Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rest Day

A couple of weeks ago we attended the CrossFit Nutrition Certification as presented by Robb Wolf at our friends' (Scott, Rochelle, and Xi Xia) place, CrossFit Portland. As most of you know, we are both big advocates of eating a lot of protein, a good amount of fat, and very few carbs. In fact, most of the carbs that we eat come from lots of fruits and vegetables. We don't eat a lot of grains and processed foods. Since we started eating this way, both of us have noticed positive changes in the way we feel day to day as well as nagging health symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress and allergies subsiding. Even before we went to this certification, we were encouraging everyone we work with (as well as some patient friends:)) to start phasing out harmful, processed foods, and shift more of their eating habits toward a Paleolithic diet. Now that we attended Robb Wolf's seminar, we have scientific facts that support the theory that this way of eating will not only prolong your life, but it will also make it a healthier, happier one.

Here's what the Paleo diet consists of: Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar- pretty simple. It's the way that our bodies are designed to eat. Human beings have been around for more than 3,000,000 years, the advent of agriculture was about 10,000 years ago. Since we as a species learned how harvest and process grains (such as corn and wheat), our health has been spiraling downhill. We have been struggling with inflammatory conditions and diseases (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression just to name a few) since our diets became mostly comprised of carbohydrates. The human genome has changed less than 1% since Paleolithic times, yet our diet has done a complete 180. We have not had enough time to adapt to a high carb diet. No wonder we, as a species, are sick and unhappy. If you open your ears and eyes, and yes, your minds, you will start to see that the movement to adjust our eating habits to match those of a hunter-gatherer society, will benefit ALL human beings.

The hardest part about convincing someone to make this change in their lifestyle is if they don't have any symptoms. If someone has a stomach ache, feels bloated and tired all the time, and can't sleep, it's a little easier to convince them to play with their diet. But if someone feels "fine" and isn't trying to lose weight, they think that they can eat whatever and "get away with it". Well guess what folks, you are NOT "fine" on the inside. Here's what happens when EVERYONE eats gluten:

-GLUTEN is the protein found in wheat (and A LOT of other grains- such as, oats, barley, rye, etc.).
-The plant has a defense mechanism called a LECTIN.
-Lectin is a POISON that is meant to ward off predators so that the plant can stay alive.
-When we eat gluten, we are also eating the lectins.
-Our small intestine is lined with these little furry like things called MICROVILLI, which help us absorb and break down nutrients.
-Lectins and microvilli don't get along.
-In fact, lectins straight up DESTROY the microvilli, and eventually the lining of our small intestine.
-This creates tiny, and eventually very large, holes in our intestine (also known as "Leaky Gut").
-Through these holes food particles, bacteria, and toxins leak into our bloodstream.
-This is what causes auto-immune disorders.
-Auto-immune disorders are all non-communicable diseases in which your body is FIGHTING AGAINST ITSELF. And it is pretty much up to your body/genetics when and how this will manifest itself.
-All because of the holes that the lectins in the gluten have torn in your intestinal lining.

Now, we're not saying that you can NEVER AGAIN have a cupcake or a piece of pizza, what we are saying is that if you eat a Paleo diet MOST of the time, you will put not just YEARS on your life, but HEALTHY YEARS. Think of it this way: hopefully you eat 3-4 times a day, 7 days a week.. that's 21-28 meals a week.. if you eat meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds for 19-25 of those meals, you will be eating Paleo 90% of the time AND you will still get 2-3 "cheat" or "choice" meals a week. TRY IT. Seriously. Try it for 30 days. See how you feel. If you want to lose weight, this is a GUARANTEE. If you have weird ailments that the doctors can't seem to solve so they give you a prescription, this is the SOLUTION. If you want to be bigger, faster, stronger, THIS IS THE WAY TO DO IT. If you have chronic pain or an injury, this is the way to HEAL IT. Do it for 30 days, and then have a bunch of beer and pizza- and see how you feel. This could very well COMPLETELY change the way you feel and think about what you put into your body. Oh, and if you are a vegetarian- EAT MEAT.

Next rest day post we will be talking about the other main benefit to eating a Paleo diet: INSULIN LEVELS. Stay tuned...

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