Monday, June 27, 2011

The Evolution Of George

 February of 2010 I "officially" adopted paleolithic nutrition and realized some dramatic results over six months in terms of weight loss, fitness and overall wellness. I adhered to strict paleo(no grains, dairy,legumes or fast foods) for the most part but initially was not a high fat eater.That changed as my preconceptions(or brainwashing) of saturated fat dangers subsided through self education.By the summer of 2010 I was embracing coconut, beef and bacon. I was also eating a fair amount of nuts, seeds and fatty seafood.

By the Fall of 2010 I became more aware of the debate around the Omega 3/6 ratio and essentially dropped the nuts and seeds from my diet but continued to focus too much on my consumption of Omega 3 foods. In retrospect the Omegas are essential fatty acids but a "little will do you". I adapted my diet once again to now include some seafood (on a weekly not daily basis), free range eggs and have also sourced some grass fed meats seeking balance without the need for supplements.

 Over the winter of 2010/11 I gradually reintroduced some dairy; traditional unsweetened (high fat) yogurt, organic heavy cream(35%MF) and butter. Dairy was always a grey area for me...I suspect some skin issues are dairy related but a reintroduction of fermented/ high fat has not caused a return of symptoms. I also think it would be a shame to throw out the baby with the bathwater by avoiding good dairy fat. That said I am not drinking milk, eating ice cream or candy yogurts. Dairy is back but limited in scope. As a result of the reintroduction of (some) dairy I found myself more within Sisson's Primal sphere of thought.

Spring 2011 I substantially cut back on fruits as I believe fructose(and sugar in general) is one of the horsemen of the dietary apocalyspe. I agree with Kurt Harris' Paleo 2.0 approach to ancestral nutrition. Debate not so much on what "grey area" foods we should eat but rather focus on what we shouldn't eat - the Neolithic Agents of Disease; grains,sugars and industrial oils. I admit I was becoming lost in the details and unable to see the (Paleo) forest for the trees. 2.0 made it simple again - avoid the big bad three(four actually if you include legumes) and don't sweat the occasional small stuff. I enjoy the richness of Greek style yogurt, the taste of veggies with butter and a little goat's milk cheese. Fruit is now (mostly) a pre/post exercise recovery food to facilitate glycogen replacement but I have added some dietary starch in the form of sweet potato. I no longer view them as verboten....there is something uniquely satisfying about a steak and sweet potato with a side of onions and mushrooms. I know this puts me at odds with the paleo zealots but so be it.Nutrition is all about finding the foods that work well for you, keep you healthy, fit and happy.

It has been an ongoing evolution of George which I think is a good thing? Periodically questioning the nutritional status quo means you remain willing to adapt in the pursuit of better health and wellness..It was through this process of self experimentation that I discovered intermittent fasting and, soon thereafter, fasted training.

What began as an experiment in IFing quickly became the norm. I adapted a Leangains model(16/8) of intermittent fasting/feeding easily and it now feels quite natural. I do remain flexible with both the duration and sheduling of fasts as I eat not by the clock but when my body tells me it is hungry. A natural progression toward fasted training was the end result. Fasted training also felt natural from the outset. I feel stronger yet lighter. I have yet to "bonk" even on fast paced 70km training rides. I have increased my metabolic flexibility by becoming more "fat adapted". I see the logic between ancestral diets and meal frequency. Our paleolithic ancestors probably did not have three meals a day and often would have no choice but to "train" fasted while hunting and gathering.

At the time of this writing I remain within the Primal camp but now find myself adopting some of the concepts of Berkhan's Leangains and Hofmekler's Warriors Diet(despite some sketchy science) based primarly upon my intermittent fasting/fasted training regimen. Having done some preliminary research I think the premises of Paleo/Primal nutrition and Intermittent Fasting/Meal Fequency are mutually agreeable, albeit with some possible concessions. At the end of the day I think we all sit around the same camp fire but just dance to a slightly different drum beat.

The journey continues.........

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