The “Drop Dead Healthy Plan” you will see me undertake in Cereal Killers evolved organically throughout a 2 year period of trial, error and omission.
How did I identify my go to foods?
It really was a case of self-experimentation on a grandiose scale. At no point did I consult any practicing medical or dietary professional and my personal research was conducted from a standing start.
As a lean, fit (5 times a day) carbo loading, low-fat food advocate, I figured the medical fraternity would baulk at my quest to drop dead healthy and avoid the heart disease and diabetes prevalent in my family.
So, as I set out on my journey to drop dead healthy I encountered some radical issues right out of the blocks.
Bread may be bad for you?! Who knew?
And then there’s that whole cholesterol bag of tricks. Which I now know to be just that. A bag of tricks.
But the biggie for me was FAT. Fat makes you fat, raises your cholesterol and clogs up your arteries, right? Well….no actually. Sure, the right naturally occurring fats will raise your LDL cholesterol (the misunderstood bad guy?) but they will also improve your LDL particle size (the real bad guy) no end and raise HDL (the very good guy) into the bargain. When you know your way around cholesterol that actually equates to a LOWER risk of heart disease. And no it doesn’t clog up your arteries.
I couldn’t find any studies into eggs with negative metabolic implications. Turns out the perfect way to start your day increases both your LDL particle size and HDL numbers before you can say amino acids. Yes, the closest thing to the perfect food has lots of those too. So I ate 20-25 per week.
Fortunately, there were some easy wins along the way. Oily fish rocks, but we all knew that anyway. It’s an Omega 3 Olympian! So does Olive Oil. And how about those Avocados? A monounsaturated masterpiece if ever there was one!
There were a few Eureka moments along the way, particularly when my research into the different types of fat and their roles in the body lead me to a sleeping giant.
The mighty macadamia nut is 80% fat, nearly all of it of the monounsaturated variety. It has anti-inflammatory qualities we have yet to fully appreciate and the best Omega ratio of all nuts (which are typically heavily skewed towards an Omega 6 imbalance). Roast them for 15 minutes and your life will never be the same again.
Red meat is a tricky one. Lots of studies apparently link it to heart disease so I took some time to familiarise myself with the various methodologies used to test such dramatic claims before diving in. Fancy terms like Cohort studies, Meta-analysis and Causality are all part of the long grass that is medical research. My synopsis is simple. Read the small print! The ability to spin research and results 180 degrees to foster an agenda is a thriving dark art.
So I put 2 kgs of quality red meat on my plate each week for the filming of Cereal Killers to see what would happen. Some, but not all, was 100% grass fed. I learned that grass-fed meat has a nutritional profile more comparable to a wild salmon than its feedlot cousin.
Which takes me to butter. In a head to head with eggs for the title of THE most vilified foodstuff of the last 40 years, I’d have to give butter the nod. Seems everyone but the French fell for this one and they have been sitting at the bottom of the heart disease charts in Europe for a very long time.
Coconut Oil rounds up my Great 8 Fatty Foods very neatly indeed. This natural oil with a very high heat tolerance makes it a great option for cooking while the lauric acid – a Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) – it offers up, is turning heads for an ability to positively impact cholesterol markers. A litany of additional benefits the length of your arm includes improved thyroid function and blood sugar control.
If you’re a bloke and you’re questioning if this is for you or not, there is something else you should consider. A high fat diet can raise your testosterone. Dramatically. From the age of 40, you’re losing 1% a year. That matters. The symptoms of low testosterone read like an old age manual and are best avoided. Let Fat be Thy Medicine.
So to wrap up:
1. Macadamia Nuts
2. Red meat (ideally grass-fed)
5. Oily fish
6. Coconut Oil
7. Olive Oil