Starting out - significant gaps in diet?
Hi! I've been reading through a variety of paleo-related materials for the last year plus, and I've finally started putting it all together into a sustainable eating program. I've gotten into something of a rhythm these past couple months, but I haven't paused to pull-up and ask - is what I'm doing supporting my short and long-term health? I'm hoping to leverage your expertise and insight to answer a couple questions:
1) Are there significant nutritional gaps in my long-term eating plan outlined below? The goals are low body fat in present, support muscle mass in present, and long-term health.
2) Is there a nutritional difference between grass-fed steaks (NY strip, ribeye) and grass-fed 90/10 ground beef? Between grass-fed beef and the other proteins?
3) Am I using too many supplements?
4) Do you have any other general recommendations as I move forward with this? Something I'm doing that's glaringly hurting me?
Thank you so much for your help with this!! I live amongst many paleo-skeptics, so I appreciate the chance to reach out to a community of supportive people like yourselves.
I'll give as much detail as I can recall. Generally speaking, I'm a healthy 25 y/o male, ~5'9" and 170 lbs. I've created this with principles from Mark S. (THANK YOU!!), Leangains, the Bulletproof diet, and Slow-carb (from The 4 Hour Body). I try to exercise ~5-6x per week, including weight training (3x), cardio (1x), yoga (1x), and kickboxing (1x). I eat basically the same thing every day, with either 1-2 cheat meals or a half cheat day each week. Only drink water or maybe coffee/tea. Lunch and dinner only (intermittent fasting). Moderate drinking socially.
What I'm eating is as follows:
Breakfast - NONE - skipped for intermittent fasting purposes
Pre-Lunch - Water, maybe Tea or Coffee (Black)
Lunch - "Health Buffet" items - ~1.5 lbs total - eaten around noon
-Veggies: Spinach, 'Health Slaw', purple cabbage, banana peppers, broccoli, sweet potato or butternut squash
-Protein: Eggs, chicken, turkey
-Topping: EVOO, Balsamic Vinegar
Pre-Workout - 10 minutes before every workout
-Protein: 10g of BCAA's (Cellucor) - Amazon.com: BCAA Tropical Punch - 30 serving: Health & Personal Care
Post-Workout (lifting days only) - within 30 minutes of workout end
-Protein: 2 scoops protein powder (Syntha 6) - Amazon.com: BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder, Vanilla Ice Cream, 2.91 Pound: Health & Personal Care
Dinner - eaten after workout (~7-9pm)
-Veggies: Whole Foods stir fry mix (variety of broccoli, asparagus, peppers, carrots, snow peas, mushrooms)
-Protein: ~0.5-0.8lb of either grass-fed beef (steak or ground), grilled chicken, pork chop, salmon, or shrimp
-Cooking Oil: Coconut oil (unrefined organic) and either grass-fed butter or ghee
-Topping: Tomato sauce (sometimes)
-Nuts: Cashews or hazelnuts
-Fruit (lifting days only): ~1/2 lb (variety of of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, mango, pineapple)
Supplements - eaten immediately after dinner
-Multivitamin: Amazon.com: Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men Multivitamins, 180-Count: Health & Personal Care
-Fish oil: Amazon.com: GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil 60 cap: Health & Personal Care
-Vitamin D3: Amazon.com: NOW Foods Vitamin D3 5000 Iu, 240 Softgels,: Health & Personal Care
-Vitamin B complex: Amazon.com: Nature Made Super B Complex Tablets, Value Size, 360 Count: Health & Personal Care
-Calcium: Amazon.com: Now Foods Calcium Citrate, 120 VCaps: Health & Personal Care
-Magnesium: Amazon.com: Now Foods Magnesium Citrate Veg-capsules, 120-Count: Health & Personal Care
-Huperzine A: Amazon.com: Source Naturals Huperzine A, 200mcg, 120 Tablets: Health & Personal Care
-Phosphatidyl Serine: Amazon.com: NOW Foods, PHOSPHATIDYL SERINE 100mg 120 VCAPS: Health & Personal Care
-Bacopa Extract: Amazon.com: Planetary Formulas Bacopa Extract, 225 mg, Tablets, 240 tablets: Health & Personal Care
Alcohol - 1-2 nights per week; 1-3 drinks per night
-Agave tequila with lime juice
-Vodka with soda water/seltzer
It is a perfect mush of the three different concepts attempting the Best-est Plan EVAR. With luck it will work. If it doesn't meet your expectations, pick one approach and stick to it for a month & see if the results are better.
Hah, that's the thing. I've been doing this for a couple months now - results are fine, I feel OK, I just want to verify I'm not on track to overdose on Vitamin D3 or am unnecessarily spending money on grass-fed steaks over ground beef. Maybe this is all stuff that's still TBD scientifically, and that's OK. I'd rather not be the anecdotal evidence for 'eating too much red meat + sat fats = early death'
Do you sleep okay? Taking Vitamin D at night messes up my sleep schedule. It's best to take it in the AM, or I would suggest at your first meal of the day, as long as there's fat in the meal.
There's corn syrup in your protein powder. Personally, I would look for something with simpler ingredients. You can always add your own flavoring.
I guess I'm mostly just curious why you are taking some of those supplements. It seems like that's all stuff you could get from your food, and probably from the protein powder as well.
To avoid monotony, you might want to switch up your meals a bit every now and then, but it seems like you have a decent variety of foods.
NW - coincidentally enough (or not), I have been having some trouble sleeping. I usually wake up after the first REM cycle (~4/5 hours into the night), and it will take from 5 minutes to an hour to get back to sleep. I really appreciate the suggestion - I'll try moving at least the Vitamin D to post-lunch.
Great point on the protein powder - that's only area where I made a decision to not be perfectly paleo; tasty PP is an incentive for good weightlifting sessions. I used to take whey protein isolate, but the taste made me want to puke (Amazon.com: NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate Pure, 1.2 -Pounds: Health & Personal Care). Any recommendations for something in between (or non-sugar flavor enhancers for the isolate)?
On the rest of the supplements, to be honest, those are mostly to cover my butt in case I'm not eating properly. I could probably cut most of them, I just wouldn't know which ones
Thanks for your insight!!
I would take the supplements before dinner, and not after. It's proven to absorb better
Beef is pretty much beef so eat whatever. Grass-fed beef and other red meat is the better for omega levels compared to chicken, pork, etc. Obviously, oily fish is best.
You need to add organ meat (mix liver and heart into your ground beef for ease), bone broth, and fermented foods, at least on an occasional basis. Daily would be even better.
The fish oil from GNC is probably rancid crap. You are much better off eating oily, wild fish. If that's not an option, go for fermented cod liver oil. If you want more info, google Chris Kresser, Robb Wolf, or Paul Jaminet and fish oil. They agree with my immunology professor. If you refuse FCLO and insist on regular fish oil, go for krill, New Chapter salmon, or Nordic Naturals.
The multi uses poor quality ingredients. Dump it. If you are eating organ meat and broth regularly, you don't need it. Same goes for the B-complex.
Magnesium glycinate is better absorbed than citrate.
If you like the protein shake as a 20% treat, then fine. You'd be better off eating some cold chicken and a sweet potato. More absorbable and more nutrition.
Personally i think your diet is not sustainable and overly complicated. You are wasting money on supplements when you could just be eating more food and probably feeling much better for it.
I have been in your shoes, trying to combine things into the ultimate diet but after years of failing i kept coming back to eating the food and not worrying about timing, supplements, macros, etc. and i used to powerlift so im coming from a strength perspective. In my experience, supplements are garbage. They dont get absorbed like the same thing coming from food. Also they are in to high of doses and can cause imbalances or not even get absorbed.
My advice would be to add in some foods, mainly potatoes, dairy and more fruit. That should cover the nutritional bases and make your diet muh more enjoyable. Keep most calories post workout and forget the rest. As for waking up in the middle of the night, that is from stress hormones, you probably are not eating enough.
In closing, strongmen from the 19th century got crazy strong and lean without any supplements. They just ate tons of real food and lifted their asses off. If they can do it, you can too.
I'd probably ditch all the supplements except for D3....maybe keep the magnesium too. I agree with namelesswonder. Move your D3 to earlier in the day, as that is likely what is disrupting your sleep.... D3 is the sunshine hormone, doesn't make sense to get it right before going to bed. Take the magnesium in the evening.
I'd either get a better protein powder or replace it with fatty meat.
I would add in some liver and bone broth on a weekly basis.
Last edited by Neckhammer; 12-28-2012 at 09:22 AM.
You do not need any BCAA or pre-workout meal when eating lunch! Skip the supplements except multivitamin, fish-oil and D3...