May. 6th, 2011

pictor: (Default)
I feel at this time, I would like to comment on my diet.

Of late, some of my friends have taken some radical dietary shifts, in some cases very radical. I had a lot of dismissive suspicion at first, but I also did a little digging to learn some of the basics behind it. I am not inherently sold on every single aspect I have been told, but on some of them, I have learned enough to really change my thinking in regards to some food sources.

Now I don't have the lifestyle to adopt the diet they did (the previously unknown to me paleo diet) as it requires quite a lot of home planning and food prep. I don't have the time to devote to the personal food prep effort. I also am still unconvinced by some of the principles of the paleo diet. However I am convinced by certain sub-components of it, and some of the principles it's trying to address.

So this is what I did (or attempted to do)
-Cut out sugar. Nearly entirely. Here, I am referring to sucrose, and fructose except where it is found in fruit. However I did also lower my fruit intake a bit (not drastic). In places, it's hard to make this principle total, as sugar is found EVERYWHERE, but I can get very very close.
-Lower carb intake. To be clear here, I used to eat a LOT of carbs in the form of cereals, bread, and pasta, so this isn't hard. Bread is now limited, and I went ahead and used up my granola, but I didn't replace it.
-I didn't take a lot of steps on lowering my lactose intake until recently (let me add, raw yogurt is awesome!). I still eat products with lactose, but they have lower levels than many.
-increased vegetables - quite a bit, though I am still working on expanding the variety.
-increased meat, but mostly only the raw kind I cook myself, not the prepared kind, in prepared gravies, or on prepared food...etc... I have used my bbq more in the past month, than I have since I moved in to Woodridge, and possible *ever*
-Increased fat. I haven't gone willfully crazy here, but I am no longer getting skim milk, or 0% yogurt (the raw stuff which I have now is at it's natural fat level, can't remember what that is, something like 3.5-4.0%). I dash on olive oil on my salads, and the meat itself has fat as well.

The result? Actually, let's discuss the goal first. Why did I even start this. In a word, energy. For quite some time now I had been low energy, listless, yawning all the time. This was the number one thing I wanted to adjust. I also wanted to adjust the extra body fat I was carrying (particularly on my pecs), and yes, that was a pure vanity choice, and it doesn't particularly bother me that I was using that as a motivator. Energy was the big one though.

Ok, the result?
-around 10 pounds lost. This is also with less gym time mind you, as the house hunting got in the way of my gym schedule (which is starting to return). Before you ask, no it's not muscle loss. Now that I am back to the gym, I am still at the progress level I left off at. As mentioned, this is a secondary note. The number itself is unimportant (though it came with increased trunk flexibility, which is nice).
-Energy - yes please. In an interesting distinction, it doesn't help sleepiness. If I don't get enough sleep at night, I am sleepy the next day, but that's a different thing than body energy and tiredness. I have *way* more energy, most notably when I have had a protein rich meal.
-Habit of food prep - I was a big one for opening a box and putting it in the microwave. Now I am chopping up more salads, making my own breakfast combos (today, some frozen berries, raw yogurt, slivered almonds, unsweetened shredded coconut, and flax seeds, yum), cooking my own meat (instead of reheating), and I could see taking this to new directions as well.
-Skin - This was unexpected. I used to have a big problem with dry peeling skin on my hands and feet. Not just a bit dry, but patches peeling away. Now, you have to search for any evidence that my skin was like that. There are one of two spots you can find where you can see the after effects of that condition, but by and large, my skin looks amazing.
-Eyes - Someone had to point this out to me, but it's true. My eyes are whiter. Seriously, the white of the eyes is a more striking and consistent white.
-Back - My back, which had been more of a problem in the last 6 months or so, has finally improved some. I feel it a bit when I first get up in the morning, or after a gym session, but it's finally affecting me less on a day to day basis.
-Teeth - My teeth feel like they stay cleaner. It's hard to know for sure, because I started this well after my last cleaning, but I had a cleaning this week, so I am curious to see if it makes a difference by next cleaning.
-sugar free peanut butter - despite trying twice, I finally developed a taste for "just peanuts" peanut butter, and now actively prefer it.
-I've also not felt remotely sick, though that may just be coincidence (I am not actually thinking I am not immune, but I may or may not be less vulnerable to infection, who knows)

I discussed it all with my doctor, and we did blood pressure tests and so forth. All was great, and he thought it was a great idea. He wished more people would cut back sugar, but it's so hard to convince people of that, as it seems so hard. I don't have the wherewithall to track and balance every item I put in my mouth, but as a general guideline, no sugar, less carbs, more veggies, enough protein, and don't stress about moderate fat levels, has done very very well for me. The better skin, and more energy alone is all the reason I need to justify it.

The other notable shift I may make soon is a new mattress. I noticed I slept much better in India at my hotel, than I do at home. I am not sure, whether because of age, or just by its nature, that my old mattress is the right one for me.

July 2011

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