“Move more and eat less….” Apparently that’s all you need to do, right? This is the message we've been taught to believe in the health and fitness industry for years. Cutting calories, increasing exercise, replacing meals with shakes and smoothies, intermittent fasting and a whole host of other calorie deficit protocols are common practice. None of this is new, and most of it has been around for decades. More often than not, calories deficit diets fail to deliver the results that many are seeking.
Don’t get me wrong, most people see some result at the beginning of a calorie deficit protocol, but the long term picture is not as positive. When results start to slow down people either try to cut more calories (same old mentality of more is better...), or they give up and go back to their existing ways. None of this is sustainable, and for many people cutting calories is not the answer, it becomes yo-yo-dieting and leads to move weight gain than loss.
Are you eating to fuel the body, to improve physical and mental performance, and to increase your health and longevity? Or are you trying to take shortcuts to lose weight, and let's be honest feel like shit. Even bodybuilders would agree that they feel like shit when they are cutting, and body builders typically only do it when they are approaching a competition.
Our bodies are not as simple as calories in and calories out. We are complex organisms, and low-calorie diets (low energy diets) can cause serious health implication and impact our hormones for months, if not years, into the future. How you eat today has a direct impact on your health and wellness for the future, EVERYTHING you put into your body has an impact and adding all the small things together over time can be the difference between optimal health and disease. Changing our behaviours and focusing on food as fuel can be a much more successful approach to nutrition that eating less and moving more. A reset diet can be a useful place to start when trying to find a Sustainable Diet that works for you.
A reset diet is designed to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, burn fat, identify food intolerances, reduce allergic reactions or intolerance reactions, boost energy, regulate blood sugar, and stabilise mood. This is all done without restricting the number calories you eat or calculating ratios of proteins, fats, and carbs. In fact, we suggest you eat as much as you possible can because its hard to overeat when you are eating only real whole foods like meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds.
Some might think this bottomless approach to nutrition sounds too good to be true? Chris Kresser, Functional Medicine Practitioner and Co-director of the California Center for Functional Medicine, has said: "there is no other therapy, natural or otherwise, that can come even remotely close to accomplishing these goals in such a short period."
If you owned an expensive high-performance sports car would you put low grader fuel in it? Or would you spend a little more and run it on high-performance fuel? What fuel would make the car perform better? Your body is the same; if you want to have more energy and perform at you best, both physically and mentally, you must feed your body the high-performance foods.
With a rest diet you eliminate the modern low nutrient dense “foodstuff" that contribute to disease as well as the foods that we are most often intolerant of or sensitive to. The reset focus is placed on the safe, nourishing foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors thrived on. After following a strict reset protocol, you can slowly start to reintroduce the "gray-area foods" that are healthy to those who tolerate them well. Foods like dairy products or legumes can be added back into the diet for a more flexible and sustainable long-term approach if they do not cause any symptoms or side effects, more on this in a later blog post.
It's not about specific macros, but we need to make sure we have each on the plate for every meal
Protein is the building blocks in the body, our bones, muscles, arteries, veins, skin, hair, fingernails, heart, brian, liver, kidneys, and lungs are build from amino acids (protein), and hence it is essential to a healthy body. There are nine essential amino acids that our bodies can not produce; they must come from the diet. Histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine (which becomes cystine), phenylalanine (which becomes tyrosine), threonine, tryptophan, and valine. The other 12 amino acids are important, but they can be manufactured within the body.
We use amino acids to transport oxygen, transport cholesterol, produce digestive enzymes, break down waste products, produce energy (in the absence of fats and CHO), and to regulate chemical changes (hormones) in the body.
The goal in any diet is to consume an adequate amount of each essential amino acid to satisfy the recommended daily requirement. However, just because various foods contain protein does not mean that those proteins are equal in nutritional value. Different proteins contain differing amounts of essential amino acids, and some, when eaten in a regular serving, do not contain enough to satisfy the body’s requirements. Some sources, such as meat and eggs, are called “complete” proteins since they contain all nine essential amino acids. “Incomplete” proteins, such as in tofu made from soybeans, do not have large enough amounts of all the essential amino acids.
Plant foods do not provide the same quality protein as animal foods. The incomplete proteins from plant sources such as corn, rice, peas, beans, nuts and sesame seeds, contain all nine essential amino acids but not in the same amounts and not in adequate amounts as found in eggs, dairy products and meat. However, it's possible to obtain the nine essential amino acids, piecemeal fashion, by eating several kinds of vegetable protein, like grains and legumes, at the same time. It is true that if you eat an extra large amount of the incomplete proteins, you can potentially get what you need. You may not have a large enough stomach to eat anything else and thus miss out on other important nutrients! If you vegan or vegetarian you’ll probably disagree with all of this, but we would ask you to read the following article with an open mind Why you should think twice about Vegetarian and Vegan Diets.
The quality of your protein does matter and buying organic, and pasture raises animal products is far better for you than grain fed and caged animals. You might find the following articles useful
One common mistake we see when people switch to eating a real whole food diet is the low intake of healthy carbs. When we remove bread, pastries, rice, pasta, cereals, and processed foods from the diet we often forget to increase the number of starchy vegetables which replace these foods. It would help if you aimed to eat some form of starchy carbohydrates with EVERY main meal. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yams, plantain, taro, etc… as they contain valuable vitamins, minerals and fibre which is excellent for our health. Starchy vegetables can also help to feed the gut microbiome (resistance starch), and gut health is critical to our health and performance.
There are a lot of health carbohydrates that come in the form of fruit and vegetables. A lot of super active people (CrossFitters especially) get really stuck on sweet potatoes, which are a great source of potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin-A and vitamin-C, but there are other starchy vegetables that are just as healthy and contain other essential vitamins and minerals. Variety is essential, our body performs at its best when its fuelled with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables with a wide range of nutrients.
Another common mistake is avoiding healthy fats like coconut oil, ghee, red palm oil, macadamia oil, lard, tallow, duck fat, and olive oil. We also have olives, avocados, and coconuts, including coconut milk. Healthy fats are an essential part of the diet as they play a critical role in the health of human cells, brain health, inflammation, and nerve health. A low-fat diet or a diet high in unhealthy fats (industrial seed oils are making us fat and sick, like sunflower oil, peanut oil, corn oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, soybean oil, etc…) can lead to all kinds of chronic inflammatory diseases and it best to avoid these types of fats at all cost.
Many sauces and condiments contain unhealthy industrial seed oils like soy oil and canola oil. Its important to check the labels of all condiments, or even better to make you own from scratch.
Try to add a variety of healthy fats to EVERY main meal of the day. Nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, etc…
Where to start?
Committing to a reset diet requires a minimum of 30days. There should be 100% compliance during the rest diet, and hence we recommend finding a suitable date to start. Social engagements, holidays, birthdays and other commitments can create a temptation to cheat. It can be tough to find 100% Paleo compliant foods when eating out and its best to prepare all of your meals at home.
Cleaning out the kitchen of all non-Paleo foods is also essential. If the “bad food” is not in the house, you won’t be tempted to eat it.
Telling people at work and in your circle of friends and family can be helpful for support and accountability. If people know you are doing a challenge for 30-days they are more likely to offer help instead of giving you a hard time about not eating the doughnuts.
Preparation is key. Being prepared to start the reset diet is essential. Learning some new recipes, planning you're shopping, and planning days and times where you can batch cook your meals can be the difference between failure and success.
It's best not to dive straight into a reset diet and take the time to prepare for it, so you have a higher chance of success.
Nobody said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.