Getting Started - Eating for Health & Performance
For a while now, I've been saying that hormones are foundational. They very much matter. For example, I've had the perfect diet with my hormones off and the results were not good. I've also have optimized hormones with a loose diet (which is my new norm) and life is still pretty dang good. When both hormones and diet are on point, look out!
Now, with that said, here are some suggestions to getting started with how to eat for optimal performance, with the aim of keeping it simple:
- Eat protein at every meal (if fasting, consume EAAs). No, protein is not bad for your kidneys. Don't believe the hippie nonsense that's wanting to feminize men. Oh, and drop the soy from the diet.
- Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal (vegetables tend to contain less sugar and calories in general than fruits do).
- Choose an energy source (carbs or fats, with enough to get you through the day and the day’s activities, but no more, because stored energy goes to fat). Carbs that I like are those that are easy to digest (grits, potatoes, oatmeal for some, white rice, and sipping cyclic dex when lifting). Healthy fat sources are also numerous (nuts, egg yolks, fish oil, etc.).
- Let you activity levels dictate your energy needs, e.g. on a weight training days, total carbs may be pushed up (e.g. 200 grams that day, with 180-200 grams of protein for a 200 lb man), and they may come back down to say 150 grams on a rest day.
- Carbs and fats are both energy sources. So, if one goes up in a meal, the other should naturally be lower. If both carbs and fats are high in a meal (two energy sources, it's similar to a cheat meal). Carbs and fats can be combined and both be eaten in the same meal if both are on the lower side.
- It's ok to have cheat meals or cheat days. It's even recommended, as it can speed up the metabolism.
- One can get lean, and get big, without calorie counting. I've never counted calories in my life. Counting macros (proteins, carbs, and fats) can take care of the calories. Nothing against calorie counting, it's just not necessary, no matter how many gurus say it is.
- A food can be nutritionally healthy, but if you can't digest it or if you react to it, drop it. You can likely re-introduce it at some point (e.g. after 6 months of not eating it). I've seen people allergic to whey, nuts, eggs and even blueberries. Mucous and throat clearing are subjective indicators.
- For extra nutritional support with minimal calories, add a good green formula, such as the one below that I personally take.
- I like eating a slow digesting protein source before bed, but more often than not, anything substantial right before bed has a negative impact on deep sleep. Deep sleep is anabolic, so we need it to recover and to perform. That's were a good tracking device, such as the Oura ring, can help.
- The objective is not to see how hard and fast one can cut calories. That's a terrible plan, unless the goal is to slow the metabolism and drop muscle. The goal, for most, is to drop calories as little as necessary to drop body fat. Do not lose muscle. The exception to this would be for those who want to go after longevity at the expense of strength, aesthetics, and performance. They would want to eat very little. To me, that's not the Thumos way of life - healthy, vibrant and strong.