30 Days of Paleo
In 2019 i explored plant based nutrition as part of a larger experiment to see if I would experience any metabolic, mental and/or physical improvements with my athletic performance. Of Equal importance, I was curious to see if transitioning to plant based nutrition would improve the recurring forearm pain ive been expiring since 2018. Alas, despite the improvement i've experienced with mental clarity and an abundance of energy, my forearm pain (right) has returned, this time extending to shoulder/pec pains. I have also began to experience pain in my left knee when long distance running (>10 miles).
This leads me to where I am today, April 2020.. After reading a couple books published by famed endurance athlete Mark Sisson (referenced below), I have decided to explore "paleo" as a means to:
1. Avoid injury when running
2. Determine if there's any noticeable impact to recurring pains related to my forearm
3. Reduce my constant state of hunger.
4. Determine if there's a noticeable reduction in my body fat
5. Reduce general inflammation and discomfort
With respect to #3, I was seriously eating somewhere between 3,000-4,500 calories per day when only eating plants. Granted I was doing crossfit 5x/week + running 3x/week, I felt like I was in a constant state of hunger. Inspite of the 15-20 hours of exercise I was performing each week, I haven't realized my ultimate goal of a visible core. Thinking out lout this is as a result of 3 reasons:
1. Always operating in a caloric deficit
2. No rest time
3. An unwillingness to eliminate cardio
Rules for Paleo and the next 30 days
The overarching themes I will follow are:
1. No grains, rice, pastas, processed foods and generally speaking: any ingredients I can't pronounce. Animal protein will be included primarily: grass-finished cuts of steak, as well as chicken and turkey all organic.
2. On a 2,000 calorie/day diet macros will be arranged as follows; 100gram carb, 100gram fat, 150gram protein. 10%+/- variation. This will yield approximately 50% of my calories sourced from fat.
3. Primary source of fats are organic, whole foods not processed; e.g. avocados, coconuts, almonds.
4. Daily mobility stretches as defined by occupational therapists
5. Cardio will be running but at a maximum aerobic heart rate of 145 bpm, "barefoot" with luna sandals
6. Will rotate between a 20 minute core/squat workout and running.
To emphasize the point on exercise, I will not be performing any endurance activities, long distance running, or HIIT crossfit style activities. The goal of this experiment is to determine if its possible to improve my physical fitness, reduce my injury/pain frequency, while exercising less. There's another experiment taking place concurrently with this paleo trial, and that is barefoot running.
I suffered a pretty bad metatarsal injury in 2019 which ended my training for the Quicksilver 100k. This injury was followed by another soft-tissue issue in my left knee, also from running. After re-evaluating my running theory and taking time to understand the science of running and the impact to our human body, I'm slowly easing into barefoot running.
The catch with the barefoot is running is that I've also set a target to keep my heart rate (when I run) under 145bpm (guidance from "Primal Endurance" see reference section below). i've noticed that I consistently push myself beyond my maximum aerobic heart rate which generally results in not only exhaustion but also a limbo state of anaerobic exercise, this is the point where our bodies begin to use glycogen (carbs) not fat as a primary source of energy. Anecdotally, I think this may be a reason why I haven't achieved my optimal left of physical fitness. Simply put: I am running to hard, too much. it's causing my body to enter an anaerobic state where carbs are being used as an energy course. The net result? I am always hungry and despite 15+ hours/week of exercise, I've yet to achieve my ultimate fitness goals.
The framework for paleo/barefoot running as follows:
1. Follow the 6 previously mentioned rules for paleo and exercise.
2. Run no more than 2 miles, 3 times a week, at a maximum aerobic heart rate of 145bpm.
3. When I do run, run barefoot or with Luna-minimalist running sandals.
Supplements during 30 day experiment
I've decided to take a select set of supplements as part of this trial to determine if there is an aggregate positive impact on my stated goals. As part of a larger life of goal of living to be 100, my micronutrients will be complemented with:
1. 325mg magnesium supplement
2. 1.2g EPA/800mg DHA
3. Generic multi-vitmain (Garden of Life)
4. Grass-fed ghee 13g
5. MCT C8 oil 15mL
1. 5/1/20 - Carb compliance week 2 more difficult than week 1. Average 136g vs 123g prior week. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday key days of pressure due to external circumstances (work). Need to be aware of relationship between work, stress, nutrition.
2. 5/1/20 - Interesting note Avocados are a good source of potassium; 728mg. Banana = 422mg (but more carbs, 13g vs 32g). 28g of almonds = 200mg of potassium. 85g of arugula = 315mg of potassium.
Questions to be answered as part of 30 day trial
1. Is there a visibly noticeable difference in my physical fitness?
2. Is there a noticeable reduction of inflammation/pain in my right arm?
3. Is there a noticeable reduction of discomfort/inflammation in general?
4. Do I have more or less physical energy prior to starting this trial?
5. Has my mental acuity and focus improved or declined?