Eating clean…..what’s it really mean??
So this is one of those “confessional” blogs where I admit the to public about one of my ailments. Not a pretty topic but nevertheless still very VIP in my life. I have IBS, or in long form, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My stomach is constantly churning and making it more angry is stress from life’s everyday choices. Stress, in its simplest form basically can be defined with one word. Life! Daily stress from our simplest tasks to the most difficult all have elements of decision making, time constraint, and overall force you to make a choice. Now apply that logic to everything you do in only 24 hours and soon things begin to bubble to the top and spill out. With IBS, it usually shows itself in cramps, diarrhea and bloating. Most of it is very uncomfortable and soon the brain begins to live life one meal at a time. Talk about stress my friend…enough said! The last 10 years of my life have been a challenge to say the least and since I was a bodybuilder I was used to eating tons of food to keep putting on muscle to my body. At 6’4 I usually like to walk around at 235-240lbs. When I’m having a bad week I can lose up to 15 or 20 lbs if it becomes out of control. It then becomes a double edge sword because sometimes I’d rather not eat than to deal with going to the bathroom multiple times per day. But that’s not gonna happen because we all need to eat to survive. But, what really did become a problem was what kind of diet should I follow. As we all know there are a million different ways to eat and in what portions blah blah blah..I began to just worry about what to eat next let alone plan any dates with my wife for some alone time away from family life. Now some of the time I was choosing to eat simple things like egg whites, protein powders, and plain baked chicken. Very high in protein but nutritionally void from vegetables and fats. Certain foods became trigger points and if I ate them I would feel awful literally 10 minutes later. Once my favorite item on the menu, Caesar salads became my enemy and made me sick every time I ate them. Certain veggies like squash and zucchini also became inedible. Red pepper and green pepper was also not allowed and sprouts of any kind just made it worse. So now what? If eating clean and healthy wasn’t going to get me better I chose the easy way and began eating lots of fast food. Almost every meal had some of kind meat with cheese and a side of fries with a big ice cold soda. And damn, in the beginning I started to feel better. Some of my symptoms started to go away. Very weird. The more crap I ate the better I got. It got me thinking that soon I’ll either have diabetes from all the sugar or heart disease because of all the sodium and trans fat I was stuffing my face with. This wasn’t going to work either. I began to take certain pills like probiotics, digestive enzymes, and mushrooms for my immune system. I started to juice all my fruits and veggies. That made my stomach worse as well so I had to stop that ASAP. Another roadblock! Shit! Now I was still working out all this time and that saved my sanity and I continued to build my body with muscle from all the food I was eating. It began to not matter what the food source, homemade or fast food, was because i was still looking good but totally feeling like crap. I tried plain greek yogurt to add some bacteria back into my belly and it helped a tiny amount so I began to overload on it and soon it started to backfire on me and soon enough yogurt was on the banned list.
I had seen lots of dr’s and specialists over the years and nobody really had any good evidence about what kinds of food to eat and which ones to avoid. To make matters worse, I can’t even really recommend any type of dietary advice to my clients because I wouldnt know what the results would be because I hadn’t tried it on myself. I’m a firm believer of keeping things simple and won’t get behind any claims of miracle pills and the hottest new supplements because they just haven’t been proven with any kind of consistent, result based evidence. I found a great resource to refer my clients to Dr. Layne Norton who is a scientist bodybuilder and he is on point with his specific system of macro nutrients. Please google this man and read everything you can!
Recently I’ve started yet another way to eat and this is the most successful eating plan thus far in my search for the best foods to lessen the symptoms of IBS. What is it? You’ll never guess…its been very exciting over the last three months and I honestly feel 50% better than where I was a year ago. I have started to incorporate grass fed items into my shopping cart. Whole cream milk with cereal is fast becoming my favorite because I’ve been lactose intolerant for so long. Chocolate almond butter spread onto Ezeqkial bread is just delicious. Fuji apples have given me the fiber I’ve been searching for. Also, green cabbage salad mixed with olive oil and rice vinegar. A fresher version of sauerkraut that takes only minutes to prepare and leaves me feeling really full and since its got virtually no calories I can eat it with most of my meals. Still can’t believe I’m enjoying milk and salad again. Grass fed ground beef 85/15 blend is now on the menu a couple times a week and its just delicious. Add steamed black rice wrapped in seaweed and its a fresh sushi option without any sugar in the rice. Want some toast? ok but use only grass fed butter and plenty of it. Its so delicious I’m putting it on lots of my food. It almost seems to be my fuel source. Fat as a fuel source? What about carbs? I still enjoy carbs but they mostly come from vegetables now and sprouted grain bread. No more pasta, no more bagels and no more cake. I have found a viable option for my favorite dessert…the chocolate chip cookie. Whole Foods carries a brand of cookie that’s made with the highest organic material and its simply perfect. Soda of all kinds, regular and diet have gone away and been replaced by sparkling water. My stomach has been so happy and I feel so much better. I love that I’m able to now plan my meals and not fear any result once I’m done eating that I dont need to run to the bathroom. My workouts have improved and all my weights have increased in poundage. I’ve always been able to get great sleep which I think is just as important as eating clean. Ah yes, the eating clean thing…as you have just read, I’ve tried lots of different ways to eat and some worked ok and some didn’t work at all. It is an ongoing process and that’s how it should be. Stale and stagnation bring bad attitudes and increase stress. Make some changes in your life and get that spark of excitement back in your lifestyle. Ciao!
Ok or not to eat? Read the article and find out.