Cut the CRAP to create a better you

 Food, General

The 4 things you can remove from your life to improve your life

Sometimes ideas and concepts are so simple and ring so true, that you find yourself amazed by the way the world works.

Take James Duigan’s clean and lean diet – and his concept about one of the easiest ways to achieve a great life by cutting out the CRAP.

I love a good four-letter acronym, and I particularly love when it spells something indicative of what it relates to.

What’s the CRAP you should cut from your diet?

C = CAFFEINE

R = REFINED SUGAR

A = ALCOHOL

P = PROCESSED FOODS

cut the crap

 

Caffeine crap

The buzz from caffeine is really useful before a workout to improve your circulation. Better circulation will mean there’s more blood flowing to your working muscles.

But the downside is that caffeine also stimulates the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Our cave dwelling ancestors relied on cortisol for the fight or flight response that kept us alive as a species. But today we are far less active. So when our bodies are flooded with cortisol as a result of caffeine or stress, instead of burning this off by running away from or fighting off the life threatening situation, we now sit at our desks or on our sofas. So while we were being prepped to expend energy, we don’t.

The other downside to caffeine is that it messes with your sleep. You need your sleep to recover from your training, to build muscle, and to generally be awesome to be around.

To take advantage of the upside effect from caffeine associated with improved training, while avoiding the downside associated with sleep and fat storage, you can enjoy your caffeine but only before a workout. A single cup of coffee may provide you with enough caffeine to trigger the muscles to start using fat as an energy source rather than carbohydrates.

 

Refined sugar crap

If you’ve been following Stay Strong, Live long for a while, you’ll know what I think about sugar.

The message is simple. Eat less sugar if you want to perform well. Full stop. No negotiations. End of story.

Sugar is creating a mess of too many lives. Obesity levels are off the charts. In Australia, recent research has shown that obesity levels have risen by 81% in the past 30 years. How can that be in a beach loving country where nearly everyone needs no encouragement to get their kit off to swim in the ocean?

It’s simple arithmetic when it comes to sugars being broken down in your body to be used as fuel. If you get more fuel than you need immediately, some will be stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen, and the rest will be stored as fat. This is a highly efficient system so that when your body needs extra fuel quickly, it uses these glycogen stores. If you’re working out and using these stores, they’ll need to be replenished regularly.

To make the most of sugars to maintain glycogen, limit your sugar intake to after a workout to restore your level to normal.

 

Alcohol crap

Alcohol will affect your training and sports performance.

It acts as a diuretic, which means that when you take in alcohol your kidneys expel more fluid from your body in the form of urine. So drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration. And exercising after drinking alcohol can make this dehydration even worse when you sweat and your body temperature rises. You need to stay hydrated when you exercise to maintain the flow of blood through your body, and therefore circulate oxygen and other nutrients to your muscles.

Alcohol also interferes with the way your body produces energy. While your body is occupied breaking down and expelling alcohol your liver can’t produce as much glucose. As you know, training and exercise require high levels of sugar to give you energy. If your liver isn’t producing enough glucose, your performance will be affected.

Alcohol is high in calories at 7 calories per gram These are empty calories and have no nutrient benefit to your body. If your goal is weight management, alcohol is not providing you with any benefits.

And the bad news continues, because muscle gain can also be affected. Alcohol (like caffeine) can disrupt your sleep patterns, but it can also affect the level of growth hormone in your body. Growth hormone is vital for muscle growth, and is released while you’re in deep sleep. Alcohol could also reduce the amount of testosterone in your body, and this is the hormone men and women need to gain muscle.

There’s no upside with alcohol, so the recommendation here is to give it a miss wherever possible.

 

Processed foods crap

A processed food is one that has been altered from its natural state. The benefit of processed foods is that they are often cheaper and more convenient than other options. But quite often, processed foods are stripped of beneficial nutrition, and are filled with sugar and salt to make them taste good.

The better option will always be to eat food in its natural state.

If it couldn’t swim, fly or run or it didn’t grow off the land – seriously consider whether you want to eat it!

Give up the CRAP to stop feeling like crap.

 

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