Ok, I have to admit, for the past few weeks I have been on vacation and… over these past few weeks I have become enamored with FIFA World Cup Futbol!! Specifically, I was excited by the performance of team USA – especially their goalkeeper Tim Howard!! He put on the best performance in the World Cup by a goalkeeper, with 16 saves, since FIFA began to keep track!! Since his top-notch performance he became a focus of US news media, covering everything from his tattoos to his recent change in food consumption. What intrigues me is how he made a decision a year ago to convert himself to a PALEO lifestyle and how this lifestyle modification not only made him a better athlete, but also changed his life! I too believe in a PALEO lifestyle and I have adopted it as my own, the exception of mine is that I follow “my own personal Paleo Code”.
Like Tim, I firmly believe that we as individuals need to make a decision on what exactly we want in life from our bodies. He is a lot more blunt about it (“Do you prefer sweets and crappy food, or do you prefer to have a nice body?”),but I believe we both agree that we as a nation need to take responsibility for our health and wellness. Once we have made the decision to take responsibility for our health, then and only then can we start to make lasting changes in our lives!
So when I was asked numerous times while catching up with old friends, “Ron, you have always been in excellent shape, but what have you changed since you left?” I was flattered, as this comment totally caught me off guard. After a little introspection, I realized I had really began to focus on the food I was putting into my body.
This answer would spawn an instant conversation about exactly what foods I was eating and what else I had done. I believe that we as humans are all similar to Formula One Race cars. I would ask most of my friends, “What do formula one race cars run on?” They would tell me racing fuel (100 octane). I would then follow up this question with another: “What if I put regular unleaded (87 octane) into a formula racer?” We know that the race car would still run on the less expensive fuel, but would start to have various issues and/or break down completely. Try and apply this concept to your body. If you are fueling your body with less than optimal fuel, we will see similar results as the race car – your body will be running in a much less efficient manner, which can lead to chronic diseases over time.
This epiphany and transformation came after I read the book, “Your Personal Paleo Code” by Chris Kresser. After I tell my friends about this book they always ask me, “What exactly is a paleo code?” I found myself referring them to his website and book, which I find to be excellent resources for anyone who is looking to make real changes in their lives. However, most of the time my friends want to hear exactly what I am eating on a daily basis. So I break it down for them like this:
I eat a portion of meat or fish (protein) with every meal. I would suggest, especially for females, to eat most of your protein in the morning. Protein is very satiating and also has the ability to stabilize a person’s blood glucose throughout the day. I start my typical morning of with bacon, eggs, and an avocado. I will usually cook these in butter or ghee to get some healthy fats in my breakfast.
I try to switch out the pasta (grain) on my plate for a delicious vegetable (sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, etc.) or fruit in addition to the other vegetable or fruit on my plate. Craic, a crossfit gym that I went to in Boston has a patent on the term “no bread”. This is what I would say to most people to understand exactly what I allow myself to consume on a day to day basis.
The biggest complaint I will get from my friends is that they don’t want to be the only person in their group of friends that makes culinary demands when going out to dinner. I tell these friends that as long as we can abide by an 85/15 principle (85 percent of the time we adhere to “paleo code” principles and 15 percent of the time we cheat a little) that our bodies will be able to tolerate this. A good way to do this is by eating from scratch and staying away from added sugars and artificial sweeteners (diet sodas, etc) whenever possible. Going out and having fun with friends is an extremely important part of being happy in life and we must be able to enjoy some of the finer things (often times less health conscious things) when we desire to in order to stay happy. So I say eat, drink, and be merry, but when able do it on a “personal paleo code”!!