After listening to The Road to Ripped podcast episode 106 I got to thinking about how unconventional thinking helps the fitness industry. On this podcast Greg O’ Gallagher talks about the strategies he uses for some of his fat loss plans. One of the things that struck me is that he tries a bunch of stuff that isnt recommended anywhere else. For example he recommended eating two large meals with small snacks of fruit in between. While this might not seem extrodinary at first glance, its actually pretty unique. In a fitness landscape full of different fiet dogma’s, recommending something as simple as a piece of fruit is almost foreign. There are a number or reasons this recommendation would not be popular or trendy. For example it is not currently mainstream for people to eat carbohydrate based foods all by themselves. Additionally fruit in general is not popular with physique athletes as fructose, as opposed to the glucose in starches, preferentially is used by the body to replace liver glycogen. Many fitness athletes believe this is bad because bodyfat is more readily used for energy when liver glycogen levels are depleted. Additionally many people think that liver glycogen stores will be enhanced at the expense of muscle glycogen. While these arguments against fruit may be beyond the scope of most people’s interest in nutrition, the point is that Greg is going against the mainstream nutritional dogma physique athletes abide by in regards to fruit. This is not to say that no other physique athletes or trainers eat fruit, just that it is what is popular.
Greg’s recommendation revolves around eating a piece of fruit between meals to stave off hunger. He makes a point of saying that he is not too worried about the macronutrient breakdown. He is really jsut worried about the overall affect on his hunger for the day. He mentions that he can usually fast during the morning and then just get by with a piece of fruit around noon. At this point he will wait until around 3pm to have a big meal. He will then have another piece of fruit in the afternoon before having his last large meal in the late afternoon. Greg dosent bother mentioning any science to support his ideas. Whether or not he has any nutritional science in mind to back up his ideas I do not know. This is one of the highlights of Greg’s site; he makes his claims completely based on what has worked for him and his clients. Given a system as complex as the body, attempting to design a diet around specific chemical interactions in the body is flawed. A complex system responds best to basic inputs. In Greg’s case he has chosen to work with calories, macronutrients, and flavors. while keeping at least a rough count of calories and macros Greg chooses to put emphasis on the enjoyability of the diet. Greg noticed that eating an apple was an enjoyable way to get a relatively small amount of calories that helped to keep him feeling good for a long period of time. Pretty brilliant in its simplicity. No attempt at a long winded explanation, no reaching for outside validation.
This type of independent thought is rare in the fitness industry. the aggressive fat loss plan that Greg discussed made me think of another author who’s thinking I admire. This guy is on an aggressive fat loss diet nearly every day of the week. He has found a way to make it work. Not only does he feel great, but he cannot wait to share the gospel of everyday aggressive fat loss. Seriously though he is pretty excited about what he does. While many people have legitimate criticism about his nutritional plans I feel that his enthusiasm at least makes up for it. he is so excited to tell the world about his take on eating. I love it. When challenged by other authorities he sticks to his guns 100%. Unlike some people who make concessions in the name of social acceptability, Dr. Furhman is unshakable in his convictions.
While his diet style may not be for everyone, the lessons he has about nutrition can add value to nearly anyone’s understanding about food. Specifically, anyone who does not have an absolutely concrete understanding of why fruits and vegetables are healthy will understand after reading any of Dr. Furhman’s book or articles. Beyond the idea that fruits and vegetables have things in them that are good. Most people do not understand exactly what those things are or why they are good. I feel that this is true as I consider myself well read regarding nutrition. I certainly learned a great deal from reading some of Dr. Furhman’s work.
Similar to Greg O Gallagher’s opinion on squatting in a physique program, Joel Furhman has many unique opinions on nutrition. I really admire the independence of thought these two authors share, and their willingness to stand behind their ideas.
In an attempt to add something to what I have learned from Dr. Furhman I’m posting the Seafood Surprise recipe. While this recipe has too many animal products to be nutritarian approved it takes into account much of what Dr. Furhman recommends. Particularly this dish is made primarily from spinach, mushrooms, onions and eggplant. It also contains garlic, various seasonings and Oysters.
1) add 4-6 cups spinach or enough to fill a large sauce pan. This one is closer to 6+ cups.
2) Add 1/3 eggplant cut up into squares, 1 onion chopped, and 8 oz of mushrooms diced
3) Pour 1/2-1 cup tomato sauce into the pan
4) add Oysters or other meat to taste, In this case I added 3oz of oysters and 1 oz of turkey (not shown above)
5) add seasoning, I used 2 tbs ketchup, 3 tbs zero calorie hot sauce, 2tbs mustard, onion salt and garlic powder
6) add 1/2 -1 cup water, turn pot to high heat and allow to cook until vegetables become soft
7) Open pot and mix the ingredients together thoroughly. At this point the mix will be very watery. Replace the top after mixing and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes
8) remove top and mix again on high heat, allow the mixture to reduce as water evaporates. This will progressively dry out the dish. Let reduce until the mixture has a thicker consistency similar to a paste.
9) serve, most people will need additinal salt or sodium, (non-nutritarian ingredient), to enjoy this dish the first time, add soy sauce or salt to individual servings.
One of the issues most people have with high plant product diets is their lack of vitamin B-12 and zinc. These two nutrients are especially important for normal testosterone production. One of the key issues many high meat diet advocates argue is the relatively higher intake of these nutrients in high meat diets. One way around this is to find super concentrated sources of the nutrients in question. One example for B-12 and zinc is Oysters. Oysters have many times more B-12 and zinc compared with most other animal products.
70 kcal serving of oysters
By adding about 120 kcal of oysters to the “seafood surprise” you are able to get many times more B-12 and zinc then you could find in nearly any type of animal product. At these levels 120kcal of Oysters is probably overkill.
The seafood surprise benefits from many of the nutritional concepts popularized by Dr. Furhman, while abiding by the physique athletes requirements for nutrients primarily found in animal products.
What you will notice is that the overall calories for the dish are extremely low considering the large volume of food. If I am really hungry I can eat the entire dish, but for many people this will be more then enough for 2 people. I added in some turkey which brought the calories on the dish I made to around 430 kcal. It also brought the protein content of the dish closer to 45 grams. With or without the turkey, this is a super filling dish that is fantastic for breaking a fast and leaving you full regardless of how hungry you were.