Escape from the Infinite Autumn

Recently I was contacted about hospital food by a member of the Don’t Eat for Winter Facebook page and I was shocked to find out that almost all meals contain autumnal carbohydrates, some meals were exclusively carbs (what are carbs).

An example day included:

Cereal (Flaked corn, wheat biscuits) or Porridge for breakfast with toast and tea, all high GI foods, which would cause high blood sugar levels.

Lunch included Meat, Mashed Potatoes and Carrots. Both carrots and potatoes are high gi carbs, again spiking blood sugar levels. The carrots and potatos are a source of micronutrients too but something like brocolli would be great to lower the GI of the meal.

Dinner was a choice of beans on toast, beans and mash/croquetes, sausage and mash, or a salad. Most options here are again very high gi, at least there was salad on offer to get some colour and nutrients in.

Patients were also offered jelly and ice cream and tea and biscuits for snacks. It’s no harm having a treat now and again, but 2 treats would go against the food pyramid and with all of the other high gi meals, it’s more sugar piled in on top.

I was informed that fruit and boiled eggs were available to patients also, on request, which is good as eggs are a brilliant source of protein, fat and nutrients and of course fruit is necessary, however bananas would be more starch on top of an already excessive carb diet.

For sedentary patients I think this is a very high amount of sugar in the diet (starch is unsweetened sugar), and it seems that there are too few natural fruits and veg in the diet also. It’s worrisome. Another poster sent a picture of nuggets and wedges being served to a child after having crisped rice for breakfast. ¬†When you consider budgets for patient medication is so high, there is no budgetary reason to not provide patients with the best food options possible as food makes us what we are and can help us recover faster.

The Don’t Eat for Winter theory is based on the fact that natural High GI/GL Carbs exist almost exclusively in Autumn, and refined carbs. Essentially, in the 21st century, many people are eating Autumnal Carbs 24/7 365 days a year, we live in an Infinite Autumn, and with refined carbs, it’s an augmented autumn. I’m not demonizing carbs at all, they have their use but the over-consumption of them keeps us in Winter Storage Mode indefinitely and that is the primary reason I believe that the world is suffering from an obesity crisis. There are too many health issues to list out here but it’s causing us a lot of pain and we can do something about it.

You see if we eat autumnal carbs and derivatives 4 times a day our bodies are responding with insulin all the time to try and deal with the sugar… we’re flooded with the stuff and is it any wonder then that the pancreas which produces this substance get’s knackered and the cells that are being forced to received nutrients are becoming resistant to it also???

By the time our kids are 20 years of age, they have eaten for 80 winters… not only does this potentially affect their BMI, but it also affects their teeth too.

You can escape from the Infinite Autumn with me. My solution (The DEFoW Diet) is to eat seasonally on a daily basis i.e. chose to have autumnal carbs once a day, maybe twice and do not exceed the basic requirement for carbs based on your level of activity. By my calculations this is approximately 800 cals in the 2000cal reference diet. 420 for the brain and the rest for body at rest including some light activity (for heavy activity more carbs should be considered). Also, if you tend to use the carbs around activity they will feel more energized and the energy will be much more readily used by the body e.g. for resistance training, or moderate to high intensity cardio. The rest of the diet should come from protein, fat and fibre rich low gi/gl vegetables. When you do eat carbs it’s important to try eat fibrous foods such as wholegrains, and the skin and flesh of fruit too as they contain minerals, vitamins, critical to body function (unless you’re having a real special treat or you are an athlete replenishing glycogen levels or loading blood with sugar for very high intensity work). Also, when eating fats, eat poly/mono as a priority and saturated as a secondary source and try to approximate the daily guidelines of each source of nutrient. Some of the best sources of good fats include fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives.

Through this approach, along with exercise, I’ve created version 2.0 of myself, I’m leaner, stronger, healthier skin and no pain, whereas before I used to have trouble going downstairs, pains in feet, groin and chest pain.

To discover the full theory of how to escape the infinite autumn in which we live, you can get a copy of Don’t Eat for Winter here.

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Cian Foley is a Software Engineer from Waterford, Ireland and also a 2 time European, pan-American and World amateur kettlebell champion. Cian was a 115kg (256lb) obese 35 year old and has completely transformed into to a fit and healthy 78kg athlete through his 8 year journey of discovery around nutrition and exercise. He now competes as a natural bodybuilder at the age of 43 to prove that it is never too late to get into great shape without the use of steroids.