When it comes to diets and dietary advice, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. For every study that shows that one particular food is bad for you, there’s another study showing …
In this episode of the Running Lean podcast, I break my silence about making the switch to eating meat again. Many of you know that I’ve been a big proponent of the plant-based diet for the last 10 …
My name is Patrick McGilvray. And I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve learned that running more and eating less does not work for weight loss, and that there’s a better way. Now I help runners like you to get leaner and get stronger, so you can run faster and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode number 32 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray. I’m your host, and weight loss coach for runners. And if you’re just checking out the podcast for the first time, or recently, and you are hoping to find The Running Mind podcast, well guess what? I changed the name. That’s all, same content, just a different name. It’s called Running Lean. And eventually I’ll change the website. That’s a whole nother thing I got to do.
But welcome to Running Lean. That’s the name of the podcast now. Cool, cool. Awesome. How are you today? I’m good. I just got done with a five mile run. I ate some food, some eggs, some bacon, some avocado, a little Greek yogurt with a couple of strawberries. And I feel good. And that’s kind of what we’re talking about today.
The fact that I have recently changed my mind about eating meat. I’m breaking my silence, I’ve made the switch to eating meat again. So if you know me, if you’ve known me for some time for awhile, you may know that I’ve been a big proponent of eating a plant based diet for like the last 9 or 10 years.
So now hearing that I’m eating meat again, may come as a surprise to you, it may be shocking to you. So I wanted to just be completely forthright with all of this and record this episode to explain what led me to this decision why I made this switch and answer questions about you know why now and talk about the impact that it’s had on my overall health and my athletic performance.
And then I also want to talk about what this means for you, you know, whether as a listener of the podcast, or as a potential or current coaching client of mine. So I think this is going to be very interesting episode. It was very interesting for me to like, write some notes about this, and really just speak from the heart. But that’s what’s going on today. So that’s what you get to look forward to hear in a moment.
If you haven’t already, come and check us out on Facebook, we got this awesome community of people. It’s the Running Lean community. And it kind of goes hand in hand with this podcast. It’s an energetic positive group of like minded runners who share common goals like losing weight, wanting to run easier and living a more vibrant life. You know, I do these weekly live trainings on a host of topics like running mindset, nutrition for runners, weight loss, and just a bunch of other stuff.
Here’s a recent comment from one of the members of the Running Lean community on Facebook, Josh and Josh says, “Thank you for doing such great work. You’re gifted with simplifying the complex and confusing jargon. We are bombarded with your experience and understanding of the runners mindset hits a home run by me.”
Oh my gosh, Josh. Thank you. That was really sweet. And it is something that I really work hard on. So I’m really glad that you made this, this observation. Because I work hard to learn everything I can. I soak it all up, I read the scientific papers, I read the books, I follow all the leading experts. I’m constantly learning, constantly consuming information about nutrition and diet and weight loss and mindset and what this all means for us as runners. And not just like the elite athletes, the Olympic gold medalists, like we’re weekend warriors, you know, we’re middle of the pack here.
So what does this mean for us? And it doesn’t mean we’re not capable of amazing things because we are. We are capable of some amazing, incredible things. And my job, my goal here is just to break all this information down. Let’s apply it for us. Let’s see what works. I want to help you accomplish those amazing things. So check us out. Just go to Facebook search for Running Lean community. Join us it’d be fun to have you there.
Also, I want to let you know that losing weight and becoming a fat-adapted runner, it’s kind of hard to do on your own. Part of that is why I have the Facebook group so you can get some some motivation and some support. I also want you to know that I offer one-on-one coaching.
Listen, we are all different, we all have different goals. We all have different needs. We all have different lifestyles, working one on one with me, you’ll learn exactly how to become a lean fat burning running machine in a way that works for you. You get the help and guidance, you need to work through obstacles, you get a personalized step by step action plan that will get you to your goals.
You get the accountability for your results, you get the motivation you need from me to keep you moving forward. And you get these tools and these skills that you’re going to learn that will help you improve every aspect of your life. Just imagine how much easier losing weight will be when you have someone right there with you. Someone like me showing you exactly what to do and holding you accountable.
Ditch the sugar and carbs, get fat-adapted, lose weight, feel better, have more energy, run easier, get leaner, get stronger, run faster, run longer than you ever thought possible. Just go to innerfiretribe.com/weight-loss-coaching. That’s a terrible URL. I’m sorry for that. I gotta fix that.
Weight Loss coaching with dashes in between, there’s basically what it is.
And then you can apply for one on one coaching with me, we’ll get on a call, we’ll talk about if this is a good fit for you. You can also, anytime I mention a link, you can just go to the show notes for that episode. And if you’re looking at it on your let’s say on your iPhone, in your podcast app, just click that Details button. And you’ll get all the notes and the links are right there. You can just click the link. You don’t have to remember all these slash dash and all this other stuff. Okay, just click the link in the show notes. And, and let’s get you to your goals. Cool. Awesome.
Okay, so just so you guys know, I’ve been thinking about recording this episode for some time. Now, I have not really been talking about this publicly that I’ve switched from being plant based to a more omnivorous type of diet, that I started eating meat again, I’ve been sort of hiding this. And it didn’t feel right to me, I felt like I was not being truthful.
I didn’t feel like I was being honest and open about what I was doing. And here’s why I was afraid, I was afraid of what people would think of me. If they found out that this plant based guy has now switched to you know, eating meat.
You know, I might lose some friends. I’ve got a lot of friends who are big proponents of like a vegetarian or a vegan or plant based diet. And these are great friends. And I love these people and I don’t want to lose their respect, or I don’t want to lose them as friends. And that’s what I’m afraid of.
But I can’t keep my silence any longer. I just feel like I have to talk about this so that I can be completely in alignment with who I am publicly and privately. I want to be transparent. And I want my message that I communicate to you guys to be in full alignment with my personal values and beliefs. Okay, and I was afraid to do that.
Now, I know that no matter what I do or say that some people will not like me. And that goes for all of us. Some people will, some people won’t. No matter what stand I take. Some people will not like what I’m about to say here today. And basically talking about, you know, how eating meat is not that bad, okay.
When I went to a plant based diet, and I started talking about that, and I’m gonna give you a little backstory here in a minute, but when when I went to that kind of a diet, I got people calling me stupid, people telling me I was going to be sick and diseased and ruin my life. Because I wasn’t eating animal based proteins.
Basically the same thing I’m finding is happening. Now that I’ve switched back to eating meat I get people they’re not really calling me stupid not yet. Probably after this episode comes out and I share it. But I’ve had some interesting comments from some people that have, you know, kind of found out that the cat kind of got laid out of the bag a little bit recently in a comment on Facebook that I made about what I eat.
And I mentioned bacon and eggs or something like that. And then I got a few comments from people about you know, I’m going to kill myself basically. So no matter what you do, you guys just so you know, there are going to be people that don’t like it or don’t agree with you, and that’s okay.
So I might, I might get some unfollows, I might have some unfriends. And that’s okay, it means that I’m just taking a stand and I’m standing up for what I believe in, it means that I actually have a stand to take, it means that I actually have strong values and beliefs, and I’m not afraid to share them.
It really doesn’t matter what people think of me, it really doesn’t. It has nothing to do with me at all. And honestly, what I eat has nothing to do with you either. Now, I say that and I get it that I’m out here, talking about nutrition and talking about athletic performance and sharing this information that I know that there’s a certain amount of bias there, I get that. I try to be as unbiased as possible in my message, just so you know, we’re gonna get into that too, today.
But here’s the thing, I don’t base my friendships, or the respect I have for other people based on what they eat. I really don’t. I have friends who post pictures of food that they eat on Facebook. And it’s a bunch of crap. Okay, fast food 180 ounce sodas, or whatever they are. And you know what? I click ‘love it’. I say, ‘I love you’. I think that you do you, you know what I mean?
I don’t judge people based on the fact that they’re eating, you know, McDonald’s and funnel cakes and drinking large sodas, I don’t really care. Now, I don’t really think that’s a really healthy way to live your life. But that’s not for me to decide, okay. And here’s the thing, I’m not sharing this information today to try to convince you that you should do what I do.
Or that one way is right. And another way is wrong. I’m not trying to change hearts or minds here. I’m sharing this information because I want to be in integrity with myself. And I want to be in integrity with you. And I want to be transparent and honest. And I want you to know the truth. Cool. Cool. That’s why I’m doing this here today.
So here’s a little bit of a backstory. I started running later in life back in like, ‘04, ‘03, ‘04. And from the very start, I was very focused on nutrition. I was reading everything I could and trying all kinds of things. To try to make running better. Like I wanted running to be easier. I started running marathons.
And I was like, I’ve got to figure out a way to make this as easy as possible, what can I do. And all the evidence at the time was really pointing towards this high carbohydrate, low fat diet, the same thing the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggested back in the 80s. And in the carbo loading, that, you know, early marathoners, we’re proponents of and things like that.
And then the low fat part of that, you know, so lean meat, you know, stick with like just chicken or turkey and maybe some fish, but stay away from red meat and bacon and eggs and all this other stuff. And so my diet progressively got more higher carbohydrate, I guess, and less fatty. So I just went like, if meat was bad, basically, then vegetarian was better.
And so after a few years, I went pretty much full vegetarian, I don’t know ‘06, or ‘07, something like that. And then went fully like plant-based at the end of 2011, somewhere around there sometime in 2011. And because I kept thinking, okay, if I just get rid of these fats, then that’s going to be the answer, right?
And so I just kept limiting the amount of fats and the animal products and all that stuff. So totally plant based, starting in 2011. I even got so into it. I like started this recipe blog called The Vegan Road, and it’s still out there and I got a bunch of recipes out there. Honestly, though, even as a plant based, they’re like, a lot of sugar high in carbs like I did. They’re probably not awesome recipes. I wouldn’t go, you don’t need to go check it out. There’s a lot of sites out there that have better recipes these days.
Okay, but anyway, at the time, it was a passion of mine. I was really passionate about plant based nutrition for runners. Okay. I saw this movie called Forks Over Knives and it just talked about the plant based diet and how it was so good for you. And then they kind of put out this call for people to share their stories, you know, and that they would publish them on their website or whatever.
And so I submitted a story, I got kind of a before and after picture, and they published it. And so I got a lot of attention from that, you know, a lot of attention, it was actually like, overwhelming in a way, you know, because here I am, I’m really into this topic and really into nutrition and stuff like that, but I wasn’t like a big expert.
So and then I figured, you know what, I should probably become an expert. And so I actually attended this program through Cornell University, which was a plant based nutrition certification program. And so I did this program, got certified and was kind of like sharing a lot of the information.
And that’s kind of when when I started sharing more of this information, that’s when people started telling me that I was stupid and telling me that this was dumb, and, you know, whatever. But it was something that I believed in, you know, at the time, and it was, it was working for me, you know, I was able to do a lot of long distance running and a lot of endurance events.
I mean, pretty much all the stuff I’ve done, for the most part has been on a plant based diet. You know, I ran like 14 plus marathons, dozens of ultra marathons, I did a 50 miler, a 100 miler, an Ironman, and it pretty much had good results, for the most part. Now, could they have been better based on what I know now, you know, if I had adopted more of a low carb, higher fat type of diet?
Even plant-based, but becoming fat-adapted, is kind of the key that a lot of endurance athletes are latching on to now. And the data that’s coming out, and the scientists coming up about the benefits of that are pretty incredible. So could those results have been better? Yeah, probably.
But at the same time, I was having some, you know, pretty decent results. And I was able to do a lot for somebody on a plant based diet back then. And the other thing is like, at the same time, there were plenty of people out there that have always gotten great results, eating an omnivorous diet, plenty of people.
So what’s the answer here? You know, is there an answer? Is there a right way to do this or a wrong way to do it? And then really quickly, I want to talk about the difference between a plant-based diet and vegan. So I always talk about following a plant-based diet. That’s the kind of diet that I focused on. Basically, you’re just eating nothing but plants, so no animal products whatsoever. So no dairy, no eggs, not even honey, because it comes from bees, they consider that an animal product.
But a plant-based diet is nutrition centric. You hear a lot of athletes talk about a plant-based diet. And so the focus is on the food that you’re eating, and your personal health and athletic performance, basically, okay. And then there’s vegan. Vegan is a little different, same type of diet, you eat nothing but plants, no animal products, no dairy eggs, no honey. Also no leather. So you wouldn’t like, buy a leather belt or leather shoes or anything like that, or any other thing that comes from animals.
Vegan is more animal rights centric. So when you say I’m vegan, that kind of means, you know, for most people that it’s a, it’s a lifestyle, it almost has more of like a religious feel about it. Vegans tend to be more vocal about animal rights and things like that, they tend to be a little more evangelical.
Typically, they want to try to convert people. And think that’s where the kind of religious aspect comes from, you know, they want to change hearts and minds. And I was just never like that. I was never super vocal, I wasn’t really telling people what to do, or telling them that what they’re doing is wrong or bad.
And a lot of people in the vegan community. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the term militant vegans. I mean, I’m not trying to paint a bad picture of anybody or anything like that. But that’s a term out there that people use that are pretty hardcore. And that will kind of shame people for eating meat and things like that. So I was never into that. Okay, I just that’s not my jam at all.
Okay, I kind of stayed in my own lane. I did my own thing. And really just tried to be a good example, I guess more than anything else. So I lived in this world, this world of eating a plant based diet, specially for endurance athletes, like I developed a profound understanding of the plant-based diet, especially for runners.
And so here I was the plant-based runner guy. I was quietly advocating for what I thought was really the best diet for everyone. You know, if everyone would just go plant-based we’d all be much healthier, the world would be a better place. And this is kind of what I was taught in my certification program and what a lot of stuff I was reading and listening to kind of pointed to.
So things were humming along pretty well for me, until things began to go kind of terribly wrong for me. So in 2017, I did my 100 miler, the Hallucination 100 at the end of 2017. And after that, I had run like 2000 miles that year, over 2000 miles out here, I was just running all the time. And I decided I was going to kind of back off on my running. So I slowed down.
I kept running, I kept up with it, but just not as much. So maybe running twice a week, three times a week, doing more walking, some strength training, still that kind of thing. And then, over the course of the next three years, basically two to three years, I gained like 40 pounds, you know, I was down to like 160 or so. And I was pushing 200 again. And I was like what is going on here? I really had to figure something out. I mean, I know what’s happening. I knew what was happening with my body.
Now, I didn’t know at the time though, because I’m like, Hey, I’m eating, you know, plant-based diet. I should be fine. Everything should be fine. So I had to really take an honest look at what was happening to me. So at the beginning of this year, at the beginning of 2020 I really started looking at what I was eating.
So here’s what my diet kind of look like, you know, over the last three years, very hard, high carbohydrate, so lots of refined grains, lots of bread, cereals, granola, pancakes, maybe not a ton of gluten because my wife was a big proponent of gluten free so I didn’t do a lot of gluten, but I did enough.
And also, man, I was a cereal addict. I would eat this huge bowl of cereal and granola all mixed together, maybe three or four different kinds of cereal with blueberries or bananas with like maple syrup on it. Oh my gosh, I was a big proponent of maple syrup, too, loved it. So very high refined carbohydrates, lots of Clif Bars, lots of goos and gels while I was running, it was also a very low fat diet, because a lot of the stuff I was reading about was like any kind of fat as bad all fat is bad.
And so when I was eating fat, it was like vegetable oils, you know, the ones that say heart healthy, like canola oil, which I know are just like industrial seed oils, industrial oil in there. It’s just toxic. It’s poison, don’t eat that stuff. By the way, I was eating lots of processed foods.
So one of the things I was a big proponent of was the Beyond Meat brand of products. So they make these beyond burgers. They make these likes, quote unquote, like sausages. But it is like the definition of highly processed foods with a ton of canola oil and things like that. And then so, but they were very satiating to a point.
I liked that idea of eating, getting my protein in and things like that. But they were all plant based. It was all like a plant-based meat substitute kind of a thing. Very processed, though. And then of course, lots of sugar. I was eating tons of fruit because fruit is good for you. Right? I was eating tons of maple syrup.
You guys ever seen the movie Elf and he like carries around a little flask of maple syrup with him? That was like me, okay. Not really, but pretty close. I was eating lots of vegan ice cream. Because it’s vegan, right? It’s fine. I would pour maple syrup on my ice cream. Oh my God, that’s the greatest thing ever.
But here’s what was going on, I was like hungry all the time. I was eating all the time. I never felt full. And so I was like way over eating, way over eating the wrong kinds of foods, was never full, and I felt tired all the time. I was lethargic. Running was terrible. I was only running a couple days a week but it was terrible. My clothes were not fitting any longer. Everything was like super tight. I would put these shorts on that were like I couldn’t even button them up. I just had to throw them back in the drawer. I couldn’t even put them on anymore.
I’d put a shirt on like a button down shirt and it would be so tight. The buttons would be like the shirt would be stretching across the front. It was embarrassing. I didn’t even want to wear those kinds of clothes. You know, I was bloated, my body was inflamed. I had a lot of inflammation. I looked very puffy, very doughy.
Okay, if you can imagine the Pillsbury Doughboy, that’s kind of where I was getting to, okay. And I like was like, Oh, my God, something has to change. So I did this analysis of looking, really taking a good, hard look at what I was really eating. And I had to figure something out. I didn’t really know what to do. But I knew what I didn’t want.
And what I was, all the things that I was doing, all the stuff I just laid out for you there, was definitely not working. And then, you know, I went to the doctor, and I had some blood work done at one point, I don’t know, a year ago or so. And it wasn’t good. You know, she told me I had to, you know, get some of these numbers lowered, or else I was going to be having some issues.
And anyway, so how did I get to the point where I was like, I made the decision that meat was the answer. Well, I thought back to a few years back. So back in 2016, I tried keto for a while because I had been running Ultras and started kind of following some people who were doing like more of a ketogenic type of diet.
So very low carb, high fat, and they were having these great results. And talking about becoming a fat-adapted runner. And I was like, that sounds really appealing to me. How do you do that? And so I started like, just took a deep dive into the low carb high fat diet. Now, I was doing it then as a plant-based person. And so there are differences when you do it that way.
For example, like you wouldn’t be eating meat, obviously, or butter and things like that. So you got to substitute with other good healthy types of fat, like coconut oil, it’s a great saturated fat avocados and avocado oil, olives, olive oil, that kind of stuff.
So there’s plenty of good options. You can do a Keto type of diet, as plant-based, or vegetarian. It’s not that hard. There’s so many good resources out there for stuff like that. So I tried this, I was like, I’m going to do the Keto thing. And so I started counting my carbs.
And I’ll tell you, I got fat-adapted, running got easier. I could run all day, I actually did a couple of 50K’s that summer, without any sugar, without any carbs. And I felt amazing. I felt like I could run all day. I go out for a 20 mile training run. And I just felt like amazing at mile two and amazing at mile 19. Like it was just great.
When I was like, wow, this is awesome. I need to just keep doing this. But here’s the thing. I didn’t keep doing that. I was like why didn’t I keep doing that? And I didn’t have it all figured out. So first of all, number one, I was still eating all the time, I was constantly eating, like, you know, from the morning time I got up in the morning till the time I went to bed just eating all day long.
I was also eating a ton of these artificially sweetened, like desserts. Like I made this like keto ice cream, kind of a thing with some kind of sweetener, like erythritol or something like that. And I was eating this stuff all the time. Well, I know now that the artificial sweeteners will kind of increase your cravings and increase your appetite. So you got to be careful with that. I didn’t know that at the time.
I was eating a ton of highly processed foods like the Beyond Meat and like vegan cheeses and things like that. Lots of vegetable oils. And while I was, you know, running had gotten easier. I wasn’t really losing weight. I wasn’t getting the results I had hoped for. And one of the biggest things is it got really stressful for me, I was counting all these carbs, I had to put everything into an app.
You know, you gotta keep everything below, like 50 grams of carb net carbs a day. And I was just like, this is like crazy. And I look to some people in the ultra running community, the elites like Scott Jurek, who just eats whatever he wants. I mean, he’s a plant-based guy, but he just needs tons of grains and cereals and things like that. Or at least that was my impression.
Maybe he doesn’t, I don’t know, you really don’t know what people eat unless you watch him. But he has like this cookbook and I was kind of following that. And I just gave up what I was doing. And I went back to the high carbohydrate, low fat diet and I wish I had just stuck with it and figured it out.
Because a year later I did my 100 miler, and it was really tough. There’s a lot of very challenging moments there. I was just loaded up with sugar and carbs and my stomach was a mess. I was a wreck for most of that, and I think it would have been a better experience had I stuck with the low carb, high fat type of diet, but I didn’t, I just went back to doing things the other way. And I started gaining weight.
And then, you know, eventually 40 pounds of weight came back over the last couple of years.
So in order to me for me to like go back to that like because this is what I was thinking about earlier this year when I decided I need to change something and I was thinking like, Oh, I got really, I got some good results, and I was doing the Keto thing, I need to revisit that.
So if I was gonna go back to that I had to figure out some of this stuff. I had to find some good sources of saturated fats and complete proteins, I had to get off the highly processed foods and get off the loaded, the toxic oils that are just loaded with toxins and stuff like that. So I had to get rid of that. So what do I do?
And I was doing a bunch of research and reading and watching documentaries and stuff like that. And I read The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Ty Schultz. Oh my gosh, amazing, amazing book. I recommend you read that for sure. I watched ‘Fat’, a documentary, I read the case against sugar by Gary Taubes. I watched that sugar film, which is fun and disturbing. And I read, one of the biggest things that changed my whole beliefs here was reading the obesity code by Dr. Jason Fung.
He’s a nephrologist, a kidney doctor who treats people with type two diabetes and obesity and basically cures them with a low carbohydrate, high fat diet and intermittent fasting. And he has this clinic up in Toronto, and he treats thousands of people. And they have these amazing results.
And you know, I’ve listened to his podcast, and I’ve consumed a lot of what he’s done, a lot of the weight loss teaching and coaching that I do is based on Dr. Jason Fung’s methodologies, which he teaches in his book. So you know, I just started to paint this picture that things are not what I thought they were.
And I came to realize that really, the saturated fats, especially coming from animals are not the problem. You know, this is not why we have heart disease, obesity, type two diabetes, stroke, and a slew of other diseases. The reality of this is that it’s not the fat, it’s the sugar. And sugar is a carbohydrate. It is like the purest form of carbohydrate. So it’s the refined carbohydrates that are the problem.
You know, it’s not the bacon, it’s the bagels, it’s not the eggs, it’s the eclaires. And this was creating a very clear picture for me that, you know, carbohydrates, like sugar and flour, are the reason we gain weight. They are the reason we have tripled the obesity rates here in the US, since implementing the high carbohydrate, low fat diet in 1980. This is the sugars, the refined grains are why so many of us have type two diabetes and heart disease and a host of other what they call Western diseases.
Saturated fat and meat have never been proven to be harmful to our health. The science is very clear on this. And I’m not just making this up, I would encourage you to do your own research and really look into this stuff, you know. And then something interesting here, like when I was in my plant-based in the throes of my plant-based certification program, and really researching all that.
There was a lot of talk about how we’ve evolved to be vegetarians, basically, that, you know, we look at the way our jaws are in our stomachs and things like that. And they can just say like, oh, yeah, so we, you know, we didn’t evolve to eat meat. And I never really felt on board with that. The archaeological evidence just doesn’t point to that at all.
And so, you know, I started doing a deep dive into this and really looking at what the unbiased archaeological evidence shows. And here’s what it shows. The unbiased archaeological evidence shows that humans started eating meat around 2.6 million years ago. This is like just the beginning of the Paleolithic period, or the old stone age, right, which was a period that lasted two and a half million years ago to 10,000 years ago. So it’s a huge swath of time, right, and actually fits nicely with the Pleistocene era, which is the timeframe 2.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago, when we had our last major ice age.
Okay, this was a major evolutionary change for us eating meat. So we began to hunt down and eat animals. We began eating the meat and the bone marrow and the fat and the organ meats and things like that. And this provided us with essential amino acids that we needed. It provided us with the macronutrients that we needed, that helped our brains to grow and our bodies to become larger in size and stronger.
So our brains got bigger, and we became bigger and stronger because we started eating meat, our relatives that were still in the trees, eating fruit and nuts and things like that did not evolve the way we did. So humans did not evolve solely as plant eaters, or solely as meat eaters, either. Also, the archaeological evidence points to us eating plants to like, there are some tubers and bulbs.
But you’ve got to understand this is like most of this period of evolution was during an ice age. So there wasn’t an abundance of fruit and vegetables and seeds available. They would hunt animals, they would hunt woolly mammoth and Mastodon, and smaller animals like antelope size creatures, whatever those were at the time.
And we learn this thing, which is really cool, called persistence hunting. So we as humans, we sweat very efficiently, right? I know I do, like I sweat like crazy out there. You know, and this is a cooling mechanism and keeps our body temperature low, which enables us to go out and run long distances, we can run literally for 12 hours or 24 hours straight. I mean, I did 100 miles, it took me 29 hours, I was pretty much running the whole time.
And we sweat and we can call our bodies that way. Most animals don’t do this, though. Especially like think about those herd animals, you know, antelope and things like that. They can’t keep running, or they’ll die of heat exhaustion, basically, you know, their bodies will overheat, they’ll die of exhaustion, they have to stop.
And so what we learned how to do is we learned how to chase down these animals over these long ranges, which is awesome, like, so we evolved to be long distance runners, which I just love that, I think that’s so cool. So our ability to control our body temperature made us better hunters, we could just chase these animals down and wear them out, basically.
And then we would just, you know, smash them on the head with a rock or whatever we did. I don’t know. I crack myself up sometimes just so you know. So that was one part of it. The other part of it is we have these big butts, right? We have these big glutes, the glutes are the biggest muscle in our body.
Why is that? Why are our butts so big? Isn’t that weird that we have these big butts? No, it’s that it’s perfect to balance this out when we’re running. So think about as you’re running, how your your butt actually kind of counterbalances the front of your body, you lean forward just a little bit. And then those big muscles propel your legs forward, allowing you to push off and then keep you balanced.
So like we are the perfect long distance hunting animal, you know, we’re perfect for that we evolved to, you know, chase animals down and eat that we didn’t develop these abilities to run long distances and out sweat other animals so we could hunt down, you know, sweet potatoes, we just didn’t, okay.
We wouldn’t be here where we are today without eating meat, like our brains never would have evolved. We never would have become bigger and stronger and then we survived like two and a half million years of an ice age by eating a diet rich in fish and meat. Because there just weren’t all the options available all over the planet now.
Evidence also shows archaeological evidence also shows there were times and areas on the planet where meat may have been scarce. And so, you know, people around the planet would eat tubers and nuts and yams and some fruit and even honey. And, and this is very important because there isn’t just one paleo diet, there isn’t one caveman diet.
You know, we evolved as humans to eat a lot of different foods. Because there wasn’t, there isn’t, just one ideal human diet. You know, we’ve evolved this unique ability to combine many different types of foods throughout the year seasonally, to create many different healthy diets. You know, there’s the Inuit up in the Canadian Arctic that eat nothing but fish and seals.
You know, there’s some people that live in the mountains of Afghanistan that eat nothing but animals because nothing grows up in these higher elevations, no crops or anything like that grow. And then there’s other peoples in India that have been vegetarian for thousands of years, and they do fine.
So, really, there isn’t like one ideal human diet. And I think that’s really important to know. And this is one of the messages I really want to make clear here. Is this archaeological evidence that I’m talking about in this evolutionary evidence? Am I oversimplifying things? Absolutely. Am I telling you the complete picture of our evolutionary history? Oh, my gosh, no, because I couldn’t do that in, you know, 45 minutes on a podcast. Maybe I’ll just do that one day, I’ll talk about it. Nothing but that.
But here’s the thing, what I’m trying to say is like, we have evolved to be meat eaters, we have evolved to be plant eaters, we’ve evolved to be omnivores, basically, okay. The only thing I will tell you, that we have not evolved to be is to follow that modern Western diet, which is high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, that is not something we have been evolved to eat.
In fact, that is what is making us sick. And that is what is making us fat. And that is what is making us dying earlier and earlier. So I’m a science nerd. I’m all about the evidence based science, you know, I study all these theories. I look up what the new scientific papers and I read them.
And honestly, when I was taking this plant based nutrition certification, I was kind of questioning a lot of the stuff they were putting out there. And they were just suggesting that, oh, humans didn’t really eat meat. You know, we’re natural vegetarians. Eating any meat at all will cause all kinds of health issues. And it’s just, it’s just not true. It’s not supported by actual science, okay.
But at the time, I wanted to believe at all, because it matched my worldview. And I wanted it to be the truth, I really did. But now I can just say that I can’t really stand behind that, because it was kind of flimsy science. So I finally had to let go of that. And I did.
So where am I today? So I made that decision that I was going to give it a try. I was going to try eating meat again. And then people asked me this question all the time, like, what was it like eating meat for that first time? What did you have?
First of all, I had bacon. And it was delicious. And there were no problems at all. I felt fine. I didn’t get violently ill. My body didn’t reject it. There’s no negative consequences. It makes me just really realize that we are omnivores, you know, our bodies digest meat perfectly fine. We can absorb tons of nutrients from meat, and other animal products. My body had no problem at all.
Yeah, and your body’s not going to forget what it’s like to eat meat after 10 years of not eating, it handles it just fine. And so I really have taken a deep dive into this topic of being an omnivore. Basically, eating meat, eating saturated fat, what does saturated fat do to us? How is it detrimental? Is this the problem?
And I’ve even looked into really finding some interesting information about the carnivore diet, which is basically no plant products at all. So you got the plant based people on one end, and then you got the carnivores who basically, they believe that all plants are toxic to our bodies at some degree. And so they don’t eat any plants at all.
And they believe that the bioavailability of the nutrients in meat is more beneficial for us and the nutrients we can actually absorb the nutrients better than we can from plants, because plants have all this fiber. And they have these natural defense mechanisms that stop us from absorbing the nutrients.
But meat does not have that and it’s easier to digest. And the animals eat the plants. And then the animals that we’re getting the nutrition from all that anyway, that’s kind of a very brief, high level, look at the carnivore diet. But anyway, my point is that it’s all very interesting. There’s lots of new science coming out all the time.
There’s experts in these fields that I listened to and read and I’m taking a more open viewpoint of all these things. I’m taking it all in. I want to know about it all, tell me everything. There’s world class athletes out there who are switching from a traditional high carbohydrate diet to more of like a carnivorous approach and they’re having these amazing results.
So today, I eat meat pretty much every day. I eat bacon, beef, chicken, pork, coldwater fish, and eggs. I eat eggs, full fat dairy cheese. And I’m very particular about what I eat. I really am very particular about the kinds of meat that I get and where I get it and what I buy. So for example, I only eat wild caught salmon, never farmed. The salmon in the wild eat other fish and stuff like that. Farmed salmon eat grains, salmon aren’t supposed to eat grains. Okay, salmon need a lot of krill, these little shrimp, like dudes that turn their skin orange. That’s why salmon are orange because they eat a lot of this particular little shrimp or whatever, that guy has an orange color.
The farm salmon, they color them, they add some kind of color to their food or something like that to turn their gray flesh orange. So anyway, don’t buy farm salmon. I only buy local organic, free range eggs from chickens who eat bugs and things like that, right? No grain fed animals. No factory farmed animals ever, no big agriculture.
So I try to buy everything local, like grass fed local beef, and pork and things like that. And chicken, no fish farms, no grain fed anything, no growth hormones, no antibiotics. So anyway, I pay a little bit extra for these things. But it’s very, very important to me, that I’m eating really clean meat. And that, you know, it’s humanely raised and things like that.
So basically, I’m just trying to eat real food the way that our ancestors ate, you know, maybe a few 100 years ago, maybe a few 1000 years ago, you know, they were eating just regular food. They weren’t, there was nothing processed, they didn’t have to count calories. You know, they weren’t adding up, you know, how many macros they ate, you know, they were just, it was intuitive, and they ate when they’re hungry.
They didn’t when they weren’t and that kind of stuff. So that’s what I’m trying to go back to. But I in particular about the kinds of foods I eat, especially meat. So what are my results so far? So I’ve been doing this for about six months now, the low carb high fat omnivorous diet. And here’s something pretty dramatic, I think pretty dramatic, benefits and changes that I’ve experienced.
So no more bloating or inflammation, like my body is no longer puffy. I am no longer the Pillsbury Doughboy. I’ve lost 40 pounds, and I am super lean. I am cut up like never before. Running is amazing. I’ve become fat-adapted. I can run five miles, 10 miles, and I feel great. I just have tons of energy. In fact, I just have tons of energy all the time, all day long.
I am not hungry all the time. I reaped the benefits of fasting, I do some fasting and some intermittent fasting. Sometimes I eat once a day or twice a day. And I’m not hungry in between. Sometimes I do a longer fast, maybe a 48 hour or something like that. The important part here though, is that I am not starving all the time, like I used to be when I was eating a high carbohydrate diet.
I don’t take any supplements, I don’t have to like suck down protein powders and take a multivitamin every day. So when I was plant based, I had to take a multivitamin. Like you have to take certain supplements, you know, and depending on who you ask, but here’s the list of supplements that you should take if you’re following a plant-based diet: calcium, iron, B12, vitamin D, omega threes, zinc, among others. And it’s interesting to me that our ancestors who ate an omnivorous diet, they didn’t take multivitamins, they didn’t have to take protein supplements. And this is just a little bit of a red flag.
For me a diet that requires you to supplement certain vitamins and minerals means that it’s maybe not a complete diet. Maybe it’s not the best diet, I don’t know. But I don’t think we evolved to eat a diet where we would have to supplement certain vitamins or else we’d be really deficient and maybe get sick or die.
So I just had my annual physical a month or two ago and the bloodwork was perfect. The doctor said she wished all of her patients were doing what I was doing, which was a huge compliment to me. I love that. I’m seeing gains at the gym, like from strength training after just a couple of months that I never saw in years of lifting weights on a plant based diet.
And now granted, these are all anecdotal my evidence like, you know, will your results differ, of course, everybody’s different. But I can tell you right now, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m 53 years old, and I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m leaner now than I was back in 2013, when I was training over two hours a day for Ironman, I’m leaner and more fit, I’m stronger and more cut up than I was then.
I’ve never had like, this little body fat on me feels amazing. I do work out pretty regularly. But kind of the same that I always have the last few years, I run maybe three times a week. My long runs are like 10 or 12 miles. And then I run like maybe three miles one day, maybe five miles another day. So I don’t know, 18 miles a week, something like that.
I do a lot of walking, I walk, you know, a couple miles three times a week, let’s say I do a little bit of yoga, stretching, and I lift weights. So I’m not exercising two hours a day, by any stretch. I’m eating about the same number of calories that I was eating, when I was doing the plant based diet with lots of carbs and sugar and all that stuff, maybe, maybe more calories, actually.
So I’m somewhere between and I don’t track this stuff. But I have tracked it recently, a few days just to like, so I could share this stuff with you guys. And give you a ballpark of where I am. Because people ask me all the time, like how many carbs you eat, and I’m like, I don’t know. But anyway, so I’m probably at around 2000-2500 calories, probably getting net, maybe 50-60 grams of carbs a day, something like that, again, I don’t really track it. So I can’t tell you exact numbers, but it’s somewhere in that range 50 to 100 grams of carbs net a day, right?
So it’s pretty low. I eat when I’m hungry. And I don’t eat when I’m not hungry. That’s amazing right there. And that’s a very freeing thing. This whole thing I’m doing now this eating real food, it’s stress free. It’s very satisfying too. And I feel like I’m absolutely thriving in my body right now.
I feel like this is how my body is supposed to look and feel. You know, I feel like I’ve hit my natural weight. And now staying there is effortless. And I weigh myself every day. Just so I know. And I’ve been at like 157-158, somewhere in that range. And remember, I was close to 200. So I’m below 160. And I eat a lot of food. I’m never hungry, I’m not starving myself. And I can just maintain that way. It’s no problem. So that’s where I am. What does this mean for you?
That’s a good question. Here’s what I think it means for you. Number one, I am no longer stuck with this one sort of narrow minded point of view. This whole experience of going back to an omnivorous diet is making me a better coach, I’m a more well rounded coach. And it gives me authority to speak on a wider variety of topics, especially, you know, eating meat and animal products and the nutrition that you get from that, and how it, how its effects on weight loss and running and things like that.
Also, I don’t believe in this idea that there’s one right way to fuel your body, there’s not one right way to do this. And I was kind of into this myopic view of things before, whereas like plant based or everything else is stupid, you know, I don’t believe that anymore. I’m willing to take a deep dive into these different options and learn multiple ways of helping you get the results that you want.
So all in all, I think that just me making this shift in my own diet makes me a better all around authority, and a better all around coach. And, you know, in my coaching, I try to take on a very informed but unbiased approach. So my goal is to help you figure out what works best for you. And it’s not the same thing that works for me.
So whether you do plant-based diet, whether you do carnivore, whether you do something in between most people or somewhere in between, right, you can get great results. I do however take a solid stand against the whole high carbohydrate approach. I don’t think that’s necessary. We shouldn’t be eating all the sugar and the carbs, carbs cause all kinds of health issues they need to be avoided. So I am firmly attached to this principle. I will take a stand there for sure. That’s where I draw the line.
But you can run half marathons, you can run full marathons, you can do Ultra triathlons, you can be a long distance swimmer cyclist, rowing, bodybuilding, speed golfing, whatever you want to do whatever floats your endurance boat, you can do all of it on a low carbohydrate, high fat diet, whether you’re a vegan, plant based carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian, whatever.
So the bottom line is, I’m not going to tell you that you should or shouldn’t eat meat, I don’t want that to be the message you take away here. You know, my job as a good coach is to help you get the results that you want. That’s it, and do it in a way that works for you. So you can do this in a way that works for you.
And I’ll help you make those decisions and tweak things until you get the results that you’re looking for. I just want you to have all the information. So I’m going to continue to talk about these kinds of topics, you know, I want to like, get some people on here to share their expert opinions and experiences on running on a plant based diet or a carnivore diet or vegetarian diet or whatever it is.
So I’m actually actively looking for some people to talk to about those things. So if you have some people in mind you’d like me to check out, send me a message and give me some ideas, and we’ll try to get them on the show. That’d be really fun. I want you to make good decisions for yourselves. That’s all.
So I’m giving you all the information so you can decide what works for you. I’m open to new ideas, I’m willing to admit that. I don’t know everything I really don’t. I’m always learning and when, when the science and the evidence. Sort of like goes against what I believe in my heart. Let’s say I’m willing to take a really serious look at that, and change what I believe, based on what’s real, you know, what’s the truth? What’s the real evidence out there?
So I’m not, I don’t need to die on my sword while holding on to some ideology that may or may not be right for everyone. Okay. So that’s my story. That’s why I made the switch from a plant based diet to eating meat. I hope this was informative for you. I hope you got something out of this.
We will be continuing this conversation over in the Running Lean community on Facebook. So just go to Facebook, search for Running Lean community join in the conversation, it’s going to be fun. That’s all I got for you today, my friends. As always, lots and lots of love to each and every one of you keep on Running Lean. I’ll talk to you soon.
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