Published on February 11th, 2014 | by Grinds4Gamers0
The Basics: Part 1
As gamers, we often fall under the pre-conceived notion that we are all unhealthy, sedentary slugs that do nothing but game all day eating Flaming-Hot Cheetos and slurping down Big Gulps. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but this stigma bugs the crap out of me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to do just that from time-to-time, but let’s face it, America could stand to lose a few pounds. Most of you who know me have heard me talk about my life outside of gaming at one time or another. You would also know that in real life I work in a field that requires me to be in relatively good shape. But if you combine a busy schedule, kids, a budget and a gamer’s thirst for play time, eating right and staying healthy can become an incredibly difficult feat.
In this series of 5 hard-hitting “Basics” articles, I plan to teach you how to break the mold of the sedentary, overweight gamer. I endeavor to change the way you think about eating healthy. I aim to show you that eating healthy is no more expensive than the cost of what may be in your current diet. I will show you that fueling your body with the right foods can be just as easy as nuking a Hot Pocket. What I don’t want to do is provide you with a bunch of boring facts about the scientific processes that take place when you consume certain foods. On the contrary, I want to teach you, in the most casual terms, what the right foods can do for you in very measurable ways. Whether you choose to follow some of my healthier recommendations or recipes is completely up to you, but all I can say is, give it a shot. You might be impressed with the results.
So if you are still reading, a big WOOT to you. That means you at least CARE about your body and your health, at least enough to hear a bit more about what this dork has to say. So I plan to break down our healthy quest into several parts. Each short article will detail the most important aspects of:
- What’s wrong with the USDA’s Food Pyramid
- PvP (Plate versus Portion) What should my plate look like?
- The RIGHT & WRONG Carbs
- Protein Bombs
- Fats and why you NEED them
- Fruits: Nature’s Buffs
Each module will be concluded with a quick and easy recipe for the healthy geek to add to his or her arsenal of gaming fuels. As I stated above, I promise to make this quick and to the point, as to avoid any boring scientific B.S. This is a down-and-dirty healthy eating 101 guide. I’d rather you get the meat of the message, rather than the daunting details. Keep in mind, I’m not a nutritionist or an expert in the field, but I have done my fair share of trial and error. Take it from a geek that’s tried a nauseating amount of diets and read just as many sleep-inducing books on the subject, the information I will give you…..WORKS. So stay tuned! Here is the first module.
What’s Wrong with the USDA’s Food Pyramid?
For starters, the food pyramid recommended by the US Department of Agriculture has changed from a pyramid to a plate. So at first glance, you’d look at this plate and say that it was pretty balanced, right? Well, the biggest problem I can see is the “grains”. If you were to ask any old-school general practitioner or nutritionists of yester-year, they would agree that having a fair share of grains with each of your meals was included in a recommended prescription for a healthy diet. The truth is: grains aren’t that good for you. Here’s why:
- High Carbohydrates = Insulin Spikes: Eventually, these complex carbs are broken down into sugar in your blood and cause your pancreas to increase the production of insulin. High insulin levels and increased sugar in your blood is DIRECTLY LINKED to obesity! Ever wonder why you get droopy eyed around mid-afternoon after lunch? Insulin Spike!
- Anti-Nutrients: Plants are smart. Their genetics suggest that they have no intention of making it easy to be eaten by animals. Most consumable plants, including grains, contain anti-nutrients such as lectins, phytic acid and protease inhibitors that make them difficult to digest. They mess with your gut, causing poor mineral absorption, auto-immune disease and inflammation.
- Gluten: You don’t have to have Celiac Disease to react to the Gluten found in grain products. Gluten, a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, will cause some type of inflammatory response in EVERYONE! I won’t go into too much depth on Gluten, but just Google it. This stuff is from the devil!
- Insoluble Fibers: Cereal grains are high in insoluble fiber that should not be eaten in excess. But doctors would suggest otherwise right? Most of them will tell you grain fiber is needed to relieve constipation and achieve healthy bowel movements. If you trade those insoluble fibers for heart-healthy, soluble fibers from fresh fruits and vegetables, you will promote good gut flora and healthy, natural digestion.
- Dietary Imbalances: The recommended daily intake of processed grains leaves us with several dietary shortcomings. Specifically, they are incredibly poor sources of vitamins (A, C, B12, Calcium) and proteins when compared to natural sources such as animals, vegetables and fruits. The commercial processing of many of these grain products further remove the natural genetics into something nigh recognizable as compared to their natural genetic composition. Monsanto anyone?
Now I’m not much for conspiracy theories, but have you ever wondered if there is correlation between the amount of grains our government recommends we consume and the fact that commercial grain products are one of the leading exports that the US manufactures? This suggests recommendations that reflect industry interests, not science or OUR best interest. Just sayin, yo.
Dairy, why the cows HATE Kash:
Dairy Products, in particular, Milk might not be as good for you as you think! Here’s a few reasons why and a few misnomers:
- Milk isn’t the best source of Calcium (try green leafies instead, they are much more Calcium dense)
- Milk does NOTHING for strong bones. It’s science……There is NO PROOF that Calcium builds or protects your bones from fractures.
- Processed milk is well-known for not sitting well in your stomach (lactose intolerance).
- Milk does nothing for sports performance.
- Dairy products are directly linked to prostate cancer.
- Dairy products are full of saturated fats which are directly linked to heart disease.
If you are going to drink milk and you are calling B.S. on Ol’ Kash, no problem. But do yourself a favor….Drink it Raw. At least then you’ll eliminate the pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization that is included in the normal processing of the white-mustache liquid death laden dairy drink.
So what’s left on that damn plate?
Ok so let’s put you at ease. I know, I’ve just shat on two of the best-tasting and most satiating courses on that plate. In the next few sections, we’ll dive into what your plate really should look like. We’ll talk about fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats! All of which are the foundation of a natural, healthy diet. I’ll teach you how our hunter/gatherer ancestors used to eat and why they were all pretty damn ripped! I’ll also introduce you to the Paleolithic Diet and show you what your body craves. Stay tuned!