Intermittent Fasting: Effective for Both Men and Women?

22 10 2013

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I’m often asked by people what they can do to lose some weight or what they can do to shake up their current routine. It’s incredibly hard to give advice on such a matter without asking a ton of questions and without truly understanding the unique lifestyle of the individual at hand. Recently, I’ve had a few people ask specifically about trying Intermittent Fasting (IF). For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of IF, the protocol is fairly simple on the surface: choose a set period of time in which you don’t eat. IF can be done once in a while with a 24-hour fast every month or year or it can be as committed as a 16-hour fast done daily.

As I wrote earlier this year, I’ve dabbled with IF and had some good results. I was already in good shape before using the strategy, but IF helped me get leaner; the downside was that I found it hard to gain strength while on this protocol, which is why my eating window is now closer to 14 hours than 8. I’ve also stumbled across a few IF success stories on the internet written by reputable sources such as John Berardi of Precision Nutrition, but I’ve yet to come across an article on IF written by a woman- something that I realized when discussing IF with a female friend of mine last week. I’d never really thought about how fasting could affect women differently than men, but since we are so hormonally different, have different levels of muscle mass and different metabolisms, I decided to scour the web for more info.

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My findings? Well, there are far more negative things said about IF by women than there are by men. Seems as though most women have success at first but eventually start suffering negative consequences. Two articles found in my search really stuck out to me:

The first, Shattering the Myth of Fasting for Women: A Review of Female-Specific Responses to Fasting in the Literature, uncovers that most studies on IF revolve around the successful results of men and that the major results of most studies show that the metabolism of women actually suffers on an IF protocol. These results don’t necessarily surprise me, as we already know that caloric restriction wreaks havoc on the female metabolism as well; now, IF doesn’t necessarily equate to caloric restriction, but it is far from shocking that prolonged periods of fasting can cause women to hang on to their fat stores rather than burn them.

The second article, Train Like A Man, But Eat Like A Woman!, is filled with the personal IF stories of a handful of female fitness coaches, and the results are quite staggering. Most of the women experienced some success followed by increased levels of stress and subsequent weight gain; one women even went as far as to say: “I became a hormonal crazy-person”. If you’re a woman and are considering giving IF a shot, please take a look at these articles before you begin.

Something we all want to avoid...

Something we all want to avoid…

Now, before we jump to any conclusions, there are definitely women out there who have had success with IF; don’t take this article as me condemning the strategy for all women. We are all individuals and different strategies will work for different people. If you would like to try IF, I would simply advise that you have your ducks lined up in advance:

– Ensure that you know your required macronutrient requirements and plan your eating window to ensure these needs are met.

– Listen to your body! If you feel stressed, light-headed, have trouble sleeping or stop menstruating, please take a step back and alter your eating patterns.

– Be realistic about your capabilities; if you’ve had disordered eating problems in the past, something like IF might not be a good choice.

Finally, the one thing that continues to stand out is that IF is still a very new phenomenon and the body of studies is still quite thin. As a diet strategy that has shown some promising health benefits, more and more studies will surely be done and we should have a much better grasp of the effects of IF in another decade or so. In the meantime, it seems as though IF can be a good strategy for men, but one that should be generally avoided by women. As with most things, a sporadic fast every now and then will certainly not hurt you, so don’t stress if you find yourself in an extended fast every now and then. In the end, my message to women must once again read: Don’t be afraid to eat!!! Do your best to avoid extended fasts and binge episode, and to stay consistent with small meals full of quality food. Life is short and we all need to indulge every now and then, but if you’re consistent with your actions you’ll have earned the right to indulge!

For more information on IF or other nutritional strategies, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Happy Monday!

DW

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If It Fits Your Macros? About That…

16 10 2013

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Ladies and gentlemen, there is a new trend sweeping over the fitness community. If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) is spiraling out of control. In a nutshell, here’s the scoop:

The concept of IIFYM revolves around the 3 major macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat), and to a lesser degree alcohol (IIFYM also separates fibre, a carbohydrate source, into its own category). From the IIFYM.com website:

IIFYM speaks specifically to fat loss from a macro nutrition and thus a caloric stand point and is purely a means to improve body composition. IIFYM does not address health concerns of the heart, brain or other organs and does not put an emphasis on so called ‘healthy eating’.

Regardless if you like to eat pizza, or boiled chicken breasts, IIFYM teaches us that if you eat less calories than your body requires (while getting adequate protein, carbs, fat and fiber based on your goals and the energy needs of your body) you will lose weight at a steady and predictable rate. IIFYM makes fat loss that easy.All you have to do is stay within your daily macros and the fat will start melting off!

So, if you’ve seen any of the crazy pictures floating around the internet of jacked and lean people eating Pop Tarts or other low quality food, this new diet craze is the culprit. As you all know, I’m a huge proponent of eating unprocessed food. IIFYM goes directly against this thought. They claim that anyone can lose weight, just as long as they maintain a caloric deficit. Frankly, I can’t argue with the logic; a caloric deficit, regardless of food source, is necessary for fat loss. I can however argue with pretty much everything else about the concept.

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First of all, IIFYM is extremely honest in claiming that it speaks only to fat loss, and does not take health into consideration. I find it absolutely fascinating that the website puts this in writing and that people have absolutely no issue completely ignoring it. WHAT THE HELL GOOD IS LOSING WEIGHT IF YOU ARE DYING INSIDE?!? Ahem, excuse my frustration. Moving on…

Another one of my issues with the IIFYM theory is again something written on the website:

When we clean up our diets and pay no attention to calories, we automatically reduce our calorie intake. Removing sauces, and sweets and fried food, reduces calories due to simple math…Eating clean however is not the answer to fat loss, but is simply a trick or technique that helps those who don’t count calories or macros, to lower them. The biggest problem when we eat clean and have no idea how many calories we are actually ingesting (let alone how many our body requires) we end up starving ourselves, and line up our metabolism for a bounce back that is sure to have us putting on extra lbs. soon as we start eating “normal” again. And let’s face it, eating normal usually comes a lot sooner than we expect when eating nothing but boring diet foods.

Let’s get one thing straight: eating unprocessed, nutrient-rich food does not equate to starving oneself as this paragraph insinuates. One of the major principles of IIFYM is to determine the number of calories you truly need and then to subtract 15% to achieve a caloric deficit for weight loss. Guess what? You can do this with healthy food as well! What a crazy concept! Eating a nutritionally beneficial diet AND eating enough food to avoid stunting the metabolism, while also capitalizing on a caloric deficit. The IIFYM website makes it seem like this is an impossibility and then goes on to say:

Eat the foods you love, stay within your own personal macro nutrient range and burn fat without the pain that most people associate with dieting! Notice I did not say “starve your self, and enjoy one slice of pizza per day”. This is because IIFYM is based on Science. Not on voodoo. a 15% reduction in calories is all that is needed to make your body a fat burning furnace.

Now you do!

Now you do!

No, it is not voodoo, but it is extremely contradictory. The more processed, calorically-dense/nutritionally-devoid food you consume, the less overall food you can eat in a day. Ipso facto, eating a diet higher in processed food will lead to more hunger pains and a higher likelihood of overeating. The fact that processed foods are loaded with addictive sugar and white flour will only serve to increase the occurrence of hunger pains and the ensuing impulsion to eat more. Furthermore, a diet high in processed food is bound to be low in vitamins and minerals, as well as phytonutrients, which are all critical to proper metabolic function (Read: your body will not be able to function at an optimal level, diminishing its ability to build muscle and burn fat).

With all of this in mind, I must say one thing: An unextremist application of IIFYM can totally be effective. In a way, this is pretty much what I do- I know how many calories I should consume in a day for my individual needs, I know how much protein, carbohydrate and fat I need to meet this quota, and I eat accordingly. I eat extremely “clean” in the mornings and evenings and save my simple sugars for post-workout when my muscles are craving the nutrients. If people understood how to properly apply IIFYM in a responsible way, ie, keeping the nutrient-poor food to a minimum, I would borderline applaud this new trend. However, the information that I’ve found on the internet is very misleading and is being completely misconstrued as “Eat anything you want and lose weight!”  Folks, if this was possible, who wouldn’t simply crush chocolates and Doritos from dusk ’til dawn? As with most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it almost surely is. This is simply not a feasible program.

In conclusion, IIFYM can be an effective strategy for fat loss, but only if used responsibly. As always, one bad meal won’t make you fat and one good meal won’t make you lean. A consistent diet with a focus on nutritionally-dense food will keep you healthy and help you reach your fat loss goals. In a nutshell: Be an adult, don’t eat like an idiot, and the results will come.

For more information on lean eating or how to responsibly employ IIFYM, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

DW





Breakfast: Still the Least Important Meal of the Day

16 09 2013

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Earlier this year I wrote a bit about how skipping breakfast can be an excellent strategy for losing weight. I’ve been employing this strategy for about a year now and I’m convinced that it’s been an important component to my maintenance of a low body-fat composition (along with eating healthy, real food and avoiding processed nonsense). Every day I wake up, have a coffee or two, to start my day, and break my fast roughly 2 hours after waking up. When I started this routine, I was a bit hungry in the mornings, but after a few days my body adapted and the hunger cues subsided. Additionally, I never once felt groggy or low-energy, which is a huge (and irrational) fear for people who don’t have to give up breakfast.

Now, I’ll be honest- if you eat a healthy diet and exercise on a regular basis, there is no need for you to give up your propensity for eating as soon as you wake up. As long as you are living a healthy lifestyle, you’ll pretty much be able to eat whenever you want and your body won’t suffer. However, if you carry around a few extra pounds and are having a hard time jump-starting the fat loss process, skipping breakfast is definitely a strategy that you should attempt to employ; just make sure you eat responsibly the rest of the day and take in enough nutritionally-dense calories for your activity level.37618977

When I first posted about skipping breakfast, I definitely got a lot of push-back, as we as a society have always been told: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” Sadly, there just isn’t much evidence to support this statement. If you’re going to be extremely active all day, then sure, breakfast certainly becomes more important, but most people are far from active 9-5.

The other day I came across a piece on the NY Times entitled Myths Surround Breakfast and Weight, a title that obviously caught my attention. Please feel free to give the article a read, but in summary:

  • New research shows that the idea that eating breakfast helps you lose weight stems largely from misconstrued studies.
  • Only a handful of rigorous, carefully controlled trials have tested the claim and generally conclude that missing breakfast has either little or no effect on weight gain, or that people who eat breakfast end up consuming more daily calories than those who skip it.
  • The only long-term, carefully controlled trial that randomly assigned people to routinely eat or go without breakfast and then measured the effect on their body weight found moderately obese adults who were habitual breakfast skippers lost an average of roughly 17 pounds when they were put on a program that included eating breakfast every day. However, the study also showed that regular breakfast eaters who were instructed to avoid eating breakfast daily lost an average of nearly 20 pounds. Eating breakfast nor skipping breakfast seemed to elicit a distinct fat-loss advantage but instead, those participants making the most drastic changes to their current eating routine saw the best results.
  • Many subsequent studies mis-cited the original findings, perpetuating the myth that breakfast is critical to a healthy lifestyle and weight loss.
  • New studies at Cornell have shown that, depriving people of breakfast can lead them to eat more calories at lunch but that those extra calories do not make up for the calories they missed at breakfast, so at the end of the day, they still end up eating fewer calories over all. The same researchers have argued that for some adults, skipping breakfast may actually be a good way to reduce weight – not gain it.

In conclusion, we must keep an open mind about how and when we eat. If you are overweight and eat a heavy breakfast, try postponing your first meal until an hour or two after waking up. If you never eat breakfast and are having a hard time losing weight, try eating something as soon as you wake up and minimize eating large meals later in the day. In the end, we need to forget old sayings like “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and start doing things that work for our individual bodies. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but if you’re looking for a new strategy to jump-start some weight loss, don’t be afraid to go against the grain and challenge conventional wisdom!

For additional information on how to responsibly incorporate skipping breakfast into your daily routine, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

DW





Balancing Fitness and Life; Vacation Edition 1.0

7 07 2013

Life is amazing. Since the nice weather hit some time ago in May, I’ve taken a near complete hiatus from this blog. I got to a point where I prioritized posting something every day, but as other life events presented themselves, it became stressful to keep up. Things happen, priorities change, and life goes on.
So here I am, on July 7th, on vacation, soaking up sun in a park in my old neighbourhood in Belgium, drinking a delicious St. Bernardus 12, watching the next superstar Belgian soccer players hone their skills, and finally finding the time to once again share my thoughts with the world (not that I think anyone should care, but if you’re reading this, I appreciate the time you make for me!)

The past couple months have been an absolute whirlwind. As much as I love writing and sharing my thoughts on fitness and nutrition, I’ve had to prioritize some professional changes at work (which are ongoing and will continue to be extremely time-consuming for the next few months), my personal training program (which I’ve committed to testing for an elite strength & conditioning coach and therefore have to take very seriously) and dedicating some attention to several personal relationships that demanded and deserved my attention. It’s easy to lose focus of the things that truly matter in life, so I took a step back, reorganized, and here we are a few months later.

But enough about me. Here’s the take-home message for today: vacations are awesome- especially when you know you can get away with eating pretty much anything you want. To some, what I’m doing at the moment might to exactly qualify as a vacation, but I’ll tell you what- I don’t remember the last time I felt so calm and relaxed. What have I done so far you ask? Well I arrived in Brussels on Friday morning. My first actions after an 8-hour flight with little-to-no sleep and losing 6 hours? Straight to my old gym, where I proceeded to tackle my scheduled workout, without missing a beat. I wasn’t sure how my body would handle smashing out a few sets of 500+ lb deadlifts on zero sleep and fresh off an uncomfortable 8-hour flight, but after a solid roll-out and dynamic warm-up, it was just another day; additionally, caffeine is a hell of a drug. As a matter of fact, the only negative aspect of the whole experience was being reprimanded in the gym for being too noisy with my deadlifts. Friday morning at 10am with next to nobody in the gym, and I get yelled at by not one, but two of the gym patrons for placing down my 500+ lb weight too noisily on the floor. For the record, I was using straps (as I didn’t feel like carrying chalk in my suitcase for 2+ weeks) and was doing stop and go reps; ie) I was being as physically quiet as possible with a weight that was more than 3 times my body weight. My thoughts at that moment? Goodlife Fitness, you ain’t so bad.

Since then, I’ve done nothing but catch up with old friends, revisit old haunts, sleep like it’s my job, and eat and drink the best that Belgium has to offer. My list of treats so far includes, or will soon include:
Belgian waffles (I stress that this is plural)
Belgian chocolate
Belgian fries (ie, not the crappy knock-off “French” fries that the rest of the world eats, but REAL fries: hand-cut and double-fried in delicious saturated beef fat, salted and topped with the most delicious of all sauces: Andalouse)
Stone-oven baked, thin-crust, real pizza
Horse steak (a Belgian specialty, and don’t knock it til you try it)
Frites carbonade (Belgian fries smothered with chunks of roast beef and beef gravy)
Waterzooi (another Belgian specialty; essentially 1/2 chicken boiled with veggies and potatoes in some sort of delicious cream sauce)
Speculoos tiramisu (Speculoos is the epitome of Belgian deliciousness; the best I can describe it is a super-sweetened gingerbread flavour with hints of vanilla and loaded with sugar)

Sidebar: I just spent the last hour with a random kid who came up to me in the park and asked what I was typing on. Turns out, this 8-year old has never gone to school and is completely illiterate, yet when I handed him my iPad, he figured out how to navigate and use the device within minutes. It was phenomenal to watch. He especially enjoyed the Photobooth functionality.

This is what smarter than me looks like.

This is what smarter than me looks like.

If we’d had a wifi connection, I’m not sure I would have ever managed to leave the park with my iPad intact. Again, life is fun. Now to continue my gluttony…

Steak tartar/Americain prepare (raw ground beef with some fixin’s; delicious)
Ice cream/gelato
Mussels (obviously)
Every and any Belgian beer that I can get my hands on
This probably covers my Belgian diet, in collaboration with the normal food that I’ve eaten and will be eating (eggs, cheese, spinach, avocado, chicken, etc. etc. etc.) and the protein powder that I brought with me (yeah I did), but on Wednesday I leave to Italy for another 5 days, so I’m sure I’ll have to make another list once I get into that wonderful country of carbs; can’t wait.

So now you’re thinking: Mr. Fitness and Nutrition, filling his body full of garbage food on vacation, he’s totally going to gain a ton of fat! Well friends, yes, I’m totally eating crap food on vacation; I’m on freakin’ vacation. But here’s the deal: Since I’ve arrived, I’ve been at the gym each day. Additionally, I consume a proper amount of calories on a regular basis, and therefore my metabolism is actually functioning at a healthy level. Will I gain a bit of weight on this trip? I would expect so. But it certainly won’t be much. And that my friends is why calorie restriction is crap (I’m looking at you ladies! Do you actually wonder why you gain weight quickly when you go off your calorie-deprived diets? What do you expect when you spend the majority of your time suppressing your metabolism and then introduce a landslide of calories? Science, folks. The answer: Yep, exercise, weights, and plenty of healthy, unprocessed calories!) If your metabolism is healthy and you exercise on a regular basis, you can get away with a LOT more when you take a break from regular life.

That’s my update for today. I’m sure I’ll find some more time on this trip to touch base and talk about how much awesome crap I’m eating, but for now, it’s time for another delicious beer and a wonderful sl





Cardio and Calorie Restriction: The Facts

13 05 2013

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about why I “hate” cardio and why I say that people need to lift weights in order to avoid being fat. Let me clarify some things:

  • Personally, yes, I do hate steady-state cardio. I get bored running long distances, and find bike seats uncomfortable. It’s just not my thing.
  • Scientifically, however, steady-state cardio is inefficient for fat-loss. Can it be an effective strategy for losing weight? Absolutely it can- I never said otherwise. But don’t confuse fat loss with weight loss.
  • There are many ways to avoid being fat. Physical activity (of any kind) and a healthy diet will prevent you from being fat. Unfortunately, most people fail to incorporate both (and oftentimes neither) into their lifestyle. As weights are the most efficient way burn fat, I recommend weights over cardio.
  • My bottom line is always health. In order to be healthy, you should be physically active and eat a full, well-balanced diet. Lifting weights enables you to eat more and therefore gives you the best opportunity to consume the most nutrients.

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But I have this skinny friend who does nothing but cardio!

First of all, there are exceptions to every rule. We all know people who stay thin without paying much attention to their diet and/or activity level. These people are outliers. For the other 99% of us who are either overweight or who are striving for a lean body type, we have to weigh our dietary and exercise options.

As I mentioned above, cardio can be an effective tool for weight loss. However, cardio cannot be deployed alone in an effort to lose weight. In order to capitalize on this type of exercise, one must also employ a calorie-restricted diet. If you’re not going to be challenging your muscles or metabolism, you’re going to have to be very careful with your caloric intake. Remember, cardio has very little afterburn effect (EPOC), and therefore does not help you burn calories after the exercise is finished (your resting metabolic rate returns to normal very quickly after steady-state cardio). Therefore, in order to lose weight or maintain a lower body weight, you have to make sure you don’t eat too many calories. The body will soon adapt to a certain level of cardio as well, so eventually you will have to eat fewer calories or increase your activity level. If you skip a day of cardio, you’ll also have to decrease your calories accordingly. It’s a very tough balancing act and often leads to large weight fluctuations (ie, it’s easy to regain any lost weight).

Additionally, this strategy will not build muscle (as a matter of fact, it will likely cause a decrease in muscle mass over time) and eventually your body will start to hold on to fat cells in response to cardio; this is where you hear the term “skinny fat”- people who don’t appear overweight, but who have a much higher body fat percentage than normal because of their decreased muscle mass. To boot, these people are more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies and decreased immune function due to their decreased caloric intake.

With all of this in mind, exercise of any kind is always good thing, but cardio-driven/calorically-restricted diets are difficult to follow and hard to sustain.

Weight training, on the other hand, builds muscle, burns fat and allows you to eat more food. Who doesn’t want to be able to eat more food? Not only can you eat more food, but you can get away with “cheating” from time to time without immediately ballooning back up to a previous weight.

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In conclusion, pros and cons of cardio/calorie restriction vs. weight training/eating real food:

Cardio/calorie restriction

Pros: You can do cardio anywhere without equipment. You can lose weight. Cardiovascular health will improve.

Cons: You have to limit calories in order to lose weight. You lose weight, but maintain fat, not muscle. You look “soft”. You are prone to large weight fluctuations. You cannot eat what you want, nor as much of what you want. Health many suffer due to lack of nutrients from a restricted diet. Long-term results are difficult to achieve.

Weight training/eating real food

Pros: You lose fat weight but maintain and gain muscle. You look “toned”. You can eat more. You don’t have to count calories. You can spend less time exercising. You get results quicker. Your results are sustainable. Your overall health will improve.

Cons: You have to have access to weights. You will spend more money because you are eating like a normal person.

In the end, I want to encourage everyone to engage in physical activity and eat a healthy diet. However, for more sustainable, efficient, and health-improving results, I will always first encourage people to lift weights, eat a balanced diet and do more general activity on a daily basis (walk more, take the stairs, etc.)

For more information on how to incorporate weight lifting into your life, you know how to find me!

DW





A Quick Paleo Follow-up; Vegans/Vegetarians Take Note!

19 04 2013

which diet is right for me

Hey guys,

A buddy of mine just brought another blog post to my attention, and it is a very nice follow-up to this morning’s post on Paleo: My Vegan Diet Caused Health Problems. Would Primal, Paleo, Or “Real Food” Be Better? This is the story of a former hardcore vegan, what her life was like on a vegan diet, why she decided to make changes, and how her health and quality of life improved by removing low-quality vegan foods (grains, legumes, soy, etc.) and replacing them with high-quality animal foods. The post is very detailed, and is an absolute must-read for any vegans or vegetarians following my blog- especially any of you who are pregnant or plan to have children!

It also really hammers home one thing that I feel very strongly about: We all have our own codes of morals and ethics, but when it comes to nutrition, personal health should be priority #1 and ethics should be priority #2- and I also firmly believe that there are ethical ways to abide by any type of diet, as long as you seriously want to make it work.

I sincerely think that many people will be able to relate to this post, so give it a read and maybe it will open your eyes!

DW





The Paleo Diet: Taking Things Personally

19 04 2013

Oh, the Paleo diet. Up until about a week ago, I never actually looked into what exactly “Paleo” was all about, mostly because the name is pretty self-explanatory: if paleolithic man could eat it, it’s part of the diet; if not, it’s out. In my head, it was basically a strict version of eating healthy foods, although I really didn’t know the stipulations. Additionally, Paleo has been developing a reputation for being a bit over-the-top, and is closely linked to the booming Crossfit trend, which again, is a bit over-the-top. Before I begin, I’ve got to point your attention to this:

What is the Paleo Diet?

From www.robbwolf.com (Robb Wolf is essentially the world’s Paleo guru): The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. 

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For a detailed explanation, feel free to visit the What Is The Paleo Diet? page of Robb Wolf’s website, but the bottom line is that the Paleo diet is all about eating lean protein, fruits & vegetables for carbs, and getting healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat. No sugar, no processed food, no grains, etc. That’s it. It is extremely simple, and is essentially how I eat, and how I recommend others eat if they want to lose fat and get healthier. It’s an absolutely great concept, and I would recommend Paleo to nearly anyone.

So what’s the problem?

There is absolutely no problem the with diet itself. The “controversy” surrounding the Paleo movement (from my perspective), is the following:

1) The general attitude from the Paleo camp is extremely condescending. It’s Paleo, or you’re an idiot. Eating a piece of bread? You’re not worthy. Eating cheese? You must be trying to kill yourself. It’s an all-or-nothing attitude, and frankly, it makes the diet unappealing to people.

2) The name of the diet, Paleo, isn’t exactly spot on, and this was tackled in a recent TED Talk by Christina Warinner:

If you have the time, it’s worth a watch, but she clearly has her own biases, and she wasn’t debunking the Paleo diet, she was debunking the name of the Paleo diet. It’s straight-up cherry-picking, and you can imagine how it came across to the Paleo crowd (who as I mentioned, are a sensitive bunch). As a matter of fact, Robb Wolf submitted his own rebuttal, both in blog form, and via podcast. I recommend simply reading the blog, as it covers everything said in the podcast- although listening to the podcast will give you a very clear idea of how passionate/sensitive/over-the-top he is about Paleo. What it boils down to is a woman looking for 15 minutes of fame, and she does so by smashing the name of an extremely healthy and beneficial diet, just to prove a point that “Paleo” isn’t necessarily an accurate description. Robb Wolf then throws stones back in her direction. In fairness to him, he pretty much had to defend his turf, but it all seems very childish (although Robb, I agree, she started it. Baha).

The Bottom Line

I will never say anything bad about the Paleo diet. The general concept is fantastic- eat natural foods, don’t eat processed foods. Hmmmm… where have you read this before??? I do however, have an issue with someone looking down on me for eating beans, or low-fat dairy, or having the occasional, delicious, Belgian beer. In my opinion, life is about balance and everything has a place, in moderation. As things stand today, my diet is actually very close to being Paleo (I’ve stopped eating dairy, I eat very few legumes, hardly every eat grains, and drink only on special occasions), with the one big exception being post-workout. As a strength athlete, I need my sugar after workouts. Remove dextrose from my life, and I will be an unhappy creature. Should I ever stop strength training, I’ll drop the sugar and my diet will essentially be Paleo, although I can’t picture the words “I only eat Paleo” ever coming out of my mouth (again, because the name doesn’t exactly reflect the diet, and also, because I don’t want to be one of “those guys”).

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A healthy diet is a healthy diet, and eating crap is eating crap. If you abide by the Paleo diet, good for you- it’s an amazing lifestyle choice, and you’re way ahead of the general population… just please, don’t act like you’re better than everyone else because you eat very restricted, healthy diet. We need more people out there to embrace a healthy lifestyle, and being exclusionary and condescending helps nobody. Embrace the fact that you take strides to eat healthy, and help others do the same- even if they want to eat some ice cream every now and then. Or pizza. Mmmm…. pizza.

For more information on the Paleo diet or other healthy lifestyle alternatives, you know how to find me!

Happy Friday!

DW