Friday, June 6, 2008

Day 269

Veering off topic a bit today into the realm of Calorie Restriction.

I just finished the book 'The CR Way' by Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill, two big names in the Calorie Restriction community.

I bought my own copy of the book because it has recipes! (the thought of all of those CR-friendly recipes really quickened my pulse!). It's a terrific book, very readable, although I think it's better suited for someone who has already read The Longevity Diet by Delaney/Walford (in order to learn the basics about Calorie Restriction). My one quibble with this book is also the thing I like about it: the emphasis on a particular approach to CR and glucose control. This emphasis can lead the reader to believe that CR is impossible for normal folks (it's not; there are many, many ways to do CR), but as someone who's been dabbling in CR for over a year, it's very compelling.

As part of my 'bootcamp approach' to alleviate my post-heartache-blues, I've been getting up at 5 a.m. again and, per the CR Way, eating a 'teaser meal' before my asana practice. My teaser meal is 50 grams of lightly steamed carrots and a half-teaspoon of cod liver oil, along with a cup of hot water w/ lemon juice.

Okay, I know some of you out there are rolling your eyes, but keep in mind: I don't normally eat sugar, so carrots taste like a dessert these days and I actually like the cod liver oil (it's lemon flavoured!).

I think this has made a real difference in my morning yoga practice. The teaser meal is not a lot of food, but just enough to give me a boost and keep me from feeling famished. The glucose in the meal is supposed to jumpstart the body's metabolism and cause the insulin response to kick in. By doing light exercise afterward, the glucose levels are coaxed down again, but the body is 'warmed up', so to speak, for breakfast, which I eat afterward.

The hardest part about incorporating glucose control into CR is the evening fast, which sounds like such a great idea in theory but it's tough to do. I'm already accustomed to eating supper in the mid-afternoon because I so often teach classes in the evening, but I'm also used to snacks. The CR Way recommends that you eat your supper early (as early as 1 p.m.) and eat nothing else until the next morning. This is a 16 -18 hour fast. I never seem to make it - I almost always cave in and eat a snack in the early evening.

I think I will eventually arrive at a compromise that is suitable to my lifestyle. I like the idea of the fast, but because I'm very active, I think my body needs some calories in the evening - maybe some dried fruits and a few nuts.

Interestingly, this approach to diet is very similar to that of Ashtanga teacher Kino McGregor, who limits her evening food intake in preparation for early morning practice (per this excellent summary from Arturo).

On a related note, I'm continuing to cut sugar out of my diet. My sugar consumption is now limited to one day per week (a few cookies on Sunday). I eat small amounts of fruit-sweetened foods and sugar-free hard candies and I'm gradually cutting back on these. I'm investigating stevia for sweetening my herbal tea. I do have cravings, but I find that I'm able to control them by eating dried fruit a couple times a day. The cravings are most unbearable, of course, during my monthly Ladies' Holiday. ;-) I'm not sure how to handle that!

Practice was great today. I felt strong and clear-headed. The pick-ups are coming along nicely. Every so often, I'll pick up and feel like I'm really strong. Some of the soreness in my triceps is dissipating. Backbends were not great today, but Sirsasana felt good and strong. I held Uth Plutih for 5 solid counts.


alfia said...

Hi, Kai!
I just finished this book, too! I liked it a lot, though the recipes did not make me very enthusiastic so far. :)

rand(om) bites said...

Ha! My nose screwed up at cod liver oil :-) I am finding your posts about CR really interesting. I'm studying Nutritional Medicine and want to focus completely on wholefoods - food as medicine also. No supplements or junk. Sounds like a lot of CR is like this. Might just have to get a copy of that book and check it out more.

Kaivalya said...

Rand(om) bites: I wouldn't recommend this book as a reference because it's a very different approach to CR. Try 'The Longevity Diet' instead.