I'm going to start this note, intended as a draft for version zero of the Stanford BAN (Bathroom Activation Network, pronounced VAN), with a story of Self (nod thx to EqualityCamp sF).
I grew up really picky about food, not far from the streets of New York, albeit picky in a way that better nourished the agro-industrial complex and my father's latent artherosclerosis. I identify as a supertaster, even though I have yet to double-check this through supralingual, visual inspection, but when I was younger, I used these powers tacitly and unknowingly for Ewil rather than fer Good, as I tried to find my foodie way through the intricacies of Chinese, American, Filipino, and Canto-American-Filipino-NY cuisine.
That is to say, when I was younger (pre&teen yrs) I chowed down on anything which had the HFCS-bit--mountain dew and coke, hamburg buns and all manner of junk. I didn't grow out of being picky, but I grew out of (un)knowingly using food to abuse my body (at least in the mainstream way), and directed my picky- predilection to becoming a connoisseur of food, from peasant food pizzas (New York or Chicago? Been there, ate that :) to legit Kobe beef, from artisan breads to good ol' Salumi (Seattle) Salami.
Needless to say, I wasn't vegetarian at the time, although I remember the time I was interning at Extreme Blue and had two vegetarian teammates (ethics and health- respectively) and the final fourth who kept Kosher hard (Jewnix-hacker) core. And of course some of my most amusing roommates have been militant vegans/veggies, or just vegan-eating vegetarians :)
I learned hella lot more last year at Columbae, steeped in the culture of 70s era activism, where I spent six months leveling up as a bread-baker (after which I spent six months teaching/training myself into bad-ass shape), and learning as much as I could about these other aspects of food. I went to Slow Food Nation as a Youth Delegate (shout out to Miss Wires and Miss Gaines), hit up a Food & Fair Trade convergence in Santa Cruz, and started to master vegan-only cooking with help from a Vegan with a Vengeance, Isa, hailing from Teh Post Punk Kitchen.
So, I'm still picky, I just try to transform that predilection toward making the world slightly better (read: sustainably delicious!) along the way.
Somewhere along the line, I started to discover how nourishing your body, both in spirit and in food, in training and in rest, also affects the mind. I learned about how Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our brainy chemistry, and yet are missing from our Industrialized Western diets. I take O-3 fish oil pills from CostCo, but hope that one day when we stop factory farming our fish and our livestock, pills won't be the only way to get one's "O-3s".
It turns out that as we start feeding our livestock things they shouldn't be eating--corn and each other--they eat less grass (for our leggy friends) and less krill (for our finny friends), both of which are rich in O-3s. Iowa corn farmers may be the most effective farmers in history when it comes to caloric output per unit spacetime, but there's something lost along that linear regression line. We feed corn to our livestock, who can't digest it and, to prevent them from dropping like [insert insect species] we (America) spend most of our antibiotics on our livestock to stay them from their corn-stuffed deaths.
How screwed up is that?
Anyway, I'm early up on this Saturday morning not only because I have conditioning practice in 45 but because I couldn't sleep much last night or the night before. At least it's not like that time over break when I stayed up three days, made myself crash by training hard / consuming livestock prepared at Sprout Cafe / watching "Wanted", slept three hours, and then stayed up another three days without trying to (actually, trying not to!).
But still, I'm wondering if it has to do with how my Warrior Diet intersects with my vegetarian-ness this Terran quarter, and how both of those sacrifice food biodiversity and perhaps micronutrients such as vitamin B12...
I don't know, but I do buy the theory/evidence which supports the use of controlled fasting (not starvation) to reduce inflammation, which makes me want to know more about how it might also manage inflammation-of-da-brain as well, which some posit explains the underlying mechanism of depression.
Well, that's a long story to tell, but I'll get better at telling it, don't you worry :). It was supposed to be an intro to my summarized "Designs for Nourishing ur Body" but that guide will have to be cut short in the interest of time (practice in 40!). So here we go.
Designs for Nourishing ur Body
If you want to keep it simple, listen to Michael Pollan (who paraphrases well-known NYU professor of nutrition Dr. Marion Nestle) when he writes:
Eat food. Mostly Plants. Not Too Much.
Marion Nestle also adds an exhortation to Move but Loco-Motion is beyond the scope of this lil guide :).
Avoid the reductionist extreme of nutritionism, as we know so little about our bodies and yet so much at the same time. Worry about the big picture before you worry about the trees--the macro- and micro-nutrients and their relative compositions.
That said, once you get a hang of Eating food, Mostly Plants, Not so Much, it doesn't hurt to learn a little about macronutrients (but don't obsess?), and a little about micronutrients.
That tis my current philosophy, my idiolect-equivalent in idio-syncratic and idio-socratic terms, to keep it simple, but add in a few bits of my own.
What are these bits?
When in doubt, maximize Fiber, minimize Sugar.
HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) is the high-order bit of junk food. If you avoid HFCS, you probably have enough money and/or wisdom to stay clear of the food-like items that pervade our culinary lives.
Concerned about mental health? Seek out Omega-3.
(Still researching the impact of Vit B12 on mental health.)
Unless you're a Varsity-athlete Vegan, don't worry about protein... as long as you eat a diverse set of foodstuffs.
Eat like a Bodybuilder? 5-7 smaller meals. Max Fiber, Min Sugar.
Eat like a Warrior! If you're devout enough, I do recommend trying the Warrior Diet. For the secular crew, I'm not so sure.
Consider the application of Periodization Strategies--mesocycles and macrocycles--to your eating programs. Lance Armstrong('s coach) does this.
As an aside, he also suggests that just 24 hours of carb loading that follow a short high-intensity training session in that final day before a tourney is as effective as carbo loading throughout the week, but that's a minor point I just wanted to remind myself to try out :)
Okay kiddos, time to gear up for practice.
Peas and love out!