Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BodyBuilding Diet Plans

The purpose of bodybuilding diets is simple: build up muscle mass and eliminate fat. To do this, body builders must consume a very strict regimen of protein, carbohydrates and fats, which is usually enhanced by vitamin and mineral supplements.
Generally, a bodybuilding diet is sometimes high in carbs, sometimes low in carbs but almost always low in fat and definitely high in protein. Some bodybuilding professionals and advice web sites recommend bodybuilding diets should be broken down into two phases: one for gaining weight, where muscle bulk is optimised and fat is also added to the body; the second phase is for cutting fat, and maintaining the muscle you’ve built up through strict exercise and workout schedules. Equally, there are scores of bodybuilding experts who say that cycling your diet for bulking and cutting is not necessary, as through careful planning and organisation the same results can be achieved without adding excess fat to your body.

In more general terms, the diet followed by bodybuilders is often referred to as a ‘caveman diet’ because of it’s reliance on meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and nuts over grains and greens. Most advocates of this diet put the emphasis on consuming meat from animals allowed to roam wild or grass-fed animals – these are naturally leaner, and nutrient dense than the supermarket standard.
Some experts on diet for bodybuilding advocate eating a minimum of one gram of protein per kilo of body mass per day – others advocate supplementing the ‘natural’ proteins you consume by eating meats, cheeses, eggs and nuts with protein powders.

Key rules for a bodybuilding diet are:

1. Eat at least one gram of protein per kilo of body weight each day.

2. The majority of your calories should come from ‘whole’ foods such as meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and nuts; a smaller percentage should come from grains.

3. Supplement your diet with an appropriate multivitamin/mineral to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need – however, do not rely on supplements too heavily as it is impossible for these to replace ‘natural’ nutrients one gets from a healthy, well-balanced diet.

4. Drink around 3.5 litres of water each day.

5. Get plenty of fibre, it’s essential to help your body benefit from the protein you’re consuming.

6. Resist junk and processed foods, which are particularly tempting if you are following a cyclical bodybuilding diet and are in a ‘bulk’ phase.

There are a number of diets specific to the bodybuilding community – the two most prevalent are the anabolic and MCLL diets. The anabolic diet has been around for quite some time, though much controversy surrounds its effectiveness. Anabolic dieting aims to harness the body’s hormone production to achieve optimum muscle development - this involves eating a low carbohydrate diet during the week, and a high carbohydrate diet over the weekend. The other well-established diet followed by bodybuilders is the MCLL, or multiple carbohydrate leverage loading plan. MCLL involves carefully grouping foods to achieve muscle gain – at each meal, you have two complex carbohydrates, two simple carbs and a special metabolic optimiser drink. While following a MCLL plan, you’ll eat six meals each day.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Truth About the Paleo Diet Plan – Common Arguments For and Against

I can almost guarantee when you bring the subject of the paleo diet plan up with people for the first time, you’re going to hear the same old arguments and objections against it.

So I thought it was about time there was a list of counter arguments you can use when you come up against them. In the first of two articles, I look at some of the most common and provide some quick replies you can use to defend your position in any discussion.

In this article we’ll look at the arguments that “cavemen died young”, “saturated fat clogs your arteries” and “but whole grains are healthy”

Argument #1: Cavemen died young…

Well, that’s partly true and can be largely put down to the fact people in the Paleolithic period didn’t have access to hospital care if they got a serious injury or to antibiotics if they caught a serious infection.

If Paleolithic people did survive serious trauma, child birth and infection the evidence is they lived a long and healthy life and would have had just as long a lifespan as we do now – despite not having access to the same medical care we have available today.

In fact, the chances are their quality of life may have been better as they didn’t seem to suffer from the same chronic illnesses and degenerative diseases we get from our modern foods and lifestyles.

Argument #2: Saturated fat clogs your arteries…

No it doesn’t. We’ve been eating fat, lard, meat, eggs, butter, ghee and coconut oil for thousands of years. It’s only in the last few decades we’ve developed an irrational fear of saturated fat – perpetuated by the ‘low-fat’ food industry and drug companies pushing cholesterol lowering drugs.

This stems from the ‘lipid hypothesis’ which claims high cholesterol is the major cause of heart disease. The flawed logic is that dietary saturated fat raises cholesterol and therefore contributes to heart disease (which despite decades of research has never been shown to be true).

It’s an excess of highly processed polyunsaturated fats in the form of vegetable oils and man-made trans-fats in processed foods which lead to health problems.

Argument #3: But whole grains are healthy…

The truth is, grains are a relatively poor source of nutrition which displace healthier and more nutrient dense foods from the diet (for instance meat and vegetables). They can also spike blood sugar which leads to an excessive insulin response which, repeatedly over time, has been linked to diabetes and obesity.

And in addition some grains are toxic – just ask the unfortunate person suffering from celiac disease how ill even the smallest amount of gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) can make them.

Wheat in particular has been linked to skin problems, joint pain, heartburn, autoimmune disorders and even increased mortality in wheat eating populations compared with non-wheat eating populations – doesn’t sound so healthy now, does it!

In this instalment we’ll tackle “where’s the fibre”, “what about the calcium”, “paleo isn’t sustainable” and “eating paleo’s expensive”…

Argument #1: Where’s the fibre?…

In the previous article in this series we gave several good reasons to drop grains from your diet. So, if we’re not eating grains then how do we get enough fibre?

Easy, you can get more than enough from eating vegetables, fruit and tubers.

In any case a ton of fibre in your diet isn’t likely necessary. To keep regular all you need to do is drink plenty of water, move around, eat your vegetables, eat fat and try adding fermented foods to your diet like sauerkraut to introduce beneficial bacteria to your gut flora.

Argument #2: What about the calcium?…

Even if you don’t eat or restrict dairy it’s still possible to get all the calcium you need from eating leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), bone broth and canned fish.

Besides, by eating a paleo-style diet you will actually absorb more calcium by having a diet low in phytates (which bind minerals and prevent their absorption) and other anti-nutrients – remember it isn’t about how much you eat but how much you absorb.

And anyway, bone health isn’t only about calcium – ensuring you get enough vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium and doing some form of weight bearing activity are all equally as important.

Argument #3: Paleo isn’t sustainable…

An argument you might hear is that a diet based on plenty of animal products is not very environmentally friendly or sustainable because the rearing of animals uses up a lot of land and water resources as well as contributing to carbon emissions.

A counter argument is that agriculture as it currently stands is equally unfriendly and unsustainable because of the amount of land turned over to mono-crops destroying bio-diversity, not to mention the chemicals used to grow those crops. Also, without heavy subsidies many of these crops would be uneconomical to grow.

However, how to feed and nourish a growing world population sustainably is an important question that needs more consideration than the scope of this short article allows.  For a considered and more detailed analysis I recommend you check out Robb Wolf’s article “The Paleo Diet, Sustainability And Economic Growth”  and/or Dr Matt Metzgar’s  talk on YouTube “Sustainability of Paleo Diets”.

Argument #4: Eating paleo’s expensive…

Sure, eating a quality, nutrient dense diet may cost a little more than a diet of crap out of a box, but it needn’t break the bank. No-one’s saying you need to dine on prime, grass-fed steak every night.

Here are some tips to shop for and eat a paleo diet inexpensively:-

buy food that’s on special offer; buy food produced locally that’s in season; shop at farmer’s markets; buy a whole chicken and use every last morsel including the bones to make a broth; buy non-perishable items in bulk; minimize waste, use leftovers and don’t buy what you won’t use; buy frozen; learn to cook; invest in a crockpot/slow cooker to make delicious meals from cheaper cuts of meat; get your parents to go paleo and invite yourself for dinner (and offer to take home any leftovers The Truth About the Paleo Diet Plan – Common Arguments For and Against Part 2 ).

Eating a paleo-style diet will take a little more preparation and planning but definitely does not have to be an expensive way of eating.

So, no more excuses – you’ve now seen some of the most common arguments for and against eating a paleo-style diet.  I’ve shown you should have absolutely no concerns to eating a real, whole foods diet based on evolutionary principles.  Try it and watch your health improve.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Top 10 List of the Easy Paleo Diet Plan Do’s and Dont’s

If you’re ready to get started on a Paleo Diet Plan and start living a Paleo/Primal lifestyle then here’s my quick start list to get you on the right path.  So, without further ado let’s crack on…

#1. Cut out grains (in particular gluten grains such as wheat, barley & rye), vegetable oils (sunflower, rapeseed, safflower, etc.) and sugar.

These are novel additions to the ancestral human diet, especially in the quantities we have in our food today and are the likely culprits in many chronic diseases afflicting industrialized countries.

This probably means avoiding 99% of all supermarket foods that come in a box or jar and definitely means no bread, pasta, bagels, biscuits, crackers, cakes or breakfast cereals and supermarket bought mayonaise and sauces, etc.

Get in the habit of reading food labels and begin to realise just how much wheat flour, vegetable oil, soy, sugar, artificial sweeteners and flavour enhancers such as monosodium glutamate, hydrolised vegetable protein, yeast extract, maltodextrin, etc., are in processed foods (none of which we really want to be metabolizing too much of, if any at all).

White rice may be OK for most people but best to avoid eaing too much if trying to lose weight or have blood sugar problems.

#2. Eat plenty of meat, fish, fowl/poultry, eggs and plenty of all types of vegetables (although best to avoid too many potatoes if trying to lose weight or have blood sugar problems).  Try melting some butter over your veg and see how good they taste then.

Liver now and again is very nutritious.  Bacon is compulsory Top 10 List of the Easy Paleo Diet Plan Dos and Donts .  No weighing, measuring or calorie counting – eat until you are satisfied then stop.

Drink water, unsweetened tea or coffee.  Easy on the diet coke, the artificial sweetener (aspartame) can interfere with the brain cells that control appetite and weight regulation.

#3. Eat fat for fuel – it’s the stuff in step #1 that leads to heart attacks and makes you fat, not saturated and animal fats. So don’t bother with most stuff marketed as low-fat.

Cook with butter, ghee, lard, dripping or coconut oil.  Olive oil is also great and is ideal for salad dressings (with a splash of balsamic vinegar).  Avocado’s are awesome, especially in guacamole.

Fat makes your food taste good, fills you up and keeps you satisfied so you don’t feel hungry in between meals – it’s how we are evolved to eat.  If you do get hungry between meals and need to snack, then you’re not eating enough at meal times.

#4. Supplement with omega 3 oil or make sure you eat a couple of servings of oily fish a week (sardines, mackerel, salmon, etc.).

#5. Consider a vitamin D supplement, especially if you don’t get out in the sun often.

#6. Best to avoid milk (try cream in your coffee if you don’t like it black).

Fermented dairy such as cheese and yogurt are OK for most people (although check the label on yogurt and go for unsweetened, full-fat varieties).  Some people will do best avoiding dairy altogether.

#7. Avoid or go easy on the legumes (beans, lentils, etc.) and make sure they’re properly prepared if eating.  Best to avoid peanuts and unfermented soy products completely.

#8. Red wine (1-2 glasses a day), dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), fruit, nuts & seeds in moderation are all OK as an odd treat.

#9. 80/20 rule – eat this way 80% of the time and enjoy a guilt-free cheat day once a week.

#10. Get some exercise (lifting weights is good to maintain and build lean muscle mass) and get 8 hours quality sleep a night.

So there you have it – getting to grips with steps 1-3 will give you the most bang for your buck but the further you can work down the list and incorporate them into your lifestyle the better and quicker results you’ll start to see.  So what ya waiting for? more info here