Today is ‘Pancake day’ in the U.K. which is a tradition that has raged for years. In fact, I’m sure it’s some people’s favourite day!
Obviously as a fitness blog writer, I’ve questioned whether or not I should even be partaking in such celebrations. But, as I did over the Christmas period, I’m saying to hell with it, and I’m going to be enjoying a pancake or five.
My family would never even consider abstaining from such an event, and I’m sure yours won’t either. So it’s got me thinking, how do we enjoy ourselves whilst minimising the potential overfeed damage?
I guess you could take the reckless ‘YOLO’ approach. Actually, if you’re a skinny rake who’s desperate to bulk up, the rest of this post isn’t applicable to you. But, anyone bar the skinny rake, could maybe do with being sensible. There are a few really easy tricks to implement that can turn what most fitness fanatics and OCD dieters would deem a ‘dietary disaster day’ – into not that big of a deal.
No pancake marathons. I’m sorry, but you should allow yourself a ‘pancake window’ where you eat till you’re full. Not wakeup: Pancakes, lunch: Pancakes, dinner: Pancakes and tomorrow is an extended pancake day for good measure!
Sorry to be the kill-joy, but set yourself a window – preferably in the evening.
Keep carbohydrates low throughout the day. Doing so will promote a more insulin sensitive state. If you’re not doing anything with a high energy demand, you really don’t need much in the way of carbs.
Note: I didn’t say starve and avoid all food. I said keep carbs LOW, ideally low glycemic fruits and as many veggies as you wish. Minimal starches. You won’t die, you’re getting your monthly allowance of carbs tonight! Especially those (like me) who can eat some SERIOUS food in one sitting.
No evil ingredients. No trans fats, industrial seed oils and sugar. To the average Joe, this may seem unreasonable. But it isn’t. If you have some gluten free flour, free range eggs, some maple syrup and some cinnamon…….you’re absolutely fine!
The cinnamon will actually promote a more positive uptake of the glucose, that’s a magic trait of this spice that some don’t know about. Also some REAL lemon juice (fresh from the lemon) will have a similar effect. DON’T use those bottled lemon juices, unless they are organic/pure lemon juice only. Not high-fructose corn syrup in a bottle or where the label contains so many E-numbers, you can identify your phone number three times over!
Train the next day (preferably anaerobically), this feast will ensure maximum glycogen capacity, which will translate into a great workout. Who wants to train in a glycogen depleted state? Where your muscles are flatter than the pancakes you’ve eaten!
This will keep the muscles as receptive as ever to glucose and in a strange way, you should find you not only feel more energetic during training, but you will believe you are obligated to a hard session and decent effort after so much food. Try it out.
No regrets or pansy behaviour. You chose to eat these pancakes, they can’t force themselves upon you. If you’ve followed the rules so far, you won’t be ingesting harmful and toxic chemicals/additives. I’ve said this many times before, I’ve intentionally cheated numerous times periodically and I’ve maintained a 10-12% body fat whilst in a significant calorie surplus. The kicker is, I’m eating squeaky clean the other 90-95% of the time. Oh and I’m active and never skip my workouts.
So there you have it, a few easy tricks to clean up pancake day. Now if your idea of clean eating is having skimmed milk and frosties with jam for breakfast, the only vegetables you eat are a half cup of sweetcorn at Christmas dinner each year and you can’t see your toes, then my advice to you is simple: No pancakes. No matter how clean your pancakes are, you have no business eating like this in your position.
But if you’re someone who is active, health conscious and relatively in-shape, have fun! Go for it!
That’s what I’m doing. Counting down the hours until my ‘pancake window’!
Side note: Those who enjoyed my reviews of Chris Kresser’s: Your Personal Paleo Diet, may be interested to know I’m planning on re-introducing dairy tonight too. In the form of goat’s milk (different protein structure). Bear in mind I’ve not consumed dairy for around 6 weeks or so and have always been a little sensitive to it. So this should be an interesting experiment.
One last point too; I’m making my pancakes with organic coconut flour, which has an INSANE amount of fiber per 100g. So that will also make sure I don’t eat excessive amounts. Why? Well try and eat 50+ grams of fiber in one sitting! Even the most greedy of eaters will struggle, that I promise.
All these indulgence periods really needn’t do much damage if you’re smart about things!