Food, the building block of all life, has been made entirely too complicated by people in the fitness industry. Some trainers will tell you eggs are bad, carbs are bad, fat is bad, gluten is bad! It seems that you can't eat anything without it potentially making you sick or fat. We want to cut through the B.S. and bring you real, simple information that you can effectively apply to your life.
THE FOUR RULES OF A HEALTHY DIET
- Everything in moderation. An excess of anything, even certain vitamins, can cause problems within your body. The human body is a machine tuned for balance. You can have a sugary treat or an exciting cocktail and still remain healthy and lose weight. The trick is to not over-do it. Excessive amounts of sugar are of course harmful, but eating too much protein can also cause kidney stones or speed the growth of cancer. Its best to keep your diet balanced with an emphasis on plant based foods, namely green vegetables.
- Eat real food. Only eat things that come from the earth. Period. No questions asked. It is processed foods ,full of man-made chemicals and processed sugars, that have created such a toxic health enviroment. Just because certain foods don't cause you to drop dead instantly, it does not mean they are meant to be eaten by humans. These foods, actually do kill you, but slowly and painfully through diseases like diabetes, heart disease and increase your chances of getting cancer. Not to mention, eating processed foods cause a burden financially both on you and society by generating billions of dollars in medical bills.
- Eat mostly plants. Plants are medicine! They are rich in vitamins, cancer fighting isothiocyanates, folate, and contrary to popular belief, have a lot of amino acids which are converted into protein by your body. There is lots of research that shows that both meat and diary, in excess, can cause cancer and diabetes. A lot less meat and diary should be consumed relative to your diet. PLant based foods should make up 70% of you diet and animal products the remaining 30%.
- Be aware. Food is fuel. It is the operating mechanism of our body and should be viewed as such. Culturally, we have a three meal paradigm; however, for you as an indvidual you may only need two meals a day or even four. It is very important to develop and understanding and awareness of how much fuel our body actually needs, instead of eating based on habit.
The most important aspect of nutrition is the quality of the foods you consume. You want to be consuming foods that either come from the ground or an animal. Typically, if a food product has many ingredients with long hard to pronounce names then it's probably best to avoid it.
NO SUCH THING AS A BAD MACRO
FATS Fat free is not better. Whether the fat is saturated (solid at room temperature; i.e. animal fats), monounsaturated (nuts, oils) or polyunsaturated (i.e. Omega-3 and Omega-6 found in fish, nuts, etc.), your body needs these fats to transport nutrients, maintain cellular health, and provide energy for optimal brain function. On the other hand, trans fats are mostly found in fast foods, fried foods, and commercial baked products, these should be avoided as mush as possible. Fat is energy rich and is a great way to keep you satiated between meals. You can’t go wrong with snacking on mixed nuts and avocados.
CARB(OHYDRATES) The body's main energy source. However, cutting out carbohydrates is a common diet recommendation for weight loss. This reduction, if low enough, leads to an energy transition called ketosis. This is when your body switches to fat as its main source of energy instead of carbohydrates. The problem is that not everyone has the ability to transition into a ketonic state, and that means your body will be suffer the consequences of insufficient amounts of fuel, depleting the body's source of glycogen (glucose, or sugars, from food). This is why switching to a low carb diet will initially cause you to drop a few pounds rather quickly, but then tapers off and plateaus. This is just the glycogen stores being used up, not because a significant amount of fat was lost.
For people that are trying to gain muscle or improve athletically, carbs are essential as fuel. Not to mention, a ketogenic diet can be extremely difficult to sustain over time. It is an extremely high-fat diet.
PROTEIN The building blocks of the body. Protein makes up our muscles, skin cells, hormones, etc. We need it to survive. However, as a culture we tend to overemphasize the amount of protein we actually need and what we need to eat to get enough. Protein is found in many foods in it’s broken down self, called amino acids. These amino acids collect over time in the body and are used as needed in the form of protein.
The most common forms of food recommended as protein, are animal products. Things like chicken, beef, salmon, etc. are all great sources of protein. Just be aware, most of those foods are calorie dense and not necessary for protein levels in your diet. Amino acids (protein) can be found in spinach to rice and everything in between, and we only need 40-60g of protein a day for maintaining good health. Not the overly hyped amount of 1g per pound of lean mass that body builders recommend. This will not be necessary at beginner and amateur levels of resistance training.
Nutrient timing is of secondary importance to the quality and quantity of foods that you are consuming. The largest meals should be eaten during the day when there is a need for the energy from the food. Dinner should be eaten relatively early and be smaller than lunch and breakfast. However, these are just guidelines and as long as you're eating the correct kinds and amounts of food, there should be no negative side effects where weight loss is concerened.
When post and preworkout nutrition is concerned, the fuel for the body should be consumed two hours before to allow for some digestion and dissemination of nutrients throughout the body. Otherwise, its best to eat an easily soluable, high in sugar food an hour to 45mins (i.e. fruit) before. After a workout, the body's ability to processs nutrients is heightened significantly. It is best to eat your biggest most nutreint dense meal of the day following your workout to maximize nutrient absorption.
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We know that weeding through the trends and fad diets can be challenging and confusing, so we partnered with experts you can trust. Andi Wolfgang Nutrition Coaching will give you the support you need to make nutrition a priority, so that you can feel your very best on every level.
Schedule your FREE 30min nutrition coaching consult with Andi Wolfgang Nutrition Coaching and get 20% off all nutrition coaching services.