When I was younger, I wanted to go to school to become a nutritionist.
I believed nutrition was everything and that if we could just change someone’s eating habits, then we could get them on a path of health and wellness.
During this nutrition-centric time, I experimenting with multiple diets and read about a million books on the topic of nutrition alone.
Here’s more-or-less what I learned:
- Diets are bullshit and those that push them are even more-so (and yes, I used to be one of them).
- The whole “eating clean” thing isn’t as important as we think and that intentionally cutting calories to lose weight may actually be one of the hardest ways to attain the body we desire.
- Focusing on our diet takes energy away from other areas of our life that we could be improving.
- The more holes we dig in other areas of your life (sleep, exercise, emotional), the more strict we will need to be with nutrition to achieve our goals. Still, however, the focus should be filling in those holes first.
- Nutritionists and dietitians are often fat (red flag much?).
- Eating is an emotional, intuitive, and a right-brained experience but diets are often left-brained, scheduled, and full of numbers. See the clash?
- Selling diets and foods is a lucrative business. Selling just as important things such sleep and meditation is not.
- And perhaps, most importantly: The more we restrict foods, nutrients, and calories – the more our body and mind will work its magic to get us to consume them.
I guess you can say that I am no longer impressed with nutrition. Yes, I believe it’s still important but just not as important as everyone (your doc + media) is telling us.
And as far as getting someone on a path of health and wellness, there is no greater habit to create than that of exercise. This is why I am a trainer and not a nutritionist.
Now a while back I wrote a short piece that summed up my philosophy on eating which I will re-state again here: Eat in a manner that gives you energy and satisfies you, both in the short-term and long-term.
This vagueness comes with good and bad news.
The bad: This means you are responsible for creating your own diet.
The good: This means you are responsible for creating your own diet.
This will not be a quick fix type of thing, but rather a trial-and-error experiment that, in the end, will produce a way of eating you can actually follow indefinitely.
To get you started (and hopefully inspire you), here is a list of 21 facts and reasons on why I eat the way I do.
HOW I EAT
- My key to productivity ==> I naturally fast to start my day. Usually for 14 – 16 hours. Coffee, half n half, stevia, and sometimes MCT oil / coconut oil is about all I consume during this period. Read more: Coconut Oil, Coffee, and The Best Morning Ever
- When I consume caffeine, I almost always exercise (even if for 5 minutes). This means my workouts are [99% of the time] in the AM. Read more: Got Coffee Belly?
- No caffeine after 1 pm. Cannot risk screwing with sleep.
- I tend to break my fast after exercise and I do this with an easily digestible meal (see: carbs). Honey, oatmeal, and creamer is a favorite here.
- I don’t use protein powder. Seem to be doing fine without it.
- I usually nap after my first meal (sometime around 1 – 3 pm). When I miss my nap, I seem to eat more.
- I wake up and I eat again. Usually another carby meal.
- I can (and should) consume a rather high carbohydrate diet for 2 reasons: 1) I have lots of muscle and 2) I am quite active. Read more: Carbs: Where Your Diet Journey Begins
- How I lose fat ==> I don’t diet nor do I do extreme workouts. I eat to sustain performance and performance for me means both mental and physical strength. So instead of cutting calories or restricting myself, I create a caloric deficit by walking more. Read more: How I Lose Fat
- In the evening, I’ll have my biggest meal (usually high-fiber). Right now, this means roasted red kidney beans in ghee with a stir fry mix. I’ll eat enough servings to feed a small family.
- Before this meal, it is typical for myself to drink 2 – 4 cups of boxed wine or cider. Read more: Getting Drunk Tonight?
- I love dairy but I realize my body responds unfavorably to it (tongue turns to a white coat). Because of this, I only stick to my favorite sources: Creamer, chocolate, and ice cream. We seem to go through about 2 cartons of ice cream a week.
- Same story with wheat. I have a wheat allowance and I am not going to waste it on silly bread. Usually pizza, nachos, and chinese food buffets is what I spend it on. Try to do at least one of these a week.
- I have very little emotional stressors in my life. As a result, reward-eating is not an issue. When I do eat “junk” it is more for the experience rather than an attempt to fill in a hole.
- One thing I despise: Trans fat (also known as hydrogenated oils). I’m pretty lax when it comes to processed food, but I refuse to buy products that have this “brain-numbing” chemical.
- I rarely eat meat. No or little beef, chicken, fish, or eggs. Once again, seem to be doing fine without it.
- Most of my protein comes for lentils and other beans.
- Because legumes contains a substance that impairs zinc absorption (and becomes my activity requires a crap load of magnesium to prevent a deficiency), I supplement with ZMA. Read more: The Best Supplement For Athletes
- I typically eat right up until bed. Having a feel stomach not only helps me sleep, but ensures that I am able to rock a wicked fast in the morning.
- More important than food ==>I try to be in bed by 10 pm and shoot for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This is the biggest factor of what I can and cannot eat. Failing to get enough sleep changes the way my body responds to certain nutrients. Read more: How To Go The F*ck To Sleep
- How I know if I am eating the right foods ==> The next morning, the answer will be in my poo. If I am eating something that I am allergic to or doing something else that is stressful (like being Negative Nancy), my poo will tell me. Read more: You Are What You Poop
HOW YOU SHOULD EAT
Once again, you will have to follow your [own] energy. The reality is, different genetics with different environments will require different sustenance. To find out what that is, I suggest you experiment. A lot. Take notes and eventually you’ll find out what that is.
With time, you’ll be your own authority (nutritionist).