Fit Fail – Diet Designs

Summary:

In the 90 day window I have from my poor bloodwork results (detailed here), I am adjusting/adapting/re-designing my diet. I am going Paleo. I have a prioritized set of “rules” I will be following, with the higher priority (i.e. more restrictive) towards the top and the lower priority (i.e. more permissive) towards the bottom.

Details (story):

In the last 12 years, I have tried numerous diets. Most have been some variation of low-carb. Those work for me to remove weight as that was my measurement; my focus. However, I love carbs. Much more accurately, I love Life cereal, chocolate chip cookies (especially BJ’s Pizzookie), chocolate cake and dark chocolate covered almonds. And these things are not driven by cravings. They are driven by my strong and deep emotional and social associations I have with these food objects and time I share with those about which I care. Just being up front that no matter what diet I choose, I will not be giving up the above items permanently. I can and will restrict when I get to have them. But I WILL have them again.

Thanks to my recent blood work results, it appears I must be even more attentive to the details of my daily diet. The last year of just being “moderate” apparently wasn’t good enough. So while that might work for others, it appears I have to be more diligent about attending to my daily diet needs (as well as augmenting with exercise).

I have chosen to “go paleo” for 90 days. I have not tried the paleo diet explicitly. I have been close to it, but not directly on it. My best friend, Bill, has been on it for 9 months and has had some remarkable results. My admiration for his results has me inspired to try it, at least for 90 days.

So what’s the paleo diet, you ask? The wiki has a good entry on it. And as with any diet, it has numerous variations. And as I implement what I think is important to the diet, I am relatively certain a new variation will be birthed. The version that I am starting with first is located here. And I will be modifying this list over time into my own list, generating less of a good/bad frame and more of a degree of alignment frame.

My personal diet plan is a mild re-interpretation of Panu’s (Dr. Kurt Harris) list.

Personal Diet Plan Rules/Guidelines:

  1. Always eliminating all foods containing gluten grains (i.e. wheat, rye and barley) and any of their derivatives (i.e. flour, germ, powder, etc.)
  2. Always eliminating all foods and drinks containing sugars (i.e. sugar-cane, sugar-beet, high-fructose corn syrup, milk lactose) – excluding freshly squeezed juice
  3. Always ensuring generation of enough vitamin D through daily skin exposure to sun and/or D3 supplements
  4. Mostly reducing to very small amounts non-gluten grains (i.e. rice, corn, etc.)
  5. Mostly eliminating snacking and practicing some form of intermittent fasting
  6. Mostly eating better fats (i.e. animal flesh fat, whole cream, coconut fat, avocados)
  7. Mostly replacing grain and/or seed derived (cooking) oils with fat based oils (i.e. butter, coconut oil, animal fat and/or ghee)
  8. Mostly eating ruminant animals (i.e. beef, bison/buffalo, lamb) – have smaller percentage come from eggs and fish
  9. Mostly ensuring Omega3/Omega6 balance strongly favors Omega6 (i.e. fish oil supplements)
  10. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating processed foods – strongly prefer eating foods in their natural or cooked state
  11. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating  fruits (i.e. apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, plums, etc.) – including their freshly squeezed juices
  12. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating  legumes (i.e. peas, beans, soy, peanuts, etc.)
  13. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating  nuts (i.e. walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, macadamia, etc.)
  14. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating  night-shades (i.e. potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, etc.)
  15. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating dairy (i.e. cheese, cottage cheese, butter, cream, sour-cream, etc.)
  16. Rarely (all but eliminate) eating and/or drinking caffeine (i.e. coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.)
  17. Rarely (all but eliminate) drinking alcohol (i.e. beer, liquor, wine, etc.)

Obvious Missing Elements:

Pork, fowl (chicken, turkey, etc.), artificial sweeteners, extremely dark chocolate, etc. I will address these in a future post. They are mixed in both being valuable and being tricky.

Common Misperceptions:

These are worth clearing up ASAP as they were surprises to me.

  • Corn is a grain, not a vegetable
  • Potatoes and Tomatoes are night-shades, not vegetables
  • Peanuts are legumes, not nuts
  • Consuming (good) fats is essential to maintaining higher brain function into one’s later years
  • The fear of the link between red meat and cancer appears to be largely nullified gluten grains have been substantially reduced and/or eliminated from the diet (more on medical diet myths in a later post)
  • The calcium justification for drinking milk to avoid osteoporosis appears to be largely nullified gluten grains have been substantially reduced and/or eliminated from the diet (more on medical diet myths in a later post)

Macro-nutrient Caloric Ratios per Meal (+/- 5%):

  • Fat: 65%
  • Protein 25%
  • Carbohyrdrates: 10%

Fundamental Principles Influencing the Design of My Diet Plan List:

  1. The closer to the paleo-orthodox end of the spectrum (which spans from paleo-lithic to neo-lithic), the more excess capacity the immune system gains to fight systemic issues (i.e. allergies, outbreaks, ph-balance, etc.)
  2. Affects on blood-glucose (sugar) directly influence insulin sensitivity, hence the use of the glycemic index is very helpful in choosing health and fitness effective foods
  3. Supporting an active lifestyle requires both the proper selection of foods in the diet combined with the proper timing of their consumption to maximize hormonal benefits.
  4. Life happens. Exceptions occur. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Anniversaries, birthdays, vacations, etc. are special. And for most of those, all the above rules/guidelines my be broken for a meal, a day or even a week. The rules above for for living during all the non-exceptional times. The challenge is to find the right threshold to define an “exceptional” event. And that likely requires defining them prior to their occurring, not on the fly. Otherwise, it’s very easy to slide further and further out of alignment with the rules/guidelines.

In my next post, I will start addressing each of the diet plan items, going into much greater depth about what the item means to me…

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