In the entire 20-miler with Mark, I had maybe 50 calories of Tailwind and nothing else (except plain water). For my pre-run fueling, I had a bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt with a banana and a little granola on top. That was about an hour before the run. My energy was stable and I got through the 20 miles without any lows. It didn't hurt that I was running with a friend.
- For the past few years, my lunch included a protein bar--usually a Zone peanut butter and chocolate-flavored bar. Zone bars may be marketed as "healthy" but, in the end, they're candy bars--not a whole lot different than a Snickers.
- After dinner, I would have a graham cracker and a half with honey roasted peanut butter and (a lot of) dark chocolate chips on top.
These were my desserts on a daily basis, along with some sugar in my coffee (granted, I've never liked a lot of sugar in my java) plus a few other sweet concoctions here and there. That's a lot of sugar.
A few months ago, I started to notice how much sugar I was consuming and how I craved it at certain times of day--especially after lunch and dinner. I also started having problems sleeping. I realized that this was becoming unhealthy. An addiction? Yes. How addictive? Keep reading to find out.
Plus, I read a lot about sugar's impacts on our health on a daily basis (this is part of my job). At some point, I think I came to the conclusion that sugar is very bad for us. I'm not even sure moderation of sugar intake is healthy. I think sugar should be a rarity, and yet it's everywhere. Did you know Starbucks is one of the biggest sellers of sugary drinks?
But it's not just Starbucks. The problem is that sugar is in almost everything we buy at the store. It is no wonder our country faces an epidemic of diabetes (which usually accompanies obesity), and that the most common chronic disease of childhood is tooth decay. As sugar is in almost all processed foods (including "healthy" processed foods), you become addicted to it without even realizing it. It's kind of like how people got addicted to cigarettes before the whistle got blown on Big Tobacco for hooking people on purpose.
So, 12 days ago I implemented some changes to my "diet." I didn't make these changes to be a better runner. I don't need to lose weight so that wasn't a factor, either. I made them because I want to be healthier and to age well. A lot of this was inspired by my wife, who on January 1 cut out added sugars, including her beloved cereal and Dove chocolates. I watched her make these changes, and over time I started to realize that I, too, could and should do it. While I haven't taken it quite as far as she has, I feel that the changes I've made are making me a healthier person. For starters, I cut out desserts. Below are things I was deserting on that got bagged up and discarded for good.
No desserts wasn't easy! The first day was horrid. I endured horrendous withdrawal. I'm not even kidding. Day two was also tough (lingering sugar-withdrawal headache) but not as bad as day one. It's gotten easier every day and now, as I type this, I feel I've broken the "addiction." Addiction? Yes. Sugar is said to be as addictive as cocaine. I cannot imagine how hard it would be for folks who drink soda every day to break their addiction to sugar. Thank God I don't have that habit to break!
I've also made an effort to increase my consumption of vegetables, fruits and healthy fats (like eggs and avocado) while decreasing my consumption of meats (I do allow myself meat for dinner). In lieu of a turkey sandwich for lunch, I now eat hummus on a whole grain pita along with some cucumber and spinach. I'm also eating a lot of kale salad (usually with a hard-boiled egg, roasted peppers, etc. on top) and I'm finding that it's actually delicious. "Dessert" during lunch is an apple. I am still eating veggie chips. But more tweaks will come.
Since implementing these changes, I have found that my energy is more stable. My running hasn't suffered at all; if anything, it's improved. I sleep better, too. I still eat carbs--I've just cut down on how much of them I eat and I've really slashed my sugar intake.
It's a fact that, as we age, we become more and more insulin-resistant. This is usually because our bodies over time start to have issues dealing with all of the sugar (hidden and in plain sight) that we're consuming. So, as the years goes by, it's a good idea to start cutting back on the carbs. That's what I'm doing. It has nothing to do with running and everything to do with being healthier.
Here's to a low(er) carb life!
Check out this video to learn more sugar and its health impacts.
Keep up the great work Wyatt.ReplyDelete
I too made these changes and have benefited immensely health wise. I pretty much followed guidelines set out by Dr Maffetone but have not totally kicked this into touch e.g. homemade cake is killer for me :-)
I rarely eat bread, pittas, whole grain pasta anymore but do eat tubers / potatoes. Despite always eating a ton of veg I really struggled with getting enough fibre and ended up supplementing with psyllium husks. I tend to struggle sometimes still with other addictive foods e.g. chips are horrendously addictive but ultimately it's better to be 80/20 then on the other side of the scale.
Onwards and upwards for health!
Congrats on making the changes, Wyatt. It is difficult to take an honest assessment of our routines and change them. At times, it easy to wonder "what can I eat?" But you find new patterns and eventually reach the conclusion you have to be a little more creative and cook at home. I am very fortunate my wife is supportive in that aspect. I know you are trying to eat more healthy fat -- and you know I think that is a GREAT thing -- but keep in mind that as you consume less carbs, you'll have to consume more fat for energy. Those are pretty much your only two macronutrients that provide fuel for the body.ReplyDelete
I started a Facebook rant about how Starbucks is this generation's McDonalds. Some people got pretty upset, but, based on this post, you see my logic. It makes me sad when I see a family of obviously overweight people all ordering frappuccino. Sadly, I think teenage girls are their biggest victims, at least in this area.
I am curious why you are eating less meat? Is it for health reason or other reasons? Meat, in my view, should be a moderation thing for a healthy diet (protein should be roughly 25% of our calories). We need the animal fats and protein. That said, I have really tried to eat healthy sources of meat (those without antibiotics, etc... and grass fed). There is certainly room for healthy debate about how we raise animals as well.
AJ: I'm still figuring this thing out and, yeah, I'm probably not eating enough meat though we usually have some kind of meat for dinner. I need to have more hard-boiled eggs--just forget to pre-make them. Anyway, I go in for my annual check-up in a few weeks and it's going to be interesting to see what my bloodwork shows.ReplyDelete
I agree 100% about Starbucks. We have a new coffee shop right near our house and it's flooded daily by middle school girls who order hot chocolates or Italian sodas--both of which are loaded with sugar, as you know.
By the way, we've been watching "My Diet is Better Than Your Diet," and you're right--entertaining show.