Food is information. Once you decide to put food in your mouth, your body processes and reacts depending on what it is. The way your body reacts is essentially an extension of your DNA. Everyone reacts differently to certain types of foods and food groups.
Nutrition is something that I really enjoy learning about because it can tell us all so much. In the past, I’ve tinkered with a ton of different foods to to see what makes me feel at my best. Here a couple different routes that I’ve taken in the past.
Eat Everything In Sight
In college, I went through a phase where I wanted to get as strong and big as possible. During that time I pretty much ate anything in my way. My goal going into each day was to just eat enormous amounts of protein no matter where it came from. It was tough for me to gain weight so I honestly never stopped eating. Since I’ve graduated and stopped playing baseball, I’ve really just focused on eating non processed foods and keeping my plate full of healthy fats, protein, and vegetables.
I’ve experimented with the likes of a Ketogenic Diet, which helped me drop from 210 lbs. to 195 lbs. A Keto diet means that the body is moved into a state of Ketosis, which means that your body burns Fat as a source of energy rather than glycogen. If I ever need to lose weight in a healthy matter, this is the plan that I’ll resort to. Being 6’3, I really have no need or desire to drop down to anything lower than 195lbs. While eating on a Keto Diet, my daily percentages would look like this:
- 70% Fats
- 25% Protein
- 5% Carbs
The great thing about this diet is that I already enjoyed adding fats to all my meals in the first place (Avocados, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil). The hardest part for many people is just avoiding all carbs. Simple foods (even good ones) like a Banana will kick you out of Ketosis and will force your body to continue burning glycogen rather than fat.To stay in Ketosis, that means you can’t really drink any alcohol or have much of a social life like eating out with friends. Therefore, many people enjoy going through what is called cyclical ketosis, which means that they follow a Keto diet and stay in Ketosis most of the time but will occasionally eat Carbs and refill their glycogen stores to refuel their muscles.
“Slow Carb/Paleo/Primal Blueprint Diet”
Paleo= a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.
Primal Blueprint= when you follow the primal diet, you can eat all the healthy fats, meats, fruits, vegetables and dark chocolate you want. The concept is that these foods are essentially made up of protein and fat — macronutrients that the body has evolved to prefer, according to dietary guidelines explained on the Primal Blueprint website. These do include foods like grains and corn.
The Slow Carb Diet= a diet designed by Tim Ferriss, which he details in the 4 Hour Body. This is the plan that has been the most effective for me due to what I’m currently looking for. The idea behind the Slow Carb Diet is that you eat foods that have a very low Glycemic Index. Therefore, your body will breakdown glucose slowly and will keep your blood sugar down throughout the day. My daily percentages usually look something like this:
- 50%-60% Fats
- 30%-35% Protein
- 10%-20% Carbs
This has really seemed to work well for me because I currently want to focus on staying lean but also putting on muscle and this allows me to add more protein to my diet compared to a Ketogenic plan. I tend to only eat my carbs right after a workout or on the weekends. My carbs will generally come from the greens and legumes that I eat. I will also use Sweet Potato if I have a couple days of tough workouts. As Charles Polquin always says “You have to earn your carbs.”
All 3 of those plans are fairly similar and essentially have the same idea. EAT REAL FOOD!
Below is the rules of the Slow Carb Diet.
Slow Carb Rules
There are 5 rules in the slow-carb diet:
- There are only 5 rules in the slow-carb diet:
- Avoid “white” carbohydrates
- Eat the same few meals over and over again
- Don’t drink calories
- Don’t eat fruit –
- Take one day off per week
Now, here are my Rules, which are a little less strict.
- Avoid “white” carbohydrates – I usually always stay away from white carbohydrates unless I’m in the process of Rule #5.
- Eat the same few meals over and over again – This is easy for me because I can eat the same food over and over again no problem. On Sundays, I’ll make a big Egg/Chicken meal that I can eat every night when I get home.
- If you drink calories, make it be healthy fats (or wine) – I love wine so a couple glasses on a weeknight isn’t going to ruin everything. I also enjoy putting MCT oil or Butter in my coffee which helps increase my fat intake when I need it.
- Eat A Little Fruit – I usually don’t eat much fruit just because I like to avoid the sugar and I also believe I can get all my essential micronutrients and fiber from all the leafy greens I eat.
- Take a couple days off per week – 1 Day off a week is ideal. But you should never feel ashamed if you go out more than once. It’s fun drinking and eating with friends and family!
My Food List
- Grass-Fed Beef
- Legumes (Black Beans)
- Brussel Sprouts
- Berries (In moderation)
- Olive Oil
- MCT Oil (Derived from Coconut Oil)
- Avocado Oil
- Grass-Fed Butter
- Coconut Oil
* These fats/oils all have a high smoke point. Which means that they do not oxidize when they are exposed to high heats. Therefore making them safe to cook with.
With all of that being said, this is what has worked for ME and what I’m looking for. Some people do better with different variations of different foods. People’s situations also require them to lean towards certain food groups. For example, my little brother, who is currently a college baseball player would probably not do so well on my particular food plan. With practice, lifting, and games he is always moving and burning calories. Therefore, he will generally need more fuel (carbs) to allow his muscles to perform at their peak performance. He also is not looking to lose weight by any means, so he isn’t looking for a way to burn fat for energy rather than glycogen.
Overall, I’d encourage everyone to eat unprocessed and real food whenever possible. Once you have that figured out, all you have to do is eat the food that makes you and your body feel good!