This isn't a New Year's resolution. Really it isn't. I've decided to start trying to follow the Primal Blueprint, a book written by former marthoner and triathlete, Mark Sisson. The very short version of the blueprint: don't eat grains/sugars/unhealthy fats and exercise intensely 2-3 times a week.
While on vacation, I saw a copy of Primal Blueprint in a random clothing boutique. As a CrossFit dropout, I'd been exposed to the Paleo Diet (a.k.a. "Caveman Diet"), and even briefly considered giving it a try, but never I never got serious about giving up grains, starches and sugar in my diet. I don't know what it was about seeing that book in that store - it was totally out of place among the home-made Christmas ornaments made of recycled materials and faux-hippie throwback clothing - but I decided starting that night, I was going to give the book a try.
The book is a revelation. Sisson challenges so much that we take for granted about eating healthy and exercising properly, in a well-researched, well-reasoned manner that it's hard not to concede that he may have a point. I'm a chronic skeptic - when people I knew were going Paleo, I scoffed at the notion that forgoing grains, starch and sugar was the "appropriate" way humans were meant to eat. (I also have a economics/politics based criticism - which is that grain production is the way the vast majority of the developing world derives enough calories to survive, but that's a different issue). But after reading Sisson's book and giving it a try, I'm more convinced that there may be something to this.
Since giving up grains, starches and sugars, I never feel bloated or over-full after eating. I don't get food coma. My energy levels are steady - no energy spikes or crashes. The one time I did eat some carbs in the last week (rice noodles at a chinese restaurant) I felt pretty bloated and gassy afterwards, and my body was making weird noises. Granted, I've only been eating primally for a week, but I have to believe this is more than just a placebo effect.
The exercise regimen proscribed in the Primal Blueprint is eye-opening as well. Thirty minutes of strength exercises only twice a week, one weekly sprint workout, and 2-5 hours of just moving slowly (walking, hiking, light jogging, etc.) a week. Having dabbled in CrossFit, I see this as "CrossFit lite", and I think it will be relatively easy for me to ease into incorporating this into my lifestyle (and thankfully not feeling pressure to workout all the time).
I think the most appealling aspect of all of this to me is that this isn't just a program, it's a lifestyle change, and one that isn't too disruptive to everything else that's going on in my life. I highly recommend people check out www.marksdailyapple.com and also give the book a try.