I love bread. But I don’t consume it as the staple in my diet, or as the primary ingredient in any of my meals.
Does that make me non-paleo?
Truth is, I try to eat the food my body needs, using Paleo/Primal as a general framework. I don’t exclude any foods 100%. Because I’m not doing this for a movement or to prove some perfect idea. Rather, I’m doing it for me, my body and my mind. And I know that breads make my body bloat up and feel uncomfortable. They make me feel sluggish. And they never satisfy my hunger over long periods of time.
When I go out to a restaurant and they are serving warm, homemade bread, I allow myself the chance to enjoy it in small portions. And I don’t feel guilty about it. Because I know that at the end of the day, the goal is not to strictly follow rules, but to thrive as a human being. To maximize my enjoyment of life. And if I eat too much bread (and pasta, etc.), my ability to enjoy life goes way, way, way down.
My body can tolerate a small amount of grains. And even more dairy. And since I enjoy both, well… I enjoy both. But I enjoy them as treats.
I’m paleo because it gives me a framework under which my body thrives. Meat, fish and veggies make me feel alive and energetic. Excessive sugar and bread indulgences make me feel bloated, tired and sluggish.
My main bit of advice is this: I think Paleo works because it prescribes the optimal fuel for the human body. Mixing in a few drops of diesel every once in a while isn’t going to hurt a gasoline engine. But filling the whole thing up with diesel is going to wreck havoc.
I’m working on 2 fairly substantial pieces for this blog but they are taking longer than I expected. Now is a great time to email me with a question about health, life, relationships, etc.. Anonymity will be preserved. For example, here’s one I got the other day:
You talk a lot about being the best you can be, just because, not to impress women. At the same time you’re always talking about what attracts women. Seems like you’re contradicting yourself.
Yeah, you should make no compromises. You should genuinely always be aiming to be the best person you can be (this of course depends on having a goal, a “mental role model” of what the best you will look like). Being the “best you” you can be does not mean “be lazy” – it means “keep improving yourself”. One elegant thing about this universe is that when you work on improving yourself, it pays natural dividends. It’s easier to display social value. What I describe on this blog is this natural lock and key dynamic. When you work on the shape of the key, it does a much better job of unlocking the lock. In other words, when you aim to be the best human being you can be for its own sake (unlocking the door), you discover that there’s a whole lot more on the other side of the door than you expected. So build skill because of the skill. Not the women. But in the back of your mind, you can rest assured that the confidence and social proof that come with the right sort of skill have some very rewarding side effects. The first skill I’d start with, as the base of being a better person, is getting fit. Because your body affects your mind. And that’s who you are.
There’s no doubt that hot = healthy. It’s really a simple equation. Fitness = Hot = She’d Make Healthy Babies = Healthy.
The thing that most people don’t realize until they actually get fit (I know I didn’t) is that there’s more to being fit than being hot. A lot more.
Being fit allows you to express yourself more fully. It allows you to do things you couldn’t do before. It allows you to think more clearly. It allows you to compete in sports that you have no skill at (like me and soccer) just because you’re faster and stronger and more agile. It allows you to go on long, glorious hikes. To climb the side of mountains. To train with MMA fighters. To run 10 mile obstacle courses with your brothers. To see waterfalls and rivers you never had access to before. To jog 3 miles without breaking a sweat. To sprint like mad from a charging cow;) And then jump over a 48 inch electric fence.
Being fit allows you to live more fully. So don’t just do it because you want to be hot, though you will certainly be that (yeah, yeah, maybe not as hot as her… the one up there … but that doesn’t really matter, now does it?)
Get fit because it’s how you’re supposed to live. It’s what you are. A human being. So be fully human. Get active. And thrive.
So today’s the day. My brothers and I are going to do Tough Mudder together in exactly 2 months. And that means it’s time to start training.
What am I going to do to train?
1) Continue three 20 minute P90X sessions per week (my normal routine)
2) Play soccer once a week (again, my normal routine)
3) Jog 3 miles twice a week, pushing up to 4 miles the week before the race.
That’s it. I sort of dread #3 because I hate long distance running. But I’m going to need the endurance to make it through a 10+ mile obstacle course race.
So I went on my quarterly pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s. Spent $697. Does that not look big? The people at Trader Joe’s always do a double take when they see me check out with 12 cans of protein powder and 12 more cans of almond butter.
Here’s what I bought. Lots of each:
- BBC Nut Brown Ale
- Framboise Lambic Raspberry Ale
- Almond Butter
- Dark Chocolate
- Crab stuffed flounder
- Jumbo Scallops
- Scallops mixed with mushrooms and peas
- Mojito Salmon
- Seafood Chowder
- Seafood mix
- White protein powder
- Chocolate protein powder
- Super Red Powder Drink
- Seaweed flakes
- Lara bars
So lately in an attempt to get more vegetables into my system, I’ve been making this awesome green shake that includes:
1 can of coconut milk
1-2 cups of spinach
A bunch of frozen blackberries
- Add some whey protein powder
- Add a spoonful of sugar
- Add some honey
I love creating new taste sensations. And lately I’ve been popping a few buttery macadamia nuts into my mouth followed by some 85% dark chocolate. Too good for my own good. But the good news is that it’s really hard to over indulge on these healthy treats.
I have come to the conclusion that there are multiple ways to eat in a healthy way, but that the major obstacle to each of these methods is our dependence on convenience.
The common theme to healthy eating is the idea of natural eating. Eating things that require very little processing. Things that our ancestors could have eaten thousands of years ago.
Vegetables, Meat, Fowl, Fish, Nuts, Seeds, Fruits.
The major groups of healthy eaters these days, in my mind are: Paleo/Primal, Vegetarian, Vegan.
What they all share in common is an emphasis on natural, unprocessed foods. However, practitioners of these eating systems tend to cheat for the sake of convenience.
Paleo/Primal people rely too much on meat and nuts and don’t get enough veggies.
Vegetarians rely too heavily on grains, soy and legumes. And fruit.
Vegans struggle to get enough calories and to compensate rely too heavily on grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
I’m a strong believer in the Paleo/Primal way of eating because I think it is the only system that is available to the average man. Meat satiates and satisfies and keeps people from the never ending cycle of insulin spikes and empty carb addiction. However, to be truly natural, those who eat Paleo/Primal should be intentional about eating waaaaayyyyy more veggies than otherwise. Don’t just eat eggs and bacon for breakfast. Eat eggs, spinach and bacon. Don’t just have fish for lunch. Have fish with a salad. You get the point.
The biggest challenge to natural eating is getting enough vegetables. So most of your energy should be focused on beating this challenge.
Share this with the people you love.
There’s a bunch of ancient wisdom that says as much, but which is sort of cliche to our ears. So I won’t quote it;-)
But the fact is: besides biological impulses (hunger, etc.) there are two primary sources of motivation. And they are both related to *caring*
1. Where do you locate your own value?
2. What do you value externally, socially, materially?
If you believe that your entire self-worth is wrapped up in finding the perfect girl, then you will spend enormous amounts of mental energy and time looking for that girl. If you believe that your value lies in the things you own… the houses, the cars, etc. then you will exert tremendous amounts of energy chasing these things. If you believe that a great deal of your self-worth is wrapped up in playing by the script and becoming socially respectable (the education, the wife, the kids, the job), your entire life will be directed at achieving these things. If your primary value in life is sleeping with as many women as possible, you will exert a great deal of energy on this project. If you want to become a world-renowned biochemist, plan to spend an enormous number of tedious hours in the laboratory or writing papers. If your value is in presenting to the world the idea that you have the perfect, non-divorced family with well-dressed, smiley kids who’ve never played in mud or gotten sick and with eternally happy parents who never fight … then you’ll exert a whole lot of time and effort shaping and upholding this illusion for the world to see.
Let me be clear. I’m not passing judgement on what you choose to value in life. I’m simply pointing out that our life takes the shape of the things we care about.
I will offer some recommendations though because my mind has considered all kinds of “value points” – life is a whole lot more rewarding when you care about the sort of things that human beings are *meant* to care about. Now you might suggest that I have no idea what human beings are *meant* to care about or at least that there is no *right* answer to the value question. But I would suggest that you are wrong.
Human beings share a common nature.
The food we eat is critical. So care about the food you eat (maybe even learn to grow some). Our local community, including our families (not just nuclear), are critical to our well-being. So care about being part of your local community. Keeping low-levels of stress is critical to well-being. So take yourself less seriously. And play. Play. Play. Find ways to play (and laugh) every day. Being productive is critical to happiness. So spend some time learning and perfecting a skill. Make sure that you find your work rewarding. Or else take the risk of walking away and doing something that makes you feel valuable (don’t be lazy though… easy jobs aren’t always the most rewarding). Being at peace with reality, is critical. So be thankful for your existence, and to the Source of your existence.
As a general rule, I think the most important value to have is this: be the best human being that you can be. Live life like a sparrow… according to its nature and in harmony with it’s intended environment. Once you have that as your foundation, you can set off on a lifelong journey that drives closer and closer towards the true root of health and happiness: namely, living life with confident expressiveness and appreciating it as a gift, not to be hoarded, wasted or endured.