Join Date: Jan 2008
Paleo, Carbs, and Muscle
I've followed and IF pattern of eating for at least 15 years, long before there were blogs and books about it. Like many IF fans, I found that eating during the day only slowed me down and that I function much better just eating one large meal late in the evening.
Now, in regards to following a Paleo type eating plan for best results. I have attempted this several times and found that is was NOT the best way to produce lean muscle, strength, and overall well being. I don't understand why, but that's been my experience.
I spent the largest part of my adult life in the military (Marines) and I'm now retired, working as an Information Technology contractor. The first job I took after leaving the Marines was in a bakery. It was an artisan bakery, making European style breads with organic ingredients, fresh ground flours, no sugar, etc. I worked hard on my feet 10 -12 hours a day and would come home and workout in my home gym. I practically lived on that bread! Regardless of the fact that it was organic, its still a load of refined carbs. Yet, I was the strongest and leanest I had ever been! I practically ate no fat, less than 8% of my calories were from fat and this only came from what occurs naturally in the food. My only protein sources was a large shake consisting of whey, egg, and casein protein....I estimate about 75g per day. The bottom line here is that I could work my ass off doing manual labor all day, then come home and workout like an animal and get strong.
Now, for my Paleo experiences: I would eat lots of protein, the recommended 1g/lb. body weight (170). No bread, potatoes, starchy foods, sugars, etc. Just meats (mostly salmon, tuna, chicken), healthy fats, nuts, veggies, etc. However, I never felt strong, I lost muscle, and workout quality suffered. I also never lost any weight this way.
Another tactic, which I have been using for the past 6 months, is another high carb, very low fat, and low glycemic index approach. Once again, My protein comes from one large protein shake at night containing about 90g protien. I eat a huge salad with veggies of all kinds. For carbohdates, I eat of mixture of split green peas, whole barley, Kamut, and rye berries (sometime oat groats). All of these can be cooked just as you would rice. Anyway, I eat a ton of this stuff and lose weight big time. At first, I just get really cut...can't complain about that. But then, strength and size start to suffer, as it is doing right now.
The bottom line here is that despite eating a diet loaded with carbs from whole grains, I lose weight and become very lean....too lean, where strength and size start going downhill. I always read on this blog and others that reducing carbs is the only way too get lean. I find the exact opposite to be true: cutting dietary fat, and eating mostly carbs makes me lean.
So here is my problem: I don't want to return to a diet of refined carbs, even though I know I was much stronger and more muscular eating them. I can't keep going with the "prudent" whole grain thing I'm doing now or I will never get stronger. There must be something I can do better with a Paleo plan that will produce better results. I must admit, I have not tried to include red meat. I know many swear by it, but from what I have read, the protien quality from fish products is equal to, and better is some cases, to that found in red meat. Plus, there's the added benefit of the omega 3s. I also used plenty of nuts for healthy fats as well. My calorie intake was more than adequate, I did gain weight, but not nearly as much muscle as I would have liked.
Any advice here would be greatly appreciated. As stated earlier, regardless of what type of diet plan I am on, I always employ IF. I eat one large meal late in the evening. I'm always amazed how people will ask me "Aren't you starving? How can you go all day with no food?" They don't understand that its their constant eating and snacking that makes them hungry. Most people ride the insulin roller coaster all day long. The more they snack, the hungrier they get. I see people come into the office with donuts at 10 am and then at 12 they say "Where are we going for lunch?" I say, "How can you be hungry? You just ate donuts and you haven't done a friggin' thing to work up an appetite!"
I think if people would just swith to IF, even if they changed nothing about the foods they ate, they would naturally reduce their intake, their constant hunger would cease, and obesity rates would plummet. At least that's how I see it.