A reader asked me to share some about my nutrition. Here we go -
I don't consume at all:
*Tobacco in any form
I think cutting bad stuff out goes a long way towards doing things correctly.
I quit drinking in 2006... basically, I reckon the downsides from liquor aren't worth the upsides. Now about this, I get asked sometimes, "Is it awkward to go to a bar?" For the first six months it was. Now, it's not. I get a club soda and have no problems.
Likewise, I quit pretty much all recreational drugs at the same time in '06, depending on how you define it. I've gone back and forth with caffeine over the years - originally I quit caffeine in '06, but I saw some good research on metabolic advantages from caffeine. I do take vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and fish oil. Beyond that, I'll take anti-inflammatories like acetametaphin or ibuproifen (the active ingrediants in Tylenol and Advil) if I've got inflammation from training or I'm ill. I'd be open at some point to trying nootrophics under the guidance of a physician, but I've been picking up low hanging health fruit first. Human Growth Hormone also looks promising, and I'd consider synthetic testosterone if I needed it to keep my testosterone levels up later. But all these are for health/longevity purposes, not for pleasure, with the possible exception of caffeine. I go back and forth on caffeine, maybe I'll quit it someday. For now, it's not an issue for me.
I used to love tobacco. I'd roll my own cigarettes, smoke pipe tobacco, cigars, and sheesha... I loved tobacco. I gradually quit - first I quit cigarettes (incuding rolling my own) in 2006. I still smoked cigars, because I did it infrequently and really liked cigars. I quit cigars in '08 I think, at which point I still smoked sheesha, the Arabic water-pipe style tobacco that's much cleaner and much lower tar. Still, that was only offering pleasure at the expense of toxicity, and I finally quit all tobacco in 2009.
In 2009, I quit eating all mammals. I'd quit pork a few years earlier, now I cut beef, venison, and other mammals out of my diet. My reasoning here is that I'd be better served always choosing chicken, other poultry, or fish over mammals. It's not for ethical reasons; rather, I think shifting from beef to chicken every single time that's a good decision.
To this, people sometimes say, "Oh no, I couldn't live without steak!" That's fair. I used to love steak. It's delicious. But honestly, I think I'm getting 90%+ of the pleasure most people are from their meals. There's many ways to prepare chicken or fish. I eat pretty well and I'm not deprived. For dinner tonight, I had chicken in a slightly spicy red curry sauce, hard boiled eggs, rice, two kinds of vegetables, and a little tofu on rice at an Arabic restaurant. Delicious. Honestly, just as good as any steak.
It took me two years to quit sweets - I did it recently. Now I consume no "pure sweets" - right now, I'm not fanatic about if there's a little sugar in a curry sauce or otherwise decent bread, but someday I'll look to cut all sugar out. It's too tricky to do while traveling, but I don't have any desserts or sugary stuff. I still eat fruit, and occasionally somewhat fresh fruit juice. I've got mixed feelings on the fruit juice, but I think the micronutrients from fruit are worth it.
My ideal diet is:
*Plain oatmeal for breakfast with tea or coffee
*Chicken and rice or tuna and rice with vegetables for lunch
*A light dinner with maybe some soup and fruit.
I don't eat my ideal diet often, sadly. My diet is much more heavy than I want it to be... lots of bread. Also, I'm pretty good at staying away from junk food, but I still indulge in chicken sandwich/fries sometimes.
I try to avoid liquid calories, unless I'm ill or nursing an injury. Even then, the only liquid calories I drink is somewhat fresh fruit juice.
I'm not fanatic about sugar in a curry sauce or baked into otherwise unsweet-bread... it happens. I try to avoid it, but I don't make a huge deal of it.
Eventually I'll cut out almost all sugar, and probably most flour. I increased the amount I eat vegetables a lot over the last two years, but I'd like to do it even more. I might cut out all junk food entirely - I don't eat much junk, but sometimes. I'm not sure how good or bad it is to occasionally fried chicken, french fries, pizza. Certainly, that stuff isn't good for you, though there might be advantages to having some outlets... I don't know. I'll think about it more, I'm still refining my diet.
Recommendations for you:
I recommend you don't take anyone's specific opinion as gospel. The biggest thing is to find out what your body responds to. If you want to know how you react to specific foods, then get on a consistent, simple diet for a while, and then try to add or subtract things and see how your energy goes. You can do this casually, or you can try to put specific ratings to it throughout the day.
It sounds like it'd take some work, but it doesn't, really. I did this a few different times, and my largest surprising finding is that dairy really sinks my energy level a while later. I don't think that's true for everyone, but I pretty much try to avoid all milk and most other dariy.
Finally, I'm a big believer in "hard quitting" things - deciding never to have them again. This depends on your personality type, but for me, it's much easier to not drink at all than to drink in moderation. Much easier to never smoke than to smoke occasionally.
Particularly with things that are slightly inferior choices - like eating beef instead of chicken or fish - it's actually a great convenience to not even consider beef. "Hey Sebastian, you want a burger?" Reply: "Nope, thanks." I don't even have to think about it.
That's worth a lot, it saves me lots of thought cycles. That said, I know lots of people that consume stuff in moderation, so it depends on your goals and personality type. For me, hard quitting things and never having them again makes my decisionmaking really easy and helps me improve my health.
Final piece of advice - if you do refine your diet, two things to avoid are being preachy about it or being shy about it. It takes a while to learn, but don't apologize for your dietary choices or get sheepish. At the same time, don't preach or say that you've quit defiantly. Just be cool about it, politely turn down offers, and usually don't explain why if you're not asked unless it's relevant.
Your experiences with nutrition in the comments?