It seems every day you turn on the news, you are bombarded with a new food we should not eat. One day it is gluten, the other day it is carbs, and our physicians is telling us eat no saturated or trans fats. Then what are you supposed to eat? Dirt and leaves? Obviously I am being facetious, but this focus on using what not to eat to structure one’s diet is pervasive. This would not be a problem if it was helping people eat as well as possible to support their health and goals. However, structuring your diet this way is fundamentally flawed. The absence of junk/unhealthy food does not mean that what you are eating is going to nourish your body.
Do not get me wrong, I think it is absolutely important to make sure to limit your intake of junk food, but obsessively focusing on limiting junk food is NOT the way to ensure that you are eating a well balanced and healthy diet. Also, based on how our brains our wired the more you focus on what NOT to include the more you desire those foods. Therefore your more likely to binge and eat those “restricted” food after your initial burst of enthusiasm wears off. What you resists, persists.
So what is a more sustainable method to ensure that you are eating the correct foods at the correct time to best support your health and achieving your dreams? Focus on what and when you should eat certain foods. This is a much more powerful method because it instantly changes your mindset from one of “deprivation” to one of gratitude for all the good foods you CAN eat. In addition, if you focus on eating high quality foods, the amount of junk food you eat will naturally decrease because you will tend to crave them less or not have space for them in your stomach if your nourishing yourself with high quality foods.
So what can you start including in your diet today that would help best support optimal function of your body? I am going to give you three simple ideas that you can use in your life right now to help bolster your diet.
- Have 30 g of protein within in 30 minutes of waking – This is very important because the biochemistry of the body changes based on what time of day it is. This holds true for how your body assimilates nutrition. During sleep you are fasting, so to help your body shift from a catabolic state (breaking down) to an anabolic state (building up) you want to supply your body with a high quality protein sources right away. Also, right after a fasting period your body will much more readily absorb proteins and shuttle them towards muscle synthesis (which is great for athletes who want to build muscle). For those of you who are not morning people or do not like breakfast I would recommend having some Whey Protein powder first thing in the morning. The product that I use is BIOX Whey Isolate protein powders. It is a great product, but feel free to use whatever high quality whey protein powder you can find. However if you choose to go this path, one caveat is do not buy the cheap stuff. A lot of these companies will use very poor sources of protein which end up being very hard for your body to digest, if it can at all. This is main reason for the digestive discomfort people sometimes experience while consuming cheap powdered protein shakes.
- Have a fistful of green leafy vegetables on your plate for every meal – This one is self-explanatory. You know you should be eating more vegetables and that green leafy vegetables are jam packed with a plethora of nutrients and minerals. Also, they have a lot of fiber that helps makes us feel full and prevents us from overeating. Make this a habit and in a week or two you will notice a huge increase in your energy.
- Have 1/2 – 1 cup of legumes for every meal (my favorites for getting lean are black beans and lentils)- The number one common mistake I myself made when first trying to change my diet and many others I have helped have made is NOT eating enough calories. All of the processed foods you may currently eat are super dense with calories. Whole foods are not nearly as calorically dense as processed foods. So most people just switch out Whole Clean foods with Junk food and end up eating the same proportions. This results in them NOT eating enough calories. As a result they feel sluggish, irritable and always hungry. Therefore, they give up after a short time and go back to eating all the junk they ate before because they feel “worse” because of eating healthier food. It was NOT the food that caused those symptoms but the fact that were not eating enough food! The easiest way to get around this problem is consuming 1/2-1 cup of legumes for caloric load at every meal. An added bonus is that they also come jam packed with high quality source of protein and fiber.
So there you have it, focus on introducing these three new things to your diet and you will notice a HUGE difference in your energy levels and overall well being! I would love to hear back from you if this has helped or if you have any things that you include in your diet that could help bolster others’ diet as well.
Lastly, always feel free to reach out to me or make a comment below if you have any questions or concerns.