Thursday, February 3, 2011

Retooling I: Lay Off Me I'm Starving!

I've bragged before that, if I didn't have to eat to stay alive, I could just stop eating altogether. I've said that for me eating is not about enjoyment, it's about fuel. Well for the past ten days I've taken my diet to the drawing board and tested that little theory. The Result? I'm hungry, angry, skinny, strong and going a little crazy.

I started by throwing the majority of all the nutrition knowledge and diets out the window. Instead I took a big helping of info I've put together from my years as a snowboarder and biker, smothered it with a few interesting details from endurance sports nutrition and flavored it with a few spices from the book "The 4-Hour Body" by Tim Ferris, author of 4-Hour Workweek.

I built the new diet on the basis that, if I couldn't exercise for 8 days, I also didn't need any simple carbs for eight days. Along with the pasta, bread, rice and basically all sugary treats went anything that I thought could help to fuel the evil bacteria currently under siege in my stomach. Bye bye basic fruits, OJ, milk, cheese, protein shakes and pretty much all things delicious.

I started with the breakfast from the 4-Hour Body.  Egg whites with salsa and spinach. For lunch I stuck to my personal fav, Chipotle but said goodbye to the tortilla and rice instead suffering the indignity of a bowl full of my usual ingredients with a few peppers instead of the staple foods.

Dinner was back to basics with chicken breasts with any kind of slow carbs that my old snowboard coach would approve of. Beans, lentils, whole grains, gluten free pasta and the like plus a veggie like beets or asparagus.

I suffered through this for 7 days. There were no variations (save a few ginger candies to calm my aching belly).  I was often starving, craving carbs and drinking water to wash away the tought of what I was missing. I had my first-ever food dream. It was about strawberries and whip cream. I went to bed a little hungry most nights. And all of this was compounded with the ill effects of a terrible round of (possibly ineffective) antibiotics. Then, on the 8th day, knowing that a huge weekend of warm weather and biking was coming, I sprinkled in a few carbs to use as fuel to power me up again for three consecutive days on the road.

The Results: I lost 4 pounds, suffered through over 175-miles while completely undernourishment on the bike and I don't think I killed whatever is living in my stomach. Also,  tuna and lentils should not be mixed unless under extreme conditions. Eggs whites and spinach smell like spoiled seafood if microwaved together, fruits are delicious and can be dearly missed, Chipotle employees look at you liek you are insane when you ask for no rice, and finally, carbs of all kinds are your friends when you need to exercise (though 3.5 of the 4 pounds I lost are back on with carbs again).


The Takeaway: Repetition is your friend (thanks again Tim Ferris) and eating the same few meals lets you have some solid estimates of what is going into the body on a daily basis. I am now using trainingpeaks.com to get a better picture of calories in to calories burned. Also, wheat, while delicious is really not necessary on a daily basis and is the devil if you aren't exercising. Finally, it's not terrible to vary what you put into your body depending on what you do with it. But the whole idea behind carb-loading the night before any big activity day is completely useless. The key here is the kind of lead times for different foods to get to to the right part of the body at the right time and how they build on each other. More on this when I return for a subsequent retooling.

OK, that might be one of my driest posts ever but it had to be documented for the retooling to launch officially. More coming soon. Delicios blog posts baked in savory retooling, sprinkled with a bit more creativity and finished off with a big bowl of strawberries and whip cream. mmmmmMMMmmm.

-D

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