It's Jason here at Suffer City.
And here's how I perceive nutrition.
Let me preface this article by stating that my perception of nutrition is also my strategy for nutrition, which is to say that nutrition for me is a process; a flexible, intuitive, and never ending process.
The purpose of nutrition, in general, is to deliver nutrients (foods) to the body so they can be converted into energy molecules which are exhausted by muscles and other energy-consuming systems.
To keep this as simple as possible, in this article we’ll focus on just one of those energy-consuming systems–that being the muscle system.
So, it’s important to understand while reading this that in addition to your muscles; your skin, hair, & nails are also being fueled along with your endocrine system (hormones), immune system, reproductive system, and several more.
It's generally agreed upon that there are ten (10), sometimes eleven (11), individual systems that integrate and synergize into a complete human system; and to associate your nutrition with all ten (10) is cause for a university-level course on ‘human engineering’.
So, herein, my aim is to clearly describe, in metaphorical terms, the process by which my body continually recreates itself using food, heat, and pressure; which happens to be the three primary variables used in a kitchen to create tasty meals of food. Let’s begin…
THERE’S A KITCHEN INSIDE OF ME
My nutrition is metaphorically perceived as the process of converting ingredients into food (a.k.a. cooking) in a kitchen and serving that food to people in a dining room. I use this metaphor for the process of converting food into energy in my body and distributing it to cells in my muscles.
I see the stovetop as my metabolism (the heat source), the pot on the stove is my stomach (into which the food goes to cook), and I see the ingredients that go into the pot as the food I eat (converted material).
But it doesn’t stop there. Because when I visualize all the food being cooked in the kitchen, I also see people who want to eat it. These hungry people are perceived as the cells in the dining rooms of my muscles.
And finally, I picture my physiological system as a team of servers who deliver the cooked food to tables of hungry cells in my muscles.
Okay...now; we have a complete picture of a kitchen (my nutrition) with ingredients (the food I eat) and a stove for heat (my metabolism), a pot (my stomach) in which to place the ingredients, a dining room (muscles) full of hungry people (cells in muscles), and a service staff prepared to deliver food (my physiology).
Here’s a graph to illustrate the metaphor:
FOOD I EAT
GUT BIOME / DIGESTIVE MOLECULES
TABLES OF HUNGRY PEOPLE
MY MUSCLE CELLS
Now, before we get too far ahead, let's state the goal of my nutritional kitchen–which is not to transform a bunch of ingredients into a magnificent eating experience for people, but rather to convert the food I eat into rich molecules of energy for muscle cells.
Does that make sense? If not, read that again. If yes, carry on…
WHERE TO START
In most cases, people focus on only one of the seven variables listed in my nutritional kitchen. And in most cases it’s the ingredients.
And it’s through only this single variable people try to find balance with their nutrition. This is like trying to find the perfect light setting when all you have is an ‘ON/OFF’ switch; which is why most people’s nutrition is either 100 percent all-in or zero percent and all-shit.
So then, with seven variables to choose from, where do I start? My metabolic stove.
Look, I could try to ask the hungry people what they want, but it’s not likely I have the ingredients on-hand to please them right away. Some people may want Italian while others want Chinese and others, still, may look at my kitchen with no stove burning, no ingredients cooking, and say “we’ll come back when you’re open”.
Okay, so what about trying to get all the right ingredients first? Well, I’d be guessing which ones were ‘right’ because I haven’t asked the hungry people what they want, yet. I could get too much of this, not enough of that, and end up serving Thai food to people hungry for Mexican.
So, instead of freaking out and instead of closing my kitchen, I remember why I opened it–to cook.
And so, I crank up my stove to get the heat and pressure needed to begin mixing whatever ingredients I do have; and I start cooking.
Stop here. Now, go back and re-read the goal of our nutritional kitchen.
Notice how the goal is not to give people what they want or to have the best ingredients or have the hottest stove or field the best service staff or to have the highest quality pots & pans.
If I get too focused on any one of these variables then I lose sight of the bigger picture, which is to transform the food I eat into energy products for my muscle cells; and the delivery of those energy products are hinged upon the synergistic cooperation of my entire kitchen and staff, not just the ingredients.
So, to activate my nutritional kitchen, I start by cranking up my metabolic heat and get my kitchen staff cooking whatever ingredients are available. This gets my physiological wait staff to work taking whatever is coming out of the kitchen and delivering it to the cells in my muscles.
My kitchen staff is doing the cooking. My waitstaff is moving food from the kitchen to dining rooms and the people in the dining rooms are being fed…
Sure, things are a bit chaotic at first. The chefs don’t know all the recipes or how to manage the stove’s heat. The waitstaff isn’t familiar with where all the people are seated, and many people in the dining rooms aren’t overly pleased with the meals they’re getting.
But, when I keep this process up over broad time, my chefs learn more about which ingredients cook best in my kitchen; they learn more about the optimal heating temps on the stove; my waitstaff learns their sections and routes to improve efficiency in delivery; and the people in the dining rooms are hungrier and also enjoying what they’re eating.
However, if I got too focused on having nice pots & pans or getting only the best ingredients or worried too much about what food other people liked or spent too much time just decorating the fucking place then the heat is never turned on, no one cooks, no one runs food, and no one eats; and that’s not a kitchen I want to be a part of.
And there’s your start. If you’re feeling ‘out of shape’ and like a health change is necessary then don’t get caught up in all the details involved in producing the perfect result. Just get your ass moving–literally.
And when you click-start your metabolic oven, your chefs will have nothing else to do but start cooking the ingredients you do have, which will eventually get served to your muscles…and thus, your process will have started.
But, without heat and pressure…there’s NOTHING to get things started.