Thursday, May 03, 2012
SAD to MAD: The Non-Diet Diet
As many of you know I’m a dietary lab rat. I’ve tested almost every diet known to man in the name of research but, mainly, my go-to plan when I’ve got to get into peak shape is the non-diet. The non-diet is our Utopian version of the Standard American Diet (SAD) that we give away with every Beachbody fitness program. The overall goal being to create a new template for America: the Modern American Diet, that some might call MAD.
The SAD diet is what’s become of nutrition in this country under the watch of the USDA and Big Food, which is basically by-products of GMO corn and soy and meat and dairy so toxic it has to be rendered practically devoid of nutrients before it’s safe to eat. A while back I commented on the new USDA “food pyramid”, citing that the issue isn’t that it’s too complicated but that most of what American’s eat isn’t on the pyramid at all! The SAD diet, the primary contributor to the most expensive health epidemic in history, is made up almost entirely of stuff that wouldn’t be food in the natural world.
In contrast the MAD diet is, well, food. It’s plants, grains (sorry Cavemen), nuts, seeds, and the occasional animal product from something that wasn’t raised in a dark prison cell and fed toxic garbage. When you eat real food you don’t have to worry too much about calories and such because it’s somewhat self regulating since it’s fiber filled, nutrient dense, and hasn’t been laden with chemicals designed to make you crave more: the direct opposite of what you find in 95% of most supermarkets. You eat based on feel and performance and with a little experience (or guidance) you’ll learn what works best and when. When someone on the SAD diet commits to this transition it will feel magical—like alchemy when, in fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
At this point you might note that Beachbody offers a different nutrition plan with every program. And while you would be correct in a sense, all of these are variations on the same theme; trying to get our customers to swap junk for real food to the point where they don’t need any type of nutrition plan and can eat based on feel. The entry points are different, the strategies vary, but our end result is always the same; you know how to feed your body so that it performs its best.
In my day-to-day life I feel great almost all the time. I sleep well, exercise a ton, have plenty of energy and stay pretty darn healthy. I was joking during my last dietary foray that the only time that I don’t feel good is when I’m trying a new diet. But I’ve still got to do it. Not only does it greatly aid my job it’s been my MO since I was a teenager so why would I stop? If a diet or supplement hits the market that is truly going to alter the planet I’m damn well going to be one of the first to know about it. So a-testing I will go.
The catalyst for this post is my recent experimentations with a taper diet. I’ve re-shuffled this a couple of times, and it’s getting better, but each attempt ends up causing a regression in my own fitness (small but noticeable) because I tweak until it goes awry. If you don’t know the point where something goes off the rails you’re never sure how to standardize your recommendations. So after a month of offbeat eating its time to get back to what I know brings everything back to homeostasis; the MAD diet. Or , ya know, just eating.
On this blog I've cited examples where I use my regular diet, slightly streamlined, to go from everyday weight to competition weight (always slightly under optimal health weight, which should have some extra body fat for reserve). At the end of any Beachbody plan that should be your goal: to understand your body’s relationship with food well enough to eat based on how you feel and get maximum results. Which, when you think about it, shouldn’t seem all the MAD.