by Brett Klika
I figure I might as well. After all, marketing is everything, right? Take common sense information, package it colorfully, and you have a product. The problem is that packaging reasonable, effective, simple nutrition information isn’t sexy and exciting. You don’t get headlines in Hollywood with your new body saying “I eat reasonable, unprocessed nutrition in multiple small portions.” It’s a lot more interesting to see someone losing weight sucking lemon water infused with pepper and maple syrup through a straw in a “cleansing”. You can also follow the (insert hot new name here for portion controlled caloric intake) diet. To be on the hot new infomercial, however, you usually need to take whatever laxative that is now being glorified as a “weight loss cleanse”.
Let’s pretend for a minute that I’m rich and famous, my “genetics fairy” was a little more “accommodating” and you actually wanted your body to look like mine. As US magazine captures me doing shirtless push-ups on some park bench in Malibu, the caption under the photo would read “Hardbody Klika gets ripped by eating mostly whole unprocessed foods in frequent small amounts”. Snore! No books were sold, no “celebrity trainers” endorsed, no hot new trends ignited. Shirtless Klika in Malibu is a marketing dud!
The truth is however, the only way to establish long term, healthy habits with today’s abundance of “food” (I use the term lightly) is to adapt the strategy of eating food that hasn’t been screwed with by man and machine, and doing it in small amounts. What type of food am I talking about? Look at the ingredients list. If there is more than one thing on the list, minimize consumption. Chemicals are added to food for a variety of reasons, none of which are to improve our health. I can’t be certain, but I really don’t think the original blueprint for mans’ consumption of Mother Nature’s edibles included “High Fructose Corn Syrup”. Our hunting and gathering ancestors didn’t sprinkle “Sodium Benzoate” on their meats, legumes, vegetables, and roots. Their societies didn’t suffer from widespread obesity, heart disease, cancers, and diabetes either. They would die the way I want to go, in a one-on-one knife fight with a woolly mammoth.
If we want to change our health profile as a nation, we need to start living a life that closer resembles our ancestors. Our bodies are designed to be in sync with nature, from the food we eat, to waking and sleeping with the sun, to interacting with our environment physically. As a society, we have drifted too far away from this model. When you have a machine that isn’t used properly, it breaks down. Take your car for example. You wouldn’t put maple syrup in your gas tank and drive it up the side of a mountain with no oil going 100 miles per hour. You’d be improperly operating the machine with the wrong type of fuel, over and over again. What do you think would happen to your car? While we would never treat our car that way, many of us put our bodies through a similar process every day. Let me tell you something. I don’t care what you drive, you’re car is disposable. If you refute that point, ask anyone who has a permanently life-altering illness. Would they trade their Lexus for a razor scooter if they could have their health back? I won’t patronize you with the obvious answer.
It’s time to change! It’s time for a revolution! It’s time for…. The Klika Cleanse!!!!!!! You don’t have to starve yourself; you don’t have to make 17 trips to the bathroom in a day. Most starvation- based “cleanses” work on the premise that when you don’t eat your regular diet, you’re not putting bad crap into your body. Surprisingly enough, your body appreciates this lack of abuse, even though you’re miserably starving. In addition, you lose weight because, well, YOU’RE STARVING YOURSELF! I can’t really support a “cleanse” that isn’t something you can maintain 80% of the time, for the rest of your life. What are you doing when you’re not “cleansing”? Chugging lemon water or riding the porcelain pony 15 times a day are not strategies you can adopt into your daily habits, I hope.
A cleanse can be effective, however, in re-establishing discipline in your life. Nearly every society in the world has some self denial ritual that helps reinforce certain sought-after convictions. I would support a few days of discipline and self reflection for the purpose of regaining control of your life habits. The goal should be to re-evaluate and assess your current habits. You can take what you learn and apply it to every aspect of your life. The more things you can use for the rest of your life, the more effective the “cleanse” is.
Here’s your challenge. For the next 3-5 days (start with three, try to go to five) try the following:
- Intake water (or non-caffeinated tea) as your only liquid. Carry a water bottle with you and frequently drink
- Eat only whole, unprocessed foods. See some suggestions below. For any other foods, look at the ingredients list. If there is more than one ingredient, it is not a whole, unprocessed food.
- You can season your food with any natural herb or spice. No salt or sugar.
- No alcohol or caffeine.
- Fruit and vegetable with every meal.
- Eat every 3 hours (get a stopwatch).
- Each meal must have a small amount of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
During this time, you should never be hungry. If you are hungry, eat one of the approved foods. Calorically dense foods like red meat, avocado, nuts (unsalted), and whole eggs are OK during this time. You will need to make a trip to the store and prepare ahead of time. You will be surprised how hard it is to eat unprocessed foods. You don’t have to, but if you can, try to go organic. Pay attention to how you feel when you eat this way. Notice any changes, positive or negative. The goal of this exercise is for you to see just how modified the food we eat is and how it is negatively effecting our health and wellness as a nation. Going forward, assess any permanent modifications you can make to your daily diet to minimize the intake of these foods.
Whole, Unprocessed Foods (Whole Foods, Henry’s, and Trader Joe’s carry a lot of these types of foods.)
- Meat (no deli meats): chicken (bone-in, if possible), beef (grass fed if possible), fish (wild if possible), seafood
- Grains (carbohydrate): whole oats, wild rice, quinoa, oat bran
- Starches (carbohydrate): sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, roots, raid the produce section!
- All fruits and vegetables
- All legumes (beans, etc)
- All nuts (not roasted or salted). You can roast your own at home if you wish.
Coach Brett Klika is the Director of Athletic Performance at Todd Durkin’s Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA. He specializes in youth fitness and athletic performance, overseeing a staff of 8 strength coaches developing programs for over 300 youth per week, both athletes and non-athletes. He presents around the world to both trainers and corporations with Todd Durkin Enterprises on a variety of health, wellness, and athletic performance topics. Brett contributes monthly to the award-winning “TD Times” newsletter. If you would like to sign up, you can do so by visiting FitnessQuest10.com, ToddDurkin.com or use the contact form below: [easy-contact]