Simple Rules for Good Nutrition

July 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

Simple Rules for Good Nutrition
I do not claim to be all knowing about good nutrition, but what I have learned and what I do know is that it really is simple. I did not say EASY, but it is simple. I cannot find two better resources than Michael Pollan’s book “In Defnese of Food” and “Food Rules”, as two simple uncomplicated approaches to developing good nutrition habits.

He breaks it all down to three things
1. Eat Real Food
2. Not Too Much
3. Mostly Plants

I read a lot of blogs, books and listen to a lot of podcasts (these are my favorite) and it all keeps coming back to these three ideas.

EAT FOOD
Eat food not food like substances; learn how your food labels read. Be aware of what you put in your body. Do you even read or look at your food labels? I know it is like foreign language trying to decipher what it all means. Heck – I cannot even tell you what it all means, but shouldn’t that be clue maybe these chemicals should not enter our body!
NOT TOO MUCH
Michael Pollan’s focus here is centered around how society has reengineered us today and the foods we eat through marketing low priced, low quality, high quantity foods. It really is common sense to think and he offer the thought “How might paying more for food help us eat less of it?” He says that “how much we eat is strongly influenced by the cost of food in terms of both the money and effort required to put it on the table.” In my opinion, if you have already made the EAT FOOD rule a good habit. Eating real food and eating often will keep you from eating too much at one sitting. Stop thinking of eating in traditional meal times, aka breakfast lunch and dinner. Start a new way of thinking that you need to fuel yourself throughout your waking hours, eating small meals every 2-4 hours. Frequent feedings that incorporate the necessary components (protein and vegetabeles) revs up you metabolism and most importantly keeps you from overeating at one particular meal time. Personally, I have experimented also with intermittent fasting and while this strategy has its merit in certain circumstances, I have found frequent feedings through smaller meals the best option for seeking a life long nutrition plan.
MOSTLY PLANTS
Mostly plants, the old adage you always heard from your grandparents has much merit! Put simply, eat your vegetables! At EVERY meal time. Find out what vegetables you like, experiment with different recipes and preparation strategies for these vegetables and eat your vegetables at every meal. It really is that simple, there is no need to overcomplicate things when it comes to eating your vegetables. Yes, it will take a little thought and effort on your behalf to actually do something different than what you do now. So, you ask why eat vegetables at every meal? Vegetables have necessary vitamins and minerals that your body alone cannot supply. You must get these from your external food sources. Don’t just think because you are taking your multivitamins and multi-minerals this is enough. Again, Remember Eat Real Food, supplements are not real food. It is beneficial and in my opinion necessary to supplement our nutrition with multi vitamins and minerals, however, it should not be your sole method of receiving these nutrients. In addition to vegetables supplying you necessary vitamins and minerals, vegetables also contain valuable phytochemicals. Phytochemicals act as antioxidents helping to protect you from free radicals, influence hormonal function and may help protect you from disease.

What’s holding you back…
Ask yourself three questions.
1. Where are you now?
2. Where do you want to be?
3. What will you have to change to reach your goals?

Do not move forward until carefully and thoughtfully answering these questions above. Do not proceed in trying to achieve your goals until you can fully commit making the necessary changes. Meaning is your commitment level a 10 on a scale of 1-10. This is very important and if you try to achieve your goals without a commitment level of a 10, most likely you are setting yourself up for failure.

So am I saying give up if you are not a 10, ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Now, if you are not a 10, simply re-evaluate your goals and set more appropriate goals where you can become 10. Write down your goals, make them visible and start taking action to the possibilities that lie ahead.

In the words of John Berardi of Precision Nutrition, “Make your actions match your goals”. If that’s not possible, for whatever reason, it’s perfectly ok, and does not make you a bad person. You just need to take a few minutes to evaluate your current goals to make them more achievable, right now. If you are screaming, but I really want to reach my initial goals. I am not asking you to loose sight of that goal, but you must realize that’s not where you are right now. If you cannot make your actions fit your goals, then you need to establish new goals based on your level of commitment. Like, I said before, this does not make you a bad person and does not mean that you will never reach what you initially wrote down. Realize what’s going on in your life right now and adapt.

What I am telling you is proven and is not a new concept I conjured up myself. Think of it in the theory of Dave Ramsey and becoming debt free. It’s much like the snowball effect when you are trying to reduce debt. Pay off your smaller debts first, build momentum with small victories along the way and by the time it comes time to conquer your largest debt, you will have built up a enough strength, momentum, good habits and motivation to keep on going for the gusto.

Remember to enjoy your journey to good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle!

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