The healthy food, nutrition and dare I say 'diet' world can be difficult and downright confusing to navigate. Nutrition, the science of fuelling the human body for optimum health and performance is precisely that, a science, and as such is a complex matter. But as complex as it is it doesn't need to be confusing. We leave school with an education but with little knowledge of this most basic and core science, the science of staying alive. And into adulthood we step with our 'further education' on the subject coming primarily from advertising campaigns via shiny screens and glossy magazines from a $220 Billion per year industry that ultimately wants to sell us their latest quick fix programme or product. With an industry that promotes myth and hearsay but does little to assist long term we Western humans in the developed world have lost touch with what exactly is a healthy diet. And the word diet itself has become more commonly used as in the verb; 'I can't eat that I'm on a diet', rather than the adjective to describe the typical diet or food source of a healthy human. At Eat2Win 365 we strive to clear up that confusion, simplify things and focus on fuelling our bodies right to be healthy now and stay that way for life, and when you start to put amazing fuel in your body, you realise your body can do amazing things. But what if you haven't been putting in the right fuel but still want your body to do amazing things? What do you do? Where do you start? Start right here, right now with this blog post!
As a Nutrition Coach I get two common excuses to not eating better and I'm going to start right off the mark here by telling you what they are, and why they are just excuses so you don't have to use them, then you can move right on to the good bit: fuelling your body right.
"It's just so expensive to eat healthy food" Indeed it is, I agree 100%. If you're browsing the shelves of your local supermarket looking for items labelled as 'healthy', 'low fat', 'fat free', 'sugar free' 'all natural' etc. you are investing into that $220 Billion a year industry I mentioned. You are buying processed food products that have been manufactured by an organisation that isn't particularly interested in your personal well being, they just want your cash. Reality check time, you're looking in all the wrong aisles in the supermarket, or perhaps you shouldn't be in the supermarket at all, try farm shops and your local butcher. Start by sourcing 'single ingredient products'. For example, don't pick up a ready made jar of low fat, reduced salt Bolognese sauce, pick up single ingredients; big fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil and unrefined salt such as Sea Salt or the Pink Himalayan Stuff. In short, sack the pre-pack and scratch make everything you put into your body. Take ownership of what goes into your body and be an educated consumer at the same time. Now when I say this to people it almost always prompts the next excuse:
"I just don't have the time to eat healthily" Consider that quote for a moment. When I hear that, which I do almost daily, do you know what I hear? "I know I'm doing myself harm but I can't be bothered to look after myself". Reality check time again, if you don't make time to eat well, you will have no choice but to make time for doctor visits or worse, maybe a stay in hospital down the line. Coughs & colds, joint aches & pains, tummy troubles, insomnia, lethargy and all the day-to-day ills your GP gets presented with don't magically disappear when you eat well, but getting enough of the vitamins that support your immune system can minimise their impact and certainly keep you out of the doctor's surgery for longer periods between visits. And if you're about to start working out you can also minimise your risk of injury and speed up recovery post workout. All you need to do is plan a little better and prep ahead, two things which sadly went out the window when the world decided convenience food would do the same job as fresh food.
So that's the excuses out of the way, let's talk about how we get the good stuff in us. This is the bit where we could go really sciency, bleat on about Macro & Micronutrient quantities in Micrograms and list out an alphabet of nutrients and what they do to support our bodies, and it's also the bit where most blogs on a similar subject would tell you you need to be downing gallons of Protein supplements all day every day whilst simultaneously Tweeting selfies showing off your bulging sparkly new abs in the mirror... Not here
At Eat2Win 365 we coach our clients to become mindful eaters thus developing good habits which make them healthy now and more importantly keep them that way for life. We don't exclude food groups like carbs, ingredients like grains or eat only Alkaline foods, we simply eat a diet of minimally processed foods containing all the food groups, prepared with fresh single ingredients, and as much as possible from scratch. The 7 Simple Habits of Success
Plan your meals for the week ahead before you go shopping, it's not as laborious as it sounds and really should only take you a few minutes. Plan something exciting in there, give yourself something to look forward to; a new recipe or a healthier version of a takeaway so you don't feel like you've missed out on a Friday night. This not only keeps you on track by knowing ahead of time that you've already made good food choices but it saves you time shopping, and if your list is good and you don't stray it can save you a few quid by avoiding carefully placed supermarket offers for things you don't really need.
Bulk buy, bulk make and prep ahead
If you're going to make a meal that you eat often, bulk buy the ingredients, prep or cook it ahead of time and chill or freeze it. Better still, find yourself an hour in the week or at the weekend and prep your whole week of dinners, make a big batch of soup for lunches, get various cuts of meat marinating in spices and herbs, mix and make some meatballs, burgers, kofta kebabs. We've got lots of recipes that do that at Eat2Win 365, If you make a double or triple batch of something, not only have you got easy weeknight dinners to keep things clean if you get delayed at work or stuck in traffic and don't feel like getting in the kitchen to deal with all the trimmings, but it also means you only have to wash up once!
Inclusion Include all the food groups, focus on the quality of each item and eat it when it's as seasonal and fresh as possible. Make sure your carbohydrates come in the form of wholewheat/whole grains, unrefined grains like these take longer to digest keeping you full for longer and deliver sustained and steady energy release instead of peaks and troughs, they also contain significantly higher levels of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Choose lean meat, oily fish and good fats like olive, rapeseed and coconut oil which help keep Cholesterol at a healthy level. Consume your dairy in its naturally whole state, ie full fat. Reduced fat and fat free items such as yogurt often contain added sugar whereas full fat dairy comes with bone strengthening Calcium, Vitamin D which helps you absorb the Calcium and fat to help you metabolise the Vitamin D, a neat little nutritional package (Vitamins A, D, E & K are fat soluble which means that if you have a low or no fat diet you may end up deficient in these key nutrients). Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, eat as many as you want, whenever you want. Try fruit and seeds in your salads, vegetables like spinach with your breakfast, get them in you all day and with as much colour and variety as you can. That colour and variety are the colours and variations of the vitamins and minerals your body needs every day to be healthy.
Scrutinise every label
If you do buy something that you intend to consume and it comes in a packet or jar, check the label. Look at the ingredients, I promise you you will find added Sugar (under one of its 60 plus different names; glucose, fructose, dextrose etc) listed in things you would not have imagined. Sugar is a refined carbohydrate, it's 'empty' calories which means that it gives you a short sharp burst of energy, stressing your Pancreas to release enough Insulin to break it down, but delivers nothing nutritionally. Eat enough refined added sugar regularly for long enough and you could be on the way to becoming a Type 2 Diabetic. If you love your energy drinks, Coca-Cola, chocolate bars, sweets etc, know that I'm talking to you right now. And those empty calories, just so you know 4 cans of Redbull a day will help you gain 1lb a week, every week and last time I checked we had 52 of those every year. And don't think the diet versions are decent, the fake sweeteners in them make your brain think you're about to get a carb hit and when you don't it will send you hunting for food. That's not to mention all the other junk that's dumped into them, E150d for example is a food colouring (Caramel) found in most regular and diet Cola and is well documented for causing stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Avoid supplements
If you eat a varied and balanced diet you almost never need them! Unless you have an undiagnosed or pre-diagnosed condition and your Doctor or a Dietitian has taken your blood, run it through a lab and told you you are deficient in something, you do not need to supplement. Vitamins are one thing but more often than not I get asked about Protein shakes. The average human needs around 40-60g of Protein per day to support cell repair and growth. If you're training, working out, whatever it is you may be doing then yeah, sure you need more than the average but remember this: at an absolute maximum for muscle gain 1g of protein per lb of body weight or 2.2g per Kilo is more than enough plus, your body cannot absorb more than 20-30g of protein in one go. That's about 1 chicken breast or 100g of salmon. Protein is also an energy food, when your body has consumed more energy food than it can process it stores that for later. Those energy stores are what you and I would call body fat. Your body breaks down the protein, decides the tank is full and stores the excess around your body. If you get eggs in your breakfast, lean meat and fish for lunch and dinner and snack on small portions of meat, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas you'll easily get what you need to support lean muscle growth and help reduce those post workout aches plus the added benefit it will be tastier and cheaper than a big tub of Protein Powder!
Never go hungry, ever!
An efficient metabolism requires regular feeding, if you regularly skip a meal like breakfast or go too long without food your body will begin to store some of what you do eat as fat just in case it's going to become a regular habit, such as if there's a famine. There isn't going to be a famine so snack on fruits, nuts, stuff you prepped ahead, leftovers from last nights dinner. We recommend 3 main well balanced meals plus 3 snacks through the day at regular intervals. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and then an optional evening snack. Your snacks don't have to be a big affair, just enough to keep you going and do remember that at the opposite end of that scale is not to over eat, portion control is not only key to avoiding weight gain but over eating can affect your sleep pattern and energy levels. Little, often, don't go hungry.
Drink like a fish
And I don't mean alcohol, those again are empty calories which spike your blood sugar, may push you over whatever your body needs in terms of daily calorie needs leading to weight gain and almost always end up supporting bad food decisions. I mean water, a minimum of 2 litres a day keeps everything running smoothly, more if you're working out. It transports water soluble vitamins like Vitamin C, helps regulate your heart rate and blood flow, and importantly if you are training it helps you regulate temperature. Get a few 750ml sports bottles and keep fresh water on hand for sipping throughout the day wherever you are.
So there you have it, got all that? Find out more about how Eat2Win 365 can get you your goals and get your first week free!
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