Browse Tag: diets

“HOW SHOULD I EAT?!” (HINT: DON’T DIET)

EATING CONFUSION

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

  1. 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
  2. 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?
  3. No caffeine after 1 pm. Cannot risk screwing with sleep.
  4. 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.
  5. I don’t use protein powder. Seem to be doing fine without it.
  6. I usually nap after my first meal (sometime around 1 – 3 pm). When I miss my nap, I seem to eat more.
  7. I wake up and I eat again. Usually another carby meal.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. Before this meal, it is typical for myself to drink 2 – 4 cups of boxed wine or cider. Read more: Getting Drunk Tonight?
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. I rarely eat meat. No or little beef, chicken, fish, or eggs. Once again, seem to be doing fine without it.
  17. Most of my protein comes for lentils and other beans.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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).

THE 3 STEP PROCESS TO YOUR LOWEST GROCERY BILL EVER

how to save money on healthy food

“HEALTHY EATING IS TOO EXPENSIVE”

I’ve been there.

I, too, use to believe I had to spend X amount of dollars a month on “healthy food”.

After years of research (and periods of mandatory experimentation), however, I found that this health game has much more to it than what we put in our body.

Variables such as “how much we sleep” and “our outlook on life” should be improved long before we even think about purchasing organic blueberries or the finest cut of meat money can be. And even then, there is not a clear cut answer to whether purchasing these foods is worth it.

Like you can thrive without a gym, you can eat healthy on your own terms. For the past four years, I have done so with a $80-100/mo budget. In some instances, I even managed to drop it down to $50 (or under $2 a day).

Now, I am not a couponer.  Nor am I just loading up on ramen noodles. I buy what I want to eat and here’s how you can too.

cooking 1 1024x529 The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill Ever

STEP 1: LEARN HOW TO COOK

To be honest, I could not survive on a fast food diet. It’s just too expensive. Consuming all my meals at McDonalds would, at the minimum, triple my budget.

Cereals and packaged goodies? Yep, those are out of my price range as well.

If you really are broke, you cannot afford to “eat like shit”. There is just no room for it. Instead, you must 1) figure out what foods are the cheapest in bulk (and are actually good for you) and 2) learn how to cook them so they taste good (and you actually like them).

Here’s my breakdown (in order of overall consumption):

green lentils The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill Ever

Lentils = nutrition powerhouse

  1. Green lentils*
  2. White rice*
  3. Coconut oil
  4. Coffee (plus cream and stevia)
  5. Quick oats*
  6. Broccoli*
  7. Onions, garlic, and ginger*
  8. Potatoes*
  9. Reverse osmosis water*
  10. Magnesium citrate

* less than a dollar a pound

Some notes:

+ The top 3 foods meet my requirements for protein, fiber, carbs, and fats (this is important).

+ High carbs because: I am active and have muscle. The less you do/have of these two, the less you can probably get away with this. When it comes to cheap food, it pays to be active.

+ No fruit because: I am very sensitive to citrus (which is telling me something).

+ No meat because: Unless you spend a lot $$, you are getting crap (loaded with hormones, antibiotics, and grain). Best to stay away most of the time if you cannot afford the “grass fed, free range” variety.

Kitchen Talks Eating on the Go The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill Ever

STEP #2: LEARN HOW TO EAT

Cooking is a luxury and not everyone has the time/energy for it.

Thankfully, getting health from food has just as much to do with how we eat it vs. what we eat. Reality is, you are going to run into “bad foods” and situations that are less than optimal.

Here’s some ways to get the most out of those times:

  • Option 1: Fasting (for chaos and celebrations)

So you know you are going to overindulge at tonight’s corporate dinner? Prepare your digestive system, create a caloric deficit, and fast leading up to it. Or maybe you need to resist those 3 boxes of donuts that your co-worker just bought in this morning at work? Coffee fast until lunch. Now it’s not as easy telling someone to fast who has never done it (you’ll need experience here), so I recommend you play around with it a little bit so you’re ready for when that time comes.

  • Option 2: Low carb (for traveling)

 So you’re on the road today for 8 hours? The gas stations won’t have many options. It will generally come down to processed high-carb goodies (like burritos, candies, and chips) vs. less processed low-carb ones (like cheese sticks, jerky, eggs, and nuts). This latter group should keep your blood sugar (aka mood) more balanced, which will in turn keep hunger in check.

  • Option 3: High carb (traveling again)

I initially left this off because I am not a fruit fan but if you are, traveling should be a breeze. Simply load up on bananas, apples, and oranges.

  • Option 4: Prepare in general (for the day-to-day energy swings)

So you just worked 12 hours and don’t feel like doing more work over a stove? I don’t blame ya. Rather then wait until you’re at your lowest point (and vulnerable to any kind of naughty food), however, I challenge you to prepare when you are at highest (before work or on your day off).  At this time, shop for and cook/prepare the food that you will want to  have to eat once your willpower goes out the window.

Note: If you have to eat out, my vote is for Subway. Yes, it’s “carby”, but that’s your incentive to move.

lion1 The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill Ever

STEP #3: LEARN WHAT HEALTH IS

So how do we know if this food is making us healthier or not?

Short answer: Look to your bowel movements.

If you are constipated, have diarrhea, and/or way behind on your poop schedule – these are all signs that something is not quite right. Meaning, your body is overly stressed and it’s response has left less resources available for digestion.

Now why are we stressed? It could be the food, it could be the sleep, and it could be even your thoughts. Your job is to play around with the variables to find out what is “off”. Failure here prevents the garbage (aka feces) from being taken out on time. Just like a real garbage, some bad things can happen when this occurs (like attracting pests called parasites).

Unfortunately, this is not as easy as “just eat healthy food”. If you have an allergy or sensitivity, a food that is organic, “natural”, or has an awesome nutritional profile will not make any difference.  You have to go with your gut on this one (literally).

Here’s how:

  1. Choose unprocessed foods
  2. Add one at a time (so you can see its effects)
  3. Pay attention to your poops

On this last one: If your insides are dieing, this is will you’ll see it first.

no fast food 1024x1014 The 3 Step Process to Your Lowest Grocery Bill EverCONCLUSION

Chill.

Eating is only like 1/7 of this health game.

There is little reason to spend thousands on organic food  if we are skimping on sleep and exercise. Along the same token, we can spend considerably less if we acing other areas of the test (like I do).

In the end, be judicious with your time, money, and energy. They are all the same thing, more-or-less.