Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Confessions of a Low Carb, Paleolithic Model Advocate

Here's the truth, which I freely confess.

I drink raw cow's milk, in violation of USDA recommendations.
I never take multi vitamins.
I avoid flax seeds and flax seed oils, "heart healthy" industrially produced polyunsaturated fats, wheat germ, cholesterol lowering oatmeal, and heart healthy whole grains for the same reason I avoid rat poison.
I don't really care what my cholesterol numbers are, because if they were high I wouldn't try to lower them.
I eat eggs most days, unless I'm not hungry, then I throw out the whites but eat the yolks.
I eat chocolate 5 days a week, and drink bourbon every other day.
I add salt to food and water.
Fat, mostly saturated, makes up 60-80% of my caloric intake.
Just to make sure I get enough saturated fat, I add butter to my coffee, and I look at veggies as a good way to eat more butter.  Butter like cheese, strait up, as a snack?  Guilty!
I also supplement with coconut oil - sometimes for cooking, sometimes with dark chocolate or nuts. Man is that good!
I eat red meat and "artery clogging saturated animal fats" like it is going out of style, which it used to be, by the way.  I mean I'm knocking back stuff like bacon or sausage or hamburger, every day.
I eat processed foods like salami and sausage whenever I like.
I eat veggies once per day at most.
I generally eat fruit a max of once per day, except in summer time when I enjoy it a bit more.
Have no idea how many calories per day I consume - more than 2400, less than 3000, most days, based on a two week sample I made three years ago.  Whatever.  I eat when I'm hungry.  I eat a little extra when I train hard.  Sometimes I eat for fun, but mostly just for hunger or because I know after 10-14 hours, I need food.
I drink coffee - a minimum of five cups/day, and load most of those cups with heavy cream.
I smoke cigars when I want one.
You know that "most important meal of the day"?  I almost never eat breakfast.
On a typical week I may never exceed 100g/day of carbohydrate, or perhaps I do but only once.
I brush my teeth once per day, max, and never floss.

What kind of carnage am I wreaking on my health, appearance, and performance?

Well, I'm 49 years old, I'm six feet, 2 inches tall and weight 205 pounds.  At 42 years of age, I was 225 and weaker than I am now.  I could not tell you last time I had a cavity, it has been since 1997 at least.  I have shifted from being a sugar craver who couldn't walk past a doughnut to being a sugar agnostic. I get sick sometimes, but it is unusual.

I never do cardio and I have no idea how many calories I burn when I work out, because I could not care less about burning calories.  I work out to develop the physical capacities I would like to have or improve.

I train with barbells several times a week but I have no idea how many inches my arms or legs are, I never feel the pump and don't measure my success in terms of the mass of muscles.
On any given day, you could tell me to:
Run 6 miles
Deadlift 375+
Compete in the CrossFit Games Open WODs in top 30% in the world for my age, and top 50% for any age
Do a pullup - with 75+ pounds
Box jump 40+ inches
Clean 225 pounds
Climb that rope hands only, or climb that rope 25 times for time
I could most likely do it.  If I couldn't do it that day, I could do it within a week with a few practice sessions.

The changes I've experienced since I learned my way of eating - high fat, high nutrition, low carb, and moderate protein - include near elimination of IBS (pun intended), my teeth feel better, harder and cleaner, I have reduced my ibuprophen intake from an average of 1600mg/day to perhaps a monthly dose after a mis-step that sets my knee off.  I used to inhale steroids to keep my nasal passages closed at night, now I just remember how nice it is to not have to do that.  My ear canals are not chronically irritated, and I'm not spending the extra fifty cents for the dandruff shampoo.

My blood pressure runs about 120/70, much better than when I was a college athlete. My triglycerides vary between 25 and 75, HDL is around 70, and LDL is estimated at 114 (meaning it is actually lower given my triglycerides), with a total cholesterol around 200.  Waist tapes out around 36 inches, and body fat percent is 10-12 percent (who really knows this anyway).

Am I trying to brag about being a bad ass?  I would if I could, but in the CrossFit world, I'm just another athlete, there's nothing I can brag about.  I'm more interested in making a point, as dramatically as I can for today, that they've been lying to you.

They said you need low fat, high carbs and compulsively high cardio.  They said cut back on cholesterol, move more, eat less, and eat whole grains.  It is just not the truth for most folks.  Most of you need fat for fuel with a little protein and some high quality vegetables.  If you are already skinny, eat more carbs if you like them.  Ratchet way back on fructose intake (meaning sugars, which are generally 50% fructose), and if you want to lose your belly, also cut out the beer.  You don't need to move more and eat less, you need to eat real food (or as the man Sean Croxton puts it, JERF: Just eat real food).

The best advice you've ever received about health and diet was never proved by science - because good science is so hard to do on humans that it has not been done.  We're feeling around in the dark.  The best you can do is eat a certain way long enough to evaluate the effect, and refine from there.  There is one thing you can bank on though - no one with out of control blood sugar is healthy.  There are folks with low cholesterol who die young every day, and there are folks with "high" cholesterol who live long and well.  There are folks with too much body fat who live long and well, and those who are "skinny" who die young from vascular diseases and cancer.  The common denominator for most if not all of these who are not heathy is they have wrecked their glycemic control, generally from eating too many carbs, or too many carbs in combination with too much sugar.

So should you be an unapologetic low carb paleo model eating whacko like I am?  I don't know.  It's up to you to decide.  Give it a shot.  See if you like not being hungry, and see if you belly gets smaller and your blood sugars get under control.  See if you feel good, and perform well.  If these things line up  you will have run the best and most scientific test that can be run for your own health and well being.

1 comment:

  1. sounds very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete