Metabolism (Part II) – What to Eat? Fiji Water, Polar Bears
If you haven’t read Part 1, please do. Otherwise you won’t know why I’m starting at point #3.
Third, decrease your insulin resistance. How can you do that? As the insulin-glucose feedback loop image in Part I shows, insulin is released when glucose is released into the bloodstream to allow glucose to enter your cells for storage. Most of us don’t eat much straight glucose. Highly processed foods, sugar, and low-fiber foods typically get quickly converted into glucose. When you eat more than 20 grams of sugar/glucose in food, your body will quickly become overwhelmed and release insulin, since you will most likely not burn 20 grams of glucose in a short period of time. You can decrease the amount of insulin released by avoiding large amounts of sugar and foods low in fiber except during intense physical exercise when the glucose will be used immediately by your body. You can also combine low fiber or sugary foods with protein and/or fat to slow your body’s absorption of the glucose. For practical tips on what to eat, read on.
Fourth, you truly are what you eat, so eat what you’d want to be. Think about what you ate over the last few days. Is that who you want to be? I want to be an unprocessed, steroid-free, antibiotic-free, chemical-free, natural, bright fruit and veg with many colors, fattened with animal and plant fats, and smiling like the happy animals that provide the protein scaffolding for my cells. After the short commercial cartoon, there are some simple tips to get started.
- Nutrition Tip #1. Drink lots of water. Drink 8 ounces as soon as you get up in the morning to get your metabolism started again. It has been dormant for 8 hours and this simple act will start revving up your system. Drinking water regularly throughout the day will ease the load on your body and give it the oil it needs to regulate your high-performance machine.
- Nutrition Tip #2. Eat frequently throughout the day aiming for 5-7 feedings. Most people stick to the 3 times per day maxim. If you’re healthy enough, that’s fine. If you want to increase your metabolism, make those three meals a little smaller and add a couple snacks in between and before you go to bed. When you eat 3 meals per day, you’re telling your body – “STORE FAT. You’re not getting fed for another 6-12 hours.”Your body is your obedient soldier and it will get to work storing fat like a bear hoarding food for his winter fast. You’ll need that fat to sustain you through the next 6-12 hours. When you eat 5-7 times per day, you’re telling your body – “BURN ALL INCOMING FOOD. Don’t worry. There’s more coming in a few hours.” Your body is again obedient and begins converting all that food into energy more efficiently.
- Nutrition Tip #3. Eat carbohydrates, but be smart about it. Stick to traditional, unprocessed, high fiber carbs and don’t overeat carbs regularly. I try to shoot for at least 1 g of fiber for every 10 g of carbs and rarely eat more than 60-70 g of carbs at a single meal. These are guidelines, since everyone’s body is different. As mentioned earlier you can also combine foods that have sugar or are low in fiber with some protein and/or fat to slow the absorption rate. This will give your body more time to burn the glucose from your physical activity and possibly reduce the amount of insulin released.
- Nutrition Tip #4. Eat whatever you want that comes from the earth, not a laboratory. If it’s natural, it’s probably good for you. If it was made in a lab, it probably isn’t. My daily regimen is two eggs cooked in butter and olive oil plus high-fiber oatmeal with blueberries and an apple for breakfast. I often have mixed nuts as a mid morning snack. For lunch I typically have peanut butter with flaxseeds on sprouted grain bread with a little jelly and yogurt with cream and berries. My mid afternoon snack is usually a glass of 2% fat milk, mixed nuts or trail mix, and a banana. I tend to drink a Gatorade during my workouts, since I burn a lot of glucose during workouts. I have a protein shake with juice, protein, a banana, and some oil after my workout. For dinner we have fish or chicken most often, but also steak, shrimp, and sausage regularly. Our starch tends to be potatoes, rice, pasta, or corn. We mix in lots of different fruits and vegetables including spinach, onions, garlic, chiles, tomatoes, peaches, asparagus, bell peppers, and zucchini. I try to incorporate herbs as often as possibly including basil in scrambled eggs for breakfast. We made a conscious decision in 2011 to change the way our plate proportions look. We previously had about half our dinner as protein, about one third starch, and just one sixth fruit and vegetable. I don’t think that much protein or starch is needed at any meal and especially dinner when you should be slowing down your digestive system. We now have about two-fifths fruits and vegetables, one third starch, and one third protein. I feel better. If you want more tips on what and how to eat, I recommend Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.
- Nutrition Tip #5. Don’t worry about saturated fat and cholesterol. There are cultures on the planet that still exist primarily on foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. They have much less heart disease, obesity, and diabetes than Western cultures. I personally eat plenty of saturated fat and cholesterol including two eggs every day and my cholesterol and other blood tests are fantastic. Did I mention I’m a diabetic? If your doctor very clearly and convincingly explains that for some reason you can’t metabolize saturated fat or cholesterol and she convinces you that she really knows what she’s talking about, then you might want to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol. If you don’t fall into that category, enjoy your whole eggs with tasty, vitamin-filled egg yolks. You’ll burn that saturated fat like a furnace once you practice my exercise tips.
For those exercise tips you’ll have to read Part III next time. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Website.