Lets talk about food baby. Lets talk about you and me.

Lets talk about all the good things, and the bad things, that make me!

So today I’m going to be expanding on the concept set forth two posts ago in “what is a calorie anyway”. In that post I liken the metabolism to a fire and calories its fuel. I am able to make that likening, because it is very essentially true and as a point of fact firewood CAN be measured in calories (as can anything flammable really).

I’d like you to get really comfortable with this analogy as I move forward I’m going to use it near exclusively as a means to simplify what I mean by things.

Just like all flammable things are not created equal so it is with food. There is a reason all high-end charcoal boasts “made with real mesquite” just as there is a reason we don’t try and cook with green wood, what your fire is burning makes a difference to every product of the fire. So lets talk Boy Scouts 101 for a minute.

When it comes to wood for your campfire there are a lot of different criteria to consider. How much heat does a particular type of wood produce? How much smoke? How much ash? When it burns does it smell? Good? Bad? All of these things carry varying weight depending on its purpose. But lets just stick with cooking.

Some wood, like Oak are Ash are excellent, high heat, slow burning fuels that turn to coals well and can produce reliable steady heat for a cooking surface for a legitimate amount of time. Woods like Willow, Spruce or Poplar, on the other hand do NOT produce stable coals, do NOT emmet reliable levels of heat and whereas might be nice for just a fun campfire, offer very little productive benefits to it.

This is extremely similar to food you intake, how it burns, what it produces, and how it works. First we need to acknowledge that everything you’ve ever learned in school about nutrition is, in fact, WRONG. There were NEVER “4 food groups” and the “Food Pyramid” is little better than a conversation topic at lame parties. There are essentially 3 food groups or more accurately called “macronutrients”; Lipids, Carbohydrates and Proteins.

EVERYTHING you eat, falls into one of those three categories (or a combination of the three). Those are the three types of fuel that keep the fire burning, cut ANY of them out or limit them, and your body will have to compensate in some way, and it may or may not be pleasant.

These are more commonly known as “Fat”. But when you call something “fat” it gives people the wrong impression and they feel they have to avoid it. Fat is an ESSENTIAL part of your daily diet. In-fact there are actually fats call “essential fatty acids”. Healthy fats as can be found in flax seed, avocado and salmon are a foundation fatty acid that your body cant properly function without. Finding foods rich with the right kind of fatty acids is very important and when it doesn’t seem to be possible, supplementing with a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement is a very positive alternative.

Another boogie-man term used to scare children out of not eating their breadstick. Not only can carbs not be avoided, but forcing a diet that does is both semi-harmful and a little stupid. All starches and sugars are “carbs”. Carbs, are broken down and made into a specific sugar called glucose (often referred to as blood sugar). Your brain RUNS on glucose, LITERALLY! Cutting out carbs, deprives your brain of much needed glucose. A complex carb is like a golden nugget of time release glucose that can sustain your body and brain with needed energy over longer periods of time. Whereas a simple processed sugar will spike you blood sugar quickly and trigger an insulin rush which in turn will actually LOWER your blood sugar. Did you get that? This is why sweets make it hard to concentrate. A pop-tart, will actually cause a spike in energy but ultimately the crash can leave you feeling zoned out. (Ever have a hard time of getting back to work after pasta or pizza for lunch… now you know why)

Proteins are strings of a variety of amino acids. Some amino acids your body produces itself (non-essential) others MUST be taken in by way of digestion (essential). If your blood and brain run off carbs, you muscles and tissues run off protein. Muscle growth, strength, endurance, these are all products of proper light proteins in your system. Some proteins are light, cottage cheese, chicken, fish, eggs. Others are heavy nuts/nut butter, pork, red meat, beans. However you choose to intake protein is a matter of near religious fervor of the last few years, with vegans and paleos at opposite ends of the nutcase spectrum with organic nuts and vegetarians stuck somewhere in the middle. The important take-away is this: Just as a life of bacon and eggs without carbs is disruptive/destructive to your brain/blood, a life of straight pasta and fruit is disruptive/destructive to your body.

Complex carbs, lean proteins and essential fats are good, slow burning logs that produce reliable energy, custom fit to your body, where heavy proteins, simple sugars and saturated fats and like sawdust and lighter fluid. Sure, they burn, but they produce unreliable heat, unpleasant aroma and leave the inside of the fireplace covered in soot and grime.

No matter how you are structuring your diet within the 90dayReboot, whether you are choosing a conventional food or whole food approach its vital to remember that everything you put in your mouth is one of these three things. Too much of any of them is ‘bad’, not enough of any of them is ‘bad’, the wrong kinds of any of them is ‘bad’, but more important in Tier 1 than worrying about what is ‘bad’, is just making sure you are finding a stride with your diet that keeps you satisfied all day with healthy light, lean foods. We’ll worry about the specifics later.



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