As many of my readers may know, I’ve been tracking all my food and nutrients faithfully for over three weeks now. Some of you read about it on this blog, and if you live within a twenty mile radius of me, you’ve probably heard me whining.
For over a year I have been rather dedicated to a Paleo/Primal dietary regimen. I have come to like it and I have benefitted greatly from it. BUT… but I am a hard-gainer when it comes to muscle. After a year of CrossFit I am in the best shape of my life, but I am still struggling to gain muscle. And if I can’t gain muscle, I can’t increase in strength.
I am at the mid-point of my six-week Anti-inflammatory Diet (aka The Way Beyond Paleo Diet) and I met with Dr. Garcia to review my nutrition logs. Yes, I have documented every morsel of food I have eaten since August 1st. I can tell you how many calories I’ve consumed, I can tell you the macronutrient ratio, cholesterol, fiber, and a host of other data. I can show graphs by day, week, month and year. And when the good doctor asked me how my diet was going, I whipped out my trusty iPhone and presented all my stats.
I thought I would have an opportunity to gloat over my monumental consumption of green vegetables, which was an increase of 400% over my pre-counsel logs. But no, he kept scanning the daily pie charts and the weekly pie charts. He was studying my macronutrient ratios. Then he asked if he could see the daily nutritional log reported as grams consumed instead of simple percentages. I pulled up the correct screen and once again he scrolled from day to day and week to week.
Then he asked, “Chuck, how much do you weigh?”. I told him I weigh 195 pounds, and I have held that weight within a pound or two for an entire year. Then he asked, “Do you know how much Protein you are consuming on average, in grams?” He then explained that I was averaging below 100 grams most days.
The US Government, a tremendous source of erroneous nutritional trivia states that 80 grams per day is the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for Protein. Of course that assumption is based upon the standard adult being sedentary. Conversely, the Rule of Thumb is that to gain muscle, one must eat one gram of Protein for every pound of body weight. It is possible that I have been shortchanging myself on Protein consumption for well over a year, since I adopted CrossFit.
Then Dr. Garcia threw down the gauntlet once more. Not only do I need to continue this anti-inflammatory diet for three more weeks, he wants me to strive to consume at least 150 grams of Protein per day.
Friday August 23rd, was my first day of being aware of my Protein consumption. While the desire is to consume as much as possible from whole food, I did start the day with a Post-WOD Protein shake for the first time. By dinner time I was still only at 65 grams. I needed to make up ground to achieve this goal.
I went to the grocery store scouring the aisles for high-protein foods that were allowed on my restricted diet. If I found a candidate, I scanned the bar code into my phone and pulled all the nutritional data and determined the viability of that item for my dinner.
I settled on a pound of Ground Bison. I sautéed a half pound of mushrooms and a large onion and then cooked all of the meat. Honestly, I had no idea how difficult it would be to eat this much food in one sitting. To make my goal I had to eat four servings of meat for dinner. In addition to discovering that I need to consume more Protein, I have discovered from my logs, that any day I came close to 150 grams, my calories for the day were 2400-2500. I have been hovering around 2000.
I have the feeling that if Chuckie wants to gain more muscle, Chuckie’s going to have to eat more food. For Saturday’s breakfast I ate a 20 ounces of Chicken Livers. For some reason Suzanne felt compelled to leave the room when I sat down to eat. Maybe she’ll want to sit with me when she sees I’m growing muscle.