Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Other Way to Be LEAN + HEALTHY

There’s more than one way to do most things. There are many ways of losing weight. It’s simply a matter of doing things in the healthiest and most sustainable way possible.

Sure, you can eat 850 calories a day for a couple of months, or work out 3 hours per day for a few weeks, or count every macronutrient for several months. But, what about the sustainability of your weight loss or mass gains? What about the enjoyment factor of your new body? Getting the body you want is only one part of the equation. If you can’t enjoy your new self, then what is the point? What if you can lose weight or gain strength, have more energy, be happier, sleep better, reach your personal fitness goals you never thought possible, all without counting every last calorie, depriving yourself, or working out obsessively? It’s more than possible; it’s preferable for your health.

There’s something I have ignored for years, but have played around with every now and then just for kicks. It’s called alkaline, non-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. I’ve always noticed better health benefits from eating a plan-based diet and adding more yoga into my schedule. It’s no secret that rest is when muscles repair, which means they rebuild and you in turn burn more calories. Inflammation interferes with your body’s natural ability to do this. 

            On a pro-inflammatory diet, our physiology starts making fat cells so fast you’d think it wre some kind of nervous habit. When stressed, we head straight for the Haagen-Dazs. And in a sense, so do out physiologies, as transdifferentiation converts all kinds of cells into fat. In patients with age-related dementia, grey matter gets replaced by cells containing excessive amounts of fat. Osteoporoticbones have had bone-forming cells replaced by fat cells. And fatty liver, a common cause of chronic indigestion and GERD symptoms (like heartburn), is caused by fat cell formation at the expense of normal, functioning liver cells. To put all this in terms of the larger regulatory picture, when muscle, bone, gland, and nerve cells are denied a full complement of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and so on, they seem to take that denial as a signal to dedifferentiate and start storing fat…. When the body gets all the real food, exercise, and rest that it needs, the default reaction is to convert unwanted fat cells into something better. Which physiological directive your body follows is ultimately up to you.  Catharine and Luke Shanahan, Deep Nutrition, 250-251.

The bottom line, is that if you eat healthy, unprocessed food, and get a healthy amount of exercise, it will work like the well-oiled machine that you have properly maintained. You don’t need to count calories. This could be more difficult for some people than counting calories. Some prefer to count macronutrients so they can eat chocolate and French fries and stay within their macronutrient budget. Others, however, may prefer the athletic performance benefits that also go along with an anti-inflammatory diet.

Now, what is diet that is chemically balanced? Check out the chart. In short, choose foods that are unprocessed, leafy green vegetables, herb teas, small amounts of lean meat, and steer clear of vegetable oils.