Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thinking about food

One reason I've always led an active lifestyle is it's given me pretty much a blank check to cash in on whatever food and drink I wanted.  That's great because I love to eat and drink.

Recently however, I had been struggling with my weight.  I was well over 220 lbs and often found myself tipping the scale at 230.  I drank a fair amount of high octane beer, and had a diet which seemed reasonable at the time, but I'm not so sure anymore.

Something about my diet changed when I got to Bolivia.  I don't have a scale, but I can see in the mirror that I've lost quite a bit of weight - my gut has clear left, middle, and right sections and veins are popping out all over the place.  In Colorado, I was soft - for sure.

Again: something about my diet changed when I got to Bolivia.  It's hard to pinpoint what precisely, but I haven't been eating this:

Though I want to be...

The thing is.  The diet here isn't much different than what you see on that plate.  Up there is pork, cheese, potatoes, cheese, onions, chilis, garlic.

I think I may be more restricted in my caloric intake in general.  I've had ice cream like twice, maybe 3 times since moving here in February.  I eat a lot more fruit.  I eat breakfast.  I've swapped out normal beer for microbrew.  I have about a normal human's size portion of food for lunch - today: 1 Chicken Thigh, a good sized helping of potato salad, which included probably 1/2 a tomato, 1/2 a green bell pepper, and 1/2 a carrot.  Last night's dinner was about 2 servings of Lentil Salad.  Breakfast was probably 2 and a half eggs and a peanut butter sandwich with 1/2 a glass of yogurt and 1/2 a glass of milk.

Not having a scale is interesting, and I expect I will have one soon.  I'd really like to measure my sweat rate for one thing (another post for another time) and I'd like to start tracking my weight again.  If I end up actually lining up for 2 one hundred mile races next year, I'll need to stay on top of my nutrition.

That brings me to the whole point of this post in the first place.  Recently I listened to a very interesting podcast which talked about race day fueling and other things nutrition.  Based on that I posed a question to Joe Friel on his recent blog post.  One part of what he had to say in response to my question, I found to be quite provocative (emphasis mine):
Sugar is closely monitored and processed by the body as it is viewed almost as a toxic substance. So the body does unique things with it (e.g., converted to glycogen, glucose or fat very quickly after processing) that it doesn't do with fat or protein.
While running yesterday, I was mulling that statement over and remembered that Joe is an advocate of the so called Paleo Diet. I googled alot about it last night and this morning.

Essentially it is a diet which is centered on lean meats, fruits, nuts and tubers.  The kinds of foods that hunter gatherers would have eaten before we settled down in Mesopotamia.  I'm usually quite skeptical of stuff like this, but a lot of the arguments for a "paleo" diet hit the same "that makes sense" button that the barefoot running advocates I've come to subscribe to tag.  One interesting article is found here:
It's a quick read, and worth the time.  If for no other reason than to familiarize oneself with the arguments.

I don't expect I'll ever fully subscribe to a paleo diet, but I may begin to incorporate some of its principles into my daily eating.  I first need to get my brain around what that really means...

Thanks for reading, and try to understand why before actually doing.

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