Note to readers: This review is not meant to be a replacement for the book and I would recommend reading it since the authors go into great detail about the fundamental knowledge that this plan is based on.
As far as I know, Engineers aren’t exactly known to be bloggers or exceptionally “wordy” type people. I learned in technical writing that each word needs to be essential in building each sentence; each sentence must be aligned like the shaft of an arrow heading towards the main point you are attempting to get across. Each word and point ought to be so essential that if missing, the whole structure would collapse and not make any sense. As victims to our training, we tend to be short worded and to the point in our conversations and writings (works great for the workplace but not for first dates!).
Why am I saying this? If you have sat down to read the THM book, you may have been overwhelmed by the shear size of it! Since trying out the “THM” lifestyle, I have had many people ask me what the book is about and what is the difference between this and the plethora of other “diets” out there. When my brother, a Mechanical Engineer and soon-to-be medical doctor, (see link to his site) said to me in true engineering fashion: “I don’t have time to read the book; what is the main dogma, the 1-2-3, the condensed version of the book?”, I had to pause and pull everything together in that huge book that made sense to me and express it in under 60 seconds. I haven’t read every single detail of the book myself but my wife has and I would highly recommend getting a copy as we reference it on a daily basis. From what I learned through my own reading, discussing with Ruth and observing how my body reacted, I was able to create a review of three main takeaways from the book. Since then, I have shared it with other people and at the request of one of Ruth’s contacts, I am going to share it here!
Point #1: Stop spiking your insulin. Refined sugar is your enemy; it spikes your blood glucose levels and makes your pancreas work overtime. Soda, pop, double-doubles, cheese cakes, chocolate bars, cookies, most cereal are actually killing you and rotting your teeth at the same time! Even honey, maple syrup and excessive amounts of fruit and fruit juices, while ok in moderation, are over consumed in our diets and are contributing to the sugar endemic in North America. Keep in mind that sweetness itself is not the enemy, the sugar (pretty well anything that ends in “ose” on the ingredient label) is. The other thing about sugar is that it is like a drug, the more you have it in your diet, the more you crave it. So, the next time you are thirsty – drink water; next time you order coffee, cut the sugar; Instead of picking up a snickers, grab a piece of cheese and/or some walnuts; instead of ordering the sweets at a coffee shop with your coffee, sneak in some THM approved sweets in your wife’s purse… seriously, this is what we do (see pic below)! Bottom line: Cut the refined sugar
Point #2: Stop mixing your fuel – for the men: imagine trying to run your motorcycle on gasoline and coal at the same time…this is what you are doing when you eat your tough-guy meat and potatoes or burger and fries. It is my understanding that your body really only burns one fuel at a time, so if it sees carbs and fat at the same time and in abundance, it will start to burn one and store the other. The idea around the S, E and Fuel pull meals is actually pretty simple. Your body is interested in 3 types of foods: proteins, fats, and carbs. Think of it like protein is the building block or foundation of your meal and can be combined with either carbs or fats (not both). Proteins come from hearty foods like egg whites, milk, nuts, meat, fish, chic peas, kidney beans, lintels, etc. Many of these foods already contain fats like the milk, nuts, red meat and fish. Don’t mix these in meals with high carbs. Carbs come mostly from the fruit and vegetable family of foods like pineapple, mangos, potatoes, and anything wheat based like pasta and breads. So how do we put these fuels together?
1. Protein and Fats – this is your satisfying or “S” meals. What’s ok? Bacon and Eggs, but skip the toast, orange juice or fruit smoothie, and home fries. Try coffee (no sugar), water, and fried zucchini instead (the THM book has plenty of options). So, what about the North American Staple: Burger and fries? Sorry, two fuel types: its adding unwanted pounds. Good news though: you can still enjoy hamburgers – Ruth and I frequently order triple bacon cheese burgers (from a restaurant that serves real meat – we are not fast food types) without the bun but with extra lettuce and all the toppings. Believe me, it is something to see my wife put away a triple bacon cheese burger and still have room for more:)
2. Protein and Carbs – this is your energizing or “E” meals. What’s ok? Oat meal with berries and greek yogurt and black coffee. Oat meal packages don’t count since they are full of sugar! You need to substitute the honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar out with a low carb sweetener like stevia extract powder that won’t spike your sugars. As a side: I hear lots of people complain about the taste of stevia and other sweeteners – Unless you are allergic, consider these two points: go easy (very easy) on how much you put in – stevia is extremely potent (Click the link to see just how much more potent it is!). Secondly, give it time, develop a taste for it – I am convinced that the reason you “don’t like the taste” is similar to why kids “don’t like their broccoli”! It is almost entirely a mental thing. I can almost hear my mother say: “eat up, it’s good for you!”.
3. Low fat and low carb (can include protein) – These are your fuel pulls. For all you perpetual snackers out there, you don’t necessarily need lots of proteins in these snacks; i.e., choco pudding from the THM book (p.366), the gummies, celery, etc. As a meal, they should likely be paired up with some protein – the book suggests 3 oz (i.e., cabbage or cauliflour with a lean white meat like chicken, turkey or white fish).
Point #3: Give your body the chance to burn the fuel you just ate – leave approximately 3 hours between meals. It is hard to believe that 3 hours is all it takes for the human body to break down the food, recognize the fuel type, convert the fuel to useable energy forms and deliver it to the parts that need it! My day looks like this: 5AM – wake up; 5:30-6AM – breakfast; 9AM – snack; 12PM – lunch; 3 PM – snack; 6PM – supper; 9PM – snack; 11PM – bed. So the next time you reach for a snack or have the munchies, do your body a favor and check your watch. Maybe just have a glass of water instead and wait til snack time (just like when we were kids at elementary school)!
That is about it! These are the 3 points that I took from the book – there are more points of course and tons of recipes in there but if you can stick to these, I guarantee that you will be more healthy and enjoy your food more! I hope this has been a help to you and welcome you to comment below or share this post with your partner (many macho men are scared of the “mama” part in the title of the book!), friends and family. Please click “like” and “share” below!
You can also check out my post His Perspective to see more of my perspective and point of view. Having trouble getting started on THM? Get set up for success by reading my post called “3 Things you need to start THM”
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, rather, I am a simple Christian husband trying desperately to fulfill the position God has for me. I do not claim to be an expert in areas of human sciences, nutrition sciences or kinesiology. I am just sharing what makes sense to me and has worked for me in hopes that it will help you too!