Over the past few years, my health has become a top priority. I have experimented on myself all the different ways to get the most out of my body and complemented that by doing loads of research on which techniques, diets, and tools would best suit me. I have tried loads of supplements, herbs, plants, foods, and beverages on the quest to optimal performance. Not only have I tried loads of nutrients but I have researched and listened to books, essays and podcasts on said quest.
The most recent book I read was one called, “Grain Brain”, by Dr. David Perlmutter. To give you a quick rundown of the book; Dr. D is a neuroscientist, who has been following the role that diet and exercise play in our overall health, not just brain health. Dr. D explains how over the last 50 years, due to diets enshrouded with grains and sugars, there has been a rise in obesity, gluten sensitivity, diabetes, heart disease, ADHD and many degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. He believes that by substituting a high carb diet with a diet high in fat, you will not only see some of these dilapidating conditions dissipate but you will start to notice greater all around health.
Two huge staples that are missing from most American diets are cholesterol and saturated fat. Both of these nutrients are hard to consume when you are eating a high carb low-fat diet. Studies have come to show that people with either high or low cholesterol reading have the same chance of having a heart attack. What most people don’t know: cholesterol is the precursor for the sexual hormones estrogen, progestogen, and testosterone. Not only are most Americans trying to limit their intake of cholesterol through diet, but a giant amount of Americans are also taking statins to lower their cholesterol. Lipitor is the number one selling statin on the market. It is sold by Pfizer. Guess what is Pfizer’s number 2 most lucrative pharmaceutical…if you guessed Viagra then, “That is correct!”
The best way to explain all of this is inflammation. According to Google, inflammation is described as, “a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection.” Once we identify inflammation, it must be treated and acted on in order to not only heal the injury but also to prevent further injury. However, it is even harder to tell when internal organs become inflamed. The first organ that becomes inflamed is the pancreas. High carbohydrate foods spike your glycemic index. Depending on how high or low the food is on the glycemic index, that will determine how much insulin your pancreas will need to pump out in order to process all those carbs which are now being converted into sugars.
Now, someone on a normal diet isn’t necessarily going to notice this; over time with an excess amount of insulin in your body, your liver will begin to become sensitive to all the insulin in the body and begin to horde glucose. Once there is an excess of glucose in the liver and storage is empty the liver begins to bundle the glucose together as glycogen and store it as fat throughout the body. This is the harmful fat that gets bundled and stored in your waste, on your legs, and in your butt.
So now the liver has become inflamed because it is overrun with glucose. As you can see this is a downward spiral with one part of body compensating for another. It starts gradually and over time it can lead to many of the dilapidating conditions mentioned above.
I love bread and I used to try and eat some with every single meal. I loved the way it complimented any meat I had in a dish, you could always catch me making a sandwich. Over the past few years, I had several injuries that seriously inflamed muscles, disks, and joints up and down my neck and spine. I started switching up the foods I ate adding much more fruits and vegetables in my diet. Trying to limit the amount of oily and greasy foods in my diet but I still experienced crippling spasms and inflammation in my neck and back. It wasn’t until I began cutting out bread grain and complex carbs out of my diet until I noticed a staggering difference. The pain is gone! I haven’t had back or neck spasms in months and I am now lifting weights I never l lifted before with no end in sight.
And listen, I know it’s not easy to give up these foods. As I said before bread was my staple! If I knew I was playing in a basketball game or if I was lifting legs the next day I assumed I needed to put down a box of pasta to carb load for the upcoming game. After I used to boil the pasta I’d throw it into a sauté pan with some garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. I urge anyone who is still eating pasta regularly to try this recipe and tell me if it is still god’s gift.
No matter whom you are, athlete, banker, poker player, writer, or teacher you seek to be the best at whatever it is you strive to be. Over time, through countless different experiences, start to figure out how you get the most out of yourself. “After I eat a lot of pasta I feel really heavy and lethargic”, so you begin to research what goes on in your body that causes this feeling. After some more research, you decide to get some tests done with your physician and you find out not that you’re gluten intolerant, but gluten insensitive. Every time you eat that pasta your body is having a reaction that is impairing you from being all that you can be. I'm not saying don’t eat pasta. I’m not saying cut something out completely because life is all about balance. All I'm saying is, do your homework. Do homework on you! Gain a better understanding of who you are and what allows you to work best. I can’t believe I’m going to use this quote here but I think it falls in line perfectly with my point, “We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves.” Notorious B.I.G.