Turning twenty-nine last August was a pivotal point for me for a couple reasons– first, I realized that this would be the last of my twenties, and there was something about that thought that left me unsettled. Secondly, as I reflected on my age and impending doom, it began to settle in how I had experienced the majority of my twenties overweight and not in control of my health and wellbeing. It was a trip to our newly appointed family physician that gave me the final kick I needed to get in control of my life.
Before I go further, my goal here is not to give anyone some formula to get back their life, live happier or lose weight– although those are all things I have made progress towards on this journey. I sincerely hope that this is valuable to you as you read it, but I do not claim to be an expert. I have had many ah ha-moments as I have been learning about nutrition, excercise, fasting, and “biohacking”, but I believe that wellness is a lifelong journey and I am continuing to seek a better understanding of myself so I can live happier, healthier and perform better at everything I do. So if you are still reading, I am going to share what I have learned, what resources have had the biggest impact for me, and how podcasts have changed my life!
In November I visited our new family doctor as a part of a regular checkup. He ordered blood tests to check for a variety of things including cholesterol and blood triglyercides levels. The tests confirmed what I already suspected: my cholesterol was high and I needed to gain control of my body, to make sure I was not at risk for heart disease and a stroke in the next decade. He prescribed what most physicians would these days: a low fat diet with minimal red meat and lots of green veggies. To his credit, he did not claim to be an expert in nutrition, but instead suggested sitting down with a dietician (which I did not do, to be honest).
simple things such as eating whole grains in the morning, were actually sabotaging my weight loss plans.
One of the most valuable things I have learned was that weight loss does not start in the gym, it starts on your plate. I had to admit to myself that I knew very little about food and how it impacted my body. The more I learned, the more I realized how little I knew. I did not understand the role that insulin and glucose played in my body, and how simple things such as eating whole grains in the morning, was actually sabotaging my weight loss plans. Discovering a high fat, low carb diet absolutely changed my life, and it also challenged my (and many others) belief that eating fat makes you fat. I can honestly say that over the last six months I have eaten more healthy fats than ever before, and I feel amazing. What is even more important is that my cholesterol and triglyceride levels are healthier than they ever have been– way better than when I was gorging on whole grains and “diet foods”.
stay away from sugar and processed grains, especially in the morning.
Many people want a quick fix to ‘hack’ their nutrition but I firmly believe that a foundation of nutritional understanding is far more important for sustainable health. Abel James, Author of The Wild Diet and award-winning host of Fat-Burning Man, shares that the secret to fat-loss can be summed up in one sentence: “stay away from sugar and processed grains, especially in the morning”. The Wild Diet itself is a Paleo inspired plan that preaches the overwhelming benefit of RAW and unprocessed foods. Abel’s use of intermittent fasting, keto-style carb limiting, and Fatty Coffee/Bulletproof Coffee (my favourite) makes his plan incredibly effective.
I found that for myself, the biggest benefit in this book came from the first 144 pages; this is where Abel breaks down the mechanics of processed foods, GMO’s, and the basics of metaobolism. I used to think that an understanding of how insulin works was reserved for those managing diabetes– I was wrong. I have learned how sugar and carbohydrates can cause you to store fat, and can have the long term impact of promoting insulin resistance– a scary reality for most of our population that embraces the high-carb diet popularized by the Original USDA Food Pyramind.
Interested in learning more about the The Wild Diet? Take a look at Abel’s 8 Tips to get started on the Wild Diet. I also highly recommend his award-winning Podcast, Fat-Burning Man. Here, Abel has interviewed some incredible guests on health and nutrition, including superstars like Shaun T, Tim Ferriss, David Asprey, Dr. John Gray, Dr. David Perlmutter, and many others! Check out Fat-Burning Man, you will NOT be disappointed!
I have come to believe that gluten does act as a sort of kryptonite for everyone to some degree.
The last two things I want to touch on are gluten and ketogenic diets. Although I am fortunate to not be considered “sensitive” to gluten, I have come to believe that gluten does act as a sort of kryptonite for everyone to some degree. Do your own testing and see how your body responds when you cut out gluten. I know some of the days I feel my best are the days I am not experiencing inflammation caused by gluten. Inflammation is universally accepted as a major contributing factor to almost every chronic disease I am afraid of: Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Crohn’s, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, and the list goes on. I am not an expert on gluten and it’s biological impact, and so I strongly suggest you do your own research. What matters to me is that I feel stronger, and my brain is clearer, without gluten in my body.
The Ketogenic diet (Aka. Keto). I have used keto intermittently over the last few months. While my primary nutrition consists of raw and unprocessed foods, (avoiding foods that will spike my blood sugar), keto and carb-cycling have been a useful tool! The keto diet has helped many people lose a lot of weight, but I would also be cautious of any diet plan that does not also follow paleo or vegan values (they are very similar). When searching for “keto snacks”, you are bound to find people suggesting bags of pork rinds just because they are high fat and low carb– do not do it! I have found that by adopting a high-fat low-carb paleo diet, I am losing weight and have more energy than ever before.
The past six months have been incredible for me and in a lot of ways I have transformed my life. I am excited to enter my thirties healthier than I have ever been! If you have enjoyed reading this, check back for future posts describing my experience with excercise, intermittent fasting, biohacking, vitamins and supplements, and wellness. Please remember to do your own reseach, and I would love to read any comments or questions you have.