Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why Aren't You Eating Bread

Dave asked me this last week. Although in my head I knew I had good reasons I bonked on giving him an explanation. My attempt to verbalize my thoughts was feeble at best. Yet, being the good sport that he is, he nodded as if what I said made sense. Since then, I've been working on how to explain it better. Also there were comments left earlier that I think I can answer here.

#1) Basic old (currently less active) person biology/nutrition - Carbs break down into sugar which is stored in the body for energy. The body can only store so much sugar and the rest turns to body fat. I don't need/want any more body fat. I need energy but I'm choosing to get my carbs from fruit and veggies which give me more nutrition bang for my calories.

#2) Bread, pasta and cereal are processed foods that make for lazy ineffective meals. It's just too easy to pour a bowl of cereal or make a sandwich. Besides being too easy, these items fill me up quickly and leave little room for the more nutrient rich fruits and veggies. Plus after a heavy carb meal it's not too long before I'm hungry again and craving a snack. Without bread, pasta or cereal I'm forced to plan what I'm going to eat and make it worthy.

Each meal - three times a day - has some kind of meat, fish, eggs, or dairy (note the OR - not a meat AND a dairy product), a veggie and a fruit.
I make a point not to have the same thing twice in one day or to have the same thing for the same meal two days in a row. It's a bit challenging but actually kind of fun! I've had a few failures in my choices - things I thought would go together didn't - but nothing totally inedible. For now, I'm planning my meals in advance about three days at a time to make sure I keep the variety. I've had to substitute once or twice when the week or day didn't pan out as expected but I have become conditioned to those three parts to each meal that the substitution is not difficult.
I've also made a point of drinking a bottle of water at breakfast. Before I would always have milk. Nothing wrong with milk but it occurred to me that I drink water pretty steadily all day until about 8:00 p.m. (Any later and I'd be making several nigh time trips to the bathroom). So from 8 pm until 6 am I do not have any water. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math on that.
I'm chalking this nutrition exercise up to yet another benefit of the temporary change in activity level. If I was still training for something - the century ride for example - I'd be hesitant to make such a dramatic change in my habits. I'd be afraid I'd be bonking on my rides or runs. We've been conditioned to think we need to carb load on bagels or pasta to workout. I don't believe that is true anymore.
This is really good for me. I'm satisfied after meals. I had a few fatigue issues the first week but I've fixed that and it's going real well now. I feel good enough after meals that snacking is not necessary. The endless stream of cakes, cookies and candies at work still look good but I'm not craving them and therefore skipping them is easy. I am human of course so I had to sample the chocolate that Corrine brought us from John & Kira's but the box has been in the fridge for a week now and I've had exactly two pieces. Before? The box would be long empty by now. In general, I'm not into deprivation although for the month of June I'm trying hard to make no exceptions/excuses so I have a better chance of creating a habit that will stick.
After 2 1/2 weeks I'm pretty sure this new (for me) way of eating can be sustained when I do return to training for something. I will figure out how to adjust when that time comes. Until then I'll work on perfecting what I have.
Oh and just so you know, scientific definitions aside I count avocados and tomatoes as vegetables.

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