What should we do about carb cravings when they hit hard?
And what’s it like to eat just one meal a day for years on end?
In this special “Ask Me Anything” episode, I’m tackling your questions about:
- The scoop on OMAD-style intermittent fasting
- Tips for enjoying free meals
- Troubleshooting low energy
- What to do about carb cravings
- Flour alternatives when making treats
- How to build consistency into your habits
- And tons more…
Let’s get to it.
We’ve got Bailey, our 11-year-old yellow lab next to us here today to help us answer some questions, she’s always good moral support at least. 🙂
One-Meal-A-Day (aka OMAD) Style Intermittent Fasting
To this off, we’ll start with the question from Todd, he asks:
“Do you have an opinion on OMAD or one meal a day style intermittent fasting?”
He’s asking, “Can you do this correctly with just one nutrient-dense meal a day?“
The answer I would say for some people is, “Yes.”
For me in particular over the past decade or so, I’ve spent several years for most days just eating one meal or so, but the way that it shows up in most people’s lives, even the people who have been fasting for a long time, is that you’re not slamming one nutrient-dense meal in 30 minutes for all of your caloric needs, that’s not necessarily that conducive to a healthy approach to meals or lifestyle, and it doesn’t necessarily work that well if you do want to go out to lunch with friends.
You don’t need to order 3000 calories or whatever it is all at once and slam them for this to work.
The point is, for the most part, compressing your eating window and engaging in these times when you’re not eating can be very beneficial for your overall digestion and lifestyle over the course of time, but it’s not a magic bullet. It is not necessarily the answer.
It’s something that can be worth trying for a lot of people, but intermittent fasting is something that I’ve been doing in various ways, and there are so many different ways to engage in intermittent fasting over the years, and that can change.
So what I like to do most of the time is something that’s a little bit closer to a 16-8 style fast, where I’ll eat my first meal around noon or maybe 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM, and I’ll continue eating until around 7:00 or 8:00 at night.
One thing that you do want to avoid is eating too late in the evening, and I’ve noticed living in different time zones, we were up in Colorado, up in the mountains for the past 5 years or so, now we’re back in Austin, Texas, and seasonally, this can change as well.
For one meal a day and the OMAD strategies, that seems to generally work better for men than women, so if you wake up hungry in the morning, as we all do some days, trying to squish all of your calories, your caloric load into one, two to even four-hour eating session, that’s not probably going to be that realistic for a lot of people, especially if you have a family or you generally eat out or you eat with other people, it’s important to be flexible from a lifestyle perspective and find ways to get nutrient-dense meals and food into your body, whether you’re intermittent fasting on a certain schedule or not, so flexibility is important.
Intuitive eating is important, knowing that intermittent fasting, generally speaking, is also an added stressor on your body is very critical to acknowledge, because if you’re not getting great sleep or your diet isn’t that great to begin with, adding some of these other more advanced concepts or what can become more advanced over time into the mix can just make it a little bit harder to stick to a solid plan.
So I would make your first priority, Todd, as you mentioned, getting nutrient-dense meals pretty much whenever you can.
But intermittent fasting can be very useful in certain ways. Here’s one way that I like to use intermittent fasting.
So on the days that I’m not particularly active, I’m not using my body that much, or maybe not using my brain that much either, I don’t find that I’m quite so hungry and I don’t need as much energy coming in, on those days, doing something like a 20-4 style fast where my first meal is at 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM, it looks like today is going to be somewhere around there, and continuing to eat for about four hours into the early parts of the evening can be very beneficial.
The way that I like to do intermittent fasting, that’s a 16-8 style is generally, I’ll eat my first meal around noon and stop eating around 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM, and really having that cut off maybe two to three hours before you go to sleep is very important.
So don’t get too carried away with all the different styles of fasting, it’s important to experiment and see what works best for you, but there’s no need to try to force the OMAD approach, even though it’s blowing up the internet in some cases.
There are other ways to go about fasting, too.
Some people do really well with basically going 24 hours once a week without food, so you go from 6:00 on a Sunday until 6:00 on a Monday without any meals or snacks in between those, just doing that once a week can be very effective for fat loss and tuning up your digestive system, maybe losing a few extra stubborn pounds.
But if you do it too much, if you start pushing it to two times a week, I found that that can really deplete your energy, especially if you do that over the course of multiple weeks.
So no need to force intermittent fasting, but it’s another tool that you can throw in your bag when you want to get a little bit more on point from a body composition perspective, or you just find that you’re snacking too much, and when you are snacking or eating those meals throughout the day, some of them are sub-optimal, so always prioritize those nutrient-dense meals.
If you experiment with intermittent fasting and you try eating one meal a day for about four hours, the 20-4 approach or the 16-8 approach, or even if you just skip meals here and there, the main point is, you’re skipping the non-nutrient dense foods.
You don’t want to be intentionally fasting when there’s plenty of nutrient-dense food around, necessarily, because you want to make sure that you don’t get too hungry.
And if you push it too far, then sometimes fasting can lead to binging later, on exactly the foods that you want to be avoiding.
So if you find that you’re just scooping peanut butter into your mouth right before bedtime, listen, guilty as charged. I’ve committed a lot of these errors over the course of time, but hopefully you can correct them as you see them popping up.
Usually if you have a tendency to go for hard core sweets at night or something that’s very calorie dense, like those scoops of peanut butter or something like that, then you’re under-fueling during the day, and that’s not ideal over time, and your body is just screaming for caloric load, and by the end of the night, you’re just eating all of the wrong things.
So make sure that you’re not sacrificing your health in that way.
And if you are engaging in intermittent fasting, just be realistic about it, know that you don’t have to do it every day, you don’t have to do it the same way each day.
But having that on and off switch for when you’re eating can be really helpful for a lot of people.
Experimenting with Fasting and Sleeping Better
Alright, so this next comment and question is from Jackie, she says:
This is so cool. I have been changing around my eating schedule… the last two days I started fasting at 3 – 4pm and I do a 16-hour fast. I have gotten SO much more deep sleep. An extra 2.5 hours each of those nights! Wow!
Since it has only been two times I’m not sure if that’s what it was but I have a feeling I get better sleep because of the earlier fasting time. For reference, I go to sleep around 8:30pm
Anyway, I am loving the Oura ring and also the tracking in the Wild Challenge program definitely gives me the motivation to pay more attention 🙂
So, this is one example of how experimenting with different styles of fasting can result in some unexpected things in your lifestyle.
So if you are tracking your sleep, for example, under-eating and over-eating will show up in your data.
And getting solid sleep is one of the best possible things you could ever do for your health, lifestyle, well-being, productivity and everything else.
So if you find that there’s a great way of doing fasting for you, where for example, Jackie started fasting between 3:00 and 4:00 PM and then did a 16-hour fast. If you find that that works well for you and your data supports that, do that for a while until it doesn’t work anymore, until you find that you are running ragged and then you need to fuel up again.
So to combine these two questions. One other thing to keep in mind is you’re going to be eating more on some days, eating less on others.
The way that I like to do this is, on the days that I’m having a giant expenditure of energy, whether I’m going out and running 7 or 10 miles or I’m doing monster lifts, where I’m doing my heavy deadlifts and squats and that sort of thing, those are the days when I’m going to be eating a lot more, specifically a lot more protein.
And I’m going to be throwing my carbs onto those days, too, to replenish muscle glycogen, and make sure that I’m recovering and building muscle over the course of time, that’s very important.
You don’t want to be under-fueling on the days that you’re having those big expenditures of energy or you’re breaking your body down.
Now, on the days that you’re less active, certain days are just like that where you don’t get a workout in, or you’re just kind of laying around and taking a good solid rest day, those are the times when you want to be under-eating as related to the other days.
So some people like to program their schedule and eat exactly the same amount of calories every day, the same amount of meals in exactly the same way, I find that real life doesn’t work like that.
So that’s another way to use intermittent fasting is, on the days that you’re less active, prioritize a nice solid fast, break your fast with a nutrient-dense meal, try to get some protein in there, it’s best not to break your fast with something that’s high-glycemic, with something that’s too laden with carbs, so try to hit the protein first.
Also think about good healthy fats from olive oil, coconut, avocado, grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, eggs, even a little bacon here and there to improve the flavor of other foods, especially if you’re hitting the vegetables, cooking it up in the drippings or the fat from meats can be a really effective way to make them taste a lot better than they otherwise would.
If you’re just eating steamed broccoli, it can be hard to maintain that over time, but if you’re dressing it up with some really solid spices, and especially a tasty fat and enough salt, then you’re going to be cruising and it’s going to feel good to eat this way and continue to eat this way because it’s not something that’s meant to be a short-term intervention.
You want to be eating these nutrient-dense meals over the course of time in a way that allows you to keep going and not burn yourself out, so make sure that you are prioritizing the right types of macros at the right times, you’re refueling after your workout.
Some people like to eat before their workouts, as well.
In the aggressive Austin, Texas heat that we find ourselves in this summer, I tend to like eating a little bit later in the day and refueling after my workout, usually within 45 minutes or an hour is when I’ll start eating.
But when you’re really overheated, you don’t have to start eating immediately as some people do, so maintaining that non-eating window can be a really effective thing, to move around in your schedule and see how it works best for you.
Tips for Enjoying Your Free Meals
Ok, this next question is from Jordan, he asks:
I am so excited to get back on track with this way of eating! I never really went completely off the rails so this should be a piece of…kale! 😅
When I first read about your diet I thought I read somewhere that 1-2 “cheat meals” are allowed each week but now I am not seeing it anywhere? So I am wondering if maybe someone else (like a reviewer) said that it was part of your diet rather than you having said it. So are cheat meals something you include in this dietary approach?
My answer to that Jordan is, I don’t call them cheat meals, but I do engage in free meals and encourage other people to do so as well.
I get hung up on language sometimes, probably due to my background as a songwriter and that sort of thing, and sometimes I get a little territorial about language, as well.
So “cheat” is something that makes it feel a little bit, I don’t know, you don’t want guilt and shame to be a part of your nutritional approach or your strategy.
So thinking that you have the freedom to eat pretty much whatever you’d like here and there is an important part of keeping you going.
I will say that it’s best to not have your free meals on the days when you’re not active.
So you want to put your free meals around those big expenditures of energy, like I was talking about before.
If there is such a thing as a free lunch, it’s on the days that you do your heavy lifts or you’re doing your sprints, you’re doing some amount of running, jogging, pickleball, whatever you like to do.
For a lot of people, the cheat meal is some sort of ridiculous occasion where you’re eating stacks and stacks of pancakes covered in maple syrup, and you’re eating the waffles, and you’re eating the fried chicken and all of this other stuff.
That can be good for the soul sometimes here and there, but for longevity, not so much.
You can have your cake and eat it, too, if you do it the right way.'You can have your cake and eat it, too, if you do it the right way.' ― Abel James Click To Tweet
And what the right way is, in terms of my own lifestyle and some of the people I’ve worked with more closely is, yes, have those 1 to 2, 3 meals a week where you’re just not worried about eating something that’s sub-optimal, it’s got a little bit of gluten in it, it’s high glycemic, it’s got loads and loads of carbs or whatever it is, maybe even a little bit of sub-optimal oil.
It’s ok to eat that stuff every once in a while, if you’re sticking to eating nutrient-dense meals, 8 out of 10 times, 9 out of 10 times, then you can take that 10% or 20% of your time to have more fun with it.
But I will say that if you are trying to have that free meal, that free lunch, if it does exist, it’s usually on those big workout days or the days that you’re really active.'That free lunch, if it does exist, it's usually on those big workout days or the days that you're really active.' ― Abel James Click To Tweet
When I’ve measured this on a Continuous Glucose Monitor or a CGM, which I’ve worn for several months over the course of several years, I’ve noticed that on the days that are more of a rest day or I’m not physically active, I’m not using my muscles, I’m not going for a run all that much or whatever, I can get away with a little bit of carbs, maybe not the high glycemic ones, but a little bit.
It’s ok if you eat them in the right amounts, those high-glycemic carbs on the non-workout days will spike my blood glucose considerably, sometimes horrifically, whereas that same food maybe even double or triple the amount, that same sub-optimal food, if it’s post-workout after a big lift day or after a big run, no problem.
It barely even makes my blood sugar budge because your body is meant to work that way, you’re supposed to refuel and refueling with carbs can be very important, especially if you’re engaging in endurance events, triathlons, marathons, even running shorter distances.
It can be really important to regulate these things in your own life.
Also regulating your hormones, those days that you’re under-eating, if they drag on too long and you keep under-fueling, then your body will adapt to that and you can’t get away with eating as much as you did before, you’re going to be low on energy, your hormones will be sub-optimal, so it’s important to have those re-feed days and just try to put them around the days that you’re working out.
Hopefully, everyone listening to this knows the importance of going out for movement on most days.
Walking is great, but also combining that with a bit of strength training even once, twice, three times a week would be great.
But telling your muscles to at least stay there and, better yet, grow, is one of the best tools for well-being and longevity.
It used to be that the only people who lifted weights were considered bodybuilders or boxers or something, especially a decade or two ago.
Now people are catching on that you don’t have to be totally into the lifestyle of muscle building in order to engage in strengthening your body.
Resistance training is one of the best possible things you can do.
And as much as I hate to say it because I’ve been a lifelong runner, if you’re looking for body transformation and dialing in your body composition, I would prioritize resistance training and strength training over running, and over these triathlons and that sort of approach.
During my time running marathons, I saw a lot of people who had quite the gut and you wouldn’t expect it from running that many miles, but it’s usually a problem of expending too much energy and not refueling in quite the right way.
And having muscles is one of the best possible things you can do for your overall lifestyle, body composition, it makes a lot of things easier too, being able to move things around.
We’ve been moving from house to house and from place to place many times over the years, and I’m very grateful that it’s not that much of a challenge, especially compared to my strength workout when I’m lifting up heavy boxes and being helpful for other people, too, who need me to carry things around every once in a while.
I’m glad that I’m not the weakling that I was when I was running many, many, many miles and not engaging in strength training.
So that’s one thing that I’ll continue to do as long as my body supports it. Hopefully, well, well, into the latter years of life.
I saw one news piece recently, a man in Arizona for his 97th birthday was carrying 100 pounds around the gym.
His body composition was incredible for someone who was 97 years old, but even more important than that, and even more striking to me was, you look at him and you hear him speak, and he seems like someone who was in his 60s or 70s, certainly not 97 years old.
And so when you look at the people who really have embraced strength training and fitness into their lifestyle over the long haul, you can see that many of them tend to age very, very well.
And so strength training is one of the best things that you could possibly do, especially if you’re going to be engaging in those free meals.
Troubleshooting Low Energy
Let’s get to the next question. This one came in from Greg, who asks:
Hey. I’ve eliminated wheat from my diet and I’m trying to eat healthier. I have a job that requires a lot of physical labor, and I feel sleepy headed throughout the day since starting the diet.
Any suggestions on what I may be missing? Just bought The Wild Diet written by that cool Abel James guy!
Alright, Greg, so this can happen a lot, especially if you go from eating a more standard American diet or something, or if your body is used to eating lots of carbs, then you dial them down and you prioritize proteins, healthy fats, and quite a bit of fibrous vegetables.
Your body is like, “Where is all this high-glycemic, high-octane standard American diet stuff? I need this to keep going.”
The answer is, it doesn’t need that to keep going, but your body will take a little while to adjust to eating the Wild way as opposed to whatever you might have been doing before.
And so, when you go lower carb, your body has to get energy from somewhere else, and ideally down the road, you want it to be pulling from fat stores primarily more than your dietary intake of carbs and sugars where a lot of people are getting their energy.
That’s a very addictive route to go down, but for the first couple of weeks, you want to be prioritizing a few things that you might be deficient in, or your body needs more of.
And specifically, we’re talking about electrolytes, especially if you’re active outside and you’re sweating a lot, just a little bit of high-quality sea salt can go a long way.
You can sprinkle it into your water, you can add a little bit extra on to your eggs or whatever your meal is, your steak, your meat, your veg, but make sure that you’re not going too low on salts.
But I will say, try to prioritize, not processed salts, but salts that are a clean, sea salt, a Himalayan salt, and spices are a fun thing to get into. I geek out on it from time to time.
But make sure that you’re not going too low on the salt. Adding a little bit can really help.
Adding some magnesium supplementation and other electrolytes can really be helpful, especially for the first few weeks of transitioning to eating this way.
Especially, once more, if you’re going to be outside and sweating a lot and it’s summer, it’s hot.
I notice a big difference when I blow on electrolytes versus topped up, and so one of my favorite go-tos is called LMNT.
LMNT is an electrolyte-based supplement company that makes the best tasting ones that I’ve found and it really can give you a boost.
It’s got magnesium, sodium and potassium, and it tastes great as well in a bunch of different flavors.
So if you’re interested in trying LMNT, you can go to drinklmnt.com/wild, and I think they’re still offering a free sample pack with your purchase, so that’s one worth checking out.
I also like Trace Minerals as a brand for electrolytes.
They have drops that you can put directly into your water, and it’s not just salt, it’s got a whole smattering of electrolytes and different minerals, and I’ve been using that for years.
It can really give you a boost when you need it, especially, once more, if you’ve been sweating a lot.
Don’t be afraid of some of the healthier carb options, the non-gluten carbs, still staying away from sugars and flours, that’s a great idea.
But if you want to engage in eating some sweet potato, wild or brown rice, quinoa, soaked oats, etcetera, these are all some things that can help you replenish especially after heavy lifting or working outside, even if it’s just gardening or what have you.
Make sure that you’re not under-fueling, especially for too long because you’ll feel sub-optimal, it won’t be fun.'Make sure that you're not under-fueling, especially for too long because you'll feel sub-optimal, it won't be fun.' ― Abel James Click To Tweet
And when you eat that first sweet potato after not doing it for a while, you’re going to feel like you’re taking off like a rocket ship.
So don’t be afraid of some healthy carb options, because carbs are not the enemy. They’ve just gotten completely out of control in the standard American diet way of going about eating and living your life.
They’re everywhere, they’re addictive. And sugar, flour and industrial oils are the things that you mostly want to be avoiding for the most part.
But make sure that you’re still getting plenty of nutrient-dense meals, you don’t want to be under-eating or going without too much here.
Dialing Things In If You Have A “Dad Bod”
This next question is from Ryan who writes in and asks:
I am interested in losing my Dad-bod, having more energy, and getting my wife and I back on a healthy lifestyle.
So, Ryan, I hear you. I did a whole episode about the dad bod a couple of years ago with Dr. Anthony Balduzzi.
So check that out, we have a lot more information about that.
But really quickly, yes, a lot of people who may be working out and eating the same as when you were younger, you’re not getting the right kind of results anymore, your body is getting away from you.
That happens over time. It gets harder as the years tick by, there aren’t as many opportunities to color outside the lines and get away with it.
And so, being really on point with your habits and what you’re eating most days, especially during the week, dialing those in is super important.
And making sure that you’re not having too many of those free meals or you’re not just skating by, kind of doing what you think might be best for your health, but not being organized about it.
It’s very important to be intentional about health and fitness, as time goes by.
Getting your family on board, your wife and maybe your kids can be so helpful.
Because if someone in the family is still hitting the ice cream and getting pizza all the time and french fries or whatever, it’s hard to turn that down in the moment and not eat a few french fries or the whole dang thing.
So you definitely have a little bit of a head start there, doing it as a family can be really helpful for everyone around you.
But here are a couple of other things, if you’ve hit a plateau or you just want to tighten things up a little bit, here are a couple of other things that might help, especially if low testosterone or hormones are involved.
When it comes to the dad bod, it’s important to have a good idea of what’s going on in your body, so getting some blood work done and looking at your testosterone levels and other hormones, checking things out can be really important to make sure you’re optimizing the right things.
But focusing on quality fats can be very beneficial for hormones, especially for men.
Looking at egg yolks, grass-fed steaks, things like that, especially when you combine it with strength training, that can help your hormones out considerably as well as your neurochemistry, your motivation, a lot of other things like that.
So combining the approach of strategic nutrition, where you’re focusing on protein, nutrient-dense meals, not having too many carbs, what have you, when you combine that with strength training, the results can really be incredible over the course of a few weeks, especially.
So try some of those things out and definitely check out the episode with Dr. Anthony Balduzzi for more.
What To Do About Carbs Cravings
Next question is from Risa who asks:
I love your program. It’s a delicious way to lose weight. The problem is that I do miss my mashed potatoes probably the most out of all my carbs. So how do I defeat that craving? Thanks in advance for the answer 😁
So, we all have a budget to some degree, we all have certain things that we can eat and get away with.
If you eat too much of them, it’ll backfire on you.
But mashed potatoes, not the worst thing in the world, it depends on how you’re making them though.
How much butter are you putting in there?
Is there any kind of flour or a ridiculous amount of cheese that you’re sneaking in there?
If we’re talking about extremely cheesy Velveeta mashed potatoes or whatever, then improving the quality of the ingredients that go into the mashed potatoes can be helpful.
But mostly, it’s about moderating the amount that you’re eating.
Here are a few options if you want to keep the mashed potatoes out of your nutrition, you can look at something like mashed cauliflower, which can be a really effective substitute for potatoes.
It shows up in a similar way in terms of a side for meals, especially if you throw some butter on there, you salt it and spice it well, it can be quite tasty.
It’s not the same as mashed potatoes, but a step in the right direction maybe.
And while white potatoes are a nightshade, sweet potatoes are not, and they can actually be a little bit less damaging for certain people, so that can be a nice one to sub in.
And then boiled potatoes are going to be better than baked or fried, so if you’re cooking low and slow, and you’re eating a moderate amount of mashed potatoes and you’re intentional about how you eat them, then it’s not the end of the world to eat a little bit of mashed potatoes here and there.
When we go out and get barbecue, there’s a place in Dripping Springs, Texas, Pig Pen BBQ that is absolutely fantastic.
They have some of the best fatty brisket I’ve had in a while, and they also have a delicious potato salad, but it’s a hot potato salad, more like scalloped potatoes or something.
And so, I did some continuous glucose experiments eating a little bit of those cheesy hot white mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes essentially.
I don’t think it has added flour in it, but when I ate a little bit of those, especially on a workout day, no problem.
Even when I ate a fair amount of those potatoes, I think that was on a bigger workout day, that didn’t seem to be too problematic.
But on the days that you’re resting, you’re not that active, slamming huge amounts of mashed potatoes, probably not going to do you many favors.
So you don’t have to give up your mashed potatoes forever, Risa, but making sure that you’re moderating can be very helpful. And then, try out the mashed cauliflower because that’s the one that, especially on a regular basis, we like to eat with a meat like steak, chicken, fish, you throw some of those mashed cauliflower or diced or riced cauliflower on the side, as long as it’s spiced well, and especially if you cook it up in some bacon fat or the drippings of the meat that you just cooked, that can be fantastic.
Also, another little tip, if you do have broth around, which I highly recommend, eating nose-to-tail and eating your broth, still so important for this way of living.
And it’s something that we continuously do and have been doing it for well over a decade.
Adding a little bit of broth while you’re cooking up that cauliflower, whether it’s riced or diced or what have you, even other veggies, a little bit of broth and cooking it down can help improve the flavor, give it that savory-ness that you’re looking for.
Because usually mashed potatoes are delicious not because of the potatoes, but because of the cheese and the butter and whatever else is being thrown in there.
A lot of times it can be flour and MSG and other things like that, too.
So if you’re making it at home, do it with clean ingredients, and make sure that you have your fun from time to time.
But if you’re talking about a daily side, then you’re going to do a lot better with something like mashed cauliflower.
How To Build Consistency Into Your Habits
We’ve got time for just a couple more here today. Jesse the musician says:
“Mastering the art of consistency is my struggle.”
Yeah, consistency can definitely be tough. If you take a day off or you slip up, and then you take the next day off, then you take the next day off, that’s a cascade that gets away from you.
But very similar to practicing an instrument and especially improving on instruments or practicing fitness and getting better, these are things that if you’re the weekend warrior and you’re just trying to eat right on one day a week or a few days a week, it’s not going to stick, and it’s not really going to work.
If you’re just being the weekend warrior who’s working out once a week and doing that big expenditure of energy, that also probably won’t work that well.
Same thing with music.
I used to be, way back in time, a guitar teacher and I taught other instruments, as well, and oftentimes the kids would come in and get great results because they would just pick up a guitar for a few minutes a day, most days, plunk around and get their hands used to it or whatever.
And the kids tended to do really well.
The adults who I taught often didn’t do well because they kind of had this transactional feeling about it, where it’s just like, “Hey, if I’m paying good money to a good teacher, I’m going to get better.”
But if you don’t have the consistency in your actual schedule, what they would tend to do is that we can warrior approach where they’d pick up the guitar and they’d try to play for two or three hours on the weekend when they had time for it, but they wouldn’t have it around just lying around their house and pick it up like a kid might.
So a little bit of effort on most days is going to get you a lot farther than a huge expenditure of effort infrequently.
So if you’re looking at building consistency, the beginning of that will be very difficult.
So do what you can to make it more achievable at the beginning.
If you’re thinking, “Alright, I’m going to get my health under control and I’m going to take this seriously.”
And all of a sudden you realize that you’re going to have to be shopping for, cooking and cleaning up after every single meal that you’re making at home for 30 days straight, and you’re going from eating take out and going for pizza with friends and all the rest of it, and you’re having a hard shift into the lifestyle of trying to do it all for yourself all at once, that can be too hard to build a habit.
So if you need to kind of have a softer shift into this lifestyle, just try to nail one good meal a day. Have one nutrient dense solid meal a day.
And the other ones, you know, they’re not ideal, but you’re eating food and you’re trying to stay away from the worst offenders.
If you do that at the beginning and then a few weeks later, once you’ve built that habit of getting that one super solid meal a day, let’s say you try to nail your lunch every day and make sure that you’re hitting a quality protein with the quality fats, not having too many carbs, and you’re focusing on a Wild-friendly meal approach.
Or if you just say, “Hey, I’m going to go for a walk for 4 days of the week, I’m going to do a 10 or 15 minute walk around the block with my dog.”
Or if I don’t have a dog, “I’m going to pretend that I have one. I’m going to nail that, but I’m not going to go and sign up for CrossFit or some ridiculous fighting championship, exercising 7 days a week and getting all beat up.”
Yeah, you don’t have to go totally hardcore from the get-go.
Some people can do that, but if you’re trying to build a habit, it’s really important to make it easy and enjoyable, and try to make those little habits stick over time and then build it out from there.'If you're trying to build a habit, it's really important to make it easy and enjoyable.' ― Abel James Click To Tweet
Because even if you do get the results that you want or the body composition that you want, this is a life-long battle, this is a life-long journey, so you have to make it exciting, fun and interesting for yourself.
And it’s always going to be a moving target.
So I hear you, consistency can be tough.
But if you’re a musician as I am, then you know that it’s very important to spend time with your instrument, and also find a way to make it enjoyable for you.
You can’t just drill yourself into the ground and practice scales all the time, or do burpees all the time.
Or regardless of which metaphor we’re talking about here, it’s really important to make it enjoyable and achievable from the get-go.
Build the consistency before you try to get all of the habits and dialed in all at once.
And you’ll get there, and if you have any trouble, you can always hit me up, Jesse, love hearing from you folks.
Flour Alternatives When Making Treats
One more question. This one is from Lauren, she says:
OK friends. I have been sugar free and processed carb free for almost 30 days now which is a huge accomplishment!! I love my treats and soon, I would like to add back in healthier versions of treats I love and can feel good eating.
Can you please tell me your thoughts on the following ingredients so I am more educated when I’m looking at recipes online?
Ingredients in question:
– Gluten free flour: this seems like a no to me which is fine but I’m looking for flour alternatives that are NOT Almond flour
– Peanuts/all natural peanut butter
– oatmeal alternatives?
Number one, I want to say, Lauren, congrats on going sugar and processed carb free for 30 days. That’s a huge win.
Anyone out there, try to match that, try to see if you can do that, as well, because no matter what else you’re up to, if you can just avoid sugar and processed carbs for 30 days, you’ll probably be shocked by how much better you feel, and by the results that you experience.
So Katie from the Tribe chimed in and she also said that she uses coconut flour often and for oatmeal alternatives, nuts, chia seeds, flax meal, Amaranth, it depends on the application, but there are a lot.
Legumes like Garbanzo beans or Chickpea flour, whatever that one, can also work well for certain recipes, but I wouldn’t make cookies out of chickpeas unless they’re very, very specific style.
Chickpea flour, we haven’t had great results with, but some other options that we’ve used in terms of flours for treats include teff flour, sweet potato flour, brown rice flour, quinoa, sorghum, millet, amaranth and buckwheat.
Actually Buckwheat is a really interesting one, and I quite like the taste of that.
And if you’re just eating a little bit of it, then also arrowroot starch or tapioca flour can be a good one, but it’ll get away from you pretty quick, it’s very high glycemic.
Flours in general are not ideal, so if you’re making treats, just be aware of that, that they are treats. You don’t want to make it a staple necessarily.
But we’ve had a lot of good luck swapping out flours, especially the gluten flours for ones that are non-gluten-based, and as long as you’re willing to experiment and make a few mistakes in the kitchen, then you’ll find your way.
One of our best pancake recipes, for example, is completely flour-less.
We take green plantains, the yellow or even black plantains can work, too. You combine them with egg, you put it in a blender and whip it up to a nice consistency where it’s nice and even.
Those can make fantastic pancakes and sometimes we even use them as buns for burgers, depending on what else we’re throwing in there. So have fun in the kitchen.
Know that you don’t really have limitations, and also I haven’t talked about this yet, but oats can be a really nice source of fiber.
For most people, they tend to enjoy the taste, you can have them sweet or savory with a bit of nuts added to that or some fruits.
We also sometimes will make the crust for some of the pies that I’ve been making recently out of oatmeal, out of soaked oats. You can take oats and blend them up into a flour if you do have a nice blending option, like a Blendtec or something like that, that really gets in there.
The cheaper blenders and food processors don’t do it quite as well, but if you have a decent one, then you can make your own flours at home, you’ll save a lot of money and you’ll know exactly what’s in your food so that’s a huge win right there.
And then one quick note about peanut butter, it’s something that we have been eating on and off over the years, but lately we’ve been trying to kick peanut butter out for a few different reasons that I don’t have time to get into right now, but we’ve been swapping it for sunflower butter, which we have also been using for a long time, and it goes very well in cookies, some of the home-made treats.
So if you’re looking to swap out peanut butter, which I would encourage a lot of people to experiment with, especially if there’s, if you have any signs of puffiness or not feeling ideal after you eat peanuts or peanut butter, sunflower butter is a great option in terms of taste and nutrition.
And yes, it’s easy to run away with and eat too much of pretty much all of these, whether it’s almond flour, coconut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter, all of these different options, very calorie dense.
They can taste excellent, so you don’t want to get too carried away.
But the point of saying all of this is that you can definitely have great results by swapping in and out a lot of these different flours and butters, and it’s going to come out a little bit different.
But a lot of times, some of our best recipes have come from these experiments in the kitchen where we didn’t know exactly how it would come out, but we didn’t have any coconut flour, we didn’t have any almond flour, we didn’t have any peanut butter sitting around, we had to sub something else in and it’s just like, “Oh, wow, this came out way better than our original recipe.”
So have some fun with it.
And if you need any more recipes, definitely check out the Recipe section.
And check out some of our cookbooks as well.
And before I go, I just want to thank you all for sending in your questions and keeping in touch with me.
Many of you have been with us over the years, and I so much appreciate hearing from you.
If you have a question for me, then you can always sign up for a newsletter, hit reply to any of my emails. Let me know what you’re thinking.
I am opening up just a few spots for advanced coaching, so if you’d like to work with me personally, if you’d like me to help troubleshoot whatever your struggles are right now, hit me up, shoot me an email, let me know what you need some help with.
I always love hearing from you.
Before You Go
If you’d like Advanced Coaching, I’ll be opening up just a few spots for the first time in a couple of years.
I don’t call it biohacking because we’re not trying to trick your body or take advantage of it in some way, it’s more like health optimization according to proven and time-tested principles.
So if you’re interested in how to apply more advanced concepts like personalized workout programming, customized intermittent fasting and meal plans, photobiomodulation with infrared light, pulse electromagnetic field, strategic supplementation and more, send me an email. I’m email@example.com.
And I should note, sometimes these things are sold as magic bullets and that everyone needs to take this supplement or do this sort of red light panel every single day or whatever it is, but often in coaching, especially the more advanced clients, it’s about elimination.
So I’m very honest in my approach about what you might need and what could help you. And after doing this for 11+ years, I have a lot of experience with mostly things that don’t help.
We get so many gizmos and gadgets sent our way, foods, supplements, technological gizmos, and I’ve tried probably well over 200 at this point, of all of these different things, many of them don’t help, some of them really do, but eliminating and simplifying can be a huge step in the right direction for many people out there.
So if you’re interested, one more time, just shoot me an email for advanced coaching at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll see if I can help you out.
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One more time, this is Abel James, thank you so much for joining me in this episode, and we have lot more interviews with fantastic thought leaders in health and fitness coming up in the weeks and months ahead, so stay tuned
Thank you again for joining us on this episode, I look forward to seeing you in the next one.
What did you think of this Ask Me Anything? Do you have a question for me or my wife, Alyson? What are your favorite almond flour alternatives? Do you practice intermittent fasting? Drop a comment below to share your thoughts.