However, the real point is that if you are CR as am I, one has to make choices of (i) how much carbohydrate one wants to eat each day – I limit myself to about 50 grams a day as that is the amount that allows me to regulate my body weight effortlessly without hunger – and (ii) which carbohydrate sources will provide that 50 grams. I have chosen to get my 50 grams of carbohydrate from vegetables and dairy produce, not whole grain cereals. Others might make a different choice.
As a result, I restrict my food choices to the following food and beverage groups:
• Meat – organic or grass fed, not processed
• Dairy Produce – milk, cheese and yoghurt – all full cream
• Vegetables – mainly leafy, low carbohydrate sources
• Nuts – macadamia and almonds especially but no peanuts or cashew nuts as these are high in carbohydrates
• Fruits – very occasionally and then only those which have a lower carbohydrate content like apples and berries.
• Water, tea and coffee (all unsweetened!)
I also currently supplement my eating with omega-3 capsules (1.6g per day). The value of omega-3 supplementation seems to be universally accepted. I am also experimenting with supplementation of a range of vitamins but this is still a work in progress as is my choice of the best vegetables and salads.
I do not believe that I have the final answers and am continually reading the scientific literature and the internet and tweaking my diet. I will continue to modify my eating by studying the literature, eating differently for periods and seeing if I notice any differences in how I feel, in my blood markers and in my running performances. But the basic pattern of avoiding carbohydrates remains intact.
Obviously it is stupid to go to the trouble of changing one’s eating plan but continuing to do other behaviors that are unhealthy. So smoking is not allowed and lots of exercise is encouraged – 30 to 60 minutes a day of sweating exercise on most days of the week.
Proper sleep and control of stress are obviously very important as well. My experiment has shown me that I can do any amount of exercise I wish without increasing my carbohydrate intake (I walked for 6 hours on the mountain on Sunday and race up to 21km without needing any more carbohydrates than the 50 grams a day that is already in my diet).
I am also aware that we are all different and whereas too much carbohydrate and cereal and too little fat and protein in the diet was clearly my problem, there are others who may have trouble with dairy produce or meat and may find it difficult to eat enough of these foodstuffs to replace enough carbohydrate in their diets for there to be a noticeable difference in the way they feel.
However, I think that the problem I have – CR – is much more common than is generally acknowledged. So I appreciate that whereas some will not find this eating plan of much help, a much greater majority of people who have always struggled to control their weight when following the conventional “heart healthy” low fat diets, will find their lives altered dramatically as did I when I made the switch. I also think that more people than is currently realized develop minor medical complaints as a result of eating grains, cereals and highly refined carbohydrates and they too will benefit from this change. Indeed, one reason one feels so good on this eating plan may simply be because it removes the currently unrecognized toxic elements found in the highly processed foods that are commonly eaten.
There are a number of reasons why I think you should consult a dietician first. If he or she is disinterested in these ideas, then you must keep shopping around until you find someone who is prepared to consider all the evidence. First, we need to inform that profession that we are unhappy with the conventional advice that many continue to give us. If it has not worked for us perhaps it is time for the profession to consider that the traditional “one size fits all” “high carbohydrate, low fat, heart healthy”approach to nutrition is not the best solution for all.
Second, we need to make sure that more dieticians are exposed to the evidence for the value of high protein/high fat/low carbohydrate diets. We are approaching a tipping point when the value of this eating plan will become universally acknowledged. The Scandinavian countries – which already have the healthiest people in the world – are rapidly adopting this eating pattern to the extent that Norway has run out of butter! (Norwegians have always eaten high fat diets and are perhaps the world’s healthiest nation).
Third, a dietician will be able to insure that when eating from this restricted grouping of foods you are optimizing your intake of vitamins and minerals.
However, it is clear to me that the Sure Slim Wellness Clinics come closest to promoting the ideas that I have found so helpful. Whilst this is not a specific endorsement, you might want to access their website at www.sure-slim.co.za or www.living-slim.co.za or phone their toll free number 0861-000-100.
Finally, there is a huge reservoir of resources on the internet to help you decide what to eat.
Type in low carbohydrate or Paleo diet into Google and start searching.
I list a few (in no special order) and include books that may be helpful.
• Gary Taubes – Good Calories Bad Calories and Why we get fat and what to do about it.
Perhaps two of the most important health books of the past 50 years.
• Mark Sisson – The Primal Blueprint – Book and internet site.
• Dr Westman and colleagues – New Atkins Diet for the New You – Book and internet site.
• Pierre Dukan – The Dukan Diet – Book and internet site.
• Loren Cordain – The Paleo Diet – Book and internet site.
For extra motivation to see what can be achieved in such a short space of time try this:
• The Brentwood Diet – 121 lbs lost in 7 months! – Eric David. Access this on: www.ericdavid.info/Home/brentwood-diet
I do hope that this information is of great assistance to you and wish you well on your journey to renewed vigor and health. Take great pride in your achievement.
The thing is though, while we at BeautySouthAfrica.com regard Professor Noakes as something of a guru, we love us our carbs. Bread. Pasta. What would life be without their yummy, starchy goodness?
Runner’s World will be publishing a detailed interview with Noakes in the May issue of Runner’s World.
This article originally appeared in Runner’s World