Here’s the most common question that my patients ask me:
“What should I eat?”
If you’ve ever found yourself asking that question, you may be another unsuspecting victim on what I like to call Nutrition Confusion. Nutrition Confusion is caused by all the conflicting information that floats around in the media and press. One person proclaims that you should eat low carb diets. Someone else says eat carbs but avoid fat. Then yet another guru will come along and tell you to precisely balance your meals. And so on. You know what I’m talking about, right?
When I design custom nutrition programs for my patients, I gather a lot of details about their lives. This includes their dietary and health histories, digestive health, adrenal gland lab tests, family histories and more. All of this information is important for developing the right program. But certain basics apply, and that’s what I’m going to share with you in this article.
6 Good starting points…
- Start with high-quality proteins. Every meal and every snack should include a little bit of quality protein; low-quality processed foods do not count. You might think that a couple of McDonald’s hamburgers are a source of protein, but they are not quality protein. Ideally, you want your proteins to come from all natural or organic grass-fed sources. You will have to cook a lot of these proteins for yourself, since you can’t get them at fast food joints.
- Include a wide variety of organic vegetables. Most people don’t eat enough vegetables. It’s essential to include them in a healthy diet. For most people, this takes some adjustment. It’s best to get locally grown organic produce whenever possible, and always wash everything thoroughly.
- Make sure you include some quality fats. Healthy fats come from olive oil, high-quality butter, whole milk yogurt, and wild fish. Quality fats are critical for your body. Don’t be afraid of them.
- Take 2 months off of wheat and dairy. Most people feel great when they take two months off from gluten (wheat) and lactose (dairy). I start many clients this way. Yes, it’s tough at first, but gets much easier.
Many people, after experiencing how good they feel while off these, chose to keep gluten and/or dairy out of their diets for a longer time.
- Never skip meals. Skipping meals will cause your blood sugar to crash, and you’ll start looking for the nearest pile of calories you can find. This usually means something from the vending machine. It’s OK to snack between meals, just make sure your snacks have some protein.
- Drink water, not soda, not diet soda, not sports drinks, etc. Water. Filtered water is better than tap.
Two evils to avoid.
- Processed junk foods. Processed junk foods are usually found in colorful packages, or in fast food restaurants. These foods are made of cheap ingredients, and sold without any real concern for the people that eat them. If you’ve never seen the movie Super Size Me, rent it. You’ll see what eating low quality food does to a person.
- Refined sugar. Sugar is everywhere. Getting it out of your diet is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.
3ways to make eating a quality diet easier…
- Learn to cook (or marry someone who knows how). You simply can’t get high quality foods on a regular basis without cooking at home. There a great book that I highly suggest you get if you’re not someone who cooks. It’s called “How to Cook Everything”.
- Plan ahead. Every day, you have to plan your meals and pack a lunch and snacks. Every day. The food you bring with you will always be better than the stuff you pick up on the run. Once again, for a lot of people this is a lifestyle adjustment, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be glad you made the effort.
- Strive for balance. You shouldn’t go overboard with protein, carbs or fats. Including reasonable amounts of each at every meal is the best way to go. If you seem to be someone who prefers more protein, then go ahead. But don’t force yourself to choke down 100 grams of protein a day because some magazine article said you should.
So those are the basics of the Stronger&Leaner nutrition approach I use in my office. Every person is different, and adapting the basics for your unique needs is a good idea. If you have any food allergies or food intolerances, make sure to avoid those foods. If some foods seem to bother your stomach, avoid them.