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Thread: Critique my lifestyle! What's the least healthy thing I do? page

  1. #1
    Groktomus Prime's Avatar
    Groktomus Prime is offline Junior Member
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    Critique my lifestyle! What's the least healthy thing I do?

    Primal Fuel
    I'm interested in getting feedback about my diet and (to a lesser extent) my workouts. My quick history:

    I've never had any serious weight problems, but I found that I was either all in or all out in terms of diet and exercise (probably "all in" about 60% of the time). In June 2012, after having been "all out" for several months, I decided to really try to educate myself about nutrition. From my own research, I started by eliminating refined sugars and refined flour as much as I could. Next, I tried to reduce my grain and cereal intake, then reduce fructose intake, etc. Eventually, I found this site and I often refer to it when I have questions on foods. I'm not totally primal, but I think my diet has evolved to be pretty healthy over all. Below, I give examples of typical meals over the course of a week.

    BREAKFAST
    on days when I work out (4 days a week):
    3 scrambled eggs (pasture raised from Vital Farms), with a bit of Organic Valley Whole Milk, and a teaspoon or two of virgin coconut oil in the pan
    berries (4-6 each of rasberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)

    on days when I do not work out:
    Shake with 8 fl oz of SO Delicious brand unsweetened Coconut milk, a half scoop of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey protein, berries (same as above), and a banana

    LUNCH (all weekday lunches are bought from restaurants near my office)
    twice a week: big ass grilled chicken salad (with romain lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, black beans, snow peas, green peppers, carrots, black olives, feta cheese, olive oil and vinegar). Not sure the size, but it's big and takes me about 45 minutes to crunch through at my desk.
    once a week: chicken club whole weat wrap (bacon, lettuce, tomato, jack and cheddar cheese, ranch dressing)
    once a week: chipotle shrimp, green beans, and broccoli
    once a week: Thai basil with chicken, with just a little rice
    Typically I drink a Coke Zero with lunch (I also drink an unsweetened ice tea in the morning and afternoon).

    DINNER
    Twice a week: Grilled Organic Chicken Breast and green beans
    Once a week: Grilled Chicken Salad
    Once a week: Baked Salmon and broccoli
    Once a week: Cajun Shrimp over tilapia, and broccoli
    Typically, when I eat dinner at home, I drink a glass of Diet V8 Splash.

    Those dinners and lunches only add up to 5 days a week, so I'm using my typical weekdays. On weekends, it varies a little more. There's a wild game restaurant not too far from me, so I occasionally will have an elk salad, or I'll get Thai food and just try to limit the rice I eat. BBQ meats and more chicken salads also come into play. Occasionally I'll get some wings from BW3s to eat while watching a game. I don't drink that much alcohol any more, maybe a couple of beers or a glass of wine on Saturdays, especially if I'm out with friends.

    SNACKS
    I don't snack every day, but I find that Boars Head pickles are a good low calorie way to keep me satiated before bed. I also eat some nuts, although I've been trying to cut down after learning how much omega 6 they have. Still, I keep some macodemia nuts around, and to a lesser extent, Brazil nuts and almonds. Sometimes I'll have a few berries mid-afternoon on weekends.

    Also on workout days, I will have a banana snack in the afternoon, pre-workout.

    AFTER WORKOUTS
    I work out 4 days a week (see below for details). After each workout, I have a protein shake, similar to the breakfast one I outline above, except I use the organic whole milk and leave out the banana (but still include some berries). I also use a full scoop of protein after my heavy lifting days.

    Also, on Saturdays before my heavy lifting day, I will drink a 12 fl oz Blue Monkey coconut water.

    So that's basically my diet. I also drink lots of water. Easily over a gallon each day just while I'm work. I occasionally (but not even every week) will still eat a sandwich, or some dumplings, or have some pasta (can't say no to my mom's cooking, after all), but I'm sufficiently transitioned off of simple carbs to the point where I almost never feel really hungry any more, and my energy level is very even (sleep duration is the main determinate in how I feel now).

    As for my workout routine, my basic schedule is:

    MONDAYS
    HIIT workout: I rotate through a couple of 45 minute Insanity videos, a 20 minute tabata workout, or if it's nice out, I might just sprint hills for 20 minutes.

    WEDNESDAYS
    P90X Ab Ripper X or Insanity Cardio Abs video, then a 10 minute lower back strengthing video (all bodyweight stuff). Then I do 4 sets of pushups and pull ups until failure (my first sets of each are typically about 40 and 10 reps, respectively).

    THURSDAYS
    Some body weight lounges and TRX single leg squats, followed by 45 minutes of swimming (alternating between a sprint workout, and a distance pyramid).

    SATURDAYS
    Heavy lifting day with 5X5s on squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, military press, and lat pull downs.

    Some other info on me: I'm a 34 year old male. 6'2", about 185lbs (the most I've ever weighted is just under 200lbs). I herniated a disc in my lower back about 5 years ago while doing stiff legged deadlifts, but I just recently started back up with the squats and (regular) deadlifts, after a personal trainer helped me have confidence that I could do so safely. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, so that's why I like to swim regularly. I have a desk job, but I make sure to get up and walk around every 30-60 minutes.

    So that's a good summary of my diet and exercise routine that I've arrived at. I understand the parts that are not totally primal (protein powder, whole grain wheat wrap, black beans, and rice, etc), but I do try to get most of my calories from meats, non-starch vegetables, and berries, with some nuts and cocunut products thrown in. I'm very busy, so I will probably never go completely primal in the sense of making my own sauces, etc. But my question is this:

    Does any part of this stand out as being unhealthy? Or put another way, if you had to point out the least healthy aspect of this lifestyle that you feel needs changing, what would it be and how unhealthy is it?

    Thanks in advance (and sorry for the length)!
    Last edited by Groktomus Prime; 03-03-2013 at 08:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Mama~Mare's Avatar
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    I think the bigger question is:
    Why do you want feedback from this site? Do you feel there is something unhealthy that you are doing, or are you unhappy with your lifestyle and your body?

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    Groktomus Prime's Avatar
    Groktomus Prime is offline Junior Member
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    Yeah, I realize my question was maybe not specific enough. I'm not concerned with how I look, and I feel good about my diet and workouts in terms of shaping my physique. My question is more: when you read my eating habits, is there something that is glaringly unhealthy? Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was eating a lot of Brazil nuts, walnuts, and mixed nuts, only to discover that these are very high in omega-6. In asking for feedback, I'm hoping that if I still have a similar problem that someone can point it out to me. So think macro and micro nutrients, heart health, cancer risk, etc.

    I'm less concerned on the workout side, but maybe someone would read this and think that there is too much spinal compression or something. My lower back has been sore more often since I started dead lifting again, but I assume I will adapt to it.

    Anyway, that's what I'm looking for: nitpicking about health issues that aren't easily seen. Thanks.

  4. #4
    sbhikes's Avatar
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    Diet coke and diet V-8 Splash (whatever the heck chemical cocktail that is.) Too much intense workouts. You don't need to work so hard to have a nice body. Read the Primal Blueprint Fitness e-book. It's free. You can get the info in the sticky in the Fitness Forum.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 180 x 2. Current Deadlift: 230 x 2

  5. #5
    DeeDub's Avatar
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    It's difficult to answer without knowing what your specific goals are.

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    unchatenfrance is offline Senior Member
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    The least healthy aspect is all those purchased meals and those drinks and that whole-wheat tortilla. Make your own food. Where's the fat, apart from the fish?

    Where is all the "moving slowly for a long time"?

  7. #7
    pyro13g's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unchatenfrance View Post
    The least healthy aspect is all those purchased meals and those drinks and that whole-wheat tortilla. ?
    +1

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    Groktomus Prime's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the thoughtful comments. I guess I view the primal blueprint as directionally correct, although I'm always skeptical when a school of thought claims to have the only true answer to something as complex as health. That said, i believe there are knowlegable people in these forums. I also view a lot of these things as trade-offs, often in terms of incremental health benefits vs time and money costs. Personally, I feel more time constrained than budget constrained. Plus I trust restaurants to have fresher ingredients than I do (although not often organic), particularly by mid-week, and I use lunchtime as an excuse to "move slowly" and get some sun, although its not a particularly long walk.

    In terms of fats, I've been hoping for the fish, coconut milk and oil, olive oil, eggs, whole milk, and occasional nuts and wild game to suffice. If I were to eat more fat, what would you recommend I substitute or add?

    I'm certainly open to working out less. I would love to go 3 days a week instead of 4, so I will consult the free primal fitness guide.

    In terms of goals, I have fitness goals that are within reach, but for the purposes of this discussion, you can think of the goal as longevity. So very useful feedback would look like, "SO Delicious coconut milk contains X, and X is known to increase your risk of cancer/heart disease by Y%, reducing your life expectancy by Z years. Therefore it's worth the extra 30 minutes per week to make your own." I realize precise quantitative estimates are not always available, but that's how I'd prefer to frame the discussion. Thanks!

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    Aside from the soda I don't see a lot of problem, foodwise. People can nitpick on the single whole wheat wrap or the occasional black bean, but hell, if that's the worst thing you eat in a week you're doing a damn good job by any diet's standards. :P

  10. #10
    Mama~Mare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groktomus Prime View Post
    In terms of goals, I have fitness goals that are within reach, but for the purposes of this discussion, you can think of the goal as longevity. So very useful feedback would look like, "SO Delicious coconut milk contains X, and X is known to increase your risk of cancer/heart disease by Y%, reducing your life expectancy by Z years. Therefore it's worth the extra 30 minutes per week to make your own." I realize precise quantitative estimates are not always available, but that's how I'd prefer to frame the discussion. Thanks!
    I applaud you for being pro-active about your health and wanting to do your best!

    In my own opinion I don't think there is anyone on the planet that can answer your questions accordingly. Not even the "most skilled" doctors.

    I watched one of the healthiest women I have ever known fight and eventually die of cancer after a 14 year battle. Her healthy lifestyle prolonged her life. With the type of brain cancer that she had she should have been gone with in a year. (or so the "professionals" say) This family grew all their own organic produce, etc, etc......you name it, they did it. They were health nuts before her diagnosis.

    None of us knows our own individual make up and how our bodies will react to what we put in them. Yes, obviously those of us on this forum knows what foods help us to run more efficiently. The foods that keep us feeling healthy and fit. How to manipulate our macros to shed body fat.

    The fact still remains, our food is not the food that Grok had the privilege of eating. Just because the "labels" claim grass fed, organic, all natural etc etc doesn't guarantee that it hasn't been tainted in some way, shape or form. Even growing our own fruits and veggies we can be at risk depending on what has seeped into our soil or what Farmer Fuck Face (pardon my language) down the road is spraying on his corn to produce the best "Frakenfood" this side of the Equator......

    We all have crazy schedules blended with financial issues, relational issues etc etc.........my advice to you is to follow your gut........follow what brings you peace.............keep it simple

    I personally believe that nit picking your diet with a fine tooth comb is more "cancer causing" than an occasional wheat tortilla or So Delicious coconut milk...........

    I think you know what you need to work on and I by no means want my reply to come across as disrespectful in any way. There is soooooo much information out there to pull us in every direction. Learn to listen to your body, it will let you know what it needs. Read the PB if you haven't already and then enjoy your life! Eat foods that are the closest to their natural state..........

    Personally I use the pure organic coconut milk.........I believe it's Thai Kitchen brand........comes in a can (a can that is probably leaking all sorts of chemicals into my pure coconut milk...lol)

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