Metabolic Typing

Mixed salad leaves with candied bacon, crouton...

What is “Metabolic Typing”?

Honestly, this is just a fancy way of categorizing the way we eat.  Ever wonder why there seems to be so many different diets out there that people SWEAR by.  There are vegans.  There are paleo people.  There are starch eaters.  There are low-carbers.  They all think that their way is best.  Are they all right?  Are they all wrong?  What is going on here?  Enter Metabolic Typing.

METABOLIC TYPING:  In my own words, metabolic typing is a dietary theory that leaves room for differences in genetics, ancestry, climate, age, and location.  We come from different areas of the planet.  Our ancestors ate different things.  Humans have traveled the world and filled the globe.  We are all human, yes?  Yes, but we all come from different places.  We are in different phases of life and do different activities.  Trying to fit EVERYBODY into the same box just seems a little arrogant and crazy right?  Ultimately, there are infinite numbers of metabolic types because we are ALL different and unique.  For the sake of sanity, most people break down the types into three main categories.  Let’s take a quick peak and give a few tips on how to succeed as each one.  Keep in mind that your metabolic type can and often does change with the seasons, age, activity levels, and so forth.  Listening to your body and eating real food is always a good guide.

PROTEIN TYPE:  This is the realm of the “modern paleo” diet trend.  Lot’s of meat and fat.  Regardless of what vegetarians or “vegans” tell you, some of our genes require meat and fat to do well.  How much?  It depends on the person.  Protein types are usually people who feel best having some sort of animal protein a few times a day.  They usually crave dark meat, rich meats, eggs, butter, fat, full fat cheese, etc.  Nuts are often sought after as a snack.  This person is usually inclined towards strength-training and doesn’t do quite as well with cardio exercise.  They need a bit more sleep than most to feel good.  What gets this type into trouble?  Overeating.  Especially on crappy food.  These include all pasteurized dairy products, grilled or heavy cooked protein foods, fried eggs, too much bacon or preserved meats, roasted nuts, etc.  How to balance this type?  Focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY first.  Get yourself good quality, grass-fed meats, fish, fats, and eggs.  If you kilter towards animal foods, go with raw cod liver oil, raw butter, raw or lightly cooked eggs, rare fish and other meats, bone marrow, etc.  If you kilter towards plant foods (most don’t), go for the avocados, olives, coconuts, raw nuts, etc.  Another pitfall for this type is eating too many carbs or sugar.  They will usually crash if eating a lot of sugar by itself.  An example would be drinking a LARGE glass of orange juice first thing in the morning without anything else in your stomach.  People naturally slide more towards the protein type on the scale in the winter months.

MIXED TYPE:  Ah, the mixed type.  These are the “middle-of-the-road” people.  They are usually the least picky of eaters.  They can get by on pretty much everything as long as it is fresh, real food.  Cravings will shift often.  Sometimes we want some juicy rare lamb.  Sometimes we want a big bowl of vegetables or some fresh juice.  Maybe I didn’t want any fat for lunch, but boy does it sound good at dinnertime.  Mixed types are exactly how we sound.  Everything in moderation right?  The best foods for you?  Fresh fruits and vegetables as they feel right.  Some fresh juice in the morning maybe.  Moderate amounts of animal foods.  You may find a super heavy breakfast will weigh you down.  For example, a mixed type usually will do better with a lighter breakfast, as opposed to a big plate of eggs and sausage links.  The mix between preferences for animal and plant foods usually is mixed as well.  Sometimes animal fat does the trick.  Sometimes plant fat hits the spot.  Keep a wide variety of foods around and choose what feels best at the time.  This type usually likes some bodyweight exercise as well as cardio.  Problems?  It is easy to go off-balance.  Sometimes we eat too much protein and fat and get bogged down.  Sometimes we eat like the carb type and get jittery or anxious.  This all has to do with learning your own bodies preferences.  As usual, things change with the seasons and activity levels.

CARB TYPE:  The carb type eh?  This is usually where vegetarians lie on the scale.  Personally, I believe that most people need SOME high-quality animal products to be healthy long-term.  There are few people who do well in a cold climate on a carb diet.  My guess?  Most CARBS and heavy sugar fruits grow in tropical climates.  Some of us evolved in those regions.  Others evolved in colder regions.  So what are the characteristics of the carb-type?  A little hyper.  Quick to move.  Quick to think.  Usually favors cardio exercise.  These people often get cold easily in the winter, but LOVE the summer months.  Sometimes they are mixed types in disguise.  (If I eat a ton of sugar I will be very FAST for a while also.)  The difference?  This type of thing sustains the carb-type during the day.  What are the best foods for carb types?  Primarily fruits and vegetables.  Relatively little meat and fat here.  These types usually prefer plant sources for the bulk of their protein and fat.  Maybe a few eggs or some white fish or chicken here and there.  An example of a BAD meal for the carb-type would be a giant breakfast with a lot of rich meat, butter, bacon, or fatty fish.  Being a carb-type is NOT an excuse to go eat a bunch of “junk-food.”  Just as the protein type has to be wary of bad fats and overcooked proteins, the carb-type needs to watch it with the processed starches and sugars.  Things like potato and corn chips.  Granola.  Cereals.  Sweets.  “Healthy junk.”  Gluten, processed foods, and sugar are best avoided by everyone.

So those are the types guys and girls.  As a general guideline, you will slide more towards a protein type in the winter and when you are doing strength training, or are under stress.  You will usually slide towards the carb type in the summer months, doing a lot of mental-activity, and doing more cardio exercise.  Don’t “LOCK” yourself into any one category.  We change just as the seasons change.  Let your body be your guide.  Metabolic typing can be a good system to help you figure out where you are on the scale and adjust accordingly.  Happy hunting =)


-JOE

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“Comfort Food” MY ASS

Macaroni and cheese is an American comfort food

Ok, I admit it.  I have a small beef with “comfort food.”  I am not talking about real comforting, nourishing foods.  I am talking about the junk food that we have grown to label “comfort food.”  Don’t think that emotions don’t play into this as well.  Let’s look at some qualities of what most of us have come to think of as comfort food.  Soft, mushy, usually warm (except ice cream), starchy, fatty, etc.  Basically heavy, easily digestible, high-calorie fare.  Is that the whole story though?  More and more I begin to think there is a whole other side to this issue.  Are we simply eating for nourishment or is it more as a buffer?  What about the emotional side?  When did we eat comfort food?  Birthdays.  Christmas.  Thanksgiving.  Hopefully happy times right?  Cake, pies, cheesy potatoes, cookies, meatloaf, etc.  It is pretty hard to take a break right?  Let’s look at some traditional “nourishing foods” that serve the same purpose in the body.

FATS:  Raw butter, raw or lightly cooked egg yolks, coconuts/oil, olives/oil, animal fats, raw nuts, bone marrow.  These fats have been used for thousands of years.  They are rich.  They taste great.  They nourish the body.

CARBS:  Carbs are many people’s favorite “comfort foods.”  At least we like to think that is the case most of the time.  Is it really the carbs though?  Or is the “gunky stuff.”  The breads, the pasta, the cereals, lasagna, fried rice, etc.  Ask yourself which it is?  Nature has provided us with plenty of carbohydrates to choose from.  Root vegetables are particularly useful.  Parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.  Fruit can also be great.  I am not one for “whole grains” but unprocessed and properly prepared grains are a hell of a lot better than the processed stuff. 

PROTEINS:  Protein is often included in comfort food as well.  Favorites may include burgers with fries, fried chicken wings, meats on pizzas, cheese, fried steaks, and ribs.  I can’t lie; ribs are pretty damn TASTY.  So what are some good proteins?  Lightly cooked animal proteins would include egg whites, wild caught fish, and free range poultry and ruminant animals.  Healthy cooking options include crock-pots, baking, steaming, etc.  Frying or high-heat grilling is not recommended.

Now that we have taken a look at things, I will ask the question again.  Do we like the nourishment or do we use these things as a buffer?  I will tell people to eat as much REAL FOOD as they want.  Let’s compare a few nourishing meals versus fake food comfort.

PROCESSED COMFORT:  Most of us don’t have to think too hard on this one.  Pizzas, pastas, anything with pasteurized dairy, burgers with fries, cakes, donuts, cereals, pastries, latte’s, anything fried, etc.

NOURISHING COMFORT:  Most of us have not been introduced to these foods in the modern world.  Steamed sweet potatoes and broccoli with coconut oil.  Parsnips and peas with raw butter.  Lightly cooked eggs and avocado omelet with veggies.  Crock-pot meals with chicken or lamb mixed with vegetables and olive oil as a topping.  There are plenty of healthy treats as well.

So there you have it.  Give yourself a test.  Is it the calories and nourishment you are after?  Or does “comfort food” serve some other function in your life?  Looking at what types of comfort food it is hard to give up can tell you a lot about your internal state.  Do you crave fried fats and foods?  Or maybe for you it is the sugar.  What are you buffering against? It is great to reminisce about high school or times in childhood but we need to learn to separate the “good times” from the food that is associated with it.  After eating real food for a while, most cravings usually start disappearing if they are related to true nourishment.  Our modern culture has skewed what food we think we need to function.  So having said that, COMFORT FOOD MY ASS.

-JOE

Food Files: Protein Powder

English: A chocolate-flavored multi-protein nu...

This one is a little controversial for me.  On one hand, this is not truly a natural food.  On the other hand, it can seriously help some people with much-needed nutrition that they are not going to get any other way.  NON-DENATURED whey protein has several beneficial functions.  Don’t buy any of that junk protein from pasteurized/chemical laced/fake sugar crap.  The real stuff has glutathione precursors that help with detox.  It contains protein in an easily absorbable form.  Lactoferrin is also included.  Some of the better ones contain high amounts of B12 and other B vitamins.  The one I currently use is “PaleoMeal.”  This contains non-denatured whey, high b12/b vitamins, lactoferrin, glutamine, a little creatine, and small amount of enzymes to help if you happen to be lactose intolerant.  I don’t use this every day and certainly wouldn’t recommend it for your only protein source.  However, when you are in a time crunch, don’t feel like eating a big meal, or only have time for a quick protein hit after a workout I think this can be a good go to source.  Just don’t overdo it or make it your primary fuel.  Chocolate is always the best =)

-Joe