How to Eat

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Info taken from Mark Sisson’s Marks Daily Apple Primal Blueprint:

Fat is the perfect fuel for us. It’s efficient. It burns clean. And it’s the type of fuel our bodies like to burn. Otherwise, why else would we store it on our bodies for lean times?

That’s what people miss about body fat. It’s not just “there” because we messed up and our body has nowhere to put it. Body fat, or adipose tissue, is stored energy. Sure, the obese have way too much body fat, but the fact is that our bodies evolved the ability to put fat into fat cells because it is effective fuel. The problem is that many of us are broken. Sedentary living, modern food toxins, too much stress, not enough sleep, and a distinct lack of play for play’s sake (more on this later, if you’re confused about why I’d rank “play” with all the other stuff) have fundamentally changed the way we process fuel. Many of us can’t even access the stored fat, instead running on sugar (and poorly at that). All that stored energy – body fat – is going to waste. So, if you’re overweight or obese, chances are you’re broken. And – at least for the time being until you’re healed – excess carbohydrates are making the problem worse. But you can be fixed. You don’t need doctors or medication or expensive treatments. You just need to start accessing your body fat and burning fat for fuel. By converting to an animal fat-based metabolism, you are returning to the ancestral human fuel source. And the best way to switch to fat burning is to start eating more animals and whatever fat comes with them. Animal fat, especially from ruminants like beef, lamb, and bison, comes with roughly equal proportions of saturated and monounsaturated fats, with a little bit of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. Interestingly, your own animal fat – the fat deposited on your body and the fat that your body is designed to burn for energy in lean times – comes with very similar ratios. It’s almost as if animal fat is good for us!

With animals, you get healthy animal fat. You get protein, important for building muscles and keeping you full. You get all the micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals that the animal ate, in a form that your body can absorb. It’s the perfect package of nutrition for a fat burner.

Now, I don’t hate carbohydrate. They can be useful and even beneficial in certain cases. Eat carbs when you need fuel for endurance activities. Don’t eat carbs just because; eat them because you need the energy. Because you’re actually active and they won’t go to waste.

Ditch grains: refined grains, whole grains, bread, pasta, muffins, biscuits, bagels, cereal, baked goods, pancakes. Anything made from flour, really.

Ditch sugar: white sugar, candy, cake, cookies, pastries, milk chocolate bars, high fructose corn syrup, soda, milkshakes masquerading as coffee drinks. If it’s made in a bakery or a factory or a restaurant and it’s sweet, just avoid it.

Ditch vegetable oils and trans fats: corn oil, soybean oil, canola, sunflower/safflower, margarine, shortening, anything with “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list.

Ditch all other junk foods, most of which encompass the previous three “food” categories: potato chips, crackers, “crisps,” Cheez-its.

Ditch fast food: Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. don’t eat McDonald’s and think just because you removed the bun that it’s all good. Just say no to fast food.  Don’t eat that stuff. For one, it’s junk food that simply doesn’t taste very good when you get down to it. Instead, it’s food that’s designed to target the reward centers in your brain and get you to stuff your face – and then go out and buy some more. “Betcha can’t eat just one” isn’t just an innocent slogan; it’s the literal truth! Two, it’s high in calories but low in nutrition. You can eat that bag of Lay’s and get hundreds of calories of carbs and rancid fats, but you’ll still be deficient in vitamins and minerals, and you’ll still be hungry! I’ll be honest – you could stop here and reap most of the benefits. Because the aforementioned “food” groups are so heavily overrepresented in the modern food supply, avoiding them and just eating everything left over will make you healthier and help you lose weight. But we can do better than that. Eat the animals, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds our bodies are adapted to thrive on 

Eat animals: beef, lamb, bison, pork, poultry (and their eggs). Favor grass-fed and pastured animals, which have better fatty acids and contain more vitamins and minerals (and taste better!).

Eat animals from the sea: salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, crab, shrimp, oysters, mussels, clams. Wild-caught fish are best, though farmed shellfish are usually raised exactly like wild shellfish and thus are fine.

Eat unlimited produce: leafy greens of all kinds, colorful plants, berries, cruciferous vegetables, assorted fruits, roots, and tubers.

Eat some nuts and seeds: macadamias, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts; pumpkin, squash, and sunflower seeds.

Use healthy cooking fats: butter (especially grass-fed), coconut oil, olive oil, red palm and regular palm oil, ghee, and animal fats (lard, tallow, duck fat, etc.).

Stock spices: keep plenty of herbs and spices on hand. Cumin, coriander, thyme, rosemary, sage, chili powder, mint, turmeric, and cayenne are a few of my favorites, but you can use anything else you like. Spices and herbs add flavor to dishes and prevent the breakdown of vital nutrients during cooking so that when you add spices or herbs, your food tastes better and is actually healthier for you.

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