What is a healthy diet? A healthy diet is rich with natural foods, raw foods, unprocessed foods, real foods and a healthy diet uses these foods to compliment one another in order to create delicious and naturally nutrition meals. A healthy diet is a commitment, a tradition and a love for food. If you study the recipes and foundations of cuisines throughout the world you'll see that core traditional recipes are nutrient rich. The day to day recipes that heal the body and replenish the mind are designed to balance as well as leverage the synergies of ingredients to create nutrient dense meals. Basically every traditional eating culture in the world has and embraces their version of a healthy diet, less America. There is very little if any culture for food in great United States. As such it's been exceeding difficult for most American's to maintain a healthy diet.
Five Pillars of the Nutrition Plan
1) Constant Fuel
While not a new concept in the fitness and health community, eating small meals throughout the day is such a powerful approach to limit fat storage, stimulate the body's metabolism, maintain energy, avoid blood glucose crashes and increase your nutritional input. The vitamins and minerals needed to facilitate a fit lifestyle is above average and breaking down your meals into smaller portions makes it easy to consume the nutrients that your body needs.
Breakdown your daily eating plan into 5 to 6 meals.
- Late Morning Meal
- Afternoon Meal
- Before Bed Meal (Optional)
- Each meal should contain lean protein, fruits and or vegetables, as well as healthy fats.
- Carbohydrates, more specifically starchy carbohydrates, should only be consumed at breakfast and the meal after your workout.
2) Don't Fear Fat
Fats get a bad wrap in the American society. It's our belief that this is rooted in the FDA's low fat heart healthy nutritional plan. It was the mantra of the FDA for over 40 years. It a not so public new release, they FDA admitted that there is insufficient evidence to support their low fat diet being and effective strategy to reduce the risk of heart disease. There also been more and more research bringing to light the importance and healthy benefits of consuming healthy fats.
The Three Basic Fats:
- Trans Fat - This monster of the food world is not found naturally. It a feeble attempt to create a "healthy alternative" to cooking fat, margarine was born. During this industrial process trans fat was born and ended up being the worse form of fat man could eat...
A balanced consumption of Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated is important. Diets excessively skewed towards saturated fats are seen to increase the likelihood of weight gain. Consuming lean meats, fresh fish, nuts such as almonds and cashews, and healthy cooking oils such as extra virgin olive oil are great ways to consume mono and poly unsaturated fats. Avoiding fatty meats, and greasy fried foods often cooked in vegetable oils is also effective to ensure you control your input of saturated fats. Limiting the input of saturated fats from dairy products such as milk and full fat cheese has merit but there is increasingly more evidence to indicate positive effects of this fats in the lactose world.
Omega Fatty Acids are probably the best case to increase the amount of fat you eat throughout the week. Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fats are the most important. Typically most American's don't consume enough omega 3, so the simply solution is to focus on increase foods rich in omega 3 to get healthy benefits of this amazing fat. Controlling triglycerides, cholesterol, inflammation, and heart health are just some of the benefits. Flaxseeds, walnuts, and almonds are great sources of plants based Omega 3s. Sardines, salmon, trout and halibut are fatty fish loaded with Omega 3s.
3) Stop Drinking Calories
One of the easiest way to cut out empty and nutritionally weak calories is to stop drinking soda and juices packed full of sugar, or even worse artificial sugars. Focus on drinking water, tea, or even coffee as replacements every time you feel the urge to grab a soda or sweet drink. Diet soda has no place in the FitSaveFun nutritional plan. Do you remember what happened when man tried to make a fat alternative? Oh ya they made trans fat, the worst thing to ever happen to food. Our two least favorite things about artificial sweeteners. One - they trick body into thinking they just consumed sugar and that they'll get a influx of blood glucose. When the body realizes that it didn't get that sugar rush, it often signals for more food consumption and your left feeling hungrier than you otherwise would have. Binge much? Two - when the body tries to digest and breakdown the aspartame one of the byproducts is formaldehyde (a chemical used in paint thinner and embalming fluid).
It is also important to limit the amount of alcoholic beverages during the week. Wine and certain beers are packed with nutrients and ethanol in moderation can also have positive benefits to your healthy and body. That being those serious about living a fit life should limit themselves to one or two drinks per day.
4) Measure Twice, Cut Once - Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Life is crazy and time is precious thing in our modern world. Let's be honest, things probably aren't going to slow down in the future. Time constraints and stress make it difficult to make good decisions. Don't let these things get in the way of the most important part of your fitness life, your food. Spend an hour or two before you head off to the grocery store to plan out your meals for the week. Prepare late morning and afternoon meals in bulk to make it easy to grab and go in the morning.
Make sure your pantry and refrigerator are full of fresh and healthy foods to limit the temptation to hit the drive through when thing get hectic. Lean proteins, fruits and vegetables are the core of a healthy diet and should be staple of your trip to the store. We always recommend going to the grocery store mid week, Wednesday are the best. This is when grocery stores see the lowest amount of customers and they also turn over deals and promotions during the same time.
Another great trick is to cook in bulk once a week, Sunday afternoon is our favorite time to do this. In a low stress environment, maybe accompanied with a nice glass of wine, cook a few meals for the upcoming week. Plan to leave a few in the refrigerator as well as freeze what you won't use in the next 3 days.
5) Stop Counting Calories
There are a lot of meal plans out there with calorie counters, meal points, pre-made meal values, etc. We've tried a lot of them and find them difficult to adopt as a lifestyle. They all focus on what not to do, what not to eat and things way more complicated then they need to be. With this simple 5 pillar approach, the focus is one what to eat and when you should it eat. With the end goal of packing nutrient dense foods into a smaller meal comprised of lean meats, fruits and vegetables you'll find it just plain hard to eat too many calories. Also, when you know your next meal is coming in the next 2 to 3 hours, its easy to eat until your comfortable full and not a bit more. It takes about 15 minutes for your brain and your stomach to communicate and let you know that your full. So take your time and don't rush through any meal.
Over time you'll be feel comfortable and get better with your weekly meal planning. Your body will become a lean mean machine and fat storage will become at thing of the past. The quality of your nutrition and you're commitment to hard work at the gym, will make you feel better and with more energy than you ever thought possible. You have enough to keep track of, let calories go.
Nobody is Perfect - Make Breaking the Rules Part of the Plan
Ever have the urge to just hand over fist into a basket of french fries? Ever feel like the ice cream is your only friend? Have you had a moment when a brownie made you believe that everything was going to be ok?...Ever week schedule one meal that is a guilt free indulgence in something divine. That one meal isn't going to throw all your hard work out of the window. So plan for it, enjoy it, and move on. Tomorrow is another day. Even if you break another rule or stray from the plan for another meal or two that week, no worries. If you kick ass 9 times of 10 during the week, you'll be fine and you'll be on the road to have the body you've always wanted.