Regular readers will know that outside of 63 Tay Street my passion is running and exercise. There is nothing better than a dig-deep workout to dust off 10 hours in a kitchen. I’m currently obsessed by cross training and I’ve been hitting ‘The Box’ up at Claymore Crossfit to keep me focused and active. After a long chat with Chris, the owner, and some of the other users, I’ve agreed to help pull together a plan that will help us all look at what we’re putting into our bodies in an attempt to get more out of them.
Over the next five months I’m going to be setting a small food choice challenge for anyone who wants to get involved. Now, I should say first of all that I’m no nutritionist but as someone who has spent their entire life in the food industry, I would be mad not to keep up to date with food trends, fads and research. Among the pages on the new, must-try ingredients for chefs there is a whole host of information on what you should and shouldn’t feed your body.
80% of your composition is governed by what you eat. The exercise we do at ‘The Box’ and elsewhere males up a paltry 10% in comparison – but what a 10% it is! Other factors include sleep, stress, general happiness, genes and DNA. If like the vast majority of the human race, you care about how you look on the outside then you have to look at what is going on in the inside.
It’s fair to say that if we all put a greater focus into our workouts; our technique, our results, our goals and our recovery, then we would simply be fitter, stronger, recover quicker and be able to do all the things we are designed to do from a primal standpoint. Who knows, we may even look good naked. Just saying!
You can see then, that with a passion for food and a love of exercise I’m ripe for the picking when it comes to experimenting with nutrition for energy and looking at how the new research impacts on overall wellbeing. Fear not, I’m not passing myself off as an expert – in fact over the years I’ve been a one-man human guinea pig! Chefs are notorious for their bad eating habits and I’m no exception so this helps me re-focus and rein in late night cheese toasties and giant bags of crisps at 4pm.
These challenges then, will be gleaned from research, chatting to experts and a bit of self-testing! I’ll be completing all of them myself and if you fancy giving them a go, feel free!
What I Know Already:
A good diet isn’t all about eating almond quinoa with avocado oil and grated ginger; in fact, sometimes it’s more about what you don’t eat. If you remove certain items from your modern, processed diet you will find that you begin naturally to eat better. You will begin to give your body only the things that it needs and in return, it will give you everything you want. And as well as that, it will blow your damn lifters off!
The first food culprit I want to challenge is undoubtedly the worst and no, surprisingly, it’s not sugar. Not even Jamie Oliver has raised this one!
Challenge 1: Bin Cooking Oils
Many years ago we were told that cooking with butter and lard was a bad idea and so Industrial oils were born. These were a cheaper, and apparently healthier, alternative that ticked all the boxes for a healthy heart and trimmer waist. The trans-fat circus was born and with it came a plethora of margarines, manmade oils and spreads which were to grace the underside of every fried egg in first world.
Funny how things flip isn’t it? Modern science has now evolved and today’s research tells us that the manmade oils we were all lapping up are horrific for you.
Here’s the science bit! Trans-fats are a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids to prevent them from becoming rancid. When vegetable oil is heated in the presence of hydrogen and a heavy-metal catalyst such as palladium, hydrogen atoms are added to the carbon chain. This turns oils into solids. It also makes healthy vegetable oils more like not-so-healthy saturated fats. On food label ingredient lists, this manufactured substance is typically listed as “partially hydrogenated oil.”
It is believed that they cause untold immune damage, damage your heart and major organs, are linked to many cancers and age you like nothing else. All nutrition has to be looked at from a cell point of view as that’s how it’s processed for the body to use. If I haven’t already convinced you, try this quote from a renowned nutritionist
“The direct and immediate damage that industrial oils inflict at a cellular level makes them no different than eating radiation”
The problem goes deeper of course. You can throw out the bottles of cooking oils and replace them with light olive oil (extra virgin is too peppery for cooking in my opinion) or rapeseed oil however this won’t address some of the hidden places you’ll find industrial oils. The more obvious places such as fast food restaurants are a given but please also check out processed food from supermarket manufacturers – I’m talking about pizza – both fresh and frozen- condiments, ready-made meals and even that tasty slice of cheesecake.
I would urge you to check labels and when you eat out, make sure you’re going to places where the chef cares about each and every ingredient he or she uses. (Obviously, 63 Tay Street is all over this!). It’s a tough challenge and it gets even tougher when you start to read the sides of packets, jars and bottles. If you decide to join in, we wish you the very best of luck.. please do let me know how you get on!