Batman and Robin, Kobe and Shaq, Starsky and Hutch, Mary Kate and Ashley ? the world is full of tag team duos. Now of course these duos couldn’t have become what they are without some support. Batman has that like, smart butler guy, Kobe and Shaq had a bunch of other big dudes on the team, Starsky and Hutch had police scanners and guns, and we all know that Mary Kate and Ashley wouldn’t be didley squat without Uncle Joey, let alone Deej, Sags, and Dave Coulier. There is a digestible dynamic duo as well, and sure they’ve got support from elsewhere, but a meal without these two lacks metabolic healing power. A meal without the duo is like, well, Michael J. Fox when he’s not wolfed out, and when Michael J. Fox isn’t wolfed out, no matter how hard he tries, Styles just isn’t as cool (even when adorned by his ?What are you looking at dicknose?? tee-shirt).
Apologies for the unintelligible references there, but I was recently inspired by a comparison of a highly skilled professional baseball player and the city of Fresno uniting ?like Voltron. It was at that moment that I knew I had to step it up.
The dynamic duo is not broccoli and carrots. Nor is it flax oil and granola. And believe it or not it’s not butter and cheese. The dynamic duo is none other than protein and starch.
Like I said before, no duo can act alone. Protein and starch need support. They need a ?full house? of complementary foods such as vegetables and fats, but if your goal is metabolic healing, also known as getting the biochemical systems of your body in optimal balance, then protein and starch are two items that you simply can’t win the game without.
When protein is digested it is broken down into amino acids. Amino acids are the good stuff that your body is trying to get at with that whole digestion thing. The amino acids can then be stored in muscle tissue for building and recovery.
The hormone in your body that is responsible for the storage of amino acids is our buddy insulin. Mr. Insulin has taken many an Insult over that past couple of decades, and all of the research linking high insulin levels to just about every chronic disease and physiological imbalance in the human body is almost 100% correct. However, many have been overly eager to label insulin as the greatest enemy, something humans like doing because that is more easily tangible for our stupid, simplistic, little minds.
This is wrong. Insulin is your friend. And yes friends can be obnoxious from time to time, and there is always the potential that your friend will bum your couch and eat up all your food ? especially if your friend is me, but you’ve gotta have friends, regardless of how annoying they can sometimes be.
All in all, insulin is a building hormone. Nutrients, sugars, and amino acids cannot be stored into your cells without it. Insulin is just as important as any other chemical in the body. Without insulin your cells would literally starve and you’d wither away ? the reason why type I diabetics must take insulin in order to survive.
The starch is important because it raises insulin levels steadily, not causing a spike and crash, and allows the protein to be effectively utilized by your body. The starch is also important because it is broken down into glucose, aka blood sugar. Glucose is the body’s premiere source of fuel. If you don’t get it in the form of starch or sugar, the body can actually convert protein into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. It can also tear down the protein in your muscle tissue to supply glucose, a common occurrence among starvation dieting, no-carb dieting, and even when meals are spaced too far apart. This really prevents metabolic healing.
This is why protein and starch go together like Turner and Hooch. They are the MVP’s of the metabolic miracle.
To take full advantage of the potential of this Seigfried and Roy-caliber combination, there are certain guidelines to follow, but I assure you that if followed religiously for an extended period of time the results will undoubtedly come.
The first guideline is to eat starch, not sugar, and never look at sugar as a starch substitute. In other words, when you do have a little sugar, make sure it is combined with starch for better blood sugar and insulin regularity. The ultimate starch would be beans and legumes, but few can digest these without problems. Second on the list are whole, intact grains, like brown rice. Again, whole grains are more of a digestive battle that not everyone can win. Third would be starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, potatoes, corn, and turnips. Almost everyone can tolerate these. And finally, for those with the poorest digestion of all, white rice and pasta can function as acceptable starches. Breads would be last on the list, but they are still starches, not sugars, and are fundamentally different in how they affect insulin levels. Sugars are unique in that they cause insulin spiking, where insulin rises higher in proportion to the rise in blood sugar, which disrupts the goodness of the starch-protein combo and leads to elevated cortisol levels, tissue breakdown, hunger, emotionality, decreased mental aptitude, and other hormone-related disturbances.
Guideline number two is based on maintaining positive nitrogen balance. Nitrogen levels are high when the body is in its anabolic building state. Positive nitrogen balance can be maintained much better on any no sugar diet that contains plenty of protein, but is enhanced to an ever greater degree by the following two things:
First of all, protein is digested in approximately three hours. Three hours after digestion your body begins to tear itself down to get what it needs in a state of negative nitrogen balance. To prevent this, and thus maximize the time in which your body is in positive nitrogen balance, it is ideal to eat a meal that contains the dynamic duo in proper proportions every 3 hours during the day. Eating a meal at say, 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm would be optimal. Four meals would be better than three. And three meals with two between-meal snacks works too. Still, to get the body in balance most effectively, the more exact you can be with the ?dosage? of your food and the timing of your ?injections? the more successful you will be. The greater the equality between feedings, the more easily the body can make the necessary adjustments.
This brings up the second tool for maintaining positive nitrogen balance ? eating the perfect amount of starch at each sitting. Diana Schwarzbein, Barry Sears, and other endocrinology-based contributors to nutritional science are into the whole counting carbs thing for a reason. Because nearly everyone suffers from having insulin levels that are way too high, and carbohydrates are the primary stimulator of insulin release, it makes perfect sense to be more exacting on the quantity of carbohydrates consumed. The ideal amount varies depending on the severity of your hyperinsulinemia, your amount of physical activity, etc., but the absolute minimum appears to be 25 grams of starch every 3 hours. The maximum is probably 50 grams per 3 hours for the highly active. You don’t have to really obsess over this, just think ?not too little, not too much. A typical burger bun or baked potato is perfect. Just don’t have burger bun, and chips, and corn on the cob, and baked beans, and a Coke, and fruit all in one sitting like you might at a summer barbecue. Just pick one ‘serving? of any kind of starch and call it good, to which I wouldn’t advise adding a 32-ouncer of sweet liquid beverage.
Protein amounts can be looked at a little more loosely, but you still need to eat plenty to maximize metabolic healing. In fact, animal protein is probably the best asset someone with a pronounced metabolic disorder has. The preoccupation with hormones and toxins in meat, mercury in fish, and the general idea that meat may be unhealthy is keeping many people from healing from obesity, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, diabetes, and other symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome. I’d love it if meat was produced properly, and it is important to eat properly-cultivated food if possible, but it is not a requirement for healing yourself from the most imminent 21st century disease: biochemical disarray. Barry Sears has shown quite convincingly that the human body can heal even when a considerable portion of your food intake comes from Taco Bell. You may have your doubts about this, but I, who have really, really, really, really thought about this, and who for years designated fast food restaurants as establishments solely for the purpose of no-flush defecation, do not.
Protein requirement varies depending on your amount of lean body mass and your activity level. I won’t get into the calculations here, but 20 grams of protein per 3 hours is about the minimum, and 40 grams is about the maximum. A quarter pound, as in Quarter-Pounder, has about 30 grams. 4 eggs have about 25 grams of protein. A few ounces of fish meet the requirement. Legumes unfortunately are too high in starch in relation to protein to achieve the desired effect. Tofu is the only exception. Long-term, a vegan is much, much, much, much better off eating mountains of tofu and drinking Spirutein than not getting enough protein.
And that’s that. Throw in some veggies and moderate amounts (a tablespoon or so per meal) of added fat from an unadulterated source, be consistent about eating precisely every three hours, and avoid simple sugars and magic happens in direct proportion to your level of patience. I don’t want to say this is for everybody, but you’d have to try it for months without results to convince me that this wasn’t the most sustainable, therapeutic type of eating for you.
??by eating small meals and snacks throughout the day, you are essentially creating an intravenous drip of nutrients (especially protein which stimulates glucagon) into the body, thus keeping insulin levels in a zone. This maintains a steady level of blood sugar, so that hunger is not present and mental acuity remains at peak levels throughout the day.
Barry Sears; The Age-Free Zone (1999)
??you should reduce simple carbohydrates overall if you want maximum fat loss. This is one of the many tricks bodybuilders use to get so lean ? they cut out refined sugar completely, but they even cut back on natural sugars too, opting for starchy and fibrous carbohydrates instead.
Tom Venuto; Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (2006)
?One of the most dangerous myths in nutrition today is that you should only eat when you are hungry. This is simply not true. One of the tenets of the Schwarzbein Principle Program is something most people will initially find surprising: you should eat at least four, and preferably five, times a day even if you are not hungry.
Diana Schwarzbein; The Program (2004).
?’the practice of eating small, frequent meals ? one approximately every three waking hours is by far the most effective way to speed up your metabolism. It’s so effective in fact, that when you see the results, you may wonder why you’ve ever had any difficulty losing body fat in the past.
Tom Venuto; Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (2006)
?Eating proteins without carbohydrates breaks you down. Eating carbohydrates without proteins builds too much fat. Eating balanced amounts of them together with healthy fats and plenty of nonstarchy vegetables is the key to good health.
Diana Schwarzbein; The Program (2004)