My Diet Home Base
I have a home base or “go to” for just about everything. And by that I mean the thing – however ordinary, ornate, ominous, or obligatory – I’ll always default to when in a pinch or when I know I won’t be able to make up my mind and just want something familiar.
Home base restaurant (general): Chipotle
Home base movie: GoodFellas
Home base television show:
House Hunters International Fresh Prince of Bel Air re-runs.
Home base book: anything written by Kurt Vonnegut (or has lots of pictures).
Home base lazy day activity: hanging with my cat or going to the local bookstore.
Home base musical artist: Norah Jones. Whatever dude, don’t judge me! I saw that REO Speedwagon mix tape in your glove compartment.
Home base is simple. It’s what we know. It’s consistent. No matter what, it’s what we’ll always gravitate towards when left to our own devices and just want to go with the flow. It’s home.
Many of us have forgotten what our home base is when it comes to diet and nutrition.
There’s a lot of noise out there to distract us. Every week there’s a new diet book that hits the New York Times Best Seller list.
Last week it was Paleo Rules: The Ultimate Diet We Have Little Proof Existed In the First Place and Meant Different Things to Different Parts of the World Depending on What Food Was Available to Them At the Time (Yet Will 100% Cure Everything, Ever. Including How Fat You Are)1, and this week it’s the seminal hit, Gluten Is Basically Worse Than Ebola2.
Adding fuel to the fire, one week dietary fat is bad and will steal your lunch money, and the next it’s our BFF. A few years ago intermittent fasting was all the rage. Now it’s all about if-it-fits-your-macros, yo!
NOTE: for an excellent, all-encompassing (free) resource on intermittent fasting go HERE.
It’s no wonder so many people are so confused on what to eat! I overheard a conversation not too long ago between two women at Panera where one of them was having a mid-life crisis on eating an apple before bed. She had been so indoctrinated that all carbohydrates were bad, she needed to find solace from her friend to reassure her that it was okay. The fructose police weren’t coming after her.
Listen, I’m not a hater. I recognize that what works for one person, may not be an ideal fit for the next. I also recognize there’s going to be a bit of experimentation to figure out what works best for any one individual. If you want to eat nothing but grapefruits for 17 days or ingest some magical pills that have you shitting detox rainbows, have at it!
I feel the whole “detox” trend is BS, but if that’s your bag so be it.
If it works for you and it makes you happy, cool. However, I do feel it’s important to have a home base. A place you can feel “safe” and revert to when things get dicey or unclear.
Using myself as an example, I know what works for me and what makes my body feel good. I remember I did an intermittent fasting experiment two years ago for a month to see what all the buzz was about. I hated it.
I typically train between 9-11 AM and my lifts suffered because I’d get halfway through my session and think about nothing other than when I was going to eat.
I lasted 3-4 weeks and reverted back to my “normal” diet. Lots of whole eggs, beef, chicken, fruits/veggies, etc. Sounds very Paleolike, right? I guess you could say I roll with that crowd…..to a degree. Keep reading.
I also remember a stretch where Lisa and I went hardcore Paleo. We took grains, lentils, and beans out of our diet. We also omitted peanut butter – GODDAMMIT!!! – and pretty much all dairy. It was tolerable, but I noticed after awhile I was feeling a bit more lethargic and tired during the day – especially in the mornings, which shouldn’t happen after 9-10 hours of quality sleep.
It didn’t take long before I went all Wilford Brimley and said, “fuck this I’m eating my oatmeal.”
I felt better.
I know my body. I know my body handles carbs well3; I know it prefers a big breakfast every morning; I know it prefers I “taper” carbs as the day progresses; I know it likes potatoes, beans, oats, grains, and everything else people who like to sell books hate; I know it loves eating dead animal flesh; I know it can handle dairy (I’m obsessed with cheese); I know supplements aren’t going to trump real food; and I know it loves mine and Lisa’s “Date Night,” where we go out to eat every Saturday night and not only eat bread, but ask for more than one basket. And then we eat dessert.
If I’m paying $30+ for an entree you better believe I’m having some carrot cake!
I know what works for ME and what allows me to hit my goals. If I ever stray too far away from what I know works, I can always go back. That’s the beauty of having a home base in the first place! Once you know what it is, you know where to find it.
It may take you or someone you know a bit longer to define home base – it can mean different things to different people. For some, home base is 10% body-fat year round and being able to “fuel” every grueling workout. For others, home base is eating GMO, organic sawdust. And for others, home base is eating well-balanced diet (what ever that means).
The point is: a home base exists. It works for YOU. You feel great and it allows you to reach (and MAINTAIN) your goal(s).
Basically what I’m trying to say is: oatmeal is my home base.
UPDATE: maybe I need to write a little sumthin, sumthin in my training home base?