Health Fitness

Food fight! Battle of the Bulge, Caveman Style

Every time I hear the phrase “food fight,” I am instantly transported to the Faber College dining hall. John Belushi, “Pluto”, is stuffing his mouth while being told that he is a “PIG PIG”. In response, he asks, “Let’s see if you can guess what I am now?” John stuffs a rounded ball of mashed potatoes into his mouth and proceeds to smash his cheeks with both clenched fists. As the lumpy white stuff explodes over everyone, he yells, “I’m a pimple. Do you understand?” Chaos erupts. John is chased around the dining room, eventually yelling, “Food fight!” Without a doubt, there is more food in the air than on the tables. Yes, a classic scene from the movie Animal House. But this is not the kind of food fight I am referring to in the title. Now we are in the fight of our lives against food, bad food; food that is making us fat and ailing us physically and psychologically. This is our modern food fight.

For most of my life, I suffered from what doctors call IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I called it my faulty, broken, piece of shit stomach. From a very young age, I was poked, poked and examined, while all the doctors told me the same thing: “I can’t find anything wrong.” However, there was definitely a major problem. My stomach seemed to hate food. After more than 40 years, I finally discovered it; It’s not that my body doesn’t like food; it is that he does not like certain foods; and not the foods that are generally considered problematic. In a glorious “Ah ah” moment, I realized what should have been obvious to all of my doctors. All I have to do is avoid certain foods and I am symptom free. No more stomachaches in the morning, running to the bathroom, or feeling like my GI track was connected to a car battery via jumper cables. Today, my stomach no longer feels buggy. The foods that I should avoid are bread (wheat gluten), sugar, and I should limit my intake of fruit.

As I started to do more and more research (thank God for the internet), I realized that for hundreds of thousands of years, man did not eat bread. In fact, the man did not eat beans, Beluschi potatoes, pasta and a whole series of foods that are commonly consumed today. I realized that he had changed my diet to the diet of my ancestors. He had turned me into a caveman! In the process I had an additional benefit. I’m 5’10”. I went from 185lbs to 150lbs before settling down to 160lbs. I went from a 34 inch waist to 31. Wow! Not only did my stomach get fixed, I was in great shape.

When people talk about dieting, it’s often as something they’re doing on a temporary basis. They have a target weight in mind. They struggle, often reaching their goal only to stop eating which caused them to lose weight and return to normal. The result is that they put the weight back on, usually with a few extra pounds to boot. For me, diet is what I eat; not just for now, but all the time. More so, it’s what I don’t eat. Cavemen didn’t drink soda, bake bread, eat processed foods, or stop to buy “junk food.” Me neither. Our ancestors were onto something; something that is now once again gaining momentum and popularity.

Around the world, blogs are popping up about this rebellion against the junk being mass-produced by big corporations and marketed to us as food. One of my favorites is Cooking Caveman with Jeff Nimoy (http://cookingcaveman.blogspot.com). Here, Jeff shares his cave recipes; all organic, no wheat, no sugar, no junk. More than anything, Jeff shares his experiments with food, most of them successful, some not so much, showing us that there are creative solutions to cooking without today’s harmful substances; and that caveman-style cooking can be very tasty, as well as fun. Books like The Evolutionary Diet: What and How We Were Designed to Eat and Lose Weight Fast on the Caveman Diet have hit the shelves. We are being given the weapons and tools to wage war against processed, fast, high carb, sugary and unhealthy foods that are making our society more and more like the characters that stopped walking long ago in the movie WALL-MI.

When I share my thoughts on this concept, people look at me like I’m crazy. “I don’t eat bread. I love bread. How can I not eat bread”, is a typical response. And then when I say I rarely eat sugar (I allow myself a little dark chocolate now and then), they start to slowly back away as if I’m threatening their very existence. And, almost always, I am supposed to ration my food intake. I do not!

I make huge meals. I love eat. For breakfast I eat eggs with sugar-free chicken sausage or ground turkey. For lunch I eat a huge salad with a mix of healthy lettuces, bell peppers, avocado, cucumber and top it with chicken or ground turkey. I dress it with freshly squeezed lemon and extra virgin olive oil. For dinner, I eat another huge salad with a main course of chicken, fish or beef and a side of vegetables. I also make pasta with white or brown rice pasta and make my own sauce (beware of pasta sauce labels, many are full of sugar). Actually, I’m not making a big sacrifice. No wheat, no fast food, no processed food, very little sugar and carbs. After 3 years, it’s not a big deal. And I’m still 160 pounds as I approach the big 5-0. Although I am not living 100% caveman, I am close; Let’s face it, if the caveman could have a killer California zinfandel or some dark chocolate, they would in a heartbeat. Again, it’s about moderation.

As a therapist, I am dedicated to working to create positive change; How can I help others (as well as myself) to create ideas that allow them to transcend, empower themselves and attract happiness into their lives? Do yourself a favor. Try eating caveman for a week. I think you’ll find that after a few days of feeling a little weird (your body will start to get rid of all the toxins created by eating unhealthy foods) you’ll start to feel great. Do not think or say that I am going on a diet. Instead, think about creating a new diet/way of life for yourself. The idea I’m hoping to create is that if you’re reading this, you’re probably feeling tired, low on energy, a little depressed, and feeling unmotivated. Why? Because you’re filling up with contaminated fuel. Think about it. Would you put 50 octane in your car if there was such a thing? Of course, no. Stop giving yourself contaminated fuel. This will be difficult at first. But, as I like to say, “There is no big without hard.”

In the end, you are what you absorb, emotionally, psychologically and physically. To be emotionally and psychologically happy, you need to avoid negative thoughts that create negative feelings (after all, a thought comes before a feeling; many people get this backwards) and instead connect with positive thoughts and embrace positive human values. . To be physically fit, you need to avoid the toxic foods that make you feel bad and instead eat the foods you should be eating that will make you feel good. The combination of positive thoughts and healthy eating will open the door for happiness to enter your life. So start thinking like a caveman and start your fight against bad food today. The only thing you have to lose is your belly!

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