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Nutrition Diet, supplements, weightloss, health & longevity

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Old 04-28-2005, 11:39 AM   #1
Marina Volpicelli
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So I have run the gamut of different styles of eating. Six (age 22/23) years ago I ate without thinking, pretty healthfully but with treats and fried foods occasionally. Then I started suffering terrible IBS, hives, bloating, etc. I went on an elimination diet turns out I am sensitive to gluten, so started cutting it out of my diet.

Two years ago I decided I wanted to lose weight, I am an extremely active female, 5'6 and at the time 150lbs, around 20-25%BF or so. I started to cut calories, but ate pretty healthy, no wheat so that cuts out a lot of bad foods right there. I ate around 1800 a day, but with my running, biking, swimming, hockey, and ultimate frisbee I started to lose on that, got down to 135 and 11-12%BF and basically became anorexic, was crabby, irritable, digestion got worse, cold all the time, etc. You could see all my veins and I looked sickly.

I decided to run the Boston Marathon and started to eat more to do the training, did a good time but then couldn't stop gaining weight, even though I cut my calories down much more than before. I am up to 160-165 now, even though I don't eat that much (under 1500 a day) and very active.

Anyway, my issues are bizarre:

a) MEAT: I am mostly veg not because of morals or anything like that but because it seems wasteful to raise cattle/chicken to eat them. I admit I went through a bit of a hippie stage, I read diet for a small planet, the whole nine yards. I sort of feel if I couldn't kill the animal myself I shouldn't eat it. I do eat fish, since I was raised on it and can kill them myself.

b) DAIRY: I don't eat dairy since I am lactose intolerant and plus dairy weirds me out. Just seems wrong to me. I do eat eggs though, but only a few times a week, and I mostly use whites.

c) GRAINS: I do NOT know what to think about grains, I read about quinoa, teff and think I should be able to eat these things (they sound so healthy!) but then I think paleo diets don't and wonder what I SHOULD eat, since not much is left to get enough food for the day.

d) SOY: what to think? I read such conflicting reports. I started having soymilk again, though I switch back and forth from soymilk and almond milk. I tried making my own almond milk yogurt but it just didn't set properly, soymilk works fine though. If you want to read that soy isn't good for you, and that the Asian diet has it fermented for a reason, and that it was a peasant food since it isn't good for you, etc., you can. I get it whole from the CSA we belong to (community-supported-agriculture) so its hard to think I SHOULDN't eat this vegetable. But how much? If I am aiming for 100-120g of protein a day, should it mostly be from fish, or is soy an OK substitute? And why is soy ok, but not other beans as a protein source?

e) CALORIES: I am worried I am setting myself up to be obese in the future since I have gotten by on so low calories for so long. Before I went on the 'diet' I was maintaining 150lbs with 2200-2300 a day. Now I can gain on over 1500, and I am 160! The zone's low calorie nature worries me a bit because of this, though I can't say I am that hungry for more anyway.

I am seeing a nutritionist who thinks my food sensitivities are partly to blame for my weight gain on such a low intake (she is helping me NOT fall back into the anorexia while losing weight). Under her advice, with all grains cut out for the last month I am finally losing a bit of weight. I am eating zone-ish ratios overall, but not paying so much attention to each meal. I read Sears's stuff and some sounds good, but some also seems like rather hokey science. I am an engineer and I like to see concrete examples/studies, and it seems he is picked apart so much by others in the field of nutrition. The nutritionist is good, but not so particular about WHY a certain works, she just wants me to get back to a comfy weight so she can work on the more psychological issues as to why I was starving myself before. I kind of want to know WHY if I eat grains I gain weight.

I was reading about the McDougall diet recently and he has an interesting banter about Sears and the Zone

http://www.drmcdougall.com/debate.html

which then makes me second guess this whole thing. I was in Japan all last summer and ate probably a relatively high-carb diet (no dairy though, mostly veg, very limitied grain) and did lose weight, and it SEEMS healthy, I want to read the China Study as well though I am sure it will give even another macronutrient-ratio and I am just confused as to what is best. I have a friend who is macrobiotic and that seems to work so well for him as well, and not sure what is the right way to eat anymore.

I've read beyondveg.com and I GET that its not how our bodies are MEANT to eat, but at the same time they admit not everyone in the world (too many people) could eat this way, and I guess its the earth-day part of me that flirts with the idea of cutting out the last animal products I have, the fish and the occasional egg. But then where is my protein? All soy?

Alright, that was a big rambly. I hope it made SOME sense. I want to eat right for me, and my world, and for my sports performance, and for my body. I also don't want to end up orthorexic, which seems the path I am going down the more I keep cutting from my diet due to either GI issues or mental issues.

This is the first site I have seen that doesn't seem to just blindly follow a diet that 'works' - there is discussion and pros/cons and some real experience that is really impressive, and some variety it seems, whether people are doing blocks or just paleo without caloric restriction. If anyone has any thoughts I'd appreciate it! My other goal with working on my eating habits is that my digestion is FAR from ideal, so I would hope whatever I adjust would help that as well, and would be a sign I chose wisely :-)
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Old 04-28-2005, 05:04 PM   #2
Mark Gebhard
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Whew, that's a long post. You'll probably get more responses in the future if you keep it shorter.

Ok, there are a lot of things going on here, and I'm definitely not the best one to tackle them, but I'll try to get things started.
(1) You mention a lot of cardio-type activities but not weight-training. Weights (or gymnastics type movements) are essential for building lean body mass which will help stabilize your weight and metabolism. Since you're already at Crossfit, you need to look no further than the Workout of the Day.
(2) Some of the basics for diet are just going to be are you getting enough protein and are you making good food choices. It's good that you're aiming for 100-120 g of protein. Since you don't eat meat or dairy, you need to make a big effort to get there. I don't know much about soy but I'm not sure it's looked upon too favorably here, so that means lots of fish and eggs. Also, have you tried Lactaid milk and stuff like that? If you haven't been consistently hitting the 100 g mark (and evenly spaced throughout the day) this could help a lot.
(3) For more advanced diet info, search the messageboard. There have been tons of great discussions here. A lot of people, myself included, prefer the Zone. When done with the WOD, you won't have to worry about screwing up your metabolism.

Ok, I missed a lot of things, but your best bet is to just read as much of the old messageboard stuff as you can. If you want more detailed advice (and from more knowledgeable people), I'd suggest posting your specific workouts and a day or two of everything you eat.
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Old 04-28-2005, 05:11 PM   #3
Mark Gebhard
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Oh, another thing. I agree that the way Sears presents his findings really turned me off to the Zone initially. I don't really believe the science in Enter the Zone, but I started it anyway and I've had great success. You'll find that an overriding philosophy at Crossfit is that we worry more about what gives results in the field and not what happens in the lab.
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Old 04-28-2005, 05:32 PM   #4
Beth Moscov
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HI Marina,

The biggest thing I see is that you are probably not getting enough protien. My guess is that you are much further from zone proportions than you imagine if your not eating meat or dairy. More than that, the zone proportions are meant for each meal because of the hormonal response that this creates and roughly eat that over the day won't do the same thing.

The other thing - don't obsess over this. That is what will kick you back into the anorexia - becoming obsesive is the first danger sign. Instead, work on one thing at a time. I would start with increasing protien and it doesn't have to be dairy. It can just be fish and tofu and eggs (though other soy products are counted as carbs in the zone because of the rate they digest). I eat chicken and beef too simply cause I get bored otherwise and, having been a hippie myself, I understand your reluctance. You will have to work that out for yourself but this can be done without eating meat.
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Old 04-28-2005, 07:05 PM   #5
Kristi Lees
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I was a veggie for 12 years until about 6 months ago when I added free range chicken and fish back into my diet. I noticed a big difference and feel alot better for having done it.

I struggled to fight the urges for almost a year until I decided it was time to give in and listen to my body.

I also suffered with anorexia in the past and it is hard to let go of the 'rules' around eating. I suggest just start listening to your body, eat what you feel it needs not what you think you should give it.

Don't worry about numbers or scales just start to tune in. Once you are back in touch with your body then you can start to fine tune and bring in some stucture if needs be.

Bloating and food sensitivities are a result of an eating disorder, they may go they may not (most likely in time they will). Once you start eating properly you body will stop 'hanging on' to things and will start to act normally again. You have been at war with your body for so long it is going to take it awhile before it trusts you again.

To be honest I didn't read your whole post... but I do hope this info was what you are needing to hear.

Blessings on your journey,
k xo
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Old 04-28-2005, 07:45 PM   #6
Pat Janes
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I also "kicked" 10 years of vegetarianism about 4-5 months ago, along with beginning to eat in "Zone" proportions; I've not looked back.

My athletic performance has shot through the roof and body composition has markedly improved.

You can add me to the list of those who didn't really get "warm and fuzzy" about Sears' "science", but I gave it a go and it works; good enough for me.
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Old 04-28-2005, 08:17 PM   #7
Marina Volpicelli
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sorry the post was so long. I warned you! There is just so much background with eating with me I wasn't sure what to say or more importantly, what NOT to say. I do eat a lot of fish, but you are right I might not be getting enough protien. I hit 100g but its counting ALL proteins, even those from what Sears doesn't count (veggies, etc) so if I was to do the block method I would probably end up eating more.

I might try for the free-range chicken to satisfy my internal battle with eating meat.

out of curiousity, why is soy looked at unfavorably? Just not as good results, or is there a stronger reason to avoid it?

thanks everyone who responded to my novel :-)
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Old 04-28-2005, 08:58 PM   #8
Mark Gebhard
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When in doubt, search the archives. Here are a couple of threads on soy:

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/23/3133.html
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/23/4320.html
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Old 04-29-2005, 05:14 AM   #9
Kristi Lees
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I have come to feel that free range chicken breast and wild fish are alot more 'natural' than soy and other veggie alternatives. Often these are very processed and full of 'added extras' as well as being harder for the body to assimilate.
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Old 04-29-2005, 09:29 AM   #10
Beth Moscov
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I have mixed feelings about soy. The big concern is that the natural estrogens in it might cause problems. On the other hand, at my age (43) having a bit extra estrogen to mediate periomenopausal symptoms might not be a bad idea. I haven't done the research on the issues with soy in terms of women in particular but I don't really like it that much anyway so that sort of takes the whole issue into the realm of theory (for me) anyway!
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