Nutrition Experiment Week 2: Fats – Part 2

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Week 2 is over and so far the results are promising, and intriguing.   The past week has resulted in a lot of data, and it’s kind of cool in that narcissistic sort of way to make graphs and analyze information you collected about yourself.  But after this second week, I feel strangely proud knowing that I have the power to make small changes, and see tangible shifts in how I feel, and how well I run.

Enough with the empowerment for now. What does the data look like?  In week 2, there was a significant increase in the consumption of plant-based fats (i.e., nuts and healthy oils), which was my goal.  Total Fat consumption for this week rose almost 30% over the control week, while my carb intake fell 30%, and protein dipped a little (<10%), too. As much as I love staring at these numbers and analyzing daily dietary trends, it’s not the most exciting thing to read online, so I’ll try to keep my reflections here to broader, week long trends (that being said, if you want to read about the exact numerical decline in my carbohydrates this week, I can hook you up with my raw data).

How did I feel on my runs this week? Amazing! I’ve been keeping tabs on my energy, mood, and how my body/stomach felt after each run, scoring it from a 1-10, with 10s being the best. On average, my energy increased from a 5 last week to an 8 this week and my mood average rocketed up from a 6 to an 8.  Also, my stomach queasiness, which is a big one for me, went from about a 4 to a 6 out of 10!

To start: “Woah.”  I am kinda amazed by how I felt, even after switching things up for only a week.  As I run, I find myself smiling more, and trying to push myself harder, instead of hating life and cursing the running gods.   My stomach also feels a bit better.  Not perfect mind you, but more mellow.  In general I just feel more balanced.

Another factor that I think is at play here is a shift towards more natural, and less processed foods.  From time to time I notice a food label that resembles a short novel, and I can practically hear Michael Pollan sigh.  It’s such an interesting product of our culture that we swap pronounceable-ingredients and foods that have stood the test of time, for convenience. This balance is one I will continue to explore throughout this experiment.  To consume more whole foods, I made some simple swaps this week, like cutting out processed cereal in favor of eggs cooked in olive oil, and snacking on dry-roasted nuts (not cooked in oil), which have protein, healthy fats, and are super portable.

So, my biggest lesson from this week is to stop and think about what I eat in terms of what my body needs, and how it makes me feel, instead of what is going to taste like.  Try spending a week viewing your body as a machine, and food as its fuel, and spare parts and ask yourself, what does my body need?

Feel good running tip for Week 2:

Short runs are awesome!  Don’t get locked into the mindset that you have to run further every time.  Your body adapts to repetitive excercise and needs variation to make the best gains.  So, if you are stuck in a rut, go for a shorter run at a faster pace to kick up the intensity, or an easy slow run to help your body relax and recover.  Either way, mix it up!

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