By Rachel Cassano
What are we really supposed to be eating? Let’s face it. The truth is buried by so much marketing and big business it’s hard to say what’s real and what’s not. The picture shows one thing, the label says another. What is a person to do if they really want to know what they’re supposed to be eating to be healthy?
Around the time of the birth of my second child, I decided it was time to shed some fat and make an effort to get into a little better shape. This was prompted by a couple of things. One was my doctor making an unsolicited comment during a physical. “You know, Jamie, there is a direct correlation between belly fat and heart disease.” I was like, “Uh…, huh?”
Maybe I should back up a second. I’ve been a competitive drug-free powerlifter off and on since high school. So just about 20 years now. Sometimes I’ve been really serious, and sometimes I’ve just been on cruise control. At one point in this powerlifting career, I decided that being as big as possible was the way to go. Bigger equals stronger, right?
Anyway, I packed it on until I hit about 250 lbs. Mind you, I’m only about 5’10.” All that really did for me was make my head turn beet red when I was tying my shoes.
The second reason for the weight loss was I had made a comment that I was thinking about dropping weight and getting my “six pack” back. I thought about going as King Leonides from the movie 300 for Halloween. My friends laughed. Oh no! Was I so fat that the idea was funny? I had to do it now!
In my quest for losing weight, I figured I would start with the guys who made it their profession to lose body fat—bodybuilders! That made sense to me. That’s what they do. Get as lean as possible. I figured I could learn from them and get this fat off. So I started reading online fitness magazines and even found a great book by Dr. Carlon Colker called Extreme Muscle Enhancement. The book was great, and I started down that path with great results.
In a conversation with a friend of mine, I was discussing that not only losing the fat was important to me but my health was as well. I wanted to increase my longevity so I could enjoy my kids longer. He turned me on to what lots of people call a caveman diet. This is where I really got the most bang for my buck! This was an approach that looked at our biology and how we evolved. If we didn’t evolve eating it, there is a good chance our biology wouldn’t support it. Adopting this style of eating not only solidified the weight loss but gave me about three additional side effects that I read about but never expected.
I used to suffer from asthma. I had it since I was about eight years old. That went away! I can’t give myself an asthma attack now. I tried. I literally got on my treadmill in my damp basement and ramped it up and tried. I can’t do it. I can’t do it at all anymore. No more asthma. My arthritis went away as well. I was developing arthritis in my knuckle. It hurt like hell if I bumped it in the morning or when it was cold out. But it’s gone! I just recently went for that annual physical. Historically, I’ve had low HDL cholesterol. You know, the healthy kind that you’re supposed to be able to increase with exercise. Yeah right. I ran my ass off on that treadmill five to six days week and couldn’t raise it with a crane. It’s up five points now from eating like a caveman.
They laughed, I cried. “There will be a change!”
I found this to be a diet that better suits my needs because I hate to walk around hungry. I found that I don’t have to count calories. This wasn’t the case before. I needed to find a way to keep lean but keep my calories up so I could continue to get strong. I was trying to get pound for pound as strong as I could be. That meant lose the useless body fat. If you can’t flex it, it’s not muscle.
Ok. So what are the basics? Here they are. You eat what Paleolithic man ate—meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. No grains, wheat, oats, potatoes, soy beans, rice, corn, barley, or dairy. We didn’t eat them as we were evolving. Think about grains. You can’t run through the wheat field, pluck a hand full of wheat kernels, eat them, and digest them. You’ll pass them right through. You have to process them to eat them. It’s one of man’s first processed foods. I have often said that from a metabolic standpoint, there isn’t much difference between that so called “all natural, healthy whole wheat bread” and a piece of cake. I don’t care if you made it or paid 10 bucks a loaf for it. Heaven help the moms who think a breakfast bar or toaster pastry is a good way for their kids to start the day. Look closer moms. It’s a jelly-filled pastry regardless of the picture on the box. They’re filled mostly with high fructose corn syrup. The phrase “all natural healthy whole grains” drives me up the wall. It should really be “not as bad as the bleached stuff but still bad.” Until someone shows me where you can pluck a loaf of bread from a tree, I’m not buying in.
No dairy? Forget about it. Cavemen didn’t go toe to toe with something that big with horns to milk it. Didn’t happen! No way! Animals…we clubbed ’em, and we ate ’em. No wonder everyone is lactose intolerant. You’re not supposed to eat it. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Vitamin D. It’s the latest and greatest deficiency we have. I need dairy. Well stop by the vitamin D council web page. They say you would have to drink 50 glasses of milk a day to get enough Vitamin D. Where do I get it then, you ask? Well remember, we evolved buck naked on the savannahs of Africa so the sun!
Then you’ll say calcium. This is another ratio issue. Reference magnesium to calcium ratios for the truth there. The list goes on about grains and how bad they can be and others have already written books on these subjects. I encourage you to read them.
This brings me to an important point. Do what you can to eat natural meat—“range fed animals.” Lots of big business meat farmers force feed animals corn among other things during the last 90 days of their lives to fatten them up. This throws their Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios way out of proportion. That’s another thing that Paleolithic man never experienced. That’s why they market the hell out of taking Omega 3’s when in fact you should be lowering your Omega 6 intake. It’s ok to eat animal fat. Honest, we evolved eating it. Just don’t eat these corn fed animals that they’re jamming down our throats at your local supermarket. If you’re going to go out of you way to eat like we evolved eating, the animals you eat should be doing the same. Be careful. This has been such a common practice for so long, even small, quote un-quote, organic farmers do this minus the antibiotics and hormones. Big deal! If you’re still force feeding animals the corn, it’s bad.
Pulling semis as a light weight at 198 lbs
Fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds were available for the gathering. This is hard, but try to find truly organic. Big business has skewed this a little, too. Some of the things marked organic may be by current definition. But in reality, they’re just “kinda organic.,” Say about 70/30. So take your labeling with caution. Do some research.
We are the victims of the last 10,000 years of thinking with the agricultural era. That and marketing by big business. Take some time and do some research. Read some labels before you put something in your mouth.
I know what you’re thinking. Oh my god! That’s way too drastic from where I’m at now! Well, take baby steps. Practice eating this way. It will take time. I myself am lucky to eat this way maybe 90–95 percent of the time. I still reap the health benefits. I may go hardcore for a week, but something always comes up. Don’t sweat it. Have a piece of pizza if you feel like your existence depends on it that day. Just get yourself right back on track. I suggest one cheat/American meal a week. It will give you light at the end of a tunnel in the beginning.
So why “finding the line?” During a conversation with a friend of mine, we started peeling back the layers of all this endless marketing and agricultural evolution. He said, “Jamie, how far do you go? Where do you draw the line?” What I think he meant was where do you protect yourself from obsessing? A light went off in my head at that moment. It wasn’t about where you draw the line but in fact finding the line. It’s been hidden and no one knows where it’s at. How do you find it? Our evolution is the answer. If we didn’t evolve eating it, odds are you aren’t supposed to be and it isn’t any good for you.
Finding healthy food isn’t always easy. Something you can do to help change that is demand quality food from big business supermarkets. They will provide and have a lot more power to do so. Every time you buy something, whether you believe in locally made or organically grown/raised, you’re telling big business what is important to you.
Much of my information was pulled and gathered from the sources below, and I highly recommend you check them out for yourselves. The books I recommend that you read are as follows:
· Neanderthin by Ray Audette
· Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain
· Protein Power Life Plan by Dr. Eades
I recommend watching the following movies:
· Fat Head
· King Korn
· Food Inc.
· Fresh the Movie
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