How to get the food thing down. Food…such a complicated and emotion filled topic. Talk about food and people will get very animated. Food is not just fuel to us. Food is cultural; food is reward based and food is guilt producing.
I had to make a significant paradigm shift in my own thoughts about food. I did that through reading about food and how it works with our body and what various foods did for us. Along the way I ran into lots and lots of catch phrases in regards to food. Here are some words we need to ditch in my opinion. We need to forget about the words clean, gluten-free, paleo, atkins..to me all these phrases are meaningless.
Let me give you a few examples. Gluten free, a huge phrase thrown around. If you are saying an apple is gluten free you are correct. We can also say that this highly processed and sugar laden cookie is gluten free. Which one is healthy and which one is sporting a stupid phrase to trick you it is healthier than it’s alternative gluten filled sister? Do I need answer this rhetorical question? They are BOTH cookies and by their definition a snack and not a healthy one at that, gluten or no gluten.
Paleo. Well, Paleo began as a name to define a style of eating which is non processed and trying to closely assimilate how early man ate; basically non processed whole foods. Sounds pretty good right? Paleo is now used to hide that fact that you’ve just made some sugar laden piece of crap but since you made it with organic sugars and high calorie almond meal instead of flour it’s healthy!!! Ehhhh….no, it’s a sugary snack you tried to “paleofy”. Last but not least, clean…what does this mean exactly? Clean carb? WHAT is a clean carb? Get rid of this one too it’s confusing and doesn’t really describe anything. It’s just another way to say hey, I am trying to eat healthy.
What I am trying to say is let’s forget all the hip definitions and focus on the actual food!
Want to be healthy and get down to a more optimal body weight? Here is the answer. Ready?
Eat natural (preferably organic) whole foods. Eat tons of vegetables in a large variety. Eat a moderate amount of organic fruit. Eat lots of grass fed (when possible) proteins and eat them in a variety. Eat a small amount of healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, olives and items of this nature. Eat Kerry Gold butter but overall, keep your dairy to a minimum as many people are reactive to the inflammatory compounds in dairy. Last, limit the eating of legumes as they also can be inflammatory. Soy…soy sucks enough said about soy.
So there it is folks. Simple.
Now, certain people want something more complicated. They want percentages and ratios. They want volumes and caloric counts. If this is what you want go to someone else because this isn’t sustainable eating in my opinion.
If you are not of an optimal body weight then you need to eat the way I discussed above. Forget all this other stuff. You first need to understand the basics of how to eat healthy. You need to retrain your palate and your brain and this happens through removal of all sugar and grain products for at least 30 to 60 days.
Athletes can absolutely benefit from carb cycling, carb backloading, cutting and bulking phases of eating. This is their livelihood and they are using food as a tool to achieve a specific and measurable goal. If you are working out one hour 3-5 times a week…I’m sorry to burst your bubble but you are not an athlete. You are a recreational exerciser and this is awesome! Just understand the difference between your needs and the needs of someone who is working out hard 3-5 hours a day with specific training protocols in place.
Take Charlie for example. He’s my husband so I can use him as an example easily! Charlie goes in an out of heavy training periods. When Charlie is working out one hour a day six days a week he just tries to eat healthy and when he desires a less healthy yet yummy fun food he eats. He eats it knowing it isn’t healthy and that on this occasion he made a conscious choice to have it.
When Charlie is lifting heavy trying to gain muscle he eats a high calorie heavy in fats and carbs diet and this causes him to gain weight. This is recovery fat that is aiding him in making muscle gains.
When Charlie is getting ready to compete and needs to lean out then he goes into carb backloading phase. He spends nine days eating high fat, moderate protein and low carb and then he backloads with a high carb intake on the evening of the ninth day. He does this in cycles until he gets down to his optimal performance weight and along with all of this he changes his training goals accordingly.
Doesn’t this sound like a pain in the ass? Are you really going to go through all of this? Probably not and so I think I’ve made my case for just learning how to eat healthily in a sustainable fashion.
The internet is loaded with resources. Tons of delicious vegetable recipes and ways to make them taste fantastic. Turn it into a challenge for yourself. What is the worst that happens? You throw out four bucks worth of gross okra…okra is gross in my opinion btw! LOL
Every day is an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and the trajectory of our lives through conscious choices. Changing major components of our lives like our nutrition takes time and patience with ourselves. Enjoy the journey of changing your nutrition. Never diet. Dieting = deprivation. Deprivation = misery. Misery is not a sustainable state of existence.
I’d like to end this blog with…
If You Give Charlie a Cookie.
If you give Charlie a cookie he’s gonna want a glass of milk.
If you give him a glass of milk he’s gonna get inflamed
If he gets inflamed his training is gonna suffer.
If his training suffers he won’t go back to The CrossFit Games.
If he doesn’t go back to The CrossFit Games his gym members are gonna be sad.
See where this is going folks?