Funny title because as I write this, it is day 13 of my nutrition experiment and I have had absolutely no "downs" during the first stage of morphing into a meat eater again. In fact, as each day progresses, it more positives seem to appear! I could not be happier to report that this experiment is going better than expected. Of course, qualitative feedback is great and just the fact that my energy levels are through the roof and my recovery from training is excellent but numbers don't lie. I am eager to peruse the quantitative feedback as I get more and more into this experiment.
My body weight is stable now, down about 6 pounds from when I first started. I will perform another metabolic efficiency assessment in 2 weeks so I can compare day 1 to day 30 and I will perform another blood analysis at month 3.
It took me the first week to really get a handle on carbohydrate counting. I kept a detailed food log and counted carbohydrates religiously. Now, I am off the food log as I know how to navigate this low carbohydrate/high fat diet much more effectively. I know how to put the foods together, how to moderate my carbohydrate intake and I finally have a grasp on how to get enough fat in my diet to keep my calories up and satiety high. It is still a slow introduction to animal products but I did buy chicken at the store this week and plan on delving into cooking it in the next few days. My animal product consumption to date has included eggs, cheese, deli turkey, deli ham, turkey bacon (a lot of it!), and a teeny bit of plain Greek yogurt from time to time.
As for training, I am traveling a lot more than usual now so I am fitting in as many opportunities to run and swim as possible as I prepare for my pacing adventure for my athlete in January (I am training for a 100 mile run of which I will be running with my athlete...). About every 3-4 days, I increase my long run by about 3 miles and am currently up to 13.5 miles. I am cycling once as I coach our Elite Multisport Coaching age-group team and am doing a lot of functional strength with my body weight, explosive movements, TRX and traditional moving weights about 3-4 times per week. I am also swimming 2-4 times per week (one with our Elite Multisport Coaching age-group team).
Prior to this experiment, I would crash and burn after my long runs. I would literally have to take a nap immediately afterwards then my mood would crash the rest of the day and let's just say that I was not the most pleasant person to be around. That's one reason my wife doesn't want me training for long endurance events anymore. However, since I began this nutrition experiment, I am not as fatigued after long runs and in fact, from a muscular standpoint, I have much faster recovery with far less soreness. All bonus points in my book.
As I continue on this journey, I am re-discovering my love for animal products (I did grow up Italian thus meat products were always a staple) and getting more brave each week as I introduce new kinds of meats. I have had nothing but positive results in the past couple of weeks and I look forward to continuing to note if this will alter my blood lipids and what it will do for performance as I approach longer runs of 20 miles and more.
The Colorado nights are getting a bit colder so I experimented a bit in the kitchen last night to come up with a killer cup of hot cocoa. If you are interested, here are the ingredients:
Unsweetened coconut milk
Half and half (optional)
Dark cocoa baking powder
A few drops of alcohol free liquid Stevia
If you know me, you know that I never measure anything. Just combine these until you have the right taste for you and enjoy on a cool night. My kids love it which says something!
Stay tuned...until my next update when I should have a few more miles of running under my belt to test my energy levels. And even more exciting, I will be implementing this protocol with a couple of the athletes whom I coach (and my colleague Dina Griffin, Sport Dietitian at Fuel4mance will also be trying it as she begins her Ironman training) so I will be collecting some additional data on different ages, genders and types of endurance athletes!