Food Quality Part 1: “Little things make big things happen.”—John Wooden

Coach Wooden: “There are no big things, only alogical accumulation of little things done at a very high standard of performance.”

These days my biggest pet peeve is when people reflexively dismiss the importance of food quality.  My initial approach to the subject is often met with rolling eyes and a knee-jerk assumption that I’m some sort of food Nazi.  We’ve been incorrectly brainwashed for so long to think that calorie intake and maronutrient ratios are the only things that matter and that the effect of food quality is only minimal.  The exact opposite is true.  Instead of counting calories and calculating ratios all day, you get much more bang for buck simply by cleaning up your food sources.

I understand.  Talk of organic produce, heavy metal contamination, endocrine disrupting pesticides, damaging additives, food intolerances, and inflammatory grains is very abstract.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, it sounds good but what effect do all those things really have?  Well, as Coach Wooden would say, those little things add up to something very big.

This is when data is really necessary.  Tangible numbers enable clients to see the results of their actions and convince them to change their behavior.  One of my favorite examples to show new clients David G’s chart.  David’s been a client of mine for about 8 years now.  He comes in once a week and has kept strict records of his diet and exercise for the entire time.  I don’t require that kind of dedication from all my clients but it’s awesome because his consistency week in and week out make working with him a fantastic science experiment.  He’s so good at keeping all the variables in place that if his numbers pop up, we can usually pinpoint the one thing that made things go wonky.

The irony is that David didn’t initially believe in the validity of food quality either.  But after spending so much time watching macronutrients and calories and still not understanding why numbers would go up or down, he decided to play around with food sources.  As you’ll recall from my post about body composition, the calipers are an excellent tool for measuring inflammation.  If there’s a food intolerance, impurity, or additive causing inflammation, it will result in water retention that is picked up by the calipers.  While the inflated number is water and not fat, 1) the bloat looks like fat and nobody wants that and 2) prolonged inflammation will result in metabolic disorders that will result in body fat accumulation as well as water retention.

From his chart, you can see how sensitive David’s body comp is to even slight changes in his diet.  Next week we’ll discuss each event in more detail.

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