This post brings us to number four of my top ten health tips. The first three (Drink water, Get rid of stress, Get some sleep) started with low risk entries into health, but yet provide you with some great improvement in your overall health. The list moving forward is now starting to require you to evaluate your commitment to a healthy lifestyle. The reason I say that is because you are now going to have to do a risk to reward comparison and decide whether you are motivated to eat healthy. The cleaner the foods, the cleaner the fuel, the cleaner the emissions…in other words the less processed, closer to the source, foods consumed results in better digestion and metabolism which translates to a better performing body. The choice to eat clean depends on you, but here are some guiding principles to consider.
Before we get into the rules we need to clarify something…if you look at this as an exclusion diet than you will fail, every time! This is a lifestyle commitment and requires you to find the balance of eating today as you will for the rest of your life, understand?? Remember, the diet industry really tries to over complicate things by selling the idea of a perfect way of eating, whether it is Paleo/South Beach/Mediterranean/Insert name here. However, in the end rarely anyone will be following the same diet in 20 years. How many of you Atkins fans are still on board?
I am not trying to discourage you, rather I want you to have a realistic start because I want you to ultimately be successful. So the following nutrition principles are based on the idea that 90% of the U.S. isn’t even following the basics of good nutrition. In following posts we will explore ways to really dial in nutrition, but for now here are my foundation building blocks!
The 7 Principles to Healthy Nutrition
Every nutrition plan has common themes and that is where the basis for the following 7 principles. No glittery futuristic research here just simple grandma approved habits to build a good eating plan!
- Eat 3 meal per day. You can have one afternoon snack, but this is breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper…one plate per meal with 4-5 hours between meals. Give your digestive system a break!
- Eat lean protein at every meal.
- Eat vegetables and/or a little fruit with every meal.
- Make sure your carbohydrate intake comes primarily from vegetables and your sugar fix comes from fruit.
- Try to make your primary energy source fat by consuming a 25-35% of your total daily food consumption, with your fat intake split equally between saturates, monounsaturates, and polyunsaturates.
- Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choices being water and tea (see the first of my top then health tips, link above).
- Consume whole foods as much as possible.
Build your healthy food choices like a pyramid with each higher level getting smaller than the previous.
- First level is greens and non-starchy vegetables. Greens are the components of health and are the most important. Aim for a ratio of nine-to-one vegetables-to-fruits.
- Second level is good fats and proteins. Get at least 15% or up to 50% of your daily calories from good fats, just aim for a balance of omega-3 to omega-6 of 1-to-1, or 1-to-2. Proteins (essential amino acids) will make up 15% to 30% daily calories
- Third level is the quick fuel foods such as carbs and fruit. Fuel is the foods that are turned into energy and the idea is not to eat in excess at this level because carbs not burned get stored as fat (tummy and butt).
- Fourth level is white foods and should be avoided…just leave the Wonder Bread alone!
These are principles that you can apply whether you are an omnivore or vegetarian. The key now is to start doing them everyday! I have complete faith you and wish you a long, happy, productive life!