NUTRITION – for me, it was the first element to sort out in my quest for a fitter, healthier body and lifestyle. I cannot claim “to have tried every diet out there”. I have certainly read a lot about diet and nutrition and surfed the net for information and ideas. I’ve even tried a few over the years as my weight rose, but none seemed right, they all required major denial of the food groups I enjoy and flavourless, cardboard chicken with limp salad or, worse still, soya products – please! Then I read Jon Benson’s books – Fit Over Forty (which proved you can get fit from unpromising states of unhealthiness and illness and there are many ways that have worked with varying degrees of willpower required) and Every Other Day Diet (which, as the title suggests, allows, even encourages non-diet days to keep your metabolism guessing). Following Jon’s simple SNAPP protocol worked and fitted with my preferred foods too. Of course, I kept up the research and eventually stumbled upon Mark Sisson’s site – Mark’s Daily Apple.
This was even more promising, so I bought and devoured (metaphorically speaking) his book, Primal Blueprint. It offered a more deeply researched argument in favour of a “primal diet”, to whit, humans are still genetically designed to thrive on a hunter-gatherer diet – meat, fruit, berries, nuts, greens and roots. His reasoning won me over and I stopped eating grain-based carbs; no more pasta or bread or Yorkshire Puddings (well, maybe on New Year’s Day with the Roast Beef!) or cakes or pastries. I found that with a protein shake in the morning, fruit and nuts as snacks and a meat with veg or salad in the evening I could lose weight without feeling hungry. One area where I deviate from Mark’s advice is that I do drink quite a lot of water – 2-3l a day. I prefer it and feel better for it.
To stay as close to primal as possible, my morning shake consists of:-
200ml Activia Pouring Yoghurt
30g Goat’s Whey Protein Powder
30g Egg White Powder
200ml Tropicana (or fresh-pressed) citrus Fruit Juice
The Goat Whey and Egg White Protein Powders contain nothing else and are the most natural protein powders I have found. Also, as they are unflavoured they blend well with the fruit.
That shake has the following approximate nutritional values:-
Calories 437kCal Carbs 41g Protein 57g Fat 3g
I find it tasty and satisfying and by leaving out the yoghurt, I can reduce the carbohydrate intake to 25g and only lose 8g protein. Simple carb control.
My favourite nuts are almonds, pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts and I keep a selection to hand throughout the day. I enjoy soft-dried apricots, dates and figs as an alternative to apples or other fruit and berries. It has surprised me to learn how much carbohydrate there is in fruit, but a little goes a long way in satisfying any midday hunger pangs.
I love meat and enjoy cooking – steaks, casseroles, roasts … We have plenty of organic produce available locally with the usual beef, pork, lamb and poultry as well as more exotic meats such as venison, buffalo and goat. Buffalo meatza is great!
To speed up evening meal preparation to fit into our busy schedule and because I don’t like my meat bloody or dry and frizzled, I use a halogen oven for much of my meat cooking and can rustle up a steak with veg/salad side dish within half-an-hour.
Sea-fresh fish (rather than farmed) are also available locally and provide a quick delicately-flavoured meal for a pleasant change.
I find I rarely get really hungry and I am losing weight slowly but steadily by keeping the average daily carb intake between 50-100g – Mark’s weight-loss sweet zone.
Again, taking Jon’s advice from EODD, I occasionally enjoy icecream or yoghurt as desert, or even a Guiness.
I don’t deny myself my favourite foods, I merely eat them less often, but with greater relish and I don’t miss the bread or pasta.
It’s working for me, so why not read about it and try it for yourself.
Jon Benson’s Books