Wednesday, June 30, 2010
It all started a couple months ago when a good friend of mine decided that he needed to give up alcohol for 6 weeks. We both ate well, trained hard but for him, boozing it up to the extent of 20 - 30 standard drinks per week was the norm. That's you I'm talking about Roaddog! Anyway, I decided to set myself a challenge. Booze was not really an issue for me so I decided to try the 80 10 10 diet out. I had been introduced to it about 18 months before by reading a thread on a health forum. The guy was terribly intelligent and put forth many compelling arguments as to why humans were designed to thrive on this way of eating. Since that time I swapped protein shakes for fresh fruit after workouts and was surprised at my increased strength gains and improved energy and recovery. In general, I started eating more fresh fruit and veg, reduced meat consumption and still ate grains and dairy. I remember my first vegetarian day. I was so surprised that I actually got through the day without eating meat! I had been mislead by mainstream body building and fitness advice. I thought that I needed to eat all this protein to grow muscle. My diet was relatively clean, or so I thought. I ate very little junk food, no soft drinks, limited alcohol etc. My weight hovered around 70kgs. I'm 173cm and was about 30 at that time. I could never get the 6 pack abs kind of definition I was after. Back to recent times, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for me to eat 80 10 10 and see what it could do for me. There was a learning curve, it wasn't always easy, especially the first 2.5 weeks but I was committed and my determination saw me through the month without giving in to the temptation of eating cooked food. I followed 80 10 10 almost exactly, especially the last 2 weeks when I had a much better understanding of what 80 10 10 meant. In any case, for 4 weeks I ate nothing but fresh ripe raw and in many cases organic fruits and vegetables, and a few nuts and seeds. I also drank nothing but water but actually drank very little as with every bite of raw f&v, I was already hydrating myself. I experienced amazing benefits! Increased energy, perfect digestion, clean skin, mental clarity, strength gains, faster recovery, sounder sleep, increased muscular definition (hello abs) and a feeling of lightness and athleticism. I feeling I hadn't felt since I was a teenager after playing lots of sport my whole life and before partying! Loved it! No negatives whatsoever! I recorded a video journal of my progress http://www.youtube.com/user/GetRealHealth. After this, I went back to eating cooked foods again, but with a vengeance! Immediately, I felt a slump in my vitality. The contrast hit me in the face! I then decided to go 80 10 10 with the exception of 1 cooked meal a week. This worked well for about 3 weeks. I slowly started eating more cooked foods and then I had a one week holiday where I lifted all the constrictions I had placed on myself and just had fun! Since then, I now eat predominantly whole fresh ripe raw organic fruits and vegetables because I want to and feel great doing so. If the need or want arises, like a social outing or just because, I will eat something cooked like grass-fed beef or drink a coffee, or eat some take-away or drink Tequila shots etc without feeling like I have 'broken' a rule. I have also decided to 'live a little'. This freedom combined with my optimal results eating 80 10 10 has enhanced my overall quality of life. I have found a great balance and really enjoy eating a shit load of fruits and vegetables.
I'm not going to beat around the bush, Humans are designed to be active, lean, strong and fit! You might eat the best diet in the world, but if you live a sedentary lifestyle, you will fall well short of your potential and your health and mood will pay the price! There will never be more than 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. If you are the type of person who makes excuses like, 'I just don't have enough time to exercise' then so be it, but be aware that there will be a price to pay. Everyone has a unique history so it's impossible to predict exactly how an individual's health with suffer, but be assured that regular exercise, including strength training, is a critical component in achieving optimal health. Ignore the late-night ads trying to flog off the latest exercise gimmick machine that so conveniently folds away so you never have to see or use it! No problem if you have issues or can't afford going to the gym. None of these things existed in our past anyway! All you need is the motivation to move. Go for a walk, play with your kids, ride a bike, go for a swim, join a sporting club, re-connect with activities you once loved! Throw in a few sit-ups, push ups, dips, curls, any movements against some resistance and your body will respond in ways you probably don't even realize! You will feel a greater sense of vitality and look better naked! Food will taste even better! Having trouble sleeping, do some exercise and see what happens then! We have been blessed with an extremely athletic and capable body. Unfortunately, many people do not respect this and/or actually have no concept, or have a misconception of health and fitness. Being over fat and sedentary has become the new norm. Day after day, through poor lifestyle choices, many people gradually destroy what they have. Despite our best intentions, modern marketing strategies tend to leave people confused. When we lose the will, we lose the way fast! But, I assure you, everyone can turn their health around, regardless of age and weight, by creating a new mindset and moving health up on their list of priorities. Get off you ass, get moving, do it regularly and you will understand why I'm so dam passionate about this! Once you feel the benefits yourself and see your life improve, it will become second nature. If you experience what it's like to drive the best car, would you want to go back to driving the old bomb you were used to?
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I'm sure we have all heard that it's important to eat a wide variety of foods. Those fortunate enough to have access to amply amounts of food tend to combine many different foods into the same meal. Some meat, salad, sauce, condiments and spices served up between bread is a common sandwhich that contains foods from nearly all food groups. How does our body handle a cocktail of ingredients like this? Not terribly great! Meat requires different digestive enzymes and stomach PH than plant-based foods like vegetables and starchy foods like grains require a different environment again! The end result is that the body is not able to optimally breakdown and absorb nutrition from those foods. It can't create 3 contrasting digestive environments simultaneously! It is super important to digest food optimally. A person may put quality foods in, but if the body can not digest optimally, essential nutrients will not be absorbed. The key is to limit the amount of different foods that are combined in each meal. The optimal scenario is eating a meal consisting of only one type of food or a few foods closely related within the same food group. Dr Graham, in his book The 80 10 10 Diet, explains the digestive benefits of mono eating. A mono meal consists of eating only one type of food until satiety. This could be 8 bananas or 1kg of grapes or half a watermelon etc. When only one particular food is consumed in a meal, the body is able to create the optimal digestive environment required for the breakdown and absorption of the nutrients in that food. When the body digests efficiently, less gas is experienced and food passes more comfortably though the system. Because the body uses less energy for digestion, the person has more energy available for being active. You may be thinking that by eating mono meals, you may not be eating enough variety of foods. In fact, the opposite is true. Over the course of a day, week, season, year, if a person eats mono meals of whole fresh ripe raw fruits and vegetables when they are in season, a large variety of foods will inevitably be eaten.
Many of us want to improve our health. Most people worldwide NEED to improve their state of health. Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes to name but a few, are relatively new lethal degenerative diseases that are becoming more prevalent at a shocking rate! Our environment, lifestyle and food and water supply is deteriorating. We continue to settle to a new normal. On average, humans are now 10kgs heavier than they were 30 years ago! Most people would understand that our environment is more polluted than ever and that lifestyle factors such as inactivity, smoking, drinking, fast-food etc all contribute to our health decline. Health-conscious people generally seek health advice from mainstream practitioners and inevitably end up consuming vitamin supplements, super-foods, herbal remedies and so-called health tonics and shakes. Whilst a person may experience an improvement because this may be a step in the right direction relative to their previous eating habits, most people never reach their desired level of health. This is because mainstream health advice is for one, no way near thorough enough! You simply can not achieve optimal health if only one factor of health is considered. What a person eats and drinks is important, activity, sleep, toxins and stress are also other important factors. The shortest path to achieving optimal health is following an intuitive program that provides thorough advice about improving all of the key components required for health. Living in line with nature and understanding our basic requirements is critical. Our current lifestyle and food supply has derailed us from the path of health, which would otherwise be our natural state. Every other species, by design, is fit and healthy. This occurs automatically in nature when the basic requirements of the species are met. Humans too, would be fit and healthy, as the natural state, if our basic requirements were met. Of course, not everyone or everything is created equally, so there will always be exceptional circumstances. As a species, in general, we must eat food that we have physiologically evolved to thrive on, drink clean water, be active, get sufficient sleep, sunlight and feel sufficiently relaxed. Health becomes compromised when we neglect one or more of these basic needs. Unfortunately, we have been brainwashed into thinking that turning to prescription drugs, herbal remedies, fad diets, detox programs, supplements, superfoods etc are the answer. Since most sick people follow this model, yet fall short of optimal health and or develop further complications, it motivates me to get to the truth, take control of my health and help other people.