Navigating the nutrition landscape can be daunting. With so much information readily available for consumption, it is easy to get confused. Below we have provided a basic outline of our nutrition prescription, as well as some points that bring clarity to the topic!
The nutritional prescription we recommend one follow for optimal health is “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that support exercise but not body fat.”
We highly recommend using this as a starting point to begin your own research and education on proper nutrition. A simple Google search can lead to many insightful and educational articles and blogs on issues such as obesity, glycemic index, the zone diet, insulin insensitivity, macronutrients, and other related topics where knowledge is critical.
Easily used source of fuel/energy
Fibrous carbohydrates pass through the intestinal tract and help move waste out of the body
Allows for growth and tissue repair/recovery
Immune System Function
Building block for essential Hormones and Enzymes
Sufficient quantities preserve lean muscle mass
Essential for vitamin absorption and transport
Provides cushioning for organs and protection/maintenance of cell membranes
Basic Food List
Below is a breakdown of food types and where common foods should fall into our consumption patterns. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it is a starting point.
Foods To Avoid (May be used intermittently as a cheat meal):
Processed: containing vegetable oils and/or high levels of carbohydrates
Proper Macronutrient balance will allow for greatest success from both performance and aesthetic standpoints. This ratio is approximately 40% Carbohydrate, 30% Protein, and 30% Fat.
Do not become overwhelmed in trying to make this exact. A simple guideline for this approach is to fill about half of a plate with vegetables and a starchy food (sweet potato, rice, oatmeal). One quarter of the plate should contain a source of protein such as meat, poultry, fish, or eggs (about the size of a deck of cards). The final quarter should contain your fat source such as avocado, seeds, nuts, or cheese.
Sufficient Caloric Intake
Eating too little food can actually cause you to experience an increase in body fat percentage and a decrease in lean muscle mass. This sounds counterintuitive but our bodies go into starvation mode in response to restrictions in caloric intake. While in starvation mode our body regulates hormones and lowers metabolism causing increased storage in adipose tissue (fat tissue).
Consume High Quality Foods
This means avoiding processed foods like bread, pasta, pizza, cereal, and most goods that have a long shelf life. A good rule of thumb is to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store and spend most of your time buying meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, some starches (oatmeal, rice, sweet potatoes), some nuts and seeds, and dairy (cheese and plain yogurt). The idea of removing some of these items from your diet might seem impossible but it is easier to do than you think. Start by taking one food out of your daily consumption patterns at a time and go from there!
Quick Fix vs. Meal Prep
Food replacement bars, cereal bars, protein bars, nutria-grain bars, and other similar products might be marketed as healthy nutrition options but they are generally loaded with sugars and have been processed multiple times.
A successful strategy is to prepare meals ahead of time. This will allow for you to have a healthy, balanced meal ready when you need it. Such strategy is especially valuable during a busy schedule when you have limited time to consider your nutrition options.
Fat Does Not Make You Fat
For many people, excessive carbohydrate consumption is the leading cause for obesity and weight gain. Consumption of processed, refined, and sugar-dense foods will raise blood sugar levels and signal your body to release insulin, which helps convert and store them as glycogen.
Our body uses glycogen as a fuel source; however, we only have a limited capacity for storing excess carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. Once the glycogen levels are filled in both your liver and muscles, excess carbohydrates are converted into fat and stored in your adipose, fatty, tissue.
This is not to say that all carbohydrate consumption is bad. However, we want to emphasize the high quality, nutrient dense carbohydrates that do not cause a significant spike in blood sugar levels.