The Beginner's Guide to Nutrition
Low fat, no fat, no carb, Atkins, South Beach, Mediterranean, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, SlimFast, Cabbage Soup. You cannot be an adult in America without having been exposed to dozens of diets from faddish to Dr. recommended to dogmatic.
But let’s be honest…..DIETS don’t really work. Sure, they may work for a time, but eventually they all quit working.
So let’s take a break from using the term “diet”, and talk about eating strategies. These are my simple eating strategies to develop proper health, lose body fat, gain muscle and overall look better naked.
#1 Cut out processed foods. Simply put, if it comes wrapped in cellophane or plastic, or has a shelf life over 2 weeks….probably not a good idea. Additionally, if you cannot pronounce it, you should not eat or drink it.
FOCUS on FRESH….ORGANIC if possible, and LOCAL.
Note: With chemicals, if our bodies do not know what to do with a substance, it wraps the unknown in a glob of fat and stores it. This is also why you occasionally get flu like symptoms when losing large quantities of weight.
#2 Drink water. Dehydration often masquerades as hunger. Drink water within minutes of waking up to spark your metabolism.
Avoid fluorinated water if possible. Fluorine over exposure may be responsible for several health issues. Bottled water, preferably spring water is your best bet. (Dasani has fluorine.)
Note: To determine whether you are hungry or not, do the apple test. If you would happily eat an apple, you are probably hungry. If not, try a big glass of high quality H2O.
#3 EAT your calories. Don’t drink them. Shake diets are incredibly popular due to their ease and convenience. However, the need to masticate (chew) is directly related to the feelings of fullness.
Chew your food. Be mindful of what you eat. Count your chews….try for 20+ per mouthful.
Note: Add crunchy raw veggies to your meals and snacks. Not only are they low calorie, they fill the need to chew thoroughly.
#4 Add the protein. The essential amino acids found in protein are the building blocks for your muscles, organs, and brain.
Commercial meat sources are not the best option. Look for grass-fed, free-range, or organic.
Note: E-coli is a serious health threat caused by contaminated meat. But what they don’t want you to know is that e-coli naturally lives in the bellies of cows. When cows are finished on corn (to fatten them prior to slaughter), it causes the levels of the bacteria to rise. This increases the chance of spreading the bacteria to the meat during processing.
#5 Eat within 30-45 minutes of your workout.
Take advantage of the magic window. This is the best time to consume simple carbs like sugar. After your workout, your muscles are glycogen depleted, by consuming sugar along with your protein, you shuttle that protein quickly to your hungry muscle cells.
Note: Protein shakes are great at this time, but in a pinch use the poor man’s protein shake….good ole fashioned chocolate milk.
#6 Healthy fats are where it’s at.
Low fat is a dangerous myth that needs to go away. In fat, since the 1980’s when low fat diets became popular, obesity rates have soared. Healthy fats satisfy, and provide the necessary essential fatty acids that our bodies need. Eat olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, and nuts.
Note: The reason for the low fat fad is directly attributable to the China Study. The authors of this study went in with a strong hypothesis that low fat was a better diet. They collected statistics from 35 countries, 7 of which supported their hypotheses (20%). These are the only results that thy published. And yet, the diet was widely accepted and became our nutritional standard for thirty years before being loudly and repeatedly debunked.
#7 Calories matter, but don’t be rigid. In a perfect world, calories in should equal calories out for maintaining weight, so that one only needs to limit calories to lose weight. Unfortunately, this is not how things really work. Excessive restrictive diets have wrecked people’s metabolism. Some medications cause weight gain that is difficult to remove. Hormonal imbalances due to environmental factors inhibit weight loss or gain.
Try a zig zag approach, eating less than, at, or even occasionally greater than your maintenance level. Try to keep your body guessing how much it will get.
Note: Cutting calories dramatically does not work for long term success. Our bodies quickly adapt to the lower calories, forcing us to again lower the calories. At a point you end up like Russia’s live Barbie doll. You live on air.
#8 Eat for what you are doing. Eat roughly equivalent servings of fat and protein and vary the carbohydrates according to the energy you will be expending in the next few hours. If you are about to hit the sack, limit the starches.
Note: There was an old saying about breakfast like a king, and dinner like a pauper. This is pretty close to being truth, only apply it to the amount of carbohydrates you consume at the meal.
#9 Less sugar….you are sweet enough! Diabetes and metabolic disease are at epidemic proportions. This is directly related to changes in our national diet, including the low fat craze. When fat is removed, sugar is often added. We consume more than 100 lbs of sugar per year.
Note: Human taste preferences for fats, salt and sugar are ancestral in nature. Fats for a dense source of calories, sugar for ready energy, and salts for hydration. Processed foods however have banked on our natural preferences, and overloaded them, causing us to crave sweeter, fattier, and saltier foods.
#10 Limit Alcohol.
Alcohol is full of empty calories and reasons for you to make other questionable choices regarding your food.
Note: Alcohol is so inflammatory to the body, that all other metabolic processes INCLUDING FAT BURNING, cease when alcohol is present, so that all energy can be spent detoxifying. End result- no more hard earned afterburn