Phil’s recommended reading for barefoot dieters
There have been countless wonder diets published over the years. Nephew Dan Gould was questioning how there can be so many different right answers. How can one diet tell you to eat X and another to avoid X and eat Y? I can’t claim to have done exhaustive research, but my sense is that there is reasonable consistency amongst the popular diets today.
The common theme is that to burn vs. store fat, you want to keep your blood sugar levels low and flat. You get there by losing the carbs, eating lots of vegetables, and drinking lots of water. A helpful rule of thumb is to avoid white—Rice, potatoes, milk, sugar, bread, etc. (The notable exception is cauliflower, a great potato substitute.)
My reading started with The Four Hour Body. It’s not a diet book per se, rather an empirical study of many aspects of how bodies work and how to control them. The author Timothy Ferriss is all about getting the maximum impact for minimum effort. So along with studying eating, he explores how to run faster, jump higher, etc. with minimal training. Throughout he uses his and friends’ bodies as labs for his theories. A large portion of the work focuses on the relationship between diet, body weight and fat. Ferriss is a data fiend and sounds like a kid in a candy store when he describes getting a blood sugar monitoring device implanted in his abdomen; he finally gets to see the immediate effect of whatever he consumes. It’s a bit of a tome, but is structured for jumping around and picking and choosing relevant chapters.
My buddy Rick Reno sent me a copy of Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson. It’s a little more of a diet book, but goes beyond to a broader treatment of lifestyle. The basic premise is that cavemen had it right and that we should emulate their diets. He also prescribes an exercise regimen on the same theory: Walk lots, sprint occasionally (as if from a saber-tooth tiger), and lift heavy things. He’s down on running in general, so obviously not 100% aligned with my thinking, but I have taken the sprinting/lifting message to heart. A similar premise is the basis for the Paleo diet, about which I’ve heard but read little.
I understand that a lot of these ideas have sprung from the Page diet developed by a dentist called Melvin Page. This little 4 page pdf is a compact prescription for a healthy diet. It’s great little reference and, in particular, drills down into which veggies contain more or less carbs.
I synthesized all of this into a diet that has worked for me, which I will describe in an upcoming blog.