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Got some fantastic questions and topics to address this week! Keep these questions coming! Please comment and keep the discussion going!
Late night physique friendly snacking…
Great question Mike, what does one eat at night without turning into a bowl of pudgy fludge. This leads well into a much bigger topic of how to structure one’s daily eating. I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible, but it requires a bit more explanation.
The old saying of “eat like a king a breakfast, a prince at lunch, and a pauper at dinner” is as big a backwards crock of horse manure as anything I’ve ever heard…. It is my strong belief, and much the belief of the current research, that a good bulk of one’s calories (and especially carbs) should be consumed at night. Here is the very short version as to why:
1) Large meals, carb and calorie rich, tend to put one in an insulin induced, “rest and digest” mode. Perfect for relaxing into sleep!
2) Due to circadian and biothrythms, your body is better able to handle carbs at night, ESPECIALLY if you have weight trained that day.
3) Having a high calorie meal at night allows one to eat very light pre-workout (if training in the AM) and still train like a blog thirsty honey badge.
4) Most people like to eat a lot at night and “feel good” with this strategy.
Now the question of WHAT to eat to make up these “high calorie” meals (and high calorie/carb is very relative….another topic I could write a book on). If you trained like a true Viking War Lord that day, or plan on pillage-esque style squatting etc the next day here are some great guidelines:
-Include some type of gluten free “clean” carb (my favorites include: potatoes((white or sweet)), rice ((white)), grapes, ripe bananas, gluten free pancakes (YOLO right?)
-Don’t skimp on the protein….This will go a long way in keeping you full
-Added veggies as needed to “thick” out the meal
(If you did not train, or are taking an off day the next day, skip the carbs and add more protein, veggies and fat, but make sure its a HUGE serving of each!)
And if after that you still are feeling so hungry you’d fight….try to munch on a plate of left over meat. A good rule of thumb is to have plates and tupperware of varying dead animal, from which to pick at in such a situation so the temptation of the nighttime garbage doesn’t leak in.
I could go on, but hopefully this helps you understand that dinner should be a big meal, which in turn should minimize the desire to snack, but if needed…more meat.
We all know the paleo diet (which is a great starting point but shouldnt be viewed as a religion) doesn’t like cheese. Problem is we all do…damn, an impasse.
Not quite… This one is simple. If you tolerate dairy, and are lean, a little cheese here and there wont kill you. The best kind of cheese (and the only you should really eat if you are concerned with optimal health) is raw milk cheese from grass-fed cows. It doesn’t really matter much what “type” it is, as long as it fits that criteria. Enjoy responsibly.
This is an easy one… If you are lean, and trying to either maintain weight/physique, fuel performance, or gain weight build muscle, there are some definite benefits to adding some of these carb sources. (Side note: wheat sucks…a lot, don’t eat it ever…I mean it, stop. Now.)
Here are some good ones if you fall in that category:
White Rice- Pure carb source, very easily digested.
Quinoa- Actually a seed, aztec superfood, actually has complete protein as well.
Gluten Free Oats- Some handle these wells some don’t… A few of you asked about oatmeal, so if 1) You fall in the above categories 2) The oats are gluten free 3) You time them according to your training 4) You have them with a protein source…. theyre ok once in a while! (2-4x a week ish)
Heres a funny story… I have a friend (also a trainer) who has a sensitivity to legumes… To the point where if he looks at a bean or peanut, you’d have to call a hazmat team and vacate to outside of a three state radius. I recall once we all went out to eat and for some reason he had some legumes included in his meal, honest to god we had to walk a full city block in front of him to avoid asphyxiation….
Fart stories aside… Legumes contain what are called “lecitins” which many people do not digest and handle properly. This is the main reason most paleo zealots will give; but like most things I try to keep an open mind. If you don’t have a sensitivity (determined by feel but ideally a food sensitivity test) then including them periodically is totally fine.
Yogurt (greek, asian, polynesian, french or whatever)
I’m gonna take a hard line on this one… sorry. And I’ll tell you why. I don’t really like greek yogurt (or any other) for most people.
The reason I don’t think it should be a regular diet addition is because it is almost always a substitute for animal protein, and I hate anything that displaces quality animal protein in the diet. Aside from that yogurt is very insulogenic (spikes insulin because of the milk sugar), and unless you cultured it from raw milk yourself, is from pastuerized milk. The negatives far outweigh the positives for me, and it is certainly not a fat loss friendly food.
The only exception would be full fat raw milk yogurt or kefir, with NO added sugar or flavoring, consumed occasionally.
Sensei- What did you have for breakfast?
GrassHopper- Yogurt and a banana
Sensei- You know you must eat animal protein and fat for breakfast!! Leave the dairy and sugar for the rest of the civilians!
(10000 Burpees later)
GrassHopper– (Huffing) Sorry Master… Never again will I feed my body such inferior fuel in the morning….
Here are some simple guidelines with whey protein.
-Use only trusted brands that get their protein from quality sources (there’s a lot of poor products out there)
-Try to use only post workout
-OK in emergencies for times when a meal will be significantly delayed
Remember that whey protein is always to be looked at as an addition to the diet, not a staple of it. Whole animal protein still comes first and should be the corner stone. However as a post workout meal, it is tough to argue with the research and effectiveness of whey protein, which is why we recommend it so highly.
This topic that to be given justice, needs to be addressed in a book… If you want more info I will share my favorites with you:
-The Warrior Diet By Ori Hofmekler
-Eat, Stop, Eat By Brad Pilon
-Carb Back Loading By John Kieffer (e book)
I’ll try and give you the SUPER brief run down from my personal trials and experiences and the reading I have done:
-16+ Hour Fasts are too much for those of us who train as hard as we do
– AN occasional day of fasting until noon or so (i.e. skipping breakfast on sunday), might not be such a bad idea for those who want to accelerate fat loss
–Do not fast on days you know you’re gonna have a tough workout
-Realize that while you may drop body fat, performance will likely dip with the longer fasts
-Make sure you still keep the food clean during your “eating window”
For more free information check out this great Pdf which answers alot of questions (JB was one of the first guys I ever read in the nutrition world…great stuff)
Kevin posted a fantastic question about how to manipulate one’s diet to achieve an optimal performance environment….This is another one in which books could be written, but I’ll do my best to sum it up.
-A moderate meal of most protein and fat, with the amount of carbs varying depending on length of the session.
ex. Bison steak with cashews and organic blueberries
The bulk or carbs to fuel a session should consumed the night prior to make sure they are adequately stored as glycogen.
If one is looking for a pure strength boost here is a great meal a friend of mine clued me into a while ago…
8-12 oz Grass fed ribeye (or other fatty cut)
1 Whole avocado
1/4 stick of grass fed butter
1 handful of almonds
This is the very meal I instructed Dave D (our fantastic intern) to eat before he PR’d his back squat by 50 (FIFTY!!) pounds
The reason this meal and one like it (“scaled” to an amount you could handle) is so effective is because the high amount of fat actually does have an effect on testosterone. Especially the cholesterol, which we all know (or should know) if a health superfood, not a demon.
Post Workout Nutrition
(When I say post workout, I am referring to the style of training we do, with lots of lifting and high intensity work, not just a jog or a lighter travel WOD)
My recommendation is to have a shake with a carb source (over ripe banana/Fuel for Fire/White Rice) immediately post workout…
Then an hour later have a solid meal that will vary tremendously based on body composition and physique goals, but a general recommendation is to (as per the first section of this post):
-Save carbs for later at night on training/pre-training days (i.e. if you train in the AM save the big carb meal for dinner)
-Keep the majority of meals centered around protein, veggies, and fats
I’ll end with a brief point on food quality, Kevin asked about avoiding too many supplements and how one could do that. This is a short simple answer: quality and variety.
-Eat of the highest quality local and organic produce whenever possible
-vary the color of your fruits and veggies based on whatever is in season
-use cooking methods that are “gentle” to the produce (i.e. steaming over pan frying) or eat raw!
-Eat grass fed or wild meats whenever possible
Oh and Mike… I’d certainly feel bad for any creature that crosses my path with ill intent. The business end of my blade is no place to be.