magical belly.

I eat to fuel my strength and well being.

2014-02-20 13.21.08

I don’t eat (or not eat, rather) to look like a bronzed barbie in a swimsuit come summertime. I don’t eat for a vascular, display of the abdominal muscles all ordered neatly in a row. I don’t use food as a punishment, nor as a reward. I don’t place negative emotions onto a spoon full of sugar, nor do I strip myself the pleasure of a savory meal out of fear that I won’t be able to burn it in the fiery depths of guilt at the gym the following day. I eat to bring clarity to the mind, awareness of the present moment through the senses, and energy to the body through one of it’s purest (and most delectable) forms. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Just like most individuals, it’s a struggle to maintain this positive relationship with food. But for me it’s not much of a choice, it’s the only choice.

As an athlete, I willingly place an immense amount of stress on the body day in and day out. Without such positive energy I would sink into despair in the grasps of a cortisol overload.

As the only grandchild of five without Common Variable Immunodeficiency and tri-weekly blood infusions, I willingly direct a great amount of awareness to the source of said energy. I fear any ignorance or naiveté would bring weakness to my body and allow this demonic gene to show itself.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it) So with this choice, I eat, and I eat well. I don’t label this eating as a “diet,” so as not to not place any negative connotation on the act, it is simply what I am meant to ingest. Whole organic foods, minus a few things.

A few years ago I followed the Paleolithic Diet, stripping gluten and dairy from my diet, and replacing it with meat, vegetables, and limited starch, nuts and fruit. I never “cheated,” forging a love for broccoli, cauliflower, lamb, peppers, and berries, expanding my palate for the healthier things. But that expansion was not only limited to my nutrition, but also to my belly. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Now introducing, the “magical belly.” Feed it a  tomato or a handful of grapes and this belly will perform a trick, distending to a size that can only be compared to that of the Laughing Buddha. This stomach could perhaps pull a bunny out of a hat, but it certainly can’t tolerate or digest certain foods.

While I battle iron weights daily, my biggest fight is often against horrendous abdominal pain, bloat, nausea, gastric reflux, vomiting, constipation and the alternative (I’ll limit the gross talk). All of these symptoms fall under the definition of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which is simply a blanket term for unexplained gastrointestinal issues. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)While my gut may be intolerant to gluten and FODMAPs, it is still full of love for the most delicious of foods.

With the help of the loveliest of nutritionists, Elke Nelson of Whole9, I’ve determined that the best fuel for this body includes gut healing bone broth, lean grass-fed meats, organic poultry, wild fish, good fats, squash, and greens (kale, collards, spinach), supplementing only with fish oil and branch chain amino acids. It provides the perfect balance between strength and energy in my training and health in my body.

And there you go, my belly’s not magical. It’s just an illusionist with a picky appetite, but a wonderful one.

P.S. Here are some of my favorite sites for recipes:

 

3 comments

  1. Isaiah   •  

    Very helpful and real perspective here. I’m still looking for recipes that will help me recover from runs, pull ups and dance practices and what you’ve listed here really helps. I’m not gluten intolerant, but I do have dairy sensitivity and it helps to know there are people out there eating for reasons beyond a physical image.

    Way to go Sam. Keep up the great work.

  2. Melissa   •  

    Great post. It’s amazing the relationship people have with food, has changed from something to fuel our survival to something that we expect to deliver a mind blowing flavor explosion to our senses like an amusement park ride. Granted it’s so very possible to create delicious things that don’t poison us slowly, but that’s secondary. I’m still tweaking my journey, but removing gluten and dairy, and going paleo has been life changing to say the least. I haven’t tried removing nightshades, but I haven’t noticed really anything that points me to needing to, I just need to tweak my sweet potato/fruit intake I think to training days, because I’m not as lean as I want to be. Anyway, we need posts like this in the world to open up peoples minds to the role of food, and how food should be about being healthy and fueling a great life, and “diets” and unhealthy food relationships are just not good. Keep up the good work :)

  3. celicaxx   •  

    Paleo sucks. I eat 400-500g of carbs a day now and weigh the lowest I’ve ever weighed, have the best athletic and lifting performance I’ve ever had, and have the cheapest grocery bills, too. I mostly eat whole wheat pasta, bread (usually white, unfortunately) potatoes and beans and try to get RDA of potassium in most days so I can train hard. I eat like 80-120g protein a day and usually 50-60g of fat. The entirety of all “lifting nutrition” is a giant scam and does not align in the least bit to what actual sports nutritionists at places like the IOC and universities recommend.

    Mind you, this doesn’t mean go out and eat Pop Tarts and Mountain Dew and whatnot, but all this “paleo” stuff is just really sorta disordered eating that’s probably hurting most people’s athletic performance rather than helping it.

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