Since I had a scheduled day off from running, I got to thinking about some of the changes I have made in my life during the past month or so.
Back on December 10th, after my VA physical and some conversations I had with the Doc there, I really started to think about and look closely at what I was eating.
In general terms it was:
Breakfast – Usually a sweetened boxed cereal, Low-fat Milk or English Muffins, Sugar-added Peanut Butter and a fruit spread. Then every once in a while a Hot Oatmeal with spices and dried fruit on it. I did have a piece of fruit of some kind most mornings. Of course black coffee.
Lunch – Leftovers from previous night’s big meals or sandwiches usually with chips or fruit of some sort and cup of hot tea.
Supper – Something homemade most of the time, but all too often it was a low fat, white flour, basmati rice or rice from a box, homemade breads, sometimes a salad with store brand salad dressings, usually small amounts of very lean meat, some kind of veggie and a glass of red wine.
After supper most nights I would have either a bowl of dry sweetened cereal, ice cream, homemade desert or chips and a cup of black coffee. Although I gotta admit that I did like my Whoopi’s Pies, Cakes, Pies and chips way too much
During the day snacks would include: peanuts, candy, sweets and other stuff that tasted great, but was of questionable nutritional value.
In other words according to mainstream beliefs and current food recommendations from the government my diet was pretty much what was recommended. Low fat, higher fiber, more grains, with probably just about the same or slightly less sugar than most Americans and not as much processed foods as most.
However, some of my labs in December were not where I really wanted them and my weight even though I was running 30 plus miles most weeks, walking 20-25 more and doing bodyweight workouts, but it was not enough.
I was still according to the BMI guidelines overweight and my blood work was showing some not so great trends.
Definitely not what I expected and a bit of a wake up call.
After my research and looking closely at how I was eating, I came to the conclusion that it what I was eating was probably most of the problem. I realized that I was eating pretty much the Standard American Diet that has too many low quality carbs, sugars and other added chemicals that I don’t try to pronounce.
Which meant I had a choice keep doing what I had been doing or look in a different direction.
After doing a bunch of reading online and re-reading some of the stuff I own, by authors who I tend to respect their opinions, based on previous experience reading their works. You know authors who do not promote off-the-wall, out there with freaky ideas on what we should be eating, but people who base most of their ideas on science and the history of what humans have eaten for thousands of years, not just the last 50 or so years.
I have lost a lot of faith in the current nutritional recommendations based on what I see happening around me, my research and also my own experiences with eating the so-called Standard American Diet. Go to out in public and you know exactly what I mean.
Based on a lot of factors, I made the choice to move to a lower carb diet that focuses more on real food (that stuff in the outer isles that are still in a recognizable form and more organic in nature), more fats, red meats, fish, Himalayan salt, organic produce and higher quality carbs. Yes, I am even using coconut oil or butter to cook with or put on the homemade breads that I do eat.
How has it gone?
Over the last month I significantly reduced the amount of candy, sweets, processed food, low cal/low fat stuff and other things that have ingredients that I cannot pronounce. Remember, I did all of this over the Holiday season of December, so the temptations to eat the “other stuff” was always there and I will admit that did indulge in more than a few of the treats.
On December 10th the VA doctor’s office weighed me at 163.6 pounds and when I had my insurance mandated physical on January 8th had me at 156.2 pounds and this morning I was down even further to 154 on my home scale which was very close to the totals of the Doctor’s Office. The thing is that I have not cut my caloric intake and still eat a lot of food – I do not deprive myself, so the continued weight loss not expected to say the least.
The good news is that in about a month some of the blood work results that I was concerned about has gotten closer to “normal” numbers and anecdotally I am feeling better, with more energy and not needing my mid-afternoon nap as often.
I know that I never will move to a full-blown low carb, Keto, Vegan or Carnivore diet, I enjoy eating some carbs, but I make it point that they are mostly higher quality carbs and if I choose to eat something, it is because I chose to, not because it is added to enhance the “Bliss Point” of the food. So I can see myself occassionally splurging on a Whoopie Pie, some cake, a piece of pie or other sweet and not having any guilt about doing so. Also I do not see me giving up my Friday night Homemade Pizza and a Beer or Hard Cider anytime soon.
It is just that I am not going to eat mindlessly, like I have in the past.
The reality is that
I am eating differently than I did just a month ago and it is working for me.
My food choices are not really in line with the current U.S. Government’s Food recommendations. I eat too many saturated fats, meats, salt, but not enough grains and feel a lot better since I have started down this road.
All I know is that I do like how I am feeling, enjoyed loosing 9 pounds without trying over the Holidays and not having gastric issues while I run nearly as often.
After reading all the research I did, I do wonder who actually controls what the recommendations are for nutritional guidelines and how conflicts of interest subjugate the truth from fiction when it comes to what we should actually be eating.
To me I don’t really care what is being recommended, I am going to eat what seems to work best for my body and family life. It might not be 100% any one diet, but it is the one that will work best for my lifestyle and goals.
So while I am not going to follow any particular diet 100%, I have been eating a LOT better with higher quality carbs, pink salt, more fats, increasing my hydration and the results have surpassed anything that I could have imagined when I started this change just over a month ago.
Now to find a decent tasting salad dressing that meets my requirements – it might be a long search.