While on quarantine I've been diving deep into the weeks on a carnivore diet. Though, as an aside, I'm very satisfied with my biomarkers and body composition (hypertension aside, but there's much to say about that in conjunction with heart rate as well) and have been focusing my studies more on performance and recovery. At any rate, it doesn't hurt to zoom out and survey the overall landscape once in a while. That is, take a look at the big picture.
I am a carnivore and have been in the paleo / primal sphere for almost a decade. I still have friends who are vegetarians and vegans. It's not my desire to proselytize the benefits of meat. Everyone has reasons for the choices they make, and everyone has to live with the consequences of such -- be that a Twinkie, a salad, a steak, or a set of religious beliefs. That's not to say I won't engage in a friendly debate -- facts such as nutritional density, bio-availability, and ecological side effects are all quantifiable -- but, that I won't attach any judgment to the decision you make.
That said, there are some things "healthy" or perhaps health minded people can agree on. One is that the SAD (Standard American Diet) sucks -- there are literally too many references to cite. Second, between the government subsidies and America's "sickness industry" (1,2), there's very little "top down" incentive for change. At risk of going off on a tangent about Game Changers, I'll get to the point.
Nutrition is as ineffably complex as people. Human beings are blessed with an extremely resourceful body and diverse metabolism. Though, arguably, that's geared more towards survival of the species than improving your marathon time or deadlift max. Though, I'm not a nutritionist or a doctor, but I propose the following "simple" solution to nutrition:
- STOP eating sugar and sweeteners (even natural derivatives like honey and Stevia) (3, 4, 5, 6)
- STOP eating all grains, but especially refined ones (7, 8)
- STOP eating seed oils, they're essentially poison (9, 10)
Just do those three things! I'd be very interested any argument someone has to the contrary. I'm not even going to get into fruits, vegetables, and dairy here because the point is you have to take care of your foundation first. There is no point in taking supplements if you're eating a Big Mac every day. Likewise, it's futile to get into a debate anti-nutrients (phytates, oxalates, lectins, phosphates) if you're can't go a week without alcohol or consume any tobacco at all. Need a prescription for Ambien? How much caffeine are you consuming? Get the picture?
There's a time and place to get super granular and geek out on nutrition. But there are basic building blocks that have to be established first. Everything, every study, every university, every government, every person giving advice (including me) has a price a belief structure. Research isn't free after all. The most important thing you can do is try to look through the BS for similarities. It's increasingly difficult in our world as it's much more common to sling mud and degrade the other party's argument rather than assert your own (pick literally any political debate in the U.S., or the Kresser-Wilks debate on Rogan).
Do the following every day for 30 days and tell me if you have any desire to go back to your former way of living:
- Diet recommendations above
- Don't drink alcohol
- No tobacco
- Sleep 8 hours / day
- Turn phone off 1 hour before bed
- Exercise 30 minutes / day
- Get in the sun 30 minutes / day
Live well. Fly free. Stay radical!