I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions; if you want to change something in your life, start now. There is no good reason to wait until New Year or a birthday or some other milestone. That said, over the last few years something has happened to me around New Year: I’ve had break-ups, been fired, got jobs, been injured and in winter I often lose a hobby to the miserable weather. As you can imagine, that leads to change and it often looks like a New Year’s resolution.
Yesterday I went to see a friend who has started something called ‘the Paleo Diet’. The intent of this diet is to mimic the food our ancestors would have eaten in pre-agricultural times. This is an immediate goodbye to processed sugar: no more chocolate, no more cakes. This is also a goodbye to dairy, and therefore cheese and milk (and therefore coffee!!!). In fact, even post-agricultural crops like the modern-day baking potato are off the menu. Last night, while joining him on his strikingly low-carb and high protein meal, I decided to check whether this diet is actually good for you.
It turn out it is. The point is to limit high-densities of carbohydrate based calories. Approximately 60% of your calories should come from meats (fat and protein). Your body primarily uses carbohydrate for energy, then fats, then—if it absolutely must—protein. Without carbohydrates, your body will break fat down into fatty acids and ketone bodies. This break down is one supply of energy. Another is the breakdown of the ketones. Part of the problem is, assuming you still get all your calories is, I’m not seeing the desired goal of this diet; it won’t breakdown body fat until your deficient on calories and I can’t see that it’s obviously “healthier” in any way.
In fact, some readers may notice an issue. The brain only uses carbohydrates for energy. Without a significant supply of carbohydrate, the brain doesn’t have an energy source. As it turns out, this isn’t true. Diets which induce ketosis (the breakdown of fats into fatty acids and ketones) have been used to manage epilepsy since the 1920s. But research now is suggesting that ketone bodies and sugars made from proteins (through a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis) actually mean a better environment for your brain.
As such, as part of not-a-New-Year’s-resolution-at-all I have decided to try this for two weeks. I’ve been doing it now for just over 24 hours. I am hungry and tired. Despite the evidence to suggest it is better for my brain, my brain is calling out for shut down. And pizza. Oh, how I want pizza. Greasy, cheesy pizza.
For just over a year I have let my fitness slip. I plan to get back into that. This has been sparked not by the New Year, a term holiday and a Christmas present. My Christmas present was snowboarding lessons, and they were fun. But it requires core strength and cardio to do properly. Anyone can start at any fitness level, but I really don’t want my fitness to be the thing that limits my pace; my balance and co-ordination are limiting enough. So, I’m going back to lifting heavy things in the gym. I’m doing it differently to how I used to, focussing on 15-ish repetitions and lots of sets for endurance. I’m hoping for a chiselled look by summer (but that won’t happen).
Then, last on my list of things that aren’t New Year’s resolutions is to make the most of my snowboarding lessons. Come Easter I want to be good enough to take advantage of snowboarding holiday (and anywhere you can recommend will be brilliant).
In terms of my blogging, I will be posting about how the diet makes me feel occasionally and if I come across any recipes worth sharing, I will (except I know you’ll just tell me how cheese and pasta will improve it and you’ll be right). I may even upload exercises that I feel are doing a good job (although, I doubt it; there are enough qualified Personal Trainers with blogs for that). I’m going to keep things pretty much the same in the New Year. You may notice I honey-pot my religious posts over at Elucidations on Atheism. If I have a religious thought that doesn’t actually fall under the criteria of elucidating the idea or conclusion of atheism then it will still be here. Otherwise, philosophy, psychology and other rambling done to a professional standard will continue to not be here. Here, amateurism will stay.