Gary Taubes book I read the past 2 days...it has changed the way I think about fat regulation and weight loss.
To sum up --- people don't gain weight because they overeat, they overeat because they're gaining weight. Crazy right? Yes. Read that book and you will understand. It's totally sensical.
So here's my thought. Since just after reading Wheat Belly a few weeks ago -- I had very little animal products from June 1, 2011 until November of this year. I trained and completed an Ironman in that time. Did not get sick at all. Completed two 1/2 marathons, a full marathon, 2 sprints triathlons, 2 olympic triathlons, a 52 mile bike race, and felt great while doing it. My diet consisted of lots of fruits and veggies, beans, nuts, seeds and the occasional wheat product (almond butter sandwich, crackers)...and an even more occasional sweet treat (usually in the form of cake or some type of carob). It's been a great year.
Despite all that training, there is still a small layer of fat around my midsection and chest that won't go away...and has appeared more prominently since June 1 of last year. Nothing major, but just a few extra pounds that are going to make a big different as I train for a half IM in April and a 50 mile run in October.
Taubes' book opened my eyes to a lot of things about fat burning, fat regulation, and insulin resistance and sensitivity.
I have discovered over the last few years that I am extremely insulin sensitive. This means that a banana, date, or candy bar effects my blood sugar much more drastically than someone who is not very insulin sensitive. This makes sense because all 4 of my grandparents had Type II diabetes and my mom does as well. People that seem like they can eat whatever they want and not gain weight are not insulin sensitive. They store fat in their muscle cells which allows them to burn the fat while creating excess energy (which begs the question, are marathon runners lean because they run? or do they run because they're lean?).
Someone like me will store fat in fat cells which does nothing but build more fat. I believe there are many, many people out there more insulin sensitive than I am, but I would say I'm somewhere in the moderate range -- which is not in line with my body fat and fitness goals combined with where the majority of my fuel is currently coming from.
With that knowledge -- I am going to cut carbohydrate intake down to almost nothing for the foreseeable future (anywhere from 20-50g a day for 6 days a week and maybe a few more on Sundays).
This will be nearly impossible to do on plants alone so I will be incorporating farm raised eggs, organic/grass fed full-fat cheese, organic/grass fed butter, coconut oil, wild-caught salmon and sardines, and the occasional grass fed beef or chicken that I will buy from a grass fed ranch in northeast Texas -- where I used to buy meat from on a monthly basis.
I will only eat organic or grass fed meat and will not eat meat from restaurants or grocery stores (unless it's grass fed or organic). This past year has taught me a lot about meat production, so I will continue to keep my dollars from "voting" for those practices to continue. I will also eat meat from wild game that I (or a friend) kill(s).
A typical day will start out with some eggs or THUNDER COFFEE (the best thing ever...high quality coffee mixed with butter and coconut oil), nothing during the day unless I get hungry in which case I'll eat some nuts or cheese or olives, and dinner will be a large salad with an emphasis on low glycemic veggies, concentrating on avocado, nuts, and seeds, and either sardines, salmon, eggs, or some other type of high protein, low carbohydrate food source. There is basically no restriction on veggies or the aforementioned protein/fat sources.
Fruit (except for maybe 1/2 a grapefruit or an apple or some berries) will only be eaten on Sundays. Grains, cow's milk, high glycemic veggies (carrots, potatoes), will be avoided always. Processed sugar will also be a rarity...only on Sundays and not even every Sunday.
The purpose of this is to keep my insulin levels in check so I don't store fat. I could (and probably will) write an entire article on that book, but in the meantime, if you're interested...read that book. I've read dozens and dozens of nutrition books and this one is probably the best most interesting one I've ever read.
I'm not saying that this is the perfect diet for everyone. After doing some self-discovery and gaining some new information, I am going to experiment to see how I respond to this. Taubes book has taught me that everyone handles insulin differently and an individuals diet should be specific to that sensitivity.
That's why I think someone like Rich Roll can have almost no body fat on all plants. He's not as insulin sensitive as some others.
Anyway...a new experiment begins. Always exciting......love continuing to change and evolve and try new things in the pursuit of overall health and wellness.