A Six Week Challenge

What to do?  What to do?  Either as a mechanism of procrastination, or as a legitimate mechanism of study, I’ve really not been doing well the second quarter of the year.  After tightening up my diet and getting some exercise going in the first quarter, with good results to show, the second quarter was more slacking off.  It culminated in a long vacation on a cruise which meant gobbling up tons of junky (but tasty) food, beer, and wine.  Even though we were walking 6-8 miles a day it wasn’t enough to ward off fat gain.  Tomorrow is my first day legitimately back home to actually try and get squared away in this third quarter.  How will I go about doing that?

First of all, I really had success honing in on the Blue Zones type diet and lifestyle design that is spelled out in the Blue Zones Solutions book.  Back in my experimentation days I was starting to put that together, however they’ve now saved me the trouble of doing it.  But there was still something missing.  The guidelines and methodologies were good, but they left a lot of room for slack.  At the same time I started hearing and reading more and more about the nutritarian diet.  It made the biggest splash recently with Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame coming out revealing that it was that diet lifestyle choice that allowed him to lose all the weight.

The nutritarian diet is an eating regiment developed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman which embraces a mostly whole foods plant based diet.  The idea is that you should eat an overwhelming majority of your calories from foods that have a very nutrient density, as measured by how many nutrients you get per calorie of the food.  At the very far ranges are leafy greens (lots of nutrients for few calories) and on the other is candy (zero nutrients for tons of calories).  This isn’t exactly a novel concept, but Fuhrman encapsulates in a way that is more directly applicable.

So what does Penn, or anyone else, eat on this diet?  You eat a lot of plant foods.  Huge salads for lunch and dinner, or salads with vegetarian stews.  You eat lots of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.  You eat a reasonable portion of nuts, avocados, and whole grains as well.  If you want to eat this as a pure vegan diet you can, but the diet itself prescribes about ten percent of calories per week as coming from animal based products or “treats.”

Is this a segue from the original Blue Zones lifestyle habit I was thinking of pursuing?  Actually, they have a great deal of alignment.  I’m going to detail that more extensively later but the Venn diagrams between the two diets has a substantial amount of overlap.  The Blue Zones diets in the pure form probably have more olive oil in it than the nutritarian diet, and it may have a bit more animal products as well, but the general foundations are very similar.  For this reason I’ve decided to follow the nutritarian diet style with the Blue Zones lifestyle changes.

To bootstrap the whole process the nutritarian diet actually has a six week “introduction” phase which is far more strict than the life-long version of it.  Essentially you are eating the vegan version of the diet with the minimum additions of oils, salt, and grains.  It sheds the ten percent rule and has you go hard core one hundred percent in.  I’m up for that.  I need something to focus my butt and get my system back into gear.

Over the next six weeks I will be strictly following the nutritarian diet plan.  I will be documenting that process to see how I’m adapting.  I will be starting to work in the lifestyle choices of the Blue Zones.  Those things together will allow me to come up with a cohesive definition of my lifestyle design.  I won’t have my starting biomarkers, which frankly would be skewed from several weeks of excessive eating and drinking, but should have them measured at the end.  All of this I intend to track and trend as I was my previously aborted rotating diet experiment.  This time with far better results.  Wish me luck!