Archevore Diet – Stage 1

Last week I posted about the Archevore Diet, and how I planned to follow it.  It’s a bit over a week since I posted, and the experience so far has been rather different to what I expected.  The first stage is to deal with any non food addictions, and get good sleep.

When I first thought about it, I had a mixed reaction.  The addiction part was going to be easy, I don’t smoke or do drugs, and I rarely drink more than one drink every day or so.  Sleep, on the other hand, I knew was going to be a problem, after all I’m a father of a new born, not getting enough sleep is part of the territory there.

However, I’ve discovered that things aren’t always as they seem.  For starters, I’d thought that the sleep and addictions were two separate problems, but it turns out (at least for me) that the two are intertwined a bit.  What I hadn’t taken into account was computers and me.

Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I have an all out addiction to computers, technology and the Internet, but I do like using them.  And while I don’t get the shakes if I can’t check my email, it was pointed out to me during the week that I tend to sit down at the computer as a bit of a default response if I have nothing to do.  So, while I can live without the computer, I do tend to use it quite a bit.

The sleep issue is quite simple, you can’t have a new born and not have an interrupted night’s sleep.  The thing is, I don’t see this as such an insurmountable problem now.  Firstly, there is such a thing as Polyphasic Sleep, which is basically a fancy way of saying that you sleep several times a day, rather than just once.  The most hard-core version of this uses six short naps every four hours, but there are other easier to follow methods.

What’s interesting about polyphasic sleep is that research has suggested that humans probably evolved to use polyphasic sleep, in particular a kind called Segmented SleepStudies have shown that if humans are left to use only natural light, their sleep pattern changes to a distinct pattern of sleeping for a few hours, followed by an hour or so of wakefulness, followed by another few hours of sleep.

So, I can use this to my advantage.  I don’t have to get a solid 8 hours’ sleep (in fact, I probably shouldn’t, even), I can get away with several shorter sleeps, as long as I just get enough.  This is where the computer use pops its head up again.

It’s all well and good to say that I’ll have a nap, get up and feed the baby, and then get some more sleep, but the computer complicates things.  It’s quite noticeable that I find it harder to fall asleep after using the computer.  It makes sense, all that light from the monitor is going to make my body think it’s day time, rather than night, with subsequent difficulties sleeping.

I was already aware of this issue, and had installed a utility on my computer which changes the colour temperature of the display based on the time of day.  To be honest, it works quite well, but it can’t help with the demands of keeping a new born baby happy.  So, I’ll be limiting my computer use before I want to sleep in an attempt to get a better amount of sleep.

I’m feeling hopeful that a reduction in computer use, and a concerted effort to take a nap between feeds of an evening will help me get stage one of the Archevore diet sorted out.  The next stage will be harder, cutting out sugar, and caloric drinks.  I’m fully expecting to struggle with sugar, as I think it’s probably the worst, and hardest addiction to kick.

The Winds of Change…

It’s 5 months to the day since my last post, and boy have things changed for me.  My wife and I have moved out of our house and are preparing to sell it, we’ve had a baby boy, and in the process have spent a lot of time in and out of hospital.  I don’t think I could have predicted any of this happening (well, except for the baby, we’ve known about that since early in the year…).

One thing that has to change for me is my lifestyle.  I promised myself that I’d try and live healthy when our baby arrived.  Well, actually I promised my self I’d be living healthy before he arrived, but with all the stuff we’ve been dealing with over the last few months that went out the window.  Regardless, we have a new baby, and I want to be able to keep up with him in a few years time, so that means getting healthy now, no excuses.

A couple of years ago I discovered The Primal Blueprint, and some good success losing weight and getting fitter following it.   Unfortunately for me I went off the rails about a year ago, and have been struggling to get back to eating the way I want to.  I’ve still been reading about Primal/Paleo diets, and one site I found was Archevore.  The Archevore Diet is the brainchild of Kurt Harris MD, and is essentially a Paleo diet, but approached through a series of steps.

The twelve stages of the Archevore Diet are as follows:
1. Get plenty of sleep and deal with any non-food addictions.
2. Eliminate sugar and all caloric drinks.
3. Eliminate gluten grains and wheat flour.
4. Eliminate seed oils
5. No snacking, 2 or 3 meals a day is best.
6. Whole foods from animals.
7. Choose fuels from the EM2.
8. Make sure you are Vitamin D replete.
9. Vegetables and fruits
10. Get proper exercise
11. Avoid eating excessive amounts of fruit.
12. If you are allergic to milk protein or concerned about theoretical risks of casein, you can stick to butter and avoid milk, cream and soft cheeses.

This approach appeals to me as it sounds like it will make changing my lifestyle easier to manage.  I think part of the problem I’ve had in the past has simply been the magnitude of the changes required to follow a Paleo diet.  With this step by step idea, I can deal with the changes in smaller increments.

So, as of today, I’m starting the process of changing my lifestyle.  As I tackle each step I’ll post it up here, along with any progress reports between steps.