Thursday, May 16, 2013

Time To Reinvent Breakfast


I wake up and eat breakfast at 5AM every weekday. I am on my feet training clients from 6AM until noon. From noon I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (martial arts that started the UFC) pretty hard until 2. I get home and shower and I am still fine and not dying or crashing. I eat lunch around 3PM.

In that time of activity, I don't snack. Just drink water. There's even been days I've been in such a rush, I skipped breakfast and made it through training and my 3PM lunch with no ill effects. Sure I'm hungry, but as a human being I should be able to go many hours without food with little ill effect. Technically I should be able to go a whole day and be able to go about my business with little ill effect.

Most of all I am alert and clear headed. No morning grogginess. And my mood stays consistent throughout the day.

So why do so many people starve before lunch? Why do they crash in the middle of the work day? Why do they have to constantly snack at their desks?

Even if you skip breakfast, your body should have enough fat (fuel) to keep you going for quite a while. Why doesn't your body know how to use it efficiently for fuel then? I have less than 5-8% body fat and my body still knows how to run on fat. Sugar runs out quickly, fat lasts for a long time.

I've seen people at the health clubs, at bootcamps, or exercise studios, spin classes, get so weak and light headed. I've seen it with new clients. Have basically an exercise induced sugar crash. But why is their body running on sugar in the first place? And then they chug Gatorade or an energy drink, or think it's because they didn't eat their cereal or toast or juice, or have their banana in the morning. What about everything they eat previously or the day before, why has all that energy run out? Or all the stored energy they have?

My meal usually consists of lots of fats and protein. But good quality. Pasture raised eggs (meaning only fed off of the pasture and never caged) normally, sometimes along with that organic uncured bacon or grass-fed ground beef, home made paleo bread (grain free bread), and sometimes a little vegetables or occasional low sugar fruits like apples or berries. Everything is either cooked in olive oil or coconut oil or sometimes avocado oil. There is no salt added to anything.

Along with this I drink water and black or green tea with fish oils (the only supplement I take). Lately I've been experimenting with coffee mixed with grass-fed butter and MCT oil. I find the caffeine raises my alertness and good fat helps with brain functions. Results have been great on myself and on our clients.

I tend not to even eat until I'm full because I want to allow my stomach to have room to digest, but also so I don't waste excess energy on digesting when I could be using it for my actual day and activities. I train and spar against 20 year olds, at 33 I better be at my best or they will destroy me.

When I used to start my day with what I thought was a healthy smoothie, or juice, or oatmal, or "high fiber" cereal or whatever I was told was good for me in the morning, I crashed hard and was worthless after 8AM.  And going to martial arts training meant risking injury because I wasn't coherent enough at all times to defend myself. To prevent crashing, I literally had to eat 5x a day. A huge time deficit and hugely annoying. So to save time, what did I do? What most of you did, eat a bar or drink my snack. But so many people are convinced this is the way to be healthy. I always hear that from new clients, eating 5x a day is the healthy thing they heard. It's hard enough for most people to order something off of a menu. Now you have to decide 5x a day or more about what you are going to eat. You can make 5 healthy choices every time for the rest of your life? And what happens when there's snacks or temptations around or someone offers you something? Now there's more decisions and less will power and you're eating more than you will remember. No wonder most people keep gaining weight without realizing. Our decision making skills and will power have stamina and weakens by the end of the day. It's why it's hard to make decisions late in the day and it's hard to resist things by dinner time.

Make it easy. You don't need to eat that often when you have sustained energy, less choices means better decision making for the important stuff of your day. Not what to eat for lunch, what to do to make your work or life better.

Now since I'm not even that hungry by lunch time, then eating lunch really helps control appetite by the time dinner rolls around. But I eat lunch late out of necessity, I'm not suggesting others had to, but if you did it shouldn't be that big of a deal, otherwise unless you have a medical condition, you are not running optimally and it's time to question your fuel source.

It's a hard, vague, and nebulous idea, to be healthy. Just be healthy for healthy's sake. I can't wrap my mind around it. I'm a nerd and that doesn't inspire nerds. What made me so gung-ho is the idea of upgrading, optimizing, and efficiency. Trying to be "healthy" can come with a lot of biases. Upgrading tend to be more scientific and empirical.

I eat the way I do, live the way I do, sacrifice what I have to not to be healthy. To make myself better, to improve all my functions. I do it for better memory, brain function, alertness, speed, strength, performance, better ability to speak, multi-task, learn, to be a better husband, a better entrepreneur  to be a better lover, a better martial artist. I have a 24 hour day like everyone else, I want to make sure that when I choose to be productive, that everything works. That my testosterone is high, that I recover and heal properly, that I can manage my stress. To be as meta-human as possible, that my DNA will allow. There's people who've run countries from wheelchairs, imagine what an able bodied fully maximized person could do?

Ultimately I am ambitious, and if you are also, you need to think of health not as a vague notion, but as a form of physical technology. You don't want to run old software, you want to maximize what you have. Newer and better things will always come along. Phones and computers get replaced and people's jobs get replaced. Always increase your value as a human being. If not you lose value daily. Replace comfort for happiness.

There's a reason why few Nobel Prize Winners for science or people on the cover of Forbes are obese. They understand being optimal.

Maybe you're a dad, a banker, an entrepreneur, a mother, a lawyer, an accountant, or you have hobbies like cycling or hiking or diving. Well it's time to redefine yourself as a high performance (fill in the blank).

And with that mindset, that notion, you don't research with biases because you love ancestral eating, or being a vegan, or love cardio, or love body building. You look at what works, what makes you optimal and that's your only loyalty. You don't care about eating until you maximize your stomach's capacity, you care about being optimal and maximizing your life. I have weak will power for sweets if simple pleasures was important to me. It's not, getting the most out of my life is.

I had someone suggest they were eating bad because they didn't know exact amounts of food to eat. From exact grams of this or that to eat per meal. Is lack of knowledge what makes one over indulge in certain situations or is it a lack of will power and mindset? Without knowing exact grams, people tend to know they are eating too much, they will even mention it jokingly, but will do it anyway. It's a choice. If every person wanting to lose weight had a robot brain that could be controlled, everyone would be losing weight because someone else could control all their choices. But they have their own mind, and their mind is usually their own biggest obstacle.

Supercharge your breakfast because it will dictate the rest of your day, and how hungry you will be by dinner time. And dinner is the biggest problem for most people. Sometimes people are part time healthy, meaning they eat a "healthy" breakfast and lunch during the week, and dinner is where the problem lies. And weekends, forget about it.

You can't be healthy part time. It's like being great or being optimal part time. For me it's like being a martial artist sometimes or being athletic sometimes. I am an athlete 100% of the time and so are you. We all are athletes, you just need to run yourself like one.

Fuel yourself with healthy fats not sugar. Make sure what you think is a healthy breakfast is really an optimal breakfast.

We need slow sustained energy and sugar won't do that, it absorbs too quickly. But fats and protein will. Fats for energy, carbs (like vegetables) for nutrients and fiber. What a crazy idea!

Sugar for energy was supposed to be for emergencies because it's quick to tap into, so if we needed to flee for our lives, it would kick in so we always had just enough to spring into action. Otherwise fat gave us a long supply of energy. It's more effective and efficient. Now we use sugar as a cheat, a crutch, and use it always. High stress was supposed to keep us alive in life or death situations because of high alertness and vigilance, now we use it always, especially at our desks. Now we have high stress high sugar and an unhealthy, inefficient population.

How do so many native cultures run so far or persistence hunt with no Gatorade or bagels?

Take a small step, redefine breakfast and take it from there. Everything I just mentioned starts with breakfast, it's that important.
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