Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Evolutionary Fitness

Q: Why is it called Evolution Catering?

A: A little over a year ago my boyfriend Chris read a blog by a scientist and professor named Arthur Devany, who had discovered a phenomenon called "Evolutionary Fitness" (EF). The idea was to eat like a caveman. No processed foods, bread, pasta, grains. Just meat and veggies and the occasional fruit for dessert. At this point I was eating pretty healthy. I stuck to whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and limited my bread intake. But I was still carrying around a little bit of extra "puffiness" throughout my body. I looked good, but knew there was room for improvement.

Note: Arthur Devany explains all of these concepts much better than me. He has done years of research on the subject, and really knows the science behind EF. Below is a summary in my own words of my experience with EF, but check out his blog to learn the technical side of it.

EF DIET: I had my doubts- OK to be honest I thought Chris was following some crazy fad diet. Why would I want to eat like a caveman? But I was open to it, and here are some advantages to the hunter-gatherer way of life:

  • Food was scarce. You had to hunt for your dinner. Yet today most Americans eat three square meals a day simply because it is available. The body isn't built to eat that much, nor does it need it for survival
  • With the introduction of modern agriculture, grains and starchy root vegetables became economically efficient to live off. That doesn't mean that biologically our bodies want these new foods. Potatoes and beans cause the blood sugar to spike, which means you must maintain a starchy diet to avoid that dreaded sugar crash. Our bodies just weren't built to process such sugary foods.
  • Immune systems are higher when you practice EF. Our immune systems go on attack when an unknown invader enters our bodies. Think about a bag of Cheetos. Our bodies haven't evolved enough to recognize the cheesy fried snacks, so it goes on the offense to ward off this alien invader. It's no wonder so many people suffer from immune system disorders like Diabetes, Cancer, and Alzheimer's.
The EF Workout: While eating EF will produce an improvement in your health, you have to add the workout to the equation to get the full results:

  • Quick bursts: Instead of jogging for an hour, try to sprint (and I mean as fast as possible, pretend a sabertooth tiger is behind you) for a block and walking a block or two. Do this for 10-15 minutes. You get your heart rate up and will notice a difference!
  • Super-sets: When lifting weights start with a low weight and do 15 reps slowly, followed by 8 reps with a higher weight, and then 4 reps quickly with an even higher weight. (Devany explains why this works much better than I could, check out his blog for an explanation)
  • Make it quick: only spend about 20 minutes at the gym, and make those 20 minutes count! Use high weights, and focus on the large muscle groups that hit several muscles at a time. Don't waste time sitting around on the bench between sets, keep moving around
  • Don't fall into a rut: Your body needs to be surprised. Don't do the same workout all the time. Take a day to run around at the local park. Jump up on benches, sprint to the swingset, do some pullups on the monkey bars. Make working out fun!

    THE PROOF: Those are just a few examples of why it is scientifically a good idea to practice EF. But I think that the proof is in the pudding. So I decided to give it a shot. I said goodbye to bread, pasta and rice for three weeks. I also began to exercise as Devany suggests. And the results (drum roll please...)


I had finally found that miracle cure for the extra puffiness around my body. My arms were toned, my face was cut, and my tummy was nowhere to be found! I felt amazing too. In the past year since I have been practicing EF I have not been sick at all! I have a superhuman immune system. A few weeks ago I went into the doctor because I thought I had a case of swimmer's ear (I teach swim lessons a couple days a week) and it turned out I had a sinus infection. The doctor couldn't believe that I had absolutely no symptoms to show for it. He said my glands and nose were extremely swollen, and that I should be experiencing a runny nose, headache, and fatigue. But I felt amazing! He said my immune system was too good to show any symptoms.

EF ENERGY: EF gives you an incredible amount of energy. So if you really like sitting on the couch watching reality TV, do not try this at home. You will feel too good, you will want to run up a mountain or jump in a creek (see pics from Chris and my trip to Big Sur last weekend to the right).

SUM IT UP: So now you know where the title Evolution Catering came from. I owe Arthur Devany a BIG thank you for helping me become the healthy individual I am today. Check out his blog. He has done years of research on this subject, and he explains these concepts much better than me! Share your EF stories below. Let's help others join the Evolution!

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