I often receive questions from clients, walkers, or readers about nutrition. “What’s with the whole no carb thing?” “Should I stop drinking milk?” “What the hell is an acai berry and why do I need them?” “If I eat dessert first, does it still count as dessert?” I am not kidding on that last one my friends. And I completely understand why people are confused. We are bombarded with an unbelievable amount of information on a daily basis of what to do to be and stay healthy. If you listen to everything you read or hear about your heath you will go crazy trying to figure out the best solution for you.
And that’s what it is, a solution FOR YOU. What Sally Smith and Joe Jones eat is going to be different from what I eat, or what Mary McDonald eats. If you are lactose intolerant or a vegetarian or diabetic or allergic to the color green, what you eat will be different than what I eat. I do happen to be allergic to the color grey, so I know how it is. For some reason I just can’t stomach grey food. Go figure.
The point I am trying to make is that each and every one of us will have a different diet.
Each and every one of us has a different stomach, digestive system, and metabolism. Because of that fact (and because the diet industry is a multi-million dollar business) there are so many different ideas about what is nutritious. And more than one of those (but not all) are right. You need to figure out what is best for you. A good idea if you are feeling stuck is to talk to your doctor or a nutritionist or even your personal trainer (sometimes they know a thing or two) but make sure you listen to your body. It’s pretty smart, too, if you listen.
So, even though this whole nutrition thing is really subjective, I believe there are some universals that will hold true regardless of whether you hunt your own meat or only eat fruit that has fallen from the tree.
Eat fruits and vegetables, and plenty of ’em
This doesn’t mean that they MUST be organic or even from the produce section. Sometimes frozen vegetables have more vitamins because they are frozen immediately after being picked. Sure, organic is great and eating your vegetables from a local farmer is wonderful. It’s wonderful because it helps the environment and lowers our carbon footprint and doesn’t have pesticides. But if you can only afford (like me) the non-organic kind, you are probably going to live to see another day. Just make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, worry less about their pedigree and more about the quantity.
Coffee is not breakfast. I know it feels like breakfast, but it’s not. Nor is diet coke just in case someone thought they found a loophole. When I say breakfast, I mean something without sugar. Something you will enjoy eating that will help you begin your day. That’s the way I like to think about it. This is the first thing you give to your body. The way you reward it after a good nights sleep. Give it something it can use. I will say this one more time, something WITHOUT refined sugar.
Eat real food
I know this should go without saying but it doesn’t. When I say “real food,” I mean food that a factory didn’t make. I have a little philosophy: “If you cannot pronounce the ingredients in your food then you probably shouldn’t eat it.”
Be wary of white food
I know this is starting to sound like my aforementioned grey issues. I am not saying don’t eat white food. I don’t want to give anyone a complex or anything: I am just saying pay attention. There isn’t a whole lot of white food that is found in nature. Generally you are better off with brown: brown rice, whole grain (brown) bread, whole wheat (brown) pasta, bran, rye … you get the idea.
Eat a balance of foods
Look at your diet: are you eating foods from more than one food group? The food groups are: (in case you forgot) Grains, Calcium rich foods, Vegetables, Fruits, Protein, and a very, very minimal amount of fat. Keep your diet balanced by trying to get lots from all the groups, except the fat group. We only need a little from that group.
Okay, I know this isn’t rocket science information, but it is nutrition help that everyone can benefit from. Take a look at your diet and see if there are any tips you want to incorporate in. And remember eating is supposed to be enjoyable, too. Try to find foods you like so you will feel good about eating them. Pay attention to your food. Your body is a precious machine and it needs premium fuel in order to be it’s best.
Be good to your body, it’s where you live.