Ditching Diet Trends: Nutrition Principles That Won’t Go Out of Style

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I liken nutrition to fashion. Some people like to pull out their favorite old comfy sweater. Others like to move with the trends, only exhibiting the most high-fashion food-sense.

The truth is, nutrition is a vast, never ending topic. It should be that way, especially as we have advances in science, medicine and our understanding of food and how it relates to our quality of life.

Me? I’d like to think I’m somewhere middle of the road. Sure, I dabble in some of the trends but I like to stick to the classics…because let’s face it, the classics are the classics because they never go out of style (or in this case, the information isn’t going to change on you overnight!).

Keep hold of these principals, and you won’t have to worry about calories or following any rigid diet parameters.

So, let us dive in…

Does your diet have color and variety?

Our bodies need a diverse array of nutrients. We get this by eating a variety of foods. Seems simple, right? Look at your plate or fast food bag during your next meal. What do you see?

Ideally, you wanna roughly stick to around 30% protein, 30% fats, and 40% carbohydrates. Yep, carbs! In the forms of fruits and veggies, which contain plant based fiber that’ll keep your pipes running smoothly and happily!

If you find yourself buying the same old vegetables and fruits every week–as you watch them rot away in the fruit bowl, it might be time to shake things UP! The same holds true for your meals, do you eat the same thing every day?

Pick up something new at the store or farmers market this week, something you have NEVER tried, then go home and find a recipe for it.

Or join a CSA (Community Supporting Agriculture), which is basically where you can pick up a whole bundle of locally grown, fresh yummy items that may even have a new recipe you have never tried (just google CSA + your city).

Or try your hand at gardening, even if it’s just one plant. Throw in fresh herbs instead of using dry (herbs are super organ cleansers–even in small amounts).  There are so many simple, little things you can do to boost your current food game and nutrition.

Be sure that you have a variety of both cooked and raw foods. Some people are firm believers in eating everything raw, but the truth is too much raw can be hard to digest.

When we cook foods, it changes the nutrient content–sometimes, making nutrients more bio-available to the body…and it does make things easier to digest. However, fresh fruit and veggies have enzymes in them and other living components that are great too. Mix it UP.

Eat (mostly) REAL food.

You’ve probably heard this one a few times (’cause it’s a classic, duh!). Shop the perimeter at the grocery store (the outside aisles)–think produce and meats. Get MOST of your food there. Steer clear of the middle aisles and all of the packaged foods. They are filled with all sorts of BAD stuff that makes them shelf stable, colored, flavored. Simple as that. The body recognizes real food and responds quickly!

Believe it or not, all of your favorite treats (even cakes and pies) can be made from way better ingredients.

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Cook. Prepare Your Food. Invest your time in your health.

The fact is, homemade food is delicious! Once you know your way around a few spices, you can achieve a powerful flavor punch. Good for you doesn’t have to be the pits.

Cook

Most people say, “I just don’t have time!” While that may be true in some cases, like for a single mother who is spread way too thin, or someone going through a difficult time in life, it’s also kind of a bullshit excuse for most people.

The truth is, we MAKE time for things that are the most important to us, even if we do so subconsciously.

To me, health should be a grand focus in each of our lives because our health effects our overall quality of life.

You want to play with your kids or grandkids? Do you want to feel as though you have enough energy to take on the day and then some? Do you want to feel confident and good about yourself? Do you want the ease and comfort of normal, predictable poops!?

Hopefully all those answers are yes for you! And if they are, cook a few dang meals a week–even just one to start! Make it something you’re excited about eating. Seek a healthy version of an “old favorite” (Pintrest is great for recipe hunting!).

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You probably make time to do other things that are really quite mindless, like watching television or YouTube, checking FaceBook, reading the news ticks you get sent every 20 minutes. YOU HAVE TIME. Make it. It takes five minutes to find a recipe online, 20 minutes to go into a store and buy it. Don’t hesitate. DO it.

“Butttt I don’t like to cook”….I can hear you say (as many others have said to me). Well, then, tough luck, I guess. If you don’t want to try and you’re going to stay convinced that you hate cooking–then you’re already sabotaging yourself and my help is of no use.

I am a firm believer of learning to love to cook! If you love to cook, you will never be hungry or helpless. It’s a nice skill to have, taking care of your body in the manner of nourishing food. It’s my favorite way to spoil myself.

It truly shines on the outside when you’re nourishing the inside. Feeling good always feels better than any junk food tastes…to me, anyway!

I wouldn’t say I am a phenomenal cook, but I will proudly say I am an experimental cook. I, my friends, will try anything once…last night I even ground up a yucca root, blended it with a plantain and made tortillas out of it. AND 5 years ago, I barely knew how to cook!

Once you get the main staples and spices, cooking will also be much more affordable.

Soak, Sprout & Ferment

This is known as “properly preparing” your food. Unfortunately, many grains, seeds, nuts and legumes have properties like phytic acid in them that inhibit us from absorbing the nutrients contained. It’s as though nature has built in a natural insect repellent that says, “Stay away” when it comes to our food.

When you sprout your nuts, seeds, legumes, you trick them into thinking they’re going to grow, so they loses much of their anti-nutrient properties…and becomes abundant in easy to absorb nutrients.

Fermenting foods is great too because the little microscopic bacteria pre-digests it for us, making all of that good nutrition available! And you get a ton of live enzymes and beneficial bacteria (to clean up the bad guys) in your gut!

Many of us are already eating healthy (i.e. handful of plain almonds while sitting at your desk). But we just need to kick it up a notch so that we can get the most from our food.

Quit Fearing the FAT

Glistening Fat.jpeg
mmmmm…. fat and it’s just glistening!

Okay, everything you learned in the 1990s about how horrible fat is (given you were born then), FUGGETABOUTIT!

It is extremely, extremely unfortunate that so many people have the completely WRONG idea about fat. You don’t eat fat and turn to fat. Do you know what actually causes body fat? Sugar. Processed Carbs. All of the ingredients in packaged “low fat” foods.

There are two ways in which we get energy, sugar + fat. Think of sugar as quick burning fuel and fat as a long-burning log.

Your body chooses sides here, either you’re a sugar burner or a fat burner.

(MOST OF US—>) You are a sugar burner if you reach for snacks every 2 hours. Without a snack, you might find that you feel anxious, on edge, jittery (you can even see your hands shake at times). We become this way by starting our mornings with nothing at all, OR with sugar–whether in the form of a bagel, super fruity smoothie, sugary coffee, sugary yogurt–it all gets processed the same in the body (as sugar).

You feel relief when you eat, but 2 hours later, you’re body is begging for more sugar because it’s the only fuel we have trained the body to burn.

Think about how we do this to our kids–we give them dense carbohydrate cereals, fruit juices, and bagels and send them to school where they may be a little anxious, jittery or in need of some glucose (sugar) because their blood sugar is out of whack so they act up in class. Then, we diagnose them with ADD, ADHD and simply give them life-altering medication. Think about it.

There is a much more simple solution. It takes work to get off the sugar-rollercoaster ride we all experience….but it’s nowhere near as detrimental to our health and lives as stayin’ on it!

You’re a fat burner if you incorporate healthy fats into every meal (like avocado, coconut oil, animal fat, butter). You feel completely content and can wait for meals without the excessive need to snack. Fat it is VERY satiating, meaning that it can hold us off for many hours (remember, it’s the slow burning log when it comes to energy)…go ALL day strong!

WHAT KIND OF COOKING OILS (Fats)?

A few rules of thumb, I like to cook with oils that are stable at high heats and have a high smoke point, meaning I can cook it up HOT without it smoking up the house–or filling my body with free-radicals (which cause a lot of oxidative stress and damage to the body–leading to many diseases).

{Unrefined} Avocado and coconut oil are my favorite and you can buy both at Costco for a great deal! The avocado oil is liquid and can be used in most recipes calling for a liquid oil (you can heat it to 450 degrees!). The coconut oil isn’t quite as diverse as it is solid and requires melting on occasion, but honestly it works great! Butter is also glorious if you can tolerate dairy!

For salads and non-heated (or very low heated) creations, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a nice choice (if you like the flavor).

SO QUIT FEARING the fat. Fear the fat-free processed foods (sugar!).

Oh and drink more water, pretty please! Add just a pinch of high quality salt for electrolyte perfection (if you can taste it, it’s too much) .

Try New Things!

You’re an adult now. When you last tried a food and didn’t like it, perhaps it wasn’t cooked in a way that really highlighted the true flavor.

For instance, for the majority of my life, I strongly disliked Brussels Sprouts. My mother would buy them frozen and steam them (the healthiest way known to man, then). With enough salt, I’d choke them down…but it wasn’t something I would voluntarily go for.

brussels

BUT as an adult, I had a friend make me shredded Brussels sautéed in butter with salt and pepper and now it is one of my favorite sides (and BOTH my husband and son like them too). I’ve also tried another recipe with maple syrup and toasted hazlenuts…that is BOMB (yes, I said bomb). Seriously, so decadent it tastes like desert!

The point here: try it again. If you still don’t like it, cool. But let go of all of the childish notions that veggies suck! It always makes me laugh when I meet adults who have strong disliking towards vegetables. We can’t like them all, but c’mon.

Consider That You Might Have Food Sensitivities or Allergies.

^This is one of the many reasons why a “one size fits all diet” doesn’t work for everyone.

I’ll admit, it isn’t necessarily a “classic” BUT the idea is that before you run full force towards a new diet, consider that some foods may not mesh well with you no matter how clean you’re eating. You may still experience bloating, puffiness, etc.

Many think that in order to have issues with a certain food–you need to have a full-blown allergic reaction: hives, epi-pen, choking….such is not the case.

In fact, many of us suffer from food sensitivities and food allergies DAILY on a regular basis and we put up with all of the crummy symptoms because we think it’s a part of life (i.e. headaches, joint pain, lethargy, nausea, canker sores, abdominal pain, digestive ailments only to name a few).

So, we take the zantacs, tums, and ibuprofens–which all only halt vital processes in the body, throwing EVERYTHING off.

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And we don’t bat an eye.

The imbalance continues as we put the “bandaid” over the clear SIGNs our body is giving us that something jusssssst isn’t quite right.

For me personally, I eliminated gluten–and I felt great. My body starting showing MANY signs of (FINALLY) absorbing nutrients (my nails were growing, much of my stomach issues absolved, I felt SO. MUCH. BETTER).

And yet, because I cared about what people might think of me eating “gluten free” without a known medical need I didn’t keep it up. It wasn’t until I went through a full on colonoscopy and endoscopy with blood work–to realize I had celiac disease.

I’ve come to the realization that people can be stupid and mean because they don’t understand.  Don’t be so self conscious like me. Listen to your body. If you feel crummy, go there and ask why. Do a food elimination diet. Get to know your body. Only when we know our bodies can we really become truly empowered with our health.

As a side note, our heritage actually has a lot to do with what type of diet might work best for us. If you consider where your people hail from, and what was available to them, you can get more insight into the types of food your lineage has evolved to eat. This is one of the reasons why grains and dairy work for some and not others.

Put it all together and what do you get?

To be healthy, we really need to spend less time researching what diet or diet pill may be perfect for us and just try these few basic principles.

Are the glamourous? Are they cutting edge?

No. They are classics, I tell you.

They will never fail you and you can always try again!

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