Ever get exhausted researching nutrition stuff? Like, what should you be eating? What shouldn’t you be eating? How much of it should you (or shouldn’t you) be eating? Does it matter when I eat it? What about working out? Does that change what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat it?
Okay, just take a breath. *Phew*
Here’s the answer. Here’s the SECRET that everyone’s desperate to learn:
“Eat your veggies and don’t eat sugar.”
Haha! Thanks Grandma! (Could you all hear her too? ;P)
There is no magic answer; there is no magic pill. We’ve known the answer to optimal health for decades, and yet folks continue to look for something different. Why?
Because it’s “too simple.” Or, point in fact, it’s “too hard.”
(Hate to break it to you, my darling little C-FIT Warriors, but you choose your hard. If you don’t make time for your health, you’ll be forced to make time for your illness. As many folks claim they “don’t have time,” they somehow have it when they get sick and need to go to the doctors. HEAR ME: I’m not discounting your struggles. I’m merely saying we literally. all. struggle.)
So what does Grandma mean when she says “eat your veggies and don’t eat sugar”? Other than the obvious you mean?
Here’s the “secret” to achieving optimal health:
1 – Eat mostly vegetables (80% ish of your calorie-intake should be plant-based. Think: half of every plate you eat, and then some)
2 – Drink 64-100oz of plain water daily on top of any other beverages (whichever is more)
3 – Prioritize sleep and stress management (don’t discredit this!)
4 – Avoid processed foods (including boxed meals, treats, meats like salami, etc)
5 – Avoid added sugars and artificial sweeteners (baaaad stuff)
6 – Avoid refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, crackers, etc)
7 – Avoid/Limit caffeine and alcohol (pro-inflammatory by nature)
Not complicated enough for you?
Let’s dig a bit deeper. What about those macros? Carbs, Fats, and Proteins. Oh, you don’t need any help there, right? Carbs bad, Fat and Protein good.
YOU NEED ALL THREE. We need each of these in order to live and thrive. Removing an entire macronutrient from your diet can cause a host of issues due to impending deficiencies.
CARBS – They are the body’s main and preferred source of fuel. You cannot perform (athletically or otherwise) without them.
FAT – Your brain relies on fat for its neurotransmitters to work properly. It is one of the key macronutrients that satisfy you and keep you satisfied longer. Most of the negative hype about fats actually refer to added and refined sugars. You should still limit saturated fat, but technically, the jury is still out on if saturated fat is as detrimental as we initially believed.
PROTEIN – Regardless of your lifestyle choice (meat-eater or vegan), you want to make sure you are getting enough protein. The average recommendation of 45-55 grams daily for sedentary individuals is actually a little low and leave people wanting. Protein is the second macronutrient necessary to create satiety, and many are protein-deficient. A good ideal to strive for would be 60-70 grams daily (about 1.2g per kg of bodyweight), and closer to 100g daily for those who are more active or looking to build lean muscle mass. Don’t stress about hitting it exactly; nothing in nutrition is ever exact.
Let’s not even get started on counting calories. A good rule of thumb, as supported by our dietitian Jean Maxwell of Maxwell Nutrition LLC, is half your plate in veggies, a quarter of the plate in protein, and the remaining quarter non-processed carbs.
Okay. I think that takes the simple and makes it complicated enough to get folks to actually start believing and acting on what we all already know (;P I tease, but then again… I don’t).
Hm. I think this is an excellent time to remind you to take a peek at the aforementioned GUT HEALTH WORKSHOP. 😉