Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The "white menace"

Since I had such a hard time breaking my weight-loss plateau, I decided to explore new ways to manage my nutrition. Notice, I did not say "find a new diet". Diets are pointless. You have to be willing to change the way you are going to eat indefinitely. Changing the way you eat, temporarily, will (at best) only change your weight temporarily.

I stumbled on a write up for a relatively new book, UltraMetabolism by Dr Mark Hyman. So, I ordered a copy. I have read a TON of nutrition and weight loss books over the years. Dr Hyman really doesn't say much that I haven't heard other places, except that quantiy of food matters less than quality. He argues that if we eat wholesome food in a mindful way we would be healthier, happier, more slender people, without being hungry, without keeping track mathematically of what and how much of it we ate.

One of my favorite concepts is the avoidance of "the white menance". "The white menance" is basically white flour, white sugar, white rice, and white fat (shortening or trans fat). He states that these 'foods' offer little nutritional value and totally screw with your biochemistry, leading to a host of ailments including obesity. On the one hand he says you should read food labels to make sure you are avoiding "the white management". On the other hand he offers up a more intriguing idea. If food has a label, don't eat it! Foods with labels have been processed, at least to some degree. The more a food has been processed the harder it is on your biochemistry.

Dr Hyman also advocates reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet, except for wild fish. If you are going to eat animal products, he recommends going for free-range poultry and grass-fed beef.

And, like many of the other nutrition guidelines I have read, he recommends that you eliminate caffeine and artificial sweetners and reduce sodium. Argh!

While his recommendations mean I'll be spending more time planning and preparing meals, I am sure it will be worth while. I already do eat a lot of fresh vegetables at dinner time, either in stir fry or salad. I guess I'm going to be doing a lot more of that.

The hardest part will be weaning myself off the caffeine. I know better than to go cold turkey. I have already started substituting some of my regular diet soda intake with green tea. Green tea has some caffeine, but it has a lot less than a diet soda.

I plan on doing a seven day detox next week as I fully enter into this new nutritional life style. I'll be sure to record how it goes. I also am certain that I will be whining quite a bit next week. :)

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