Saturday, November 9, 2013

Navigating the nutritional confusion

Learn about the calorie myth on my new NUTRITION page
 Around my small little office the main topic of conversation seems to be diet and nutrition. My two co-workers saw me start running at 220lbs and watched me progress to the point where I could run ultramarathons. Consequently (sort of) they also saw me drop a ton of weight quite quickly. They attributed this to the running and exercising and I assured them that if I have learned anything; its that weight drops because of a clean diet not because of my daily workout. The ratio of importance between diet vs exercise in terms of weight loss is 70%:30% in my opinion. I know this because when I started my weight loss and running lifestyle I ate a combination off fast food and pre-packaged garbage otherwise known as the Standard American Diet (SAD). I cut back on the fast food and cleaned up my eating a little bit and saw very minimal drops in my weight even though I was burning about a 1000 k/cal per day working out. When my frustration with this boiled over I got super serious about my diet and dropped as many unnatural sources of energy as possible. I cut out almost all pre-packaged food. Fast food was absolutely out of the question. Immediately I saw massive drops in my weight. That to me proved the often heard saying "Abs are created in the kitchen!" is an absolute fact.

 Months of office talks went by until one day the office manager asked me where the nutrition information was on my website. Back then it was just a few links to a few of my favorite articles and videos on the Training page. She encouraged me to expand the nutrition information and create a separate page with all of the stuff we normally talk about on it. This suggestion along with the wildly popular Ketogenic Diet article I had recently wrote made me think that perhaps my readers did want some nutrition info. I took the advice and published a page solely dedicated to Diet & Nutrition that you can click on at the top of this page.

The page is not just my opinion on what works and what doesn't. That is another diet myth that needs to die! Everybody has unique body chemistry and food tolerances so there is not one single right or wrong way to eat. Everybody has different goals when it comes to diet and nutrition as well. For example. A person who has their ancestry rooted in Asia will likely tolerate rice and grains a little better than a person who's ancestry comes from the Inuit culture of the Arctic. Some people have metabolic deficiency's that others don't. Your blood sugar rises and falls in a unique way to your bodies chemistry. We all know people who can metabolize a ton of food quickly while others can't seem to find food that doesn't pack on the pounds. If your goal is to lose body fat and build massive muscle you will definetly eat a diet that is totally different than someone who wants long lean muscle. If you are limited in your ability to exercise you will eat a completely different way than a person training for an ultramarathon. Again, there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY that works for everybody.
 There are however principals of science that do apply to the vast majority of us out there that dictate what is healthy for us as a species and what is not. These are the ideas that I am more interested in rather than a step by step diet approach laid out by the latest trendy trainer or Dr Guru. My nutrition page starts out with examples of elite athletes that are thriving on different diet approaches. Mostly Low Carb vs Vegetarian. The two that seem to be polar opposite and yet both can make health claims, show results and show scientific studies to back them up. Which way is right for you? I don't know, your doctor likely doesn't have a clue and the trainer down at the gym may be all wrong in his advice as well. You must be your own health advocate. You must methodically move in a direction that seems to be a way of eating that you can sustain as a lifestyle. From that you must add in foods and take away foods all the while monitoring your results and the way you feel to really dial in what works best for your unique situation. "That sounds like work!!!" Yep, it sure is, but like all things worth while it will prove to be invaluable in getting you to your goal and saving you some major health care dollars in the long run.

 My nutrition page is here to help you in this exploration of self. I start off the learning by breaking down what exactly is food, what is it made up of and what we should pay attention to. This sounds elementary but you would be surprised what some people call food. You may also be surprised to know that most people don't know what macronutrients are (proteins, fats, carbs) and if they do know they cant explain what they do or what they are for. From this basic nutrition vocabulary you can start to decide for yourself what seems to be important and what can take a back seat. I have links explaining exactly what is vegetarian, vegan, low carb high fat (LCHF) so that you can make fully informed decisions on what can be sustained as a lifestyle for you. I also include links to articles and videos that explain what should be avoided on almost any diet you choose. Obviously there are some absolute NO-NO's like soda, pop tarts, fast food and frozen food-like substances.
 The page is continually being updated with more info, more web resources, more handy tools and more videos to inform and inspire. This page should be visited often as I hope to make it an invaluable resource for all people to find what works for them. The page is already the  #2 page on my site and it has only been published for about a week or so. Give me your feedback in the page comments. Let me know what my next area of research should be. I hope you find the page informative and helpful. Thanks for checking it out and helping me sculpt it.