The Food Diaries: Sales Guy Needs to Cut Back on Coffee

Source: By DOUG DIPASQUALE

Read about subject one: Chris, 37, drinks too much beer and soy milk

Subject Two: Jeff, a 35-year-old account manager

Jeff on Jeff: “As a father of two young toddlers with a demanding sales job in the dynamic world of online advertising, I have little time to plan a healthy diet. Thankfully, I’ve developed some very good habits over the past decade, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle comes quite easily.”

Day One:

I started off the day as I usually do, with a whey protein shake whipped together with bananas and skim milk.

The next couple of hours at work include 3 to 4 cups of coffee (with a little bit of milk) and a large glass of water.

Then, around 10:30, I eat about 3 handfuls of protein-friendly Kashi Go Lean cereal that I keep in my desk. No milk, no spoon, I just crunch away. A banana also made it into my mid-morning snack, along with more water.

Lunch:

I hit the gym for a 24-minute treadmill run, followed by a legs and chest workout.

I then eat half of a honey bourbon chicken footlong sub on whole wheat bread (less than 7 grams of fat) plus a green apple and more water for lunch.

Another cup of coffee, followed by three York Peppermint Patties (1 gram of fat per patty) to get me through the next couple of hours.

Then, more water and half a Proteinplus powerbar to get me through the afternoon until a late dinner, after bathtime and diaper shopping, at around 7:30pm.

Dinner

Chicken, rice and peas, topped with some hot sauce (no butter, of course, as we don’t even have any in the house…). I then snack the rest of the night away, until bedtime at 10, on Smartpop microwave popcorn, a few licorice Nibs and a York patty or two.

Day Two: This day was very similar to yesterday (including shake, morning/afternoon snacks, as well as the other half of my sub for lunch, just with soggier bread….).

At the gym, over lunch, I got in 20 minutes of stretching and core strengthening exercises, plus a back and triceps workout.

Dinner:

Again, at 7:45 and we had some homemade shepherd’s pie, using extra lean ground beef. More low-fat snacks followed as we watched two episodes of The Wire on DVD (This show is amazing!).

Day Three

Oh-oh…..starting to get sick, I think….Throat is feeling rough and I feel a bit fevery…and I’m on NO SLEEP as my 7-month old was up all night feeling sick as well (and getting rid of everything in his little body one way or the other…).

Breakfast

Same shake, coffee, water, Kashi cereal.

Lunch

A client and I had some sushi, followed by coffee for dessert.

No workout today, but afternoon snacks consisting of more Kashi, York Peppermint Patties and an apple. Water and yet another coffee (as well as tons of kleenex for my poor nose) helped get me through the day.

Dinner

A whole chicken from our favorite takeout place, Churassco’s, was ordered, and we made some rice with frozen vegetables (green beans and corn). For dessert, some non-fat yogurt topped with fruit cocktail (my favorite!)

Popcorn, Swedish berries and two more episodes of The Wire got us through the night.

The Healthy Foodie weighs in:

Three to four cups of coffee at one sitting!?!? That is not a healthy lifestyle. You may have the healthiest eating habits in the world but they will all be erased by drinking coffee. I know this is counter to what the media has been saying lately, claiming that coffee is good for you because it contains antioxidants.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret – antioxidants are everywhere.

It’s true – antioxidants are in every piece of fruit and vegetable, in many teas, and yes even in red wine and coffee. With a healthy diet, you don’t need to be looking for antioxidants in foods that have other more detrimental effects (listen up, red wine drinkers). Antioxidants cannot be the only measure by which we determine whether what we eat is good for us.

Caffeine is one of the worst things we can inflict upon our poor helpless bodies. It triggers the body to release adrenaline, the stress hormone, the source of that kick we get from our coffee or soft drinks, which puts us into what is commonly called “fight or flight” response. This is the state we adapted historically so that our ancestors could outrun woolly mammoths or fight off other tribes from stealing our fire. It is the state of stress, one we are only designed to be in occasionally in emergency situations, not every day sitting at our desks (And we wonder why there is an increase in road rage).

Coming down off this adrenal high we hit the 3 o’clock brick wall — fatigue, headache and foggy-headed confusion. Better reach for another cup of coffee, sugary snack or stimulant of some kind. This is why Jeff has more coffee and sugary snacks late in the afternoon. Stephen Cherniske, author of the book Caffeine Blues, calls the coffee drinker’s constant state of alertness “caffeinism,” a state in which the body feels it is always under attack. Caffeinism is characterized by anxiety, irritability and mood swings, fatigue, sleep disturbance and depression.

On top of this, coffee also causes an acidification of the body. What this means is that the processing of coffee by the digestive system requires your body to use up its own valuable resources, including B vitamins and mineral stores. All those vitamins and minerals you ingest, in an effort to be healthy, coffee uses up those stores. Put coffee into a body already depleted of minerals and vitamins (the unfortunate state of most of us in the Western world), and you have the recipe for a sick individual.

The next thing I immediately notice about Jeff’s diet diary is, like most people in North America, he equates healthy eating with low fat. This is simply not the case. The myth that saturated fat consumption leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease comes from dubious origins in the early part of the century and has been supported since more by media than hard science. Thankfully, the mainstream media is beginning to pick up on this fact and is reporting the truth about fats. I have high hopes that I will one day be able to buy a full-fat raw yogurt in this great country of ours.

As I said with Chris 1, don’t be afraid of natural sources of fat. Organic butter, raw milk, olive oil, coconut oil — all are natural sources of fat that should not be shied away from. Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy fats will not make you fat, will not give you a heart attack and will not clog your veins with cholesterol. I highly recommend the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon for a complete explanation of fats and more importantly, why you need them.

The fact Jeff is cooking at home is really the first step in leading a healthy lifestyle. Overall my advice would be to get off the coffee (again, a cold processed greens drink will help with the cravings), to favor natural fats, to lay off the processed foods like microwave popcorn and peppermint patties and to eat raw vegetables with every meal.

Note: Although DiPasquale is a trained holistic nutritionist, this article is not intended to suggest a nutritional protocol. A true nutritional protocol requires a great deal of information about an individual. While the advice given is solid nutritional advice in general terms, individuals of different biochemical makeups have different requirements in order to be healthy. If you are looking to make a real change in lifestyle, The Healthy Foodie suggests getting the help and guidance of a nutritionist or naturopathic doctor who can look at you as an individual and determine what is best for you.