Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Perfect Day of Eating - Part 1

Well I definitely fell off the blogging bandwagon for a while there.  Right around the time I started Investigative Health, I began a new job at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers in Centennial, CO, and I've been super busy.  To those unfamiliar with VCNG, we are a family-owned, rapidly-growing company, with a supreme set of core values related to food integrity and healthy living. We have an incredible array of grocery and supplement products, a 100% organic produce department, and some awesome meat and dairy selections- grass-fed beef, elk, ostrich, free range chicken, eggs, and organic milk and cream.

Despite my lack of blogging, my passion and interest in all things health and nutrition has not waned in the least. In fact, working in such an environment has only intensified my passion and expanded my knowledge base.  Every day I converse with people on a whole range of topics related to food, nutrition, health etc- some who are already as passionate as me, but plenty of others just beginning to learn how to better their health and wellbeing through dietary choices and lifestyle habits. Needless to say, I really love my job.

Every day, people ask me what I eat.  I have spent the last 2+ years meticulously tinkering with my diet, learning all sorts of important information about food and nutrition along the way.  What initially sparked this "quest" was a series of concerning health dilemmas I faced in late 2007.  Between two courses of the hardcore antibiotic Ciprofloxacin within just months of each other, and some very poor dietary and lifestyle choices, my health hit an all time low.  I developed bad cystic-type acne on my back/chest/face, I was pretty depressed and I just looked and felt like general crap.  Thus began my crusade for ultimate health and wellbeing.  I'd like to provide a more detailed description of said journey; what worked, what didn't etc in a later post.

Anyways, here I am now, having attained a level of health I never thought imaginable, looking and feeling amazing and moreso every day.  It must show, because people tell me I look radiantly healthy, and therefore the constant questions about what I eat, how I exercise etc.  So, as a first in a series dedicated to my dietary approach, here is a typified layout of a basic day of eating.

You should know :
1) I don't buy into the Ancel Keys lipid hypothesis or any "fat and cholesterol are bad" variant in any way.  It is completely bogus, seeing as how as a country we have generally complied with mainstream recommendations yet we are fatter and sicker than ever.
2) I don't do wheat or any grains really for that matter.  No bread, pasta, crackers, etc.  Nor do I do legumes, as they cause issues for me.  And my dairy intake is kept to butter, heavy and sour cream.  I eat generally low-carb.  Try to get fat eating fat and protein, I dare you.
3) I love cooking.  I have no problem taking 30 min- a hour several times a day to prepare a delicious & nutritious meal (yes, you DO have time). I suggest you adapt the same mentality.  Bottom line, less than 100 years ago, you really had no choice but to prepare meals at home from scratch.
4) I work a pretty intense job, on my feet 8 hours/day, 40+ hours per week, plus I do strength training ~2 times/week.  My calorie needs are quite possible way different than yours.  The overall nutritional strategy and macronutrient ratios are likely not different than yours. Adjust accordingly/proportionately.
5) I am absolutely unyielding in my refusal to eat any and all processed/packaged/refined crap food.  100% whole, nutrient-dense foods and nothing but.  Period.

Breakfast generally looks like this.  If it's a workout day, I'll generally skip breakfast (but more on that later).

For lunch, I generally like a big salad with some good proteins.  I make all my own dressings, and I have some awesome recipes for some delicious and healthy ones that I can post later.

If I feel like having a snack:

And I like a pretty big dinner:

Some days I take a little cod liver oil, for the Omega-3s, plus some natural vitamins D & A.  Also, I might have a couple spoonfuls of coconut oil, if I am needing the calories.

So you can see, I eat a super nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, blood sugar & insulin-optimizing diet that emphasizes plenty of healthy fats and protein. I get about 40-50 g of fiber without any grains, and more fruits and vegetables than your average vegetarian.

Let me re-iterate, this is a very generalized example of what I might eat in a given day.  This post also opens up several other areas of discussion, such as optimal pre- and post-workout nutrition, as well as more specific examples of some of my meals.  Take some time to let this soak in, contemplate any potential implications in your own dietary approach, and stay tuned as I will be back to continue the saga.

To your health, Daniel.