Welcome modern “Man”

By: Quinton de Bruin

The image of someone sitting on the couch, eating a bowl of chips and a cheese stuffed crust pizza and washing it down with a beer while catching the latest rugby game is a distinctly different one a man wearing animal skins, spear in hand hunting for his next meal.

Over time we have created an environment that is based on convenience, the next big thing is something that makes life easier. And in terms of food, that is bringing the hunting for food into the local supermarket – quite a distance in terms of 'progress'. Fresh food is always available yet so is easy to prepare alternatives, food in bags, shrink-wrapped packaging and cardboard boxes. As we sit on the couch consuming some of these, the by-product seems to be a significant number of lifestyle diseases – Coincidence? Possibly, but with a young son I'm not overly excited about leaving that to chance.

With that in mind, here is a piece paraphrased out of a book by Pete Evens (yes the chef – note not nutritionist – from My Kitchen Rules):
"It is important to point out that, of the three major macronutrients, protein, fat and carbohydrates, the only one for which there is no recognised or established human dietary requirement in any medical or physiology textbook anywhere is carbohydrates. Although the human body does require a small amount of glucose for its day-to-day functioning – and in an emergency – all we ever need can be supplied through two internal processes: Gluconeogenesis (the process through which glucose is manufactured from proteins and fats) and glycogenolysis (the breakdown of stored/surplus carbohydrate in the form of glycogen found in your liver and muscle tissue) ……… The primary source of energy humans are best designed to rely on is fat (ketones, the energy units of fat, and free fatty acids) – your body's and brain's super fuel. Fat contains more than double the calories per gram of carbohydrates, is far more efficiently stored and can be readily drawn upon, evenly burned and effortlessly relied upon for energy for extended periods of time, even in the absence of regular meals. When your body is accustomed to burning fat (and not sugar) as its primary source of fuel you are hungry less frequently, have far fewer, if any, cravings, have much more reliable energy throughout the day, have stabilised moods and better cognitive function, less inflammation and increased blood flow to your brain – up to 39 per cent more."

Some real support there for eating clean, natural and unprocessed foods. Not being a nutritionist, it would be great to get a perspective/opinion from someone based more on the thinking that carbohydrates are essential to one's diet. While training for the endurance season, this would very closely represent how I ate, so there is no disputing this for me, yet it is only one side of the coin. Might be a good time to get our very own nutritionist Mel to comment from a nutritionally educated perspective. Let's see how that piece develops.

As I work my way through a pantry to set it up for the challenge which officially kicks off on Monday 31st January, I came across the row of cereal boxes and it reminded me of a story from history based on rather influential men. In February 1852 John H Kellogg was born. He and his brother Will K. Kelloggs are the founders of what we know now as the Kellogg's brand. They started the Sanitas Food Company to produce their whole grain cereals around 1897, a time when the standard breakfast was eggs and meat, they advocated (apparently based on their religious beliefs, which I cannot confirm) that people ate porridge, farina, gruel, and other boiled grains. John and Will later argue over the recipe for the cereals (Will wanted to add sugar to the flakes). So, in 1906, Will started his own company, the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, which eventually became the Kellogg Company, triggering a decades-long feud. John then formed the Battle Creek Food Company to develop and market soy products.

A patient of John's, C. W. Post, would eventually start his own dry cereal company, Post Cereals, selling a rival brand of corn flakes. Dr. Kellogg later would claim that Charles Post stole the formula for corn flakes from his safe in the Sanitarium office.

I have heard this shift in food conditioning was later to become the moment that the food pyramid as we now know it came into being. Am I the only one who thinks it's odd the USA food guide pyramid is created by the United States Department of Agriculture? How objective would that be?

I find it fascinating that through history people who are true pioneers have changed the way in which we live and in this specific case, what we as a specie would eat to fuel and nourish our body and mind. I find myself asking whether an innovation such as this is one based on a financial gain or a genuine improvement on the food we consumed before. My car runs quite well on 91 Unleaded petrol, what if I started putting diesel into the fuel tank? Once again an expert in the field of human nutrition could have a great opinion on this.

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


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