That was what my uncle called the type of food I’m talking about. And that’s what I laughingly say to people when they ask me stuff like:
- How do I get rid of my love-handles?
- I just want to tone up. What should I do?
- How do you feel so good all the time? Don’t you ever get sick?
These are just a few of the things people say to me on a frequent basis. It’s because they see me living a healthy and productive life now, versus the obese and misguided younger person I used to be.
But the answer is mostly the same: The food you eat is primary.
The fuel mixture you put into your mouth is literally what you will operate on.
Think about it, and simple logic confirms that what you eat must affect how your body’s systems operate. And of course, that directly
affects how you look and feel because your mind and body are an interconnected system.
- Ok, then what should I eat? (Inevitably, this is the next question!)
But it’s a little deeper than listing off some foods that you could choose. That list would have foods that are in fact healthy, but I prefer to teach people WHY they would be considered healthy. Then I compare that to something similar that would be considered less so. Then, that knowledge can be applied to all foods and scenarios you may encounter because you’ll understand what is or isn’t healthy about the food in question.
You can then use this understanding to help you make choices that incur the greatest benefit.
I find it important to note here that the “greatest benefit” in some scenarios might be the ability to enjoy the moment you are in, and have that delicious food rather than being so rigid and inflexible that you feel negativity toward your ‘diet’ and its limitations on your life. If that’s how you feel when you ‘diet’ it is likely that you will eventually rebel against that oppressive force (your ‘diet’) because nobody likes to be held down by crazy restrictions ALL the time. Not in their diet, and not in their enjoyment of life.
Now, here is my response to the line of questioning above:Whole food from a quality source is what nourishes our bodies the best. So, eat in such a way that as much of your food as possible is simply WHOLE FOOD.
If you want to lose your love-handles, have more energy, be more clear-headed, and ‘tone up’, then this is an article you need to read, because what you eat is crucial when trying to make yourself feel and perform better,
But what is Whole Food? What do I mean by that?
WHOLE FOOD: When I say, ‘whole food’, I mean that if you eat something as it grows (like an apple), that is whole food.
if that same apple:
- was crushed up and had the peel removed,
- mixed with other crushed up apples,
- had sugar and preservatives added,
- and was ran through multiple machines to be placed in packaging,
and THEN shipped and finally sold to you as applesauce… Well, that’s not how that apple grew naturally and is not what I would call whole food. It is multiple steps removed from the way it grew, which is a simple way to see how close to optimal that food might be.
Just ask yourself, “Did it grow like this?”. The other question is about the food’s natural state, too: “Did this food grow naturally?”. Any steps removed from “yes” to these questions, and you have your answer as to how many steps removed from ‘optimal’ that food is for you. Example: If the apple orchard used pesticides and growth additives, it is less optimal than if it grew organically.
Simple, right? “Did it grow like this?” and then, “Did it grow naturally?”. If the answer is yes to both, you have a good food choice.
In the case of meat, which is a hot topic of debate for many people in the health industry right now, of course… the same rules apply in general: a chicken breast is better for you than a chicken nugget, because chicken breast is closer to how that food grew, since nuggets are formed by processing the meat (which adds steps away from our baseline of “Did it grow like that?” to see if it is healthy). The second question of “Did it grow naturally?” is not even answerable for the nuggets.
“Did it grow naturally?” – With produce it is pesticides and growth additives and genetic modification. With animals it is the animal’s life before it became the steak or breast on your plate that will influence the quality of that meat and its risks or benefits to your health. If unnatural processes were added to the animal’s life, then the resulting food you get is also tainted by those processes. Examples: Added hormones and anti-inflammatory drugs, bad conditions that lead to fear and misery for the animals (these produce massive amounts of stress hormones that saturate the meat.), poor quality feed for the animals, etc…
*Whole food is better for you than processed food.
I think in simple terms that it is more natural, and we should look to nature more often because we are a part of nature. I attempt to align myself with the principals of nature in everything that I do, and I feel that it contributes greatly to my success in many areas. Nutrition, for sure.
*Whole food it is most likely fresher.
(A whole apple will go bad at the end of its natural cycle of being fit to eat.)
The apple is whole food; the applesauce is two (or many more depending on brand) steps processed and not what I’d call whole food. Here are your dietary recommendations to be healthier:
1: WHOLE FOOD – Eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible given your unique circumstances as a rule. Snacks and meals that are whole food, are going to nourish your body with the good stuff.
2: VARIETY – Eat different colors as much as possible. They all have different phytochemicals (plant nutrients) and vitamins/minerals called MICRO-nutrients. Plus, you don’t get bored of having only one thing.
3. EDUCATION – search for “healthy whole foods” on your internet browser and read up!
Learn what whole foods have these three things called MACRO-nutrients:
- Protein (animal products or not, protein is necessary)
- Carbohydrates (Not the enemy)
- Fats (essential to hormone production and cognitive and anti-inflammatory systems in our body plus more.)
Once you kind of see what foods have which nutrients, then the next step is see which ones you like! Then, mix and combine them in balance. No more complicated than that.
Follow this process of selecting whole foods that you enjoy, that have a balanced mix of the three MACRO-nutrients I listed above and a variety of colors.
As to snacking, whether you are snacking from the guidelines above, or having a sit down meal from the guidelines above… it is healthy and appropriate.
You’re allowed to learn what foods you enjoy, this way. And what you prefer will probably have the most appropriate nutrients for you as an individual at that time.
If you want to get into more specific details about macronutrient ratios and how to calculate your daily requirements in a balanced way, keep your eyes out for upcoming content from me here. I’ve been there and done all that as I was changing my body from what it was, to what it is now, and I will communicate my methods about how to use those tools in later blogs and vlogs. Macro counting is very effective as a tool to make a specific change, but I caution against counting and tracking your whole life away. You want to become fit and healthy to enjoy your life. But don’t let the pursuit of that health imprison you in a web of unhappiness and restriction.
What’s the bottom line?
- Whole foods from a quality source are best for us.
- Eat more whole foods in greater variety, and you’ll be healthier.
- Learn to use spices and sauces for flavor and variety, and you’ll always enjoy different tasting and nourishing food.