Introduction. It has been some time since Lya or I have discussed our eating habits, so today I’m writing to provide an update. In this blog, I will discuss my philosophical approach to nutrition followed by the system I’ve designed to reduce decision making and maintain dietary principles.
In whichever domain of life, I find that having a belief structure supported by certain values can be leveraged to create principles in the form of a behavioral system. When applied to eating, this enables to me follow an enjoyable, nutritiously dense protocol with enough wiggle room so I’m not stressed in situations where I can’t eat the way I normally would. As a result, quality of life improves.
Philosophy. If I had to offer a label that succinctly describes the way Lya and I eat, I would say “animal-based paleo” is most accurate. As you are probably aware, paleo is the term used to describe a diet containing only unprocessed, whole foods (think meat, fruit and veggies). I modify this diet with the term “animal-based” because my approach places a greater emphasis on animal derived sources of nutrition, including some forms of dairy.
The reason for this is simple. Given the enormous length of time modern humans evolved as hunter gatherers, it is sensible that a diet centered on foods pre-agricultural revolution would form a robust foundation for a healthy diet. This is further backed by the enormous research conducted by ancestral proponents like Mark Sisson, Dr. Cate Shanahan, and Dr. Paul Saladino.
At the granular level, not everyone is the same. Special circumstances arise, for example, when dealing with nutritional sensitivities. Generally speaking, however, our macro- and micro-nutritional needs are the same. A diet focusing on the most nutrient dense, bioavailable, and nontoxic foods is therefore going to serve you quite well.
What this boils down to for us is seeking a significant portion of our calories from properly sourced animal foods. This covers the two essential macro nutrients in their most bioavailable form: fat and protein. We then focus on secondary nutrients in the form of carbohydrates to support our exercise demands. This is achieved via well tolerated fruits and starchy vegetables. Finally, we may incorporate small amounts of low fiber greens for variety as well as to provide an additional pathway for fats and salt (is there anything that doesn’t taste better with butter and salt?). I should mention that going organic whenever possible is a focus for us too.
The System. To ensure we get the highest quality foods absent processed ingredients like refined sugar or vegetables oils, most of what we eat is the result of my cooking. Twice a day, Monday through Friday, I cook. The center piece of each dish is meat, typically accompanied by one or two sides depending on whether it’s lunch or dinner. If I’m feeling up for it, I may do more complicated dishes like coq au vin, making substitutions where needed. What dish I make is already spelled out by a menu I created through trial and error. This saves me time a ton of time and cognitive effort. If by the end of the day we are still hungry, post dinner, I will whip up a simple desert of fruit and dairy.
You may have noticed I didn’t mention breakfast. This is something Lya and I don’t care for. We are content intermittently fasting because we simply aren’t hungry when we wake up. By the time we are, it’s typically lunch hour.
With Monday and Friday taken care of, only the weekend remains. This is where we opt to exercise some flexibility in our eating habits. Lya and I will go out to eat for dinner and allow ourselves the freedom to eat whatever pleases us. This usually amounts to no more than some wine and pasta. We almost always get sushi on the weekends too (in fact, that’s my go-to “I don’t feel like cooking right now” food).
That essentially covers everything! In the next blog post, I’ll actually provide the menu I use for our weekly meals. I’m still tinkering with it.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING CHANGING YOUR DIETARY ROUTINE.