What I actually eat (circa Q4 2022)
Disclaimer: This is snapshot in time. This doesn’t look quite how I ate 6 months ago, and is quite a bit different than a few years ago. My approach to ‘diet’ and nutrition, or I guess food, feels like a long journey and will likely take me off into new directions in the future. One thing that has stayed relatively consistent is my interest and curiosity in what we put in our mouths all day. I’ll list out my goals, but I think food is one of those constants in life and it’s in our interest to understand it and use it to our advantage.
Inspired by this post
“You have to be able to try something, iterate on it, and make a measurement.” - Peter Atia
“The only way you can stay on top of it is to stay into it totally, ya know.” - Gerry Lopez
What am I optimizing for? I’ve long since moved past the ‘lose 10 pounds’ type of goal, and I think it’s very possible to optimize for a bunch of stuff.
- Although I’ve never really been fat, my body seems quite happy to collect visceral fat when it can. This sort of fat can affect blood glucose levels and increase my risk of many metabolic diseases. My last body scan was about 1.5 years ago and I was carrying about 18kg of fat. I don’t want any more than that.
- Muscle is very easy to lose. I want to maintain and in most cases grow muscle mass. At the moment I don’t have specific ‘strength’ goals. But I do want to hold onto lean mass.
- Indirectly, I don’t want low HDL cholesterol, elevated blood glucose, blood pressure. I want a happy heart, but I really don’t know much about this area. I would be concerned to see a high resting heart rate, but not actively trying to bring mine down.
- I believe diet can play a role in how I think and feel. I’m can be prone to feeling anxious, stressed and depressed and I eat with that in mind to some extent.
- I love exercise and am part of a triathlon club where I run, swim and ride with a bunch of likeminded folks. I need to eat to support that level of activity. I’m regularly burning over 1000 calories so I can/need to eat extra carbs.
Some foods you’ll often find in my fridge/pantry
- Orange juice
- A whole chicken
- White rice
- Nuts of all kinds
- Greek yogurt
- Whole milk
- Apples, pears
- Spinach, Chard, Broccoli
- Whey powder
Calories / Macronutrients / Ingredients
- I definitely don’t recommend counting calories, but I realized a few months ago that I could eat about 200 calories more per day, my weight did not budge, and I had a lot more energy. Sounds like a small shift, but had a big impact on my eating. Now my BMR is about 2000 cals. Any more calories I burn on top of that due to exercise, I’ll need to eat a bit more. Once you get to a weight that you’re happy with, I’d encourage people to play around with the calories, check the scale, and see what feels right (in terms of raw calories).
- For macros, I optimize for protein. If there’s one thing bodybuilders have given back to society, is the wisdom that you probably aren’t getting enough protein. I try and get 30g in the morning with breakfast, and be mindful of it at all meals. For whatever reason, my body loves carbs. I try and get a lot in after a workout or with dinner. I’d love to try out a glucose monitor and learn what a plate of white rice is really doing to me, but for now it is acceptable and part of my diet.
- in terms of what I try to keep out of my diet. I don’t know the answer really. There’s some good thoughts here. There’s certain things that seem so obviously bad that it’s easy to swerve around them. I’m not anti-sugar, but I avoid added sugar. Seed oils. Processed foods. Out of curiosity I took a glance at a packet of shredded mozeralla in my fridge, something I would have given a B- score was actually filled with tons of things like anti-caking agents, artificial flavorings and things like that. Ok, next time buy some real cheese. So you can see how easy it is for fake stuff to creep into your gut!
Example day of eating
Breakfast (emphasis on protein)
- Egg burrito and orange juice (672 cals, P: 32, F:33, C:61))
- Takeout Salmon sushi rolls and miso (1100 cal, P: 57, Fat: 33, Carb: 178)
Dinner (emphasis on carb)
- Blackbean beef stir fry (1100 cal, P:70, F:25, C:171)
- Lamb & Chickpea curry, lentils, kale (1600 cal, P:93, F:53, C:200)
Looking at this makes me suddenly feel like I could be eating a ton more fruit and veg, which I probably could.. But I do think I’ve been pretty successful and limiting processed foods for most of the time.