STRONG SURFING

Surfers in the past generally have not focused on specific strength and conditioning for their sport, with the misperceived idea that strength training will add unnecessary bulk and muscle tightness while restricting their movement and fluidity in the water.

Getting bulky in the gym is actually quite a big job. There are certain training intensities and volumes (how many reps/sets you do and how many times you train per week) that affect the rate and magnitude of how much muscle you will put on with strength training. Also, competitive bodybuilders, strongmen and powerlifters generally have a bit of assistance! The type of benefit a surfer would gain from a specific strength training program would be closer to the relative strength, power, agiltity, stability and endurance of that experienced by a gymnast’s body. They are super strong yet don’t have unncecessary bulk.

If you’re already a pretty strong and well balanced athlete, you may not need so much time in the gym. However, it’s pretty rare to find a person these days that doesn’t have some form of computer/desk/car/iphone related crappy posture with a forward head/hunched upper back/rounded shoulders or sport specific muscular imbalance. I have also rehabbed recreational surfers who ended up getting injured because their bodies weren’t well equipped for the demands that their weekend 3-5hr surfs placed on their otherwise sedentary or stressed out bodies. A well structured strength training program to get a solid base of stability, endurance, strength and power as well as appropriate mobility and flexibility training can go a long way.

Here are a handful of the strength requirements of surfing;

1) powerful paddling out to the back(strength and strength endurance) – upper back, lats, shoulders, lower back, neck, rotator cuff stability/strength endurance, glutes.

2) powerful paddling to catch the wave (speed strength, power). Same muscles as above.

3) powerful jump to the feet  (speed strength, power) – triceps, pecs, hip flexors, abdominals.

4) maintaining a low squat position (strength endurance, balance), resisting balance perturbations (stability, balance, fast reactions) – quads, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, obliques, abdominals.

Your core muscles, (rectus abdominis, erector spinae, multifidus, internal/external obliques, transverse abdominis, hip flexors) are where all movement begins and must work in unison to keep you stable and steady as you paddle and stand-up on the wave.

Benjamin (Benny) Serrano.

A surfer requires speed strength for short bursts of power as well as strength endurance for longer paddles and maintaining a strong position during the ride. A surfing strength and conditioning program could involve 2-3 sessions per week of specific work to build a stronger, faster, fitter body to support surfing demands.

I would typically recommend one strength endurance session, one speed strength session (fast/explosive movements) and one conditioning session, plus loads of stretching and mobility work.

Although surfing does not require a great deal of weight to be lifted, I would mix in some maximal lifting in their program to stimulate the higher threshold, fast-twitch fibres (1-5reps) perhaps once per month for strength and power development. If time was limiting however, and the surfer is already pretty strong, maximal lifting would be the first training session to eliminate, and it would be more important to maintain speed work, conditioning and flexibility/mobility work.  There would be no fear of maximal lift training leading to muscle bulk or restricted range of motion since the training would be quite infrequent. The strength benefit it would have on the surfer would be well worth including.

I would follow main lifts (eg. full range squat, bench press) with any additional supplementary and accessory strength work (eg. glutes, triceps, lats, rotator cuff), stability work  or reactive / balance work, for example swiss ball  or Indo board challenges. Keep the working part of the session under 45 minutes.

Strength Endurance Session: recommended one session per week using high rep ranges. Perform in a circuit with little to no rest between sets. Choose exercises that are specific to surfing endurance requirements, such as strengthening the paddling muscles – back extensors, lats, RC stability/strength, quads and glutes to protect lower back (strength endurance).

Reactive balance work can be incorporated into a warm-up, such as standing on an Indo board or kneeling on a swiss ball with a medicine ball catch/pass drill, or can be included right at the end for a final challenge before finishing the workout. Take care not to overdo these exercises since they are neurally demanding. It would not be required to drill these every week but rather throw them in where appropriate.

Speed Session: recommended once per week, 1-3 main exercises performed with speed depending on how demanding the exercise is (eg. speed squats, power clean), followed by less complex dynamic exercises (eg. Medicine ball throws/slams, kneeling jumps to feet, plyometric pull-ups) and finishing with supplementary strength work and accessory strength work. Keep session to 45 minutes after warm-up.  An example of a power session could look like this;

A1 – Power clean. Doubles (2 only). 4-6 sets. rest 40s between sets.

B1 – Band squats. Take 50% of what you can squat for one rep max, plus add light bands (attach to the bottom of a squat rack and hook over each end of the barbell). Doubles. 6-8 sets, rest 40s between sets.

C1 – Jump stomach to feet split stance/surf position. 5 reps each side. Rest 30s, move to C2.

C2 – medicine ball slams. 10 total. Rest 30s, move to C3.

C3 – bent over rows using band under feet. 1 minute (strength endurance).

Rest 1 min after the completion of C1-3 and repeat 2 more times.

Get the body stronger and more balanced and your surfing will improve dramatically. Take care not to overtrain and seek the guidance of a coach to learn the basics and go beyond depending on how serious you are with your surfing. Hit up Sydney Strength & Conditioning located in North Manly for more information on training programs.

Surfer’s Training Offer – Spring / Summer 2012

SURF STRENGTH & CONDITIONING – PREPARING YOUR ATHLETE

King Kelly

King Kelly

This starts from the beginning. As a strength and conditioning coach, if I were to take a competing Surfer who had never trained basic movement patterns before, I’d take this route. Any athlete strength and conditioning must be specific to each individual’s body, their chosen sport, their current strengths and weaknesses, their psychological state and the level at which they wish to compete. Strength training is not just about putting on muscle mass and lifting heavy weights, it is about creating co-ordinated, well conditioned muscles that function optimally. Strength training should not be confused with bodybuilding. For Surfers, we want to create light, athletic, mobile, flexible, strong bodies that have the ability to move fluidly and powerfully.

1. LINEAR PROGRESSIONS FOR THE  ATHLETE STARTING OUT.

A) First 2-4 weeks.. FLEXIBILITY. MOBILITY. STABILITY.

Slater swiss ball mobility

Create a foundation of joint stability, mobility and flexibility. Often an increase in passive flexibility is an injury waiting to happen. Surfers need mobility (involves surrounding joints) as well as flexibility.  Mobility refers to the ability to move joints into flexible positions whilst also being stable in these positions. Get onto reflex challenges such as standing on a balance board/BOSU, Indo boards, squatting on a BOSU with side reaching/asymmetrical movements, and using a swiss ball. This sort of stability training will develop reflexes and balance required for surfing, while at the same time prime up all the stability muscles required for safe heavy lifting mechanics later on.

A few examples of such exercises could include; double and single legged squats on a BOSU, squatting on a BOSU and reaching to the side, full squat on foam roller, full split squat on foam roller (same position as surfing stance), Bulgarian split squats on a duradisc, kneeling on a swiss ball while moving a free weight, quadruped on swiss ball, bird-dog on swiss ball, lateral ball roll on swiss ball, Russian twist on swiss ball, forward roll-out on swiss ball, Bodyblade work for the shoulder, push-ups on swiss ball/BOSU, elbows to push-up position (and return) on a swiss ball, standing and moving a water-ball, etc. Apart from being performed in the ‘base stability’ part of a periodised program, this sort of training can be incorporated at the end of a strength or power session with little volume to avoid neural overload. Training such as this can be very specific to the balance and reactive demands of surfing and will train wrist, shoulder, neck, spine, hip, knee and ankle stability.

mick fanning swiss ball

Mick Fanning taking on a stability ball challenge.

B) STRENGTH ENDURANCE (12-20 rep) for two weeks.

Start each session with mobility drills and prehabilation (exercises to prevent injury from occurring in the first place) work where required. For example, some areas often found weak and in need of more strength to prevent injury include: mid and lower trapezius, posterior delts, serratus anterior, deep neck flexors, neck extensors, glutes, hamstrings, shoulder external rotators and trunk rotation to the less dominant side).  Upper body strength endurance is paramount in surfers to keep paddle intensity up and get out the back of the set.

*Surfers are contralateral athletes so I would often choose single arm or alternating arm movements such as alternating lat pull-downs. Where possible, I am a big believer in using predominantly bodyweight mobility and strength drills, which can encompass low to max intensities depending on how they are performed.

C) STRENGTH (6-12rep) for four weeks.

Develop the conventional lifts in addition to other strength work. For example, squat, deadlift, OH press, bent-over row, bench, bodyweight strength work using full range. Train uniltateral also, such as Bulgarian split squats, split stance deadlifts, one arm bent-over row, one arm overhead press. Strength and power is required to pop up fast and short bursts of paddle power. Surfers need both hip and knee dominant exercises, both single and double leg exercises, and both stable and unstable surface training.

D) MAX STRENGTH (1-6RM).  Train for two weeks. This will start to stimulate the highest threshold muscle fibres for greater strength gains. If the athlete is very new to this, I would spend a bit more time on this, learning the technique correctly, since it is the foundation to be more powerful and dynamic.

E) POWER. Train for 2 weeks maximum (one to two sessions per week). Develop the complex lifts (snatch, clean and their variations). Perform other exercises explosively, such as speed deadlifts, speed box squats, push presses, medicine ball throws/slams, bench throws, plyometric jumps/push-ups/bounds, box jumps, sprints, pop-ups. Strength and power is required to pop up fast and short bursts of paddle power. For surfing it is also important to train rotary power or anti-rotary power for fast turns and explosive manoeuvres.

Sal doing what she does best.

Again, if the athlete is super new to these lifts, I would spend a bit more time on nutting out the lifts correctly. Speed training will lead to neural system gains.

Once the athlete has completed at least one full cycle of this linear training from A-E, I would then utilise a Conjugate method of training (rotating lifts and types of training rather than focusing on one aspect of training) for maintenance of the neuromuscular development already achieved and keeping the athlete in a prepared state since surfing events can be anywhere between 0-3 times per month throughout the year.   I would not find a linear periodisation system to be useful in such a situation, since time would not allow for the athlete to complete a full linear training cycle which ends in their peaking phase. They would need to maintain strength, strength endurance, power and conditioning throughout the year, and the congugate periodisation system is the only way which I believe would achieve this.

2. MAINTENANCE  STRENGTH & CONDITIONING ULTILISING A CONJUGATE SYSTEM.

I would use a conjugate system, training concurrently, for athlete maintenance for a variety of reasons. I believe that athletes should be prepared at all times, especially when an event could pop up unexpectedly. I believe that the linear periodisation system will actually detrain certain strength aspects as another is being developed and the next phase is entered. For example, moving from a power phase back to a strength endurance phase, will detrain the power gained in the last phase. Also, as Louie Simmons (Westside Barbell) has stated, if you are working on power for 2 weeks and then switch to the next phase, you are missing the gains you could potentially reach if you just continue to cycle power exercises because there is a lag phase of the body’s ability to adapt to the training stimulus.

The conjugate system for a Surfer would be comprised of three main training aspects;

A)     STRENGTH ENDURANCE WORK – performing lower intensity, higher rep sets (15-30 rep), once per week. Exercises are rotated every week by changing either the way the exercise is performed or switching the exercise entirely. once Perform in a circuit with little rest. These endurance exercises could be performed as a ‘finisher’ at the end of a strength or speed workout, or as part of conditioning.

B)      DYNAMIC / SPEED/POWER WORK – exercises are rotated every 1-3 weeks. For a pro surfer I would perform dynamic lifting once or twice per week. Choose 1-3 exercises to perform explosively, depending on the complexity and central nervous system demand of the exercise, and follow with accessory and supplementary work to support the main lifts and correct existing muscle imbalances. Examples of main dynamic exercises could include power cleans, power snatch, speed deadlifts, speed squats, speed bench, bench throws, plyometric chin-ups/pull-ups. Depending on how the athlete is feeling after the main dynamic lift and where they are in their program, exercises which could follow the above  include box jumps, jump from kneeling to feet, medicine ball slams/throws, tornado ball slams/throws, kettlebell swings, kettlebell cleans and snatches.  I would follow speed exercises with any additional supplementary and accessory work (strength and strength endurance), for example reverse hyperextensions, pull-throughs, tricep work, hip thrusts, bent-over rows, rotator cuff work or sled work.

A workout example could look like this; power clean (1-2rep), plyometric jumps off a high box (5 rep per set) and medicine ball slams (10 rep), followed by a strength circuit of single leg deadfits (8-10rep), cable woodchops/trunk rotation (8-12rep) and shoulder rotator cuff work (15-25rep).

C)      CONDITIONING WORK – Focus on metabolic conditioning and training the energy systems required for improving surfing performance. Surfing fitness requires both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. For metabolic conditioning for elevating the anaerobic threshold I would include this once per week or once per fortnight depending on what the athlete needs the most.  Paddling harder, faster and longer demands the ability of cellular systems to provide energy, using both the aerobic and anerobic energy systems. The aerobic system is pulled into play for the paddles out the back and the anerobic system is required for strong, short burts of power to paddle onto the wave, popping up and for explosive turns.  Examples of this sort of conditioning could include;

-resistance training circuits (eg. 30second stations with no rest) of single leg squats, pull ups, land pop-ups (both sides trained), prowler pushing, sled pulling, landmine, kneeling on SB with medicine ball catch/throw, medicine ball slams, straight arm lat-pull downs (alternate arm), cable alternating pulls (rotate thoracic spine).

-outdoor sprint training land/water . Sprint run approx 50m to water – tread water until water is deep enough to swim – freestyle swim sprint out in surf 50m – turn around and head back to the shore – rest 30s and repeat entire circuit. Repeat 5-10 times.

beach conditioning

ONCE PER MONTH OR ONCE EVERY TWO MONTHS – HEAVIER LIFTING (1-6 rep)– exercises are rotated each session. Examples of maximal (1 rep) lifts could include conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, split stance deadlifts, box squats, Olympic style squats, powerlifting style squats, hip thrusts, bench press/floor press/board press/single arm press (triples), split jerk, weighted pull-ups, etc. Training at near maximal intensities once per month would stimulate the higher threshold muscle fibres (for power and strength) without leading to unnecessary muscle bulk or restricted range of motion, and would not overload the central nervous system as would training maximal every session. Switching the main lift each session by either changing the way the exercise is performed (bands, decline, grip, chains, etc) or switching the exercise entirely ensures you can train heavy throughout the year by rotating main lifts. I would perform singles for squatting and deadlifting (1RM), and triples for bench (3RM).  3RM clusters for the squat or deadlift would also be good (3 X 1 rep lifts with 10sec rest between each lift) which could be less risk of injury.

I would also aim to train complex, almost gymnast-like bodyweight movements at high intensities rather than relying too much on free weight and barbell training. Surfers need a lot of dynamic strength with lots of mobility. Gymnastics sessions could also be looked at – flips, arials, sticking landings, etc.

The diagram below demonstrates how easily the core lifts can be adjusted to ensure exercises are rotated frequently;

 

core lift variations

NOTE: In considering program design, the swell conditions will certainly affect training and weekly scheduling of training will be strongly influenced by how good the waves are on a certain day. Therefore, programming will need to allow for flexibility in session times.

In surfing, the athlete obviously needs time in the water, just as an athlete needs skill/tactical training. I would be educating the athlete on the benefits S&C will provide to their surfing, and aim for at least 3 sessions per week with them (2 strength  and 1 conditioning).  I would ask the surfer to rate their surfing session by RPE for each day and calculate the training load for the week. This load will need to be factored in to the overall total training load and record the strength progress and energy levels of the athlete. From there I could more effectively determine a time limit for major season / comp season.

TAPERING FOR AN EVENT

When tapering (30-60% intensity of normal training load) for an event, i would reduce mainly volume (rather than  intensity) because I believe that it is important to keep intensity high for maintaining physical and psychological preparation. For example, if the athlete is used to performing 3-4 sets in pre-competition and then reduces that volume to 1-2 sets in competition season, the body will have reserves for more training yet the intensity will be maintained which is enough to deload the athlete in leading up to a comp.

 slater stretching

 

I would discontinue any heavy strength training one week before the proposed comp date (eg. 16th) and would not train heavy or intense at all during this time. During this time I would keep up all mobility and stretching work and have two bodywork / massage treatments  arranged in that week, not to mention having bodywork arranged consistently throughout the athlete’s program.

 

ENERGISING YOUR CELLS – NUTRITION FOR HEALTH, HIGH PERFORMANCE IN SPORT AND DAILY LIFE.

Skip the BS, fad diets, anyone out there preaching THE way to eat with vested interests, ditch the government’s food diet pyramid (because that obviously has not created a more vibrantly healthy nation) and look at the science behind what foods our biochemistry function best on. Some foods rev up our metabolism, others suppress it because certain foods are perceived as toxic in some way, and some may come of a surprise. The post below, somewhat detailed, but likely to be the only post I will ever write on nutrition and based on what I have learnt from 2005 onwards, revs!

Food to feed your cells optimally – the bulk of your diet is best to be:

  • Meats, Fish, Shellfish, Organ meats –grassfed, hormone/anti-biotic free meats, fresh (not farmed) fish. Limit oily fish (salmon, mackerel etc) which is high in PUFAs
  •  Vegetables – include starchy and tuberous for carbohydrate (potatoes, pumpkin, carrot, beetroot, squash, zucchini, yam, taro, parsnip, suede, etc).
  •  Fruits
  • Quality Saturated Fats  – coconut oils, ghee, butter (grassfed, organic) quality olive oil (not heated)

Take out or Limit:

  • Dairy
  • Grains / Gluten (bread, pasta, cookies, pastries, crisp breads, many condiments, many processed foods and ready-made meals, oats, muesli-bars)
  • Soy
  • Legumes, seeds and nuts
  • Modern day vegetable oils (canola, vegetable, sunflower, safflower, sesame, avocado,  soy and nut oils)
  • Processed foods (toxic vegetable oils, chemical preservatives, food colourings, artificial flavouring, MSG, genetically modified foods, high fructose corn syrup, excessive sugars, and other junk).digestive system

The Digestive System and the Immune System

Gut health is number one for overall health. You are what you do not eliminate. All of your nutrient uptake/waste removal occurs in the gut, and a large portion of your immune system resides in there.  One primary goal is to eliminate the foods that could potentially damage your gut, and get back to a style of eating that is more similar to what humans evolved with.  The basic premise is to not eat foods that are damaging to the gut, eliminate foods that have higher levels of anti-nutrients,  stop eating foods that are potentially damaging or excitatory to the immune system, and choose foods that are nutritious and supportive of optimal cell function.

Wise to Limit….

GRAINS:  grains can be highly irritating to the gut (particularly from their gluten content), prevent mineral absorption of other foods (they contain phytic acid), create digestive burden (they are difficult to digest), they can spike/quickly lower blood sugars and are often pro-inflammatory.  White rice, and the occasional use of gluten free grains IF there are no immune system issues or gut problems is fine.  White rice carries none of the detrimental effects of grains and is a great source of easily digested carbohydrate.

Dangerous Grains by James Braly MD and Ron Hogan MA, turn the Food Guide Pyramid upside down by exposing the myriad health risks posed by gluten grains (wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale). The authors, leading experts in the field of food allergies, and celiac disease, present compelling evidence that our grain-centered diet is to blame for a host of chronic illnesses.

Note: there have been cultures that subsisted on a largely grain based diet when they’re properly prepared. (this preparation involves soaking, fermentation, and actually using quality grains: read Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions book).

PASTEURISED AND HOMOGENISED DAIRY: Allergies to dairy, which are pretty common, can originate from either lactose or casein. If you have an allergy to a food, and a problem digesting it, it’s likely going to excite your immune system, degrade your gut health, and lead to some health issues.

raw-milkOn the flipside, milk and other dairy products can be a great source of     nutrients if you have no problems metabolising it.  Kefir (a fermented yoghurt) and traditionally made yogurts are high quality foods, and are at times critical for getting healthy bacteria thriving in the gut. Organic, raw milk (unpasteurised, unhomogenised) is usually well digested and contains a high level of nutrients.  Commercial dairy is basically a crappy food – it is pasteurised (high temperature heated) which denatures proteins and destroys enzymes required to digest lactose, and it is homogenised (treated to ensure the cream does not separate from the watery part of the milk) which can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other problems. The Raw Truth About Milk by William Cambell Douglas explains raw versus commercial milk.

I would also recommend going dairy free for two weeks, see how your body feels not consuming it, and then re-introduce while noticing your reaction to it (energy levels, bloating, mood, concentration).

VEGGIE OILS AND FISH OILS (containing polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA):  They’re toxic, oxidise in the body causing inflammation and free-radical formation, are heavily processed and are often rancid by the time they reach the supermarket, and are not required for human health. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are fragile oils which are easily damaged by heat, oxygen and sunlight. Extensive research on this, as well as other topics discussed in this article, can be found at www.raypeat.com . A specific article by Ray Peat is named  Unsaturated fatty acids: Nutritionally essential, or toxic??

LEGUMES:  The issue with legumes speak of gut health also. Legumes contain lectins (so do grains), and other anti-nutrients that are damaging to the gut, and lead to degradation of your health. They’ve also got masses amounts of fibre which can end up being a burden to the intestines –  stretching the intestines and fermenting/festering inside the gut walls if not eliminated, which ends up exciting the immune system and creating toxins that circulate in the bloodstream. Glycemia, starch and sugar in context by Ray Peat raises the issue of legumes and grains.

SOY:  Soy is not a health food.  Never in the history of humanity has soy been consumed in the manner it is today.  Unfermented soy foods (which include tofu, soya oil, soy proteins, soy flour, soy milk) contain high levels of substances that block mineral absorption (called phytates) and interfere with protein digestion. The phytoestrogens in these soy products are potent endocrine disruptors (they act as an oestrogenic hormone) that have been shown to depress thyroid function, cause premature development of secondary sex characteristics in children and disrupt the oestrogen / progesterone balance in general (effects are numerous). Check out The Hidden Dangers of Soy by Dianne Gregg and The Whole Soy Story by Dr Kaayla Daniel.

Two Evils

 carbs

Low carb dieting is not a good idea, and neither is eating the unhealthy carbohydrates. Healthy carbohydrates for me are primarily fruit, rice and starchy, tuberous vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, parsnip, beetroot, suede, pumpkin, carrot, taro, etc. We need carbohydrates and sugars for energy production, especially athletes or highly active people. The main thing is that you remove flour/gluten carbs (bread, pasta, pastry, biscuits, wraps) and too much processed sugar. Too low carb is detrimental to your health, I have experienced it amongst many others. Glucose/carbs are the body’s primary and preferred source of fuel. Your body can manufacture glucose from protein and fat, however this is not the preferred method for producing energy.  When carbohydrate intake is restricted, which restricts glucose, bodily systems will utilize hormonal mechanisms to create glucose from protein or fat.  This is fine short term, but can put hormones out of balance if it continues for too long, and strain the organs that create the hormones required. Glycemia, starch and sugar in context by Dr Ray Peat can be studied for further evidence.

 

EXTRA TIPS AND INFO

  • Filter your water. Chlorine disrupts our balance of healthy bacteria required for metabolism and just about every chemical process in our body. Humans are composed of about 75% water, with many key roles to perform such as maintaining a stable internal environment for all our cells and metabolic processes, allowing us to acquire nutrition and aid elimination of wastes. The water we consume must be clean and supply all the naturally occurring electrolytes, minerals and trace elements for our bodies to be biochemically in balance. Today, municipal water systems are repositories for millions of tonnes of chemicals, medicines, waste products, fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides from water run-off.

himalayan rock salt

  • Use Rock or Sea Salt. Salt is vital to the extraction of excess acidity from cells, balancing blood sugar levels, absorption of food particles across the intestinal tract, clearing mucous and phlegm from the lungs, acts as a natural antihistamine, aids in prevention of muscle cramps and is required for healthy bone formation. Salt is not something to fear in the diet, unless it is white refined table salt which is basically pure sodium chloride plus anti-caking agents, aluminium and other nasties.

 

  • SATURATED FAT AND CHOLETEROL IS GOOD  (from organic sources).  Get into pasture-fed and antibiotic/hormone free meat, olives, unheated EV olive oil, EV coconut oil, raw, organic butter and ghee. Get rid of trans fats – vegetable oils (canola oil, soy oil, sunflower oil, flora proactive are all bad choices), heated olive oil, breads, biscuits, pastries, bagels, margarine, mayonnaise, commercial sauces and shortenings and avoid fats from conventially raised animals/meats.Fats contain fatty acids that are essential for good health, efficient immune function, normal hormonal production, cellular respiration (energy production), proper cell membrane permeability – in short, for life itself. Heart attacks are caused by too much starches, stress and trans fats, leading to cell oxidation and inflammation, not from eating saturated fat. Most people need to eat much more fat to lose weight and to be healthy; otherwise our bodies produce more cholesterol in attempt to save us. What happens next is usually a trip to the GP that tells you that you need to take cholesterol-lowering drugs and the cycle continues. The cholesterol is not the problem, it is the messenger that tells us something is wrong. Cholesterol is anti-inflammatory and actually comes in reduce cell damage. Since the body cannot always keep up with the damage, it has been falsely concluded that the inflammation is caused by the cholesterol, rather than just noticing that the inflammation is correlated with the cholesterol. Eat Fat Lose Fat by Dr Mary Enig and Sally Fallon is a good resource on the benefits of saturated fat.

 

  • Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables.

 

  • Go easy on the nuts. These days I avoid them  as they tend to not only easily lead to a very high caloric intake but also can cause digestive problems and allergies whether mild or serious. Nuts also contain a high level of PUFAs.
  •  Go easy on the alcohol.
  •  Get your meat / eggs / poultry / butter / cheese / milk/ yoghurt organic and eliminate as much processed foods as you can. This comes down to toxins (we store toxins in fat tissue) and if we wish to mobilise fat, we need to get rid of these toxins found in commercial meats and plant foods.  Such toxins include anti-biotics, hormones, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, artificial colourings, preservatives and GMOs. If buying organic food is a challenge, at least strive for organic, free-range, anti-biotic and chemical free chicken/eggs and pasture-fed meats.  When buying fish go for the ‘fresh’ fish over ‘farmed’ fish. You can ask your local butcher whether they have any grass-fed only meats and ask for chemical and hormone free.  For vegies and fruit, going to any other fruit/veggie store/fresh market than Coles or Woolworths (or other big supermarket chain) is ideal!
  • Avoid using the microwave to heat foods. The negative effects of foods heated in the microwave have been well researched and documented. The microwave heats food aggressively from the inside-out by vibrating particles at such a speed to result in the breaking apart of cell membranes and the denaturing of proteins, to name just two effects. There existed a lawsuit in Oklahoma in 1991 concerning the hospital use of a microwave to warm blood for a transfusion which ended up killing the patient. This was instantly banned of course and I believe there is a reason why mothers are recommended not to heat their babies’ bottles in the microwave. Dr. Lita Lee of Hawaii reported in the December 9, 1989 Lancet:

“Microwaving baby formulas converted certain trans-amino acids into their synthetic cis-isomers. Synthetic isomers, whether cis-amino acids or trans-fatty acids, are not biologically active. Further, one of the amino acids, L-proline, was converted to its d-isomer, which is known to be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system) and nephrotoxic (poisonous to the kidneys). It’s bad enough that many babies are not nursed, but now they are given fake milk (baby formula) made even more toxic via microwaving.”

 

  • Allow for days off and your favourite foods from time to time and don’t stress too much about it :)

 fruit

BREAKFAST IDEAS

  1. Fruit and eggs cooked in coconut oil / butter
  2. Fruit and vegetable juice, coffee with cream
  3. Yogurt and fruit smoothies
  4. Young coconut with the ‘meat’.

LUNCH OR DINNER IDEAS

  1. Lightly steamed Fish or seafood (create variety with the types of fish and seafood you choose) with potato, beetroot and broccoli drizzled with olive oil and lemon.
  2. Rocket, parsley, capsicum, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, tomato salad with olive oil and lemon. For protein add a soft boiled egg or eat with oysters/mussels/prawns.
  3. Roasted root vegetables cooked in butter or coconut oil with protein (egg / fish / meat).
  4. Free-range, anti-biotic and hormone free, pastured beef / lamb / veal / venison / kangaroo / rabbit with chargrilled or lightly steamed vegetables. Top with organic butter and Himalayan salt.
  5. Organic free-range chicken / duck / spatchcock with a serve of steamed vegetables or salad (homemade dressing of olive / balsamic vinegar and salt).
  6. Slow-cooked chicken with vegetables.

 

All the meals are pretty simple and as you can see with the above, there are numerous variations in meal ideas. We tend to get in the habit of just eating beef, lamb, chicken, eggs and occasionally fish every week for the entire year. Try bringing in wild and game meats (venison, rabbit, kangaroo, duck, spitchcock etc) and give the regular meats a break. You can clear up food intolerances to some degree using this rotation method.