My Current Nutritional Philosophy

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If you've been following me for a while, you know I've experimented with a few different nutritional protocols - most notably, my Carnivore vs. Plant Based diet experiment.

The biggest takeaway from that challenge, and what's stuck with me most since then, is the removal of nearly all processed foods from my diet. Some will say I'm extreme and to that I say... I have to be extreme amidst today's health crisis. Here are basic foundations of my current nutritional philosophy:

1. Eat mostly whole foods

Nearly every meal I eat is a combination of single ingredients that I prepare myself. My first meal might be eggs cooked in coconut oil with avocado, salt and pepper. My dinner might be steak seasoned with salt with sides of goat cheese and a baked sweet potato with grass-fed butter. I season with just salt and pepper 99% of the time and have gravitated completely away from condiments. It wasn't always easy, but over time it clicked.

2. Protein, then fat, then carbs

Prioritizing protein helps me stay satiated and that is the foundation of every meal I eat. I shoot for 1 to 1.3g of protein per lb of body weight, which for me means I'm getting 175 to about 225 grams of protein. My favorite protein sources are eggs, steak, ground beef and full fat Greek yogurt. Once I decide on a protein, I pick a fat. My favorites are goat cheese, avocado and seeds/nuts if I'm making a yogurt bowl. I cook with coconut oil most of the time, so get a good amount of fat from that source too.

My carbs stay super simple. Sweet potato, potato, honey, maple syrup, bananas, blueberries, apples. Occasionally I will have broccoli, but I don't eat many greens. I'm a fan of them if I can get high quality, but I think most grocery store vegetables are nutritionally void due to the lack of soil health.

3. Leverage time restricted feeding

WHEN I eat is almost more important than WHAT I eat. ALMOST!! I've been leveraging intermittent fasting since 2016 and have experienced all the benefits from weight loss and management to improved cognitive function. I try not to eat within 2-3 hours before bed in order to optimize my sleep. The timing of my first meal will depend on my training, which I almost always do in the morning. If it's a hard, extended effort that will require fueling, I'll have honey, maple syrup or a banana. If my training is moderate to low intensity, I will usually wait until later in the morning or even past noon to eat. I used to be quite strict on 16/8 IF, but have moved away from being so regimented with my timing as my endurance training has increased.

If I ever find myself overeating carbs or straying from my diet, I will always leverage a fast on the back end to counteract the damage.

4. Carbs around exercise or carb "refeeds"

As a general rule, my carb intake happens during exercise, post exercise or in the evening. If my body needs carbs to replenish glycogen after training, I will feed it with my fast breaking meal. In every other situation, I am prioritizing protein and fat throughout the day. I feel way, way, way mentally sharper when I stay away from carbs midday.

5. No seed oils or added sugar

Avoiding these two is as much for present day health as it is for future health. The oxidative damage of these two foreign and processed chemicals wreaks havoc in the body and in the brain. Alzheimer's is now referred to as Type-3 Diabetes and directly linked to insulin resistance, a result of a diet high in refined sugar and processed carbohydrates. Each of these items deserve their own post, but from a day to day sense, I don't find that avoiding them is hard at all. I simply check the ingredient list and nutrition information of anything I eat out of a package. If the ingredients list any seed oils, I don't have it. If there is any added sugar, I don't have it. This is not hard when you can lean on other levers like high protein meals and fasting.

6. Limit alcohol

I rarely drink and when I do, I don't drink much. This is a big change that was really kicked off after my Carnivore vs. Plant Based diet experiment. That was the first time in my adult life that I went a significant amount of time (2 months) without booze. When I looped it back in, the negative impact of hangovers was profound. I like to go on 50 mile rides and 10 mile runs too much on weekend mornings to sacrifice them for a night of drinking late into the night. It's just where my natural priorities are. If I do drink, I always cut off consumption well before bed and I usually don't have more than 2 drinks. The "ME" of 2 years ago would say this is crazy, but this is where I'm at. When I started drinking less, I felt more energy. The big thing for me was capitalizing on that energy.