When I started my Bar Brother journey a few years ago, I had a lot of friends asking me about my new lifestyle.
Especially about my eating habits.
Some of them were worried, but others were intrigued and wanted to know more about eating healthy.
I’m happy to tell you that I was able to inspire a lot of my friends to adopt the right lifestyle.
One of those friends asked me if she could write a piece for the Bar Brothers blog and tell a you bit more about modern foods (in this case wheat).
So in this week’s post I want to introduce to you a good friend of mine as a guest writer.
She did a lot of research on modern foods and what makes them good or (in most cases) bad.
To make it more applicable I added 30 useful diet tips.
So here we go!
There are so many theories about what food is healthy for you and what isn’t.
Scientists, dieticians, health freaks, and, let’s not forget, mothers have their own idea about what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
It’s hard to find the right path in all the – at times contradictory – information.
I find myself constantly wondering if the dietary path I have chosen is the best in the bunch.
It’s just in my nature to always second guess the information that is given to me.
I always have to find multiple sources about a subject before I’m willing to believe the given information.
I’m also never satisfied with the answer ‘just because’; I’m that annoying person that keeps asking you why something is as you say it is.
And for good reason!
Everyone tries to sell his ideas or products, and therefore claims to have the answer to all your (health)problems.
You might be thinking right now:
‘If you’re so meticulous, why the hell are you posting on a site that openly supports the paleo diet? There are lots of people who are opposed to the paleo diet’.
And you’re absolutely right. But let me explain.
The facts of food
There are people who say the premise of the paleo diet that dictates you shouldn’t eat wheat products like pasta and bread, is bullshit.
In some ways they are right, except they forget one tiny but oh so important detail:
THE FUTURE HAS ALREADY STARTED! Nothing is what it seems anymore.
If it were the 1950s they would have made a valid point, but in this day and age we do not consume the same wheat as we did over 60 years ago.
In the 1980s some brilliant minds decided that humanity needed to get their bread faster and cheaper. That’s why they developed recombinant DNA techniques to be able to create transgenic wheat.
The long and the short of this is that scientists were able to change the genes of the traditional wheat and made it into something completely different.
Nowadays there is nothing left of the original genetic composition of that 1950s wheat. There are almost no nutrients left.
‘Great, so wheat isn’t wheat anymore, so what? A lot has been changed in the past 60 years, why would this be a bad development?’
You’re absolutely right; there are so many good things technology brought us. But not when it comes to food.
In the world we live in right now everything has to be faster and better.
Because of our busy schedules we don’t have time to go to the supermarket every day and we generally don’t feel like cooking a full course meal.
Society demands food that can be stored for a longer time and can easily be prepared.
I bet you can guess what that means for the food quality: lots of preservatives, emulsifying agents, leavening agents, and other E-numbers; salt, sugar, (un)saturated fat, gluten, and so much more.
I bet you hardly know what you’re eating when you eat something as simple as granola bar.
The complexity of complex carbs
Let me explain to you why you should refrain from eating the wheat products of today’s world, like pasta and bread.
Let me first tell you about the composition of ordinary modern wheat flour:
- 70% complex carbohydrates (carbs)
- 10-15% protein and indigestible fiber (great for your bowl movement)
- 20-15% fat
If you have done your homework, you know we generally distinguish two types of carbohydrates (carbs): simple and complex.
Simple carbs are rapidly converted into glucose (glucose is your body’s key energy source) and easily absorbed into your bloodstream. An example of a simple carbohydrate is table sugar.
Complex carbs are less rapidly converted into glucose and it takes longer to get absorbed in your bloodstream. An example of a complex carbohydrate is starch.
What you already might know about table sugar (and thus simple carbs), is that, because it is so easily converted into glucose (energy), your body gets a lot of it at a time.
But your body can only store so much glucose.
When you eat simple carbs your body can’t store all of it in the usual place, so it tries to find other places to put it.
Unfortunately your body stores this extra glucose as fat!
The idea is that the complex carbs take more time to digest, and therefore aren’t stored as fat as fast as is the case with simple carbs.
Regrettably, that’s only true in a perfect world..
In reality, complex carbs can still make you fat!
What’s wrong with wheat?
Back to wheat.
Like I said, the ordinary modern wheat flour consist for 70% of complex carbs, we can subdivide those into two chains of glucose units (which together form ‘starch’):
- 75% of amylopectin
- 25% of amylose
Amylose is like a perfect complex carbohydrate should be: it’s less efficiently digested and takes therefore more time to be absorbed into the bloodstream, and will not be stored in your fat reserves (when taken in moderation of course).
Unfortunately, it only contains 25% of the carbs in wheat flour.
The 75% of amylopectin is comparable to the simple carbs: it’s easily digested and will be absorbed rapidly into your bloodstream.
This has the following consequences:
- An increased level in your blood-sugar (this could lead to diabetes and obesity)
- The remainder of the glucose will be stored as fat
The stupidest thing is that amylopectin is a new addition to the original wheat.
Amylopectin has the advantage over amylose (the other component of starch, named above) that it’s a suitable binder that can replace the costly natural gums used before.
It also has a lower tendency of gelling during storage and cooling. That’s why it is used in different applications as thickening agent or stabilizer.
So as you can see, the demands of society trump society’s need for healthy food.
I know it got quite technical, but I really wanted to give you an insightful look into the world of wheat.
And I saved the best for last: did you know, when it comes to carbs (and thus sugar), that eating two slices of whole wheat bread is often worse than drinking a can of soda??
‘How can this be?’
Well, remember the amylopectin?
Although it’s part of the complex carbs, it increases the blood sugar to a higher level than the simple carb ‘sucrose’ (= table sugar, the main ingredient in a can of soda) does.
Can you believe that?
Modern day science may have brought us a lot of good things. It also has taken our natural food sources away.
That’s why I’m sticking with the paleo diet.
It consists of lean meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and avoids refined sugar, dairy products, cereal and grains. It’s about eating all natural with the use of as little processed foods as possible.
When you consciously don’t eat all the genetically modified produce, you won’t have to deal with all the negative consequences.
So think about this when you are about to bite in that oh so delicious looking sandwich: it’s not what it pretends to be!
You probably just read a lot of new information, which has probably surprised you and given you a lot of new questions, regarding what your diet is supposed to consist of.
So what and how should you eat? What should you be aware off? How can you improve your diet in such a way that it’s sustainable?
Let me give you 30 tips to answer those questions quickly!
1. If it is pre-packaged in a bag or a box, it is usually modified or contains additives, which are harmful for your health.
2. Eat organic. Buy fruits and vegetables at your local market, it’s usually cheaper and more naturally produced.
3. Try to eat grass-fed meat and wild non-farmed fish instead of regular fish and meat.
4. Replace your bread intake with salads and nuts, preferably almonds and cashew.
5. Raisins are a good source of natural and quick sugars after training, just like bananas and oranges.
6. Remember that feeling hungry is not a bad thing, it just means your body is will be running on your fat supply.
7. People might find your food pattern strange, tell them how you came to your decision, but never try to convince them (Most people rather believe the masses, than to form their own opinion).
8. Kurkuma, salt, pepper, chilli are all healthy spices to add to your meat, just be moderate with all.
9. Cut out all the unnatural sugars. No need to explain this.
10. Feel tired or had a long weekend? Try a monday juice fast. Which means you juice the entire day. Buy fruits and vegetables, put them in a mixer and drink juices for the entire day to detox your body.
11. Don’t do other things while you are eating, focus on the food on your plate, make sure you chew your food and experience the taste. This is beneficial to your digestive system.
12. For breakfast, drink a juice or lemon water with a salad or a piece of fruit.
13. If you have a huge appetite and need more food, replace the chips and bread for more fruits and nuts and seeds. Eat as much as you want as long as it’s healthy food. You will lose weight anyways.
14. Throw away your dairy products, they will not improve your health. Ever seen a grown cow drink human milk? We are the only mammals smart and dumb enough to drink milk far after we have matured.
15. In case you want to gain more muscle, you can use protein powders, just make sure they are completely natural and contain no sugars. WARNING: Most protein shakes are stuffed with sugars.
16. Take it one step at a time, your body needs to get used to new food patterns, the machinery in most people has broken down, it takes time to repair itself.
17. Have acne, eczema or balding at an early age? Cut bread and dairy immediately, your body is highly sensitive to insulin spikes causing hormonal changes in your body and are a perfect breeding ground for mould in your body. This results in the toxins coming out of your body and a speeding up of deterioration of your hair.
18. If you have started cutting the sodas and are drinking water, you can add lemon or lime for more taste.
19. Having a party where everyone is drinking soda’s and having alcohol? You can make an exception every now and then, just make it a reward for your hard work not a habit. And if you are going to drink anyway, drink clear alcohol with no added sugars and skip the beer.
20. More, schedule two cheat days a week, where you can have a few cheat meals. There might come a moment when you start disliking bad food naturally, because your body will reject it automatically after a while. But when you are just starting off, you need to rewire the reward centers in your brain.
21. Sweet potato or regular potatoes are a good alternative for rice or bread, due to their higher amount of fibers and nutrients and lower levels of carbs.
22. While nuts are a good alternative for bread, some people have an auto-immune reaction to some nuts so eat them in moderation.
23. Instead of grain bread eat almond bread, it’s just the same, the only difference is that it does not have the negative effects of genetically modified grains.
24. Use coconut oil as much as possible when cooking your meals, it contains releases no harmful substances at it’s boiling point.
25. Put your fruits in de freezer, they will last longer, don’t do this with bananas while still in the skin (You will know why if you try)
26. Vary the food you eat, to make sure you get all the nutrients you need.
27. Spend less time feeling completely filled with food, this will increase your testosteron levels and speed up fat loss.
28. To improve your workout recovery, stop eating inflammation causing foods.
29. Get some boxes to put in your freshly made salads.
30. Enjoy your food, eat healthy not less!
Now go apply these tips with the knowledge you have.
Take it one step or tip at a time and surely you will see results before you know.