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What’s Your Kryptonite

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Dictionary.com defines kryptonite as a “fictional substance in the ‘Superman’ series where it weakens the otherwise invulnerable hero, 1943; perhaps from elements of krypton (which is a gas) + meteorite.”  Fortunately this is one substance we as ‘super heroes’ do not need to concern ourselves with.  However many of us have a nutritional form of kryptonite that can be just as deadly.

When it comes to determining the best nutritional protocol for an individual to follow there is a plethora of confusing information out there as well as extremists.  You’ve got your vegan or vegetarian crowd that abstains from any and all animals, birds and sea creatures, your high and low carb and fat fanatics and everything between.  Being an extreme type of person I’ve tried a few of these over the years and it’s taken well over a decade of experimenting with different diet plans to realize that extremes rarely work.

In as few as words as possible as not to get off track most people need a little bit of all the the macro nutrients in varying amounts to support their goals of what they are eating for.  Variations will be dependent on those goals, state of health, activity levels and genetics.  Experiment or hire a qualified nutritionist or coach to help you determine what’s best for you although finding one is often a challenge in and of itself.

Generally speaking most extremes do not work or work for long and are not sustainable over the long haul.  Do we need to be dogmatic in our approach?  No and yes if you have a kryptonite.  No to an extreme way of eating long term, it is not sustainable or healthy.  While a few of these extreme approaches may work for certain people at certain stages of life and health the majority of the extremes are not healthy long term.  Yes to avoiding your kryptonite.

Today’s wheat is not the same as yesteryear’s wheat.  There are some people that have an autoimmune disorder  called celiac disease triggered by eating gluten.  An even greater number of people have an intolerance to gluten and the cumulative effects can cause grave health damage.  Those people should NEVER eat wheat/gluten containing grains.  It is their kyrptonite.  An excellent book which goes into detailed information on this is Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.  Better yet, here’s a summary.  My opinion is that modern wheat is not good for anyone however some people are better able to tolerate it and are fine in small amounts.  My husband is one of them and at age 66 has a gut like a cast iron skillet, I do not.  If this is your kryptonite avoid it.

Sweet, sweet sugar.  Mmmmm.  Everyone loves a sweet treat now and again.  I do.  Can you have a reasonable portion of a relatively healthy dessert. . .   wait let’s define that. . . either homemade or made from ingredients that do not contain food dyes, high fructose corn sugar, partially hydrogenated fats and other chemicals.  i.e. homemade ice cream from raw cream, a cheesecake with organic ingredients and minimal gluten free flours etc without it causing cravings for more and more?  If you can great.  I am now to the point where I can; I can have a dessert or 2 a week without acting like a starved addict.  If you can’t–if after one bite you can’t sit still on the couch without going back and forth to the cabinet or refrigerator getting another cookie, another bite of chocolate or if you hide it in your gym bag, desk at work, away from family, friends and co workers you may have problem.  Does it cause mood swings?  Sugar may be your kryptonite, avoid it.

and drum roll please everyone’s favorite. . .  alcohol.  Well, depending on your physique, health and performance goals excessive alcohol isn’t going to help anyone but then again I did say ‘sustainable’.  Alcohol is a part of most everyone’s social gatherings, has been for centuries and will continue going forward.  Once again if you can drink moderately in social settings without setting off an addictive drive similar to the sugar scenario by all means indulge with your friends and family.   If you drink everyday, drink the whole bottle, pass out with memory lapses and worse yet get behind the wheel when you shouldn’t you may have a problem and this could be your kryptonite.  Avoid it.

Moral of the story:  can you control these substances?  Do you indulge so much that they have a negative effect on your body composition, health or performance?  Can you have a reasonable portion or do they create an addictive drive?  You know what the answers should be.  We don’t want to be weird but we don’t want to be stupid either.  Superheroes cannot afford to be vulnerable recognize your kryptonite.