Cheating the Grizzly Way
I’m going to warn you all once that I’m on a soapbox this morning and I’m gonna use it. Normally I approach things pretty logically and scientifically; this is not a normal post. I don’t care about the science as it pertains to one meal every 4 months. Yes I said four months – About three times a year I get crazy crazy cravings for baked goods; breads, cookies, pies, CUPCAKES. Instead I’m going to rant big time about my philosophies on Paleo, Paleo-fied items, and cheat meals.
First – this isn’t the first time I’ve raised an issue with the “optimal human diet” in this case however I don’t so much have a problem with the diet, but the zealotry that surrounds it. I catch a lot of greif for how “Paleo” I am. Which is fine, I like it, I like the way I feel, and I try not to let it interfere with how I interact with people. I also get an extra amount of eyebrow raises when I go off script mostly because its so unusual, which is partly the reason I’m even writing this. My point is that as optimal as any diet will ever be, we live in a different time where science has proven that salt, sugar and fat have direct paths to our brains that can override just about anyone’s willpower given the right set of circumstances.
This brings me to point number two, the 80/20 rule, the 90/10 rule, or whatever version of cheating you prescribe to. In my mind it’s all boloney. The problem with seed oils and gluten is that they take awhile to get out, upwards of a week sometimes, so if you’re eating strict paleo for 6 days of every 7, you’re still introducing that gut inflammation, anti-nutrient, and pro-inflammatory compounds more often than the “optimal human diet” would normally have you. Thus we take something optimal, and turn it into something something far less optimal, but still call it the same thing. I don’t mind this, that’s your choice and everyone should do what is right for them, but don’t paint your roses red. Paleo is best served in large chunks. Granted if you’re coming at Paleo from an obese BMI, fast food three times a day, thinks a napkin is a vegetable because it comes from plants, mindset then 80/20 or 90/10 is going to be a massive improvement. However, coming from a competitive, performance based, crossfit style mindset might cause some problems.
Point three – I don’t believe in Paleo-fied treats. I have a very “go big or go home” style mindset when it comes to most things, my mind approaches problems in 1’s and 0’s – so this grey area in between a cake and a plate of vegetables and a steak doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I don’t feel the need to trick myself into eating Paleo food, I like steak, I like vegetables, I don’t go to bed at night thinking “but if only I could’ve had some cake.” Maybe these cravings are just a manifestation of holes in your diet that need to be addressed, perhaps you’re under eating for your level of activity?
This brings me to the end of my rant – “there’s no kill like overkill” I’ll call it. About once every 4 months I get these cravings, and instead of going out and trying to fill that hole with some stand in – I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna go out and get what I want. I’m going to enjoy it and it’s a very important part of this lifestyle for me. I also understand it as a huge opportunity to put my body in an advantageous spot for making progress. The enormous insulin response that four of the best cupcakes in the city provides is a great opportunity to drive nutrients into your muscle and fuel for the day to come. Large insulin spikes do wonders for transporting glycogen, protein, and creatine into muscle bellies. Likewise, it is a huge driver of anabolic activity for recovery purposes. When that blood sugar subsides and we hit “the crash” that’s a perfect opportunity to get the best 10 hours of sleep of your life. The drop in blood sugar sends HGH and Ghrelin levels well into the advantageous category. Also, all that carb in those muscles will do amazing things for performance, you’d be surprised what you can pull off when you’re not running on “Empty.” Finally, no one smiles like they smile with a cupcake in their hands!
Read a bit more about Vice’s – I don’t care where you end up, but make sure you land somewhere that let’s you indulge without feeling like you didn’t deserve it. I have my cake and eat it too – we all should.