How to eat healthy…
“Don’t eat breakfast.”
“Eat 5-7 times a day.”
“Don’t eat for 16 hours.”
“Eat only white meats.”
“Eat like a bird.”
“Eat like a caveman.”
“Eat like a grown-a$$ man.”
The nutrition world is an enormous and confusing landscape of strong opinions, zillion dollar companies, individual tastes, facts, figures, macro breakdowns, calorie-labels, bro-science, fake it till you make it know it all science, and piles and piles of horse doo-doo mis-information. That’s right. I said horse doo-doo’d.
It’s no longer easy to know how to eat. Exotic fruits? Juice cleanse? Wild meats? Local vegetables? Organic? Inorganic? Paleo? Raw? Vegan? Blahblahblah…
The entire world is at the beck and call of our dinner plate but instead of a blessing, this overload of choice and info has led to paralysis. (I said it before and I’ll say it again, knowledge can help you and can paralyze you).
What’s a person to do?
First, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves one simple, very important question…
It can’t come as any surprise that some of the healthiest food for our body is the natural, unprocessed, from-the-earth super-foods
Allow me to formally re-introduce you to vegetables.
Why are vegetables so dang good for us?
The vitamins and minerals in vegetables are exceptionally bio-available. That means our bodies are very suited to digest and utilize them.
As strength guru, Charles Poliquin would say:
It’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb.
The phytochemicals in vegetables are also powerful antioxidants and have a super strength influence on our hormones. They suppress cancer development, protect our cell’s DNA and stimulate enzymes that help our body fight disease. For optimal physiological function, we NEED to consume phytochemicals.
But wait, there’s more.
Vegetables also do an impressive job of balancing our bodies pH. Veggies provide an alkaline load to the blood which helps neutralize the strong acid created from the breakdown of proteins (and grains.) Too much acid and not enough base means less bone mass and smaller muscles = not cool.
A strong, lean body wants to stay pH balanced which means a strong, lean body wants sexy vegetables.
Anyone that has ever asked me for nutrition tips will knows that my number one tip is always eat more greens followed by a tight second, hydration.
Fight cancer, destroy free radicals, protect cells, balance pH, get useable vitamins and minerals, maintain bone mass, get stronger, and get sexy. It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of vegetables. All jokes aside, you need 4-6 servings of solid, delicious greens. (And NO, I don’t mean 4-6 servings of wellness greens!)
Now don’t get me wrong…protein is also important and a high protein diet is essential for bada$$ living. But most of us know that already. We need to reemphasize vegetables as the main event.
Okay. What else defines good nutrition??
OUR FOOD SHOULD HELP US PERFORM SPLENDIDLY.
Food is fuel.
We eat to live successfully. Said another way – we eat to perform feats of greatness.
And this isn’t limited to walk with a 300lb yoke across the turf. This is a good-life perspective. The food we consume should make us strong, capable, and energized for whatever we do.
This means we need to choose foods that fuel our awesomeness.
Unfortunately, when the conversation turns to fuel, the concerns always seems to be enough…as in, “make sure you get enough fuel.”
I call bullbutter.
For many of us, the problem with our energy influx is not a matter of enough. It’s a matter of too much. Plain and simple.
Over-fueling the body leads to a massive array of health problems. Namely chronic heart disease, type II diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Take a look around. This country keeps getting bigger. Yes. Eat to fuel your performance, but if you have weight to lose, you need to dial down your energy influx.
One of the easiest ways to prevent over-fueling is to limit your non-vegetable carbohydrates. Rice, oats, potatoes – all awesome energy sources. The question is, are you getting too much?
If you want to lose weight, keep your non-vegetable carbohydrates limited/nixed until you get lean. At that point, your carb tolerance is in a much better place and you can afford to eat more carbs.
Next, I think OUR FOOD SHOULD MAKE US HAPPY.
Food is pleasure.
When I was younger, about 7 years old I had my very first “burger experience” in Mexico from a place called “Wonderboy” ( I don’t even know if that exist here in the US but to me it was fabulous!)
Fast-forward a few years, around 12 we came to visit the US for the very first time, the sun was brightly shining, our hotel had a wonderful deep sea blue sparkly pool AND a McD’s was right next door…My dream came true. Till this very day I absolutely love a good ol’ burger.
To me burgers=pleasure. Burgers bring back all those impactful memories. It’s cool.
A bada$$ life is a happy life. If our nutrition makes us miserable, we’re doing it wrong.
But in our insta-world, the immediate gratification of a “happy” meal is fool’s gold. A quick hit of serotonin from a sugary, trans-fatty delight feels sooooo dang good…until it doesn’t.
The on-the-spot gratification of food needs to be weighed against its long term effects:
Ice cream sundae? Instantly gratifying.
Too many ice cream sundaes? Pure misery.
What’s even a worse misery? An instantly gratifying cycle.
Now I’m not saying NEVER indulge. I’m saying, indulge intelligently. Ideal nutrition strikes a perfect balance of short and long term satisfaction. It’s your body and you’re gonna have to live in it tomorrow. That’s why optimal nutrition isn’t perfect. It’s balanced: Usually awesome. Sometimes guilty. Occasionally downright glutenous.
Make the right choice 85% of the time and you’re well on your way to a solid nutrition plan.
And lastly: OUR FOOD SHOULD MAKE US SEXY.
Being sexy, feeling sexy, looking sexy, sexy-time – that’s all important.
Food can nourish our sexiness. Food can also sabotage it.
Now of course sex is a huge and complicated topic. It has caused wars, divided empires, and launched 1,000 ships. Or maybe that was something else… Point being, there’s a lot that goes into bringing sexy back.
And one such factor is our sex hormones. Dietary fat (particularly saturated fat) is a key player in sex-hormone production. In other words, our low-fat obsession of the past two decades has helped plummet America’s sex drive.
Fat is an important part of a healthy nutrition plan and, despite our collective misunderstanding, this INCLUDES saturated fat. Just about everything we thought we knew about SATURATED FAT is wrong.
Here’s how the story goes…way back in the day, sat fat was shown to increases LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad stuff.) With heart disease on the rise, we thought it smart to avoid it. But as it turns out, the biomarkers for heart disease are much more complicated than we originally thought and sat fat raises HDL cholesterol – the good stuff – and can lower triglycerides – also a good thing.
Now I’m not saying sat fat is your BFF and that you should go lick butter, but I AM saying that the choice to replace the natural occurring sat fat in diary & meat with either man made trans fats (ex: margarine) OR processed carbs (ex: reduced fat yogurt) is NOT a healthy one. Taking active steps to avoid sat fat is causing more harm than good.
And that means the term “healthy” fat has evolved. It now includes ALL natural fats. Yes, almonds and avocados are still on the list, but guess what else is?
And 100% all-natural butter.
So what are “unhealthy” fats?
EASY. Man-made trans fats:
Partially hydrogenated oil.
(Leave it to McDonald’s to screw up something as amazing as fat.)
Ideally 1/3 of your fat is saturated (animal fats, coconut oil), 1/3 is monounsaturated (olive oil, nuts, nut butter, avocado), and 1/3 is polyunsaturated (fish oil, salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin and sunflower seeds). All equal. All delicious. All healthy. All sexy.
*Big deep breath*
Now of course, ALL OF THIS is only a jumping-off point. The nutrition world sits at a complex intersection of health, finance, morality, politics, socio-economics, individual tastes, etc. etc. etc. There’s A LOT to consider. But a good place to start is to remind ourselves that a bada$$ food plan should make us healthy, awesome, happy, and sexy.
Translate that into some actionables and that means eat more vegetables, be mindful of your energy influx, indulge intelligently, and don’t be afraid of fat. Nail that and we’re in for a long and successful life of sexiness.
Don’t forget it’s okay to indulge 15% of the time but you must be on point 85%.
That my friend is my opinion of the crazy thug world called nutrition… in a nutshell.
Now go ahead and get your sexy on.
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