With SuperBowl Sunday in full effect it’s a good time to discuss nutritional options. Being a Giants fan, it’s not easy seeing the Patriots being successful while living in Boston. At least we’ll always have David Tyree. This article is the first in a 2 part series. The second article, “The Personal Paleo Code – A How To” will be published on Wednesday, February 4th. I came across this Tom Brady article on how well he looks after himself. It is a fascinating insight into Brady and the “lengths” he goes to make sure he stays in peak condition. The reality is you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to take this approach. You do however need to make some honest decisions with yourself.
Brady fully accepts that to keep playing at an elite level, he simply has to eat a certain way. Everybody who struggles with their approach to food constantly hits highs and lows of looking and feeling good and then not so good. Committing to a certain approach to food (i.e. Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian etc) is an approach to seek what works best for you. Either it works for you or it doesn’t. Take for example the Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser. Approaching the new year I had previously tried multiple ways as to how I should eat. Being hypothyroid made things complicated but then again staying in a state of chronic pain wasn’t something that appealed.
The words “diet” and “nutrition” are so over used I like the term “fuel” as referred to in “Every Day is Game Day” by Mark Verstegen. As humans we came to a split in the road when it comes to fuel. We went from an industrial era pre World War II to a time during the war where food was rationed. A gradual build up to our current state of excess started, it could be argued as far back as 1945. Fuel has a purpose. Food today is now another example of how much of it can we consume with little regard for quality. The following points outline where we have missed the boat in relation to food and its purpose.
a. Food became a luxury not a necessity. We now eat what tastes good, not what we need. There is nothing wrong with your food tasting good but is is nutritionally dense? Are you getting the vitamins and minerals you need to feel optimal from your food intake? Get a blood test done and it’s a good bet you are deficient in some vitamins and minerals.
b. A large percentage of people do not get their food from the source anymore. (aka – a huge increase in the consumption of processed food).
c. Human beings are addicted to certain food and their ingredients. Food companies hook us on sweet tastes and from there on we are their customer for life. A wolf in sheep’s clothing etc.
Without getting into too much detail on the above points, processed food from large manufacturers does not meet what our body requires. It is however, quick and convenient. Everyone is so busy these days. “My day has been CRAZY” is a common phrase used by athletes and clients. Busy schedules lead to poor food choices if you don’t plan accordingly. Sugar has replaced fat in most foods we consume and addiction to foods with hidden sugars or a high sugar level is common. Some common examples include the person who cannot give up the sugar in their coffee, the teenager consuming those monster drinks or even having a Gatorade at the gym every time you go. Unless you’re at an NFL pre season camp, you can lose the Gatorade.
A cumulative sigh of relief from everyone reading as Tom Brady makes his way back into the story. Brady is not your average athlete or client that you may come across. He has the means to access the best of everything relatively easy compared to us mere mortals. He did however make a conscience decision that he would put the welfare of his body above all else. Upon reading the Brady article in the Business Insider I quickly realized that this approach to food is very similar to the Personal Paleo Code approach by Chris Kresser. Don’t be alarmed, this isn’t an article promoting all things Paleo. I’m not going to ask you how your WOD was today. Im not a huge fan of Crossfit but I do recognize there are benefits to using some aspects of Paleo. I also don’t think Paleo is the be all and end all. You have to cater how you approach it based on what you need and also how you feel after consuming certain foods.
I know from my personal experience, I went from a time of high stress to a time of high inflammation and chronic pain. Were my eating habits good during that stressful period? No, they were horrible. It’s not hard to see the two are related (poor eating=chronic pain). What we put in our bodies affects us tremendously. Irritable Bowl Syndrome affects one on five adults in the USA. It manifests from a negative reaction to certain foods and or stress. More on that in part two.
The generic phrase “I eat healthy” doesn’t have much substance really. Whats healthy for one person may not be good for another. Being a strength coach, you quickly learn that “I eat healthy” can mean anything. Tom Brady eats loads of raw kale – good for him. Seeing as I am hypothyroid, raw kale would likely cripple my thyroid. There are plenty more examples. The million dollar question is how do we tailor our fueling needs individually?
In the second part of this article I will detail how I structured the Personal Paleo Code to enable me to feel and perform optimally and how you can do the same.