Mid January check-in (digestion and paleo updates)

When the new year was brand spanking new, I published a post that outlined my approach to the new year. I’ve written quite extensively about approaching the new year effectively. Deviating away from the stereotypical “I’m going to do everything this year – run a marathon, hit 6% body fat, do a physique show, blog everyday, read everyday and keep it all up 24/7, 365!”

“Simplicity is the secret to success”

Amen!

I believe in starting in the right place, starting small and scaling up.

Foundation is the word of the day. I set out to tackle the new year from the right foundations. Nutrition is as raw as it gets and that is where I’ve started to dig. So I’ve been spending January test driving the concepts from Chris Kresser’s well known book: Your personal paleo diet (I spoke in detail all about this HERE)

I started applying the concepts as soon as I could (December 27th to be precise) and have been following them to a tee up until the present (mid to late January).

The changes I’ve made since:

  • Only carbohydrate sources consumed are paleolithic. I.E. Sweet potatoes and squashes, fruit etc.
  • Dairy has been eliminated for 30 days or so
  • Caffeine consumption has been somewhat moderated – A few cups of green tea and white tea per day. No coffee (I was having a couple of cups of coffee everyday for months, so I feared I may be somewhat “caffeine dependant”)
  • Reduced consumption of nuts. I ate a TON of nuts everyday, I still eat a variety of nuts everyday but there’s a catch………I soak and dehydrate them prior to eating. This removes a considerable portion of the phytic acid that they contain (something I’m learning more and more about)
  • Always combining insoluble fiber with soluble fiber. Eating veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels and others with sweet potatoes, squashes and vegetables such as carrots (as above)
  • Steaming my vegetables thoroughly instead of endlessly stir-frying everything and eating 6+ varieties of vegetables in each meal – which I did ALL the time!
  • Consuming organ meats a few times per week (Lamb’s liver) – highly nutritious and a great source of iron.
  • Not being such a slave to eating. No obsessing over the minors; meal frequency, macro distribution and timing. Focusing on the big picture: consuming a consistent calorie number spread over set macro ranges everyday.

Quite an assortment eh?

And those only summarise the adaptations I’ve been making as per the guidelines in the book. I’ll just say quickly, for those who may not know by now: I’m a habitual healthy eater, so this is by no means a complete 360 degree lifestyle spin.

It’s more a quest to optimise my digestive health, which historically has been somewhat suspect. However, I can say that since the beginning of the new year, my stomach definitely seems more ‘stable’. I alluded to those of us who train/exercise regularly and pay good consideration to our nutrition, that are often downing huge quantities of protein per day, suffering from what I like to call…..”protein farts” – well that’s what we all call them, don’t we?!

I have noticed less gas, and I’ve not reduced my protein intake to any great degree at all. I have a window which I ensure I hit everyday. That window is a minimum of 110 grams from essential amino acid supplying sources, and a maximum of 150 grams (which I rarely hit). Yes, this is a fair bit below the generic “1 gram per lb of bodyweight” prescriptions.

Why you ask? Well I’m in a caloric surplus and when you’re in a surplus, you simply don’t need extra protein as there’s practically no risk of muscle loss due to the protective nature of the excess calories. Obviously if one were in a deficit of any sort, then I’d endorse bumping up the protein higher to around the 1 gram per lb range – maybe more depending on how severe the energy deficit is. Doing so will encourage maximum muscle maintenance.

It’s always going to be situational and subjective – I’m saying that too often aren’t I?

I feel great, my performances are still steadily improving and I’m yet to detect any signs of hindrance from this slight modification period. The reduction in gas is (I think) – mainly due to me cooking my vegetables much more thoroughly, this allows the insoluble fiber which most vegetables contain, to be broken down by the digestive tract. Think of it like a lock and key, if the fiber cannot be broken down, the nutrients cannot be ‘unlocked’ and therefore cannot be optimally absorbed. All that results is a stressed digestive tract working overtime to finish a job it ultimately can’t. Hence the seemingly ‘excess’ gas.

Also I’ve scaled back my meal frequency from 5 per day many months ago, to 4 and now 3. But unlike months previous, I’m not over-thinking this. Depending on my schedule, I’ll divide my macros and calories over a frequency that suits my schedule. I touched on this when I wrote about calorie counting. If 6 meals per day suits your lifestyle, that’s fine. If one meal per day is all you can manage, so be it. It’s overall nutrients and caloric intake that’s ultimately going to make or break you. Besides, I find eating less frequently allows my digestive system more chance to actually assimilate my food…………..

It’s always going to be the old cliche…….’find what works for you‘.

I intend to continue just as I have been until the end of January. Although in all likelihood, I’ll probably be adopting these principles for life – with continuous tweaks along the way.

For those interested, I’ll be reviewing the entire process in early February and outlining the conclusions I’ve come to. I strongly recommend doing a similar type cleanse, experiment or trial – call it what you wish!

Nobody is ever going to know more about you, than you. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Gaining self knowledge is a powerful step in the direction to a long and healthy, active life.

Thoughts & questions are welcome as always.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Love Chris Kresser, great book too. Have you read The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried? Works in well with this.

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    1. No I haven’t, I’ll jot that down on my ever growing list of ‘must-reads’. Sounds intriguing. I assume it’s about the power of tackling hormones first and letting them play the major role in transformation?

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      1. There’s a large part of that, but he also focuses on largely the importance of the gut microbiome. ‘The Hormone Cure’ by Sara Gottfried really drills into the hormone aspect.

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      2. Awesome! Thanks for the recommendation, it’s on the growing ‘must read’ list.

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