During the recent The Smarter Science of Slim team retreat we spent some time at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Going SANE in this context was quite interesting. Here are the top 10 “lessons” I took away. Some are silly, some are obvious, and hopefully some are useful :)
10. Don’t assume your swim suit fits just because you weigh the same
I’ve weighed the same for the past two years, but have improved my body composition thanks to the increased SANEity and eccentricity of my lifestyle. For some reason I didn’t connect the necessary dots and proceeded to sprint into the ocean wearing my pre-SANEity and eccentricity swimsuit. The whole “wearing” part lasted only a few seconds until a wave hit me, at which point I experienced a severe wardrobe malfunction :)
9. Mineral water with lemon or lime is a great SANE substitute for soda
It’s just water with bubbles and a bit of citrus, so it is SANE…and surprisingly refreshing in the sun.
8. SANE eating is addictive
Despite having unlimited inSANE options, I craved SANE foods. inSANE foods simply lost their allure.
7. Hard boiled egg whites are a great source of portable protein
And I’m terrible at peeling them. Watching me try to peel a hardboiled egg is like watching a gorilla try to text.
6. Obesity isn’t an America-only problem
It is a problem anywhere people get a lot of their calories from processed starches and sweets.
5. The speed of eating matters a lot
I found that the same amount of food eaten slowly filled me up much more than the exact same volume of food eaten quickly.
4. Think of “added fats” like “added sweeteners”
My one major complaint about the resort’s food is that they added an absurd amount of oil to everything. I find it useful to think of processed fats extracted from whole food (aka oils) as “added fats” much like we think of processed sweeteners extracted from whole foods as “added sugars.” If you are trying to go SANE, focus on getting fats from whole foods (especially seafood and plants) just like you focus on getting sweetness from whole foods (non-starchy vegetables, berries, citrus, etc.). Minimize “added fats” and “added sweeteners” as much as you are willing to as they both contain no water, fiber, nor protein and are therefore inSANE.
Note: The natural fats in whole foods are great for us. In fact, they are so good for us that I want us to be able to enjoy them freely. That’s why I recommend using “added fats” as little as possible. Practical and permanent wellness is about maximizing quality, and the natural fats in whole foods are the highest quality fats around.
3. Spinach makes a great base
I really don’t like eating spinach by itself. However, I found that putting stir fry, curry, and marinara based dishes on top of a heaping bed of shredded spinach instead of rice or noodles was SANE and tasty. You really can’t taste the spinach (which is odd and excellent) and I’m sure this would work with many other foods. We just tried this technique with chili last night (aka chili on top of spinach) and it tasted wonderful.
2. Blending non-starchy veggies really makes it easier to eat enough of them
I had never actually tried to chew 10+ servings of non-starchy vegetables before. Let’s just say I hugged my blender when I got home.
1. Eating a lot of food does not necessarily make you store a lot of fat
Eating more low-quality food causes us to gain body fat. But that does not mean eating more food produces the same result.
“[We found] highly significant inverse correlations between food energy intake and adiposity [body fat].”– H. Keen, King’s College London
We chose to go to an all-inclusive resort specifically so we could conduct a very informal overeating experiment. My wife and I ate till we were uncomfortably full at buffets five times per day for five days. The catch, we only ate SANE food. A small sample of the SANE food we enjoyed is pictured below. At the end of the vacation our body composition was unchanged despite the fact that I ate so much that I had to miss two days of work due to the after effects of eating way too much food.
Just like an unclogged sink drains when more water is put into to, an unclogged metabolism burns more when more food is put into it. Buildup is caused by clogs. Clogs are caused by low-quality, not high-quantity.
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