enjoy a savory dinner and a nice sleep at night. I also got to keep my gall bladder.