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The Gluten-Free Business Plan

Taking care of ourselves

Recently I’ve found myself extremely frustrated and stumbling into a simple realization. The frustration should probably be about politics, religion, or world issues, but alas, it’s something very selfish that I bet has frustrated you as well: my nutrition.

Now, before you completely disregard this article because I just said I was more concerned with my nutrition than with bigger world-changing issues, hear me out for a moment.

We can’t give our gifts to the world, or have a chance at making positive change, if we can’t even take care of ourselves.

This year, I turned 34. A completely unimportant and inconsequential birthday. But one thing slapped me in the face as I was getting ready to put on my party hat and bash my gluten-free cookie-filled piñata (I didn’t actually have one of these, but now I want one). I’m not getting any younger, and I don’t want to look back later in life and wish I’d taken better care of myself.

Maybe this is the first time you’re reading my writing, or you haven’t combed through every word I’ve ever written (WHY NOT?!), but I’ve mentioned before that my girlfriend, Caroline, and I subscribe to a meal-prep service and have 90% of our food delivered to us every Wednesday by a nice college student named Diego. I always love our charming two-minute conversations while I exchange last week’s empty food cooler bags with Diego’s packed-to-the-brim-with-new-food bags. Let me pause for a second and explain (or remind you) why we use a meal-prep company:

Cooking does not bring us unbridled joy. “Cut the bell peppers lengthwise; why would you ever in a million years cut them into squares?” and “I don’t know where the tablespoon is. I don’t even know if that’s bigger or smaller than a teaspoon.” We ended up having more mini-fights about how vegetables should be prepared than we ate romantic candlelit dinners.

We don’t value the time it takes to cook. Some people want/need the break from their work or live to spend 30-60 minutes in the kitchen, free from life’s distractions. This actually seems like a waste of time to us. We’d rather spend that time creating art, writing articles, or helping people in our small tribes. (I’ve estimated that we save 40 hours a month by using a meal-prep company.)

We know we’re putting good food in our bodies. No sauce is needed. No extra condiments thrown on. The meals are simple, they’re free of bad things, and after three minutes in a skillet, they are ready to be consumed.

Let’s get back to turning 34. I realized the person staring back at me in the mirror wasn’t the person I wanted to look like.

How’s that possible? With a meal-prep company, shouldn’t I be in the best shape of my life?

Enter the frustration.

Plenty of studies show that testosterone levels drop in men after 30. Plenty of other studies show that the human body can quickly adapt to anything and begin to plateau after positive progress. So I started looking around at other nutrition options (read: diets), and here’s a short list of some of the options out there:

  • Paleo
  • Bulletproof
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Slow carb
  • The Zone
  • Weight Watchers
  • Jenny Craig
  • Mediterranean
  • Whole 30
  • Gluten-Free
  • Flexitarian
  • and even one called Acid Alkaline (do you just drop acid all day!?)

How the heck do you choose?

How do you run an experiment on yourself that doesn’t change too many variables, but can show you which nutrition plan is the best for your genetic makeup?

How do you not just throw in the towel on all of it and start the Ben & Jerry’s diet? Mmmm, half-baked ice cream.

Remember that realization I mentioned in the first line of this article? Here it is:

There is no perfect plan for anything. Nutrition. Business. Relationships. Building modular homes. The only perfect plan is the one you enjoy and that you can make work for your specific situation.

It sounds simple, right? Well, it kind of is. But it’s also easy to get caught up in the never-ending game of perfectionism. Every single one of those diets up there has entire online communities dedicated to doing it perfectly, and to debating the minutia like whether chicken broth counts as a complete protein. We all get bogged down by the details, and that makes it more likely that we’ll fall off the wagon (into a vat of ice cream) when we start to feel like we’re not doing it exactly right.

What I’ve decided to do for my nutrition frustration is to remove the idea that I need to find the perfect plan or execute any one plan perfectly. Perfect anything doesn’t exist. You can create a bulletproof business plan, based on previous experience and written by the brightest minds, but it can all go to shit when unforeseen circumstances rear their ugly heads (and oh, will they rear!).

I’m reframing my thinking from finding the perfect plan to finding the plan that I can stick to

There are near-perfect plans. I know I could eat five meals a day of boiled chicken, broccoli, and almonds. That nutrition plan would put me in the best shape of my life and give me the exact macronutrients my body needs every day. Apparently, I could do the same thing with Soylent. But both options sound unbelievably miserable and unsustainable (especially since I did the exact chicken/broccoli/almonds plan after college for six months— ::cringe::).

I’ve talked to handful of very beautiful people recently. People who have abs on top of their abs. People who look like they just fell out of a health and fitness magazine. People who spend 24 hours a day thinking about their health. And the one thing they all have in common? None of them are talking about the same plan.

The reason you can find 10-20 different diets in a matter of seconds on Google is that different diet plans work for different people. It’s the same reason yet another “21 Steps To Creating A Successful Business” article will show up on all the business sites tomorrow, and why Amazon search tells me there are 42,344 results for books on “starting a business.”

There is no silver (gluten-free) bullet

No one has the only set of answers.

No one has the exact plan you need to follow.

No one has the one perfect way of doing anything that works for every human on Earth.

You have to find the plan, for anything, that works best for you and your specific set of circumstances.

Trial and error is good. Embrace it. Try stuff. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Figure out what works best for you, and embrace that plan.

That’s what I’ll be doing for my nutrition plan going forward. Trying different things and listening to my body. Not trying to find the perfect plan that will work overnight, but instead, trying to find the plan I can stick to and that I’ll actually enjoy.

I’ve removed the frustration of trying to run a perfect business. It’s time to do the same with my health and nutrition so I can have more time on the planet to make an impact on things that matter.

This is the end of the yellow brick road. If you want to read more articles mosey on over yonder.