Thursday, July 29, 2010

Did you know...

Did you know that eating Paleo improves your overall health including your teeth? At my latest dentist appointment the hygienist told me that my teeth and gums look healthier than they have ever before. What had I done differently...changed my food.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whole Gains = Wholesome Goodness?

What we think we know about grains based on everything you've heard and been told by your friends, family, doctors, the food pyramid, your health teacher, and the media is that whole grains are healthy and good for you and should be a staple in your diet.  Whole grains are included "as part of a complete breakfast" and to help fulfill you RDA, Recommended Daily Amount, of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. Americans regularly eat bagels, donuts, pastries, cereal, muffins, toast - all grain based breakfast foods in addition to sandwiches, pizza, rice and pasta at lunch or dinner.

So why did I change my diet and go from eating a loaf of bread a week as a high carb/low fat believer in whole grains to going Paleo and no longer eating grains at all? I started to learn more about grains and found that grains aren't as much good as 'they' say.

First, lets define what is a grain?

Wheat, Rye, Barley, Flour (made from any grain), Oats, Cereals, Corn...yes corn is a grain, Rice, Quinoa*, Couscous
Why I don't eat Grains:

Grains contain Lectins that cause inflammation and cause auto-immune responses:

Lectins = Proteins found in grains (Gluten is one of them) that cause an inflammatory response and break down and actually attack your intestinal lining because your stomach acid is unable to break them down.  When they attack the lining of your gut, it creates small holes that enable both lectins and other things to 'leak' outside of your digestive system and into your blood stream.  When this happens both harmful and non-harmful particles can enter your body, so your body attacks them causing an inflammatory response often associated with auto-immune diseases (like Multiple Sclerosis, Celiac Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis).  In addition to the inflammatory response your body is attacking itself and diverting attention away from being able to attack other things.  With constant re-exposure to grains your gut never has time to heal, and therefore the damage persists and gets worse each time you eat more grains.

Celiac Disease = extreme form of reaction to the lectin gluten, so for people that are gluten intolerant the attacking of the gut lining and response is extremely bad. Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist turned Paleolithic Nutrition and Strength & Conditioning coach, states that all people are gluten intolerant to some degree; try taking grains (especially ones containing gluten) out of your diet and see what clears up...allergies, colds, energy spikes and lows, stuffy nose in the morning, headaches and more.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Did you know...

Eating grains, legumes, and dairy cause inflammation in your body because your body actually identifies portions of them as foreign? You can reduce inflammation by removing these things from your food; however, it takes about 30 days to allow your gut to heal from the damage that grains, legumes, and dairy cause. Are you ready to try it for 30 days? Try the Whole 30 program from the Whole 9 as a challenge.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What am I supposed to eat?

We are constantly bombarded by messages about how to eat and be healthy. Sparked by Crossfit and learning how to eat for better performance I began to take a deeper look at what is actually healthy and what is not. Did you know that the food pyramid created by the US Government was made up by politicians who needed a quick answer to Americans that were getting fatter and sicker?

So, how much of the information that you hear/read/see or think of as truth is actually true? Some of the latest buzz is that Stevia is healthy…but who says so and what proof do they have? Where is the information coming from? Did you know that the heart healthy claims on packaged foods are earned by the food company paying the American Heart Association to use a heart healthy tag line on their packaging? Makes you reconsider why you’re eating oatmeal every morning doesn’t it.

With all the misinformation out there, how do you know what you should eat, what actually is good for you, and what makes you healthier? The root cause of many chronic diseases: Heart Disease, High blood pressure, Dyslipidemia, Type 2 Diabetes and most cancer is excessive inflammation in the body. Eating things like grains, legumes, and dairy actually causes your body to attack itself, within your gut and intestines (where you digest your food) resulting in inflammation and reducing the ability to attack other foreign things that it should be spending its energy on instead of the food that you eat.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Going Against the Grain

Over the past year I have discovered that "common knowledge" and "conventional wisdom" on food, nutrition, and fitness often steers us in the wrong direction and the things engraved into our brains about what we think is healthy is most often based on myth. Through my research into food and fitness I have developed a new perspective and outlook on life - one that I've found tends to be a bit controversial and different from others at times. . . or in this case Against the Grain.

My involvement in Crossfit lead to me learning about how to eat for performance, which soon developed into a new nutrition hobby. I've become really involved and dedicated to doing Crossfit - a type of workout focusing on constantly varied functional movements: lifting, gymnastics, running, rowing, and body weight exercises. I have been learning about how what I thought was healthy - running long distances, eating low fat foods, not eating red meat and butter - actually isn't and why. It’s been an eye opening experience to learn the science behind exercise and nutrition: learning how and why you should get stronger, how your body actually processes food at a macro nutrient level (fat, protein, carb), and how foods that I had traditionally avoided actually positively impact your overall health and well being.

Every chance I get, I have been trying to share my perspective and learning about food and fitness with my friends, family, and co-workers hoping they wouldn't tag me as being too crazy. I wanted to start this blog to share what I've been learning, why I do the things I do, and to help guide other people as they are trying to navigate through all of the information that they think is fact and why you shouldn't blindly follow what THEY say:the food pyramid, what you learned in high school health class, paid health claims on packaged foods, things you read in magazines...

I hope you find my blog interesting and helpful, and that it sparks your curiosity and has you considering why you should consider going 'Against the Grain' too.