“Eating right” is an obsession of the American culture. We try so hard and follow what the government recommends on food labels, we watch every segment on every talk show and news program and we read and even hire dieticians as consultants. Yet we continue to struggle with our waistline and it gets worse every year. Why is this?!?!
While I may offend a lot of people, the simple answer is that most everything we’re being taught in the mainstream is WRONG starting with how we look at nutrition as a whole. We are human beings – animals. So, we have basic needs. For that reason, there IS a nutritional plan that EVERYONE can follow albeit a slight tweak here and there to accommodate your on specific needs, allergies and sensitivities.
Here we go:
All humans have basic needs and those are the macronutrients. In other words, try thinking about ALL of your meals in terms of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Let me break it down for you and give you a plan you can stick with forever.
Eat a protein (P), a carbohydrate (C) and a fat (F) at EVERY meal.
- Aim for single-ingredient foods. The fewer the ingredients, the better. Less than four is a great goal but one is best. It’s ok to mix single-ingredient foods. For example, in my oatmeal I add almonds, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar (I’m not perfect, I admit it. Also, I drink a scoop of protein powder in water to balance my macronutrients for the meal.)
- Live by the ratio. To simplify your macronutrients, whichever macronutrient is in the majority then treat that as the primary source and the others as bonus. For example, if there are 3x as many carbs as protein then that food is a carbohydrate source. Period.
- This is where the “authorities” really get it WRONG. Look at the labels for quinoa, beans, nuts and read more about them below.
- Read labels and know what you’re reading.
- Focus on the items from #1 – macronutrients
- Understand that RDA (recommended daily allowances) are not based on any real science… nor are recommended calories.
- Protein source examples: Beef, chicken, fish, pork, tofu and the various protein powders (animal or vegetable based)
- Carbohydrate source examples: vegetables, fruits, grains, pastas, breads, potatoes, etc.
- Fat source examples: avocado, nuts and nut butters, cheese, oils-EVOO, coconut, safflower, flaxseed
- Don’t worry about calorie counting, per se, but portion your meals to achieve your desired weight goals
- I can’t stress this enough…
- Myth: beans, quinoa, nuts are great sources of protein.
- Facts: Beans have 3x the carbs as protein, quinoa has 4.5x the carbs as protein and nuts have 2x the fats as protein. While these foods have protein, they are not a “good” source!
- Another major error in what we’re told…
- Myth: protein fills you up. (Thank you Dr. Atkins for this inaccuracy.)
- Fact: Fats are what satiate (i.e. satisfy) your appetite and give you that “full” feeling. Try this dinner experiment for yourself and see how you feel until morning:
i. Dinner 1 – One whole avocado (medium sized) and 16 oz. of water (P-3g, C-12g, F-21g, Calories-234)
ii. Dinner 2 – One 6 oz. steak and 16 oz. of water (P-46g, C-0g, F-10g, Calories-296)
iii. Dinner 3 – Macaroni (3 oz. dry) and 16 oz. of water (P-10.5 g, C-64.5 g, F-1.5 g, Calories-318)
- How much water should you drink per day?
- Myth: drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day.
- Fact: Does this make sense? What was it based on? Does a 100 lb. woman and a 250 lb. man both need the same amount of water per day? A better rule to follow is drink 2/3 of your weight (lbs) in oz. of water per day. If you weigh 100 lbs, drink 66 oz. of water per day. If you weigh 200 lbs, drink 132 oz. of water per day. Yes, it sounds like a lot but you’ll feel A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
- The key to losing (or gaining) weight is a 300 calorie difference, per day. You can achieve this difference by either a) adjusting your food intake or b) adjusting your activity level.
- You didn’t gain all of that weight in a week so why do you think you can lose it that quickly? In fact, it’s harder to take weight off than put it on… and that’s the TRUTH!
- Foods to avoid
- Anything with a list of ingredients especially those you cannot pronounce.
- Sugars (a.k.a. simple carbohydrates – even honey, agave, syrup, stevia, etc. Or, try to use as sparingly as possible. Remember, you don’t need sugar to survive. Our culture is addicted just like any illegal drug and you will suffer from withdrawal when you stop using. The good news is you won’t die and once you’re off sugar, your life will change for the better.
- Breakfast cereal – this food group is a complete waste and has no real nutritional value. It is sugar in a fancy and fortified package. Then, adding milk is like adding sugar-water. You’re better off eating eggs, bacon and whole grain toast with peanut butter (no sugar added). And orange juice is just more sugar!
- Alcohol – how many bodybuilders or fitness models (with the “perfect” physique) drink alcohol? Exactly. But, if you must have your drink, simply accept the fact that you’ll need to balance those calories and the toxins with a healthy activity like a 45 minute brisk walk or more.
Well, there you have it. I hope you give this approach a try and see for yourself how easy it is and how is it is to maintain, forever. Obviously you can adjust it to suit your needs but the basic foundation is there for you to build from.
How did I learn all of this? Well, it’s taken me many years and I’m still learning every day. I’m a regular guy with a passion for nutrition, fitness and overall wellness. In fact, my day job is running a website called FamilyeJournal that improves communication and connection between people which is actually far more important to your overall health than any nutrition or fitness plan. (This is supported by research.)
I used to be the guy who needed to gel packet before a 45 minute spin class. Then I learned the right way to train and eat and I’m a successful 12 year Ironman triathlete and coach. If you stick with the basics, as I’ve outlined above, you too can live healthier and stop wasting your time listening and reading all of the misinformation in the media.
Good luck and let me know how you’re doing.