Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Do I Eat?

     As a personal trainer, a large part of my job is working with clients on their diet. When I say diet, I don't mean a "diet" in the sense of a strict set of rules or gimmicks to be followed for a short period of time, but rather a clients entire lifestyle as it relates to food. I truly believe that 80% of a clients health (including a healthy weight) is directly related to what they put in their bodies.
     Often, clients ask weather or not I follow the same diet that they do. This is sometimes awkward because, I am a person who believes that a trainer should practice what they preach. However, I also believe that there is not one specific diet that fits all people. For instance, I am a 6'3", highly active, 23 year old man. My clients are mostly middle aged, moderately active women. Our two diets should be very different, because we are very different in terms of metabolism and energy expenditure.
     That disclaimer aside, some still want to know, "Jason, what do you eat?" Currently I am a big believer in the Paleolithic diet and lifestyle more specifically, the guidelines set out by Mark Sisson. This diet aims to revert the human diet back to what our ancestors ate before the cultivation of grains. The major change in this diet is the amount of carbohydrate a person can eat, as well as restricting certain food groups. Sisson advocates a diet that includes 150g of carbohydrate or less. I like to call this a moderate carbohydrate diet. Low carbohydrate diets, like Atkins, will tell you to keep carbohydrate to under 20g. I do not endorse this, because it can limit the amount of vegetables one eats, and I certainly believe in vegetables as a dietary necessity. The Primal way of life aims to keep carbohydrate intake low by limiting the amount of fruit we eat, (fruit, while good for you, is high in sugar and can be over consumed) and totally eliminating sugar and grains from our diets.
     Sugar we all know (or should) is the insidious culprit in western diets for weight gain. the more you eat, the heavier you'll be. Its in everything from bread to juice and beyond. Even if I don't have some of my clients follow this diet, I always advocate getting rid of bread. It can't be made without sugar, and that means you shouldn't eat it. The other part of this equation is getting rid of grains. Grains, Sisson suggests, cannot be properly digested by humans (probably why so many people have Celiacs) and contain certain toxins that are actually poisoning us. I personally believe that it is simply a mater of glycemic load. Americans eat way too many carbohydrates in a day. Carbohydrate is strictly used as fuel in you body. If you do not burn that fuel, you store it. Fat and protein, however, have many functions in the body. If they need to be burned as fuel they can be, if not, the body can put them to use else ware before deciding to store them. Cutting out grains eliminates a lot of carbohydrates from the diets, leaving a person to obtain them from fruit and vegetables, which provide other benefits as well as fuel.
     So there you have it, that is what I eat. I keep my carbohydrate intake to 150g or less. I do not (or try my best) to not eat any grains, beans, or sugar. I eat plenty of fat (see Sisson's site, marksdailyapple.com, for research) because a growing body of research suggests fat does not make you fat, but rather is your body's preferred fuel source. I sleep well, and get plenty of exercise. Hopefully I have convinced you to do the same,


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